AAC M5: 12.30.13 editionPosted by Ross Schulz on December 30th, 2013
- Courier-Journal writer Tim Sullivan said that Kentucky was just too big and strong for Louisville Saturday. The Wildcats outrebounded the smaller Cardinals 44-36 and scored 17 second chance points to Louisville’s six. Louisville has become too reliant on the play of its backcourt, he writes, and when it came down to it and the Cardinals needed interior baskets to take the pressure off of Russ Smith and Chris Jones, the frontcourt didn’t deliver. To reach a third straight Final Four, Louisville will have to improve its inside game or hope for favorable match-ups. (ed. note: the Monday afternoon dismissal of Chane Behanan by the university won’t help matters)
- Rick Pitino said the main culprit in the loss to rival Kentucky Saturday was frontcourt play. He focused specifically on the play of Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan, and said that those two need to better focus on rebounding, blocking shots and dunks. Pitino even compared his squad’s frontcourt to Christina Aguilera in a blog post following the game. Louisville’s four big men only attempted seven shots against the Wildcats, which included a second half with Julius Randle mostly sitting on the sidelines (he only logged four minutes).
- Dick Vitale says SMU is a team to watch heading into conference play after a strong 10-2 start with close, respectable losses to Virginia and Arkansas. Vitale said that the jury is still out on the Mustangs, but we should find out what they’re made of quickly with their first three AAC games coming at Cincinnati, home vs. Connecticut, and at Louisville. If they win one of those games, folks around the AAC and maybe beyond will start to take notice of Larry Brown’s squad.
- Mick Cronin wants his young players to watch and learn from senior Sean Kilpatrick. Cronin said his underclassmen have plenty of talent, but they need to show up every day and play hard — for example, Kilpatrick goes hard in every practice, for the entire practice. A couple of freshmen, Kevin Johnson and Troy Caupain had solid games in Saturday’s win against Nebraska. The head coach hopes to see that kind of production consistently and knows that the formula for doing so is no big secret. Just watch Kilpatrick.
- College Basketball Talk takes a look at Memphis heading into conference play and considers the things the team needs to do more and less. The Tigers, who were outrebounded in seven of their first 10 games, certainly need to rebound better. And as it always seems with Memphis under Josh Pastner, the author wants to see the Tigers struggle less against other quality opponents. Memphis will get more opportunities against good competition this year in the AAC as opposed to the previous few seasons in Conference USA.