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10 Takeaways: Bama shot the lights out; “not one player played well” for UK

Kentucky’s win streak came to a crashing end Tuesday night in Rupp Arena when first-place Alabama embarrassed the Cats by 20 points, 85-65, in Coach Cal’s largest home loss to date and the program’s largest home loss since 1988. Billed as the battle between the SEC’s two unbeaten teams, the game proved to be a one-sided affair from the beginning as Alabama’s offense scored at a rate that would make its football team proud.

Dejected, Calipari said after the game, “Not one of our players played well. I obviously didn’t coach well… We got beat every which way.”

These are some of those ways…


1. Alabama shot the lights out.

With an average of 30 tries per game this season, Nate Oats’ Alabama lives and dies by the 3-ball. The scouting report was pretty simple—force the Tide to do something inside the arc—but Oats’ offense got its 30 looks from outside, and almost half of them (14 of 30) went in.

It helped that many of the attempts went uncontested thanks to lackadaisical defense Calipari called out in his postgame comments. “We were late to everything, we were backing away from players,” Cal said of his players’ closeouts and defensive effort overall, suggesting they were afraid to get beat off the dribble so they allowed 3s instead.

2. Alabama got easy penetration went it got bored making 3s.

When Alabama wasn’t taking advantage of the open target practice UK’s defense allowed, Alabama was able to penetrate the rim with ease. Kentucky needed to force tough 2-point shots to get Alabama away from what it likes to do, but Alabama was able to space Kentucky out and choose its own adventure: find the open 3-pointer or take it to the basket. A weakness all season, UK’s perimeter defenders showed an inability to stay in front of anyone trying to drive.

3. John Petty was great.

The defense was bad but Alabama still had to make the plays to capitalize on opportunities, and ninth-year senior John Petty did a lot of the playmaking for the Crimson Tide. It was far and away Petty’s best game against the school he almost picked out of high school as he scored 23 points with four made 3-pointers and was spotted jawing toward Coach Cal after sinking one in front of the UK bench.

Sometimes you just have to nod in respect when an opponent goes off, and in this case we nod to Petty, who I assume will be back again next year and the year after that on into eternity.

4. Kentucky’s offense is severely limited and outdated.

While Alabama’s offense had the freedom to do as it pleased, Kentucky’s offense couldn’t do much of anything. Down double digits to a team scoring 3 at a time and not slowing down, Calipari still fed the paint in the second half like it’s 2010, despite UK’s clear lack of players able to score in the paint. It was a questionable strategy to say the least, but it’s also what we’ve come to expect from UK’s offense. The archaic style of play has become a common complaint from fans, and it looked particularly bad against Alabama’s modern brand of basketball that ran Kentucky off its own floor.

5. Kentucky couldn’t make anything.

The Cats shot 34.4% from the field, 22.2% from outside and 79.2% from the line—horrible numbers for a team trying to prove it turned a corner and can make a run for an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Want a really ugly stat comparison? Alabama shot better on 3-pointers (14-30, 46.7%) than Kentucky did on layups (8-18, 44.4%). So, Kentucky did worse inside than Alabama did shooting for more points from 20 feet farther back. Yikes.

6. UK’s four top scorers from the Florida win didn’t produce.

BJ Boston, Keion Brooks, Davion Mintz and Olivier Sarr, the four best scorers in Saturday’s 18-point win in Gainesville, were a combined 9-of-33 from the field, and only Brooks reached double figures with his 10 points, although he got off to a very rough start.

As for Boston, it was more of the same, unfortunately. Through 11 games he has now taken the most shots on the team (128) by almost 40 attempts, and his 35.9% FG percentage is the worst on the team.

7. Also bad: Kentucky’s assist-to-turnover ratio.

Part of Kentucky’s offensive struggles were because the team isn’t good at moving the ball around, made very clear by only seven assists in the loss, not quite half of Alabama’s 15 assists in the Tide’s scoring barrage. Adding to the offense’s struggles, Kentucky turned the ball over 19 times to Alabama’s 11.

