I’m still shaking from lack of sustenance after that one. My dinner has been… delayed. But I wouldn’t miss a second of the first real opportunity for Kentucky to lose a basketball game all season. It isn’t that UK hasn’t played good teams, they have — they just haven’t played anyone hot, and tonight, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, Ole Miss was HOT!
I don’t know what to say to Ole Miss. They played their hearts out, and they shot lights out tonight. There was literally nothing they could possibly do much better than what they did. Let’s face it, Kentucky is bigger, stronger, and more talented, but… great shooting and drop-dead hustle, along with a healthy dollop of experience, can make up for most of that, and it darn near got Ole Miss the upset of the year. Great game, Rebels. You can be proud of this one.
Kentucky actually didn’t play badly at all. They shot 55% from 3 (made 11 threes and barely won?), Had many more 2nd chance points, more blocks, more assists, more… everything.
You will complain that Kentucky played poor defense. Nobody can defend that, so just stop. Ole Miss took advantages of mismatches, but what they did was make every challenged shot they took, nearly. You can’t defend that.
I love the fight this team put up in the second half, and the emerging "refuse to lose" attitude. Ole Miss had so many "Can you top this?" plays that I lost count. It was a tour-de-force in how to play guard-oriented basketball, and the bigs did a good job of getting a few garbage points as well as one or two "Wow!" points.
If I have a complaint, it is about Kentucky’s zone offense. It looked like we’d seen zone for the first time ever, and that it was the Gordian knot rather than an simple and generally ineffective defense. You have to pass it into the middle in a 2-3 zone with a shooting threat in there. Darrius Miller isn’t walking through that door, I guess.
There is nothing to be upset about here — this was a team that played waaayyy above their heads for a while, got confident, and then just treated Kentucky like they were any other team. UK allowed it for a while, but then found the fortitude and courage to finish the game the right way. Yes, they could’ve lost, and if they did, it would’ve been fine. We don’t need to win them all.
We just need to win the last one. We’ll get there. Go, ‘Cats! I gotta eat something before this keyboard starts looking tasty…