That was a very rocky start for the Kentucky Wildcats, who are taking on the Hampton Pirates in the second round of the NCAA Tournament tonight. Hampton came out with nothing to fear and nothing to lose, and it showed. I was very disappointed in the intensity of the team early, but it really picked up about the 11-minute mark.
Kentucky missed a bunch of really easy shots in that half, and only managed 44% against a team that is much smaller than they are. That’s frustrating to me, and it has been a problem all year.
First Half Stats
UK shot 43.8 percent in the first half, but committed only three turnovers. Cats also up 25-19 on the boards. pic.twitter.com/8cm4XlNWJa— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) March 20, 2015
There’s no doubt who’s going to win this game, even now. But this is one of those inauspicious starts that give me heartburn. Last year as a #8 seed, Kentucky came in with a chip on their shoulder. This year, you can almost feel the lack of intensity, and you could definitely see it.
Okay, I have been duly critical. Now, I’ll say that Kentucky has been laid off for a few days, and we saw something similar early in their first game of the SEC Tournament. But as the tournament went on, they got better and better. I think we are likely to see that in this tournament as well.
Let’s get this done in the second half and look more like Kentucky. Go, ‘Cats!