What do you say about a game like this? Not much-- this is going to be short. The game was over at 18:25 when Kentucky went up 7-0.The Bruins turned it over three times in their first six possessions forcing Steve Alford called a time out.
The final score was 83-44. The Bruins shot 25% for the game, while Kentucky dominated in absolutely every statistical category.
It was a complete beat down, and an embarrassment for the team, staff, administration, fans and us bloggers. Dan Guerrero, did you watch every second of this game? But I have to write a post-mortem besides "they all suck."
Why did this happen today (aside from the off-court back story of this team)? Kentucky played the first half with championship-level intensity, confidence and no nerves on a national stage. They pressed full-court all first half, and played a barnacle-like stifling man defense. They wanted to dish out an embarrassment to the Bruins.
And simply, they are better at every position than the Bruins -- in most cases, the second platoon is better than UCLA at every position. Is Kentucky going to win the National Championship? Yes.
Meanwhile, forget about the talent, the Bruins' season-long confidence and nerves problem peaked today. Did any Bruin actually play? Yes -- Tony Parker.
Kentucky led 24-0 until Looney scored at 11:19. The Bruin had missed their first 17 shots. The halftime score was 41-7.
The obvious question: where do the Bruins go from here? Can you come back from something like this; against Alabama or the conference?
There's no hard analysis to do. Here are some objective observations:
The Bruins came out in a conservative zone (the first time this season they started in zone), and they went into Parker and Looney three times in the first seven possessions. Strategically, they followed the conventional wisdom. Interestingly, they switched to man at 11:19.
For the first time, we saw Looney, Parker and Welsh on the floor at the same time at 9:30. Golomon replaces Looney shortly after, but Welsh and Parker continues to play together.
I thought Tony put in a legitimate effort, especially in the first half. Although only 1-7 with 4 rebounds at that point, he continued to go at Kentucky without fear. That said, his shot was continually altered by Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson and Karl-Anthony Town. The casual observer would say he was forcing it, but I ask: what other choice was there? The rest of the team was shaking in their boots.
When the second platoon came in at the first TV timeout, Kentucky cooled off a bit, and the Bruins started to close the rebounding gap. UCLA was outrebounding Kentucky 26-23 early in the second half, but lost the battle for the game, 42-48
There won't be another Kentucky on the schedule, but the beat down of the UCLA guards is particularly noteworthy. Calipari talked up Bryce before the game, and Kentucky held him scoreless for 2/3 of the game. The other two didn't do much either. When that happens, the match-ups of the bigs doesn't matter. I have a bit of sympathy for Looney and Parker. Bryce upped his stats by the end of the game, some of it playing off-the-ball when Norman brought the ball up.
Looney's stock probably dropped, fairly or unfairly. Chad Ford had him at number five on his board, but that is sure to change relative to the Kentucky big men. That may be unfair when the guards are nonexistent, but at the same time, he didn't have Parker's determination.
I actually liked Welsh -- relatively speaking. He had no stats, but after the game was out-of-control, and the nerves subsided, he did a good job on Dakari Johnson: boxing out, challenging shots, and making good switches on ball screens.