EXASPERATION LEVEL: DOWNRIGHT SERENE
"Marquis Teague was shooting layups to start the game. If you're not going to play him, Marquis will shoot layups."
Calipari doesn't have to pull Teague aside to deliver this message anymore. Teague has figured it out. On college basketball's biggest stage, Teague immediately notices the Cardinals backing off and knifes into the lane to score Kentucky's first two baskets. But it is the drive he doesn't complete that best illustrates his maturation.
With the Wildcats up four late, Teague attacks. As he reaches the free throw line, he sees a defender with feet planted. If Teague continues, he will barrel into the defender and be whistled for a charge. So he spins. As he turns, Teague sees Miller spotted up on the wing. Teague flicks a pass to Miller, who buries a three-pointer. Louisville coach Rick Pitino calls timeout to regroup, and Teague bounds to the Kentucky bench, where he is greeted with fist bumps and hugs.
The young gunner who arrived in Lexington last summer probably would have committed the offensive foul and given Louisville renewed hope. Instead, the more polished point guard recognized the danger, found an open teammate and turned a negative into a positive. In the process Teague proved that Kentucky's potential liability had turned into one of its greatest assets.