The Cats first trip the Yum Center……….SUCCESSFUL! I predicted a tight Cats victory, but I wasn’t close to seeing what occurred on Friday. Kentucky out shot, out hustled, and out played their rivals from the west to the tune of a 78-63 win. I didn’t realize that Charles Barkley, I mean, Josh Harrellson was going to show up and play BIG! Harrellson finished the game with 23 points and 14 rebounds, he made 10-12 shots from the floor, with one of those being a three pointer. When that one went down, you knew it was his day!
Louisville was hampered by a lack of size which stemmed form starter Raheem Buckles injuring a finger the day before the game. Once the game started you could feel that UL couldn’t get anything going inside as the Cats rejected shot after shot, and that the only chance the Cards had was to knock down several threes. Preston Knowles did his best to achieve that, he hit 6 himself, but the rest of the team was just 2-10 from behind the arc, which ultimately sealed their doom.
Obviously, Harrellson was my MVP for the game, but not far behind him was Brandon Knight. Knight tallied 25 points and 4 assists, and kept the Cats under control for most of the afternoon. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s beautiful basketball when you have a bunch of unselfish guys that are willing to share the basketball and Knight leads the way with his unselfishness. Another beautiful thing is the free throw shooting, the Cats have quietly knocked down at least 75% of their free throws over the last 3 or 4 games, that is huge for them, in that there are fewer empty trips down the court.
The next task for the Cats is to stay grounded, coming off the emotional victory Friday, they now must take on the Penn Quakers tonight. The one thing that Coach Cal does very well is prepare his team for the next game, regardless of who it is. Penn comes in with a 5-5 record so don’t expect the Rupp Arena crowd to be buzzing tonight. Kentucky seems really focused and ready to take care of business regardless of the opponent, so I expect a victory tonight from Kentucky 82-60. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Kentucky came out a little sluggish, but they’ll get it together and knock Penn out.