One team won the SEC regular season championship. The other lost four straight to end the season. But when LSU and Kentucky tipped off today there were thousands of UK fans in the crowd and only a few hundred LSU fans. Just shows how much more important basketball is in Lexington than Baton Rouge. Or Gainesville for that matter.
The Wildcats have broken out their black uniforms. They wore them once earlier this year to honor longtime equipment manager Bill “Mr. Wildcat” Keightley, who passed away last year.
I swear, it’s louder here than it is in Rupp. Kentucky fans are making a lot of noise, as their team rallies from down 13-5 to pull within one.
Marcus Thornton, the second-leading scorer in the league, scores 13 of LSU’s first 18 points. Jodie Meeks, the leading scorer in the league, has not attempted a shot in the first 12 minutes. That’s just weird.
Both teams are playing stout defense in the first half. That’s a kind way of saying that both teams have had some ugly possessions in the first half. Garrett Temple’s jumper with six seconds to go gives LSU a 28-23 lead at the half. Meeks has four points. Kentucky never seems to run any plays on offense. The Wildcats just dribble drive and pass it around the perimeter.
To be fair, I’m not a big fan of the way LSU plays offense, either. The Tigers take a lot of bad shots and force drives into traffic. After watching that classic Big East six overtime game last night, this game – supposedly the marquee game of the day – is not a good argument for the SEC being better than everybody believes.
LSU goes up 10 as Tasmin Mitchell gets hot. Kentucky’s substitution pattern has been baffling all year and it continues to be that way today. Billy Gillispie coaches like a baseball manager looking for matchups in certain situations.
LSU hits three straight 3s to go up 14. If Kentucky loses, this arena will be a ghost town on Saturday and Sunday. Watch out for the tumbleweed.
LSU gets a break when Bo Spencer falls to the ground and Michael Porter is called for a foul. It should be Kentucky ball, down seven with 1:37 to play. Instead, Spencer hits two free throws and this one is over.
I just saw Spencer say to a teammate, “I got 14? i though I had at least 15.” With 4.8 seconds to play, he gets his 15th point. And his 16th. LSU wins 67-58. Enjoy the NIT, Big Blue fans.