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Kentucky Wildcats 69, Missouri Tigers 53: lnitial Impressions

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The Kentucky Wildcats attain 20-0, their best record in the John Calipari era.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, the Kentucky Wildcats have finally broke through and eclipsed their former best start under John Calipari, running their record to a perfect 20-0 and 7-0 in the SEC. That’s a nice, round number that we can all love for at least one more day.

This was a difficult game to watch with all the fouls for both teams, but honestly, both teams played really rough basketball and the fouls were honestly fouls. It was one of those games where the teams needed to adjust, and they just refused to do so. Ergo, a bunch of fouls.

Missouri played hard, but they got much the worst of the fouls because they simply lack depth. They played very hard defensively, but they struggled mightily to generate offense in the second half. To compound that problem, the Tigers didn’t shoot it well from the line. Nice effort, but it was just a mismatch when Kentucky tested Missouri’s depth.

Final game stats

Observations

  • I didn’t like our pick and roll defense. When you show on the pick and roll, somebody has to cover the roll guy, and too many times, Kentucky was late to get to him.

  • I really liked our offensive rebounding in this game it was much better.

  • Free throw shooting will be responsible for Kentucky’s relatively good efficiency considering a pedestrian 45% from the field.

  • Kentucky’s stats will be uglified by careless possessions in the very late game. But to be realistic, it means nothing. They only stat that counts is the final score.

  • Kentucky could’ve played better defensively. I think only 1 block is not impressive.

  • I told you Devin Booker was in for a step back. Because freshman.

  • Kentucky gave up 10 steals. That is weak.

  • Only 8 assists tonight will put Kentucky well under 50% assists this game. I think that was more due to the way the game was called, with lots of fouls, and to be fair, I thought Mizzou played some very tough defense.

Hey, the stats aren’t that pretty, but honestly, I’ll take a 16-point road win anytime. No, we didn’t cover the spread, but that’s mainly because of some really sloppy play at garbage time. Honestly, I’m just glad to pass the 2009-10 team’s 19-0 record, that tickles me no end, and I have no idea why. If UK had lost one or two games so far this season, it wouldn’t bother me all that much.

But so far, the Wildcats are perfect. They haven’t played perfectly, and they weren’t perfect today, but they have won against every opponent they’ve faced and it isn’t as if they looked awful tonight. It was an ugly game, and winning the ugly ones are a mental challenge when you can’t get into any kind of rhythm. The ‘Cats this season have so far faced down every challenge, from hot teams to poor games on the road to grind-it-out affairs like South Carolina and this one.

On to Saturday, and a rematch with the Alabama Crimson Tide!