After the Buzzer: Another Nightmare in Rupp

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2008

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Upset of the Night.  VMI 111, Kentucky 103.  Well, for the second consecutive year we’ve not even made it to Thanksgiving before we have a nominee for biggest upset of the year because a small college from the South went into Rupp Arena and beat the Kentucky Wildcats on their home court.  Last year it was Gardner-Webb; this year it was VMI, who was picked seventh in the Big South and last defeated a BCS team four seasons ago.  The Cats aren’t ranked this season, but they arguably have more raw talent than they had a year ago.  Most pundits have UK finishing second or third in the SEC East and making its 17th straight NCAA Tournament in 2009.  They still might, but watching tonight’s game showed some serious issues with turnovers (too many players leaving their feet to pass the ball), defensive rotation (or a complete lack thereof), shot selection (how does all-american Patrick Patterson only get four shots in essentially a Y-ball game?), and myriad mental lapses.  Does Billy Gillispie really understand where he’s coaching these days?  These kinds of losses are barely tolerable at Texas A&M; at Kentucky, people start putting moving signs in your yard after close wins.  He somewhat redeemed himself last season after the G-W debacle by going 12-4 in the SEC and making the NCAA Tournament (1st round loss to Marquette), but big losses to rivals UNC, Louisville and Indiana weren’t forgotten.  A VMI loss to start this season followed by a trip to Chapel Hill next week and some other Ls to follow will not help his cause.  UK fans care about every game – not just the SEC and March Madness.  As Truzenzuzex over at A Sea of Blue put it, Billy Clyde tonight represented an “epic failure of coaching.”  As for the game itself, what can you say other than it was a classic run & gun shootout.  UK shot 54% from the field, mostly from dunk range, but other than Jodie Meeks, couldn’t hit a three regardless of whether anyone was defending it or not (3-16, 19%).  Meeks led the Cats with 39 pts, and Perry Stevenson had 20/14, but VMI’s attack was more balanced, with all five starters plus one bench player reaching double figures.  Travis Holmes led with 30/7 on 10-13 shooting, but the key difference in the statistical battle were the fourteen threes that VMI knocked down.  Frankly, UK’s defense simply wasn’t closing out on many of these wide-open shots.  All that said, when UK went on a 17-0 run in the late second half to cut the lead to 90-89 after having been down 23 earlier in the half, we figured that VMI was finished.  Several more bad possessions by the UK offense and lackluster defense on the other side ensured that VMI still had life, and the Keydets were able to hang on and pull off the monumental upset.  This Gillispie situation will remain interesting throughout the season. 

Other Games of Reasonable Interest. 

  • Pittsburgh 86, Fairleigh Dickinson 63.  The return of Levance Fields is worth a special mention.  Pitt is 52-12 when their oft-injured point guard starts, and a mere slightly-better-than-.500 team when he’s on the bench.  Tonight he showed no ill effects from his twice-broken left foot, contributing 15/8 assts in the blowout victory.  Dejuan Blair had his typical beastly 17/13 inside.  Pitt will have an interesting next game against Miami (OH) on Monday.     
  • UConn 81, W. Carolina 55.  Hasheem Thabeet needs to do more of this (23/17/3 blks).  AJ Price was ejected for a sucker punch flagrant foul – nice to see thing haven’t changed much in Storrs.  He made his triumphant return with a 0 pt, 5 turnover night.  Jerome Dyson had 23, and newcomer Kemba Walker contributed 8/5 in his first collegiate game. 

Small Piece of News.  The injury bug continues at Carolina, as it now appears Bobby Frasor will not play in UNC’s opener against Penn tomorrow because he’s been nursing a sprained left ankle.  You don’t think Frasor’s and Hansbrough’s injuries may karmically have anything to do with this, do ya?  Nah.  Didn’t think so. 

Rundown. 

  • UT-Martin 121, Maryville 56.  Lester Hudson’s line: 27/7/7 asst/8 stls.  Sick.
  • Temple 79, ETSU 65.  Dionte Christmas with 26/11 in first round of Charleston Classic.  Next up is host Charleston.
  • Florida 80, Toledo 58Unrepentent gambler Nick Calathes with 16/4/7 assts.
  • Stanford 75, Yale 67.  Johnny Dawkins gets his coaching career off to a solid start with a road win.  Lawrence Hill’s 22/11 helped. 
  • Howard 47, Oregon St. 45.  The same cannot be said for Craig Robinson at OSU. 
  • Wake Forest 94, NC Central 48.  Al Farouq Aminu had 21/10 in his debut with the Deacs; James Johnson with 19/10/5 asst.  This Deacon team could be very interesting this year.
  • Maryland 81, Bucknell 52.  Gary Williams needed a strong opening win to silence his critics some.
  • Oklahoma St. 76, UT-San Antonio 57.  James Anderson with only 10/7 as the Cowboys rolled anyway.  Byron Eaton led with 27 pts.
  • Oklahoma 83, American 54.  Forgive us, Blake Griffin.  Despite going 5-14 from the line, he was otherwise brilliant (24/18) in a game we thought American had a chance to win.  His reverse dropstep jam was NASTY. 
  • Villanova 78, Albany 60.  Nova put six players in double figures with none of them having over 13 pts. 
  • Texas 68, Stetson 38.  AJ Abrams hit five threes as the Longhorns held Stetson to a miserable 26% shooting night.
  • Arkansas 91, SE Louisiana 87 (OT).  Very close to a dreadful opening night for the SEC, as Arkansas rallied from a late 9-pt deficit to send the game to OT, which the Hawgs won behind Michael Washington’s 30 pts in the extra period.
  • Marquette 95, Houston Baptist 64.  Wesley Matthews had a huge night (28/5/8 asst/5 stls) as Marquette rolled. 
  • Purdue 82, Detroit 50.  Hummell and Moore combined for 31/15 in a balanced effort.
  • St. Mary’s 86, Seattle Pacific 55.  Patty Mills with 15/3/8 asst/4 stls. 
  • Arizona St. 80, Mississippi Valley St. 54.  James Harden dropped 24/10 assts in Sendek’s first opening win at ASU.
  • Davidson 107, Guilford 83.  Steph Curry with 29/3/10 asst/9 stls.  Nine steals???  Ridiculous. 

On Tap Saturday (all times EST):

  • Florida vs. Bradley (ESPNU) – 2pm (CBE Classic)
  • St. Joseph’s @ Holy Cross – 4pm
  • Wisconsin v. Long Beach St. – 4pm
  • North Carolina (-30.5) v. Penn (FSN South) – 4pm
  • South Carolina v. Winthrop (ESPN FC & 360) – 4:30pm
  • Duke v. Rhode Island (ESPNU) – 4:30pm
  • UNLV (-11) v. San Diego (The Mtn.) – 5:30pm
  • Michigan St. v. Idaho – 6pm
  • Cincinnati v. South Dakota (ESPN FC & 360) – 6pm
  • Charlotte v. Old Dominion – 6pm
  • Syracuse v. Le Moyne (ESPNU) – 6:30pm
  • Tennessee (-18) v. Chattanooga (SportSouth) – 7pm
  • Notre Dame v. USC-Upstate – 7:30pm
  • Drake (-6.5) v. Butler – 8pm
  • Memphis (-19.5) v. Fairfield – 8pm
  • Kansas v. UMKC (ESPNU) – 8:30pm (CBE Classic)
  • USC (-19) v. UC Irvine – 10pm
rtmsf (3773 Posts)


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