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Kentucky falls short, but Calipari sees improvement in 75-68 loss to Duke


“I can’t stand losing, but it was a good game. I want to thank our fans for making the trip down. I think it helped our team. I thought when we got to three, we’re going to win this. They made their free throws.”

On a night that pitted a young Kentucky team against a veteran Duke team, the difference came down to a few key one-minute stretches. “They don’t understand how hard you have to play every possession…how a minute and a half will cost you a game.” 

Before the game even tipped off and the starting line-ups were being announced, a palpable buzz and electricity was building in the arena. Kentucky fans, as they tend to do, flocked to “Catlanta” for a much-anticipated match-up with a bitter rival, Duke. In an environment that both Coach K and John Calipari credited as being similar to a post-season tournament atmosphere, Kentucky fans made their presence known from the start. Loud cheers erupted during the Kentucky starting line-up, and boos that couldn’t even be muffled through a television screen rang out during the Duke starting line-ups. The stage was right for a big time college basketball game between two powerhouse programs. With contrasting personnel, Duke loaded with savvy veterans and Kentucky loaded with talented freshmen, the two teams did not disappoint.

– In the early stages of the game, both teams came out swinging. Duke went to two of their more experienced players early in Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry. Plumlee quickly finished below the basket and Curry hit a three to open up a 5-1 lead for the Blue Devils. Kentucky quickly responded with a solid 8-0 run of their own, sparked by inspired play from Nerlens Noel. Noel brought a level of energy that we haven’t seen before, diving for loose balls on the floor and grabbing difficult rebounds. The run was capped off by a Julius Mays jumper that put Kentucky ahead 9-5.

– From the outset, it was clear that Kentucky focused in on one of the glaring issues in their opening game against Maryland: rebounding. Even though a questionable rebounding team in Duke was still able to gather second chance opportunities at times, the rebounding effort as a whole from the Cats was much better. Kentucky finished the night losing the rebounding battle to Duke (31-30), but the margin was much closer than the previous game. 

– Nerlens Noel showed off a more polished post-up game that seems to improve with each game. Noel showcased a variety of moves with his back to the basket that he was able to finish on a consistent basis. Noel’s offensive game has been a point of contention since his arrival in Lexington, but he showed tonight that he is more than just an option on lob plays and clean up baskets for this team. At times during both halves, Kentucky made an effort to feed the ball to Noel below the basket and he delivered more often than not. Noel finished the game with an impressive stat line of 16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocked shots. Perhaps even more impressive? Noel was nearly on the floor from start to finish. Noel played 38 minutes, showing an improved level of fitness. Noel won a lot of fans over tonight with all of the little things he did well, ranging from collecting rebounds in big moments with traffic around the basket, to diving on the ground to keep plays alive for Kentucky. Not to mention, Noel had an unbelievable block late in the game to give Kentucky a crucial defensive stop when they were trying to make their run. And in a stat that has drastically improved in just a short period of time for Noel, he finished the night 6 of 8 from the charity stripe. Between the improved post moves, raising the level of energy he brings to the game, his improved free throw shooting and Calipari’s positive commentary– I think it’s safe to say that Nerlens Noel has been working very hard on all aspects of his game. Good for him.

– Kentucky entered halftime down by just 2 points, but the star of halftime was certainly John Calipari. When asked about how his team could improve defensively, Cal gave a little jab to Duke– saying what every Kentucky fan has probably wanted to say for years on national television. Calipari casually dropped the line, “We know they’re flopping all over the place. In the NBA, they’d all be suspended.” Calipari re-visited his claim during his post-game comments. “It was a joke. You guys at Duke can take a joke right?”

– Duke came out in the second half and almost immediately converted back-to-back 3-pointers to push their lead to 6 points. Kentucky failed to take advantage of the fact that Mason Plumlee picked up his 4th foul early in the second half (though it felt about 5 fouls too late) and spent the next stretch of the game on the bench. A Plumlee-less (say that 5 times fast) Duke went on their biggest run of the game. Over the course of the next 8 minutes, Duke got hot from behind the arc. Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon caught fire and pushed the Duke lead to 14 points by the 9:25 mark, prompting a much needed timeout by Calipari.

– Kentucky didn’t have trouble responding on the offensive end coming out of the timeout. Poythress (I’ll go into more detail on his performance later) had a great finish out of the timeout, followed by a Kentucky steal and a rare Kyle Wiltjer dunk. The series cut the Duke lead to 10, but Kentucky was unable to capitalize on their offensive conversions. Kentucky traded baskets with Duke, unable to create a defensive stop. For a string of 5-6 possessions, it felt like if Kentucky could just come up with back-to-back stops, they could make a significant cut into the Duke lead. Instead, the lead hovered around 8-10 points for just a little too long.

– Finally, before the under-4 minute timeout, Kentucky started to come up with the crucial defensive stops that they needed. Nerlens Noel came up with a huge steal, that ended with a momentum stealing 3-point bomb from Julius Mays. The Duke lead was cut to 5 on the play. Archie Goodwin missed a dunk on the next possession after yet another Kentucky stop that would have absolutely brought the house down in Atlanta. Luckily, just a few moments later, Goodwin finished on a drive to bring Kentucky within 3.

