[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Oh Two Keys… for all of the wonders that place has provided me over my time in college, I have never watched a basketball game there. As it was pointed out, it’s almost un-Kentuckian not to watch a Cats game at the “World Famous” Two Keys Tavern, so… this edition of notes on a napkin comes from the corner of Pine and Limestone. Overall, it was a nice atmosphere and was pretty fun, especially during the time the bar was forced to watch the end of the UC and Marquette game.
ON TO BASKETBALL, AS THIS GAME WAS ACTUALLY EXCITING TO WATCH….
First Half Notes.
I can’t really say much about this, as I was still watching Cincinnati and Marquette (OOOOOOOOOHHHHH… U-C).
The Auburn game was the finest example I’ve seen in a long time of the “everybody’s Superbowl” concept. Auburn fans have not been excited about their basketball team since the days of Sir Charles, and even then basketball was second to football. However, this is the reality. People just get a different level of pumped when the Cats come to town, but remember “jealousy is just love and hate at the same time,” (Drizzy).
#WBA. Good to see Jon Hood back healthy and contributing. Yet again, Kentucky has a thin bench and will need Hood to give some quality minutes during conference play.
The bane of John Calipari’s existence is missed free throws. I want to examine the actual term “Free throw,” just to demonstrate their importance to a winning team. Free throws are Dr. James Naismith’s way of presenting the recipient of a foul with “Free” points. The clock doesn’t move, and the defense can’t bother your shot (unless that defender is Perry Stevenson, see below). Progress at the charity stripe comes from taking shots when your legs are tired, namely at the end of practice. Kentucky went 10-16 from the line, which isn’t terrible, but there is always room for improvement.
Second Half Notes
The Kentucky center was a victim of the Shaq rule: big guy runs in to little guy, big guy gets called for a foul.
Did anybody else see that charge that guy drew 80 feet away from the basket? Yeah, you sir are THAT GUY. Moving on…
Flat out, the Cats looked good and especially so in the second half. Huge game for Kyle Wiltjer, scoring 17 while going 6 of 13 from the field and grabbing 4 boards. Do your thing, Kyle. Ryan Harrow looked good, and FINALLY, Alex Poythress showed some emotion. Yet again, my boy Nerlens played well despite being limited to 25 minutes because of foul trouble, and Archie Goodwin played under control for the most part, which is encouraging. It was a total team effort, and the win over Auburn was a step in the right direction. More importantly, this win will serve to raise the confidence of this young team, which is what I think might be the missing link. Don’t tell anybody, but they finally looked like they were having fun out there.
The aspect of Saturday’s win that was most promising is that there was an obvious flow to the offense. Everyone read this “AT THE 6:30 MARK IN THE SECOND HALF, THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY WILDCATS FIGURED OUT HOW TO BEAT A 2-3 ZONE.” At times, they made it look just down right easy, and better still is that a functioning zone offense will make Kentucky harder to defend in the half-court. The high-low offense between Alex Poythress and Nerlens Noel (and WCS when he gets healthy) could be filthy. Kentucky needs to use this win as motivation for the rest of the season, because lets be honest, Florida is THAT DUDE right now.
In Cal We Trust.
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