Looked to me like the best team in the country beating a Mississippi State team which was ready to knock them off. The No.2 Wildcats (25-1, 10-1) defeated State (18-8, 6-5), 81-75, in overtime. State was missing their leading scorer, Ravern Johnson, who was suspended for the game, but they still played a great game. Kentucky has four outstanding players: John Wall is incredible. He had 18 points, 10 boards, eight assists, three steals and two blocks. He's something else. Had a huge block in overtime. He's a phenom.
So is DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was dominant with 19 points and 14 boards, his 16th double-double of the season. Cal has him playing like Wilt Chamberlin. He's pretty much unstoppable.
Patrick Patterson is just so solid. He had 19 points and 10 boards. Eric Bledsoe, the fourth superstar, had 10.
They're just so loaded. State was led by Dee Bost who had 22. State is hanging by a thread for the tourney. They've got a lot of work left. Right now, I would say they're out.
Kentucky's Achilles Heel is their 3-point shooting. Sometimes they're on, but last night they were four-of-24 (16.7%). State, which jacks up threes like it's their last rights, was 10-of-35 (28%). Ky was 21-of-31 from the line and State was 11-of-16.
The State fans got rowdy throwing bottles on the court at the end of the game. You'd think people would learn from the West Virginia fans behavior two weeks ago when they hit a Pitt assistant with a coin on the side of his face, to stop doing that. Hopefully the conference can put an end to that. I'm sure State will be fined, maybe heavily.
I wasn't sure there was a great team this year nationally; everybody was too inconsistent. But after watching the Wildcats last night, I'm convinced they're great. They've just got an amazing ensemble of four players who dominate a game. Wall is electric and fast as a bullet. Cousins is a dominator. I haven't seen Kansas a lot this year. I watched them Monday Night at Texas A&M and they got the 'W' over the 23rd ranked team in the country; so that's pretty impressive. I just think Kentucky is better. Kentucky, in my opinion, is the best team in the country.
The Wildcats play at Vandy Sat at 5 p.m. on ESPN. Will be there and give a detailed report on Sunday. I don't think Vandy has an answer for Wall and Cousins. Jermaine Beal is a great point guard for the 'Dores and he can keep them in it. They need to get frosh John Jenkins back from his stomach illness. They need all the weapons they can muster, particularly from the outside. They have to shoot well, particularly from trifecta range. They usually do in Memorial Gym.
The key for Vandy is: can A.J. Ogilvy and his inside teammates go toe-to-toe with Cousins and Patterson. Ogilvy hasn't proved that he could in the past. That'll be his challenge.
UAB plays at Southern Miss which has won five of their last six. UAB really needs to win out and may need to win the tourney also to get a bid. That's probably what has to happen. The Blazers just don't shoot the ball well enough and their defense has broken down lately. I don't know if they can get it back. It doesn't look that way right now.