As John Calipari said, when the lead shrunk to 3, capping a 9-0 Kentucky run that resembled the type of runs that Calipari-coached Kentucky teams tend to string together before finishing teams…it felt like Kentucky was going to pull off the comeback. Duke burned a timeout and on the ensuing play Nerlens Noel came up with an athletic rebound to give Kentucky a chance to tie the game on the next possession. Julius Mays came down and had a good look at a 3-pointer that just missed. That play might have been the difference in the game. If that 3 goes down for Mays, Kentucky ties the game and you have to think that Duke might find themselves in a state of panic–even with a veteran team. Instead, Goodwin fouled Seth Curry, who finished 2 free throws to once again extend the lead to 5.

– With yet one more chance to bring the game within a single possession down only 5, Archie Goodwin forced play and was called for a travel. From that point on, Duke was nearly perfect from the free throw line and put the game out of reach for the comeback driven Cats.

– Although the comeback efforts came up short, the game was filled with a number of positives. The biggest positive for Kentucky fans HAD to be the emergence of Alex Poythress. For weeks now, Calipari and the Kentucky fan base have been clamoring to see Alex Poythress break out and make an impact on the game for this Kentucky team. Poythress did just that tonight. Poythress not only led the team with 20 points, but he looked much more comfortable on the offensive end all night long. His confidence started with a few plays where he got the ball a little closer to the basket, showcasing some post moves in order to finish. As the night continued, Poythress had a number of “wow” moments, including put-back dunks and hard drives to the basket for dunks in traffic. Poythress came up with a number of tough rebounds when Kentucky needed them the most, even on the offensive end. Calipari was very pleased with Poythress’ play, gushing over him in the post-game commentary. Calipari said Kentucky spent two days this week trying to get Poythress to dunk on people. I’d say the hard work paid off. “He’s a beast. That’s what he needed to look like. That’s what he is. He’s not a two-guard. He’s a beast.” Calipari continued his praise,  “I don’t want to see any of the cute stuff. Get the ball by the guy and dunk on somebody. And he did that.” 

– Perhaps the biggest change in Poythress from last week to this week was the fact that in the heat of the comeback, when Calipari was putting out the line-up he felt most comfortable with to get Kentucky back into it– Alex Poythress was on the floor. Last week against Maryland, he was notably absent, sitting on the bench.

Archie Goodwin, Julius Mays and Jarrod Polson all spent time running the point tonight for a Kentucky team that was without an ailing Ryan Harrow. Calipari says he still doesn’t know what’s wrong with Ryan Harrow. He tried to work with the strength staff at home today, but the illness is still unknown at the moment. The three guys all had moments of good and bad in running the point, but it’s clear that Goodwin and Mays are not true point guards at this point in time. The offense never felt completely in sync and you have to start by looking at the players who have the ball in their hands the most often. Polson seemed to struggle a bit with the speed of the game tonight. He picked up quick fouls, seemingly unable to stay in front of his man. Goodwin only had 1 assist and coughed up 4 turnovers on the night. A number of Goodwin’s turnovers came on attempted drives to the basket where he looked a bit out of control. For now it seems that for every “wow” play Goodwin makes where he aggressively takes the ball to the basket (sometimes drawing fouls), there will likely be a “huh” play in which he loses control and winds up turning the ball over for his team.

– Following an SEC Player of the Week performance last week, Kyle Wiltjer struggled to find rhythm offensively tonight. To Duke’s credit, they seemed completely committed to taking away the 3-point shooting of Wiltjer. He really only found himself open maybe once or twice on the perimeter. He was limited to 2 long range attempts, finishing on one. “This team (Duke) said he’s not shooting,” Calipari stated after the game. Wiltjer drew the defensive assignment of Ryan Kelly. In a battle of “who is just a little bit slower,” Kelly got the better of Wiltjer– exploiting him on a number of plays throughout the game. Kelly finished with 10 points to Wiltjer’s 5.

– One player who didn’t see much action tonight was Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein picked up 2 fouls early and never really got into the rhythm of the game. He only played a total of 6 minutes, to which Calipari apologized after the game. “The only guy I needed to get in there more was Willie. I don’t know him well enough yet. Is he rattled?” 

Regarding Cauley-Stein, a question that still remains for Calipari and his staff is how they can use both he and Nerlens Noel on the court at the same time. When Plumlee picked up his 4th foul, Calipari quickly went with the “ketchup/mustard” duo. At this point though, the combination and how it can be most effective hasn’t quite been worked out. And when Noel is playing as well as he is, and staying out of foul trouble, you have to think that Calipari is going to want to keep him in the game. The sooner a groove can be found with both players on the court, the better.

