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The Blueprint


Every team loses at some point.

Ironically, no college basketball team has gone undefeated since Bobby Knight’s 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers, and no team ever will. The pressures of an undefeated season would’ve been too much for these freshmen and sophomores in a bigger moment (think elite eight or final four), so its great to get out of the way now. It was a tough loss, yes, but this game will be nothing more than a small blemish on the face of a beautiful season. I attribute most of this loss to the sports gods. They were definitely present on Saturday in Bloomington and helped Watford and the Hoosiers escape with a win against a team they had no business beating. Maybe Big Blue Nation needed the loss to humble us, players and coaches included.

The Wildcats will learn from this. They have a week to walk away from basketball, clear their heads, and get ready for a Chattanooga team that will feel the wrath of an angry team full of stars. The presence of the sport gods is a rare occurrence (except in Tim Tebow’s case) and Saturday they indirectly provided the blueprint to beat the Wildcats. Here it is:

Get Anthony Davis in foul trouble. Coming into this game the Wildcat’s defense led the nation in opponent field goal percentage at 32.6%. Players like Kidd-Gilchrist and Miller do well defending the wing but the length and presence in the paint is the primary reason for the dominance. With Anthony Davis out of the game, the Wildcats were still forcing the Hoosiers inside, but had no one in the paint to alter or block shots. When Davis did come back in the game he had to play tentatively because of foul trouble and wasn’t as effective.

Make Kentucky beat you at the free throw line. Why can’t John Calipari coached teams shoot free throws when it matters? It’s like a curse of some sort. The Cats were 1-4 from the stripe in the first half and finished at 58.8% from the line compared to a 82% mark by IU. With a discrepancy like this in free throw percentage you will almost always find yourself behind the other team.  There were a lot of critical free throws missed down the stretch that would’ve sealed the game.

Rain the three. In the last two games opponents have shot 19/33 (57.6%) from three point land. UNC entered the game against the Wildcats shooting 41% and IU came in shooting 45%. Although each performance was an offensive enigma for both teams there is little doubt that future teams will try to shoot the trey to counter the talent, length, and athleticism of the Wildcats. The perimeter defense has to improve.

A big body presence in the middle. Its no coincidence that both the last two games were close and both teams had Zeller’s of their own. Cody and Tyler Zeller will both be in the NBA some day and you can see why. They move really well under the basket and are crafty when it comes to rebounding. Indiana’s 10 of their 14 offensive rebounds came in the second half. With those extra opportunities, as well as the lead, they were able to massage the ball, take better shots, and keep the ball away from Kentucky. Davis, who’s about 200-210 lbs (although he listed at 220) has trouble getting position and rebounds over bigger players. Teams with a big presence in the middle and sharp shooters have the formula to compete against the Cats.

Other thoughts from the game:

What’s the 411? Well that’s Terrence Jones’ stat line from Saturday’s game. 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist. Jones didn’t give a great performance, but has been the leader of the team the entire season and will continue to be. He cannot show up in March like he did Saturday and expect team success. When Jones isn’t doing great offensively, he has to find other ways to contribute. Everyone will have a bad game from time to time but its Calipari’s responsibility to find other sources of offense. Cal has to be a better in-game adjuster. If that means calling plays every time down the floor when the Cats aren’t fast breaking, then so be it.

Kyle Wiltjer isn’t ready. Did anyone see Wiltjer pass up two open jumpers on Saturday? Just me? Oh ok. In the Kansas, St. John’s, UNC, and IU games Wiltjer has played an average of 7 minutes. I understand there is a lot of talent on this team and it’s hard to find minutes for him, but when he had the opportunity against Indiana, he passed it up. Wiltjer has the ability to be an offense force, but he’s young, and all basketball players don’t mature at the same rate. He’s a 6-9 forward who can space the floor with pretty good post moves, something this team could use. Calipari has to know he’s not ready, a great explanation of why he is not seeing more playing time.

