[Moderated by Matt Jones]
The student lottery has eluded me this basketball season, so I’ve been forced to find other means to enjoy the Cats. For the majority of the season, I’ve allowed Tom Leach to bring me basketball action through the radio (I’m currently boycotting Insight) but recently I’ve had the itch to be quasi-social when I watch the games. I decided that it is my duty as a fan to wander down to a local watering hole and take notes on the game because let’s be honest, the work of a blogger is never done. Tuesday I made my way to the Tin Roof for the Tennessee game armed with nothing more than an appetite, an ink pen, and a few brown napkins. Welcome to the first edition of Notes on a Napkin!
First Half Notes
Poor Kyle, his brilliant offensive game has recently been shadowed by his pace of play and poor defensive efficiency. When Wiltjer is on the court and not hitting his shots, he becomes a defensive liability. The sophomore needs to realize that while he may not match up with his competitors on an athletic level, he CAN raise his game by playing SMARTER than his opponent.
A lot has been said recently about this team buying in to the Calipari system, but as the coach himself has said, the system he is referencing is not a system of x’s and o’s but instead is more of an effort gauge. There were several instances in the first half where the Wildcats would execute on offense and score, and then allow a bucket in transition on the next defensive possession. These are glaring weaknesses in this team’s game and will definitely show up on film for opposing coaches.
Good for you, Kyle.
My first half napkin has a few blotches of queso on it because Tin Roof has the best nachos EVER, and they were well priced. A large plate of loaded nachos and a cold beverage: 8 bucks. But I digress…
Is it just me, or has that been a consistent theme for Cal’s teams here at Kentucky? I’m watching Missouri and Georgia right now and the Tigers have a kid who is 6’11” and is lights out from beyond the arch. I don’t think it’s a weakness in the actual defensive scheme, but rather a matter of effort and it needs to be addressed.
Bravo! That’s what the fans at Rupp pay to see.
Second Half Notes
Alex showed a side of his game that has been absent since the very beginning of the season: his jump-shot. The freshman stud has been making strides to live up to the expectations that were set before him, although being expected to replace MKG is admittedly absurd. I’m still on team Poythress though, and I think he’ll be ready to shine come SEC tourney time.
Again, probably not basketball related, but I can’t help but get excited about the Dancing Man. This distinguished gentleman is slowly becoming a Kentucky institution and it’s refreshing to see him get some national exposure. Hopefully this is the launching point of a long and healthy career as a session back-up dancer (Looking at you JT).
Ain’t that the truth? The color orange makes me think of two things: Bruce Pearl’s hideous blazer, and that dust accumulation you get on your fingers after eating too many Cheetos. Everyone, please reference your favorite line of Wagon Wheel, “… he’s a’headed west from the Cumberland Gap, a’ Johnson City…”
I’m really looking forward to watching this young man’s career. A lot of people like to compare him to Anthony Davis, but I like to think of a different comparison: Patrick Patterson. I don’t mean the P Pat from the John Wall team, but I mean the freshman phenom that did everything for the Billy Clyde teams. This team is going to go as far as the young center will take them, and with the unstoppable motor that Nerlens has, that could bode well for the BBN.
That is a refreshing sign. Julius is the closest thing this team has to experience, but come on, this is the highest level basketball that Uncle Julius has ever seen. If he can continue to hit big shots in clutch moments, perhaps his younger comrades will follow suit.
There is nothing more relieving that to watch the opposing team choke in the clutch. With under a minute to go, the young Kentucky team gave the Vols several chances to steal one in Rupp, but it just wasn’t meant to be. You have to hit your free throws, a lesson Kentucky fans know all too well.
A win is win, but struggling at home to a down Tennessee team does raise some concerns. However, I was pleased with the resilience of this young team and the ability to battle in close games is a skill that will help in March. And on that note, it’s about time to go investigate some Manti Te’o drama. Been there, done that son.
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