Words fail me. But life goes on. I'm breaking out the Woodford to properly medicate my bruised and mangled pride -- neat, no rocks.
Congratulations to the Louisville Cardinals for a noble victory. Great game by Edgar Sosa, and as much as it sucks to lose on an NBA+ 3-pointer, there's not much else Kentucky could have done. It was an amazing job by the 'Cats to tie the game, but alas, great shooting undoes all else.
I really don't feel like making a long post here, because I am bitterly disappointed in this loss. Kentucky defended Louisville about as well as could be expected, particularly in the last seven or eight minutes of the second half. Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks were as awesome as they could be expected to be, it's just that Louisville picked this game to make perimeter shots and free throws. I warned in my pre-game comments that we probably could not beat Louisville if they shot well from three, and unfortunately, my prediction came true in dramatic fashion.
I continue to be disappointed in our ballhandling, particularly by Jodie Meeks. He had six turnovers, and that really besmirched an otherwise excellent game. But to be fair, without him, we would have been crushed by 20+. So I guess that's just one of those things he will have to work harder on. I think the biggest problem there is that Jodie just refuses to make the simple pass. He wants to make the astounding pass. Despite his obvious skill, he has a lot to learn.
I didn't expect Samuels to be much of a factor, and he wasn't. I was very surprised at the poor game by Earl Clark, but the most remarkable thing was Louisville's accuracy from the perimeter, where they went 11-20. That is way, way over their season average, and as good as they are in other phases of the game, they are darn near unbeatable when they shoot well from the perimeter. Not only that, they picked this game to make their free throws. What can you say except, "Good job."
If we forget the turnovers, Kentucky played very well considering the competition, shooting an eFG% of 53% against one of the elite defensive teams in the nation, the highest any team has shot against the Cardinals. For comparison, in their three losses, the Cards' opponents have averaged an eFG% of 48.2%. So I think we can say, despite the turnovers, that UK gave a very good effort.
Well, I suppose I have to hand out some individual kudos here, although I hope you will forgive me for a lack of enthusiasm. I am not nearly medicated enough yet, and still in considerable pain. But here goes.
- I am now a believer in Michael Porter. He was terrific. I am now gulping the Porter Kool-aid just as I said I would.
- Meeks and Patterson were awesome, and Patterson was utterly indomitable against the highest level of competition. I was surprised that the Cardinals kept fouling him on rebounds, but if they want to send a 70+% shooter to the line, I don't know why I should complain.
- Ramon Harris really struggled, and all his injury time has clearly hurt him.
- Perry Stevenson was as good as he gets. I wish he hadn't missed the front end of that one and one, but demands for perfection are foolish.
- What can I say about how we dominated the glass? Except for one weird sequence in the second half where we allowed Louisville about 4 offensive rebounds in one possession, we were awesome. We outrebounded the Cards on both ends of the floor by significant margins.
- Liggins was OK. I think Gillispie made a tactical error, with 20/20 hindsight, not having him on Sosa at the end. But honestly, I thought Gillispie was really great. He made adjustments throughout the game, and did a masterful job of orchestrating our comeback in the second half.
- Leaving Terrence Williams open from three is never a bad strategy, as he simply can't turn down that shot and never has shot it well. But he did today.
- Josh Harrellson tried, but he was out-athleted. I thought AJ Stewart did a nice job, and gave us some good minutes and two very big free throws.
- What the hell was that technical for? Inquiring minds want to know.
That's all I have for now. I'll probably be back to normal in a few hours.