– The most devastating player for Kentucky’s defense tonight was without question Seth Curry. Archie Goodwin often drew the defensive assignment of handling Curry. Unfortunately, Curry was able to beat him and the rest of the Kentucky team in a number of ways. Curry was hot from distance early, draining a number of 3-pointers to help Duke’s lead balloon in the 2nd half. When the shots stopped falling from behind the arc, Curry was able to beat Kentucky off the dribble and either finish around the basket or draw a foul. Curry was light’s out from the free throw line. Curry finished the game with 23 points and his coach felt like he was the key to the game. “Down the stretch we were real good, didn’t commit turnovers, made free throws and closed the game well,” Coach K said after the game.

– Coach K threw out some nice praise to Kentucky, “Kentucky is so athletic and they’re good. And I think we’re good. We beat an outstanding team, and obviously, one of the great programs.” He also handed out some nice compliments to Archie Goodwin. “He is going to be a star. Goodwin is going to be a star. He’s an athlete. They’re just going to keep getting better.”

– I couldn’t conclude without mentioning Coach K’s response to Calipari’s halftime jab. “He can say whatever he wants. There’s a difference between a flop and a charge. I thought we took some amazing charges and probably could have taken a couple more.” Yeah, okay.

– Interesting stat: Kentucky had only 4 blocked shots, which matches the lowest for any game last season.

As Calipari said, the game was won and lost during a few crucial one-minute stretches. Kentucky probably took a few minutes too long to start coming up with the defensive stops when they first started to gain an offensive rhythm in the second half and chip away at Duke’s 14 point lead. And then again, when the lead was cut to 3, Kentucky made a few key mistakes within the span of about a minute that kept them from tying or taking the lead. The good news is that John Calipari sees improvement in his young team despite the loss. “We didn’t play bad. We’re better than we were against Maryland. We’re still trying to figure out our team”


Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

99 Comments for Kentucky falls short, but Calipari sees improvement in 75-68 loss to Duke

  1. Ridge Runner
    2:20 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    This game will pay huge dividends later in the year. With no real PG, no minutes from Cauley-Stein, and the improvement noted in just the 2nd game of the year…I am satisfied. My only concern is the status / health of Harrow going into the second week of not playing and no real reason known –to be honest.

  2. Clint Eastwood
    2:23 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    If Archie would have passed to a wide open Kyle, the outcome may have been different. Proud of this team 🙂

  3. Doron4Three
    2:26 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Although any loss (especially Duke) is tough to swallow. We will be just fine. Noel blowed my mind with his play tonight, his hustle and determination is phenomenal. Poythress finally showed us all who we thought he was. The two put back dunks were some of the nastiest slams you will see all year. This team showed a ton of heart cutting the lead to 3 after they easily could have folded when they got down 14. It is imperative that Ryan Harrow get healthy asap. Not having a true point guard running the show was the major reason as to why we lost tonight. Come years end I will feel sorry for whoever gets the task of trying to defeat us.

  4. soggyUKgrad
    2:28 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    it’s very obvious that Coach K teaches his players to flail & flop whenever touched….they have been doing it for years.

  5. LoganBleedsBlue
    2:35 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I took the trip from Louisville to Catlanta and it was indeed electric at the dome. Crazy atmosphere for bball. Look at the improvement in the paint in 4 days. Imagine 2 weeks, a month, 2 months. Wow!!! Extremely painful lose but when you imagine where this team can go from here it helps a lot to get through the puke.

  6. UKus2012
    2:39 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Long season ahead if we cant beat a smaller team like Duke. Cal better get things right fast. Half court offense looks lost and no pg play to get players involved, WCS is slow and soft. We will get better however.

  7. Wildcatsteeler
    2:42 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Sadly the team played great and the coaching was fail. You gotta start Polson there. Got to. He played well and deserved to start and have the coaches show they believed in him. Confidence is HUGE at this level of the game. And we’re gonna need him. And look at what the alternative produced. Goodwin playin out of position and picking up his dribble constantly out of position. Mays not doing much at all and getting beat on D as much or more than Polson would have. This loss rests squarely on Cals shoulders.

  8. Jpo
    2:50 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    6) slow? He’s probably one of the fastest 7 footers I’ve ever seen…

  9. Isaac in Long Beach
    3:02 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    8 – I know, right? 6 expects him to get up and down like Wall or Rondo. He beats the team in running drills consistently, what more do you want?

  10. Ridge Runner
    3:29 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    7) It’s a friggin second game of the season loss due to inexperience and us not playing a cupcake -period. It’s not a time to hang any loss on anyones shoulders. We are in the learning-mode of this team as has been with all of our young teams. Each November game there will be the lineups shuffled around with experimentation. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t. Again, it’s November.

  11. Tom
    3:46 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Bull shit loosing to duke. If you are so great of an fing coach build a f-ing program. This is ridiculous. I want to see talent and wins. Time to go cal’ take your players first and constant freshman class and get the hell out of here. This isn’t ky basketball this bs for hire! Don’t even know half of these guys from year to year. Done

  12. Crump Seed
    3:46 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I can’t WAIT to see “M”Archie Goodwin!!!

  13. WTF
    3:47 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Cauley soft? I think he’s a poor man’s Cousins. Not “soft.”

  14. UKGrad04
    3:48 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    7–you’re the guy we’re all talking about when we’re all talking about some of our unreasonable fans. Just FYI.

