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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played a nearly-complete 39 minutes of basketball, even when his legs “felt like noodles”

Once again, this Kentucky team brought the game right down to the wire. And once again, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander helped provide that extra spark needed for a victory. He came out firing, scoring the game’s first basket – a layup after less than 20 seconds of action – and didn’t stop there. He saw just a minute of bench-time in the first half; he never left the game in the second half. Not only did the point guard come up huge in the final minutes – grabbing the steal that led to Kevin Knox’s layup with 2:28 remaining, securing four rebounds in the final five minutes – but he did so with “noodle legs.”

“I’m a competitor. I like playing; I don’t ever want to come out. But yeah, I’m feeling it right now,” the Gilgeous-Alexander said with a smile. “The last five minutes I could barely feel my legs… my legs felt like noodles.”

The freshman played an exhausting 39 minutes of basketball during the Cats’ 74-73 rally over the Texas A&M Aggies. Without usual-starter Quade Green, who did not dress for the game due to back issues, Gilgeous-Alexander had to step up. And although the freshman may have been helping steady the ship since his breakout, 24-point performance against Louisville, tonight was the first time he had to serve his team as the sole point guard.

“It was interesting not having [Quade Green] there. It took a toll on my body,” Gilgeous-Alexander said after the game. “I’m a competitor, so I just fought through it. I just tried not to think about it and just tried to help my team.”

And help his team he did. Gilgeous-Alexander finished his night with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He went 4-6 from the free-throw line and committed three turnovers in his 39 minutes of action.

He did commit one costly error down the stretch – a turnover with 43 seconds left in the game. And he wasn’t the only one struggling with holding onto the ball in the final minutes: Knox also let one loose with 27 seconds remaining. What did Coach Calipari have to say about the errors?

“He said that we work on stuff like that in practice, and tonight it showed that we need to take it more serious, and stuff like that,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “But we’re young, and things like that will happen. We’ve just got to play like we’re not young.”

And although Gilgeous-Alexander is a self-described “competitor,” he’s alright with not playing 39 minutes per game once Green returns.

“I’m looking forward to him coming back. He makes us a better team,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Once he’s back, we’ll be better.”


@MaggieDavisKSR


Today on KSR: Close Call

Today on KSR: Close Call

Can you believe Kentucky won that game? Me neither.

The short-handed Cats only had one healthy point guard against a Texas A&M team that was finally at full strength.  A team that got out-toughed at Tennessee, Kentucky responded to their coach’s criticism by going toe-to-toe with the most physical interior in the SEC.  The 74-73 win was filled with flaws, but all that matters for now is that Kentucky survived.

One Crazy Final Minute

The Cats had a few chances to finish Texas A&M, but mistakes and missed free throws gave the Aggies one too many opportunities.  A Shai Gilgeous-Alexander turnover off a missed A&M free throw put them within striking range, but luckily the Aggies missed their target when the Cats left a man wide open for a corner three.  Their decision to make a risky full court pass almost worked, if the refs didn’t give Kentucky a break.

Did Wenyen foul Tyler Davis?  Yes. Did Isaac Humphries deserve a technical at Reed Arena. No.  After what’s felt like a month of being on the wrong end of bad officiating, it feels good to catch a break in the final seconds of a feel-good win.

UK Out-Rebounded A&M

The Aggies entered Rupp Arena ranked second in the country in rebounding with 44 per game.  The Cats won the rebounding battle 28-27.  Kentucky also had more points in the paint, 32 to A&M’s 30.  The  Aggies were supposed to have an advantage in the interior but Kentucky won the war inside.

We Saw the Old Kevin Knox

Knox finally got out of his funk.  The small forward was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor (2/2 3FG) to finish with 15 points.  It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was the game Kentucky needed from him to get the win.

If I have to pick one bone with his game, it isn’t the four turnovers.  Knox did not shoot a free throw until there was 2:44 left to play in the game.  He made a few more aggressive attempts to get to the rim, but not enough to get to the free throw line, a place where interior toughness is rewarded with a free shot attempt.

The Best of the Best

Gameday will Return to Rupp

During last night’s broadcast, ESPN announced the season premiere of College Gameday will be January 20 at Rupp Arena.  The hour-long show will be from the Rupp Arena floor at 11:00 a.m.  Later that afternoon Zion Williamson’s decision will preface Kentucky’s match-up with Florida.

