7KENT 61 - 4KAN 65: The Takeaway
I think the majority of the BBN is with me when I say, "Man, I never thought I would be happy about a loss in basketball". The first three games of this season have been an emotional rollercoaster already!! Let's leave these close games and playing to our competition to the football team, please!
Actually, you know what, I am going to make this 6 because that TV scoreboard ESPN had was abysmal. Is it too hard to add 7 more letters to the team names and make it KENTUCKY and KANSAS??? Is it too hard to use UK and KU or will that confuse too many people??? I don't know why it irritated us so much, but as Charles Barkley says, that was Turrible. Now on to the game:
Turnovers - 18 and most of them were unforced. We have to take better care of the ball, especially late in the game. This is going to be a differentiating factor in some games and it certainly was here.
Rebounds - While UK and KU finished the game tied at 39 rebounds a piece, it was the offensive rebounds, especially early in the game that made a difference. Kansas ended with 18 offensive rebounds and twenty 2nd chance points off those rebounds. Coach Cal even talked about it today after watching the tape. He said "There's no reason we shouldn't be a great rebounding team. Need to demand [the 50/50 balls]." GET BIG FELLAS!
Sloppy play/bad calls by Refs - Kentucky played a sloppy game on both ends of the court and allowed the refs to have reason to blow their whistle all night long. No, not even close to all of the calls were correct, but as college players, these guys will learn how to judge a game and how it's being called. If the refs are going to be picky, you have to be able to combat that. I still agree with you all though, this was a very poorly officiated game. Must be the new emphasis of NCAA Basketball Refs this year.
Slow start - These guys came out like they didn't know how they would match up against the No. 4 team in the country and it showed for about the first 4 or 5 minutes. I'm hoping they can use this going forward to prove to themselves that they belong out there with anyone!
Dickie V - Last, but certainly not least, Dickie V is at an all-time low. The majority of what he says is irrelevant and gives no merit or knowledge to the game. The ONLY thing he said all night that I agreed with was that UK should consider running zone. I know he didn't think of that himself and we've all been thinking it, but maybe give it a real shot Cal? Look what Duke did with the same kinds of athletes.
Length - When we used our length, it gave them fits. This is going to be a huge advantage for us in the long run because it will cause a lot of teams problems that aren't used to seeing it. We had 10 blocks to Kansas' 2 which tells you we were able to get to them defensively and able to shoot over them on the offensive side. This is key!
Confidence - As the game went on, you could see this group getting more and more confident, realizing they can play with this team of veterans and it was fun to watch them rise up to the challenge. Yes, we may be Freshmen, but we're damn good Freshmen!
SKJ - Whoa, what an off-season will do!!! Last year, Sacha averaged 6.4 MIN, 0.7 BLK, 2.7 PTS. In Tuesday night's game, he blew up and showed how much he has been working this year. Not only did he play 23 MIN, have 9 REB, 2 AST, 3 BLK, and 8 PTS, but he showed a lot of leadership and hustle that we are going to need. I hope SKJ continues to grow and play this way all season long.
God-given Talent - Even though we didn't have a phenomenal shooting night as a whole, we sure did light it up at times. With the shots taken and ability on the offensive side, any one on this team can get hot at any moment. Defensively, when we learn how to defend efficiently, this team will be scary.
Proud - Even as a former football player, I have always been a big basketball fan in general and an even bigger UK Basketball fan. Overall, I am just proud to see how this team came out and performed. Not the outcome we hoped for, but man they showed a lot of promise and fire which gives a lot of hope for the future of this team. I'm proud of the way these guys played.
I'm excited to watch this team progress. Yes, we are going to have some bumps on the way, but this could be an exciting ride come March. Now let's go get #9!