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We Lost Because We Lost

Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight - Kentucky v Louisville(Getty image)

Because Kentucky’s six-man rotation is comprised of three freshmen, and because Kentucky struggles to win on the road (all of a sudden, kind of), the tidy conclusion based on those two astute observations is that Kentucky struggles to win on the road (all of a sudden, kind of) because their six-man rotation is comprised of three freshmen. Other than being a stupid, short-sighted, and blind assessment, I’d agree that it’s spot-on!

Except not really at all. I’m not going to make an upper- v. freshmen-class flow chart to prove this, because it would really just insult your intelligence to provide visual evidence of something that is plainly obvious. Plus, I’m not really sure what a flow chart is or how to make one.

Instead! I have a way more hair-brained, likely erroneous theory as to why we’re losing these games on the road: we’re getting unlucky.

I know it’s a losers mentality to say, “well, we lost because they got lucky,” and that’s not really what I’m saying. These other teams didn’t get lucky in beating us, necessarily; it’s more that we were unlucky. We fumble the ball late against ‘Bama; Chris Warren’s three rattles down; Chandler Parsons goes nuts; John Jenkins goes nuts.

In the grand scheme of things, sure, we lost these games for a myriad of reasons. Still, a few bounces UK’s way Saturday and we beat Vandy (11 of Jenkins’ 32 points were second chance); Brandon Knight hits (as he had on his first four threes) and we beat Florida; and Warren’s three — every time I see the replay I think it’s going to go long.

This is all to say: We aren’t losing these games, as Jeff Goodman (and a billion others, probably) said on Twitter, because Brandon Knight doesn’t know how to lead. That’s absurd. (If anything, we lose on the road in spite of the freshmen and their productivity, but that doesn’t really fit into my Malcolm Gladwell-style narrative.) In fact, it’s much more didactic: We’re losing road games because we’re losing road games. (Mims used similar logic when explaining to you that he is hot because he is fly, and you are not because you are not.)

So while its cathartic and natural to want to blame people for these events — Liggins makes bad decisions late (guilty!); Lamb isn’t scoring; Jones forces it — it may just be a case of the yips.

So relax and prepare yourselves for Rotnei Clarke to score 87 points when we go to Arkansas.

Article written by Evan Hilbert

31 Comments for We Lost Because We Lost

  1. UK Wildcat
    1:39 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Liggins is going to strong arm Rotnei Clarke’s down syndrome looking ass.

  2. JWall
    1:41 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Is KU a young team? Ask them how hard it is to win on the road when a player has a career night at home as well. I still laugh at everyone panicking. I dont like watching the Cats lose, but everyone does it in conference play on the road. Hell at least we haven’t been blown out and have been in the games and the last 2 losses were ranked opponents on their homecourt.

  3. thebluevirus
    1:42 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink


  4. Al's IndiCats
    1:42 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    This is the begining of our run to the NC…..GO CATS!!!!!!!!

  5. KSR1080Fan
    1:42 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    3) I kept waiting for Josh Selby to share his thoughts on Twitter.
    He seemed to be very ‘troubled” and it looked to me during one
    of the last timeouts while he was in the lineup, he was
    looking away while Self was talking.

  6. Doctor Bob
    1:43 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    If you live by the sword, sometimes that is how you go down. Recruiting a class full of first rounders seems good until you wake up and have no depth after the draft. Banking on a pro from Europe to save you might not be the best idea. But you have a good one in BK and I believe he will stay at least one more year.

  7. jumbo
    1:46 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    4) well said my man.

  8. Michael
    1:49 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Leave it to Evan to mention a logical fallacy-circular reasoning- and 1……2…..3…….BTI’s head explodes.

  9. twnky
    1:53 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    That pic makes me cringe every time i see it.

  10. knightynight
    1:57 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Spread is now 17.5

  11. For real
    2:01 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    I agree with thebluevirus.Well said. Mostly.

  12. For real
    2:02 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    11 – it looks like an uncomfortable slow dance. Really uncomfortable.

  13. UKChillFan
    2:07 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    5-Well said!

  14. BigRudy
    2:13 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    I think these guys need a nice old fashioned before the game against MSU to loosen em up

  15. knightynight
    2:19 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Anyone got any extra tickets?

  16. Completely Agree
    2:19 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    We are only four 3pt baskets (Bama, Ole Miss, Fla, UNC) away from being 21-3(8-3). That’s how close we are to being an extremely good team! With exception to UConn (where the Cats just played horrible), every team has had to play a pretty darn good game to beat us. The only “bad” road loss is Ole Miss (perhaps Georgia) in my opinion. The fact that it took a career night from Jenkins and 55% 3pt shooting as a team for Vandy to barely beat us (at Vandy), again shows me just how close we are. I truly believe we will be ready by the tournament AND UK will will be the team that nobody wants to play.

