The game has been over for a couple of days now. So if you are one of the ones to say “It’s over. Move on. Get over it”, then this post isn’t for you. I appreciate you stopping by, but I haven’t written out all of my thoughts yet and closed the door on the game, so that is what I am going to do. You may disagree with me, and that is fine. We can have a discussion on things like that. But this forum is for me to hit on a few key points that I saw on Saturday. After getting this out, I will then be able to turn the page and move on.
The last play
This post began with me typing about the final play of the game. I got to into it that I just went ahead and made a whole new post just about the play. It talks about how the off-balance three pointer was not the only option, and I explain what else there was. I won’t put all of that here again, but you can read it by clicking here if you wish.
That boy can play ball. Every now and then, a Kentucky player will come through the program and he is one that you can’t really dislike, even if he is a Calipari player. Tyler Ulis is that guy for me. The smallest guy on the court, but he sure doesn’t play like it. Ulis has now hit big shot after big shot two years in a row against the Cards.
When Louisville would make a run and maybe cut it from 10 to 7 on Saturday, it seemed like Ulis would bury a deep 3 and it was just deflating. Or he was driving into the lane in the first half and scoring against our big guys. Kentucky went as Ulis went on Saturday, and he carried them to victory. He is a heck of a player, and if you deny that, you just aren’t being realistic.
Lee & Lewis
Where would we be without Damion Lee and Trey Lewis? I don’t even want to think about it. These guys combined for 42 of Louisville’s 73 points on Saturday. Trey Lewis took control in the first half, and Damion Lee finally came around in the second half. Nobody else for UofL scored in double figures. Their leadership, ability to score, and overall maturity is going to take this team a long way this season. I do believe that. What they bring to this team in terms of leadership is a 180 from the guys on the roster last year that are no longer at UofL (not all of them, but most).
Mitchell entered the second half with 15:13 to play and the Cards down by 14. When he came in, you could see a spark in the freshman. I don’t just say that after the fact because we know how well he played. If you paid attention, you saw him encouraging his teammates with “Let’s go” commands and a positive attitude.
Sometimes, it just takes someone coming in and making some hustle plays to wake up the other guys. Mitchell did exactly that. He was the stereotypical “spark off the bench” that made things happen when he got in. He was not overwhelmed by the moment. He thrived in it. He was also the first to go console Damion Lee at the buzzer. A selfish kid would have been upset that he didn’t get the ball and he would have hung his head. Mitchell wanted to make sure his teammate was alright.
Basically, Donovan Mitchell is awesome.
Look, Kentucky came into the game shooting something like 29% from the three point line. They shot 11-23 for 47.8% on Saturday. Some of their shots were from deep and with the shot clock winding down. Sometimes you tip your cap and say that it was their day and their shots were just on. Could adjustments have been made? Well of course, but the strategy to make them beat you from the outside was the right one.
When we did play man, it didn’t work out very well. So you make them shoot. They made them that day. They may not shoot like that for the rest of the season. I’m sure that would make everyone feel just great.
And now, I can move on…I think.