Lonzo Can’t Hang with Fox, Again

Bullying Lonzo Ball is De’Aaron Fox’s favorite hobby.  He outscored Ball 15-5 and held Lonzo to 2-10 from the floor in the Kings’ losing effort to the Lakers.

Mike Edwards will Return to Kentucky

The Kentucky football team received unexpected good news yesterday afternoon.  Mike Edwards announced he will wait one more year to go to the NFL.  The safety led the team in tackles (96, No. 9 in the SEC) and interceptions (4, t-3rd in the SEC).  Later in the day we’ll break down what the returning underclassmen mean for Mark Stoops’ defense.

A Pair of New Podcasts

Your iTunes feed will be filled with two new wonderful podcasts from Aaron Torres and the KSR Football crew.  Things got a little outta hand during the Football Podcast so it’s taken a little longer to get to the public, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

KSR in One Hour

Don’t Geek.


Kentucky could’ve lost to Texas A&M, but didn’t

Kentucky could’ve lost to Texas A&M, but didn’t

If there was ever a time to drop one in Rupp Arena, this was probably it.

Texas A&M, a top-five team only two weeks ago, was back to full health and hungry for win. Sitting at last place in the SEC as the only winless team in the conference, A&M needed a win to salvage its spot as a contender in the league.

Its chances were helped by the return of D.J. Hogg, the team’s leading scorer, who was back in the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. Robert Williams, the team’s star and projected NBA lottery pick, was back after an illness kept him out of the home loss to LSU. Admon Gilder, A&M’s third-leading scorer, was back after missing five straight games with a knee injury.

The A&M team that was ranked fifth nationally was back together; the dismantled A&M team that dropped three games to open SEC play was a thing of a past.

The Aggies were ready for a statement win.

Meanwhile, Kentucky was just the opposite. Already down two scholarship players for the year, the Cats were also without Tai Wynyard, who has been out with a back injury. But the biggest hit to the rotation came with the surprising news that Quade Green would not suit up. It was announced about a thirty minutes before tip-off that UK’s starting point guard was unable to go due to back spasms, leaving only two guards in the Kentucky backcourt.

Uh oh.

Beat a healthy, desperate, motivated A&M team with only seven scholarship players available?

As I said, if there was ever a time to drop one in Rupp Arena, this was probably it.

Kentucky held court, though; defeating A&M in a tight one, 74-73. P.J. Washington was the shining star inside for the Cats with his 16 points against one of the best frontcourt defenses in all of college basketball. Hamidou Diallo also scored the ball well on the wing, chipping in a team-high 18 points of his own with an efficient 6-of-9 night from the field. Kevin Knox got back to his old ways with 16 points on a perfect 5-for-5 night, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists in his third career start at point guard. You mathematicians can see those four combined for 66 of Kentucky’s 74 points. Not bad.

But where the Cats really shined was on the glass and in the paint, which was not the case the last time out in the loss at Tennessee. Texas A&M is ranked second in the entire country in rebounds, led by the duo of Davis and Williams, who are ranked first and third in the SEC in rebounds per game. Kentucky, on the other hand, has the reputation of being too soft inside. Just this past weekend, Calipari called out his team’s toughness, saying other teams watch the game tape and say, “Just throw these guys around. They will not fight you back. Just throw ’em and post ’em hard. Go right at them. Don’t fade away. If a shot goes up, bum-rush them. Go rebound a missed shot. They’re going to let you run by them.”

“We have a toughness issue,” Cal admitted. “It’s something we’ve gotta fix day-to-day. That’s all it is. It’s a day-to-day thing. It’s a process with these guys. I hate to say it, sometimes you gotta get hit in the mouth to learn.”

It’s safe to say they learned from the punch in the mouth at Tennessee because Kentucky out-rebounded A&M, and scored more points in the paint — two of A&M’s biggest strengths.

As for the rest of the game, the zone defense looked MUCH BETTER than it did in the loss to the Vols, and it was important because man-to-man wasn’t working. Cal said afterward, “Thank goodness I have Tony on the staff. He taught me some zone stuff, and I have the courage to do it.”

