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West Virginia Mountaineers 39, Kentucky Wildcats 78: First Impressions

Kentucky handles the West Virginia pressure, shoots lights out in 78-39 mauling.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

I expected the Kentucky Wildcats to defeat the West Virginia Mountaineers convincingly, but not by 39 points. The outcome was not surprising, but the margin was a little over the top. That’s okay, though, as I’ve often said, I want to beat every opponent by 100. I hate exciting games when Kentucky is involved.

Final stats

and just in case you’re worried:

What we saw was more or less what I expected to see, which is Kentucky handling the press and West Virginia struggling to score due to turnover starvation. What I did not foresee was the officials calling the game like it was 1975 instead of 2015. That obviously hurt West Virginia more as the more aggressive and physical team, and although the whistle really hurt the Mountaineers, it really didn’t have much to do with the outcome — only the margin.

To be fair to the officials, they called the game consistently, and this is a risk that physical, pressing teams run, especially in the tournament. You have to adjust to the way the game is called, and West Virginia just couldn’t do it in time before Kentucky ran off and hid.

It is also true that Kentucky was hitting on all cylinders offensively, and that is always going to result in a nightmare when it happens. Kentucky’s defense is peerless, and if the offense is coming at you at a high level, it can get ugly real fast. UCLA could tell our opponents all about how that works, as could the Kansas Jayhawks.

I’ll delve into the stats tomorrow, but Kentucky was incredibly focused and together in this game. The press virtually never bothered the Wildcats much except a time or two when somebody broke down, and as we have seen before, pressing Kentucky always results in a lot of layups and dunks.

Several guys played well in this game that haven’t been, and some who have been playing well didn’t do so great. I guess that goes to Calipari’s point about the number of players UK can field hiding bad games.

While this was a fearsome drubbing of a good basketball team, the road only gets tougher on Saturday when the unstoppable force that is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the most efficient offense in the land, runs into the #1 Kentucky defense at 8:45 PM.

One final note — we have always been a classy community, and lets not forget about that. I know some fans are inclined to upbraid defeated foes, but that’s just juvenile and disrespectful to boot. Forget about the smack talk by any of the players, they are young and we have all been there. Treat friend and foe alike with respect, because West Virginia definitely deserves it, and leave WVU fans alone to lick their wounds. They just had a tough matchup in Kentucky and when that happens, this is very often what you get. The Golden Rule is the best policy.