Sunday, March 21, 2010

The State of Kentucky Basketball:

The State of Kentucky went into the first weekend of March Madness with three teams playing in the Big Dance. A quick look at each team's performance:

(13)Murray State: Opponent:

  • (4)Vanderbilt - The racers were the second largest upset in the first day of action (3 seed Georgetown's loss to 14 seed Ohio), but the country wasn't sleeping on them. ESPN's contingency of fan brackets had 18% selecting Murray over the Commodores. That put them as the 2nd highest selected (13) seed. Siena was the predominant favorite double digit seed selected 34% but the Racers followed through. A last second bucket put AJ Ogilvy back on the boat to Australia.
  • (5) Butler - A match up of two mid-major schools. It's still hard for me to believe that Butler is a 5 seed, but to State, it didn't matter. The Kentucky team ran out to a great first half, led most of the second, before having a shot hit with just seconds to go. Great D by the Bulldogs held State to a turnover in the waning seconds and ended their run as Cinderella.

(9)Louisville: Opponent:

  • (8) California -The Cards looked like their Mr Hyde part during the game. With this team, you expected awful or excellence. Awful showed their ugly heads. In the wake of a Edgar Sosa turnover and bad decision festival, great play from Samardo Samuels and Rakeem Buckles was overshadowed. Cal played like Cal plays, unspectacular, lots of turnovers, sloppy but fast, hard, and shooting (A LOT). With their lack of a true seasoned point guard, the Cards couldn't take advantage of the turnovers and lost big, but it could have been bigger.

(1)Kentucky: Opponent:

  • (16) East Tennessee State- The Cats went down 10-9, despite much of the Louisville Contingency not seeing the deficit due to CBS "switching the game." After that, it was all Kentucky. The Buccaneers were expected to put up a 16 seed fight after last years 10 point loss - in a game than the score- to #1 seed Pittsburgh. The fight vanished after 2 minutes in the first. The Wilcats put up 100 for the first time since 1996 (when they went on to win the NCAA Tourney) and beat the Bucs by 29.
  • (9) Wake Forest - (1)Kansas lost to (9)Northern Iowa just minutes before the tipoff of the Cats game. The Wildcat fan base was in a frenzy. Only .9% of the country had picked NI to win that game, 5% selected the Wildcats. This meant that the nation was +500% more sure Kentucky would lose than Kansas. Kentucky probably didn't catch the Jayhawks dud of a game, but they played inspired, fun, loose, and defense-to-offense basketball. Kentucky looked stunned early, but after their only used timeout of the game, the Cats managed to claw back and went on to blow Wake out of the water. The 30 point win (90-60) was, to say the least, impressive and the crazy thought is, with a great team - they played their best two games of the year right now, when it counts the most.

What's next? Well, Kentucky is the only team in the state to still be playing. They will battle the winner of Wisconsin and Cornell (scheduled to play today) in the Sweet 16 in Syracuse next weekend. So don't be a hater, drink the Blue Kool-Aid, or heck the Black Kool-Aid if you want. I welcome you to the band-wagon - there's no shame - as the Cats are rolling... it's a fun ride, welcome aboard.

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