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Five things Kentucky just doesn’t have right now

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice

I don’t know about you, but I woke up angry.  To me, last night’s game was ten times more disappointing than the Arkansas loss.  In Fayetteville, at least Kentucky showed some fight.  Based on last night’s performance, it’s hard to see this team winning a National Championship.  The Cats’ progression has been so erratic this season that, barring some major turn of events (perhaps a humiliating loss on the road), there’s no way they can string together six wins in the Tournament.  Why?  Here are five crucial traits that they just don’t have right now:


Last night, there was no teamwork.  In fact, at times, this group doesn’t look like a team at all, just five guys taking turns trying to make plays, or even worse, waiting for someone else to. For some reason, despite their talent, this team just doesn’t fit well together.  The dribble drive does not mesh with Julius Randle’s post game.  Maybe that’s why the Cats sometimes look better with Randle on the bench. Yet, how long can Kentucky survive without Randle’s rebounding?

In addition, more often than not, James Young and the Harrisons think “shoot first” not “pass first.”  That’s a problem, especially for Andrew.  Here’s a sad statistic: Kentucky ranks 215th in the country in assists per game.  Here’s how they’ve ranked in previous years under Cal:

2009-2010: 10th
2010-2011: 71st
2011-2012: 25th
2012-2013: 119th
2013-2014: 215th

No wonder our ball-handling is so bad.

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice


It’s hard to have good teamwork if you don’t have chemistry.  Yes, Camp Cal was great and they bonded, etc., but aside from some a gutsy comeback at Arkansas and a cushy win against Georgia, this team doesn’t show any emotion on the court.  In Cal’s first three years at Kentucky, you could tell his teams loved playing together.  The smiles, the dances, the goggles, the chest bumps; their energy was infectious.  The past two years?  Not so much.  After each game, I go through the tape to find moments in which the team celebrates.  I can come up with three moments off the top of my head: when Andrew hit the three to take the Arkansas game to overtime; the Alex Poythress layup-turned-dunk against Texas A&M, and the bench making the most of the cleanup minutes against Georgia.  It says a lot that we have to search for these moments with this team.

Physical play

We knew Willie Cauley-Stein had problems going against big post guys, but last night, Julius wilted too.  You want to know this team’s Achilles Heel?  A physical, 6’9” 235 lbs. forward.  Willie and Julius simply can’t handle them.  To his credit, Dakari holds his own in the post, and therefore has become Kentucky’s most reliable player in matchups against physical bigs. However, UK needs Willie’s defensive presence on the floor, and I’m not sure how much longer they can survive without it.  Dakari is great, but doesn’t the hops Willie does to block shots.  However, Dakari is the one player on UK’s team who makes intelligent decisions in the post, and, along with James Young, pretty much the only player who looked like he cared last night.  #StartDakari

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice

Photo © Crystal LoGiudice


Leaders come in many forms.  Some players are vocal leaders like John Wall, who instinctively know what their team needs to hear and don’t hesitate to take control.  Some players lead by example, like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, whose toughness and relentless work ethic inspired his team to elevate their play.  Some players, like Darius Miller, are veteran leaders who step up in clutch situations and help steady the ship.

Coming into this season, it looked like we had the leader problem solved.  Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress returned to school, vowing to right the wrongs from last season.  Veteran leaders?  Check.  Cal hyped Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison as “alpha beasts” with the ever-important “will to win.”  We’ve seen glimpses of that at times this season, but only individually.  Neither has put the team on their back and led them to a big win like their predecessors.  What happened to the alpha beasts?  Like Rob Dauster said in his piece earlier today, the only leading by example we’ve seen from the twins is bad body language.

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Competitive fire

Maybe this team just doesn’t want it enough.  It’s still not clear what happened in the last 13.5 seconds of the game, but if it wasn’t Cal’s decision not to foul, then what the heck happened?  I went back and watched the replay today and James Young was the only player who gave more than a half-hearted attempt to foul, but it was too late.  To me, that says they gave up.

So far, the “Revenge Tour” is a mockery of itself, in large part because teams aren’t scared of Kentucky anymore.  Last year crumbled that Big Blue mental block in the SEC, and UK’s terrible starts just show how little teams are intimidated by the Cats these days.  Teams don’t just want games more, they know they can win.  At Arkansas, Kentucky responded to that fight; save a few players last night, they didn’t even bother to get off the mat.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist practically slept in the gym.  Even when he comes back to Kentucky to visit, he never stops working.  That work ethic spawned the Breakfast Club in 2012.  Derek Willis’ late night shoot arounds at the Joe Craft Center started the Midnight Club, but so far, only Dominique Hawkins, Alex, and Willie have bought in (that we’ve heard of).  As Matt pointed out on the radio, isn’t it a little odd that the rest of the starting five isn’t in the gym, too?  Where is the competitive fire from them?

