Today's post is dedicated mostly to the big win by Kentucky over Louisville yesterday. I tried to come up with a fairly comprehensive list of links about that contest.
Tweet of the Morning:
Silly things like this usually don't get me, but for some reason, this one made me laugh out loud. Nothing at all to do with the game yesterday, though, it just struck me funny.
Yesterday's game was defined, and won, by Kentucky's team play.
This is just sad-sackism, and unworthy of any fan. There were bad calls and no-calls that benefited both teams. The first foul on Wayne Blackshear looked like a bad call to me, but Louisville benefited from a too-quick jump ball call, a charge called a block, and a foul call on a jump ball that was questionable, if not obviously wrong. All that in the first half. Then there was the no-call walk on Russ Smith in the second half which was likely a 4-point swing for Louisville. And there were others.
Most of the calls on both teams were good ones. I defended several of them that went against UK to my wife, who complained that the officiating was one-sided in favor of Louisville. Very often, what we see on TV is colored by our partisan glasses. Did Kentucky get a friendly whistle? No more so than any home team I have seen all year, and arguably less so. In fact, the whistle in Rupp versus Belmont was decidedly unfriendly, and in the Baylor game, there is no doubt Baylor got the better of the whistle. I don't recall any rants and conspiracy theories about Scott Drew around the Big Blue Internet. I will also point out that Tony Greene officiated in that game.
But you have to quit complaining and play through it. Check out this commenter's response, which was a worthy one. Not all Louisville fans are lousy, and I have to give credit where it is due.
Dana O'Neil on Kentucky's victory over Louisville:
But there is almost always a turning point in a season, a moment a team can pinpoint and say, "this is where we got our act together." Louisville’s, for example, came in five overtimes last season, in what would be its last loss of the season.
This could very well be Kentucky’s.
We can only hope. But Calipari has 10 days and some 30 practices to emphasize the point.
Randy McClure writing for Sports Illustrated says Kentucky is growing up. I think that's right.
But this team could rip off a run in SEC play, romp through March, head all the way to the Final Four, and become the Kentucky team we'd envisioned when we spoke of what it meant when five of the nation's top nine recruits went to the same school. If that's what this team becomes, we'll be able to point to the second half against Louisville — their biggest star cramping up, their confidence waning, the preseason world-beaters seemingly on the verge of dropping out of the top 25 before the new year — as the moment this team came together.
Rick Pitino's ridiculous implications about the officials have been the catalyst for many Cardinal fan conspiracy theories. Rick needs to STFU, and act like a man instead of a whiny brat.
Louisville tried in vain to draw charges against Randle.
When asked if the crowd affected his players, Pitino said, "I think the referees were more affected than our players were."
Pitino mentioned the referees when asked about Randle.
"I thought we drew a clean offensive foul on the first play of the game and, obviously, the referee who's on this game every year didn't agree with me," Pitino said
Uncool, Rick. If I were the supervisor of officials, I'd be sure to address this to the league office. Pitino should be better than this.
Kentucky's victory was won in the most "Calipari way" imaginable.
UK freshmen accounted for 85.2 percent (23) of the Cats' 27 field goals. Kentucky first-year players produced 56.8 percent (25) of UK's 44 rebounds. Wildcats frosh accounted for 87.7 percent (64) of the Big Blue's 73 points.
We are going to here this "Calipari way" meme for a long time now. Get used to it.
Kentucky had done exactly what it needed to do—establish leverage and expose one of Louisville’s biggest weaknesses, size and defensive ability in the paint—and just as it had done that, leg cramps took it away. The Wildcats’ response wasn’t as heroic, as immediately stone-etchable as Samaki Walker’s 11 blocks in 1994-95, Patrick Spark’s free throws in 2004-05 or Edgar Sosa’s winner in 2008-09 … but what it lacked in being able to point at a single moment, it made up for, at least in retrospect, in slow-burning stoicism that a young team without its leader—to make a blanket statement—usually doesn’t show.
It was the kind of response that UK fans can appreciate, mostly because it was a team response, and not an individual one. Yes, some individuals contributed more than others, but each contribution was important.
Chane Behanan's lack of impact today was probably the most disconcerting aspect of the loss for U of L.
It was notable.
Was James Young's performance the most valuable, or most vexing? Consider:
The issue isn’t what Young can do for Kentucky. It’s what he will do. Which is to say, he is bound to try most anything. He’ll drive the ball into traffic and take on a couple of big defenders. He’ll fire a 3-pointer just one pass into the offense. He’ll take six quasi-outrageous shots without flinching, miss every single one of them, then fire the next without remorse.
You want shooters to leave their conscience in the locker room. Not doing that has been part of Kentucky's problem, particularly on the free throw line.
Some random NBA scout tells Zagsblog that pretty much everyone not named Randle or Young on the floor in the Louisville-Kentucky game isn't good enough for the NBA. We'll see in June if the GM's agree with him. I think he's got rocks in his head.
He had particularly harsh words for Harrell and Behanan.
- OFFICIALS. I only include this because Pitino wasn't happy with officiating. I don't think it was any more a factor in this game than it is in any game at Rupp Arena, or the KFC Yum! Center. How often do you hear opposing coaches happy with the whistle they got at Rupp? Never. Ask the guys from Cleveland State how they liked it. Nor are opponents happy over the whistle they get at Louisville. The good news for Louisville is that if it does play the Wildcats again, the game won't be in Rupp. The bad news is that the Wildcats aren't going to get any shorter in the interim. And the Cardinals need to figure out a way to take their own show on the road.
Maybe Rick Pitino should ask Crawford what to say before opening his yap.
You can say that without the 37 points delivered by Smith and Jones, Louisville would have lost by 20. You would be accurate.
I prefer to say that unless Louisville finds more effective ways to get Chane Behanan (0 points), Wayne Blackshear (5 insignificant points) and Montrezl Harrell (6 mostly insignificant points) percolating in the offense the Cards are going to labor to defeat a full-sized talented team. I would be more accurate.
I think that's right. We have seen some great guard-oriented, undersized college basketball teams. None of them have ever won the NCAA Tournament.
Other Kentucky sports
Not quite Cardmageddon — Louisville defeats Miami in the Russell Athletics Bowl.
Do you suffer from SEC fatigue. If so, too bad. Get used to it.
- UCLA manages to get past Alabama, but didn't look good doing it.