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A game we’d like to forget


Like a Vanderbilt student opening a letter from an Ivy League school, we went into this game with a lot of hope and high expectations, only to be rejected, again. Let’s try to put it behind us and look at the things that made this game what it was.

– In a stark contrast to the game against Tennessee in Rupp, the Cats simply didn’t get after it on the defensive end today. UK outplayed Vanderbilt for most of the first half, but went into halftime down four because of lackluster perimeter defense and poor defense rebounding. We gave up 11 of 20 from beyond the arc to Vandy and struggled to pull in the ball after their misses which led to deflating second chance scoring opportunities for the Commodores. To give up 81 points to Vanderbilt is unacceptable. This team has the ability to play great defense and a showing like this doesn’t reflect the talent that we have on the court.

– The big guy for Vandy today was John Jenkins. After going 1 for 6 from the three point last year in Memorial and getting his lunch served to him by John Wall on a block in the waning seconds, Jenkins stepped out and exploded today. He had 32 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the three point line. His three free throws after a dumb Terrence Jones foul and his wide open corner three in the second half prevented the Cats from sustaining a run to take the lead down the stretch. Call it Memorial Magic or just crappy defense, but Jenkins lit us up today.

– On UK’s end, I don’t think there is a player that’s going to stir more debate than DeAndre Liggins. Liggins made his mark on the game early and often. He was driving, dishing and looking for his own shot, too. His bravado might have caused a bit more trouble than it was worth though. His first half technical meant we had to take him off of John Jenkins defensively, and it meant that he had to sit for a bit longer than Coach Cal would have wanted. He showed that same heady play in the second half by making a huge three as the shot clock was expiring and a then taking a charge on the other end even though he had four fouls. At that point, I thought he was going to be the man to spark the win in the final minutes like Patterson and his corner three against Vandy last season. However, two turnovers that led to Commodore points changed my mind. I like that he gets excited and shows some emotion because that’s what this team desperately needs, but he’s going to have to learn to reign it in enough so that it doesn’t become a burden.

– If we’re going to look for a positive in a loss, the older guys continued their statistical contributions from the Tennessee game. Jorts had 7 points and 10 rebounds, DeAndre had 10 points and Darius added 7, too, despite an early second half injury. Jorts needs to keep looking for his offense. When he can contribute on the offensive end, it adds a whole new dimension to this team. I like when he calls for the ball and asserts himself.

– Speaking of Darius’ injury, Matt did his best doctor impersonation on the radio show and attributed Miller’s injury woes to ‘a hit in the gonads’. Hopefully Darius will be fine and the UK Athletics statement of a ‘leg injury’ was just a flattering comparison.

The freshmen pitched in their usual contributions, sans Doron’s shooting from distance. Terrence put up numbers like he had earlier in the season with a 25 point 9 rebound stat line. At times it seemed that Jones was near impossible to guard when the ball was in his hands. He was making plays in the paint and got to the free throw line where he shot 6 for 8. His three point attempts were irksome but the only thing that kept Jones from dominating Vanderbilt like he did against Notre Dame was the defense by the Vandy big men in preventing the entry passes. Knight got his 20 points and put up good shooting numbers but he finished with a 2:4 assist to turnover ratio, including the ugly pickpocket at the end of the first half. Doron didn’t have his usual stroke but put up 8 points in 30 minutes.

– The points were there for this team but once again it comes down to poor defense. Doron and Knight were beat off the dribble more times than players of their caliber should be. Heck, a guy named Tinsley drove right around Knight when we desperately needed a stop and Doron looked lost trying to follow Jenkins off of screens.

– We actually shot decently from the free throw line, 14 for 18, but Vanderbilt shot better. It’s hard to win a game when the other team makes more free throws than you attempt. Vandy went 20 for 23 from the line. That’s tough to overcome.

– The revolving door of bench players made their brief appearances today, too. Eloy, Polson and Hood all came in and provided very little in terms of production. I don’t know what it is about Jon Hood, but it seems like he gives up a three every single time he puts his hand up defensively. Maybe it’s just bad luck but it always seems to happen that way. Still no Stacey Poole sightings. Make what you will of that.

– There’s a lot of ‘the sky is falling’ talk amongst the fanbase, but we have to step back and look at this team with a bit of perspective. In four of our conference losses plus the loss in North Carolina, we’ve lost by a combined 12 points. The team needs to develop the killer instinct that made last year’s team so special. I don’t think we need to start looking toward next year just yet.

