Rushed Reactions: #1 Kentucky 78, #5 West Virginia 39

Posted by rtmsf on March 26th, 2015


Three Key Takeaways.

Kentucky Flexed Its Muscles Tonight (USA Today Images)

Kentucky Flexed Its Muscles Tonight (USA Today Images)

  1. Don’t poke the bear. To be honest it wouldn’t have mattered. And maybe it didn’t matter. Kentucky was going to win this game anyway and perhaps the Wildcats playing about as well as they can (except for Karl-Anthony Towns) was just a coincidence, but we got to see what the Wildcats can do when they are firing on all cylinders. It is both beautiful and scary. If the Wildcats play like this, there isn’t a team in the country that is going to give them a legitimate challenge the rest of the way. That’s not meant to be disrespectful to any of the remaining teams; it is just the truth. For much of the season, Kentucky’s offense lagged well behind its defense, but now that it has caught up teams are basically left to hope the Wildcats have an off night. Tonight was not one of those nights.
  2. This was complete meltdown by West Virginia. Kentucky played great, but West Virginia embarrassed itself with its performance tonight. Outside of a few mini-runs that the Mountaineers put together thanks to some sloppiness from Kentucky (like Marcus Lee trying to break the press), Bob Huggins’ team couldn’t put anything else together. It was a rough end to an outstanding career in Morgantown for Juwan Staten, who deserved a better ending than this. West Virginia rarely has elite level talent coming to Morgantown, but we have learned over the years that Bob Huggins doesn’t need that to succeed. This may have been the lowest low of a storied career for the longtime head coach.
  3. Competition or coronation? It might seem premature to already hand the national title over to Kentucky, but it has been a long time since we have seen a team this dominant. Actually, the last team was 1991 UNLV… and we all know how that worked out. The fact is that there is no 1991 Duke waiting around the corner this year (people forget that one year later that lovable underdog became one of the great teams of all-time). Barring a collapse by Kentucky, which is much less likely given their ridiculous depth, we cannot see anybody beating them. So you might as well crown them now.

Star of the Game. John Calipari, Kentucky. This might seem like taking the easy way out but this is as much a celebration of the job that he has done as it is with the talent on this team. People try to minimize his role in all of this by pointing out the players he has to work with, but that’s part of his job. He gets the talent to come to Lexington and he gets them to buy into a system where lottery picks are playing less than half the game. Managing egos and the accompanying talent is not as easy as many people make it out to be and Calipari is an absolute master at doing it.

Quotable. “Tomorrow, they’re gonna be 36-1.” — Daxter Miles. Do we really need to explain this one any further? Don’t poke the bear.

Sights & Sounds. It’s not often that a Sweet Sixteen is completely cleared out with four minutes remaining, but the margin of victory in this one made the last few minutes expendable for most everyone in the building.

It Was That Kind of Night in Cleveland

It Was That Kind of Night in Cleveland

What’s Next? For Kentucky, one step closer to immortality. Notre Dame won’t be as easy of a contest as West Virginia was, but we would not expect too terribly much of a challenge. As for West Virginia, they will need a long break after this one.

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