NEW YORK --
The Wildcats' first half was abysmal, particularly the performance of the latest in coach John Calipari's fellowship of one-and-done point guards, Marquis Teague. The younger brother of the Hawks' Jeff had six turnovers (including four in the first 3:08) against zero assists, and just one point. He looked lost, and they went into the break tied 28-28. "We don't believe that we have to truly play together yet," Calipari lamented. He said after UK's season-opening blowout of Marist that Teague had briefly "lost his head," and it had not been recovered on the way to New York.
The current version of Carolina is not capable of playing that sloppily, because its point guard, Kendall Marshall, is a maestro. And yet ... it isn't capable of the breathtaking display of defensive athleticism that UK used to break open the game in the second half, either. Anthony Davis (who had seven blocks and helped hold KU star Thomas Robinson to 11 points) is John Henson with more range. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (who added three blocks, and helped lock down KU's backcourt) can be a perimeter stopper like no other. Terrence Jones can hold his own on the block. The Wildcats have a
Many Twitterers suggested this evening that Davis (who had 14 points, six rebounds and seven blocks) is, in fact, not human. That he's an alien, sent from another planet as a shot-blocking mercenary. When he goes through medical examinations at the NBA Draft combine next year -- prior to him being taken with the No. 1 overall pick -- we will get conclusive answers. HIPAA laws shield Kentucky from having to reveal anything. I'm leaning towards extraterrestrial, though, for one reason: the aliens' basketball breeding project spent so much time focusing on his defensive-reaction skills that they forgot to give Davis human eyebrows. The unibrow is a dead giveaway.
As for Kentucky, Calipari went with only a six-man rotation on Tuesday: Teague, Doron Lamb, Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones and Davis, with Darius Miller coming off the bench. Calipari said he wants to play freshman Kyle Wiltjer 15 minutes per game, but it seems that he'll have to earn them with tougher D. The biggest question for UK is less about numbers than it is personnel: If Teague doesn't come along as a playmaker and a leader, who will step up as the primary creator? Lamb can serve as a backup point, but his optimal role is as a Reggie Miller-like screen-runner. Miller, the only Wildcat who had more assists (4) than turnovers (2) against Kansas, might make sense. He's far more of a point forward than a point guard, but he's a savvy senior, and what this volatile team needs most is a steady hand.