  17. Ben
    2:24 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    We lost because we tightened up at the end of the game, not once but five times! Our opponents played great and we could not match their intensity! Instead of playing team ball, we had individual trying to step it up. We tried too hard, which caused bad things to happen.

    It is hard for us to accept because one time is rare and five times is almost unheard of! The good news is that things tend to even out over a season, which may mean a good tourney run.

  18. Can't wait for next year!
    2:34 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    #3 and #4 – Last time I checked KU has lost two games, we have lost seven. Not sure how you can compare the two. Don’t get me wrong I bleed blue, but KU is miles ahead of us, they will be a #1 seed, we hope to be a five.

  19. Crush little red
    2:36 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    How many games last year did we pull it out at the end? Cal would say we should be .500 team, everyone blew it off. This year, things bounce the other way. It’s life. I don’t want to see us lose, but this is so much better than in previous seasons when I didn’t even want to watch because it was so painful – no offense, getting blasted at home and on the road to horrible teams, etc. I believe we will be ready come tournament time and if not, hopefully everyone comes back for next year.

  20. Syrin
    2:48 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Last year’s team seemed to catch every break until that game against WVU. This year’s team just doesn’t seem to get those same breaks. We’ve been MUCH more competitive the last three games, even though we lost 2 of them. I still think this team has a chance to do better in the tournament than last year’s team depending upon Liggins offensive production, Harrelson’s rebounding, Miller’s intensity, and Lamb regaining his shooting touch. ALL of those things are directly in control of the players, so I have reason for optimism.

  21. Franktown
    2:50 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Go cats!!!

  22. sunnycat
    3:07 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    20 How long has Bill Self had to build a team? How long has Cal had to build a team?

  23. Viren
    3:34 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    #24 I agree if you remember when Self’s first few season’s he lost to teams like Colorado and few other uncharacteristic losses. KU also lost to a team called bucknell in the NCAA tournament. It takes 3 or 4 years to establish a great program and once Cal gets a good mix of top talent and those that will hand around for few years we will be okay. I mean we would not even be talking about this had we gotten Enes Kanter eligible. Wilcats are few bounces away from ranked in the top 10 in the polls had we gotten a lucky bounces here and there in the SEC road games.

  24. Stack
    3:40 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    You know Evan, I see your point. However, if you are a better team, you WIN the games. YOu may lose one every now and then on the road from being “Unlucky”, but when it’s every time…thats more than just that. I see your trying to stay positive which is how we need to be, but lets be real. There is a bigger underlying factor than just “unlucky”. We just don’t have that killer in us. And unless things change dramatically, its going to be what loses us the SEC tournament and the early second round/sweet 16 elimination in the NCAA tournament. That’s truth… And Brandon Knight is a 2 guard, he will not make it as point in the NBA.

  25. Runnin'Ramel
    3:56 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Beisner, I don’t think the spread was ever 20. That was the projected overnight line. The spread opened at 18.

  26. Runnin'Ramel
    3:57 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    That said, it shocks me that the spread wasn’t closer to 11.5 or so … even 8 wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow.

  27. Lex07
    4:00 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    22.) Yes, it is a complete COINCIDENCE that last year’s team won close games, and this year’s team hasn’t so far. A complete COINCIDENCE.

  28. JWall
    4:43 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    25) That’s what I was thinking and hell in the tourney anyone can make noise. Hardly anyone have the pukes winning it all last year, and KU was suppose to cut down the nets. Look at my Racers and Butler last year making some noise in the tournament. (Sorry had throw in the Racer shoutout). I’m not going to look at how close KU’s games were this year, but someone mentioned earlier that a couple of shots and we could only have 3 losses and would be back in the talks of a 1 seed assuming we can finish strong.

  29. Syrin
    4:49 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    Lex07, even CAL said that that team caught a lot of lucky breaks and he NEVER viewed their record as it actually was because he counted those lucky breaks as losses. I guess you have never played a sport beyond NBA 2k11 in your mom’s basement, but for whatever reason, some teams just can’t catch a break, and some teams do. Now get back to your Cheetos.

  30. JMFATZ47
    6:00 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    5 games lost by 12 total points. Last 2 against ranked teams on the road that had players go off for career games. $hit happens……….if we take 4 out of the last 6 to finish out we are 22-9 which isn’t awful

  31. pureblueinbama
    6:09 pm February 15, 2011 Permalink

    We have six guys playing against ten guys or more every single game!! That means our guys are just getting better and better despite mistakes and losses. It breaks my heart to see my Cats lose, but I love this team and look forward to watching these guys rise to the occassion come tourney time!!