A game that had lots of Kentucky fans nervous on Selection Sunday ended up being on of UK’s easiest wins of the season, as virtually everything went right in their route of Wake Forest. John Wall was distributing, Cousins was finishing, Miller was hitting, and Eric Bledsoe was defending (and dropping the occasional hammer – see above) the way they all need to if they want to take home this year’s title.
– I have to start this conversation with the play of Darius Miller. Lots of people, not just myself, have said preached Miller’s importance to this team, because when he’s hitting shots and playing aggresive, this team is pretty much undefendable. Miller had the hot hand tonight; he made a nice drive to the bucket to start the game and was able to hit an outside jumper or two that visibly improved his confidence. He’s a different player when he’s playing confident, which is exactly what Kentucky needs if they want to handle West Virginia in the regional final. West Virginia concerns me mostly because of their length, but if Miller – or even Dodson or Bledsoe – are hitting outside shots the he did today – or Bledsoe did against East Tennessee State – nobody’s keeping up with them. Just too much offensive firepower.
– Offensively, Kentucky played about as good as they can play today. They shot 60 percent from the field, hit seven three-pointers, and assisted on 21 of their 38 field goals. They struggled from the foul line, yes, but after a performance like today’s it feels like nitpicking to get upset over it.
– It is my opinion that Kentucky got a huge break today when Kansas was upset by Northern Iowa. The Jayhawks were the one team in the country that I though could come close to matching the Wildcats player-for-player, but their elimination takes away any chance of that becoming a legitimate concern. I wasn’t able to see the entire game, but from what I saw Kansas had the look of a squad that thought they could turn it on at any moment and just, well, never did. We’ve seen Kentucky have lots of games this season where they appear to have lapses of disinterest and we’ve been fortunate to be where we are with only two losses to show for it. Part of that has been due to this team’s ability to make plays when they’ve had to, but part of it’s been luck as well. We’ve now had two straight performances without any of those disinterested symptoms, and it will need to stay that way against either Wisconsin or Cornell, as both of those teams shoot well from the outside and will try to slow the game to halt when they go up against us.
– That’s going to be all for now. I hope to have more this week regarding Kentucky’s performance over the past two games, as well as something on Derrick Caracter and Jeremy Tyler. If you haven’t heard about Tyler, he was a former Louisville recruit who decided to forgo his senior year of high school with the intentions of getting two years of professional experience in Europe before being eligible for the draft. Things didn’t quite work out like he planned, and now Tyler is back in the US after quitting his team in Israel. As for Caracter, the NY Times did a piece on the current state of his career (Caracter currently plays for UTEP) and how he’s been able to salvage some success after being labeled a prodigy before he signed his letter of intent with Louisville. Hopefully I can get to all that in the next few days, but until then let’s just try and enjoy the Cats victory over Wake tonight.