Monday, December 15, 2008

Kentucky 72, Indiana 54.

Here's the box score. Neither the final score nor the overall stats capture how completely over this game was within the first ten minutes. Certainly, I'm proud that the team didn't give up after trailing so badly, but Kentucky was never seriously challenged. Kentucky led 32-6 with 8 minutes left. To the Hoosiers' credit, that 26 point lead was UK's high water mark, but IU never got closer than 15 (after two Verdell Jones free throws with 11:51 remaining in the second half).

As anyone who watched knows, the Wildcats, through some combination of IU's defense and a bunch of hot shooting hands, couldn't miss in the first half of the first half. If my math is correct, UK made 13 of its first 15 shots. IU turned the ball over 11 times in the first 12 minutes of the first half. The scary part is that Kentucky, also a turnover-prone team, wasn't much better: UK turned the ball over 7 times in the first 12 minutes and had 23 for the game to IU's 19. IU's turnover percentage of 25.4 percent, while not good, was IU's third-best of the season (behind the games against Chaminade and IUPUI). Still, by the time the Hoosiers began taking care of the ball (only 8 turnovers in the final 28 minutes) the game was over.

Other than grit, fight, or whatever, there isn't much positive to take from this game. I don't think Kentucky is a particularly good team. The Cats probably are better than St. Joseph's but certainly are a cut below Notre Dame, Gonzaga, and Wake Forest, in no particular order. Yet, the Hoosiers looked as helpless as they have all year in the early going.
  • Devan Dumes, God bless him, simply isn't a good enough shooter to shoot as often as he does. His numbers at Eastern Michigan and Vincennes make this clear. He's now shooting 38 percent from the field and 26 percent from three. He was 6-15 from the field and 1-8 from behind the arc on Saturday. I'm not sure this is even a criticism of Dumes. I don't know that we have a better option. It's not as if Tom Pritchard and Nick Williams are passing up open looks. Daniel Moore is ruining the reputation of undersized Hoosier schoolboys everywhere with his lack of long distance ability. Still, for this IU team to do anything respectable from here on out, we have to create something higher percentage than a Devan Dumes jumper. What, I have no idea. That's why Crean is getting the big bucks.
  • Another tough showing for Tom Prichard against a tough opponent. 2-8 from the field, no free throws, six rebounds, five turnovers (although I think a couple were on offensive fouls).
  • Daniel Moore scored five points on shot 2-5 from the field. He was in the positive range on assist-turnover ratio, with 5 to 3.
  • Verdell Jones was a bit rusty in his return to action: 1-5 from the field, no assists, 3 turnovers.
  • Malik Story couldn't reprise his fine performance against TCU: he was 1-5 from the field.
I don't want anything to sound like excessive criticism of any of these players. The composition of this roster just isn't fair to them. Most of the players, particularly Prtichard, Dumes, and Moore, are being asked to do more than is reasonable. And they are playing hard. During the last 15 years, IU is 3-12 against Kentucky, and while this is one of the worst UK teams of this era, several significantly more talented IU teams have mailed it in against the Wildcats. These guys didn't quit, and I hope that their dedication results in something other than a hideous Big Ten season. But that may be asking too much.

1 comment:

Peter Robert Casey said...

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Please let me know if you would be interested.

Your's in Hoops,
Peter Robert Casey
http://www.peterrobertcasey.com