(Photo Courtesy of Courier=Journal)
Note to self: Never ever make John Calipari angry. Case in point, the Wildcats beat a big and physical Ole Miss team.
By 23 points.
After last week’s loss to Louisville, Coach Calipari took the blame squarely upon his shoulder by telling the press that any mistakes that his young players made were made because he has allowed them to be made. If last night’s game was any indicator of what Calipari’s focus during practice was throughout the week, it was that turnovers are unacceptable. What transpired last night was a Kentucky total of 24 assists with only 8 turnovers, while Ole Miss was limited to 13 assists and a dismal 15 turnovers. Quite simply, this led to the Wildcats looking like a poised and relaxed team, albeit there were several maddening turnovers that led to many groans and angrily shaking heads across the bluegrass state (Looking at you there, Derek Willis).
However, the bone-headed, freshmen mistakes that is to be expected from a young team were largely absent last night, being replaced by selfless and intense play. Hell, even Isaiah Briscoe posted a Triple Double last night, which makes De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe the only two teammates in NCAA history to record a Triple Double in the same season. A large chunk of Briscoe’s assists came from the monstrous Bam Adebayo who routinely powered to the rim through double teams, easily scoring against Ole Miss’s own big man Sebastian Siaz. This game was a fantastic illustration of how much the Kentucky offense relies upon Adebayo as he was either consistently scoring at will or kicking the ball out to the perimeter after drawing the double team. Despite a spirited effort by Siaz (23 points and 10 rebounds), Ole Miss could not keep up in the open court nor could they shut down the mighty interior play of Adebayo and company, which demonstrates how ridiculously fast and strong this young Kentucky team is. My advice to the rest of the teams on Kentucky’s schedule: