A frustrating game from about the 12-minute mark of the first half. Credit Kentucky, they're a much better team than Louisville right now and they played like it.
Do we have anyone who coaches our big men? I feel bad pinning a healthy chunk of this performance on Jennings because not once did I see a coach instructing him, and not once did he appear to realize that if you leave the man you're guarding he's not going to disappear. We cut the lead to second half and Pitino instructed TJ to come up and guard Harrellson man-to-man in our full court press. Harrellson ran to the other end of the floor and was all alone for a solid 7-8 seconds while Jennings ran around doing god knows what on the other side of the circle. It was almost unbelievable.
That said, Jennings is a highly experienced junior and his performance today was borderline pitiful. He's bigger and more athletic than Josh Harrellson, but pure effort was the differences between their pairs' stat lines.
I got to my seats just in time to see Gorgui Dieng hurt his ankle in warm-ups. He was doing a simple drill on the block with George Goode and took an awkward step. He tried to walk it off but ended up heading back to the locker room until the team came back out to start the game. To my surprise, he looked fine for most of the first half but obviously re-aggravated the injury at the beginning of the second.
With Gorgui unavailable and TJ playing so poorly, it blows my mind that Goode wasn't given a shot. He was tremendous two years ago against the Cats when Samardo was in foul trouble and he was actually getting more minutes than Jennings. The only thing I can think of is that Pitino is worried he'll draw criticism if Goode ends up playing well and he still opts to not let him use his medical redshirt year. Otherwise, keeping him on the bench today made little sense.
Jim Burr is one of the biggest tools in sports. He made a ticky-tack foul call on Siva, and when Peyton went over to talk to him about it he immediately cranked a "talk to the hand" move and walked in the other direction.
No one pays to see you. Actually, we'd pay extra not to see.
Louisville might have gotten a bit of a poor shake, but neither that nor the Buckles injury cost them this game. Stuart, the official who tossed Calipari a couple of weeks ago, made several questionable calls/no calls against the Cards in the first half, but he was pretty unnoticeable after that.
I said this morning that Siva had to be tremendous for Louisville to win the game, and he was far from it. He dribbled far too much early in the game, and there's simply no excuse for someone as quick and athletic as he is to not be further along in his defensive evolution. The potential has always been there, but today showcased how far the sophomore still has to go if he wants to become the player we all know he can be.
J-Bone coming on in his red turtleneck outfit and promptly botching the trivia question segment was the obvious low point.
I really like Brandon Knight. Great talent and mature beyond his years.
I thought we would lose this game by between 5-7, but never imagined we'd be down by double-digits for the bulk of the afternoon and eventually fall by 15. They competed the whole game and we took a couple of segments off. That might not have been the difference between winning and losing, but it was certainly the difference between a respectable final score and a final score that indicates an ass kicking.
My three-step advice to all of you: 1) Take a nap. 2) Wake up and pretend it's an entirely new day (feel free to add in that you're now living in a world void of college basketball). 3) Have some fun and ring in the new year.