It’s UK vs Everybody Else. If you’ve watched Space Jam, then you’ll get this analogy. The Kentucky basketball team are the real life Monstars. A team that is bigger, stronger, faster and more intimidating than any other team in college hoops. They may have had eyebrow-raising struggles against lesser opponents like Columbia, but heading into conference play, Coach Calipari has this team clicking on all cylinders. Does that mean they will go undefeated? I doubt that – the inevitable “trap game” is bound to happen – but there’s no doubt they’ll be a #1 seed in next year’s NCAA tourney and the clear favorite to win it all.
UNC Has A Lot of Work to Do. The Tar Heels got a much-needed win against 12th ranked Ohio State, but the game was a tale of two halves. In the first half UNC looked like it would be the team we all thought they’d be. They were limiting their turnovers, had good ball movement and were shooting the ball fairly well. But in the second half, the Tar Heel team that lost to Iowa and Butler reared its ugly head. They made careless errors, committed dumb fouls and shot the ball poorly. If UNC is going to be competitive in the ACC, Roy Williams acknowledged they’ll have to get better at all facets of the game and they’ll have to do it quickly. Can UNC be the top 10 team we all thought it’d be? I think they can, but it will take quite of bit of improving to get there.
There’s Always a Teaching Moment. Even though UCLA got the brakes beat off of them by Kentucky, you can always use it as a teaching moment. Coach Alford could talk about how the team continued to fight back and improve its shooting percentage from a dismal 8.1% in the first half to over 40% in the second half. Highlight that the team showed fight and perseverance against a squad that features at least 5 future NBA players. Show how they settled into their game and played better defensively.
Sometimes you just play a team that’s far better than you. If you’ve ever played sports, it happens. You live with that and move on, trying to improve your game to get to that level.
Notable Post-Game Quotes:
Thad Matta on team heading into Big Ten Play:
I think we obviously have issues. We’ve got two losses to two really, really really good basketball teams, great basketball teams. I think to put ourselves in that position, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and say, hey, we’re not there yet, which is fine, but we’ve got to look at all the little things that we have to do to get better and get that established. Knowing that it’s – I don’t want to say it’s early, but it’s still December, we’ve got January, February, March still to play basketball. How much better can we get in that time.
Roy Williams’ opening statement after OSU win:
Opening thoughts is thank God it’s Christmas. Let’s get the crap out of town and enjoy Christmas for a while That’s the opening thought.
John Calipari on what he thinks the real story is about his team.
We can all talk about defense and blocking shots and playing hard…you’ve got ten guys/11 guys sharing minutes. You have two point guards who are two of the best point guards in the country sharing minutes. You have Karl Towns and Dakari Johnson sharing minutes. You have Willie, one of the best big guys in the country, sharing minutes with Marcus Lee. You have Aaron Harrison, who’s really good, then you’ve got Devin sharing minutes. That’s the story, and I would say to all of you, if it were your son and he had pro potential and he was on that board to be drafted, would you be ok with him playing 20 minutes?