Here’s why coaches love seniors.
No. 2 Kentucky, 14-1 with wins over North Carolina, Louisville and Kansas, played a pseudo-home game against Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday night. Oddsmakers set the line at 28, while kenpom.com gave the ‘Cats a 98 percent chance of winning.
Yet there they were, down 30-27 at halftime to a 5-10 team. They’d just won at Denver, but still. The Trojans aren’t a power.
That’s when Darius Miller, the lone significant senior, made it his business to ensure Kentucky started playing like, well, Kentucky. A 23-1 run turned into a 73-51 win. And that was that.
“They had more energy, more intensity, more toughness than us,” Anthony Davis said. “In the second half, we all got together as a group. Darius brought us together and said, `Let’s step it up. Let’s go out there and win.’ We’ve got a big game coming up on Saturday to start conference (play).”
It might’ve been the ideal result with SEC play looming. No one gets an inflated ego when a Sun Belt team has you down three at halftime. (Some might argue South Carolina on Saturday is not really a step up. I digress.)
Not that John Calipari’s gonna spend too much time on this game.
“I’ll watch the tape on the drive home just to get rid of it because I don’t want to see it,” he said. “The first 40 minutes will be that tape, then I’ll throw it out the window.”
There’s plenty to pick and dissect regarding the game – Thomas Beisner details pretty much everything at KSR – though any possible injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist takes precedent over all of it. Some kind of chest muscle injury didn’t prevent him from playing 31 minutes, but any lingering issue would be huge.
That’d be even worse than losing to Arkansas-Little Rock.
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