Sunday, March 14, 2010

And its just started

Today's Kentucky game was just the beginning of the most exciting sports month of the year and was a long awaited return for a Kentucky fan base starved of relevant postseason action.
Kentucky came hung over from the great performance the put up the afternoon before against Tennessee. Patrick Patterson (15 pts 5reb 2 blocks) was the early star and put up 9 pts of the Cats first 11. The Bulldogs shut down the drives through the middle and made buckets to break the slightest momentum shifts.

Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado stuffed stats and shots with his 18 points, 9 reb, and 5 blocks. Varnado gave State an inside presence and contained Kentucky's Demarcus Cousins to 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Through the battle, State found themselves up 1 with 15 seconds remaining and John Wall had the ball. Everyone knew the play that ensued was designed for Wall, a pick on the right, roll to the middle, open jumper, ball game, Cats win. Everyone was wrong, well at least on the last two. Wall's shot in the middle were contested all day and once again State closed down around him, Wall was forced to double clutch and came up short.

The Cats foul, sending State, who had just managed to miss two previous free throws, to the line. They made them both. Kentucky runs the ball down the court and State fouls before they can get off a three to tie. Bledoe goes to the line for 2, down three, 4 seconds to go. The Cats had missed freebies all day. Bledoe sank the first. Bledsoe lines up and shot a high arching heave into the sky. The ball hung, bounced wildly and straight into the hands of Mr Freeze, John Wall. Wall thru up the shot, but once again came up short. For every ounce of short that shot had, it had a pound of drama built in. Wildcat fans everywhere watched and the drama intensified. Demarcus Cousins found the rebound, his body squared up, the clocked ticked away, the ball rolled from his finger, the orange lights came on, the half was over, the basket counts - Overtime.

The question then turned to, Can they keep the momentum this time? Kentucky would fall behind again before bouncing back in the extra period. With less than a minute to go, Wall found himself guarded and running out of time on the shot clock. He chucks a three and finds twine. Cats go on to win by 1.

What a difference a year makes. NIT in Memorial Coliseum last year, this year - automatic bid. Last year Kentucky missed the dance. No chance. No tries. Just excuses. This year, they sit as the #2, #1 overall seed in the NCAAs and will be dancing in NOLA Thursday against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers.

New Orleans get ready for the Big Blue Train... as it's rolling and your the stage for their next dance.

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