Big Game Recaps and Previews – February 23rd

Did you see that one show when the one chick did that one thing? Wasn’t that crazy??

RECAPS

#1 Kentucky 73 – Mississippi State 64

Negative spin: How could the #1 team in the country trail for 35 minutes against a train wreck of a team like Mississippi State? Sure they pulled out the win, but red flags went off in the process. This is just another young, careless, John Calipari team that occasionally goes through the motions at the worst possible time. (If you believe this, please skip to the next recap and don’t ask me to follow you on twitter)

Reality: Good teams lose this game. Really good teams lose this game. Great teams find a way to win games like this. Kentucky found themselves down 13 at halftime in an incredibly hostile environment and could have easily given up. I mean, they play four freshmen, two sophomore and a just one upper classman. That’s what young teams do. It wouldn’t have been a terrible loss and would have probably taught them all some great lessons. However, this team is different. The Cats came out firing to start the second and began their charge. However, the Bulldogs did not rattle and took Kentucky’s best shot and kept playing. When their lead was cut to 2 points with less than five minutes remaining, they responded by scoring 5 straight and seemingly refusing to lose. However, Calipari’s team refused to quit as well. Senior Darius Miller came up huge, scoring all 12 of his points in the final 10 minutes of the game. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took the task of shutting down Dee Bost (who was on fire in the first half) and did an incredible job of it. Anthony Davis added 13 and 11 and Doron Lamb drilled some late 3’s to complete the comeback. Wildcats move to 23-1 and look nothing like a young team should.

Lakers 96- Mavericks 91

The Lakers gutted out a big road win, something they had struggled with all season to this point. This game was extremely close and saw 13 ties and 10 lead changes. Andrew Bynum played great for LA and was clutch down the stretch, finishing with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Pau Gasol added 24 points as well and the Lakers finally used their size to their advantage. Kobe was mostly a spectator in this game, hitting just 4 of his 15 shot attempts. He also missed two late free throws that gave Dallas a chance. Dirk Nowitzki continued his hot play with 25 points and 12 rebounds, but didn’t get a lot of help last night. Dallas is off until after the All-Star break and will need to regroup after two tough losses. The Lakers play the Thunder tonight.

PREVIEWS

THURSDAY

Grant Halverson / Getty Images

#4 Duke at #16 Florida State (7:00 ESPN): Duke travels to Tallahassee in hopes of avenging their loss to the Seminoles at home earlier this season. FSU has been a great story this year and really had a chance to put some distance between both Duke and UNC until they slipped up a lost to lowly Boston College last week. Even still the ‘Noles control their destiny in the conference and a win on Thursday would go a long in both winning the ACC and building huge momentum for the NCAA tournament. Duke still has hopes of earning a #1 seed in March and most likely need to win either this game or a home bout with UNC to do so. Defense is key for both teams. Florida State is an athletic team that usually gives Duke trouble so stopping the ball will be crucial. Every one knows you have to shut down the perimeter against the Devils and FSU will try to do that once again. The first matchup between these two was a classic, hopefully the rematch won’t disappoint either.

FRIDAY

NBA Rising Stars Challenge: Seriously, this is it. No college games and I don’t watch enough hockey games outside of the Carolina Hurricanes to even know what else is going on. Sorry guys.

SATURDAY

#3 Missouri at #5 Kansas (12:00 CBS): The Tigers were clearly looking ahead to this game when they dropped one at home to Kansas State last night. The Jayhawks now hold a one game lead in the Big 12, but lost the first meeting against the Tigers. Missouri boats the most efficient offense in the country, averaging 122 poits per 100 possessions. Kansas counters with a strong defense and two terrors in the low post in Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. Robinson will be challenged on defense though, since he will be guarding one of the four guards Missouri starts. On offense Robinson and Withey will probably see a zone, so Tyshawn Taylor and the Kansas guards will need to knock down outside shots.

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