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Texas Southern University at Kentucky -- After Action Report

Just in case any of you thought we weren't going to talk about Texas Southern, we are.  But it's the holidays, and I have had stuff to do.  Hence, I am just a little bit behind.  Your patience is appreciated.

I can't ever recall watching a UK football game and basketball game on the same day.  This has to be some kind of record.  But record or not, the Wildcats looked very good last night against a very bad basketball team.  I don't mean to criticize TSU -- they are undermanned right now due to suspensions, disqualifications, injuries and just about every other misfortune that could possibly befall a college basketball team.  Robert Moreland is only an interim coach, and there is very little in the way of size for him to work with.  One of their players last night was only 5'3" tall (!)  I have seen some short guards before, but my wife is only an inch shorter than that guy.

Opposition aside, Kentucky played good and occasionally excellent basketball.  It's hard to take too much away from a game like this, but what did catch my eye was the solid decision-making and execution the Cats delivered.  I can honestly say that even taking the weakness of our opponent into consideration, this young Kentucky team seems to be improving every outing.  As we must, if we expect to avoid getting run out of the gym by North Carolina and Indiana.


When a team shoots 61% from the field and 45% from three, there is very little to say about the offense.  I though we could have run more of the high post against that zone, because there is always a hole there at the free throw line in the 2-3, and either Stewart or Patterson could have gotten more easy looks from there.  But as hot as Crawford and Bradley were from the perimeter, I can't really be too critical.  Even our turnovers weren't too bad on the surface, but considering that TSU didn't put much pressure on the Cats, it really isn't that impressive.

Overall, I though the offense was efficient.  There was some good ball reversal and sharp passing, and nobody seemed to take a bad shot and it's easy to take bad shots against an overmatched opponent.


If holding a team to 33% is an achievement, 21% is even more so, but TSU was so bereft of size that virtually all their shots came from the perimeter, and 75% of those were challenged by taller players.  It's tough to shoot well in that situation, and I give the Tigers a lot of credit for coming out there and competing hard, despite their obvious shortages both talentwise and in size.

Kentucky did a pretty good job defensively with the pressure, but there were still a number of times were they were backdoored and turned their heads when they shouldn't have.  Reading some of the press reports, Gillispie seemed to think the defense wasn't all that hot, and I think he has a point.  But it was pretty good, and seems to be getting better.


  • Joe Crawford was simply magnificent, and not because he made open jump shots and scored on drives to the basket -- he is supposed to do that.  What was great about him is that he didn't take a single bad shot that I can remember.  He also worked hard on defense and on the glass, and that is all I can ask of the guy.  It didn't hurt, of course, that he shot 70% from the floor and made all his free throws.

  • Ramel Bradley again had a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio, which is his second such impressive performance in a row.  He also had 7 rebounds and 17 points, but to me, his points are incidental.  9 assists tells me he was doing what he was supposed to do.  The other statistics don't matter near as much to me.  Four steals also tell me that he was playing great, and deserves the game ball.

  • What can you say about Patrick Patterson?  He was dominant inside again, as he should be against such a small team.  But he also had 5 assists, and that is excellent for a big man.  I remember one really nice pass he made to AJ Stewart on a give and go down low.  Very sweet.  Five steals and two blocks complete a pretty picture for Patrick.

  • Mark Coury has played rather poorly the last two games.  Only two rebounds isn't very good for 20 minutes work, but then again, the opposition was shooting a lot of threes, which is why the guards wound up with so many boards.  Even Patterson only managed 7 rebounds, so I suppose I shouldn't be too critical.  Still, Coury seems to have lost that swagger he had earlier in the year.

  • For a supposedly deadly shooter, Alex Legion has not been that impressive in the last couple of games.  Freshmanitis, I suppose, but we need more scoring out of him.  1-5 isn't the kind of shooting line we need from him.

  • AJ Stewart delivered another solid performance, marred only by five turnovers.  Here is a guy many of us expected very little from this year.  Can he bring it against better competition?  We will know very soon.


Kentucky seems to be firmly on the path of improvement, and they are looking much better against weak competition than they did last year against similar.  While judgments about how good this team is are really hard to make right now, we have a couple of early tests coming up in just a few days.  The Cats will be weighed and measured next week.  Will we be found wanting, or improving?