6) ...we were able to run our offense and get shots. We just didn't make them.
Sounds like they weren't terribly impressed with UK or Rupp Arena, in spite of the standard praise after the game... Impressed with Morris? Yes, because he carried the team -- along with the Freshmen.
Point one. UK's offense is abysmal, again. It's predictable. It's dull. And, I firmly believe it lulls the UK players to sleep more than it affects their opponents. Six points in the first ten minutes against U of L? Ridiculous. The Cardinals just aren't very good, and you know it. If this team doesn't get better offensively, then no amount of defense, real or imagined, will help get them beyond the second round of the NCAA tournament. EVER.
Point two. Neither IU nor U of L could throw the ball in the ocean during those games, in spite of getting LOTS of open shots too. If they make their average, UK loses both games. If Santa Clara makes their open shots, the outcome might have been different too. But, quality teams with real (not imagined) aspirations for a national title will hit those shots -- or still win even if they don't, like UCLA.
Point three. The upper-classmen, apart from Morris, just aren't that good. Let's face it. No amount of cajoling will get Bobby Perry to be a "go to" guy. He's really built to be a quality back-up -- not the leader of a supposed top-five program.
I hate to sound mean, but he comes from a state with lots of basketball-oriented schools, and none of them recruited him. Correct me if I'm wrong. Does that make him bad? No, he's just not what many have hoped he would be. He certainly can play better than he has, but UK CANNOT rely on him to duplicate last year's tournament games on a regular basis. It's unfair to expect that much from him, but it is reasonable to expect him to quit making the really stupid mistakes, like lazy passes. He's supposed to be a senior.
Sheray Thomas? Here and there, yes, he contributes something positive. But, in four years, he's really only had one complete game... Off the top of your head, can you think of more than one? I don't mean to berate the kid, but the team can't look to him either.
Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley? Jay Bilas had it right when he said Crawford too often is a black hole with the ball. He has never really become an outside threat, and Keith Bogans was far better on the dribble-drive than Crawford has been -- or will be, I
Bradley dribbles too much too, but Bob Cousy he ain't. I like his heart, but I don't like his wild inconsistency or his silly turnovers.
Obrzut? He called himself "silent but deadly," but that's true most often in ways other than he means. And, for God's sake, I wish Tubby would put him in a position where he can succeed -- FACING THE BASKET.
Point four. I really like Meeks, Stevenson, Jasper, and Porter. They should get more and more playing time. They're Freshmen... they'll make Freshmen mistakes... but no more than the upper-classmen do!
Point five. If Morris leaves after this year, UK will be hurting again next year unless this Freshmen class are complimented well with next year's Frosh. Maybe I'm a bit premature, but I have yet to see anything from sophomore to senior class - apart from Morris when he's not on the bench with foul trouble - to make me think this team will ever come close to the final four.
Thank you for your time.
Larry: Thanks for the insightful e-mail. You make great, and fair, points. I can't see this as a Final Four team, either. I do agree about the freshmen -- and about the problems you pointed out for the individual players. I am not sure if the offense ruins the players or if the talent ruins the offense. But it is lacking. UK's only hope -- again -- is to play great defense and win ugly. Can they do that? On some nights, but not every night.'
Write any time.