When all else fails give the ball to your senior. Darius Miller didn’t have a particularly good start to the game (0-2 from the field, 2 turnovers), but eventually found rhythm and finished 4 of 6 from the field. At one point in the second half only Miller and Teague were scoring.


After this run Miller was pretty much frozen from the offense, except for a late basket to put the Wildcats up 69-68. Miller has carried Kentucky before, and I think his senior leadership is exactly what Kentucky needs when times are tough.

Although there is now a blueprint for teams to compete against the Wildcats hope is not lost for the Cats and panic should not set in for BBN. Despite all that went wrong on Saturday the Cats still had the opportunity to win the game and that speaks volumes about the talent level of this team.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

24 Comments for The Blueprint

  1. dave
    9:35 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    look up the definition of ironic

  2. enoughalready
    9:40 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    OK writers, we get it that we lost. Can we get some other subject material?

  3. Syrin
    9:46 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    Wiltjer has passed up open shots because in two games now he was sent to the bench seconds after taking a wide open three that he missed. Message sent, message received, behavior adjusted. Gratz. Put self doubt into one of our potentially most explosive scorers.

  4. nassau65
    9:48 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    Undefeated? never say never. it could happen again, it’s not likely, but it wasn’t likely then either. I only wish it was someone other that Knight that did it.

  5. Coopdro1000
    9:54 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    So i got two tickets to the ncaa tourney at the chicken bucket… Midcourt, upper arena row n. how much should i ask for them?

  6. Thatsashame
    9:56 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    Too bad Syrin can’t be ‘benched’ for foolish comments. KW was not getting into defensive position and passing up open looks.

  7. Ryan
    9:56 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    Well, if any teams hadn’t figured out how to beat UK by watching the game tape, at least here it is spelled out clearly for them on the internets. Thanks, KSR!

  8. saki7
    9:58 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    2) Yes! We’ve already given this (and the IU fans) more attention than is deserved. Maybe they’ll make the tournament and we’ll have a chance to meet them again. Until then, lets get ready for the Cards..and whoever is in between.

  9. Tommy
    10:03 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    A Kentucky Joke PROUD PAPA

    The year is 2016 and the United States has just elected the first
    woman president who happens to be from Kentucky. A few days after the
    election the president-elect, whose name is Debra, calls her father and says, “So,
    Dad, I assume you will be coming to my inauguration?” “I don’t think so. It’s a 10 hour drive.” “Don ‘t worry about it Dad, I’ll send Air Force One. And a limousine will pick you up at your door.” “I don’t know Everybody will be so fancy. What would your mother wear?” “Oh Dad,” replies Debra, ‘I’ll make sure she has a wonderful gown custom-made by the best designer in Washington .” “Honey,” Dad complains, “you know I can’t eat those rich foods you eat.” The President-to-be responds, ” Don ‘t worry Dad. The entire affair will be handled by the best caterer in Washington ; I’ll ensure your meals are salt free. You and mom just have to be there.” So Dad reluctantly agrees, and on January 20, 2017, Debra is being sworn in as President of the United States . In the front row sits the new
    president’s dad and mom. Dad, noticing the senator sitting next to him, leans over and whispers, “You see that woman over there with her hand on the Bible, becoming President of the United States .” The Senator whispers back, “You bet I do.”

    Dad says proudly, “Her brother played basketball for Kentucky”

  10. Catsincebirth
    10:11 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    That’s a gameplan to beat any team..Not rocket science here>

  11. Nutter Butter
    10:19 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    #9 -Somebody went to Southland this weekend.

  12. Jon
    10:24 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    You are breaking this s*** down way too much. Seriously, inspired team beat us. Jones had an off-night. Let it go!!!

  13. SexnNursinHomes
    10:31 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    I pulled my anti-iu rant earlier. i’m done now. piss on iu and their 3rd world people smell.

  14. Calipari'sInYourEar
    10:38 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    You forgot consistently out hearted and out hustled.

