Cats Get A Win & A Third Scorer

Darius Miller went for a career high 17 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting from the floor, his effort plus the return of Patrick Patterson led Kentucky to a 77-58 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.

In the previous meeting Jodie Meeks went for a school record 54 points in a 18 point rout of Tennessee, but this time was held to just 14 points. While Tennessee did a great job from keeping Jodie from scoring he still played very well as they continually put pressure on Jodie often times leaving someone else wide open for the shot. Even when he is not scoring 40+ points he proves how valuable of a player he really is. He demands so much attention that if Porter, Miller, Harris, and Stevenson can continue hitting open shots than this team can be go from average to very good.

This game was won the minute Patrick Patterson walked onto the floor. He had a team high 19 points and along with Jodie Meeks commanded so much attention from the UT defense that it often left wide open shots for everyone else. He played not only well on the offensive end of the floor, but the defensive end as well by altering shots and not allowing points in the paint. For Kentucky to be able to win and make a run in the tournament Patterson must stay healthy and out of foul trouble as without him Kentucky will struggle to win games.

The main story however has to be the emergence of Darius Miller. He had a career high 17 points and was perfect from the field while also dishing out 6 assists and playing solid defense. This is the player everyone had been waiting all year to see and on Saturday he delivered. Earlier in the year he looked very timid and would often pass up open shots, but that was not the case on Saturday, he played with confidence and looked like the new third scorer that the Cats have been so desperately looking for and needing.

Michael Porter had a very solid game hitting 3 three balls. Perry Stevenson early on hit some open shots which forced UT to pay attention to him all game instead of backing off and using his man to shadow Patterson. When UK can get the likes of Harris, Stevenson, Liggins, Porter, and Galloway to hit open shots they become a much different and much better team that is very hard to defend. Hitting the open shots forces the defense to key in on these players and therefore allows Jodie and Patterson to get better looks throughout the game.

It was a great game by the Cats with only one negative that I saw in the game. Kentucky allowed way to many offensive rebounds and second chance points. If Kentucky had boxed out and cut their offensive rebounds in half it would have been a 30 point win. While it did not harm the Cats on Saturday 5-6 extra offensive boards and 10-12 extra second chance points in the tournament could be the difference between advancing to the next round and going home early.

UK heads to South Carolina on Wednesday and I will have a full update on the game coming Thursday with a couple posts coming before that.

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Cats Falter In Nashville

For the fourth straight year Kentucky has traveled to Nashville at a crucial point in the season and lost. Last year they suffered one of the worst losses in school history and while last nights game was not as bad it hurts just as much. This loss firmly places UK on the bubble for the tournament with home games against Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia and road contests at South Carolina and Florida. 4 of those 5 games will be basically come down to who wants the game more and who comes in better prepared.

Playing without Patrick Patterson for the second straight game Vanderbilt continually went inside to their big man A.J. Ogilvy and was seemingly fouled every time he touched the ball. There were many reasons as to why UK lost and one of them definitely has to be the foul situation. While I really never believe in calling out the refs for deciding a game last night’s game was as poorly officiated a game as I have seen in a long time. Vanderbilt shot 40 free throws to our 23 which is just absurd. My main problem with the refs last night came with the amount of off ball fouls that were called and all seemed to go against UK. I can remember quite a few situations when there was a foul called and it was basically a ghost foul. Vandy for the most part was allowed to do what they want whereas Kentucky could not do anything for fear of a foul called. To Vandy’s credit they made the most of their opportunities hitting 32 of 40 free throws and playing their game completely to our weaknesses without Patterson in the middle.

Jodie Meeks had a less than spectacular 26 point night as Vandy did an excellent job of face guarding him and not letting him get many good looks at the bucket. They also did an excellent job of recognizing when a screen was being set for him and either fighting through it or switching men to not allow him an open shot.

A.J. Stewart played great on one end of the floor and awful on the other. He had 11 points and 3 rebounds, but played pretty bad defense and picked up 5 fouls in just 12 minutes of playing time. Most of the fouls can be attributed to the fact that he was out of place on defense quite a few times down the floor.

Kevin Galloway and Darius Miller both had good games on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Adding 16 points between them and playing solid defense. Josh Harrelson started the game and scored a quick bucket on a nice assist from Galloway only to never really see the floor again. He played only 7 minutes in a game that one really would have expected him to have played a lot as a counter to the physical Ogilvy, but never really got the chance to play much.

Ashley Judd UK’s superfan was as the game last night and again UK losses with her in attendance, maybe it is just me, but the last 3 games I can remember her being at we have lost so Ashley maybe it is better that you just watch the game from the comfort of your living room.

There is no time to dwell as the hated Pumpkins from Tennessee invade Rupp on Saturday. I will have more on the upcoming game this week. And remember one thing no matter how bad things can be it could be worse, you could be a Tennessee fan

Quick first post

I am currently at home on my lunch break and just wanted to say that tonight I will have my first real update. It will deal mainly with the huge win last night for the Kentucky over Florida, but will also deal with the retirement of Brett Favre and other things that catch my mind throughout the day including me talking about my hatred for all things North Carolina and Duke.