Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

A closer look at the “Slow Starts” for Kentucky

(Via Chet White @

It’s no secret that Kentucky has struggled at the start of games, usually finding themselves in an early deficit– often times before the first “under 16”  media timeout comes around. The theories behind the slow starts have been floating around, more and more with each consecutive game when Kentucky falls behind. Some are blaming the starting line-up, wondering if a different combination of players might help Kentucky catch fire a little quicker on the offensive and defensive end. Others have debated whether or not Kentucky needs to change something up with the logistics of the warm-up in order to be a little sharper in time for tip-off. I don’t have 10-20 years of head college coaching experience under my belt, so I won’t pretend to know for sure whether or not either of those solutions would be beneficial. What I do know is what I can gather from looking at the stats at the beginning of Kentucky’s slow start games. And luckily for observation purposes, not necessarily for result purposes, Kentucky has plenty of slow start games to examine. Things were a little better toward the beginning of the season (outside of the Michigan State game), but some of that was due to Kentucky being way more physically superior than some of its opponents. Kentucky’s last 5 games have all resulted in slow starts, with Kentucky already trailing by the first media timeout. Vandy was the exception in the sense that Kentucky didn’t fall behind early, but Kentucky was deadlocked at a modest 4 points when the first media timeout hit. Let’s take a closer look…

Kentucky down 10-0 with 15:53 left in the first half against Michigan State

Kentucky had three missed 3-point attempts and 1 missed jumper

4 turnovers


Kentucky down 16-7 with 15:38 left in the first half against Baylor

Kentucky gave up 3 dunks and two 3-pointers.

Baylor scored on every possession but 1 in the first 4 minutes and 22 seconds


Kentucky down 10-6 with 15:50 left in the first half against Belmont

Kentucky missed four 3-point attempts

Kentucky gave up two 3-pointers and 3 offensive rebounds


Kentucky down 10-5 with 15:58 left in the first half against Louisville

Kentucky had 3 turnovers

Kentucky missed 6 shots, including two 3-point attempts


Kentucky down 12-2 with 15:48 left in the first half against Mississippi State

Kentucky missed three 3-point attempts

Kentucky had 3 turnovers


Kentucky tied 4-4 with 15:33 left in the first half against Vanderbilt

Kentucky missed its first shot of the game, a 3-pointer

Kentucky had 3 turnovers


Kentucky down 10-8 with 16:00 left in the first half against Arkansas

Kentucky had 4 turnovers


Kentucky down 11-5 with 15:45 left in the first half against Tennessee

Kentucky had 1 turnover

Kentucky missed 5 shots, including a 3-pointer

Kentucky gave up 2 offensive rebounds

Kentucky gave up two 3-pointers


Although each game and start was slightly unique, there were some similarities when looking at all of the slow starts. In at least 5 of the games mentioned, Kentucky’s first field goal attempt came from behind the 3-point line. In almost all of the games, Kentucky shot at least two 3-pointers in the first 4 minutes. Considering 3-point shooting is not Kentucky’s best offensive weapon, it seems as if the Cats rely on that shot– or perhaps settle on it– a little too often in the early going of games. Kentucky also has the tendency to turn the ball over often during these first 4 minute stretches of the game. Kentucky’s slow starts haven’t been limited to the offensive end either. In those slow starts, Kentucky’s opponents have consistently connected on field goal attempts, while also grabbing offensive rebounds (especially as of late).

So, if Kentucky’s first shot tonight is a 3-point attempt… buckle up, because history shows us that we might be in for another slow start.

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

20 Comments for A closer look at the “Slow Starts” for Kentucky

  1. there goes a recruit
    1:11 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    torian graham got caught with 2 of his teammates eating weed

  2. Idea for KSR
    1:13 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    Came across a good article on Grantland breaking down their NBA All-Star picks and it gave me an idea.

    First here is the article :

    Midway through the piece there is a great breakdown(advanced statistics) of A. Davis and Boogie making a case for both to be on the All Star team this year.

    So, I came to KSR to find a way to share this article with you so that you could share with your fan base. No luck…. so I decided to leave a comment.

