Saturday, December 15, 2007

UAB vs Kentucky

While Jimmy "dog and pony show" Dykes sounded like he was rehearsing for the "UAB defensive co-ordinator" job, Darth Vaden showed up in the second half and spoiled Kentucky's three point parade. 33 points were just too much as he led the Blazers to a second half comeback. The offensive drought ended at Freedom Hall, Kentucky's "home" for the day, as Bradley, Crawford and Porter were hitting three like crazy. But so was Darth Vaden (Robert Vaden).

This was the first end-to-end UAB Blazers game I watched this season. The team is missing the injured veteran Paul Delaney so they have two newcomers in the back court. But certainly mighty mouse Aaron Johnson was better than I expected for an unheralded freshman. Ditto backup Ed Berrios. Obviously Darth Vaden is not going to score 33 every game, so a combination of Frank Holmes, Walter Sharpe and the like have to deliver. One thing that may work in Mike Davis's favor is #51, Reggie Huffman, who is four years older than his class because of military service, so even without Delaney they have someone more mature and disciplined than the average player.

What does this mean for UAB's future? That is a good question! They are a work in progress, they do have a high ceiling but they can also hit rock bottom.

For Kentucky this game started great, as they had a comfy lead on the home court of bitter rival PitinoVille. The threes finally started falling, and Mark Coury started the game as if he was a top 100 player. To a certain extend you can't blame the defense when someone has a wild second half like Darth Vaden did. But you can certainly blame the defense for not containing him more.

What does this mean for Billy Gillispie? In a way he is a victim of his own early recruiting success. The expectations with Tubby players were not high, but "Clyde" brought in Patrick Patterson and Alex Legion and started filling up the pipeline and got everyone excited.

And this perhaps raises a big question: When Billy Gillispie took over UTEP and Texas A&M they were in total mess. A&M was coming off zero (0) conference wins. Anything more than zero was a success. But unlike UTEP and Texas A&M, this won't cut it at Kentucky. A NIT bid in year one may have put Billy G in contention for coach of the year at UTEP or A&M, but at Kentucky it's a really bad season. So he has his work cut out for him this season. Even though he is dealing with the after-effects of the Tubby Smith era, there is no "get out of jail card" like UTEP or A&M.

More on this game at A Sea of Blue, John Clay's Sidelines report, Rick Bozich, and Wildcats Thunder.

During the game the announcers mentioned the four possible transfer destinations for Alex Legion, one of them being Notre Dame.

Be sure to check the upcoming December 2007 college hoops games on TV.

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