Analysis of the UK-UNC Game

Read the UK-UNC game break-down right here by BBN Basketball Analyst Brett Ayers, aka mikeness30.

Okay, I have a hypothetical situation to pose to you fine UK fans, here it goes.  If you take your starting point guard and ground him academically until the second semester and add in your three man in their as well with a broken wrist and for spice top it off with several high profile dismissals from last year's team in the off season what do you get?  If you said a win at UNC by 17 points and 5 and 1 record you would have been spot on.  All though you would be hard pressed to find many things I agree with Dick Vitale on, I will say he made an astute observation on the end of the world mentality by some Kentucky fans out there.  I will never claim that in watching a Tubby Smith team I find myself going, wow, what a great play, better get that diagrammed out before I forget it. But, I will say that I find myself watching a team that usually always competes, regardless.  That is the key, in my mind.


This was a game that was certainly played very differently from half to half.  With the passiveness that was brought on in the first half by more zone than needed against these young Heels, the Wildcats found themselves down by 3 while getting nothing from Camara and or Estill.   In the second half there was no doubting where that ball was going and furthermore, there would be some better blocking out on the part of the Wildcats on the defensive boards.  Keith Bogans has truly found himself again realizing that he can shoot threes until he is blue in the face but his driving is what will win him and his team some games this year. 


Kentucky Offensive Schemes- I saw Kentucky utilize during this game both the flex offense and some simple pass and pick away motion offense along with a combination of about three or four simple entry plays that usually ended up being pick the picker plays from different spots on the court.  Kentucky showed some very nice patience, unlike Carolina, and worked the ball around more than 3 or 4 passes on many different occasions during this game.  One of the keys to Kentucky finding success in at least getting UNC in foul trouble early on was in their reversing of the ball offensively and then after three or four passes attacking the basket.  UK's age showed in this game as they realized much better than the younger Heels that trying to drive against a set defense of any type after only two passes will not generally lead to successful offensive conversions.  


 Both Bogans and Fitch stepped up huge in this game. Keith played the game he always should and could play and Fitch became what he is not, which is a point guard.  The opportunities that Bogans opens up for himself by driving first, shooting second are vast.   The funny thing with Keith is that he will generally shoot better when someone is right on him because it forces him to lift his shooting arm up above his eyes on his release thus giving him a lot better arc and the shot is not long.   Fitch played a tremendous game coming up with some big shots when they were needed.


Both Camara and Estill are going to have to play better with more consistency.  I liked Estill's low block game in the second half as he showed both the capability to shoot the baby hook either right or left handed.  I also liked the way that when the ball came down to him and UNC double or tripled him he shot it back out for a wide open shot by someone on the perimeter.  I still would have liked to have seen those two guys board better out of the zone in the first half.  Had they done this, UK would have never trailed that entire game. 


Make no mistakes though about this offensive explosion by the Cats, the poor and inexperienced UNC squad helped this along mightily at times.  One of the things UNC can still not do is play very good team defense.  The concept of help and recover and moving your feet first instead of reaching first when someone dribbles is not yet part of the youngsters understanding of the game.  It will be in time, I am sure.  I can remember at least a half a dozen times where UK got shots with UNC players right up on them but they had their hands right down at their sides, basically making their juxtaposition to them pointless.  Daniels is another guys that when he gets back in full form game wise will really make this team much, much tougher.   Hayes is the kind of player every other team wishes they had.  Just does a little bit of everything.  Very active.


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