– That’s all I’ve got for a disappointing outing in Nashville. We’ve got four home games with a trip to Arkansas in the middle coming up. Hopefully it’ll be a chance for us to get back on track.

That’s all I got for you right now. Try to put on a happy face.

Article written by Matthew Hays

60 Comments for A game we’d like to forget

  1. Janet Jackson's Boob
    5:24 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink


  2. Super8
    5:25 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    What a classy albeit clever comment: “Like a Vanderbilt student opening a letter from an ivy league school, we went into this game with a lot of hope and high expectations, only to be rejected, again.” I wonder what portion of the UK population could get into Vandy. My guess is not many. At least with the basketball team, academics isn’t the point anyway. I heard under Calipari you don’t even have to take your spring course load.

    Can’t just take a loss with some class, I guess. Get used to the dejection. UK ain’t what it used to be and won’t ever be again given the resources other SEC schools put into their teams.

  3. lpool003
    5:25 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    “It’s hard to win a game when the other team makes more free throws than you attempt.” This should be no shocker to anyone who has been following this team for the past 5 years or so, it happens every time we go to Memorial Gym.

  4. Mark Liptak
    5:26 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Learning defense, playing with guts and having the ability to finish games is a lot like a final exam cram session. If you don’t have it by now, you’re not going to get it. Period.

    Mark Liptak

  5. Sean
    5:30 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Liggins really hurt us down the stretch. He had a 4 play stretch where he let Jenkins get a WIDE open three. He came down the other end and threw it away, then gave up a lay up to Jenkins. He then threw it away on offense again.

    Liggins HAS to learn to pull up and shoot from 10 feet. I could play 300 games and get a total of two charges. he gets them with regularity. Even when it’s not a charge, it goes from an open easy 12 footer to a highly contested fall down toss up that is essentially a turnover.

  6. crawford01
    5:31 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    If they haven’t found the killer instinct yet, they’re not going to. Good team, not great. I still like them though, ain’t hatin..can’t wait till next year. This year is the bridge that gets us there.

  7. Mr Schwump
    5:31 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Definately agree about the piss-poor D. Cal should continuely show Knight the Tinsley vid, this guy is NBA-ready? Effin’ ridiculous.

  8. Roland
    5:33 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Time for a Joe Hall move, bench the All stars and see if the rest of the bench wants to play ball. Ya have to have a few years on ya to remember when Hall benched his AA’s to start the rest of the bench in the 2nd half against FSU in a NCAA game.

  9. H to the Z H sizzle
    5:34 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Matt Hayes….workin weekends

  10. level 9 pissed
    5:34 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Miller must have a happy, or hurt, girlfriend if they are calling it a leg injury.

  11. Uk
    5:35 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    why is all i get on WHAS website is Rush Limbaugh instead of matt Jones? what am i doing wrong here?

  12. Roland
    5:37 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Uk, (11) I had that same prob. figured the post game was over.

  13. watchinginfla.
    5:38 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    #2= I “heard” the world’s gonna end tomorrow too, don’t believe it, so don’t believe what you hear either.

  14. takeiteasy
    5:39 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    As coach Cal has been saying, “Put the blame on me. I can take it.” OK I’m putting the blame on you, Cal. The players did mostly everything they reasonably could be expected to do. Granted Vandy played very very well and UK still had a chance to win in Memorial Gym. Give the players some credit. But, I thought the game took a decided turn when Stallings switched to a zone defense late. Just the challenge of having to adjust took UK out of its comfort zone enough to cause a few mistakes. WHY didn’t Cal change his defense at any point in the game???? All though the second half I kept hoping and hoping to see some zone. It was the zone that turned things around in the Tennessee game, and I’m convinced it could have made a difference today. I know Vandy was shooting well but they were getting shots off while coming off of screens on the move. A zone would make them shoot while more stationary and, yeah they might still have shot lights out, but at least we’d have made them adjust to SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I really think Cal has to accept some blame for being out-coached today because Stallings’ move paid off and Cal never made a change. UK’s guys were running around screens all day long, and I can’t blame ’em for getting frustrated which can lead to a mistake now and then.

  15. Janet Jackson's Boob
    5:39 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Keep this in mind, everyone. This team literally lost SIX first round draft picks when you include Kanter being ruled ineligible. NO ONE can lose their six best players and expect to have a great team the following year. Expectations for this team to do better than 8-10 losses are simply unrealistic, given the amount of talent that was taken away from Cal’s roster between draft picks and NCAA mischief.

  16. Roland
    5:43 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    The big picture might be that there will be no greatest night in UK history on draft night and that next years team will be loaded, lockout or no lockout. Then again, this team might grow up, just a little to win these close games.

  17. blitzedanddazed
    5:44 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    First let me start by saying the referees did not cost UK the game today. But Doug Sirmons has to be one of the biggest “pricks” to ever officiate a game. Sirmons is from the Curtis Shaw School of “Prickdom” by wanting to be the center of attention of every game he is involved. UK is just going to have to make adjustments by trying to change the tempo/pace at different times during the game. This UK team cannot impose its will on the opposing team like last years team. Knight is the only player that understands the principle of time and possession. Vandy played a good game and made the big plays when they needed.

  18. Truth Fully
    5:47 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    You do not have Cousins. You do not have Canter. You have Liggins, Lamb, Knight, Miller. You MUST live by the 3. Some may say “you can also die by the 3”. I say “without the 3….you die anyway”. For the love of Pete……take the open 3!!!!!

  19. catcrawler
    5:51 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    We can’t lose at Ark. CAN’T.

  20. cracka
    5:52 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    say what you want about liggins, but he was fouled on back to back plays in which he was given an offensive foul and then a no-call … he turned and told the ref he sucked, i’m just glad he didn’t punch the ref in the face, because that’s what i was wanting to do

    i hate to make excuses, but it just really seems like we’ve been ripped on the road by the refs … makes me think we’ll be fine on a neutral court when it counts. that being said, we need to use the next couple of weeks working on how to hustle on the defensive end!

  21. TheGuyPitinoForgotToPayToGetFreshFishAtPorchinis
    5:55 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    All these nervous nancies calling out Cal have suddenly disappeared. Their argument is weightless.

  22. The BCG Experience
    5:55 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Fellas, I think this is as good as we’re gonna be. Don’t beat yourself up over the loss, don’t beat the team up over the loss. This is as good as we are, and we’re good, we’re just not as good as you’d like for us to be. Just accept the team for who they are.

    2. Yup, we lost, thanks for coming. Hope to see you on here again when your ‘Dores come to UK.

    4. Good analogy. It could also be that they understand it but don’t know how to apply what they know (but if that’s the case, I’d hope Cal would make it easier to execute).

    5. Not just Liggins, our entire perimeter defense just wasn’t happening today. He was a great emotional sparkplug, he just has to be sure to direct it at his teammates and not the opponent’s bench.

    6. Yeah, if it hasn’t clicked for them yet it’s not going to happen. How many close games do we have to lose before we GET it? Or maybe it’s not about getting it, but executing it.

    8. These days we call that a BCG move.

  23. Nice...
    5:56 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    I honestly think if Knight was on last years team and Wall was on this years team they would both have been better. Last years team had everything except a shooter. Maybe we wouldn’t have won as many regular season games, but I think we would have gone farther in the tourney. This years team really has nobody that feeds off the energy like Wall did last year. If Wall and Knight switched places. both of these teams could be Final Four teams. Oh, what a shame…

  24. kukblue1
    5:58 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Let’s blame the person who put this schedule together. What other teams in america are playing 5 out of 7 games on the road. Two road games one home games two more road gamse one home game one road game.

  25. bung
    6:00 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    dont pick on Hood for their 3’s….Pick on the lazy bunch that wants points with the least effort possible…10 loss Cal

  26. Nice...
    6:00 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    As far as us not being able to win on the raod, the good news is that since the BBN travels so well we will never have a postseason game where the other team has more fans than us. That should help.

  27. louisville
    6:10 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    15 LMAO excuses….Louisville lost all their starters plus 10 diff guys with injuries and we on a roll. KARMA is a bitch LOL…..GO CARDS!!!!!

  28. Super8
    6:10 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    @23 – I, along with lots of other SEC fans, are on your boards anytime UK loses because the freakouts are hilarious.

  29. Dadgummit
    6:12 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    24 gets it.

    “This is as good as we are, and we’re good, we’re just not as good as you’d like for us to be.”

    Four weeks until Selection Sunday. The time for finding that “killer instinct” has passed. This team was hamstrung from them beginning, yet managed to play above their ability in many games (Washington, Louisville, Notre Dame). We don’t have a Wall or Cousins on the court. We don’t have a PPat, either. These are freshmen in the truest sense, and they don’t have reliable veteran leadership. As a result, our softness is showing on the road. We’ve yet to build up a thick hide to protect us outside of the comfort of Rupp, and I think our tournament run will be short as a result.

    As I see it, the only remedy is a second season. The question is, who, if anyone, returns to give it another try.

  30. louisville
    6:13 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    24 NAW you didnt make it to the final four last year either….smh wishful thinking

  31. KyFan 2000
    6:15 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    I would say this picture says it all.

  32. Cal&cat-fan
    6:17 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    If anybody thought this team was going to be more than this without kanter give me a break we still have a solid sweet sixteen team and with this class that’s about right. We are just missing a few parts. One or two players can’t make achampionship team but just wait till next year.

  33. Cotton Nash
    6:20 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Cal needs to use multiple defenses,…like 95% of the coachs in college basketball!!!!!!!! He needs various zone presses and half court zone defenses,…. to go along with his “man to man”. Last year we could play man to man and it not hurt us TOO much due to the 3 huge men we had that could block and alter shots when a guard or forward got beat off the dribble. We don’t have that this year. Cal has always got the best players (most talent) and NEVER ONCE has won a championship. Why? Cause he has ONE defense, and ONE defense only!!!!! If the man to man ain’t working, we lose. A very stupid thing to do. Stubborn. But that’s what we have with Cal. And he ain’t gonna change. Also,..if he is determined to play Miller and Liggins next year with all the 5 STAR players we will have,…then it will be just like this year! It’s not the one and dones that hurt us. It’s the less talented “experienced” players,..and Cal’s POOR coaching. Jones and Knight were AWESOME, is usually the case!!! Very sad they don’t play for a good coach. But I’d still rather have Cal than Billy Clyde or the Tub. At least we have the talent to play now. Cal needs more than ONE defense,…simple as that!!!

  34. Dave
    6:21 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    I’m always hopeful, but I am a realist. We just have to keep supporting them. But you are crazy if you think we will win the SEC tourney or win more than one game in the NCAA (if we make it). We still have next year.

  35. Manbearpig
    6:25 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    I think everyone expected this season to be like this BEFORE the season started, but after big wins against UL, Washington, an Notre Dame people thought the sky was the limit. We are a good team and the thing that plays into our hands SEC and NCAA tourney wise is that games are mainly on neutral floors and at least half the crowd will be pro UK. If this team goes past the Sweet 16 then we overachieved, thats the reality. We will probably be a 5 seed unless we go on a tear then we may bump up to 4 or 5. Next year will be better so the sky isn’t falling Big Blue Nation, and there’s always a darkhorse in the tourny and I think we can be that team!

  36. Nice...
    6:25 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Just wondering, did the guy that made all those great videos last season, I think his name was UKCat8Fan, delete his youtube channel? I cant find any of his videos on youtube. This disappoints me.

  37. Go cats
    6:26 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    28. Hey whats up. Don’t you remember the 31st of December when we beat you like the little sister you are. So if you want to keep talking just remember that date… And just wait till next year… Behanen is garbage and so is blacksher. My team played Bowling Green the team Behanen is on last season and we are a god awful team And he couldnt score worth nothing and cant shoot. So Good luck when Mike Gilchrist runs over your Cardnial ASS!!

  38. J hood
    6:33 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    1) too much parity in college ball. vandy would have beaten anyone today with the 3 pt shooting. nothing to do with poor defense!
    2) liggins is a train wreck since day one. hell of a defensive man but not smart enough to have the ball in his hands.
    3) pitino isnt half the recruiter as cal but twice the coach!

  39. Lane Change
    6:39 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    There are two problems with this team; They are young and NO leadership. That’s it.

  40. jimmy dykes
    6:39 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    pitt has no sissies on their team

  41. Papa Chubby
    6:43 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    These last three games had me worried, I was hoping they could pull 2 out of 3. 1 out of 3 sucks. Maybe we can make some hay in the next couple weeks and hope to get a little help. Right now, it’s Vols 28, Gators 23 and I never, NEVER thot I’d find myself rooting for Tennessee.

  42. truehling
    6:43 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    #11, after the move to cbs, seems like the same thing…

  43. Ghost of Rupp is gay
    6:49 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    39- 1. correct, 2. wrong, 3. wrong

  44. Al's IndiCats
    7:00 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    28, first of all you suck…Plain and simple you bite the BIG ONE just like Sypher and your coach. The first thing you need to remember is the absolute ass whipping we gave you at the greasy assed BUCKET. Secondly in both football and basketball if you all were in the SEC you’d come in last on both. Be thankful Jurich controlls anything News worthy about UofLOSERVILLE. For if it were to get out, your basketball team would be on probation…not from the NCAA but from the legal systems in both Indiana and Kentucky.

  45. Joe Cool
    7:02 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    There is no substitue for a veteran, cohesive team that’s played together x 4 years. As much as I hate to admit it, we won’t have a Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler 4-yr starter until Cal leaves

  46. LoveJoy
    7:11 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink


    Kentucky loses. Louisville wins.

    We lose to a bunch of 3.5GPA kids who stay in school, no All Americans.

  47. Matt Jonesing
    7:23 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Guys….Look. Cal was obviously pulling on Darious D!ck before the game. I mean, how else would you explain a pulled groin?

  48. LoveJoy
    7:23 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    I love Duke

  49. Brandon
    7:33 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    You couldn’t try to lose any better than that…

    For having such a smart pg, this team seems to lack much basketball IQ. Shocked, stunned, and just down on this team right now… Even Knight taking the ball up with 11 sec’s like he is looking for the last shot to win! ps…. we were down by 4.

    Oh well, the game was already lost by that point. It really hurts being a UK fan this year. I fight the urge to question Coach Cal for not keeping Purry around for this year. What a difference another big would be.

    Kentucky can only play 6 players because they are the only one talented enough to play other SEC teams… Kentucky can get all the big names but I guess not enough good players to stock the bench. Really getting a bad taste for One and Dones.

  50. NotTheSlickistRick
    7:44 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    37 Here is a link to that site

  51. Mack
    7:47 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    “killer instinct”? I much as may wish for that character I don’t see any signal of it soon.

  52. Free Anthony Davis's Eyebrow
    8:24 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Hey #28 suck my left nut.

  53. Mick
    8:29 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Calipari must not care, but Terrence Jones has no business jacking up the 3 ball or handling the ball out around the arc. He may have been a guard at one time in his life, but he is now a power forward. This is where we need him and what the NBA will want him to be, if and when he is drafted. He needs to work on his mid-range shot, not the long ball. He looks terrific when he plays his position, but 1 of 4 will not cut it in critical games. These kids were supposed to get better as the season progressed, but they have gotten worse. Wake up coach!

  54. Go Cats!!
    8:41 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    All along I’ve tried to be realistic and expect that if this team won 25 games and made it to the Sweet 16, it would be a successful season. This team has a lot of talent but is clearly lacking some pieces to be great. So, we keep cheering them on until the end of the season and then RAMP for next year. Go Cats!!!

    PS – Gotta love the UofLOL fans who try to talk smack now since we SMACKED the Tards already this year. Delusional. Gotta try to get theirs on the message boards cause they clearly couldn’t get it done on the court. A final comment: fifteen seconds. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  55. sunnycat
    8:47 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Quit bitching about the “one and done” players. UK has had years of 4 year players that have taken us no further than last years team. Before Cal got to UK the fans dreamed of getting the kind of players Cal gets. Now everybody wants four year guys…LMFAO. When Cal got to UK he had nothing aside from Patterson and Miller. Its gonna take Cal another year to get HIS players. Personally I like UK’s chances alot better under Cal.

  56. sunnycat
    8:50 pm February 12, 2011 Permalink

    Jones is a good player at times. Saving the vandy airball that cost a bucket and a foul was a dumb move. It kills me to see him handle the ball it looks like he has to think about it to much.

  57. billy johnson
    2:31 am February 13, 2011 Permalink

    We lost today because of our defense against jenkins. John jenkins went to my high school in gallatin tn and I played with him on my freshman basketball team and I rembered seeing him hit 56 threes in a row in practice which is ray allen like.. He was getting recruited by billy g and I asked u going to kentucky right? And he said probably not and I asked why and he said he was a jerk. John could have easily played at kentucky if cal was there and for what he told me he was a really big fan of kentucky basketball. What I’m sayin is is that if we can’t just guard one guy how are we going to make a run in march? We can’t let one guy take over like he did today.

  58. Rev Run
    3:18 am February 13, 2011 Permalink

    Okay… so the ball is inbounded to #44-Taylor who isnt the best free throw shooter on the team. Deandre, who I remind u has 4 fouls, tries to go for a steal that he clearly cannot get nor should have tried to, and allows him to pass the ball to the best free throw shooter on the team. Crucial point in the game. Selfish?

  59. Stu
    9:45 am February 14, 2011 Permalink

    It’s like the Billy Clyde Era, all over again, where VU just has the better team.

    Oh, and I turned down Harvard to attend Vanderbilt. The “University” of Kentucky is a laughingstock.