The Cats needed to make extra passes and protect the ball, but did neither.

8. Where was Lance Ware?

Unless he is in a secret doghouse, there is no reason for Lance Ware to go home with zero minutes in a game Kentucky could’ve used his physicality. Some might say Ware has been Kentucky’s most physical player this season, yet he was never given a chance against Bama’s banged up interior.

After the game, Coach Cal did his usual Cal way of explaining things, a growing frustration among everyone listening. He explained Ware’s 40 minutes on the bench as, “If I could do it all over again I’d put him in there.”

9. The loss is especially bad because Alabama didn’t have two of its best players.

Adding to the ugliness from the loss is knowing Alabama wasn’t at full strength and still blew Kentucky away. The Tide didn’t have its 13 points per game from former McDonald’s All-American and second-leading scorer Jahvon Quinerly, who is out with an undisclosed medical condition, and then senior leader Herb Jones and his 13 points per game went down early in the first half with a finger injury and never returned. Two of Bama’s best players and top scorers out, yet Kentucky still gave up 85 points on its own floor in a 20-point loss.

10. Kentucky is deep in must-win territory.

Looking ahead, Kentucky goes on the road to Auburn and then to Georgia before coming back home to host LSU in two Saturdays. With a 4-7 record and only one Quad 1 win on the tournament resume to date, the Cats are reaching desperation mode for a March Madness invite and it’s only mid-January. Tuesday night’s embarrassing loss did nothing for the confidence meter, so we’ll see what team shows up at Auburn this coming Saturday afternoon. It’s too early in SEC play to drop another one. Gotta win.

But first we sleep.

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

55 Comments for 10 Takeaways: Bama shot the lights out; “not one player played well” for UK

  1. eastofmidnight
    3:23 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    The Kneeling Kats took one on the chin.

    • OptimistiCat
      9:57 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Visiting the KSR comments after a UK loss is a nice way to get the cross sectional views of the worst part of our fan base. Keep spreading hate and negativity guys. God bless!

    • eastofmidnight
      12:30 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Didn’t realize that God preferred sarcasm to negativity. I’ll try to follow your example next time. ?

    • makeitstop
      12:45 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Nice shot East!

  2. LayTheOdds
    3:51 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Go woke go broke

  3. Batsell
    5:05 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I’m gonna kneel in protest of that pathetic effort on the court!

  4. kjd
    6:11 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    This loss speaks for itself.

  5. JT55
    6:23 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Nate Oats is a phenomenal coach.

  6. Bluehender
    6:53 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    It looks like Tubby ball without anyone who can score inside and no defense. Some ball line defense would be nice…

    • ClutchCargo
      8:42 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      This is sadly kind of true. Ball line defense would have at least stopped the layup drill. But then they would have just made more 3’s. 🙁

  7. Bluehender
    6:58 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I don’t know anything about Auburn’s team this year, but I know we will be out coached again.

    • blueblood80
      1:40 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      After 50 plus years as a UK fan, I never thought this day would be possible. I speak of the day we are no longer considered THE Blueblood of College Basketball. This dismal start to the season, coupled with the kneel, has lost a part of the fanbase forever. This does not include me. I will always root for these young men and continued success through life either via basketball or that coveted degree. Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a downward spiral where cheating Kansas becomes the winningnest Team in CBB, Cal is gone, and the majority of fans are apathetic with 10,000 considered a good crowd with Covid long gone. See UCLA – no title in 25 years….

    • blueblood80
      8:06 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      If this seaon isn’t halted by Covid, the Kansas Jawhawks will be the team with most wins in CBB. Right now, the lead is a paltry 16

  8. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    7:06 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    You can’t have a modern offense when you can’t hit shots. And anyone’s offense looks good against pathetic defense.

