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Eight Observations From Kentucky’s Ugly Win Over Miss. State

1. Beast Mode

Kentucky needed P.J. Washington to be a dog.  He did everything Kentucky needed and more.

Washington scored a career-high 22 points with powerful finishes at the rim and a soft touch at the free throw line.  The 60 percent free throw shooter hit 10-of-14 shots from the charity stripe.  Washington added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a career-high 3 steals.

When Kentucky needed P.J. to dominate down the stretch, he did just that.

2. Knox Rediscovered his Shot

The Kentucky forward put his three-point struggles in the past by knocking down all four of his long-range attempts against Mississippi State.  Knox was happy to see his hard work rewarded.

“It was good. I needed this game,” Knox said. “The last couple days I’ve really been working on my jump shot, just getting extra shots up before practice and after practice. Basically, just getting around 500 shots before and after. It paid off and it was good to see the ball go through the rim.”

3. Passing is a Problem

There were sloppy skip passes, passes to no one and 100 mph passes thrown from two feet away.  When Kentucky struggled, it’s because the players simply could not connect.  The Cats finished with 11 turnovers, which turned into 18 Mississippi State points.  Kentucky has averaged 16 turnovers in its five losses.  If they’re giving Miss. State the ball 11 times, I hate to imagine how many times Press Virginia will take the ball away this Saturday.

4. Vanderbilt Couldn’t Buy a Bucket

Vanderbilt has never looked more comfortable on a Kentucky basketball court, but he could not take advantage of the opportunity.  He simply could not get the ball in the bucket.  In his first two offensive possessions, three shot attempts within five feet did not even hit the rim.  Vanderbilt missed his first six shots, all within six feet, before he finally tipped one through the rim.

Is there a reason to worry?  Nope.  Shooters miss shots, even if they’re layups.  Now he knows how to deal with a bad offensive day, and he found a way to remove the lid from his bucket before the end of the game.

5. Diallo is Figuring it Out

Hamidou Diallo’s Miss. State stat line looked a lot like it has over the last two weeks, but he looked much different on the floor.  When his shots did not fall, he did not force bad ones or let it take him out of the game.

Diallo contributed in other ways.  He grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds, ran the floor in transition and outside of consecutive turnovers, he took care of the ball.  Most importantly, Diallo’s emotions remained in check.

6. No Bigs, No Problem

John Calipari played most of the game without a true post.  Nick Richards had zero points and one rebound in just 11 minutes of action.  Sacha Killeya-Jones played ten minutes and had only three rebounds and two points in that time.  If the bigs aren’t producing, John Calipari now has the luxury to play small with Washington, Vanderbilt, Gabriel and Knox.

7. Shai with the Sauce

Just filthy, absolutely filthy.

8. Kentucky Figured Out How to Finish

When Kentucky won close games early in SEC play, it was only because the Cats were able to cling to the lead long enough to escape with a win .  They looked lost at times and struggled to execute down the stretch.  In an ugly game against Miss. State, Kentucky did not resort to bad habits in the final four minutes.

The Cats remained poised.  The leaders who needed to make plays — Knox, Washington and Gilgeous-Alexander — did exactly what they needed to do to close the door on Mississippi State.  Kentucky’s imperfect game had a perfect finish.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

53 Comments for Eight Observations From Kentucky’s Ugly Win Over Miss. State

  1. DG
    9:11 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Fire Cal, call Billy D

    • Booby Petrino
      9:21 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Fire Cal, bring back Billy G!

    • DG
      9:39 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      no sir, Gillispie is terrible

    • 4everUKblue
      9:41 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Ban DG, keep Cal

    • Booby Petrino
      9:48 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      I thought terrible must be the goal. If you want Cal gone, you must want to lose.

    • DG
      10:03 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      1 title in essentially same time frame as Tubby with his 1 title.

      We do lose, each year. Besides 1.

    • Blue Bill
      12:19 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      What an idiot. Who has a better record the last 8 years?? Who would you like to replace him with?? Hilarious.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:04 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      You have to realize DG is incapable of seeing the big picture.

