Rushed Reactions: #1 Kentucky 64, #8 Cincinnati 51

Posted by Walker Carey on March 21st, 2015

rushedreactions

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

The Game May Have Ended on This Play (USA Today Images)

The Game May Have Ended on This Play (USA Today Images)

  1. Kentucky had to battle for this one. The final score may not indicate it but Cincinnati gave Kentucky quite the fight for most of the afternoon. Cincinnati has a reputation for being a tough, gritty team that will use its physicality all game long and that was absolutely the case on Saturday afternoon, as this game was a street fight from the opening tip. In defeat, the Bearcats had the advantage on the rebounding glass at 45-38 and had an amazing 21-12 edge on the offensive boards. This was not an easy game for Kentucky by any stretch. The Wildcats struggled offensively throughout, as they ended up shooting just 37 percent from the field and just 26.7 percent from behind the three-point line. It was not a vintage Kentucky performance, but the ‘Cats found a way to get the job done. That is what great teams do.
  2. Hanging with Kentucky and having a chance to beat Kentucky are two entirely different animals. Saturday was another example of how hanging in there with Kentucky and having a chance to beat Kentucky are two very different things. Cincinnati played really hard all afternoon and had the right plan but it ultimately just did not have enough offense to deal with Kentucky’s ferocious defensive attack. The Bearcats managed to shoot just 31.7 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from the three-point line. Starting guards Troy Caupain and Farad Cobb were a combined 5-of-24 from the field. They were also forced into committing 14 turnovers, which led to 16 Kentucky points on the other end. It is going to take an elite effort on both ends of the court to beat Kentucky this season. While Cincinnati has a lot to be proud of about its performance, it ultimately fell well short of what it needed to be to get a win.
  3. Kentucky is now 36-0 – which is the best start to a season in D-1 men’s college basketball history. Saturday’s win ensured that Kentucky – at 36-0 – is off to the greatest start in Division I men’s basketball history. When you think about all the great teams and players that have come and gone through the game in the years, this accomplishment is hard to put into words. John Calipari deserves so much credit for his ability to manage all his talent and get his guys to produce a winning effort night in and night out. It is understood that this accomplishment will likely be overlooked if the Wildcats are unable to finish as undefeated national champions, so it is important to note right now just how impressive this feat is.

Player(s) of the Game. Aaron Harrison and Trey Lyles, Kentucky. Harrison and Lyles drove the Kentucky offensive attack, finishing with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Harrison’s knack for hitting big shots was once again on display, as it seemed like every time that Kentucky needed a big bucket, it was Harrison that came through. Lyles matched Cincinnati’s physical play all afternoon, mixing it up on both ends of the court. His 11 points were accompanied by a game-high 11 rebounds.

Quotable.

  • “We are not into moral victories at Cincinnati. We are into beating whoever we play.” – Cincinnati associate head coach Larry Davis, responding to a question of whether his team can view today as a moral victory.
  • “I definitely think they are beatable.” – Cincinnati forward Shaq Thomas, on if he believes that Kentucky is invincible.
  • “I always like it when my team shoots in the 30 percent range and wins. It shows that there is more to it than just making shots.” – Kentucky coach John Calipari, expressing his satisfaction with how his team was able to earn the victory.
  • “We were ready for it. Coach prepared us. We just had to play through it.” – Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis, talking about Cincinnati’s physicality.
  • “When he does that, we all scream like we just did it.” – Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison, discussing teammate Willie Cauley-Stein‘s incredible dunk at the 2:46 mark of the first half that gave the Wildcats a 25-24 lead at the time.

Sights and Sounds. Make no mistake about it, this was a home game for Kentucky. Playing at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center was an incredible advantage for the Wildcats, as Big Blue Nation came out in droves to cheer on their Wildcats. The fans were loud and involved from the second the UCLA/UAB game ended until the final buzzer. The Kentucky faithful became especially agitated over the physical play of Cincinnati forward Octavius Ellis and they made sure to express their distaste for him at every available opportunity.

What’s Next. Kentucky advances to the Midwest Regional where it will play the winner of Maryland/West Virginia in Cleveland on Thursday night.

WCarey (299 Posts)


Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *