Earlier this week, Jeff Goodman announced that he thought Kentucky would still succeed without Nerlens Noel in the lineup, assuming that Willie Cauley-Stein could fill Noel’s void most of the way while Ryan Harrow and Alex Poythress would step up to cover the rest.
Welp, Goodman laid a big goose egg with that one, seeing as how all three players he mentioned fouled out today while each scoring four or less points. He quickly backtracked in a piece written just after Kentucky’s dismal loss today:
Kentucky got pummeled in Knoxville — almost from start to finish. It was utter humiliation. Alex Poythress and Ryan Harrow didn’t have any fight. Again. Archie Goodwin doesn’t have much feel for the game — and while Noel wasn’t much of a threat on the offensive end, he was far more effective than Cauley-Stein — who is still raw on both ends of the court. Kentucky got punched by the Vols — and didn’t punch back. The score at the break was 50-26 and the final margin was 30 points.
Goodman goes on to say that Kentucky lacks leadership, depth, an aggressive point guard, and defensive tenacity. At this point, it’s easier to list the attributes we’re missing as a team rather than the ones we have. Yikes.