Kentucky Wildcats are Downey-sized

First of all, let’s make one thing perfectly clear about UK’s first loss of the season.

It is squarely the fault of President Barack Obama. The Cats play 19 games. No call from the White House. All Ws. The Cats play one game right after the president calls. L. Prosecution rests.

Come next election, the GOP could run Rick Pitino for president and he’d carry the commonwealth over Obama.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but you hear what I’m saying.

We got to blame somebody and Obama seems to be the cause of every other of the nation’s ailments, so why not this?

Anyway that UK flag is flying at half mast this morning.

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The most stunning stat of the game is 9/29. That’s what Devan Downey shot from the field. I swear he was banking them in off Steve Spurrier’s visor every time he let it go. Truth is the numbers don’t lie, that wasn’t the case. But he did nail some monsters at crunch time.

Notwithstanding that 31% from the field for the Gamecock star, make no mistake. He willed South Carolina to the W. I can’t recall a player who was able to so nimbly avoid double teams. Even triple teams. The Cats couldn’t have caught him with bear traps. Unfortunately land mines are against the rules.

Plus he hit his free throws. 10 of 11. Huge.

Significant Stat #2: 44/40. That was South Carolina’s advantage on the boards. Before the game, they averaged a minus 4, UK a plus 10. Ouch.

Significant Stat #3: Patrick Patterson’s 2d half scoring total: 0.

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So, the question is: What does this mean in the long run for the Cats?

Theoretically nothing. A conference loss on the road in the cauldron that is January conference play is nothing to be ashamed of.

There are some troubling issues. Only three guys scored in the second half, including no upperclassmen. The team’s immaturity was manifest as the game got tighter. UK, like Texas last week, and many many schools before them in season’s past, got dizzy in the rarefied air at the top of the rankings. UK’s effort was less than stellar. Instead of digging deep in an adverse environment, they looked like a deer in the headlights. John Wall looked pained near the end.

But, all is correctable by a team willing to learn from adversity.

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The other burning question of course is whether SEC hypemeister Jimmy Dykes will be able to recover from this UK setback? The ESPN color announcer looked shellshocked after the game. I’m looking for him to go on injured reserve for a few weeks.

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Kentucky obviously remains one of the favorites to cut down the nets in April. They could even remain #1 if they dismantle Vandy on Saturday and the teams on their tail lose this week.

What this game underscores is what many have been saying all along. There is no clear cut favorite for the NCAA title in 2010. It’s the first year in awhile that some school flying under the radar now — like Nova when they won at Rupp — could get a hum going and win six in a row.

– Seedy K

3 Comments

  1. fred
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    If I ever actually, really, truthfully thought a loss was good for a team, this was it.

  2. cbcard
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Obama gets a pass. It was my fault for saying UK would go undefeated in the SEC. So since I seem to be able to influence results with my words I predict they won’t lose another SEC game. And I will say that again after any further losses.

  3. doug
    Posted January 29, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Heard UK fans complaining about Jimmy Dykes’ love for Downey, giving little credit to Cousins’ game. Wow! It was difficult listening to Dykes’ call of the game due to his ongoing love affair with all things SEC.

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