It’s late. Kentucky threw a clunker at Tennessee and lost for a third straight time in Knoxville. The game was very, very frustrating. Let’s get this over with and try to move on to a brighter day, ok?
1. Tennessee couldn’t stop P.J. Washington; unfortunately, the cramps could.
I don’t know if he would’ve been the difference in a win or a loss, but I think we were robbed of a good P.J. Washington performance. Washington had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting until the cramps set in and took him out of the game for good around the 12:00 mark in the second half. Up until that moment, he was taking the fight right to the Vols and they weren’t doing anything about it — they couldn’t do anything about it.
Coach Cal admitted after the game that he knew it was over when Washington came out because he was the best thing going for the Cats. Hopefully, Washington gained some much-needed confidence for the future in how he played before going out.
2. It would’ve been nice to have seen more Wenyen Gabriel, too.
We were also robbed of more Wenyen Gabriel due to foul trouble. He joined Washington in double-figuring scoring with 11 points and a career-high three three-pointers, but he fouled out of the game soon after Washington went out. The Cats could’ve used his hustle and shooting in those 12 minutes after he was gone.
3. Kevin Knox will want to smash this game tape with a hammer, back over it with a truck, soak it in gasoline, light it on fire, watch it burn to ashes, and then dump those ashes into the middle of the ocean.
I don’t mean to be too harsh on the kid but that’s about as kind as I can word it. Knox will never want this game to see the light of day again. He was so timid defensively and on the glass, and I don’t think he knows he’s allowed to step inside the three-point line when he has the ball on the other end. He bricked five three-balls on his way to a 1-for-9 night from the field, and he almost broke a sweat going for a rebound toward the end of the game, which led to him committing a foul and giving up a basket. If you saw the game, you know the one. It was easily his worst game of the season.
4. Hamidou Diallo is playing too much Hami-Ball.
Coach Cal recently said he has a couple of guys who are too worried about getting their own shots, and he was undoubtedly talking about Hamidou Diallo. Remember the Monmouth game when Diallo scored 23 and Cal raved about how he played better because he wasn’t trying to do too much? That Diallo didn’t make it home from New York. The Diallo we’ve seen these last few weeks is trying way too hard to get his.
5. What was that defense?
For all of the offensive inefficiencies, and there were many, the second half zone defense (if we can even call it defense) was the ugliest part of the game. Tennessee did whatever it wanted against UK’s zone to the point it looked like UK was letting them score. It was easy basket after easy basket after easy basket, often right at the rim with no challenge on the shot.
6. Calipari deserves some of the blame for the loss.
Because of that defense. Kentucky watched Tennessee score too many times before trying something different.
7. Quade Green showed some fight in the end, not that it mattered.
Only one person seemed to care in the final minutes of the game and that was Quade Green, who was doing all he could to get baskets when no one else could. It obviously wasn’t enough to fuel a comeback, but it did make him the third member of the double-figuring scoring column with a team-high 14 points.
8. The officials made themselves part of the game, per usual.
College basketball is almost unwatchable these days.
And I’ll probably get a double technical for writing that, but they’ll need 10 minutes to review it before making a decision and then they’ll still do the wrong thing.
9. Kentucky will go nowhere without Knox and Diallo playing better.
The Cats have plenty to fix moving forward, but nothing matters if Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo don’t play to their abilities. Without them, nothing else really matters because they’re the two most-talented players on the roster and (at one time) the “star NBA prospects,” and right now they’re doing absolutely nothing. Nothing.
10. Life will go on…
Kentucky is a much better team than what showed up in Knoxville. Maybe it was four games in eight days. Maybe it was a wild environment at Thompson-Boling Arena. Maybe Tennessee is just a tougher team that wanted it more. However you want to place the blame, there is still a lot of basketball to be played and this one can quickly be forgotten. And it should.