Kentucky also hung tight while needing quality minutes from Brad Calipari when foul trouble struck in the first half. The lineup of Gilgeous-Alexander, Calipari, Gabriel, Richards and Killeya-Jones is one you probably didn’t think you’d ever see, and probably hope to never see again.

In the second half, the teams traded jabs until the very end, when it turned to a battle of who wanted to lose more, as both teams made crucial mistakes in key moments. Missed free throws. Fumbled balls. Missed assignments. The final minutes had it all; however, Kentucky’s winning plays outweighed A&M’s in those final minutes, which was enough for the win.

(And let’s not address the final two seconds and whether or not Wenyen Gabriel fouled Tyler Davis.)

There may be a time to drop one in Rupp Arena, but this wasn’t it.


WATCH: PJ Washington, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo after 74-73 victory over Texas A&M

WATCH: PJ Washington, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo after 74-73 victory over Texas A&M

Following tonight’s narrow victory over a resilient Texas A&M team, a few of the Cats sat down to speak with the media about the win. Here’s everything they had to say:

PJ Washington discussed this team’s toughness, his leadership potential and the insanity of the game’s final minutes:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talked about stepping up in Quade Green’s absence, the team’s issues with late-game turnovers and how it felt to play for 39 minutes:

Hamidou Diallo touched on Washington’s “bulldog mentality” and if this team has the will to win:


@MaggieDavisKSR


Hamidou Diallo was less “Hollywood” tonight

Hamidou Diallo was less “Hollywood” tonight

Hamidou Diallo snapped out of his funk tonight, scoring 14 points in the second half to keep Kentucky in the game. John Calipari said he was proud of Diallo for being less flashy and more fundamental in tonight’s win over Texas A&M.

“I liked Hami’s body language and his act today. If you want to be tough, you can’t try be cool. You can’t try to be cute. You can’t try to be Hollywood. Or you can’t be tough. You can do those things but you’re not a tough, focused, engaged player.”

“What I saw today from Hami was an engaged player. He made some mistakes. He broke down a few times. But he’s getting better. He’s getting closer.”

Hami found the happy medium with this two-handed breakaway jam to tie the game at 49 with 15:40 to go in the second half:

Good game, Hami.


Calipari tells the media they “don’t know shit”

There’s nothing John Calipari loves more than messing with the media, and tonight, he was in rare form, joking that they “don’t know shit” about basketball. The hilarious moment came after most reporters stayed quiet during one of Calipari’s usual call-and-response style rants, this one about positioning.

“Most of you don’t know because you don’t watch it, but who is able to catch the ball where they need to catch it almost every time?”

Larry Vaught was the only one to pipe up, saying PJ Washington’s name.

“Larry’s been around this 100 years. The rest of you were so quiet because you don’t know shit. Excuse me.”

(To be fair, he’s right.)

“…And instead of saying the wrong name, you stay silent. Larry had the courage to step up and say, PJ.”

Calipari said he’s anointed PJ the leader of this team because he’s the only one playing with authority.

“I just asked him. He has to take the leadership of the team. He has to do it now. He’s the toughest guy now. If a guy’s not doing what he’s supposed to, you have an ability and a right to tell him.”

Your move, Jerry Tipton.

See the moment for yourself around the 1:10 mark:


Calipari: Jarred Vanderbilt ready physically, not mentally

After Monday’s news that Jarred Vanderbilt is now practicing with the team, everyone wants to know when he’ll play in a game; after the game, John Calipari said Vanderbilt is physically ready to go, but mentally? Not so much.

“Yesterday, and even today, I loved him in the shootaround. He’s just not ready mentally to be on the court. I basically told him, when you go in, you’re only going to play seven or eight minutes in a half. You’re going to have limited minutes for a while. I’m just going to put you out there, let you run around and feel good about yourself and then you’re out.

“But he’s going to have to make that decision. It’s more mental. He could play. He couldn’t play 40 minutes but he could play. What he does is — I never remember him being as physically strong as he is. He changed up practice. It was physical. I’ll tell you what else Jarred is. He’s a willing passer, so when he gets it, the team loves it because they know he’s passing. He’s a willing passer, which this team needs, so it would be nice.”

If you think that sounds like a challenge, you’re not alone, but Calipari insists he’s not pressuring the freshman to make his debut.

“I’m not challenging him. I’d like his first game to be a home game so he can get some love and work through what he needs to work through. I’d rather have that than a road game, but I’m going to leave that up to him.”

Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt? We’ll see.


Kentucky escapes with a wild win over Texas A&M

Kentucky escapes with a wild win over Texas A&M

That, my friends, was a crazy game. Kentucky beat Texas A&M 74-73, but the last four minutes may have been the wildest we’ve seen yet this season.

Somehow, Kentucky tried its hardest to win and its hardest to lose the game in the final minutes, missing free throws and allowing Texas A&M plenty of opportunities. Fortunately, the Aggies didn’t capitalize on those errors and the Cats escaped with a much-needed victory. They’re now 3-1 in the SEC, 13-3 overall. Unbelievably, Texas A&M is now 0-4 in the SEC.

Hamidou Diallo had a strong second half to finish with a team-high 18 points, followed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and PJ Washington with 16 a piece. We saw flashes of life from Kevin Knox, who had 15 points, five in the final three minutes. Unfortunately, there are PLENTY of errors that must be fixed going forward, specifically horrible interior defense and sloppy play. Quade Green had to miss tonight’s game, which may explain the latter, but the former is becoming unforgivable.

But, a win is a win, so let’s appreciate this one.


At The Half: Kentucky 37, Texas A&M 35

At The Half: Kentucky 37, Texas A&M 35

Kentucky is down four scholarship players due to injuries, but still up against Texas A&M through one half of action.

The Cats lead the Aggies, 37-35, powered by 12 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Stats:


College GameDay coming to Rupp for UK/Florida

College GameDay coming to Rupp for UK/Florida

We now interrupt UK vs. Texas A&M for some breaking news. It was just announced that ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Rupp Arena for the Florida game on Saturday, January 20.

The show starring Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Jay Williams and Seth Greenberg will take place inside Rupp Arena starting at 11 a.m. Admission will be free and seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Florida game will tip that night at 8:15 p.m. Jay Bilas, Dan Shulman and Maria Taylor will be on the call.

This will be UK’s 15th ESPN College GameDay appearance, the second most of any program behind North Carolina (17). It’s also the crew’s seventh trip to Rupp and the eighth straight season Kentucky has made an appearance. Unfortunately, the Cats are 5-9 after their College GameDay appearances, and they’ve lost the last four.

Let’s change that, shall we?


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Quade Green will not play tonight

Kentucky will be without its starting point guard for tonight’s game against Texas A&M. Quade Green has had some back issues that have kept him out of practice, and those back issues will now keep him out of one of the biggest home games of the entire season. He is listed as day-to-day moving forward.

Without Green, the point guard duties fall into the hands of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who will make his third career start.

Go Cats.


Pregame Scouting: Texas A&M Aggies

Pregame Scouting: Texas A&M Aggies

Now that it has been officially established that no one knows who the best team in the Southeastern Conference is, tonight we see a match up of the two teams that were picked to finish near the top of the conference. Texas A&M comes to Lexington having lost three straight games. The media pick to finish in the top 3 in the conference, the Aggies currently sit in last place with an 0-3 record to start SEC play.

With their three consecutive losses, the Aggies bring an 11-4 record to town, having just dropped out of the top 25 this week. They have losses to Arizona, Alabama, Florida, and LSU, and good wins over then #10 West Virginia and then #11 Southern Cal.

Similar to Kentucky, Texas A&M has not played with a complete team all season. A combination of injuries, sickness, and suspensions have left head coach Billy Kennedy mixing and matching with his starting lineup all year. Projected lottery pick Robert Williams has been sick, but it is sounding like he should be playing tonight, so we’ll operate under that assumption for the potential starting five.


#1 DJ Hogg, Junior Forward, 6’9″

DJ Hogg returns as the starting small forward, a position that he held for most of the season last year before an injury caused him to miss time. This year, he was named to the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award watch list. He is one of four probable starters that are from the state of Texas.

Despite being a team that is dominated by the two big men in the middle, the Aggies have DJ Hogg as their leading scorer this season. Hogg is currently giving Texas A&M 14.4 points per game, to go along with 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, a team-leading 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks. He’s shooting 47.9% from three, good for 16th in the country.

Texas A&M starts a pretty large lineup, with 6’9″ Hogg being the third tallest player in the first five. He plays the three position and will match up with Kevin Knox for Kentucky. With how Knox is now struggling on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court, this will be a huge match up for the Wildcats.

