Yeah, I know, we are bumping up against the guideline about no politics on the blog. But, as I am inspired by Caoch Cal and his ability to navigate the NCAA waters which consume and destroy so many ships, I have faith that this falls outside that parameter.
As we do not have too many followers of yet, I am going to approach this tournament as I would the season. One game at a time. But today on ESPN, President Barack Obama selected UK Hoops to reach the elite eight and a showdown with the women from UCONN and their inimitable coach, Geno Auremma. Now far be it from me to argue with the President's selections (even though I know he got the finals of the men's bracket wrong), I would be pleased to find UK sitting anywhere inside the top 10 for the season when all is said and done. If, and only if, it were any other team in that final 8 I might be able to go along with that quietly. But, alas, he did not, and you know me, I have to have an argument in there somewhere. And here it is.
#2) UCONN's Guards. Tiffany Hayes and Bria Hartley represent a big part of UCONN's attack. They score, and score a lot. between them, they average almost 27 pts. per game. That is a full third of UCONN's scoring. They are much better at scoring than they are at ball handling however. UCONN averages just under 15 TO's per game. And they have not yet played a team which plays defense like UK. Coach Mitchell's squad is going to push them and press them like they have never seen before. They are going to be worn down on a squad that only goes 6 or sometimes 7 deep. UCONN will not have time to prepare well for what's coming.
#3) Kentucky's Defense. As I alluded to in the previous paragraph. UK is bringing a crushing press into this tournament. UCONN does not have the ball handlers, nor the speed to contain that defense, nor to avoid it.
#4) Records. UCONN has been beaten both home and away. They do have weaknesses. Weaknesses that UK knows and can exploit. Look for Kentucky to run, and run, and run, and run.
#5) Game Format. UCONN has not seen UK this year. They do not have a bead on how this team plays. If Kentucky played a typical half-court game, UCONN has the distinct advantage. But for a one-shot, tournament format game, UK has the harder approach to prepare for.
All in all, I could be completely crazy. But, should a matchup with UCONN occur, I like UK's chances. After all, we all know that this is the year of the Cat, not the year of the dog.