All this being said, I pray to God they come out and prove me wrong on Saturday.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

136 Comments for Five things Kentucky just doesn’t have right now

  1. Brian
    2:32 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    6. Successful coaching strategy adjustments.

    • D-Rock
      2:56 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      And that coaching strategy is a biggie. Tired of seeing them making mistakes that should NEVER happen on a college level squad…I don’t care how young they are. Twenty games in and this is a train wreck. At this rate Florida will smoke us like a cheap cigar. C’mon Cal!!! We need Basketball 101 and to get these guys together as a unit. That’s what a head coach is for. The rest will sort it’s way out.

    • Patrick
      3:01 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Yes sir!

    • Sharon
      3:23 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      It sure couldn’t hurt, Brian.

    • C....A.....T.....S.....CATS!
      4:27 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      SO CORRECT #1….

      To give an example:

      Just like LAST YEARS TEAM….THIS Kentucky Team’s defensive philosophy is simple:
      “I’ll do not have to worry if my man beats me, goes around me, or leaves me nailed to the floor, nor do I have to move my legs on defense…because I can always come from behind, or beside him, and block his shot”….

      EVERYONE KNOWS WHO HAS EVER PLAYED THIS GAME… you MUST get your butt down, and move your legs on defense. Last night was another picture perfect example of this as LSU crushed us off the dribble, or with fakes and moves inside, or drawing three players trying to block a shot which ended up in a pass to the wide open cutter…


      ON…ON…U OF K!

    • mashburnfan1
      12:17 am January 30, 2014 Permalink

      Sadly it is no different than last year except some different names on jerseys I guess.

  2. Musehobo
    2:33 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I’m going to disagree slightly. UK definitely doesn’t have enough leadership. The rest of those things we had just one game ago.

    Consistency is what we don’t have.

    • Musehobo
      2:35 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      And I will agree with #1 as well. I’m a big Cal fan, but in-game plan adjustments are not his strong suit.

  3. PutThatOnDeAndrewLiggins
    2:38 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    This might be the most honest and humbling post of the season.

  4. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    2:38 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I would add, BALLS.

    • L1C5
      2:45 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I think they have balls, they just haven’t dropped yet.

  5. WTF?!
    2:39 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Were all these things missing on Saturday when we beat UGA? Of coy purse not If by “right now” you actually mean “during the period last night when UK was playing LSU” I’ll agree. But it’s not as if they do not or have not had these things. It’s one game, people. One game.

    • OneGame?
      2:46 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I count 5 games, and 3 more to come

    • bmac355
      2:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah one game where the competition was elevated way beyond what we saw from UGA. If you really think that their competitive spirit, nature, will to win or whatever you want to call it is acceptable, then you’ve become complacent as a fan. I always try to find the positives too, but name “one game”, just “one” that we had to worry about if they were going to show up to play in 2011-2012? Ya know that little voice in the back of your head that says “maybe they just don’t get/got it? I’d start listening. 2nd round exit is where I’d put my money on.

    • hell cat
      2:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      No offense, but it’s getting kind of late in the year for the ‘it’s only one game’ arguments. Yeah, they can still turn it on and run the table, but these ‘one games’ are still happening quite a bit to this crew. Hope I’m wrong.

    • bigbluebear
      3:19 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I agree, last night was ugly but its not like we haven’t shown these characteristics all year. Now consistently, that’s a different story.

  6. jaws2
    2:48 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Unfortunately none of this will be fixed overnight and the clock is ticking on the number of losses we could take along the way. This team is going to lose 9 games minimum, and better make a strong run in the SEC tournament.

  7. In other words...
    2:48 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    WE SUCK!!

    • brain
      3:14 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      You do.

  8. Catpocalypse
    2:48 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Good Lord TT, don’t mention “Leadership” because Matt J. won’t understand what that means! Are you crazy?!?!?!?

    • UKfaninOH
      4:07 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Still don’t get it do you Mrs. T? Example: The teacher can not understand why the whole class is failing and underperforming, day after, week and week. The teacher has the best and most gifted students in the school. The teacher became ill and was replaced, and the students all of a sudden were excelling and had test scores went right out the top, off the chart! When there is a problem with an entire group, a group that should not be having problems, it is time to look at the teacher…get my drift!??

