UK vs. Mississippi – Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 28, 2008

Well I guess Kentucky just does not want to win a game by double digits in Southeastern Conference play this season, because yet again the ‘Cats let a giant lead slip right through their hands. UK was able to pull out the victory 58-54 wednesday night at Rupp Arena in front of over 23,000 screaming fans. The ferocious Ole Miss comeback was fueled by numerous offensive rebounds, a statistic that Mississippi leads the SEC in, mainly by Dwayne Curtis inside. Curtis with 15 rebounds, 8 of them on the offensive end, to go along with 12 points and he rattled off his 14th double double on the season. Freshman sensation Chris Warren lit up the nets for the Rebels in the second half with almost 20 of his points coming in the last 20 minutes. Had Warren not been plagued by foul trouble Ole Miss might have been able to win this game. Warren was basically the only Rebel scoring option in the 2nd half but UK was still not able to stop his hot hand. Kentucky gave Mississippi every oppurtunity in the world to win the ball game, allowing them to get a wide-open three point attempt in the closing seconds with only a two point lead but Ole Miss could not hit the shot. Kentucky also was able to help their NCAA Tournament resume’ with the win against the Rebels because Ole Miss was ranked in the RPI top 50 coming into the game. UK has now defeated two straight top 50 RPI teams in a row at Rupp Arena, a feat that has not been completed in a couple of years. Again though nobody was able to stop the one-two-three punch of the Wildcats as Patrick Patterson, Ramel Bradley & Joe Crawford all scored at least 14 points, led by Joe Crawford’s 15. Patterson odly enough shot under 50% from the floor for the second consecutive game, the first time he has had back to back games shooting under 50% from the floor. Ramel Bradley was fantastic for the majority of the game up until he missed two crucial free throws that almost cost UK the game. Had he hit the shots from the charity stripe the game would have been over and UK would have wrapped up the game without giving Kentucky fans everywhere a heart attack.

KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game

One indication as to why UK almost blew their lead against the Mississippi Rebels is because they only completed one of the three KEYS TO THE GAME that I laid out for them. The KEYS TO THE GAME usually give a pretty good indication as to who will win or if the game is close or not. The first KEY TO THE GAME that I will start off with is the only one that the ‘Cats accomplished, and that was to feed Patrick Patterson the ball. Patterson still did not get his necessary 10 field-goal attempts that basically guarantee a Wildcat victory but he got close enough with 9 and made 4 of them. Patterson did struggle a little bit from the floor missing many turn arounds and hook shots that he is known to knock down consistently. Patterson did do a very good job of getting to the foul line as he made 7 of his team high 9 attempts from the charity stripe. Patterson does get some sort of a break though because Ole Miss’ defense was sagging completely around Patterson and for long periods of time in a row we could not find a second option, something that has plagued the offense all year long. Late in the second half seniors Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley stepped up and showed their leadership by controlling the game and scoring points at crucial points in the game.

The second KEY TO THE GAME that I will discuss is the first one that UK did not complete. That would be to keep Ole Miss off the offensive glass and defensive glass. Mississippi completely dominated the boards wednesday night, winning the overall rebounding battle 36-26 over the smaller Wildcats. The offensive rebounds are what killed UK all night long, the Rebels out-rebounded Kentucky 16-2 on the offensive glass! Led by Dwayne Curtis’ 8 offensive boards, Curtis had more offensive boards than any Wildcat player had total rebounds yesterday. Another stat that Mississippi dominated that has to do with offensive rebounds is second chance points. Ole Miss killed UK on the second chance points by scoring 17 points against 2 off offensive rebounds, a stat that could have potentially costed UK the game.

The third and final KEY TO THE GAME that I presented for the ‘Cats, and another one that they did not complete, was for Kentucky not to turn the ball over. UK gets in a habit of turning the ball over more than their opponent and when that happens they get beat often. Kentucky once again turned the ball over more than their opponent, out-turnovering (Is that a word?) Ole Miss 18-17, not a big enough margin to make a difference really but that is still about 8-9 too many turnovers. Their is no excuse for Kentucky to get double digit turnovers against any team, much less a team that is mediocre at defense. Kentucky came into the game averaging about 14 turnovers per game in SEC play but went way above that average last night. Ramel Bradley, a player that usually is pretty good with the ball and averages about 3 turnovers per game, lead the team and the game in turnovers with 5 of them. Joe Crawford and Ramon Harris also contributed to the turnover parade by both going way over their season averages in turnovers with 3 apiece.

Surpise of the Game

The SOG in my opinion had to be the dominance of Ole Miss on the offensive boards. Everyone knew that going in Mississippi could rebound the ball so I thought that coach Billy Gillispie would install some new looks or something to give them an advantage, I also thought that the UK players would take it upon themselves to go out and out-rebound the Rebels, but neither of those things happened. Kentucky got BLASTED on the offensive rebounds 16-2 as I mentioned before, the biggest margin of offensive rebounds of the season by far. This is the first game this year that UK was out-rebounded on the offensive boards by double digits and probably is the first time in a couple years. Billy Gillispie needs to work with his big men on the art of boxing out and going after every rebound if he wants this team to be successful come tournament time (If the Wildcats make it that far).


March 2 @ Tennessee

12:00 on CBS


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