Congratulations to the Kentucky Wildcats. It was easy to see that after their loss to South Carolina, Kentucky was not going to walk off the court without a win. Despite his attitude, DeMarcus Cousins was unstoppable. As soon as he realizes that his emotions are limiting his playing time, he has the talent and size to be the next Shaq: enormous, strong, and quick footed. Unlike Shaq, he's an above average free throw shooter, which makes him virtually impossible to stop. If he weren't often saddled with foul trouble, he could be leading the SEC in scoring and rebounds.
Vanderbilt did not play to their abilities against Kentucky. Whether that was due to the Wildcats talent and determination, the physical play of the last two matchups and the fact that they were on the road, an eventual letdown from playing at such a high level over the last ten games, or some combination of all three, the Commodores played flat and without a consistently high level of effort. Hustle was there at times, but would disappear for small stretches. Against a team as talented and sizable as Kentucky, that's a recipe for a loss.
|Points Per Possession||1.00||1.19|
In my preview, I predicted that UK would win OReb%, while Vandy would win TO% and FTRate, and if that came to pass that eFG% could determine the winner. Kentucky won OReb% by a wide margin (their effort level was much stronger than Vandy's). They also won FTRate, which isn't surprising since they were easily the aggressor of the two teams. Kentucky's hot outside shooting helped them to control eFG%. Vandy did win TO%, so there's that.
Plus/Minus Adjusted Per 40 Minutes
Obviously, not a great game from anyone in the regular rotation. Perhaps John Jenkins, Steve Tchiengang, Darshawn McClellan, and Jordan Smart should have played more? I really hope Jeffery Taylor starts consciously cutting down on the number of fouls he's committing, especially in the first half. We ABSOLUTELY need him getting as many minutes as possible.
After a loss, it's easy to get caught up in some pessimism. Let's step back for a second. Vanderbilt is 5-1 and tied for first with Kentucky in the SEC East. If someone would have told me that we'd be 5-1 after our first six games (four on the road), I'd have been ecstatic.
Thankfully, there's still much room for improvement for the Commodores, and losses have a way of refocusing teams. Time to regroup. Mississippi State comes to Memorial on Wednesday.
"We just did not play the way we needed to today," Jermaine Beal said. "Kentucky came out ready to play. They beat us badly on the boards, and they made their shots."