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What we learned: Kentucky’s not that good
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On November 12, 2012 @ 12:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first weekend of college basketball season always seems like a mixed bag. In some cases, we get to see if a team is actually as good as it was hyped up to be or we find out if the magic from last season is still there for some teams. Then on the other hand, we have cases where we don’t find out anything at all, particularly in the instance of “sacrificial lamb” smaller schools visiting power conferences.
In this season’s opening weekend of college hoops we had a plethora of questions answered, but we also saw the unpredictable—surprising wins, one deflating loss from a player ruled ineligible, and of course, carrier games cancelled from wet floors.
Here’s a breakdown of the things we learned from this weekend.
The Kentucky Wildcats are not who we thought they were
John Calipari was surprised when his young Kentucky squad was ranked as the third best team in the country in preseason polls, calling voters “goofballs.”
After the Wildcats’ first game of the season, now we understand why.
Sure, Kentucky won the national championship last season, but thanks to the NBA Draft, Calipari’s entire roster was virtually wiped out. Still, Calipari has been dominant in recruiting top high school players (who end up leaving for the NBA after one year) and again landed another incredible freshmen class highlighted by top prospect Nerlens Noel.
But in Kentucky’s opener on Friday vs. Maryland at Barclays Center, it was two non-freshmen heroes — junior back-up point guard Jarrod Polson (10 points in the game’s final minutes, two clinching free throws in the final seconds) and sophomore Kyle Witjer (team-high 19 points on four 3-pointers) — who helped the Wildcats prevail in a 72-69 win.
In a game that featured Noel and promising 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, the best big man on the court wasn’t wearing a Kentucky uniform. Yes, Maryland fans, Alex Len is your messiah (much better than Terrell Stoglin last season). The 7-1 sophomore had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, almost enough to help his team charge all the way back from a … [For more on What we learned from college hoops' opening weekend: Kentucky's not that good, click here.]
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