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UK vs. Florida – Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on March 10, 2008

Pack your bags Big Blue Nation because it looks as though with Kentucky’s very impressive win yesterday afternoon that they will be heading to the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky beat the Florida Gators yesterday in front of 24,200 fans in Rupp Arena by a score of 75-70. I was interested to see how Kentucky would start out against the Gators because yesterday was UK’s senior day for seniors Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawfordand I thought that they might jack up some shots early and I thought it might take a while for them to get the emotion of the day in check and get down to playing the game right, well I was right. Joe Crawford especially came out of the gates throwing up shots from every which way clearly because he was trying to get in a rythym on the most memorable day of his basketball career. After getting under control though, and after falling behind by as much as 8 in the first half, Kentucky got on a roll and used the crowd as an energy booster and really controlled the rest of the game against Florida. Behind great outings by two role players who have really stepped up over the last 2 weeks, Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson, Kentucky got out to a lead in the second half that was as large as 16 and played fantastic basketball against a Gator team that came into the game probably on the outside of the NCAA Tournament bubble picture and hoping to land a solid road win to boost their tourney resume’, but Kentucky would not allow it.

KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game

One reason why Kentucky played so well yesterday could be becuase they completed both KEYS TO THE GAME that I assigned to them. The first KEY TO THE GAME that Kentucky accomplished was to slow down the Florida freshman standout Nick Calathes. Calathes scorched the Wildcats in the first meeting for 24 points, 8 rebounds, & 8 assists. He almost had a triple-double in the first meeting so it was key to slow him down in the is game, and I think coach Billy Gillispiemade a great move by putting Ramon Harris on him instead of Ramel Bradley because:

A) Ramon did a PHENOMENAL job guarding Calathes by using his athleticism to his own advantage by keeping Calathes in front of him and not allowing him to drive to the hoop too often. Harris only allowed Calathes to score 16 points in this meeting and a lot of those points when Harris got screened and another player picked Calathes up.

B) Harris fouled out of the game because Calathes did a great job of drawing contact and forcing Harris to use his body to stop him a few times and had Bradley been guarding Nick Calathes I think he would have used the same strategy and if Bradley would have fouled out I think Kentucky might have lost the game because Ramel was really the only ball handler at the end of the game and he made key plays down the stretch like when he broke free on the press and got a tough reverse layup to give UK a little breathing room.

Calathes also got in some early foul trouble by picking up his second foul only half way through the first half so he kind of limited himself in that respect.

The second KEY TO THE GAME that Kentucky completed was for them to have their role players step up and have major roles in the game. This was a perfect KEY TO THE GAME to predict (I patted myself on the back) because Perry Stevenson yet again out-did his previous career best game by landing his second double-double in the last three games with a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 5 very much needed blocks. Many of Stevenson’s blocks came at crucial times or on what looked to be wide open layups or dunks. Stevenson also forced Marreese Speights and Nick Calathes, Florida’s two best players, to foul him which put both of them in foul trouble with 2 fouls each in the first half. I have already talked about how good Harris was in guarding Calathes (Which in my opinion was the ultimate KEY TO THE GAME) but he also did a great job shooting the ball. Harris came into the game shooting just over 30% from three point range but was 2-2 yesterday, both coming in close game situations. Without Stevenson and Harris yesterday stepping up the way they did there is no way Kentucky would have won the game because Florida could not just focus on Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford as teams were able to do in previous games without Patrick Patterson.

Surprise of the Game

In this game there were many SOG’s so I will list them all:

  1.  As I have already said twice before Ramon Harris’ defense on Nick Calathes was a major surprise and I think was the most important one because Calathes is the reason Florida won the first game and if he had a similar outing in this game they would have won again.
  2.  Derrick Jasper’s offensive ability would have to be another surprise, especially his long range shooting. Jasper has been thought to be the team’s worst shooting guard for the last two seasons but he really played terrific offensively in this game by hitting all four of his three pointers and had a very aggressive drive to the basket that would have been a dunk in a pre-knee injury game.
  3.  The third SOG was Perry Stevenson’s role in the offense. Stevenson had a career high point total with 18 and had a bunch of dunks and really sealed the game with his two free throws at the end of the game that gave Kentucky a 5 point lead, or a multiple possession lead.

NEXT GAME

March 14 vs. Georgia/Mississippi winner

9:40 on RAYCOM Sports (I think, I will update if necessary)

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