Happy President's Day to everyone in the Big Blue Nation. I hope you have a good one. In the meantime, it's time to lick our wounds from this weekend from the men's side, celebrate the huge win at Thompson-Bowling for the ladies and the successful start to the baseball and softball season, and get ready for another big week.
Tweet of the Morning
Totally agree with Richard Sandomir. NBC stepped over line milking Bode Miller interview. http://t.co/lMib7KCYuc— John Clay (@johnclayiv) February 17, 2014
Absolutely right. Both my wife and I were calling for them to leave the guy alone, and quit trying to wring tears out of him. It was offensive. I'm happy for Miller, and I think his wife is adorable.
Rivals.com (subscription) has some images from Junior Day, including Damien Harris, the 5-star RB who recently decommitted from Michigan. I don't know if this article is behind the paywall or not, so give it a click.
Calipari's review of the Florida game, if, like me, you were too frustrated on Sunday to watch.
Generally, he was pretty positive, and I appreciate the fact that he recognized Florida just played better. Kentucky didn't play bad, they just didn't play well enough.
Julius Randle doesn't buy the experience argument. Prove it on the floor, big boy.
Alligator Army has their postmortem on Saturday's game. I know there were a few complaints about the officiating (there always are during the heat of passion), but Andy spends an awful lot of time on that aspect. I just want to note that for the record, we don't spend much time on it outside the game thread, because we perfectly well know it's beyond our control, and you have to be able to overcome it.
With that said, I presume Andy's exposition was in response to some comments he saw over here, and there are always a few people to whom the officiating seems to be the most important part of the game. It's not. Yes, sometimes it costs you, but if we haven't learned by now that complaints about the referees are sour grapes, let me take this occasion to remind you of it. Once we get outside the game thread, let it go. Kentucky didn't lose because of the officials, and if you think they did, well, I feel sorry for you.
It's easy to draw a contrast between those steely seniors and Kentucky's coltish freshmen. Maybe too easy: Kentucky didn't quite panic, but the Wildcats never quite took this game for their own, despite looking like the better team for much of the first half, and playing like Florida's equal through the first 10 minutes of the second half. Florida just played better, making more shots and more good decisions and more free throws and so on; this wasn't "old team beats young team" so much as it was "great team beats very good team," I think.
I think this is right, although "great" may be a bit too high a praise for Florida right now. Record-wise, they deserve the appellation, but I'm not quite as sold on Florida's "greatness" as Andy, and frankly a good number of the media are. But whether I'm splitting hairs here or not, it's clear that Florida is better than Kentucky right now, and perhaps even the "right now" qualifier is unnecessary.
But in Kentucky's defense, they do have more room for growth than Florida does. Whether they can plausibly achieve most of that is debatable at this point in the season.
Andy's take is highly partisan, far more so than our analysis, but don't let that put you off. If you decide to make comments, please do be respectful of their community.
Rob Dauster gets it right. I hate to keep picking on Florida fans' overwrought estimation of their team, but like LSU, the final score did not indicate the competitiveness of Saturday's game. Florida played better and deserved the victory, but the margin indicates a comfortable win when it was anything but:
But what a box score won’t tell you is that Kentucky outplayed Florida for a good 30 minutes, and that after 34 minutes of basketball, the Wildcats were tied with Florida at 53.
Perhaps most impressive was the Wildcats defense. The final numbers aren’t all that impressive — Florida shot 44.0% from the floor, got to the line 28 times and only committed five turnovers — but that was a combination of Wilbekin hitting tough shots and Prather getting easy buckets in transition. When Kentucky was able to get their defense set, Florida struggled. The Wildcats gave the Gators a number of different looks (straight man-to-man, switching man-to-man, a 2-3 zone) and, for the most part, it was really effective.
The issue with Kentucky all season long has been their defense, and for 30 minutes on Saturday night, the Wildcats played terrific on that end of the floor.
I think this is right. If you need a reason not to give up on the season after this loss, here it is.
Other Kentucky sports
Kentucky Baseball drops a game to VMI on a walk-off double, but leaves North Carolina with a win over the #1 team in the country and a dominant win over UNC-Wilmington.
Softball defeats Texas, wins the Texas Classic in dominating fashion. Softball is now 10-0.
- A poll shows most Americans oppose the formation of a college football player's union.
Creighton just crushes Villanova. They looked like world-beaters, but Raphielle Johnson says the matchups were bad for 'Nova. I sure hope so.
Bobby Knight's son Pat fired mid-season from Lamar.
Michigan St. falls to ... Nebraska? Ouch. Michigan also loses to Wisconsin, who seems to be recovering from their mid-season swoon.
Other sports news
- John Wall wins the dunk contest on NBA All-Star weekend.
- Kentucky export break record. Well, good!