    • Peas and Carrots
      10:17 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Dg is dumb. Ukblue4everdumb also gets confused easily.

    • DG
      10:08 am January 24, 2018 Permalink


    • ClutchCargo
      10:13 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      The only pictures DG sees are the ones in his coloring book.

    • DG
      10:15 am January 24, 2018 Permalink


    • Booby Petrino
      11:24 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      I learned a long time ago you can’t have a rational conversation with an irrational person. You, DG, are irrational. Buh-bye

    • Cats4lyfe
      1:33 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      You, sir, are an idiot. I know you are entitled to your own opinion, but that’s just crazy. Cal is the perfect coach for this program. Every program has a bad year every now and then. The year Tubby won was mostly with player Pitino recruited.

  2. kjd
    9:23 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    The expression, couldn’t buy a bucket, means the shots were right, but just didn’t go through the net. Vanderbilt wasn’t even drawing rim. He had absolutely no touch. He basically just can’t shoot.

    • jos_ros_
      9:46 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      you can’t be serious

    • Booby Petrino
      9:50 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      he’s sat out all season with an injury and you expect him to come in and get buckets without issue…sounds about par for the course with some of BBN. Just because he hasn’t been shooting well in his very little playing time doesn’t mean he can’t shoot. Your comment sucks, that doesn’t mean you can’t comment or at some point have a valid comment.

    • kjd
      12:02 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      JV has been practicing with the team which includes shoot around/shooting. Should at least be close/draw rim. A shooter will retain his touch, not slamming shots off the backboard. Time will tell if you’re right.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:05 am January 24, 2018 Permalink


  3. Smyrna_Cat
    9:23 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Do you get paid by how many times you say “ugly win.” Was Florida’s victory the other day an “ugly win.”

    • ClutchCargo
      10:15 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Correct! Please bring on many more ugly wins, because that is how this team is going to get it done.

    • JD
      11:11 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Agreed. I felt like it was a good win.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      1:09 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      It was very ugly. Smyrna still thinks we are good. Ha. Barely pulling away from a bad team at home would be considered ugly. Not to mention the play on the court was ugly. Smyrna thinks every post and comment should be explaining how awesome the cats are and how cal is a greek god.

  4. Smyrna_Cat
    9:28 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Would like to see Knox shoot more. I am not sure I understand some of the lazy passes. Some of the turnovers just happen … trying to pass inside, etc. And I still remember Booker and Towns not being able to hit a shot earlier on. Vanderbilt will be just fine.

    • EdC
      12:15 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Unless Knox changes the way he plays the only way to get Knox to shoot more is by kicking the ball out instead of taking it to the basket. He lives outside the 3 point line like a catch and shoot 2 guard for the vast majority of the game on the offensive end.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      1:10 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Shoot more? His 3 pt % is very bad

  5. Jiminy Crickets
    9:39 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    You guys know Miss ST sucks right? Probably a CBI team, or a 6 seed in NIT

    • 4everUKblue
      9:42 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      I know you don’t know sh!t

    • Booby Petrino
      9:55 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      You know we beat them by 13 right? Were you expecting to win by 20+?

    • Cryingtheblues
      10:00 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      4everUKblue he’s stating the FACTS!! NO Miss St. isn’t worth a shit!! You’re the one don’t accept the FACTS and don’t know shit.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:08 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Dear Crying….if you were not a newbie you’d know that my comment may be aimed at the many idiotic comments posted by crickets over the past months. I know MS St is not good but I also know we get everyones best game. Try to keep up.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:24 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Duke with all their heralded talent only beat Wake by 14 and I believe Wake is unranked.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      3:24 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      On the road..

    • BigBlueNationDude
      1:10 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      No doubt.

  6. herm89
    9:43 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Knox only attempted 6 shots in 36 minutes. Only two were inside the three point line. Dude HAS to get more aggressive.

  7. Waterview1
    9:44 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Passing the ball is not part of the AAU game.

