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Montana State Bobcats 28, Kentucky Wildcats 86: First Impressions

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Kentucky easily dispatched the undermanned Montana State Bobcats in Rupp Arena.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, this was always going to be a game where Kentucky would have a fairly easy time of it. The Montana State Bobcats program is rebuilding and has a new coach, and that usually spells difficulty against the #1 team in the nation, especially one that is much longer and much taller than their opponent. Ken Pomeroy ranks Montana State at 132nd in effective hight, and Kentucky at #2 (believe it or not, UC Irvine is #1 in that stat).

A hearty thanks to Montana State for making the trip to Rupp Arena. They’ve been on a very long road trip away from Bozeman, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to get back to play UT Arlington, a team much more within their reach than Kentucky. I appreciate the effort they gave, which was considerable despite the lopsided score. I think Coach Fish will get this team better soon.

Kentucky shot the ball really badly in this one in the first half, but did much better in the second and defended like their lives depended on it. Certainly playing time does, and it’s always great to see that much effort and that much proficiency defensively. it could be that the effort effected their offense, but more likely, they are just having normal early-season ups and downs.

Final statistics

Observations

  • Another very good game for Devin Booker. He’s getting that pretty stroke going.

  • Kentucky’s defense was truly otherworldly. The guy on Twitter who said trying to shoot the ball against Kentucky is like "shooting through a ceiling fan" may have the meme of the season when it comes to Kentucky’s shot-blocking.

  • I really like that very few of Kentucky’s turnovers were forced. Most of them were just carelessness. That can be cleaned up.

  • The two-platoon system, along with the press, will murder teams this season, even good teams.

  • Aaron Harrison continues to struggle, but he will come around. Have faith.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein seems to do more amazing things every game. His athleticism is difficult to wrap your head around. It’s almost like he’s from another world.

  • WCS continues to show big improvement not just from the line, but with a face-up jumper, and he made an amazing bounce pass to Derek Willis on the baseline for a dunk.

  • Karl-Anthony Towns had a much better game. On defense, he was dominant.

  • Some of the fast breaks this team ran were things of beauty. It’s weird what a difference one year has made in how the Wildcats, particularly the Harrisons, run the break.

  • Don’t sweat the poor shooting. It will come around.

Another game, another victory. These early-season exempt events are nice to prepare for the season, and get a look at different lineups, which we got to see the last two games not just because Calipari wanted them, but also because of Alex Poythress’ illness, which of course, we didn’t want to see. But he’ll be back, probably in the next game if reports of his improving health are accurate.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Full postmortem, as per normal, tomorrow morning. We’re having our Thanksgiving dinner tonight since I’ll be heading to Las Vegas on Wednesday.