Kentucky starts off the season 1-5 for the first time since the 1926-27 season.. Ouch. They've lost 5 straight for the first time since the 1989-90 season. A tough start to the season, and Kentucky has their next game at Louisville.
Kentucky showed the Big Blue Nation great hope in their second half performance against Notre Dame, and fans were riding the wave that maybe they'd continue it versus North Carolina. The Wildcats came out pretty hot, being led by veteran guard Davion Mintz, as he made 3 of his first five three-point attempts. Kentucky managed to maintain the first half lead for 16:40 of the first twenty minutes. Boston, Askew and Mintz combined for 30 of our 38 halftime points.
Halftime: Kentucky leads, 38-34.
The second half got underway, and per usual, Kentucky transitioned back into the struggling offense we've seen all season long. The consecutive turnovers, allowing the starting core to shoot their way out of a slump (which wasn't successful), and the officials fighting for their TV time.
It's absurd the amount of time that the referees blew whistle throughout this game, not just for Kentucky, but on both sides. There were 10 fouls called in the first 3:56 of the second half, and a total of FIFTY FIVE fouls in just 40 minutes of play. At that pace, it's just a stop-go, stop-go kind of game that isn't fun to watch for anyone. The final product of this game was Kentucky having four players foul out- Sarr, Clarke, Ware and Jackson (three of which are starters), and BJ Boston and Davion Mintz being left with 3 each. 21 fouls on the starting five.. That is not basketball. Anyways, at the end of the day, you can't control what the officials do, but you can control missing 12 free-throws, giving up 38 points in the paint, and having 16 turnovers. The Tarheels had more assists, more bench points, and more second chance points. Numbers don't lie, and they always tell the story of the game.
Final: North Carolina defeats Kentucky, 75-63.
The whole first half, and about 7-10 minutes into the second half I can honestly say I was happy with how they were playing. Despite making many mistakes, they found ways to make up for it. I liked what I seen from Devin Askew. BJ Boston shot a lot of ill-advised shots but he managed to finish with 15 points. Davion Mintz is our best player as of today, and we seen a lot of production from Lance Ware and Jacob Toppin.
In my opinion, Terrence Clarke is not our best choice at point guard. For some reason Cal is stuck on him playing in that position, and I've not seen anything good from it. The easy answer would be to start Davion Mintz at point guard, but I feel as if Cal is too afraid to make that move because it might 'downplay' his five-star point guard Devin Askew. That's just my take.
Another thing, Olivier Sarr finished with more turnovers than he did points. The final piece to this roster, who were suppose to be our golden ticket to the Final Four, and he finishes with just two points. That cannot happen. I know he was battling foul trouble, but its so obvious he has no awareness of how to manage having foul trouble. With three and four fouls, he puts his head straight down and drives into players while heading to the rim, begging for the foul to be called. I believe Olivier Sarr is better than what we've seen from him this season, and I'm just waiting for him to bloom. Sarr finished with 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block companied by 3 turnovers. I don't mean to be so hard on Olivier Sarr, but I just expect so much more out of him.
Lastly, PUT DONTAIE ALLEN IN.
Kentucky is now 1-5, heading into the KFC Yum! Center the day after Christmas.
Heads up, BBN.