#34 Tyler Davis, Junior Center, 6’10”

Tyler Davis has been starting at Texas A&M since he stepped foot on campus, returning this season for his third year at the starting center position. Not only has Davis been starting, he’s be collecting accolades since day one a well. The Plano, Texas native has been named to the 2015-16 SEC All-Freshman Team, the 2016-17 Second Team All-SEC, a 2017-18 Honorable Mention Preseason All-American, 2017-18 Preseason Second Team All-SEC, and 2017-18 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list.

The junior is a monster in the paint, and his stats back that up. He’s just shy of the team lead in points at 14.1 per game, second on the team with 8.4 rebounds per game, and second with 1.5 blocks per game. He’s developed the ability to knock down a jump shot away from the basket, but he’s still a post player at heart. Last season, he combined for 24 points and 10 rebounds in two games against Kentucky.

Davis is one of two starters at 6’10”, and he takes the cake of being the largest starter at 266 pounds. It will be interesting to see how Coach Cal chooses to defend these two future NBA bigs. While Davis is the bigger of the two, his strength may be too much for Nick Richards to handle, but his overall size may overpower the tougher PJ Washington as well.

#44 Robert Williams, Sophomore Forward, 6’10”

Robert Williams is most notably known for turning down the chance to be a lottery pick in last year’s NBA Draft to return for his sophomore season at Texas A&M. Last year’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Williams was heralded coming into this season, and rightfully so. Prior to this year, he was named Third Team Preseason All-American by NBA Sports, Preseason Co-SEC Player of the Year, Preseason First Team All-SEC, and Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award watch list.

Against Kentucky last season, Williams came into his own in the second match up, exploding for 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Williams has missed time this year for various reasons, most recently with the flu, but is expected to play tonight. He’s leading the team in both rebounds and blocks, with 10 boards and 2.7 blocks which is good for second in the SEC. He’s also scoring 8.4 points and getting 1.1 steals per contest.

As was mentioned above for Tyler Davis, Robert Williams is the second 6’10” starter for the Aggies. At 241 pounds, Williams is a load of his own in the paint. Whichever of the two Kentucky big men that defends Davis, will leave the other guarding a potential lottery pick. Almost a lose-lose situation for the young big men of Kentucky, who were bullied by a completely outsized Tennessee lineup.

#5 Savion Flagg, Freshman Guard, 6’7″

Savion Flagg is a third starter for the Aggies from the state of Texas this season. Flagg was a top-100 player in the class of 2017, ranked as a consensus four-star prospect. Flagg is one of the players that has been in and out of the starting lineup. He’s only played in 10 games this season, but has started 5 of those games.

This freshman has stepped into a starting shooting guard role and is immediately seeing high quality minutes for Billy Kennedy. Flagg is currently averaging 7.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 33% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free throw line.

Despite playing the two guard in the lineup for Coach Kennedy, Flagg is more of small forward as far as size and skill-set goes. Regardless, he’ll match up with Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo. Diallo has been having his own struggles, and will give up a few inches to Flagg in tonight’s game. However, Diallo should be able to run on Flagg and get to the basket easily. The problem is that the twin towers in the middle for the Aggies will force Diallo to make good decisions to pass to open teammates on drives, something that the freshman has struggled with as of late.

#4 JJ Caldwell, Freshman Guard, 6’1″

JJ Caldwell is the second probable starting freshman for the Aggies tonight. Like his backcourt-mate, Caldwell was a top-100 player and 4-star recruit coming out of the state of Texas. Caldwell has started the last two games as the primary ball handler for Texas A&M, but has only made one other start outside of those two games.

The Houston, Texas native doesn’t give much out of the stat sheet to be blown away by. He’s averaging 4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. He’s only taken 5 three point attempts on the season, but has failed to convert on any of the five. Most likely, the point guard position will be by committee tonight for the Aggies.

Tonight is a night where Kentucky guards Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be able to impose their will on JJ Caldwell. Both of the Wildcat guards are much more talented that Caldwell and the pressure of handling the ball on the Rupp Arena floor could get to him. Look for some pressure to cause turnovers for the Aggies. Caldwell’s ability to feed Hogg, Williams, and Davis without turning the ball over will be key for Texas A&M tonight.


