Sunday, December 18, 2005

Wow! Now THAT DIDN'T Suck!

Back from a depression-filled week of moaning about that Indiana debacle -- I really do take these things wayyy to seriously you know.

After their own week off, the Cats were back in action yesterday vs. The Great Satan® in Rupp Arena.

The normally sedate crowd was in full throat throughout, and the goings-on couldn't have been further from last Saturday's if they were held on Uranus ... er, Pluto.

Led by the rapier-like Rajon Rondo, the Cats dismantled the other Red Menace 73-61 in a game that (as is often the case with Tubby's teams) wasn't that close. Louisville may well be one of the better teams in the country eventually, but yesterday they looked thoroughly pedestrian -- mediocre, even.

For their part, the Cats played with some intensity, and the difference showed. It appears (and newspaper accounts agree) that Rondo has been given both greater latitude and greater responsibility by the Coach. This is both appropriate and necessary, as #4 has the ability to break down defenses on his own (and did so repeatedly against the Ville yesterday). 25 points and 7 assists attest to the soundness of the idea. Include an increasingly rejuvenated Joe Crawford (whose monster dunk brought the house down early in the second half), and you have a game in which the Cats never trailed, and led most of the game by double-digits.

The (most recent) outcome of the Morris Randolph saga took some of the importance of this game away. Prior to that, I had it in mind that this was almost certainly the most important December game in the 30 years I've been a Kentucky fan. Without Morris, and given last week's horrific display, a poor effort vs. TGS® may well have been a pair of cement shoes on the season.

Randolph's return in January now means that the true measure of the team is still a ways in the offing -- which is only as it should be. A meaningful December game is a magnificent rarity -- a Nessie still waiting to be glimpsed, an Alabaman still waiting to be probed by some curious extraterrestrial. His insertion (alright, I'll stop with this now) back into the lineup will give opponents one more threat to ignore as they try to deal with Rajon's drives.

What a difference a week makes. All is well again in Wildcat Country.

At least for now.


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