    • makeitstop
      8:15 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      We once had the Unforgettables – now we have the Unwatchables. If they keep it up they may become the Unlikables.

  9. sprtphan
    7:20 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Old verses new says it all.

  10. ukyelecteng
    7:35 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Our 8M/ a year man yelling GO and not putting in one of the players we needed most down low in ware. Pathetic

  11. UKFanSC
    7:40 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Hell…….they had ME kneeling last night. Praying.

  12. JT55
    7:41 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Outcoached, out hustled, and out played as usual. Can we trade coaches?

  13. RexRox
    7:45 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I would disagree about no one playing well. Isaiah Jackson always hustles and gives major effort. 14 points on 3-5 shooting from the field and 8-10 from the line. Six rebounds and seven (!) blocks. Granted, he did have 3 TO’s. He never looks lethargic out there. Can’t say that about everyone.

    • makeitstop
      8:18 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      True but he’s also a turnover machine, mostly due to lack of awareness of where he is on the court relative to other players. He at least shows promise, bc that should be teachable. I’d say the same of Askew. Plays hard, will get better.

  14. DoubleB65
    7:49 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Just 48 hours ago KSR reports “this team has turned the corner” “Brooks is a difference maker”. Same old hype here at KSR. Nothing new. It’s very difficult to take any of the writers here seriously anymore.

    • WKY Cat
      8:11 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      I learned that several years ago concerning football

    • LexWildcatFan15
      12:53 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Exactly. They have to keep hyping up UK to get privileged access to the players and inside scoop. It’s a business decision: write nice things hyping the teams get scoop which attracts more readers and more revenue. They only pile on when it’s obvious the ship is going down.

  15. Wade
    7:49 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    No prayers answered today for the kneel. It’s not the confederate flag stand and put your hands on your heart.want Unity but your pissing people off and drawing negative attention. Kneel afterwards in unity and win. Cal needs to be better. Oats was awesome. Rip Ben.

  16. Cat68
    7:51 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    The coach speak about Ware not playing is exhausting. One of our physical guys should not see 0 minutes. It’s like he moved past this crap with Allen so he’s using it on someone else. What happened to ‘I coach to win?!’

    • ukyelecteng
      7:56 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      He coaches for the draft .. which this year should include zero of our players

    • makeitstop
      8:21 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Coach to win? I’d like to see him just coach for a bit… he seems bewildered like he eloped from a memory care facility. How do u lose track of a giant man sitting 4 socially distanced chairs away?

  17. bosch8184
    7:57 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Name someone more intellectually dishonest than Matt…

    Brooks is the difference maker!!! Hilarious. There is a reason he averaged 3ppg last year….because he’s mediocre at basketball.

    Go back and watch the shot clock violation possession around the 17:50 mark of the second half and tell me this is even a remotely decently coached basketball team.

    • trumpetguy
      12:33 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      8184, actually there were THREE times, after a TO no less, that the shot clock became an issue. UK team/coaches don’t seem to understand that the longer into the shot an offense operates, the more difficult it is to score. Overall lack of team quickness is destroying UK on both ends. For those asking about Ware, doubt there was anybody on the court from Bama he could have checked. Cal even tried to isolate KB a few times last night, and ball handling skills just not good enough to make him an iso player. Stated elsewhere before, IMO OS just is not a low post option. Much prefers facing up on FT line/extended. Back to the basket on the block is not his forte, just like Skal back in the day. Doesn’t seem to want to extend the effort to get position, spread out and hold it there. Square peg in a round hole.

  18. Gazza
    8:01 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I refuse to watch. They have police protecting them every day, military to keep them safe, and family that died for the Flag. They died for your right to do it, but there are things you don’t do because they are not right.

    • spincr4hire72
      8:14 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Yet here you are commenting

    • Gazza
      8:26 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      You stand up for what is right! spinjerk must be waiting for your check to get your medicine again.

