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The GBU: How Sweet It Is Edition

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  • The GBU: How Sweet It Is Edition

    The Good

    * Fletch F. Fletch. The Cats chased and harassed and haggled and made Fletcher Magee's life miserable yesterday. It was a sort of masterpiece of three-point defense, with Tyler Herro shining the most. Herro put up his opus yesterday defensively, but he got some solid help from a large cast of characters. There were at least two possessions in the second half yesterday where Nick RIchards of all people got out there and defended. Kentucky knew what Wofford had to do to win and they cut off the spigot.

    * Jemarl Baker, Blue Chipper. It's always pleasing when you see a guy come out of nowhere and have a great game in March. I remember when Marcus Lee did it against Michigan. I remember the tremendous run Isaac Humphries had against Carolina. Yesterday Jemarl put his name in that company, and it was awesome to watch a guy play like that after being just a bit part for the entire season. I thought the three he hit in the second half when we were trailing might have been the biggest shot of the game. We were really laboring at that point and Jemarl knocked one down. But he also looked just physically superior to Wofford's team. The guy is a surprisingly athletic, big guard. I hope yesterday was a sign of things to come for Jemarl in his career.

    * Speaking of Richards. I thought Nick had a pretty good game yesterday. After his trash talking he needed to step up, and though I wouldn't necessarily call his effort stellar or anything, he did acquit himself pretty well. There were at least six defensive plays in the second half that Richards was completely responsible for. Yes, he couldn't turn and rebound the ball on two of them. He also had one hilariously bounce off his head at one point. But the guy factored into the win and that's all you can ask.

    * That's Why They're Called Free. Kentucky was again solid from the line yesterday, which has been a theme all season long. Reid Travis's two at the end iced it, and capped off a solid 17-20 game. That's one difference in this team and other Cal teams. This team has guys who will go up there and knock them down.

    * Ashton Isn't Afraid of Storms. Ashton Hagans had moments of brilliance yesterday against a horrendously overmatched kid. Storm Murphy plays hard, but Hagans should have torn him up to the tune of 25 points. If Hagans can put down those close-in shots then he could be an elite player. But too often he either doesn't shoot when he gets close or is bothered by contact. Yesterday he came up big for UK, hitting three or four baskets at the end that sealed it, and throwing the world's greatest crossover on Murphy, who paid the price by taking a seat.

    * Survive, Advance. So it's on to the Sweet 16 for the eighth time in the last ten years. And of course PJ Washington Watch will be on in full force. It's hard to tell what's going to happen, but I hold on to Kenny Payne's comments that they're "trying to buy PJ some time" and hold out hope that we may see him in Kansas City.

    The Bad

    * Offensive Offense. It was hard to tell what UK's gameplan was in the first 15 minutes of that game yesterday. The way we played the first part of that thing was baffling. Reid Travis only got maybe three or four touches. Johnson and Herro weren't driving it. A lot of times we weren't even really posting, but were using Travis as a screener. I'm not sure exactly what was happening, but late in the half we sort of settled in. At that point Travis asserted himself, Hagans got it going to the basket, Jemarl went all Jemarl, and I thought Keldon Johnson was big in the second half for us even though he didn't put up his usual numbers. But I made the point to my relatives that I thought we were in major trouble because of the way the early part of that game looked. The game at one point looked like those slugfests that Calipari's teams get involved in sometimes that come down to the very end (think the two UCONN games; think Indiana in the Ulis year; think Kansas St. last year) only to see them hit a couple of late baskets and win. But a couple of our guys realized they had massive athletic advantages and they saved us.

    * Energy Guy. The Aluma guy for them hurt us bad. At one point I thought he was going to single-handedly pull them into the lead. He had 11 rebounds but it felt like 30, probably because there was about a seven-minute stretch in the second half where he rebounded every. Darn. Ball. It was painful to watch and I'm honestly not sure we really boxed him out all day.

    * Shoooooot! Kentucky had a lot of guys who were hesitant to shoot the ball yesterday. Tyler Herro mysteriously just would not put the ball up there on a few possessions. Even when he got the ball into the paint he just wouldn't go to that floater. Hagans passed up on a few as well, including one play where he tried to throw a lob that Anthony Davis couldn't have caught. We noticed very early that the middle of the floor was wide open for Kentucky; they were taking their big man and just having him backpedal so that he was almost under the goal when we drove. This made Wofford's defense look pretty much like a zone. But it took Ashton Hagans a loooong stretch in that game to figure out that he could attack that part of the floor, and until he did there were some excruciating possessions.

    The Ugly

    * The Bank is Open, Apparently. God, I hate it when teams bank in threes against us. Wofford got one yesterday that cut off what looked like a devastating run, and immediately after the kid banked it in the game turned around--which of course always happens.

    * Foul Prone. The officiating was fine I thought, but Keldon Johnson's fourth was atrocious. It was one of the only calls all day that I thought they blew. It came on a play where Tyler Herro grabbed a rebound, there was a scrum for the ball, and somehow Johnson was whistled for a foul that the replay showed he couldn't have committed. The only thing about that call is that it could have really knifed Kentucky, but because of Jemarl Baker's heroics it didn't. On edit: I just remembered the blown double-dribble on Magee yesterday. The replay showed that he also walked at least once. That call was also...unfortunate.

    * Blow Out City. Yesterday had to be the most lopsided day in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Outside of the two early games every other game was a total beatdown. Hopefully today gives us some more excitement.

    Last edited by Will Lavender; 03-24-2019, 08:30 AM.

  • #2
    I thought Magee did a good job guarding Herro, and I was impressed with Herro’s composure despite some obvious fatigue.

    If Magee had one of those 3’s drop especially in the last 5 minutes, I think they would have won the game.

    For a short time I thought Hagans was going to go all Wayne Turner on them but he didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity. With Washington and UK playing their best, I don’t think Wofford could hang with us. But at present I think they win 3 or even four times out of 10...luckily that’s not how this thing works.

    With that said, should we root for OSU today? I don’t want to go up against Kelvin $ampson


    • #3
      Originally posted by matt colvin View Post
      With that said, should we root for OSU today? I don’t want to go up against Kelvin $ampson
      Yes, IMO.

      Ohio St. is not good. Houston is good.

      We might be able to get by Ohio St. without PJ. Not Houston. But of course it doesn't matter because this version of UK isn't going to any Final Four.


      • #4
        Good write up Will. I thought it was just Magee we had to worry about. Apparently Hoover and ther PG could shoot as well. Thankfully our perimeter defense was really good. Baker looked awesome yesterday. He's more than a jumpshot and his defense was spectacular. Let's go OSU! But I will be jjst as excited to play Houston. I hate shying away from good teams especially in March.
        Isaiah 5:20


        • #5
          I think Reid Travis' crawling on the floor after he knocked the ball loose is a great example of how to play basketball. He didn't get the ball, but he made a great effort. What a blessing he has been for this team.


          • #6
            Again a great perspective and write up on a game that I lost weight watching. I somewhat agree with the officiating and with the missed DD and the foul on Johnson. On that play the Wofford kid fouled Herro before the scramble began. And late, a Wofford kid got a rebound and he was fouled. He put up a shot and I thought he was fouled again. He missed and got his own rebound where I thought 2 UK players fouled him and somehow we came out of there with the ball. There were several missed walks on both sides, but otherwise the officials were OK. However, I doubt we see any of that crew again as the tournament moves on.
            John 3:3



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            The GBU: How Sweet It Is Edition