  15. WTF
    3:48 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    LOL @ TOM GTFO troll

  16. UKGrad04
    3:48 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    11. Bye.

  17. Ghost of Laettner
    3:59 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Facebook was like a funeral last night.

  18. brb
    4:03 am November 14, 2012 Permalink


  19. Fire Cal Now
    4:50 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    What a load of crap. I stayed up till 1am for that?!?! Why even play the game if you can’t do any better than that! Cal and the team should apologize to each and every fan that wasted their money going to Atlanta! Why the hell are we even paying Cal or the players all that money for?!?!

    I wished we could hire Coach K.

  20. katzjamers
    4:54 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Yes, I hate that we lost to Duke, but look at it this way: at the UK College of Basketball, Cal is the Dean. November is orientation month, that time when the new students take pop quizzes to find out how to improve study and work habits. Finals aren’t till the end of spring semester and that’s next March. My bet is they’ll be ready to ace the final.

  21. UKBlue
    5:04 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    We need a lot of work !! Archie plays totally out of control & won’t pass the ball, it looks like teams are starting to figure out how to defend the auto lob, we can not make free throws, we aren’t running screens to get 3 point shots, we have no idea how to rebound, we just need a lot or work.

    How have these kids played all these years of basketball & not know how to shoot free throws or rebound the ball !!

  22. Donald
    5:35 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I cannot believe some of the comments on here. This is nuts. We just won the national championship!! I don’t freaking care if we have 10+ losses this season. We won the national championship last year!! I’m good for another 5 years if ya ask me!! Even though I know we got next year in the bag! So long as we get one more solid recruit.

  23. Old Man Winner
    5:47 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    A loss translats int more reason to hate dook and furiously improve.

    But the good news is that a much improved and more experienced KENTUCKY team will get a rematch in the Big Dance with blue satan.

  24. jerry c
    6:19 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Hire Bobby

  25. Hahahaha
    6:20 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Way to rationalize the Cayuuuuts being average at best this year. Enjoy getting outed in the second round of the tourney.

  26. GoCats2
    6:23 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    The key to the whole game was Wiltjer not being able to get any open looks. He needs at least 10 shots per game. Very Happy with Noel and Poythress. Goodwin needs to stop trying to be the hero as Cal would say. He is fantastic but he doesnt have to throw it up every time he drives the lane. This is another 30 win team with Final Four potential which is all any fan could ask for. We just need improved point guard play and open looks for Wiltjer and we are repeating.

  27. GoCats2
    6:25 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    By the way, Trolls being on here just makes it that much better. I have said it a thousand times but I WOULD NEVER go to another fans website unless I was insanely jealous of that team. This team will dominate the Cards.

  28. Paper Tigers
    6:32 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I thought the ncaa was placing more of an emphasis on the block/charge? Guess coach j heard that and set the straight. It is embarrassing that refs let them get away with it and even more embarrassing that the announcers don’t even mention it when it happens 20 times a game.

  29. njCat
    6:36 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    This team is going to be amazing. The athleticism is thru the roof – the best of any of Cal’s teams. If Harrow can get healthy and contribute, they will be scary good by March. Goodwin reminds me of Wall – completely out of control at times and turnover prone, but he has a VERY nice jump shot that Wall didn’t have. Poythress is clearly better than Jones and Noel showed he could put a stat line together that A Davis would be proud of.

    Give Cal a month or so to work on fundamentals and get out his rotation sorted and they are going to be amazing to watch.

  30. PatTanaka
    6:36 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Wonder why Duke didn’t press us? Teams like the tards will full court press when we have someone like polson running the show.

  31. DukeFan
    6:37 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Suck it Jones, you pumpkin pie haircutted freak.

  32. BigBlue
    6:37 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I love how all the trolls come out after oweach game. Take minute to think how big of a loser you have to be to go to an opposing teams site after a game. The team will be fine. They are raw group and a little more immature than last year, but I bet by Jan, uary thi, s is a different team

  33. njCat
    6:40 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    ^ ‘Give Cal a month or so to work on fundamentals and get his rotation sorted out, and they are going to be amazing to watch.’

  34. Big Whoop
    6:43 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    We did not defend the three and we lost because of it. We have a lot of upside and things will be better come March (I hope).

  35. BravoBigBlue
    6:44 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Many reasons why we lost this game, including free throw shooting and 3-point defense. Poor on both accounts, but correctable. But if we don’t get our point guard situation rectified, that is a problem that will prevent this team from reaching its potential this year. Archie is not a PG and you take away from his game when you try to make him one. Mays was horrible tonight. Thought he’d give us consistent play and leadership. Not tonight. He was lost out there. Hurry back Harrow and man up.

  36. Jezz
    6:48 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    We will be alright.

    I’m just a little sad Calipari went cold feed about Polson. Starting the game might have give him the vote of confidence needed for him to play as well as he did last week and get us a win.

  37. fiddlestix
    7:01 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I’d like to see someone put together a tape of all Duke’s “we don’t flop” flops. You’d have to be blind to not see they are trained to do that or at least it’s a “tradition”.

