You are here
Home > Kentucky Basketball > New Kentucky, Old Kentucky

New Kentucky, Old Kentucky

By Dr. John Huang

Kentucky’s 78-69 win over Georgia late into the night on Tuesday was a welcome relief to everybody wearing blue. That first victory on an opponent’s home court gives the Cats a nice jump start into the conference portion of their schedule. With the gutty win, those troublesome losses against the likes of Evansville and Utah don’t pack quite the sting as before.

For this game at least, let’s look at what’s old and what’s new for this Kentucky team.

New

The New: The Nick and Nate show. Last game, it was Nick and Quick. This game, it’s Nick and Nate. Nick Richards and Nate Sestina provided the perfect complement to Kentucky’s burgeoning backcourt. Richards overcame early foul trouble to lead the team with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Sestina finished with 8 points and 7 boards. Get this—both Nick and Nate were +14 in the +/- category. That’s effective by anybody’s scorecard.

Old

The Old: EJ Montgomery and Khalil Whitney. Whitney still can’t get off the snide. He got zilch on the offensive end, but what I don’t understand is how someone so talented and athletic can consistently get beat on drives to the lane. EJ, to his credit, showed some bounce early. He played hard, ended up with 7 boards, but only 2 points on the stat sheet. Don’t give up on him yet. You heard it here.

New

The New: A Kentucky team that passed the ball (18 assists) and shot the 3-pointer well (6-12). It was also a team that uncharacteristically missed half its free throws (10-20). Good thing the game didn’t hinge on points from the charity stripe.

Old

The Old: Another Tyrese Maxey gem under the bright lights of the ESPN cameras. Look at this stat line: 17 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks, and a steal. The assists and blocks were both career highs. You’ll win a lot of games with more performances like that. Georgia’s super freshman Anthony Edwards scored 23 points, but Tyrese’s all-court game won out in the end.

New

The New: Georgia head coach Tom Crean. Everybody hated him when he was in IU. He doesn’t seem to be so offensive down here in Athens. Crean still paces the sidelines with a scowl on his face, but he does seem to have toned it down a bit. He gave plenty of credit to the Cats in general and to Nick Richards in particular during his postgame press conference. Although arriving late, he patiently answered all questions respectfully and directly. Georgia’s a good fit. I think he’ll do well.

Tom Crean: “We had no answer for Nick Richards.”

Old

The Old: Immanuel Quickley once again hitting big shots—IQ was 5-10 from the field (3-3 three-pointers), pulled down 5 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and had 2 steals. No doubt about it—the guy has been clutch.

New

The New: The return of Swaggy Cal. We haven’t seen that guy in quite a while. You know he’s back when he’s talking about eating pizza, grade point averages, and his team missing free throws all in one breath. Can’t wait for his next appearance.

Calipari: “Anytime you win on the road in this league it’s big.”

Old

The Old: Stegeman Coliseum. It’s hard playing your first road game of the year in a boiling cauldron. I’m talking literally boiling (well, maybe just figuratively). But I never get hot, and even I had to shed my coat at halftime. Grizzled followers of Dawg Nation claimed it was the best atmosphere they had ever experienced. The fact that the Cats came, saw, and conquered speaks well for the direction the team is headed.

Dr. John Huang
Dr. John Huang is a retired orthodontist and military veteran. As a lifelong Wildcat fan, a fledgling author, and an occasional guest host of Just the Cats Radio, he's now living out his dream as a UK Sports columnist. Dr. Huang also covers professional sports on a regional level. You can follow him on Twitter @KYHuangs or contact him @KYHuangs@gmail.com. If you enjoy his writing, you can also read more at www.huangswhinings.com.
http://www.huangswhinings.com

Leave a Reply

Top