The Kentucky basketball team is in a funk. It’s no regular funk. It’s the kind of funk Kentucky fans have not experienced since Billy Gillispie’s final team limped through the final four games of the 2009 regular season. Unfortunately, this particular funk isn’t exclusively reserved for the fans.
Kentucky went toe-to-toe with the SEC’s top team for 32 minutes. They fought through a first half offensive slump to keep the game within reach. In the second half they attacked Auburn inside, using screeners on the block to create one open lock after another. The Cats controlled their own destiny, until they got in their own way.
The funk that consumed the fans overtook the players. Hamidou Diallo’s three changed the game. It should have resulted in a seven-point lead; instead it turned into three consecutive turnovers.
“Poor Hami,” John Calipari said. “He’s making strides and getting better. He needed that three to drop. And that thing went [rim rattling sound]. We would have been up seven. It just didn’t go. I don’t know. I felt bad for him. I told him, just keep working man, but he just looked rattled out there.”
Diallo wasn’t the only one who couldn’t shake off the slump. Kevin Knox had 19 points with 13 minutes to play. He only attempted one more field goal, a prayer with 25 seconds to play. The rest of the team followed Knox’s lead and failed to attack down the stretch, finishing the final 5:01 without a field goal. You can’t see it in the box score, but you could see it in their body language. The funk was too much to overcome.
Where does Kentucky go from here? “I really believe if we win a game we’ll get going.” Calipari is probably right. This team is so close to getting over the hump, but there’s something they have to shake off to be able to turn around this season.
- Kentucky shot 46 percent and lost. Huh?
- Auburn missed their first 9 threes, yet still finished 30 percent behind the line.
- Kentucky had 14 turnovers. In the four-game losing streak they average 13.3 a game.
- Since the UofL game, UK’s assist-to-turnover ratio has only been positive twice (UGA, A&M).
- Auburn scored 11 more points at the free throw line.
- UK only led for 6 minutes, but it felt like so much loner.
What the Loss Means
Kentucky is now 6-7 in SEC play. According to Corey Price, March 4th, 1989 was the last time Kentucky had a losing record in SEC play this late into the season. That year the finished the season 8-10 in SEC play. The worst SEC record UK has ever had and still made the NCAA Tournament was 10-8 in 1987.
If the SEC Tournament started today, Kentucky would be the 8-seed and play Texas A&M on Thursday; the winner would advance to play Auburn. Cal’s Cats have never played on Thursday at the SEC Tournament.
Winter Olympics Update
If you were like me and couldn’t sleep, at least you were awarded with a gold medal performance by USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin in the giant slalom. She absolutely crushed it, and has a change for another goal tonight in the slalom.
It was great, but it wasn’t the best part of NBC’s primetime alpine skiing coverage. If you thought Tara Lapinski and Johnny Weir were ruthless, Bode Miller blamed this woman’s skiing ineptitude on her husband.
Please tell me someone else caught Bode Miller with the greatest color commentary of any Olympiad ever: pic.twitter.com/l3MtYxUilV
— Mike Honcho (@doubleshift8) February 15, 2018
College Basketball on TV
|7:00||#6 Purdue at Wisconsin||ESPN|
|7:00||Temple at #19 Wichita State||ESPN2|
|7:00||#5 Cincinnati at Houston||CBSSN|
|7:00||Tulsa at Uconn||ESPNU|
|8:00||#8 Ohio State at Penn State||BTN|
|9:00||#17 Arizona at #25 Arizona State||ESPN|
|9:00||Oregon at USC||ESPN2|