  38. kentuckyjoe
    7:08 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Great post Ally. We were super last night. The improvement was so obvious. Noel and Poythress were both great. It only took them one game to learn the college game. And Archie, when his decision making becomes a little better he’ll be one of the best ever. We missed Harrow. Gotta get him well. And get Kyle some shots. We’ve definitely got another championship contender on our hands.

  39. SexnNursinHomes
    7:15 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I’d rather be UK than dook. dook had 3 seniors that could barely beat a team full of freshmen playing their 2nd game. K won’t admit it, but he knows that UK will better than his team by season’s end. Let the trolls get their words in. It’s all they got.

    ul will not beat this UK team. 100% guaranteed.

  40. SexnNursinHomes
    7:18 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Oh and Seth Curry’s forearm is still pushing off as of 7:18 this morning.

  41. Slim
    7:21 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Excellent write up. Duke is a good team. We will be fine later in the year. Expect several losses along the way.

  42. bluebeard
    7:22 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    dukes flopping giimick offense will get exposed by us in march. Plumlee should of fouled out when Noel got that alley ooop on him. and Curry walked on that play where he was smiling jogging back. UK Is gonna Drum some teams this year. Im excited go cats. ! Harrow get Well!

  43. playersfan
    7:29 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Digger Phelps predicts what will happen, none of which does, then at halftime he ignores everthing he said and tries to paint a different picture, till putting UK down. ie. Plumlee would foul out both Noel and WCS, actually the opposite would have be true if Plumlee didn’t sit. How can you say Duke is better when their 3 seniors score 28 points in the first half, and KY’s freshman school 26 in their second game.

  44. Mist it
    7:32 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Middle of thefrst half, Wiltjer was going for a hook shot and Kelly pushed him with the body so kyle lasered inside and we scored an easy 2. Kelly pushed off o offense and got called for it. Dook is cheap….cheaper with the floppage. Dook is really a collection of vuh-J-J ball playing.

  45. Now That Was Funny
    7:34 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    “Pumpkin pie hair cutted freak”?!? Ha! Thank you! That was so funny I ’bout
    lost my coffee! Nothing like the comments section at KSR after a (very positive
    SECOND GAME OF THE SEASON) loss! I can just see myself at Thanksgiving,
    looking over at the desserts… YOU PUMPKIN PIE HAIR CUTTED FREAK!

  46. hersheyisabear
    7:34 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Seeing Coach K panic was priceless. This team is going to be great. That is for sure. Once we get Harrow back things will start falling into place.

  47. tater
    7:37 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Goodwin will be a star for sure and perhaps the best 2 guard cal has had at uk, but he always looks unhappy almost like the complete opposite of gilcrest body language. I’m sure it’s just the way he is but he does not look like he is having fun.

  48. BhtxcatfanRdsweat
    7:46 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Mark it down. Somebody is going to get hurt falling over a Duke player that has flopped on the floor. They fall down on both ends of the floor. What a sham.

  49. cupcake lady
    7:47 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Look at it this way, a few months ago, this would have been dook’s juniors beating a bunch of high school seniors. Go ‘Cats!

  50. barn
    7:47 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    if cal gets the pg position worked out during our ‘cupcake’ run the next few weeks this team is going to be great. i really liked the improvement i saw since the maryland game. suck on it trolls, cats are coming hard.

  51. LuvDaCats
    7:58 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    This team is awesome. Even with the loss they show me what is yet to come. I am very excited. This is just the tip of the ice burg. Cannot wait til March!

  52. Ville Cat
    8:04 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Did Poythress flush the dunk in this pic?

  53. KD
    8:05 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    29) You have obviously forgotten what Terrence Jones looked like in November 2010.

  54. get real
    8:05 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky got severely out played and still had a chance to steal the game. A lot of positives. Poythress proved his lotto status and Noel plays harder than anyone. Once that comes together with solid pg play UK will contend by march

  55. Sammydog
    8:07 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    That was a great game to watch. Once they find their grove, these Cats are going to send chills up and down many spines. Super athletic. Polston couldn’t match up with Curry. He got beat many times. That is why Cal didn’t play him more.

  56. KD
    8:09 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks 40) !SNH….I thought that was my hand on my johnson.

