Jameel Warney got his, but No. 13 Stony Brook just nothing else as they fell to No. 4 Kentucky, 85-57.
And to be frank, that’s about all there is to take out of that game.
The Seawolves shot under 20 percent in the first half — at one point, they were 4-for-30 from the floor — and Kentucky wasn’t all that much better. The Cats got it going in the second half, as Jamal Murray finally found his stroke and Stony Brook tried to pressure UK’s dynamic back court, but the game went about as expected: Warney’s 23 points, 15 boards and two massive blocks of Skal Labissiere at the rim proved that he was the best big man on the floor, but Kentucky just flat out had too much talent for the Seawolves to deal with.
What the win sets up, however, is the ideal second round matchup: No. 4 Kentucky squaring off with No. 5 Indiana.
The Wildcats and the Hoosiers do not like each other. Well, the fans don’t and the coaches don’t, but the players probably much of an opinion on the matter. That’s what happens when you go four years without playing a rival. The reasons why are irrelevant at this point, because the bottom line is that John Calipari and Tom Crean cannot find a middle ground to reignite the rivalry during the regular season.
Which means that we have to wait until March to hope for Kentucky and Indiana ending up in the same region.
This season they did.
And they’ll play each other, giving us one of the most anticipated second round games that I can remember.
Tom Crean’s job could end up being on the line. I know he won the Big Ten regular season title, but if he can’t get this group out of the first weekend of the tournament because he lost to the guy that’s coaching in Lexington? At the very least, he’s going to have an unpleasant offseason and quite a bit of pressure on him for next season.
A loss here would ensure that he goes four years without a title. And yes, it’s crazy for a fanbase to be upset because a coach goes four years without winning a title when he gets to the Final Four in two of those four years. But when have we ever considered Kentucky fans to be sane, particularly when they keep hearing about how Cal should be going 40-0 with the kids they bring in?
So while the game itself is going to be amazing — two top five offenses, two sub-50 defenses, Yogi Ferrell vs. Tyler Ulis, etc. — the subplots and subsequent reactions are what really get my juices playing here.