3 things we learned: UK 69, Louisville 62



Three things we learned in UK’s 69-62 win over Louisville:

1. The impact of the refs — It sucks that officials are one of the focuses in a rivalry game, but their imprint on the game was undeniable. From the opening tip of the game, fouls were doled out in bunches. UK got whistled for three within a span of six seconds on one possession; Louisville was called for enough to get UK in the bonus within five minutes of the game.

The calls did prevent things from getting chippy, as the game did two years ago. But both teams struggled getting into any kind of rhythm, and both coaches had to shuffle their lineups constantly. Louisville had its top two rebounders, Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan, in constant foul trouble, while UK had its two guards capable of running the point, Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb, limited.

At games end, 52 calls were fouled. I didn’t think it was bad officiating; more like over-officiating. But UK was propelled by two players …

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to be the MVP — Oddly enough, the one player who didn’t get in foul trouble was Kidd-Gilchrist. The last three games he picked up two in the first half; this game, he had zero. He carried UK in the first half and ending up with a monster stat line of 24 points and 19 rebounds. With Davis sidelined, he stepped up the rebounding, helping UK to a monstrous 57-31 advantage on the glass (including 20 offensive rebounds to Louisville’s 21 defensive rebounds).

3. If there’s two players UK must have on the floor to be special, it’s Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. The 6-10 freshman was limited to seven minutes and zero points in the first half because of foul trouble. His impact on a game was felt in the second half, though. He scored 18 points with six rebounds and five blocks. He simply transforms UK into a different team.