  57. SexnNursinHomes
    8:24 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    56- haha. Nope that was Curry.

  58. Will
    8:24 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    It is always a sad moment when you are the loser to Dook. Like most people have said, we can actually take some moral victories from this one and keep our heads held high. For one, we nearly beat them and we didn’t even have a PG. That was the most glaring aspect of the game. We went stretches of looking completely out of sorts. With Harrow healthy we would have had a healthy guard to “quarterback” the team. Polson couldn’t provide the spark because by this point he had been scouted (by one of the best coaches in the game no less). He was stopped on offense and he couldn’t keep up with Curry. Alex finally introduced himself to the BBN as a whole, and he did it in a monster way. The ferocity in which he attacked the rim at times was amazing. And the rebound he leaped for towards the end of the game? Astonishing. The kid has an amazing vertical and is STRONG. Once he figures out how to best assert himself, watch out. Nerlens keeps getting better with every game. If he can work on his timing and decision making (he needs to better pick and choose which shots to attack from the backside), he will be a better shot blocker than Anthony. And Archie Goodwin can go ahead and take his mantle as the 2012-2013 player that will give everyone the most headaches (Prior winners: Teague, Knight, and Cousins). He is beyond talented. But he is a Freshman stuck in that high school mentality. Once he mentally slows down the game and becomes better with split second decision making (not getting in the air with ball possession and no shot, not slashing to the basket faster than you can dribble, etc.) his offensive game will skyrocket. The sky is the limit for these boys. It will take more work and patience than years past, but this year we will get to see a team truly mature and progress. I am excited to see how they turn out come March. Go Big Blue!!! What? Plumlee just took down another player with no call? Figures…

  59. richard
    8:25 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    We are freshmen, they are seniors! We should improve by 50%, the will improve by 10-20%! We didn’t have our point guard, they had theirs! We had fire, we did not give up, I liked that a lot! Poytress showed what he can do! I hate the loss, I can’t stand coach K and I hate Curry’s little smerk! So, all that being said, I would love a rematch in March, it would be a lot difference! My prediction: 5 or 6 losses in the regular season and at least a final four finish! We will learn to love this team a lot! GO CATS!

  60. Dougm68
    8:25 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    52. Poythress flushed all of his dunks this game. The BEAST has awaken.

    8:26 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I hope the fools who said Harrow can take a hike feel silly now.

  62. theSkinny81
    8:27 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    lotta rival trolls posting on here. translation: scared shitless

  63. theSkinny81
    8:32 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Congrats to the Duke Fighting Floppers. Their seasoned veterans were able to regroup from the tough loss to Lehigh and narrowly beat a team who’s played 4 games together, 2 of which actually count.

  64. michael burks
    8:34 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I’m amazed at the people bashing this team. So, they are 1-1. Big deal. Young team, sick player and tons of talent. These young men will be fine by March. This is not last year’s team. This team will compete for the Elite and Final Four. I have no worries.

    We’re not IU. We don’t build trophey cases for the 2nd or 3rd game of the year. Get back with me in March. If this team struggles then, I will be the first to say “bad year”.

  65. Eight Letters
    8:39 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Dear God in Heaven, PLEASE OH PLEASE let us play Duke in March.

  66. Live and Learn
    8:39 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Good game for the young Cats in early Novemeber. Cal will have them going when March comes. It is going to be a season much like 2 years ago. #trustincal. On a side note, Ryan Kelly is truly the hardest player to watch in college basketball. Not only is his appearance hard to look at, but he flopped on every shot he took last night.

  67. Lcat
    8:42 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    A lot of the comments here come from angry little girls. You should all get a life or perhaps you will be auditioning for the house wives of Lexington. Your histrionics will be more appreciated on TV.

  68. Not Impressed
    8:44 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Not sure why Plumlee got all the hype from Dicky V last night. He proved to me that he is just, well, a Plumlee. How does someone who is supposed to “dominate” have 3 rebounds, 5 turnovers, and 5 fouls? Sure he had 18 and went 7/8 from the field but you should be 7/8 when all your buckets are 2 hand dunks. I walked away more impressed with the overall play of Noel than the experienced Plumlee.

  69. Blue4ever
    8:49 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Petrino or Dykes? Or bust?

  70. Bob Loblaw
    8:49 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Losing to the dUKe Blue Floppers last night didn’t bother me like it would have in the past. I think we have a really good team that is going to be great come March. I have faith in Coach Cal to get this team ready come tournament time.

  71. michael burks
    8:51 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    @ 68

    Plumlee got the hype because it’s ESPN. They are anti-Kentucky (and the SEC), much like CBS is. ESPN’s Bobby Knight wouldn’t even admit Anthony Davis was a top 5 player in the nation. What more needs to be said?

  72. Rockfield, KY
    8:52 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    It seemed like WCS was lost when Noel would go for a block. Willie would end up on the perimeter and some 6’5″ guy from Duke would finish off the miss. If we can elimiate that, get a set PG, and have some on-ball defense, we’d be scary. Could we not have tried putting Twanny on Curry for a little bit just to chase him?

  73. Rockfield, KY
    8:53 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    All in all, I feel okay about it, bc we still have our 8th banner to keep us warm on cold nights like this one.

  74. dukehater
    8:53 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Ryan kelly and Curry are sooooo duke. How does duke continue to find these smugs? Year after year they reload with people I hate. Its not just because they play for duke either. If they played for gardner webb, I would still hate players like that.

  75. Rixter
    8:55 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    A senior dominated team, ranked #9 in the country, went up against a bunch of freshmen, who were without their starting point guard.. and the freshmen took them to the wire.

    Which team would you rather have heading into the season??