Go Cats. Beat Aggies.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


How is Texas A&M last in the SEC?

How is Texas A&M last in the SEC?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M was picked third in the SEC in the conference’s preseason basketball rankings.

Today it is ranked dead last with the conference’s only winless record through the first three league games.

So what’s wrong?

It wasn’t all that long ago — two weeks, to be exact — when Texas A&M was a top-five team in the country. A lot has changed since then as the Aggies have lost three consecutive games to open Southeastern Conference play, two of which came on their own floor.

First, it was a 22-point loss at Alabama in the SEC opener. A&M was without its leading scorer, D.J. Hogg, who was serving his second game in a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. To make things worse, A&M was also without starting guard Admon Gilder, the team’s third-leading scorer, who sat out with a knee injury. With the absence of those two players, the Aggies struggled offensively in Tuscaloosa.

Loss No. 2 came three days later when Florida came to town and beat A&M on its own floor. Again, A&M was without Hogg and Gilder, although this time a third starter, Duane Wilson, joined the pair in street clothes on the bench. Like Gilder, Wilson was battling a knee injury, leaving A&M with only two available starters. It didn’t really matter, though, because Florida hit 17 of its 28 three-points attempts in the 83-66 victory, and that’s tough to beat with any roster.

Then this past Saturday, A&M lost yet another game, this time as a heavy favorite, at home to LSU. Gildon and Wilson were still out with their knee injuries, but Hogg was back in the lineup after his three-game suspension. However, Hogg’s return was negated by the absence of All-SEC forward Robert Williams, who sat out of the game with an illness. Still, with Williams — a projected NBA lottery pick and the face of the Aggies’ basketball program — out, A&M appeared to have the game locked up, holding onto a five-point lead with only 19 seconds to go. Then Tremont Waters happened:

And that is how the No. 5 team in the nation loses three straight games to open conference play: A&M was without one of its two leading scorers in each of the three games; without its fourth-leading scorer in two of the games; and without its third-leading scorer in all three.

Suspensions, injuries and illnesses have the Aggies already on the verge of dropping out of contention for the SEC regular season crown.

All but Wilson will be back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game at Kentucky.


Kentucky’s Keys To Beating Texas A&M

Kentucky will soon tip off with Texas A&M in a must-win game for the Aggies and, well, a must-win game for the Wildcats. One of the two will walk away disappointed and concerned about their chances to win the SEC’s regular season crown. If Kentucky doesn’t want to be that team, it will need to focus on these five keys to the game.

 

Toughness

John Calipari’s biggest complaint about his team is its lack of toughness. Following the loss at Tennessee, Calipari said other teams know to go right at Kentucky because they won’t fight back.

“That’s what you’re going to see on tape and it’s something we’ve gotta fix day-to-day,” he said. “That’s all it is. It’s a day-to-day thing. It’s a process with these guys. I hate to say it, sometimes you gotta get hit in the mouth to learn. The question is: Do they understand what just happened to them? And I believe they do.”

Tennessee definitely hit the Cats in the mouth, but did they learn from it? Cal believes they did; if not, it’s going to be a long night against A&M’s Tyler Davis and Robert Williams.

Pickle Juice

P.J. Washington can’t cramp up again. Washington’s cramps kept him out of the final 12 minutes at Tennessee, and Calipari admitted he knew it was over when Washington went out. If Kentucky is going to contend with A&M’s frontcourt, it can’t do it without Washington playing well and staying in the game.

Three-Point Shooting

If Knox is going to keep pretending he is Kevin Durant, he better be making them. No more 0-for-5 nights, like the nightmare we saw this past Saturday in Knoxville.

Wenyen Gabriel and Quade Green are still the best options outside, and they’ll need to keep coming up big when they get the open looks.

Knox and Diallo have to play better.

Kentucky’s two best players, allegedly, have been far from it lately. Knox seems to have lost confidence in his game, and Diallo seems to have forgotten he has teammates. Both need a statement game to let everyone know it’s a funk and not a long-term concern. Kentucky will go nowhere without those two playing better basketball.

Either Nick Richards or Sacha Killeya-Jones will need to play well.

It’d be nice to have both, but let’s not get greedy here. As long as one of the two shows up, Kentucky won’t get killed inside. If neither play well, Kentucky will get killed inside.

 

Go Cats.