    • ohiokatfan
      8:30 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Wow, what a patriot you are. Such an inspiration. Doing the easy thing by venting your outrage on a social media platform while those kids take a real risk practicing their freedom of speech and standing up for something they believe in. Disagree with them all you want, that is fine. But quit airing your crybaby tantrums on here where you don’t have to reveal yourself.

    • spincr4hire72
      8:40 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Well said.

    • Gazza
      8:48 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Your welcome to serve with me any time. crybaby tantrums is all I see in taking a knee.

  19. Trinity45
    8:04 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Face it the game of basketball has evolved over the years and Cal has not. The game is passing him by.

  20. Yoda
    8:25 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

  21. just a guy
    8:28 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Go back and watch Film of 2012 games. You tube the SEC championship game against MSU. Repeatedly during the game the announcers slam UKs players “just standing and watching”. This has ALWAYS been Cals offense. 4 guys spread out, allow guy to one on one, then crash board for rebound. But it’s Mintz and Boston doing it this year, not Fox and Monk. It’s literally the difference. The offense didn’t change, the level of athlete did.

    • just a guy
      8:37 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Vampy not MSU. Sorry

    • GymRat
      8:56 am January 13, 2021 Permalink


  22. ClutchCargo
    8:47 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I was pretty sure at the 11:33 mark in the second half things weren’t going to turn around. Alabama dude in the paint, hopping on one leg with Sarr posting him up, and we don’t even try to get him the ball.

    • Cat68
      8:54 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

      BOOM! Yes. Beat me to it…the entire bench was pointing and waving towels to get their attention. We probably couldn’t have gotten it to him anyway, our entry passes to the post were awful all night.

  23. Cabranton
    8:51 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Honestly, I found it refreshing to see a team make their layups and hit the three point shot, just frustrating it wasn’t the team that I root for. It gives me hope though that a layup in college basketball is actually a shot that can be made.

    • kentuckybackupplayer
      1:46 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      why the heck cant our 7 footer do a drop step and a layup like 7 footers of the past. its a lost art on this generation of players on how to post up and score within three feet of the basket.

  24. just a guy
    9:06 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    Nothing can stop this team, if COVID doesn’t stop us, I’m not sure who will.

    Something tells me Calipari was convinced the season would be postponed

  25. Rixter
    10:09 am January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I can’t lie – I love that the kneeling bothers you people so much.

    • mcp157
      12:48 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

      Stop playing the anthem at sporting events. It is akin to wearing a tux to McDonalds. The general public does not need life lesions from dumb jocks!!!!

  26. tmcclan16
    1:09 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

    I thought the best and funniest part of this article is at the end when he said Kentucky has a chance at the NCAA tournament! Lol there will not be a post season for this team because 1. They won’t make the NCAA one and two the NIT won’t be played in NYC because of Covid. Enjoy the 10-12 games left on the schedule because it’s the last time you will see most of these guys.

  27. Demolition_man
    3:54 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

    2020/2021 first losing season for Kentucky and Calipari as a head coach in a long long time. Think about it…….

  28. Demolition_man
    4:01 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

    The problem is simple:
    1. Poor coaching
    2. Stale system

    The coach at UL could win with these players. For some reason, Cal can’t. Reasons above.

  29. dcforuk
    4:24 pm January 13, 2021 Permalink

    “Deep in must win territory” has to mean the SEC Tournament. There’s no way to make the Tourney otherwise at this point unless we only lost 2-3 more games and that is highly unlikely under the circumstances.

    That said, I think this team CAN become very good by SEC Tournament time and I will be rooting for them strongly. Last night was tough to watch from just a pure boredom perspective. We just never came close to a run. 11-12 pts was as good as it got and then would quickly balloon to 16-18. It was one game but painful. Flush it down the toilet and move on.

  30. Sig79
    3:10 am January 14, 2021 Permalink

    Tennessee (2), Auburn, LSU, and Arkansas are going to be ugly. Very ugly!