Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Easy There, Jimmy Dykes

The Kentucky - South Carolina tilt was great fun, and undoubtedly, tiny SC guard Devan Downey hit really big shots, and generated some serious headaches for the Kentucky press (in that it did not seem to faze him).

But I do feel that commentator Jimmy Dykes may have oversold the meme that is going to be repeated throughout the next 24 hours--that Downey single-handedly destroyed Kentucky with his incredible performance.

Clutch shooting-yes. Excellent trap breaking-yes. Incredible all-around performance? I'm uncomfortable describing any performance that way when it includes a shooting percentage under 32%. I also feel like it unfairly overshadows a South Carolina defense that held Kentucky to 62 points and a team FG percentage of under 38%. Compare that to Kentucky's most recent road victory against Auburn where they scored 72 and shot over 51%. Calipari himself pointed out that they gave up 15 offensive rebounds to South Carolina.

I'm not taking anything away from what Devan Downey did--he hit big shots, and sank his free throws, and handled the press as well as anyone can. I'm just saying that 9-28 shooting can not be the stat line on one of the most impressive performances in the SEC this year. Shooting percentages like that usually lead to losses, as a matter of fact. So, settle down, Jimmy Dykes.


Trot Nixon's Hat said...

This game exposed a giant flaw in UK's game - shooting. They have the best athletes in the country, but outside of 10 feet? I wouldn't trust them to save a life.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Trot Nixon's Hat--first of all, welcome, and nice handle. Awfully good of you to pay homage to such a filthy piece of clothing.

Secondly, you are right to a degree--I wouldn't call Kentucky an awful shooting team, but they can be really, really streaky. Bledsoe (just the 3rd best freshman on that team) had an awful shooting night, and they count on him to punish the double teams everywhere else.

Speaking of which, let's not forget that this Kentucky team starts three true freshman. This wasn't the first time all year they've looked rattled. It was the first time they've been punished for it.

The fullcourt press, when it works, makes the other team look like a bunch of spastic 8th graders. When it isn't effective, it has a risk of blowing up in one's face, and they you are the One Who Is a Spazzy 8th Grader.

So, to beat Kentucky--limit turnovers in the face of the press, force contested shots in the half-court, and have an unflappable floor general. Luckily for Kentucky, not too many teams have that. But if I'm Kentucky come March, I'm hoping that someone beats Kansas before I have to play them.

Trot Nixon's Hat said...

Big Blue Monkey -

Thanks for the compliment. How an any male not love a beaten up baseball cap?

I'll give you that - they are streaky. But, despite the talent, this is a typical Calipari team, in my eyes. Why?

1) No free throw shooting. I am a firm believer that terrible FT% is a result of coaching, not players' skill. not enough repetition of the FT is what makes for consistently low numbers there - it's an unguarded 15 foot jumper.

2) An over-reliance on team speed on defense, and the hope that your athletes can, on offense, just overpower the defensive talent.

That said, John Wall is an X-factor. When he gets shooting, he can SHOOT. And, you're right, Bledsoe could be critical if teams only focus on Wall in the back court.

I'm going to go out on a limb on this one, but this year, UK and KU won't be in the Final Four. They're both very good teams, but they do have big holes that, in a one and done format will be exposed too easily.