    • Melvit
      7:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I’m glad you brought this up Catpocalypse. I was about to.. 🙂

  9. kingrex
    2:49 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I do not remember Cal ever making an in game adjustment that turned the tide. This happened all the time with tubby. You knew at halftime he was going to get different results and effort from his team. I cannot figure out why this is such a weak spot for Cal. It is undeniable though. I do not like the body language from these guys. It really makes you think they are all just thinking about their lifestyles as NBA players. I think that is the problem when you are selling your program as an NBA feeder system. I hate the NBA, so I know I cannot be objective about that, but it is clear the last two years have been a train wreck. I have news for our starters. The NBA has guys on the the bench that have your size and abilities.

    • Player First Program Right
      2:59 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Ive been watching kentucky basketball since the twin towers…Yes Bowie and Turpin. The last 2 years has been NBA style play. Play offense and not defense. He recruits these guys and saying hes a player first coach and its showing. This wont change til you recruit KENTUCKY FIRST players.

    • UKfaninOH
      4:10 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      kingrex…outstanding observation!

  10. The Dan
    2:49 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I’m a little frustrated that Randle still hasn’t learned to pass out of a double team. Some of that may be the rest of the teams lack of movement without the ball and not being in position to receive those passes. I have to put that on Cal. Still think we can jell though.

    • D-Rock
      3:33 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more….what I hate is that Cal hasn’t taught the rest of the team to react either. Randle gets double/triple teamed and everybody just stands around on the perimeter and watches. If your man goes to double Randle – Cut to the damn basket and maybe Randle will hit you for a dunk or layup.

    • raccoon
      3:58 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Both of you guys are completely spot on. And if Randle can’t pass out of double and triple teams he should only get the ball in the paint, on the block, where it doesn’t matter if you double team him.

  11. hoptown baller
    2:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Look I understand that last night was one game. However, all the progress and steps the team was taking in the right direction went out the window last night. I don’t understand how a team could go from pure domination Saturday against Georgia to looking like that last night?

    One more thing I might add, until we see a recruit actually play college basketball game, can we please stop drooling all over ourselves about recruit rankings?! From what I’ve seen so far this season all of us were fed garbage from Cal, ESPN, KSR, and all other social media. Look, I get it, these kids were studs in high school. This season shows that doesn’t necessarily translate to the college level.

    • brain
      3:19 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      How else do you rate hs players other than the way they played in hs? How it translates to college is a guess and you can’t rate them that way. Our guys just aren’t taking coaching and are playing for themselves, not the team.

    • El Guapo
      12:21 am January 30, 2014 Permalink

      How they rate HS players has little or nothing to do with how they actually play in competitive HS team games. It has everything with shoe company-financed massive street-ball pick-up games they call “AAU”. There are basically all-star games where nobody is coached and nobody plays defense (basically, NBA tryouts). It would be nice if they actually scouted players on how they played with their HS TEAMS in real game situations, but basically, it’d be like trying to pick a serious team from a bunch of dudes you watched play a couple games on the blue courts. THAT is why they look awful in game situations yet are so “highly rated”. Would be nice if the AAU and NBA would go away, wouldn’t it, and we could have real college basketball again…?

  12. Joe
    2:56 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Playing time is a privilege not a right. Light a fire….Start Johnson, Randle, Poythress, Willis & Polson. You would see hustle if nothing else.

    • craynes
      3:13 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I agree with the playing time and starting five needing to change. These slow starts are what is killing us. If we didn’t have to battle back from 16 down we would have won the game. We HAVE to start stronger and with more energy. The starting five should be the guys with the best hustle and heart, right now that is;

    • schwing
      3:25 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      starting randle only ensures we see someone try to bull his way through a triple-team to a missed layup.

  13. Ridiculously Cold
    2:56 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Just wondering what people think: Who will return next year? My biggest question marks are Willie and the Harrisons now. And how will returning players mesh with next year’s freshmen who are expecting to play?

  14. Mudcreekmark
    2:57 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Andrew and Aaron Harrison played high school basketball on the same team. One had to be the point guard and one had to be the shooting guard. Andrew for one reason or another became the point guard. He is not a pure point guard with point guard instints. When a true point guard drives the lane and three men converge, he finds the open man for a dunk or an easy shot. Andrew has one thing on his mind when he drives to the basket, shoot and hope to draw a foul, kind of like Goodwin last year except a little bit better under control. When you have a point guard that won’t pass it to you for the easy layup or dunk, you get frustrated. A point guard has the ball in his hands the entire game, it is his responsibility to get his team mates shots in their best spots. It is his responsibility to keep everyone happy by getting them enough touches. Last night Andrew Harrison had the ball in his hand all night and got one assist. 35 minutes, one assist.That says it all.