    My idea would be that you could add a submission button (or page) to increase your content research capabilities. Obviously there would be terrible submissions, but this would allow you spend less time researching and you wouldn’t have to pay the people for submitting (BOOM free *interns) Maybe you give a shout out to the person or make it a game(points for submitting content that gets posted) who knows.

    Good Luck

  3. RealCatsFan
    1:16 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    I have to wonder if Cal making them go to a full court press at the beginning of the game might be what it takes to get them moving and playing more aggressive right off the bat. It seems like they get lazy on offense and settle for that three point shot instead of working it inside, but they also start out lazy on defense. In fact, for most of their games they waited until the second half before they started to play any real defense.

    • M
      1:41 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      I agree that a press to start the game could inject some energy into them. It could also lead to some easy baskets.

    • Linda Taylor
      2:19 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      My biggest worry about that would be our guys getting into foul trouble very early in the game.

    • Skeps
      3:30 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      They have so many quick turnovers because they try to force it inside. You can’t do that against a zone. Most opponents open up with a 2-3 zone leaving them wide open 3s which you better shoot.

  4. bluebloodtoo
    1:19 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    It almost seems to me that this might be a confidence issue with the team. Maybe they need a little time to get adjusted to how their opponent is going to play. It will be interesting to see what happens when they start playing teams the second time. That might show that they aren’t as tentative early in the game.

    One possible fix, don’t focus on your offense in the first few minutes. Focus on stopping the other team from scoring and then let the offense find itself as a result of good defense. These cats’ don’t really have an offense problem, they have a defense problem and ball security issues. Just take care of the ball and focus on defensive pressure early. If nothing else, it would give them more time to get into the flow of the offense without building a deficit.

  5. UK Freshmen
    1:34 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    Let’s face it. The reason why we start slow is due to Cal just ‘rolling the ball onto the court’. A good coach…just a good coach, could figure it out and coach them up. Why can’t we improve? Why do our big recruits improve in the NBA after they get out from under Cal’s control?

    • M
      1:40 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      UL players improve in the NBA…(crickets chirping) Wait. What?

    • Seven Ate Nine
      1:48 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      You’re right, our players should just stop developing completely once they get out of college. It only makes sense. I mean, guys like Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James were as good right out of school as they are now, right?

  6. UK Freshmen or UK Freshman? Do you like young freshmen students? Or are you a dumb troll impersonating a freshman but are too stupid to know it's freshman?
    1:45 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    Strange that Cal was able to get a UMass team with Marcus Camby and a bunch of average players into the Final 4.

    • UK Freshmen
      1:50 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      No but he just rolls the ball out, really. I promise. Please believe me. It’s all I’ve got.

  7. kyeric
    1:49 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    This is one of the most informative posts about this year’s team I have seen.

    -Too many perimeter shots
    -Lackadaisical defense/rebounding
    -Careless turnovers
    -Better team free throw shooting

    All correctable offenses, but will this team learn before it’s too late?

  8. BlueRedNeck
    1:59 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    kyeric, maybe Cal needs to threaten to bring the hammer down on his starters if they don’t bring it from the outset. If they come out lackadaisical, just sit the whole bunch of them and bring the bench in for a 2 minute stretch. Or start a completely different bunch.

  9. Blue_Cat75
    2:01 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    Seems like they want to start fast, so they jack up a lot of 3s. If they don’t fall then they panic and try to play catch up. Why not start out working the ball into the paint the first 5 possessions and get some rhythm?

    • Skeps
      3:38 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

      They do work it inside. Hence, the turnovers.

  10. jack blue
    2:23 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    One of the all time great basketball coaches in KHS history, Julian Cunningham would say “we start the game pressing to get moving , if they cant press they cant play{

  11. dewaynewade
    2:26 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    Who was responsible for most of the turnovers and 3 point shots?

  12. Skeps
    3:44 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    If they would have kept on “forcing it inside” and ignored perimeter shooting against UT, they would’ve been blown out. Without those 7 three pointers they would have committed 20+ turnovers. Tennessee had the size advantage in the paint.

  13. blueblue
    7:26 pm January 21, 2014 Permalink

    They shoot those 3 pointers in the first few minutes because of the defense that is being played against them. Almost everybody out there is going to zone us and sag their defense down on the block. If we can’t find driving lanes, then the only thing to do is try to shoot the other team out of their zone.