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Three Things that Must Get Better


The game started extremely well for the Cats. They jumped out to an early double digit lead and it looked to be a smooth sailing win. The KSR Live Blog was excited, until someone made an excellent point. This team struggles at keeping double digit leads, he didn’t trust it. Of course, we all know what happened next, and for our sanity we won’t go into specifics. What were the main reasons why the Cats started to fall behind though?

1. Free Throws

Free Throws have been the Kentucky killer. If Nazr Mohammed, wouldn’t have gone 0-6 from the free throw line in the 1997 Championship, the Cats would have won, if the Cats wouldn’t have missed 11 free throws in the 2014 Championship, the Cats could have won. Simple enough, free throws win championships. Yesterday, Kentucky shot 45% from the charity stripe in the first half, while only improving to 59% in the second half. This team cannot go shooting less than 60% from the free throw line.

2. Defense

Remember when everyone said that this would be Cal’s best defensive team? Yeah, me too. This team is not good defensively. The reason why could come from a multitude of things. I could sit here and list them all, but we all know them. Our main question now needs to be, how do we fix it? Drew brought up the idea of a zone defense. Would that work? At this rate, Calipari should be willing to try anything. This team’s athleticism could suit it well to play zone. This team needs to try something new, because what they are doing now, obviously isn’t working.

3. Leadership

I have brought this up in the Live Blog multiple times over the past few weeks. This team does not have a  true leader. Yes, Isaiah Briscoe is leader, but he is not what this team needs. If you look back at the successful teams in the Calipari era, each had a strong leader. Names like: John Wall, Brandon Knight, Karl Towns and Tyler Ulis. Ulis would be a perfect fit for this team. He was never afraid to get into a teammate’s face and let them know what he thought was wrong. He was the coach on the floor. The Cats just don’t have that this year and it shows in games that they have lost.


Article written by Sam Gormley

Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR; "The Whitest Man in the World"-JRock

14 Comments for Three Things that Must Get Better

  1. Lip Man 1
    12:32 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    The only way to get better at free throw shooting is to practice them EXTENSIVELY.

    Also and I’ve asked this for years, other programs have brought in “shooting doctors” (for wont of a better word) to help with this area (LSU did it a few years ago as I remember for one example). Why won’t UK?… when the impact of bad free throw shooting is so large.

  2. donjohnson
    1:28 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    The are only 2 actual problems. They ALL take a lot of plays off during the game. When we get ahead we start letting the other team get easy buckets and try to run down and score as fast as we can. Also once ahead a little we quit running. Play d and run the ENTIRE game.
    Second our 4 position is a real problem. Willis shoots it okay sometimes but is terrible at all other phases of game. Gabriel is not great offensively and terrinle.on d though rebounds well. We don’t need a lot just for that position to make open shots and play d

    People need to stop talking about a zone. They are fine in stretches in man to man then they just get lazy. The other issue.on d is Gabriel and bam try to block everything even when the other defender is in a good d position. Which allows for easy put backs happened 3/4 times last not on shots they had ZERO chance of blocking

    • Jack Nicklaus
      7:28 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

      Sorry Don but the 4 is not the problem. Offensively Willis’ shooting % is second only to Bam who dunks everything. He is not terrible in all other phases…3rd on team in blocks, avgs nearly 5 rebounds while only playing half the game. Does not turn ball over much and feeds the post pretty well. His defense is no worse than anyone else on the team.

    • unbridled
      7:38 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Jack Nicklaus is 100% correct. Willis is the best and only option at the 4. Why he is not starting…I will never know. Gabrielle should be coming in off of the bench. Quite obvious from my perspective.

  3. c21judicole
    2:21 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    M friends, SamKat and his wife, Jeanie and I have been discussing this situation too. How about having UK’s own Kyle Macy coach our guys in free throw shooting? After all, he was the best at that skill and if he lives in the Lexington area, might be open to doing that.
    SamKat pointed out that hockey and soccer have goaltenders and that this team needs some too (at least one good one). An answer might be to use three bigs to get rebounds and shut down the opponents drives to the basket. Our guards used to drive the lane and are now shut down and forced to play half court offense. They were told to get it to Bam more, but if he isn’t open, they should not force the ball inside. If he’s open and the defense collapses on him, he needs to pass it back out instead of taking a chance of turning it over.

  4. Kelkat
    2:33 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Free throws are what they are. I don’t see a big improvement coming. Leadership is kind of going to come from Briscoe or it isn’t. I don’t see them developing a leader else where. Defense is about the only thing I can see improving. And it seems to have regressed of late. They defended good early in Kansas game but then…regressed. I like the ideal of a zone but Cal just isn’t going to play zone. So we can forget that. So, gotta hope that after back to back losses that some of these guys get it. Hawkins is the only guy that seems to play defense consistently. Fox should be putting more pressure on the ball and why is he getting beat? I don’t know. But I am hoping the defense gets better and is more consistent. And then there are the stupid turnovers. That is really what cost us the game yesterday I thought. We turned the ball over at the end of 1st half and let them back in it. And we turned it over in the 2nd half which kept us from going on any kind of run.

    We still have time…but time is running out…

  5. henderblue
    3:16 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Just got through watching Villanova come from behind to beat Virginia. Interviewing a kid after the game, he said “at the 12 minute mark we made up our minds we had to lock in on defense. We weren’t worried about offense”. That, my friends, is the mentality of champions. And the formula for success. This Kentucky team, when they locked in on defense earlier in the year, was when they were at their best on offense. The defense creates the offense. Not the other way around. If this team wants to be winners they need to “lock in” on defense

    • Catsby80
      7:09 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

      You’re exactly right. Defense leads to offense in multiple ways. Turnovers create easy buckets and a defense that frustrates the opposing offense creates turnovers. Remember the defense the 38-1 team played? They wore teams down and got transition buckets like it was nothing.. This team has got to figure out a way to lock in on defense and not take plays off.

  6. 2thepoint
    3:22 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Turnovers are because of a lack of awareness. I don’t know how many turnovers they had yesterday, but Fox had many of them. But, even with the turnovers shooting is the problem. The rap on them at the beginning of the season was how bad outside shooting was. If they shoot the ball well from outside they will beat anybody, but the past few games anybody can beat them. If shots don’t fall the inside stays clogged for Bam and drivers. So, shoot, shoot from outside until they do fall.

    • Sam Gormley
      3:52 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

      Fox had 5 of the team’s 17 turnovers. New season high.

  7. 3 fan
    6:53 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Fox is hurting us on both ends of the floor. Just dumb unforced turnovers and the worst defense I’ve seen at UK in many years

    We were up 12 and took our foot off the gas. You could see it coming

    When Kansas went zone, you turn the game speed up. You cannot zone a fast break

    Cal has to be willing to make in game changes. And quit playing Humphries. Opponent makes run when he is in

  8. jaws2
    9:02 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Sam you need to add a choice; ALL OF THE ABOVE. we’re pretty weak in all facets.

  9. unbridled
    7:53 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Perimeter shooting, the absolute refusal to play any form of defense, horrible shot selection/hero ball, turnovers, and a lack of intensity are this team’s glaring weaknesses. Either they take coaching and turn it around from thus point forward, or we all come to the realization that we were wrong and they just aren’t that good. I’m hoping for the former.

  10. psacatfan
    9:27 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Shot selection should be right up there with these other weaknesses. Too much AAU ball, I guess.