I have to admit that I thought we would come out swinging in the first half en route to a 20 point victory, but I’m just as pleased with how the game turned out. It was a good, tight game, one in which I never doubted our victory, that Kentucky drove a nail in toward the end of, winning by a final score of 73-62. Those kind of game are exciting to watch.
I didn’t see the Game Day coverage earlier in the day but it was apparently insane. Rupp broke the Game Day record by having something like 23,000 fans crowded into the arena at midday, a full 9 hours before tip-off. It was noticeable when coverage started at 8pm that those who showed up earlier were either still out drinking or already passed out, as Rupp looked nearly empty about 1 hour before tip-off. Maybe alcohol-induced fatigue contributed to what seemed a lackluster crowd at times during the flow of the game. Students I’m sure try their hardest, but even thousands of drunken twentysomethings can’t make up for (what seems to be a good majority) of yuppies and old geezers who always seem have the best seats surrounding the court.
Anyway, some observations and stats that stood out:
– Kentucky shot 18-30 (60%) from the free throw line. For a Calipari team (his most recent Memphis teams were abysmal from the line), UK has been pretty good. But tonight, especially for Cousins, was an off night.
– Speaking of Cousins, he had his usual 12 rebounds, but only 5 points (2-6 from the floor). With what we’ve come to expect from the big guy, he had a bit of an off night. But I’ll still take Cousins over any other big man in the country any day of the week. I see this game as a minor setback, if it can even be called that at all.
– I thought Patterson had a strong game, even though he only shot 3 for 9 from the floor, which is below his standards. He was aggressive and hit a huge 3 at a crucial point in the game. He ended up with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
– DeAndre Liggns is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch while he’s in the game (the other being Orton). The guy is quick and is always doing something whether he has the ball in his hands or not, and he rarely looks out of control. He had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and, like Patterson, hit a huge 3-pointer. In many ways, he’s proving he’s a player with the kind of potential everyone thought (and, hopefully, still thinks) Darius Miller had.
– John Wall had 24 points (7-15 FG), 4 turnovers, and only 3 assists. Obviously, these numbers aren’t terrible, but something still seems to be a little off with him. Granted, I’ll take him over any point guard in the country (because he’s better than any point guard in the country), but he’s still not playing as well we’ve seen him play. Of course, it’s not fair to him because he’s had the insurmountable savior-like standards of the media hoisted upon him. I will say I love it when he gets excited after a big play, such as the alley-oop he received from Liggins tonight, which was sick. I’m sure he knows he can play better than he has been too, but he still seems to having a blast.
– Bledsoe had another good game, scoring 16 points on 5-9 from the field. He also had 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. He only had 1 turnover, but he still makes me nervous when he dribbles the ball. He looks like he could either fall down or lose the ball almost every time, but somehow he miraculously gets a pass or shot off. Maybe that’s just the way he plays. No one says it has to look pretty.
– Daniel Orton went sleeveless tonight. Wonder if it’s a new uniform thing.
– The new uniforms are underwhelming. Maybe the subtle differences fail to impress me. Maybe I like flashy too much. I’d take denims or crazy claw shorts back in a heartbeat. Also, when did basketball shorts get so incredibly and uncontrollably LONG? Might as well play in capris.
– Digger Phelps whole thing with matching his tie with his hi-liter is ridiculous. Okay, every analyst has to have their corny shtick, but he (Digger – what kind of name is that anyway?) has consciously embraced it to the point of self-parody. Why do dance team captains all agree to be videotaped while they dance with him? (Okay, those videos are pretty funny. Creepy, but funny.)
– Erin Andrews is (obviously) beautiful.
– Wayne Chism didn’t seem to be playing hurt. But that’s just me. Could Bruce Pearl have been trying to pull a fast one? No, not Bruce.
– As much as nobody wants to admit it, good things do come from those who come from/live in/play music in Knoxville:
The Everybodyfields play “Aeroplane” at the Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, TN.