    The reason we beat Carolina is because their diaper dandies got out talented.

    We just got beat by 3 and 4 star recruits and it would have happened in any gym that day. You don’t bring it, you lose.

    Can Kentucky learn that lesson? I’ll be optimistic and say yes, but the reality is we can’t just say they had a bad game. Bad game implies you left it all on the table. UK didn’t do that in Indiana and the more we act like it doesn’t matter the closer we get to loss #2.

  15. Derbus
    10:39 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    PUKe sux! U all got ur as. Handed to ya by 1 5star, 1 4star, 3 3stars, and a walk on! Lmao for months. Get used to it. Lol

  16. Tbc
    10:57 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve said it once, WBA pissed cal off. Wiltjer is scared to do anything.polson is a walk on again who will be lucky to see the floor.

  17. mocha
    10:58 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    John Clay called, he wants his graphic back.

  18. Syrin
    11:06 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    Too bad Thatsashame watched one game all season and has missed Wiltjer getting yanked 2 or more times right after missing open threes.

  19. JBR
    11:09 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    Miller sucks…he gives us glimpses of what he should be doing all of the time. AND, if you are going to be talking about our senior leader, how about the last play when Hulls dribbled right into him, inside the arc, and Darius did not commit the foul? He is worthless at crunchtime…and a lot of the rest of the time as well. And yes, I am hard on him because I see tons of kids that work their tales off that may not be the most gifted athletically, and to see a kid as gifted as him, with no heart or desire to succeed, just is irritating.

  20. David
    11:33 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    JBR….Im guessing darius didn’t foul there b/c as soon as he tried to foul he knew the ball handler would have just tried to throw up a shot so he gets to the line. Not a bad play by darius imo, he was playing tough defense, just knew it was too close to the basket to risk giving them 2 free throws. We should have fouled them way before that point.

  21. old_school
    11:50 pm December 12, 2011 Permalink

    IU won the game because they, suprise – they are a very good team.
    UK fans who are making excuses or belittling the Hoosiers are fooling themselves. There are teams out there and a brand of basketball that is able to neutralize even the most talented players.

    Wisconsin comes to mind. They went on the road and nearly beat UNC and IU did beat Kentucky.

    It requires steady fundamentals, hustle, teamwork and possibly lulling your opponent into thinking that talent alone will suffice.

    Also bear in mind that Tom Crean is building something solid at IU. It has taken them a few years to get back to this level. They will continue to improve and they will remain a consistent top program because of his leadership, his commitment to recruiting good basketball players who will stay 3-4 years.

    College basketball is better because of teams like Indiana. And college basketball will be even better when Kentucky returns to those roots as well.

    Meanwhile – UK fans will continue to blinded by their NBA-Developmental league philosophy.

  22. Calipari'sInYourEar
    1:30 am December 13, 2011 Permalink

    #21 – old_school – IU won because they out hustled us. More heart (in that game).

    IU players were of a much lower average calibur ranking, this is not belittling, it’s factual and supported (,

    IU lulled UK? Exactly, talent got beat by hustle and heart.

    Finally, UK fans don’t have a “NBA-Developmental league philosophy.”
    You might have motivation to insinuate our coach does, but to suggest the “fans” look at things this way or are blinded by this way of looking at things is flawed in foundational premise.

    There are primarily 2 schools of UK fan after that game vs Indiana. The ones who accept the idea that “everybody has a bad game” and are moving on (follow the leader – Calipari Club). The others know we got our asses handed to us and are mostly not saying anything (the silent majority).

  23. uk3k
    9:42 am December 13, 2011 Permalink

    department of redundancy department

  24. Ben
    10:00 am December 13, 2011 Permalink

    We are too good on defense! I agree with Matt Jones in that we should open up the middle and suck teams in and then block their shots. This would also require TJ to actually play and Davis to play smart. We will see more of this type of play, fortunately there are only a few teams capable of playing like IU did.