The attention after the Kentucky loss to Florida was fully given to the knee injury of Nerlens Noel; and rightfully so. The loss of the big man re-ignited the debate about the NCAA, the NBA and the one and done rule. Luckily for Noel, his injury is repairable and he looks to have a long career ahead of him and a top three NBA draft spot in his future. I, and the rest of college basketball fans, couldn’t be happier for him. Noel was the one guy on this team that epitomized the hard work, the dedication and the will to win that it takes to be a Kentucky Wildcat.
While the knee injury was the primary focus of Big Blue Nation, there is a basketball game that needs to be discussed. I know it isn’t as important as the health of a young phenom, but the play of the team has to be addressed. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it. There are only seven games left in the regular season and we need to asess where this team is heading down the stretch.
Pointless- The Wildcat starters were outscored 57 to 31 by the Florida starters. The lack of offense in the game was absolutely astounding. Only one starter scored in double digits and that was Julius Mays with 10 points. Ryan Harrow had zero points, Archie Goodwin and Nerlens Noel both had eight, and Alex Poythress had a whopping five points. The bench didn’t fare much better with 21 points. Willie Cauley-Stein had 10, Kyle Wiltjer had seven and Jarrod Polson chipped in with four points. This type of scoring is not going to get it done the rest of the way.
Changing of the Guard- Kentucky’s guard play was essential if the Wildcats wanted to stick around and give Florida a scare. Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin had a nightmare of a game. Harrow spent most of the night beside John Calipari on the bench but it wasn’t because of foul trouble. It was because of poor defense, poor game management and poor shot selection. Harrow played 19 minutes and his back up, Jarrod Polson, played 10 minutes. Goodwin even ran point near the end of the game in order to try to give the offense a spark but it never happened. Goodwin and Harrow combined for 8 points, six turnovers, four assists and five fouls. Inconsistency is the name of their game.