Kentucky Basketball: Rapid Reaction to 65-62 Win over Tennessee

Matt OveringContributor IIIJanuary 14, 2012

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 31:  John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats watches the action during 69-62 win over the Louisville Cardinals at Rupp Arena on December 31, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky survived their second road test of the week, beating Tennessee 65-62 in a brutal game. 

Anthony Davis scored 18 points to go along with eight rebounds and four blocks, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist showed once again why he is the lifeblood of this team, scoring 17 points and adding a game-high 12 rebounds.

The story of this game was once again the sluggish start for Kentucky. Darius Miller started in place of Doron Lamb, but the Wildcats consistently found themselves down by as much as six in the first half.

Rebounding was once again an issue for Kentucky in the first half. Before this game, Kentucky averaged 41.1 rebounds per game, good for sixth in the nation. This game, the Wildcats had 33.

In Kentucky's first two SEC games, they were out-rebounded 61 to 52. This will no doubt be an issue that coach John Calipari will want to address going forward. With the size this team has, there should be no reason to not rebound.

On offense, Kentucky just seemed out of sync. One positive can be taken from this game: Kentucky made free-throws (21-of-29). The Wildcats only shot five threes, making two. The dysfunction of this offense can be seen in their assist-to-turnover ratio, where Kentucky posted only seven assists to 13 turnovers.

Kentucky must become more efficient on offense if they expect to avoid these upset bids by inferior teams.

Credit goes to the Tennessee defense for keeping Kentucky out of rhythm. This was a very physical game—Terrence Jones fouled out and Kentucky finished with 19 as a team. Tennessee finished with 22.

It should be noted that freshman Jarnell Stokes played his first game for Tennessee after graduating high school just one month ago. Stokes made his presence felt, going 4-of-5 from the field and snagging four rebounds in 17 minutes of play. He showed his inexperience at times, but he has a bright future in Knoxville.

Kentucky's next game is January 17 in Lexington against Arkansas—a team that averages 37.9 rebounds per game. Kentucky needs to dominate the glass if they want to keep that game out of reach.