    “Passes? Passes?…..We don’t need no stinkin’ passes.”

  8. hooter6911
    9:47 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    FUGLY!! That’s all that was. Play like we have been and WVU wins by 25 or more.

  9. Jiminy Crickets
    9:49 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    This team ranks LAST in 3 categories in Calipari’s entire tenure here. WORST 3pt FG%, worst team point differential, and worst 3pt ft defense. We can not shoot, we ranked last in SEC in 3pt shots made, and 3pt FG %. This issue can not be fixed in 12 games. Even the announcers, which typically have no clue about the game said “they have a system guys, but cannot hit the outside shot, cannot hit the big shots when they are needed, and struggle keeping the other team from scoring”.

  10. CombatMedic_98
    9:51 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Gosh, I hope they make the SEC tourney this year. I have been watching this team my whole life!

  11. jimmer
    9:54 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    JV’s shots were off but he brought hustle and intensity. Good rebounds and blocks. His shots will fall.

  12. PAPA
    9:56 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    “Look upon the doughnut, not upon the hole” Take Nick’s advice

  13. RealCatsFan
    10:12 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Some improvement in little steps, but we still cannot muster a sustained defensive effort. We are OK for about the first 15 or 20 seconds of the shot clock, but after that, we tend to break down and they score, often an easy bucket. That will have to improve on this to have any hope of making a run in the post season.

    Also, we need JV on the floor for more than 11 minutes. Even if he airballs every shot, his hustle and rebounding make up for it.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:17 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

      All good points without the sky’s falling mentality. Thanks RCF.

  14. Bill3
    10:36 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    I have reached the conclusion over the last couple of weeks of reading some of these comments that the Russian trolls have now targeted Kentucky basketball. OMG

  15. natedaddy
    11:38 am January 24, 2018 Permalink

    This is my first comment on here since being ridiculed after commenting that I didn’t like this team and had a bad feeling about this season earlier in the year.

    We have 5 losses and just struggled at home to beat one of the worst teams in the SEC. we still have to go to West Virginia, Auburn, Texas A&m and Florida. Those are most likely losses. Throw in another couple clunkers, which is very possible at Arkansas, or at Missouri, or at home against Alabama or Tennessee, and we’re NIT bound.

    I love the cats, but this is the reality. We’re just not that good this year. I’m tired of hearing Cal and everybody saying we’ll be fine, cause we’re not.

    • Skeps
      1:22 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Agree 100%. I stated before the season that lack of experience combined with the lack of outside shooting could result in missing out in quality wins that could result in NIT. I got the typical negative Nancy, and go cheer for someone else. This team is struggling and it’s concerning and the NCAA tournament is not a guarantee. I don’t want Cal gone, I just want him to fix this mess without the “freshmen” excuses. If that’s the case every year then maybe he can critique his own system and “tweak” it.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      3:24 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Try telling the blue blood obsessive cal people this

    • UK Big Board Update
      4:04 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      I’ll get him blocked… again. 😉

  16. trumpetguy
    1:47 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    JV right now is very jittery and on an adrenaline rush because he has missed so much of the season. Quite natural honestly. Needs maybe a couple made FTs early and perhaps a simple layup/put-back to go in, then slow down and let natural ability to take over. As is, all of his shots are coming off his hand about 100MPH! His stride and ball handling look quite fluid, so I suspect other parts of his game not too far behind.

  17. AmazzzingLarry
    10:36 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    The Cats looked awful against A&M, South Carolina and Florida, but I saw real improvement against Miss St. No, the shots didn’t fall in the 2nd half, but the difference was in their hustle and energy. That made the difference. I don’t know if there is a cure for the poor shooting. None of these kids were particularly good outside shooters in high school. Where they can separate themselves however is by being scrappy and trying harder than their opponents.

  18. kjd
    9:51 am January 25, 2018 Permalink

    Thursday morning, Tom Leach just stated on his show that Vanderbilt is NOT a great shooter. Just what I stated and was criticized for.