Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kentucky 101 - 49 Lafayette (No. 2,092)

Now THAT was a lot of fun.  A lot of folks will look at the score, look at the competition, and write this off as just a typical easy blowout.  But that's not fair to the Cats.  Ken Pomeroy thought that Kentucky would win this game 85-57 -- a 28-point win.  In fact, the Cats won by 101-49 -- a 52-point win.  That's a difference of 24 points -- a very big difference indeed.  Now it's early in the year, and Pomeroy's numbers are not yet at full strength, but it's rare for him to miss a Kentucky game by this much.

It should also be noted that Calipari's teams just don't score 100 points all that often.  They play really tough defense, which uses up a lot of time and makes sure that they don't get a whole lot of possessions.  He also plays his bench -- a lot -- when he has a big lead.  As a result, 100-point games re rare.  Last year, we went 38-2 and had one of the best college team's I've ever seen -- but we only scored 100 points twice all year.  When the Cats do score 100 points, it usually means that they have been tremendously efficient on offense.

Tonight's stats back that up.  The Cats were 29-43 on two-point shots, and 11-19 on three-point shots.  Those are tremendous stats.  They had 23 assists and only 10 turnovers, which is quite good for a team whose point guard is still sick.  Of course, they also benefited from 28 Lafayette turnovers -- but many of those were the direct result of Kentucky's defense.  I think UK's defense should be really good by the end of the year.

But on the other hand, I personally am more interested in how the offense is going.  My theory is that no matter how good your defense may be, at some point in the NCAA Tournament you will run into a red-hot team.  (Last year, for example, we ran into Indiana).  And when that day comes, you have to be able to score a lot of points.  Even if your defense never fails, you could still be eliminated if you can't ever get your offense going.  (That's what happened with UConn in 2011, and with Georgetown in 1984).  Plus offense is more fun to watch.

Today UK's offense looked amazing, in large part because Coach Cal insisted that Kyle Wiltjer (who had only five points against Duke) be more aggressive with the ball.  Wiltjer responded by going 8-16 from the field -- an amazing 7-11 on three-point shots -- to finish with 23 points in only 24 minutes.  Alex Poythress was even more efficient:  9-10 from the field, 4-5 from the line, 22 points in 23 minutes.  But remarkably, neither of those guys was the player of the game.  That honor went to Nerlens Noel, who went 6-8 from the field, 3-5 from the line, for 15 points and 7 rebounds -- but who also had four steals, and who seemed to spend most of the game on the floor diving for loose balls.  That's the type of aggression we need from him.

I should also note that tonight we saw Jon Hood for the first time in two years.  (He was out last year with an injury.)  Hood played 11 minutes and I thought he showed a lot of energy.  He didn't score -- he only took one shot -- but he got two quick rebounds and appeared to be very active on both ends of the floor.  We also saw Twany Beckham for four minutes, along with our new mop-up guys, Tod Lanter and Brian Long.  Amazingly enough, Tod Lanter is the son of Bo Lanter, who was a mop-up guy from 1980 to 1982, and who I remember very well.  Our former mop-up guy, Jerrod Polson, played 26 minutes, hit the first three-pointer of his UK career, and scored seven points.  Credit should also be given to Julian Mays, who took only 3 shots but who made 10 assists.

On the whole, it was a very pleasant evening, and we will hope for more like it in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to see that Tod Lantner is Bo's son--I had heard his name a couple of times and had been meaning to check that. I wonder where Skippy Gettlefinger is playing.