Twenty quick thoughts on Kentucky’s win over Ohio State

(H-L photo/Mark Cornelison)

(H-L photo/Mark Cornelison)

Twenty quick thoughts — no time for questions — on Kentucky’s brilliant 62-60 win over Ohio State.

  1. Kentucky won this game with its defense. The Cats held the Buckeyes to 32.8 percent shooting, OSU’s third-worst shooting game of the year. This was the same Ohio State team that was shooting 49.9 percent for the season.
  2. Kentucky guarded the three-point shot well. The Buckeyes made 28 of 50 three-pointers in their first two games of the tournament. Ohio State was six of 16 against Kentucky.
  3. Against George Mason, David Lighty made seven-of-seven three-pointers. Against UK, Lighty was one of four from beyond the arc.
  4. In the post-game press conference, Josh Harellson, he of the 17 points and 10 rebounds, said he had gone up against the best centers in the country the past two years. He mentioned DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson last year, and Enes Kanter this year. Good point. Very good point.
  5. Down the stretch, Ohio State’s Jon Diebler could not guard DeAndre Liggins, who continually beat him to the basket. Liggins scored four of Kentucky’s last six points.
  6. Kentucky was the more athletic team. Key stat: The Cats blocked 11 Ohio State shots. Ohio State blocked one Kentucky shot.
  7. After Calipari screamed at Brandon Knight, “You’re 0-for-12. Pass!!!!!”, Knight hit two big shots, including the game-winner with five seconds remaining.
  8. First half, Ohio State made 12 of 15 free throws. Kentucky made four of four. Second half, Ohio State made four of seven free throws. Kentucky was eight of 10 at the line.
  9. Jared Sullinger is very good. Ohio State’s freshman center scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. But he did have four turnovers, and blocked just one shot.
  10. Charles Barkley said that Kentucky would win because of its depth. We all laughed at Sir Charles. But maybe he was right. UK’s bench outscored Ohio State’s bench 15-2.

The second 10:

  1. In the post-game press conference, OSU coach Thad Matta interrupted a question to one of his players by saying, “Come on man, that team won the SEC Tournament. That’s a good team.” Later, he said, “I apologize. But that’s the best team we’ve played all year.”
  2. How sweet that the team that for so long could not win a close game, won what was the biggest game of the year by two points.
  3. Terrence Jones made just three of 10 shots, but he did hit a couple of key rainbow three-pointers.
  4. Jones and Knight were a combined six-for-20 from the floor. The rest of the Cats were 16-for-28.
  5. The lead changed hands 19 times. And the score was tied 11 times.
  6. Ohio State did not have a single fast-break point.
  7. Kentucky plays North Carolina on Sunday at 5:05 for a trip to the Final Four. UK lost to North Carolina 75-73 back in December. “They are a whole lot better now,” said Calipari. But Kentucky is a whole lot better.
  8. And, oh yeah, Calipari coached his rear end off in this game. First half, as UK was being called for 11 fouls to Ohio State’s four, he worked the refs. Second half, he worked his team, to great effect.
  9. This is the first time since 2006 that a No. 4 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed in the round of 16. That was LSU’s win over Duke. LSU then beat Texas to reach the Final Four.
  10. The head of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee was Gene Smith, the Ohio State athletic director. The committee seeded Kentucky fourth, and put the Cats in the same region with Ohio State. Sure in Columbus they are thinking, good work, Gene.

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