Tubby Smith is unabashed about his basic philosophy to coaching.
"The key to success is consistency," he says. "Bringing your best effort each and every night will lead to success."
Thus far, this year's version of the basketball Wildcats has been trying to internalize such a mantra, and to mixed results. While the defensive intensity has been strong thus far, the offensive execution has been up and down, to put it mildly.
On Friday, the Cats put together their best win of the year, performance-wise, against a quality team. Hardly a Final Four caliber group, but Atlantic 10-winning, possibly. The offense was crisper, the hustle more obvious. Whatever the team did to prepare for this 82-68 convincing victory, it should follow its coach's advice and continue to do the same.
Joe Crawford's emergence from scoring purgatory was nice to see, as was Derrick Jasper's season-high 8 assists. Randolph Morris again proved unstoppable when he wanted to be, and his backup, Woo, continued his solid replacement play.
The Cats held UMass to under 40% shooting, marking the 7th straight game that has occurred. Such consistency is the stuff seasons are reborn on, whether this one proves one of those or not. Kentucky posted a season-best 59% field goal percentage and 64% from three-point range. The win also moved Tubby Smith's UK teams to 107-2 when shooting at or over 50 percent from the field. Unreal.
The Cats won the rebounding battle, 37-32, and dominated the entire second half. And all in front of a packed house of 24,000 plus at Rupp.
All in all, a great way to send the folks off to holiday break.