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Kentucky Wildcats 62, Carolina Gamecocks 68: Postmortem

Well, that #1 ranking was nice while it lasted.  But it didn't last very long -- something over 24 and under 35 hours.  After all sorts of praise, a unanimous #1 ranking, and a call from president Obama, the Kentucky Wildcats decided to go out and make like the Palmetto State Poultry and lay an egg -- only this one was rotten.

Congratulations to the South Carolina Gamecocks.  They absolutely earned this victory by playing this basketball game like the upperclassmen they are.  They had a leader, they got him the ball, and he did what leaders do -- won the basketball game.  I don't want to hear any whining about officiating, or complaints about how bad Kentucky played.  South Carolina won because they were the better team tonight.  They did the smart thing and took the air out of the basketball, forcing Kentucky to play a half-court game where they don't excel as much as when they are running up and down.  South Carolina had a game plan which they executed in a superior manner, and it paid off.

Devan Downey was just unstoppable, and he has a special love for beating Kentucky, which he has been able to enjoy for the last four meetings.  That's great for Gamecock fans, but it hurts to have to write yet another lament starring the Gamecocks in the role of the villain.

Kentucky fans have no right to complain.  This team may have gotten a unanimous nod from the Associated Press voters, but they have not really been tested much.  Nevertheless, Kentucky fans were ecstatic, even gloating.  Unfortunately for us, our team tonight was weighed, measured, and found wanting.

Here are my observations:

  • Patrick Patterson has officially disappeared from this team.  He has been replaced by Perry Stevenson's clone.
  • DeMarcus Cousins did all he could to win this game.  Unfortunately, neither John Wall nor Eric Bledsoe could make layups, Darnell Dodson couldn't even make a wide open breakaway dunk, Patrick Patterson couldn't hit short jumpers, and when you miss enough easy ones in a low-scoring game, you lose.  It's that simple.
  • I loved the Kentucky defense in the first half, but I lament the fact that they left it in the locker room at halftime.  That wasn't a really good idea.
  • Devan Downey was indomitable.  That's all you can say.  Nobody, not even two players, could stop him.  Maybe we should have tried three, or even four.  Heck, did anyone else from South Carolina even score?
  • What is it about playing Kentucky that makes the Gamecocks want to rise up and block 20 shots?  It's the darnedest thing.
  • I'm thinking some Kentucky fans might want to dial Ken Pomeroy's number and apologize.  UK looked pretty much like the #9 team tonight to me -- at best.
  • With all due respect to the President of the United States, I chose to blame him for our loss.  We're blaming him for almost everything else, so a little thing like this won't matter much.
  • John Calipari was out-coached by Darrin Horn tonight. How interesting.  Maybe Coach Cal will want to take a few shots at him and get a rivalry going.  Seems to have worked real well versus Pitino and Calhoun.
  • I think Calipari got into Jobu's rum before the game.  It is very bad to drink Jobu's rum.  Very bad.
  • I have not seen the stats, but I have the feeling that we got outrebounded on the offensive glass by a team half our size.  I was very unhappy with our work on the boards in this game.  I was even more unhappy to ... you know, lose the game.
  • What happens now?  Does UK go into a pout?  Do they come back and thrash Vandy?  Do they flap their arms and fly to the moon?  I have no idea.  But Calipari needs to lay off Jobu's rum.
  • When will our seniors, juniors and sophomores take back the leadership of this basketball team?  Just askin'.
  • Darius Miller?  That's just a name on the official roster, I guess -- with a 0 in every category except minutes.  The designated bupkis.
Well, here we are at 19-1.  That's a darn good record.  For those who though we needed a loss, well, now we've got one.  For those who thought we would dominate the SEC, well, we've learned otherwise, at least for now.  For those who hoped we might go undefeated in the regular season (including yours truly), well, we can leave that on our bucket list.

Next up -- the Vanderbilt Commodores.  Should be fun.