The Kentucky Wildcats improved to 16-4 with the 71-62 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday night.
However, it wasn’t an easy win for the Cats as they trailed for a long period of time even getting down by double digits before mounting the comeback down the stretch.
Nick Richards was once again the star of the night with his 15 point and 11 rebound performance. He did basically all of his damage in the 2nd half after only play 5 minutes in the 1st after picking up two early fouls.
With Richards on the bench, coach Cal turned to Nate Sestina to come in for Richards. Without the presence of Richards on the floor, the Cats seemed to fall apart.
A big part of that was Sestina’s inability to stay in front of his man on defense, and the opposing team always gets the switch they want.
Opponents will run an action to get Sestina switched on a guard or wing player, and then that player drives right past him for an easy layup.
We have seen it too often this season, and we know it is coming when he checks into the game. Sestina has become a liability on the defensive end of the floor.
He has also struggled rebounding the ball. He played 21 minutes against Vanderbilt and didn’t grab a single rebound. That can’t happen when you are playing the 4 or 5 without Richards in the game.
However, Cal doesn’t have a choice but to play him due to the lack of bigs and the threat he brings on the offensive end of the floor.
In the second half, the Cats found themselves down 7, a pick and pop action allowed Sestina to get a clean look from three and he drilled it. That is exactly why Cal has to put Sestina in the game despite his defensive issues.
I do think that Sestina and Richards could be very good on the floor together with Richards’ rim protection.
Saying this, is Sestina starting to become a liability for this team?