A common misconception about Kentucky is that the Wildcats are a team that chucks up three-pointers and gets out on the break after every miss.
Actually, this is a team that frequently works inside-out on offense. Most of the time super frosh DeMarcus Cousins is the first option in Kentucky's halfcourt sets. Sure the Wildcats have run up some seriously high point totals. But Cousins has been a real focal point of the offense.
Kentucky proved that in Thursday night's 62-45 win over Cornell in the regional semifinal as John Wall and the rest of the Wildcat backcourt tried to get Cousins involved early. It worked as Cousins finished with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting.
It was also an excellent display of defense by Kentucky. Cornell was absolutely sizzling in the tournament. All that came to an end on Thursday. The Big Red shot just 24 percent from three-point range (5-for-21) and 33 percent (16-for-48) overall.
John Calipari made the defensive effort possible as he tweaked his starting lineup. Calipari started Daniel Horton, a 6-11, 260-pound freshman, to counter Cornell's size. It worked to perfection as 6-9, 235-pound Patrick Patterson played more on the wing and was able to lock down Cornell's perimeter shooters.
Ryan Wittman, who averaged 22 points through the first and second round, finished with just 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting. The big problem for Cornell wasn't really its accuracy. The issue was the lack of good looks. The Wildcats played an aggresive man-to-man. And with so much size in the front and backcourt, they were able to switch without giving up a lot of size.
If the Wildcats defend like that the rest of the tournament, everyone else will just be playing for second.