I half-expected to beat Kentucky. They are not that great of a team, though they have generally played well lately, excepting that horrible loss to Vandy earlier in the week.
It started well. We took a small lead to halftime after leading for most of the first half. The whole team seemed to play in sync and the team made few mistakes. We could have been ahead by more, except we seemed to miss a few easy shots. It happens, but we still took a lead to halftime.
We struggled early in the second half, letting Kentucky build up a lead before fighting back and briefly taking the lead on our own. It came down the stretch of the game with us down by 3 points with the ball and the shotclock off, but Marcus Thornton forced up a bad shot that pretty much ended our chances.
We didn't play a flawless game, but we played pretty well. Kentucky just played a little bit better. As expected, we didn't really have an answer for Patrick Patterson, who can probably bench press more than Chris Johnson and Anthony Randolph combined. It was, all in all, a well played game by both teams, and my predominant feeling towards the end was that it looked like both teams were having a lot of fun and were pretty much evenly matched.
This is a team with some talent, and that will add more talent next year, especially with the re-addition of Tasmin Mitchell. I don't expect a miracle finish from this team, but I would really like for them to build some momentum going into the offseason. We need these guys to develop some positivity to take to next season, which could be a year where we make some real noise, particularly if we get the right coach in place.
This is a team that sometimes looks very close to being a very good team. But then we get on a run where we don't play defense and don't move the ball effectively on offense, or where Marcus Thornton forces up bad shots unnecessarily, or Johnson and Randolph get out-muscled down low and things go bad from there. I don't really have an answer to these problems, which is why I'm not coaching basketball.
In other news, rumors swirl about Ryan Perrilloux's future with the team. It all seems like bull to me, but Les Miles (fresh off of his Mexican vacation) is having a press conference to discuss it. It seems to me that if Perrilloux was no longer with the team, Miles would have cut his vacation short, but maybe that's just thinking too hard. Stay tuned.