I still can't tell about this Kentucky Wildcat team. Coming off of back to back wins against ranked teams (North Carolina and UCONN) I still cannot get a good feel for how far this Kentucky team can go. But here are some observations I have had so far:
This is a much better team with John Wall on the Floor. Thank you captain obvious, but Wall is able to kick this team up into a higher gear. Kentucky struggled last night while Wall was on the bench and struggled against UNC in the second half while he was out with cramps. The kid is good. I hesitate to put him up with some of the company that broadcasters are but he is very very good.
Kentucky needs to find some other offensive options. Look, I understand Calipari's offense and the most popular offense in the state now the dribble drive. But what happens when you play a good athletic defensive team who keeps you from getting to the rim? We have seen that with both North Carolina and UCONN. They are winning games so I am not going to be "that guy" but I would like to see some more options utilized out of this offense.
Patrick Patterson is the heart of this team. Sure John Wall gets all of the highlights and is a stat sheet stuffer but anyone who watches this team and most importantly watches the interaction on the court knows that Patterson is the leader. P-Pat is the extension of Calipari on the floor and is constantly getting these young freshman in their places. He put the Cats on his shoulders for the UNC game.
Kentucky will need to find some more depth if they want to make a run. Right now they are getting good production out of their starters but have a big drop off from there. Dodson, Stevenson, and Harris are getting some minutes but not putting up the offense while they are out on the floor. Freshman Daniel Orton has been huge for a defensive pickup but I would like to see some of these guards step up for Kentucky.
They will need to sustain a level of intensity for the whole game. This team is the epitome of a team of runs. They will jump up on a team early then sit back and try to make ESPN highlight reel. Coach Calipari has said it numerous times this year but if they want to be in the upper echelon they will need to sustain that level of intensity for a full game and put teams away when the opportunity is there.
I am not complaining about this team at all. Coach Calipari has come in here and in a very short period of time brought Kentucky back from the trash heap to the top. But when you watch this team they look like a group of young talented kids who are skating their way through the competition. Last years team would not have been able to compete with the likes of UNC or UCONN so they have improved a great deal. But I hope to see them very late in the contention in March and I think in order to do so they have a lot to clean up.