  76. Rixter
    8:59 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    NN and WCS are two of the best defensive big men I’ve seen, and I don’t mean the traditional low post, shot-blocking defense. Noel has a habit of back tipping the ball handler, without fouling, he hits the floor regularly, scrambling for loose balls.. and WCS can get out into passing lanes and wreak havoc on the opponents offensive flow

  77. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    9:02 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    These “fire Cal” posts are just comical. Don’t let the UL fans fool you guys.

  78. Head Bussa
    9:03 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I keep reading and hearing people say, “If Archie would have passed it to Kyle.” That’s B.S. You never pass up a point-blank dunk at the rim. That’s just stupid. If they did it over, Calipari would have told him to try to dunk it again. In addition, anybody that says Archie is a ballhog isn’t seeing the full picture. Other guys are having a hard time creating their own shot and Archie is feeling like he needs to take it upon himself. Cal will get him seeing the floor better, but the kid is a beast of a scorer. Don’t think for one second Calipari hasn’t told him to relentlessly take it to the rim.

  79. mlvei
    9:04 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    All that matters is we get better by march. Poythress showed the improvement Cal was looking for and will improve even more. Goodwin is a tremendous athlete learning to play college level ball now and will be a different player in one month. Noel showed great improvement. When Harrow returns, position by position the starting lineup will be complete. No one will want to play this team in march; they have final four potential and maybe even more. Sit back and enjoy the ride; you are experiencing another golden age of UK basketball!

  80. BPM
    9:05 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Can some of you please stop with all the Polson talk. The kid played a great game against Maryland but he was a liability on the floor last night. Duke went on their big second half run with him in the game and we came back as soon as he got taken out. We need Harrow in a bad way. The keys to this team will be defense and getting into transition. We saw a brief flash of what this team is capable of for that little stretch in the first half and during the 9-0 run to cut it to 3. We are going to be very hard to score on by the end of the year.

  81. Head Bussa
    9:06 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Cal could lose 10 games this season and I would understand he has a young and inexperienced team. I could care less. We just hung our 8th banner! Louisville fans are the ones who should be yelling, “fire Rick”. He hasn’t even hung a banner and the Cards last one is some dusty old rug from the mid 80’s.

  82. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    9:06 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    62. theSkinny81 ) Hit the nail on the head.

  83. Han
    9:14 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    We had a bunch of guys playing their second game, I saw a lot of guys who will get better. Later in the season, Noel’s not going to jump so early to get blocks (Duke just went around him over and over), and Goodwin will make better decisions.

  84. Dr. Mantis Taboggin
    9:19 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    The loss was 3 defined in three moments……

    #3 Julius Mays’ horrible 3 that was 5 feet behind the NBA line when the team was down 3 and about 1 and change to play

    #2 Archie Goodwin playing out of control, again. None more so than the travel though when down 3 at the end. He should punch himself in the face one good time for that one.

    #1 Coach Cal not knowing his team and thinking the twin towers thing is going to work. When Plumlee goes down the team had momentum with and were gelling nicely, he broke that up going with the towers lineup, a towers lineup that doesn’t handle the ball well at all or with Wiltjer on the bench have any outside threat. His worst coaching decision in 3 years.

    Cal was actually out coached, he couldn’t or couldn’t care to find Wiltjer shots and the going twin towers when we were already size dominating them with Poythress over Souliman was a real back breaker, down 6 when he goes out that should have been game right there for us.

  85. Dr. Mantis Taboggin
    9:19 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Also for a senior grad student man Julius Mays plays alot like a freshman. Not a fan.

  86. Dr. Mantis Taboggin
    9:23 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    UK fans rest assured about next season, Cauley-Stein and Wiltjer will be back next season due to the horrible defense they both play for their respective positions. Kind of glad actually like them both alot but neither are close to NBA ready.

  87. older than dirt
    9:25 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Another very well written post Ally.
    Hated to lose but it was a very entertaining game.Game seemed to get away from us when Plumlee went out and NN and WCS were in together. Haven’t checked to confirm but felt like the three point shot may have opened up for Duke and they may have gotten some offensive put backs during that stretch.

  88. suckitdook
    9:31 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    We lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All these words don’t matter!!!!!!!!!!!!

    KY can never afford to lose to UNC or Duke! And we $%^&@ing sucked last night!!!

  89. Will S
    9:38 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Stay classy, Calipari. Big difference between flop and charge. Why don’t you teach your out-of-control freshman to jump stop or come to a stop when driving, instead of flailing around and lowering a shoulder? Freshman vs. Seniors, the frosh lost last night.

    Other than Cal’s comments, I thought it was a great game between (IMO) the two best basketball programs in the country.

  90. Head Bussa
    9:43 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Ally, where did you get that Goodwin only had 1 assist? He had 4.

  91. Rich
    9:44 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

  92. Al's IndiCats
    9:47 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    The TROLLS in here crack me up. I have 3 questions for them. When does Loserville play out of the friendly confines of the Bucket? Will it be before Christmas or after? Ha ha ha, also do they play anyone Ranked before they play us? Not knowing their schedule my answer would be a HELL NO on all three.
    We’re young, and to play a team like Dook and come back like we did after being down by 14, I thought it was nothing less than remarkable. We suffered somewhat at the PG, and let’s be honest, Polson play against MD was super, even though he can’t compete against the Curry’s of the world he’ll be fine in giving Harrow some rest.
    I hate losing to the Dook blue floppers but in all we’ll be just fine in a month or so. GO CATS!!!!!!!!!

