NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 09: Ralston Turner #22 of the LSU Tigers shoots the ball over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
After battling the #1 team in the country for over 30 minutes, the Wildcats were finally able to separate themselves and pick up their 23rd straight win. It's certainly an encouraging game, because LSU played about as bad as they could offensively and were still able to keep the game close throughout. Justin Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant finished 2-17 combined shooting from the floor, which shows how the long arms of Kentucky's players caused problems.
The best guard on the floor today was Anthony Hickey, who finished with 10 points, 5 steals, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and only 1 turnover. He was a terror against Marquis Teague, and held him to only 2 points, 5 assists, but 4 turnovers. Kentucky as a team finished very poorly in the assist category with only 8 total assists, which shows how well the guards played defensively. Kentucky also finished with 18 turnovers, twice as many as LSU.
UK won this game because of the overall talent differential of their forwards. Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis finished with a combined 27 point 25 rebound effort, and forced LSU into huge foul problems. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist didn't help matters much for LSU, as he was a step ahead of Ralston Turner all day and fouled him out while collecting 19 points and 9 rebounds.
One thing that I will say, that may or may not be well received, is that Trent Johnson outcoached John Calipari today. With an inferior team not on their best day, he was able to push Kentucky to the limit. Normally, in order to score a big upset like that, it happens because the underdog has a hot shooting night and gets some beneficial calls. Trent Johnson had a very good game plan defensively, and it was the defensive effort that nearly allowed for the upset. Coaching was not the reason that LSU lost the game today.
Up next is the NIT selection show. LSU should find their name being called late Sunday night, and should feel that they can compete in the minor tournament. Although the stigmata of the NIT is bad, playing in the postseason will only help for next year. 2011 NIT champion Wichita State had a great 2012 so far, so there's definite benefits to playing as hard as possible in the NIT.