College Basketball Nation: ETSU Bucs

Video: Kentucky tops East Tennessee State

March, 19, 2010

Eric Bledsoe drains eight three-pointers to lead Kentucky past East Tennessee State.

Final: Kentucky 100, ETSU 71

March, 18, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- Kentucky at its best is a scary proposition for any team in the country.

But an outmanned East Tennessee State team never had a chance.

The No. 1 seed Wildcats put on a show Thursday night with a 100-71 pasting of the Buccaneers in the first round of the East Regional at New Orleans Arena.

For a team that had virtually no NCAA tournament experience coming into the game, Kentucky and its band of freshmen looked like old pros and were never threatened.

The Wildcats (33-2) will move into the second round to face Wake Forest.

Kentucky played a bunch of players and shot lights out from 3-point range. They finished 15-of-33. Freshman Eric Bledsoe was 8-of-9 from behind the arc and scored a career-high 29 points.

At times, the Wildcats have tended to turn it off and on this season because they’re so talented. But they were wide open Thursday from the outset and showed no signs of any tournament jitters.

The bottom line: If they continue to play like this and shoot like this -- with their size, athleticism and talent -- their first Final Four trip since 1998 looks more and more like a lock.

At the half: Kentucky 54, ETSU 26

March, 18, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- Upset Thursday won’t be wreaking havoc with No. 1 seed Kentucky’s weekend plans.

The Wildcats were on top of their game in the first half, running, dunking and tossing in 3-pointers at a dizzying pace on their way to a 54-26 halftime lead over East Tennessee State.

This one is a total mismatch, especially with Kentucky deciding to come out and play from the outset. There was no toying around.

The only upset is that there aren’t more Kentucky fans in New Orleans Arena. After taking over Nashville last week for the SEC tournament, the Kentucky fans haven’t converged on the Big Easy like they usually do anywhere the Cats play.

The upper deck is barely a fourth of the way full, and the place isn’t painted blue.

That’s OK, because the Kentucky team did the painting in the first half. The Wildcats had three straight dunks on three straight possessions at one point, two of them alley-oops, and they also were 7-of-14 from 3-point range.

You know what Kentucky coach John Calipari said happens when they’re hitting their 3s.

They bury people.

Freshman guard Eric Bledsoe and junior forward Patrick Patterson combined to make 11-of-13 shots in the first half.