The Wildcats of Kentucky faced the Dook Blue Devils on Tuesday. UNC will face Dook twice this year. It is also very conceivable that UNC might meet the University of Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. In my opinion, Tuesday’s match-up of Dook versus UK is a gift. It allowed UNC to sit back and watch their competition. Dook came out on top of UK this game. The question is: what can we learn?
Besides the fact that I was rooting for either the game to end in a tie or a massive sinkhole would form, swallowing both teams and players in to the Earth’s molten hot core, I think it was an important win for UNC. You’re probably saying, “But Dook won. How is this a good thing for UNC?” Well, Dook didn’t really steal one of our prized recruits from under our nose. John Calipari (who I’m convinced moonlights as a used car salesman) snatched Nerlens Noel from the Tar Heels. Am I bitter? Yes, yes I am. The best part of it is that Tar Heel fans know, under get-rich-quick Calipari, Noel will jump for the NBA next season—so we won’t have to worry about him past this year.
1) Tar Heel fans learned that karma can be immediate and gratifying.
2) We also learned that we are going to have to defend Dook guard Seth Curry a lot better than Kentucky did. The senior guard dropped 23 on the Wildcat’s heads to get UK in a 14 point hole during one part in the game. The perimeter guards heated up from behind the arch to finish 8-18. UNC has to stay honest during drives and not leave their outside assignments for quick passes and open threes.
3) Chapel Hill now knows: if you shut down Kentucky’s freshmen, you win. Freshmen forward Alex Poythress put up 20 points while Nerlins Noel dropped 16 points and snatched 8 rebounds. Combined, they scored 36 of Kentucky’s 68. That’s 52.9% of their offense.
By focusing on Dook’s only real outside shooter and shutting down Kentucky’s freshmen front line, UNC now has a foundation to build a winning game plan against two of college basketball’s giants.