posted by Kevin Faris
If I am going to quote The Scorpions I would have preferred “Winds of Change,” not the least of which because it features a whistle solo. Why don’t more groups feature the whistle solo? Off the top of my head “Patience” by Guns and F’n Roses is the only one I can think of. However, because the Cats lost to a quality team in the Miami Hurricanes, again, and the coach continued to play less talented players, again, there is no change.
Let me start by saying I feel the anger put forth by Eric Patrick Marr. As a fellow Kyle Macy basketball camp alum I can feel the frustration. However, I think the reason for the loss can be narrowed down to two reasons. One of which Billy G. has control over and one of which he does not.
Reason 1: Starting Michael Porter over DeAndre Liggins.
In the post game presser, Billy G. stated what most of us know. The team has a bad habit of getting off to bad starts against good teams. Unlike the rest of us, he stated that he does not know why that is. Whether it is getting the ball to Patterson, not allowing your man to drive by you, or being a legit scoring threat, there is not one thing on the basketball court that Porter does better than Liggins.
I don’t like to say a player sucks. Rather, I think it is better to point out what he can or cannot do. Porter is a tough, gritty kid. If I had my head busted open like he did I doubt I would be back out there a few days later. However, when it comes to basketball talent, he is completely outclassed by Liggins, who had some Rondo-esque drives to the basket last night.
Liggins is not perfect and will make mistakes, however most of these appear to be of the mental variety, taking a bad shot, throwing a pass to hard, or trying to force a pass when it is not there. This is something that can be fixed with experience. Porter does not make the same mental mistakes, but his physical ability is far behind Liggins. Porter’s defenders will point out he only had one turnover. That does not prove he had a good game, it simply proves he did not have a horrible game. When Porter is booed at Rupp or ripped on message boards and radio shows, I don’t completely blame the fans. Billy G. deserves some of the blame for repeatedly putting Porter in a position where he cannot succeed. UK has a lot of problems that can be connected to coaching, but not playing your most talented players is the most glaring and the most easily remedied.
Reason 2: No Ramon Harris.
I am surprised more people have not mentioned this. UK, despite having 20 players on the bench, is not a deep. The loss of Harris hurts. While Darius Miller is a talented freshman, at this point in their respective careers Harris is WAY better at defense and also better at offense. Miller passed up a lot of open shots last night and is only 1-9 from 3 point range on the season. When Miami has a full complement of players, including their star guard who only played 5 minutes in their loss to Ohio State and another key sub who was suspended, they are better than a less than 100% UK.
What was lost last night was not simply a game, but a chance to chalk up a key non-conference win for the post season resume and a chance to rally the fans and help them forget the early season setbacks against VMI and UNC. UK should be 10-3 heading into their game against UL, which, while a better record than last year, falls short of UK fans expectations.