It wasn’t hard for UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller to explain what Kentucky’s size can mean after his team lost 78-61 to the Wildcats Saturday afternoon in Rupp Arena despite staying in the game until the final six minutes.
““They’re the No. 1 team in the country in offensive-rebounding percentage, so I’d say that they showed why tonight, you know, you look down and 15 offensive rebounds, I was hoping it would be better than that, but I thought it could be worse than that as well after watching film,” Miller said.
“Again, the No. 1 in the nation in rebounding. I thought we battled and fought, but they are well aware of the size that they have and that was very difficult for us. I was pleased at times with how we guarded the post. We knew their size was going to be a problem. I thought our post-double was really ineffective early and that hurt us because we needed that to be effective, but we did some nice things guarding the post and then we had some moments there, especially in the second half where we didn’t do as good of a job making catches difficult.”
He said Kentucky made his team pay for mistakes it had been able to make in previous games and get away with against lesser competition.
“I want to give Kentucky a lot of credit. I thought their defense was tremendous in the second half. We had a hard time coming by quality shots,” he said. “I’d like our execution to be a little bit better, but you’ve got to tip your cap to them first because they made it really difficult for us and it hasn’t been that hard to shoot the ball and hit quality shots on us all year. They really turned it up on us in the second half.”
Just like other coaches have in recent weeks, Miller warned against writing Kentucky out of the Final Four/national championship race.
“I think this Kentucky team… when you look at their pieces, you look at their coaching staff. They’ve got guys that are going to have a really good chance to play in the NBA and they’ve got a coach that’s been able to do it year after year,” Miller said. “Being one of the premiere basketball programs in the country, this team will have the chance to play in the Final Four I’m sure.”
Miller had played in Rupp Arena in 2005 but said it was still as special now as it was then.
“There’s a handful of places in college basketball that are just different—this is one of them out of probably four or five,” Miller said. “This is a special place to play.
“Again, I’m really grateful that we got this opportunity. I wish the outcome was different, but no, this is a really special place to play. It’s neat as anywhere I’ve experienced as a player or coach.”