Kentucky was everything we were promised and more on Tuesday night, when they ran No. 5 Kansas out of the gym in a 72-40 game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. They were bigger, longer and more athletic at just about every position on the floor - Kansas is plenty big for a college team, but Kentucky made them look like a bunch of little kids. That's what happens when you start 6'6, 6'6, 6'9, 7'0, 7'0.
There are more than enough accolades to go around, but the guy I want to focus on today is Karl-Anthony Towns. While he only played 19 minutes, he still managed to rack up 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists and it seemed like he was in the middle of every Kentucky run. The guy is a 7'0 250 with a 7'3 wingspan and he has the speed, skill and athleticism to play as a PF full-time. There are few things he can't do on a basketball court.
What really jumped out to me on Tuesday was his passing ability. Towns is a guy you can run offense through out of the high post or the low post - he's so big that he demands a double team and he has a great feel for where everyone else is on the court. Watch how he doesn't rush things in this play, even when he is facing a triple team. He is patient, he plays under control and he waits until Andrew Harrison is wide open to pass the ball.
Just as important, he is so much taller than the defenders that he can pass over them with absolute ease. When Towns is moving the ball around the court, Kentucky is operating on a different plane than any college team (and most NBA teams). That's why it is so nice to be able to run offense through a 7'0 - no matter what else is going on in the game, you can always slow the ball down, throw it inside and get a good shot.
Kentucky really went to another level in last year's NCAA Tournament when Julius Randle started to look to pass, instead of hunting for his own shot. That's how they beat Wichita State - Randle had 6 assists, most of them to three-point shooters. When your best player is looking to pass, it opens up the game for everyone else and puts the defense in an impossible bind. You blow out teams by giving shooters rhythm 3's.
Towns is the glue that holds the rest of the team together. A big guy who can defend, shoot and pass makes everyone better, so no matter what type of line-up Calipari uses, as long as he has Towns out there, Kentucky will be able to defend and score against anyone. They can go super-size upfront with Towns creating offense out of the high post at the 4 and they can go "small ball" with Towns playing as the 5 in a 4-out set.
There really is no ceiling for how good he can become. Towns may not put up a bunch of stats this season because of the platoon system, but he is why Kentucky has a chance to do something really historic this season. If 2014 is like 2012, it's because Karl Towns is Anthony Davis. Here's what should really worry every other team in the country - he's already bigger than Davis and AD didn't do stuff like this in college:
Sir, I am kindly going to ask you to get the fuck out of here with that. That's just silly. Jay Bilas said it best: "[Towns] is a guy who makes it really easy to play with him and really difficult to play against him."