  93. TrollCity
    10:04 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    89 – Cal knows the difference and called them out. Your boys were flopping all over the place, as usual. Hey it worked, as usual, so why would they stop? Yes, you won. Congrats on that. We are happy with the way our freshmen played and can’t wait to see them develop throughout the year. Cal’s comments were spot on and didn’t affect the “great game”.

  94. Pukeonpuke
    10:46 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Love it when Duke fans try to defend the fact their team doesn’t flop. LMFAO! Coach Cal can say what he wants to because its true. Digger Phelps, Bobby Knight go “F” yourselves!

  95. struggler
    11:08 am November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I will do my theraputic weigh in and get back to work. Hate to lose – but UK gained a ton from this game. They know they can hang with (even beat when they put 40 minutes together) an elite veteran team – they know they will improve greatly when Duke – let’s face it – is already about max’ed out. They will know when watching film that they are FAR more athletic – and if they will use that athleticism – should win a game like this without it even being close. They learned that If/when they play 2012 style UK defense – they will become very scary. Savor the flavor Duke – you will not want to see this team again in March (reference LeHigh).

    Duke – Plumlee played his role – but he’s a poor man’s Cole Aldrich. In honesty – Plumlee fouled out of the game at least twice (re: 10 fouls), and athletic post teams that choose to take it to him should be able to foul him out more quickly if the fouls are called. He is physical – but just and Coach K says “there is a difference between a charge and a flop – and we took some amazing charges” – there is a difference between a clean defensive play and a foul – and we took some amazing fouls. Kelly – such a difficult player to watch – stereotypical Duke player. Soft, dramatic, flopper, good shooter, must be allowed to foul to defend. Even my 10 year daughter noticed and laughed at everytime he shoots – he hits the deck with a “please, and 1” flop. Ref’s need to be held into account for making calls for this guy. And his defense… he was lower body bumping/dryhumping Wiltjer all night… I hope he bought Kyle dinner first ’cause all of that bump and grind down low shouldn’t be free. Curry – played well – kudos to him, though he’s no Stephan and not the best point in the land. Sulaimon was also a bright spot for them. No Amile Jefferson on the floor???

    UK – So proud of these freshmen and this team – they want to pave their own trail – have their own identity and I say I like what I see! It’s going to be work – but the difference between this game and Maryland game – AND this is the second game of the season… awesome. Noel – you were so exciting to watch and you just keep working. Very impressed with his quickness, motor, and drive. Dude can run the floor and left SSLLOOOOW Plumlee flat footed still on the ground more than once! Poythress – didn’t some of those power moves feel good? Feel natural? Feel like that is the law of nature being in order? DO NOT BACK DOWN! Archie – you are human lightning! Control it and that turns you into a human laser. Own it – it’s yours. Kyle – trust yourself and hold your ground – you are progressing so well and loved a lot of your rebounding and intelligence on the floor. The assist to Goodwin was a thing of beauty. Mays – the shots will fall – confidence is earned in prcatice, then brought into the game. Polson and WCS – work work work. You absolutely belong on the floor.

    Go cats – Get well Harrow – again so proud of this team! So freakishly athletic! Many great highlights ahead – Cal will mold them into a team – and then it all gets tough for everyone else. Work hard and reap the reward!

  96. ugh
    12:22 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    I watched the game. I don’t need it typed back to me in a 400 paragraph post. Awful.

  97. bluebloodtoo
    12:23 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    For my part, I was pleasantly surprised by Noel/goodwin and especially Poythress. They are all showing improvement every single game by leaps and bounds and the team is playing as well as can be expected for team chemistry. Give these guys a few months and they will be a monster team.
    I can remember AD looking a bit out of sync and clumsy for a few games early in the season and he didn’t handle big men all that well either. For Poythress, it seems like he isn’t quite used to playing with all those big guys that know how to position their bodies. I’m happy for now with the fact that he is putting more effort in. I still think he can work hard more consistently, but he’s getting there.
    Goodwin does have a great motor, he’s pushing the ball and keeping the tempo up which is good. He’ll make better decisions with more experience. Again, just time and effort and he will be a combo of bledsoe and wall. Goodwin has such athleticism, he still surprises me with the balls he can get to and the plays he makes.
    I love the hustle out of Noel/Goodwin, poythress is there in spurts. Playing duke really exposed how slow Mays and Wiltjer are though. Those guys couldn’t manage to get enough separation from the D to get good looks on their own. The team will get better at screens and motion as the season goes along, but those guys just can’t make their own shot against more athletic players….yet.

  98. Ally Tucker
    12:44 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    Its a post-game recap, 96. Hope it didn’t ruin your day.

  99. Blue4ever
    1:40 pm November 14, 2012 Permalink

    If we get Dykes I hope Mitch will have enough sense to bring in the best young defensive coordinator out there.