[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Why so serious Yeezy?
Ah it’s good to be back to writing from a watering hole. This edition of Napkin Notes comes to you live (so to speak) from The Pony in Chicago, Illinois, and let me tell you it was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever encountered. First of all, there was A LOT of blue in the crowd at The Pony which allowed for the occasional “C-A-T-S” chant and a “few” rounds of John Wall shots. Apparently though, there was a pretty large Texas A&M following there as well, and that created a great basketball environment. I’ve been watching Kentucky basketball since before I could even walk, and the experience this Saturday cracks the top five of all time. Chicago is fantastic in general, but it’s so much better when you can wear Kentucky blue and feel at home in a place six hours from the bluegrass. Hat’s off to you #BBN, you are an inescapable force.
I also learned a pretty interesting fact this weekend: the KSR College editor is a REAL PERSON. This mysterious Kristen person is not some sort of blogging android, but is indeed alive.
@wejarboe_ksr can vouch that I am a real, live, John-Wall-shot-taking human being.
— Kristen Geil (@KristenGeilKSR) February 3, 2013
Thanks for the hospitality Chicago, it was absolutely fantastic. On to the basketball…
Homeboy is a freak, I’ve been saying it all season. The Kentucky big man finished with 19 points, 14 boards, 3 assists, 2 blocks and threw a steal in there for good measure. Do your thing big fella, it’s been simply enjoyable to watch you play the game. I’m sure everyone saw that filthy put back dunk, right? I know I sure did:
Wow!!!!! Non romantic man crush
— Erik Jarboe (@WEJarboe_KSR) February 2, 2013
Elston Turner, the latest model of “Cat Killer,” did not have as good of a game that his 21 points may suggest. Turner played 44 minutes on Saturday, which was enough time to jack up 23 shots; over a third of the team’s total field goals. Turner went 7-23 from the field, which included an abysmal 1-7 from three point land. As most good players do however, Turner went 6-6 from the foul line and committed only 2 turnovers. That’s completely fine, Turner can have 21 points as long as he controls the majority of the shot selection. While Turner took 23 shots, the rest of the starting five combined only took 32 shots and shot at a much higher percentage. Team #feedTurner ? Yeah, that’s fine. Keep shooting kid.
I mean it, I really feel as though I’m beating a dead horse here but I mean, come on!? As a team, Kentucky shot 23-34 from the line (67.6 %) which isn’t terrible, but that’s 11 points that were just wasted. For everything he does, the foul line has become Noel’s kryptonite. The Kentucky center, while playing an excellent game, went 5-10 from the line which (as any college student should know) lands Sir Blocks-a-lot a failing grade. Luckily, his comrades had his back. The rest of the starting five combined to go 11-14 and Wiltjer and Polson also shot a high percentage; going 7-8. The Cats are improving at the foul line, but come tournament time those numbers will need to increase.
I can get over the free throw thing for now, because there was a much larger weakness in Kentucky’s game: turnovers. Kentucky turned the ball over 18 times in Saturday’s win, compared to only 10 committed by the Aggies. Look, 18 is a bunch, but it isn’t the actual number of give-aways that’s troubling. Get this: EVERY KENTUCKY PLAYER WHO SAW EVEN ONE MINUTE OF ACTION COMMITTED AT LEAST ONE TURNOVER. That is a clear demonstration of sloppy basketball, and is something that cannot continue. Furthermore, point guard Ryan Harrow committed 5 turnovers and only dished out 3 assists. Come on man, you’re better than that.
Yet again, Kentucky had a second half let-down and allowed a struggling Texas A&M squad back into the game. The Wildcats were outscored 41-32 in the second half, and as overtime approached, the momentum felt to belong solely to Texas A&M. Luckily for the #BBN, Julius Mays decided to be a hero, and scored 5 of Kentucky’s 10 points in the extra period. Ah resilience, that’s a good thing for a young team.
Yeah, Nerlens is a stud, I think everyone understands that. The hero of this game however was uncle Julius “Treys” who scored 19 points and went 4-6 from beyond the arc. Keep it up, that kind of effort will be needed on a daily basis come March.
I think that’s all for now. Again, big shout outs going to the city of Chicago and to @KristenGeilKSR for showing us where the Cats come to feast up North. Be paying attention #BBN, signing day is just about here and Stoops and company are building a product worthy of the SEC.
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