SPENCER: Speed vs. size; Breaking down the Battle of the Bluegrass

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by Kent Spencer

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 29, 2013 at 1:15 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 29 at 10:52 PM

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WHAS11) – Sitting in the locker room Montrezl Harrell summed up the Battle of the Bluegrass perfectly.

Harrell said Kentucky outhustled Louisville beating the Cards to every loose ball adding, “They wanted it more than we did.” It’s a simple sentence but one that carries a lot of weight.

This was a game built from matchups – UofL’s speed versus UK’s size. In the end it was heart and desire that made the difference.

Kentucky only out-rebounded the Cards by 8. What really matters is the fact UK had 17 second chance points to UofL’s 6. Kentucky also outscored Louisville in the paint by 18. 

The Cards guards were supposed to be able to turn the Cats over but that didn’t happen. Kentucky had just 11 turnovers.

The Cats grew up today. Andrew and Aaron Harrison along with James Young played like top level players. 

Kentucky also proved they can win without Julius Randle shouldering the load. Randle had a dominant first half but had to miss almost all of the last 20 minutes because of cramps.

If this is a permanent step forward, watch out.

For the Cards it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet. This is still a veteran team who simple played bad today. Those things happen. The concern entering the season was the front court and after this game it’s still the concern.

This is a team who will live and die by the play of the guards. I agree with Rick Pitino in the fact Luke Hancock has to get going.

For this team to have a shot at winning back to back national championships Hancock has to become the player he was at the end of last season.

We can continue to look and analyze each team moving forward but ultimately it’s about who wants it more.

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