Never has a season ended as fittingly as No. 9 UConn’s did on Thursday night.
Trailing No. 8 Iowa State 77-64 with the final seconds ticking off of the clock, Jeremy Lamb stole a the ball from a Cyclone guard and half court and went in, unabated, for what would have been a completely meaningless bucket. Only, instead of laying the ball in, Lamb went up for a windmill dunk.
If that isn’t a microcosm for what plagued the Huskies this season, than I don’t know what is.
But enough about UConn. There are only so many words that can be written about a team that cares less about the outcome of a game than the fans that come to see them play. The credit for this win has to go to Iowa State, who suddenly looks primed to give Kentucky all they can handle on Saturday.
The Cyclones blew the game open midway through the first half, when they went on a 16-0 run to open up a 36-14 lead. That run included one stretch where ISU made three 3-pointers in the span of 71 seconds, which shows you just how dangerous this group can be. Chris Babb, Chris Allen and Scott Christopherson are all big time shooters capable of scoring 15 or 20 points and hitting three or four 3-pointers in a row.
It makes them difficult to matchup with, and that is before you consider what Royce White is capable of. The most difficult matchup in all of college basketball, White also happens to be one of the nation’s most entertaining players. A 6’8″, 270 lb point guard, White rebounds and defends like a power forward, but he leads the break like Kendall Marshall. He’s perfectly capable of going coast-to-coast and finishing with a dunk, but he doesn’t shy away from flinging no-look passes all over the floor.
Who on Kentucky is going to guard White? Can Terrence Jones cover him on the perimeter? Can Michael Kidd-Gilchrist handle him if when he makes his way into the post? What happens when White is the biggest player on the floor for ISU? Do you put Anthony Davis on him?
Those are the questions that Kentucky is going to have to answer.
And those are also the reasons why the Wildcats better make sure they show up on Saturday.