Despite a strong effort, Kentucky fell to LSU today. Kentucky's leading scorers had all kinds of difficulty getting the ball int the basket, primarily due to the outstanding effort by the Tigers. I was really hopeful that Jodie could get Temple into foul trouble, but Temple played nearly flawless defense on Meeks and shut him down almost completely.
Congratulations to LSU on an amazing effort. I was concerned that two losses in a row might focus the minds of the Tigers, and sure enough, you would have to say it did. They were the fresher team the whole game, and even though UK gave a really strong effort, they just could not get the job done against a rested, determined and mature LSU team.
Obviously, I am very disappointed in the loss, but I find little to criticize from the coach. In general, his substitutions made sense, and the team played hard. The fact of the matters is, Kentucky just could not execute soundly against LSU's defense. I think the screening for Meeks was pretty weak today, which also contributed to his futility.
- Patrick Patterson may have had a double-double, but this was surely not his best game. He was too soft on offense, but he played pretty well defensively. He also played almost every minute of the game.
- The outrageous number of offensive rebounds in the first half negated an outstanding defensive effort in the last 10 minutes of the first stanza. That allowed LSU to stay ahead rather than about 10 points behind, and contributed directly to this loss.
- Ramon Harris just couldn't contain Thornton today. He was just too tough. Harris played good basketball all around, though, and I have a hard time being too critical of him. If there is any player on this team that gets the most out of his talent, it is Harris.
- Meeks just had one of those games, very greatly impeded by the fantastic defense by Garrett Temple. I think Meeks' teammates let him down by not setting better screens, but that has been a problem all year. This time, Jodie was unable to manufacture a way to score. Five turnovers and getting up only nine shots is just not going to win many games for this team.
- Micheal Porter played pretty well. He made some big shots, but also made some defensive mistakes. But overall, I thought he did about as well as he possibly could.
- Kevin Galloway had a fairly good game if you can ignore the outrageous turnover in his first minute or two and the fact he had zero assists. But he did ave four rebounds.
- LSU simply killed us on the glass. How did they do it? They were the fresher team, and that's where that stat showed up. UK was slow getting to the glass, and they were not strong with the basketball. LSU had 17 offensive rebounds vs. Kentucky's 8.
- LSU got up 16 more shots than UK. Ball game.
- UK's free throw shooting was loathsome for this team. I guess they were due to cool off from the line, and at the end of the year, they surely did.
- UK had 15 turnovers, but most of them happened in the first half and robbed UK of the opportunity to build up a lead in the last 10 minutes of that stanza. I feared that would come back to haunt the 'Cats, and it surely did.
- What the heck are the Raycom guys doing peddling rumors about Kentucky? Are they trying to win the National Inquirer Rumormonger of the Year Award, or what?
- Does it strike anyone as particularly onerous that announcers are referring to Gillispie as "embattled" after only two seasons at Kentucky? Might I also point out that both of those seasons were winning seasons? Un-Kentuckylike, yes, but for God's sake -- embattled??
I am very glad that this year is almost over. Honestly, if I have to listen to one more ridiculous rumor or outrageous comment about Kentucky, I may well lose my religion. I wish the media would just deal with reality as it is, and quit trying to give it more "character."
I hope Kentucky does well in the NIT, even though I hate having to play in that tournament with a purple passion. But even with that said, they are ball games we should try our level best to win. If we wind up somehow hanging an NIT banner in Rupp's Rafters in a 3am Monday morning ceremony, the least I can do is stand up and salute that effort. If we get beat early, it just means a merciful end to a miserable season for the Big Blue Nation.
I can live with that also.