The world is falling into turmoil, Syrian refugees are flooding in like the Mongols to ravish the land and leave nothing more than an American sized dust pit, maybe we can finally find a use for all those discarded Starbucks cups as coin collectors after we end up like post World War Two Berlin. Yes things look grim and there is so much information floating around on the web it’s hard to know what is real and what is scare tactic. It will get worse before it gets better.
However, Kentucky did beat the tar out of Duke last night and it was glorious. If you share my sentiments on the team from Chapel Hill then we are in agreement that the only other victory that could be better is a National Championship win; which may very well be in the cards this year.
The first half of play was sloppy from both teams but, call me crazy, I do believe I saw a few sparks greatness there towards the end. Poythress was dunking, Lee was blocking, Murray was scoring, and Skal and Briscoe fought hard for the remaining statistics. I have said before that, Ulis has the potential to become the Nation’s leader in assists this year, and I stand by that today.
Watching the Cats play, early on, brought mixed feelings out of me. I felt like I should be more enthused than I was, I felt like I was being way to critical of them at this point in the season. The thing I had to keep telling myself was that last year’s team has moved on with the exception of Lee, Ulis, and Poythress. Sure we loved last year’s team; it was a beautiful thing that happened last year with almost everyone returning for one more year and the chase for the perfect season. We grew to know their personalities and BBN became a family, but things change and we can’t fall into the habit of comparing last year’s team to this year’s team. The dynamic is different this year, the names are different, it’s obvious a lot of things will be different this year. It won’t be the greatest show on earth this year, there will be struggles and it’s important for us to not lose hope at the first sign of trouble; so like forgetting the love of an unfaithful woman we must hold our noses and swallow that medicine, it was only the first big game of the year.
I noticed a lot of comments on social media between the obvious UK and Duke rivalry. BBN was happy with a win but can admit that there will need to be improvement. A lot of the problems revolve around the team’s chemistry. I believe that’s the part that was missing last night, they were playing like all-stars instead of like a team; this wrinkle will iron itself out as the season goes along and bonding takes place. Have faith in Cal, you know he sees what needs to happen and what needs to be improved upon.
Murray did comment in the post-game interviews that they were building chemistry in the team and that they will just take turns being the leader. I’m not buying that; too much can go wrong there.
So let’s talk about what went right, the Cats held the defending National Champions to 40 percent and 16 turn-overs. It was a square off in Chicago between Kentucky’s new freshman and Duke’s new freshman, the young Blue Devil’s seemed to hide from the hype while the Cats exceeded expectations.
Murray finished with 16-points and Ulis finished with 18-points, six assists, two steals and zero turnovers. Lee finished with 10-points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. One thing that will not be a concern this season will be defense. The Cats made NBA hopefuls Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram go 3 for 17 which was really unexpected. To put it simply Kentucky should not be as good as they were against the No.5 Blue Devils, but hey we will take it. There were many great things that happened Tuesday night in Chicago but honestly the best was the 76-43 score over Duke.
The question of the day is “Can we expect another great year from Coach Cal and his new group of elites?” I believe so, Cal has taken four of his last five teams to the Final Four, we see the talent is there and we see the chemistry is possible. It’s wrong to be discussing another 38 victory winning streak at this point, but it’s not out of the picture.
On Friday the Cats will take on non-ranked Wright State at 8:00 p.m. before the square off against Boston University on the Nov. 24, both of these games will be home games; which will provide plenty of time to develop that chemistry before the season gets thick in late December.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 nor at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster )