Tonight’s ‘strug’gle with Stanford

Kerri Strug, Cardinal alum, in pain

I was going to go with a picture of Tiger Woods but he never graduated.  Kerri Strug did, and she kicked ass in the Olympics.  (I’m aware of the bad pun.)

– The Cardinal are 3-2 so far this season.  They beat Virginia 57-52 last night in a win I’ll call impressive because the game was close and because any victory on this (apparently) unholiest of gym floors is cause for celebration (plus, it was pulled off before a whopping 200 hundred of the purest college basketball devotees).  That said, Stanford still only shot 39% from the field.  Other wins come over Florida A & M and Cal Poly, while both San Diego and Oral Roberts handed them losses.

– Their standout player is Landry Fields, a guard-forward who averages nearly a double-double (23 pts, 9 rebs) per game.  He met his averages last night,  leading the way for the Card with 25 points and 13 rebounds.  They have two other players averaging double figure points.

– The first half of the Cleveland State game was the worst half of basketball Kentucky has played all season.  There was no doubt we could still get the W, but there wasn’t much hope for its being too impressive.  I don’t think the impact of Josh Harrelson’s 3-pointer at the end of the half can be overstated; it gave us a little momentum boost going into halftime and gave us an almost-double-digit 8-point lead rather than an underwhelming 5-point lead.  I heard it called somewhat of a “prayer” by either the announcer or when watching the highlights later; though it was a few feet behind the 3-point line, it was nothing but net, and we all know Harrelson’s got range.

– It was nice to see Jon Hood get his first official field goal of his UK career last night, a 3-pointer.  The kid can shoot, and we need him to.  Maybe that one shot will spark a little confidence and we’ll see more of the same.

– Cleveland State was 5 for 23 from 3-point land last night (19%).  While some of that can be attributed to UK’s defense, I’m still not overly impressed with how the team is defending the three.  Cleveland State had several wide open threes that they just plain bricked.  When someone does get a hand “in the face” of the shooter, it’s not really in their face, it’s more or less waved around a couple feet in front of the general vicinity of the shooter’s grill.  There’s still room for improvement.  Hopefully Stanford doesn’t get hot from three. (Is that possible with these rims?)

– Sometimes John Wall and (moreso) Eric Bledsoe play a little too fast for their own good.  Both players are at times out of control when penetrating or dribbling down the floor on a fast break.  Wall’s quickness is his strength and that’s well-documented, and we all know Bledsoe can play.  They just need to know when to rein it in when to let it loose.  (Don’t get me wrong–Wall is still masterful to watch.)

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