The Kentucky Wildcats did not have a Christmas hangover, and handled the Coppin St. Eagles convincingly in Rupp Arena tonight. It was the kind of game that we have become used to with this team -- inferior opponents are rarely able to challenge Kentucky. The 'Cats have, for the most part, handled their weaker opponents easily, unlike last year's team who struggled against them early.
A heartfelt thanks to the Coppin St. Eagles for coming in and giving their best effort tonight, despite spotting Kentucky their leading scorer, Michael Harper. It's tough to be a mid-major coming into Rupp to face a team this talented, and the Eagles competed hard against the 'Cats. Thanks to them for the game effort.
For the Wildcats, it was kind of a mixed bag in the first half, but they were very much better in the second stanza, particularly on offense. The 3-point shooting was not really as good at it has been, but it's hard to shoot 50+ percent from the arc game in and game out. This game, Kentucky did their damage from inside the arc, led by Terrence Jones, who really got going after a couple of dunks raised his level of interest.
- Brandon Knight. Brandon did a lot of good things today, including scoring, rebounding, and passing, and played some very good defense particularly in the first half. Game ball.
- DeAndre Liggins perhaps deserves the game ball as much as Knight. He had a bunch of assists, double-digit points, and a number of rebounds to go along with an excellent defensive game.
- Terrence Jones. Jones had a good game, and did everything pretty well. He was not really there in the first half, but he really got it moving in the second.
- Darius Miller did not score a bunch, but he did everything else. I just wish he would score more.
Josh Harrellson did everything, and did it well. Rebound. Score a little. Blocked shots. He is boringly consistent, but that's exactly what Calipari needs from him. I love how he ran down a player and blocked his shot in the second half.
- Doron Lamb did what he always does -- score. He's just the perfect sixth man.
- Eloy Vargas did some nice things. He worked hard, was reasonably physical, and contributed.
- Jon Hood had a decent effort. I loved that block he got near the end of the game. Neither he nor Stacey Poole gave up on the play.
- A rotating 3-2 zone? Well, it was interesting. Lots of CalZones tonight. And they worked, sort of.
- What was with all the turnovers off of hot dog passes?
- When will UK begin to pick up charges? Knight took one, and Lamb tried, but other than that, nothing.
- Missed open shots. Kentucky must make them versus the Birds.
Overall, it was exactly what we expected -- a convincing, workmanlike victory. Now, for the Louisville Cardinals. I daresay they will be rather more of a challenge.