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Tennessee Tech at Kentucky -- Quick impressions

A win is always better than a loss.  That is one of those realities nobody can ignore, and a win against an overmatched team is no exception.

I must say, when I heard Meeks would be out with injury and Bradley and Crawford out with ... whatever, I was fearful that we would wind up with another embarrassment.  They don't bother me quite as much now as they did earlier, but I still hate having to write post mortems about losses.  That is one sucky part of blogging that we could all do without.

It is indisputable that the weird lineup Gillispie put on the floor (Perry Stevenson at the 3 ?!?) was offensive to the basketball sensibilities of us all.  As basketball bluebloods, we are not used to seeing walk-ons and players who looked really bad last week starting.  It gave the game an otherworldly, almost, "Can you believe this?" kind of feel.

But in spite of their ... poor execution, that lineup showed more hustle and genuine Wildcat aggressiveness than I have seen from this team all year.  It was inspiring, in a weird, Tim Burtonesque, creepy kind of way.  Somehow, my mind flashed back to that DiGiorno commercial where Steve Spurrier's team takes the field in drag.  It was ... unusual.

Some other impressions:

  • Joe Crawford played the first 10 minutes of Kentucky basketball in his entire 3.5 years at UK, defending with passion and passing to open players.  More, please.

  • Bradley played like Bradley, but 12 points in 13 minutes is doing what he is good at.

  • Jared Carter is making progress, as slow as molasses in February, but progress nonetheless.

  • Kudos to Gillispie for sticking to his guns, if that's what he did.

  • AJ Stewart is becoming a pleasant surprise on this team.  Mike Williams isn't.

  • Michael Porter played 28 minutes, and is still deficient in the A/TO ratio -- 3 assists, 5 turnovers.  The kid does work hard, though.

  • Perry Stevenson has never played 34 minutes before, but he did today.  Only Patterson and Ramon Harris played more.  And he played pretty well, too, with 8 rebounds 2 blocks and 2 steals.

  • How's this for a line:  3-6 shooting, 2-5 from 3, 10 rebs, 8 pints points (I drank the pints, not the player), 2 assists, 2 turnovers in 40 minutes.  Chuck Hayes as a sophomore?  No, Ramon Harris.  He never came out of the game.

  • Patrick Patterson is going to be SEC freshman of the year.  24 points and 15 rebounds.  'Nuff said.

  • Kentucky played the best defense they have played all year.  I loved the effort, the positioning, and the hustle.  Warms the cockles of my heart.

This was a nice Christmas present for me, especially the second half.  I really liked our effort today, this was the first Kentucky-worthy effort I have seen all year, even for a rebuilding effort.  Let's hope this is something we can build on.

As an aside, perhaps we should continue to bring Bradely and Crawford off the bench.  Maybe that will keep them hungry.