clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky 85, Vanderbilt 72: Postmortem

For the most part, the Kentucky Wildcats dominated the Vanderbilt Commodores today in Rupp Arena.  For the most part.

I think Vanderbilt deserves a lot of credit for refusing to give up and making a decent run in the second half that put the game back to within the fringes of doubt, at least.  Fortunately for Kentucky and unfortunately for the Commodores, Vandy missed a critical dunk attempt that might well have inspired a serious comeback.  After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing through the last five minutes of the game for Kentucky.  But Vanderbilt gave a game effort, and when UK travels down to Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville next month, a lot more will likely be on the line.

Kentucky did what they had to do today after taking the national #1 ranking for a drive Tuesday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks and running it off a cliff.  A two-game losing streak would have seriously debilitated the Wildcat's confidence, and the confidence of the fans.  But solid double-digit win has restored all that with just a few caveats.

More on that after the jump.

Here are my observations:


  • Game ball:  Darnell Dodson.  He not only made threes, he defended his man very well, and even got rebounds.  I was very pleased with the performance of Dodson today.  It is clear that Coach Cal's efforts at coaching have resonated with him, and we need him to be productive.
  • Darius Miller still hasn't gotten out of his sophomore funk.  That's okay for today since we didn't need him.
  • DeAndre Liggins just keeps getting better and better.  He is leading the league in floorburns, and today he added some solid scoring and made several wonderful slashes to the basket.
  • The only person who can stop DeMarcus Cousins is himself.  But as Coach Cal said, if you look up "Beast" in the dictionary, you'll find a photo of Demarcus Cousins staring back at you through his glasses.
  • Great game by Eric Bledsoe.  Don't know why he didn't start.  Don't care.  He played very well.
  • Patrick Patterson was good today, and he made 3 of 4 three-point shots, but I have a question -- why is he playing so much 20 feet from the basket?  Only Coach Cal knows, I guess.
  • John Wall has been looking more and more human, and he looked human today.  But that's okay, he is young.  It's hard to keep that in mind, but he is.
  • LeBron James at Rupp Arena is a good thing, I think.  Maybe we should bring him with us all the time.
  • I like what Perry Stevenson did today.  He really worked hard when extended minutes were demanded of him.
  • The officiating was loathsome for both teams.  Nobody benefited, I think, but they made the game unpleasant to watch.
  • I really liked the work we did on John Jenkins. He is just a freshman, but he is a player to be feared.  UK did a good job on him today.
  • A.J. Ogilvy was completely outmatched by DeMarcus Cousins today.  It was, in fact, a mismatch.
  • Daniel Orton was within an inch or two of putting the game away earlier.  He missed a couple of tip-dunks that would have brought the house down.  That double foul that ended his participation was absurd.
  • The Rupp Arena crowd was incredibly surly today.  I liked it.  I was surly too, yelling at the flat screen, cursing and pounding.  This was a big game.  It mattered.  And we won it convincingly.
Overall, I am pretty happy with what I saw today.  Kentucky could have played better, but overall, they were pretty solid.  I was very pleased with the defense, overall, and even John Wall played some pretty darn solid defense.  Offensively, we were really good from the perimeter, but that was largely created by our dominance in the paint.

In conclusion, I am well pleased overall.  No game is perfect, but we played a very tough opponent, our best to date, and beat them convincingly, and did a good defensive job in the bargain.  That's a very good thing, and I suspect most Kentucky fans are well pleased.

Ole Miss is up next.