  15. Orney focker
    2:59 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Orney says you forgot #6 and most important, coaching. Pretty simple..

    • Sharon
      3:21 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I agree whole-heartedly, Orney. Where we have the main deficiency is at the coaching position! Maybe Cal should just yell at them and shove them a little bit more? Or even talk more about things like body language, “clutter”, heart rate, effort, toughness, etc. Maybe he’s just not sticking with the talking points enough?

  16. UK fan
    2:59 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Is this real life right now? I bought the 40-0 shirt, I watched all the hoop mixtapes on YouTube and I even put a poster of the twins on my bedroom wall. Why can’t we beat a horrible LSU team? This isn’t football, guys..

    • L1C5
      3:17 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      And you also claimed Louisville would do undefeated on football and the Teddy was going to win the Heisman. How’d that work out for you? Do you have a Teddy For Heisman shirt too?

    • L1C5
      3:17 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink


  17. Patrick
    3:00 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Very good honest post. Just wish Cal and his players would read it, learn it and apply it on the court

  18. ProspectMike
    3:00 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Whatever happened to using the bench as a motivator. Do we drop off that badly from what we’re seeing now? I’ll take another loss to see if that would shake up some of their spoiled a$$es.

  19. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    3:01 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    This team just can’t get it done on the road. Plain and simple. They will lose 2-3 more games this year and still make the tourney so stop freaking out. Once conference play wraps up and tourneys start this team is not going to pack it in. Sure seeding is important but in 2011 we had by far the hardest path to the FF and still pulled it off. Keep the faith BBN.

    • Patrick
      3:05 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      On the road wins are crucial to be a good basketball team. Crucial. We’ll be lucky not to lose 5 more games or more at this rate

    • L1C5
      3:19 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      On the road wins weren’t crucial in 2011. yes, I know this is a different team and maybe they don’t have what the 2011 team had (Brandon Knight), but road games aren’t really that crucial.

    • Patrick
      3:31 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I couldnt disagree more. Road game wins prove alot, like you really are good no matter where you play. Winning in the comfort of your homecourt just isn’t as tough

    • raccoon
      4:07 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink


      You think we will be “lucky” to only lose 4 more games?

      So getting swept by Florida and losing at Mizzou and Ole Miss, but beating all the terrible teams at Rupp makes us “lucky?”

      Or are you including the SEC tournament. So, split with Florida, lose at Mizzou and Ole Miss, lose in the SEC tourney.

      Or are you including the NCAA tournament. We will be lucky to split with Florida, lose at Ole Miss, lose in the SEC tourney, get a 4-seed and lose in Sweet Sixteen to Arizona.

      Gotta say, only that last scenario would have me looking back at January 29 and thinking “Given the way we had played up until then, we were lucky to get this far.”

      I think more likely you aren’t even thinking about anything and just beating on the keyboard, but whatever.

    • Patrick
      5:03 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah, we WILL be lucky if we only lose 4 or 5 more games the way we’re playing right now. “Beating all the terrible teams at Rupp” doesnt prove that we are good at all. Road games do! Tournament games aren”t homegames….and you just named off Mizzou, Ole Miss and Florida in the SEC, the way we’re playing right now we need to worry about every team, every game. So YEAH, only 4 or 5 more losses will be fortunate

  20. Casper
    3:02 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    After last night, I have given up all hope for this team.
    It is sad to see such great athletes be so stupid.
    These guys just don’t have it between the ears.

  21. Orney focker
    3:02 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Did I mention LSU cheerleaders are friggin hot! They don’t call me orney focker fur nuttin…

  22. MidCityMallCheeseConeyCAT
    3:03 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    put in Willis!

  23. Player First Program Right
    3:03 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    When Cal recruits players that want to play because of our tradition and the name Kentucky then we will be good. We are a D-League NBA team for prima donnas that want a 1 year ticket to the league. Thats why I agree with benching many of them and play kids that want to represent Kentucky and fight like hell to win. Im fine with losses if You fight, but last night was embarrassing.

    • Jim Andrews
      3:25 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      You’re exactly right. They’re there at UK hoping that its the fastest way to the NBA. I wonder how much they really care about winning. They just want to get to the NBA in the shortest amount of time possible. When the final game is played, UK is gonna be pretty close to double digit losses, again. Thats not acceptable.

  24. Mudcreekmark
    3:04 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    One more thing and I’ll hang up. I cannot remember ever seeing a college coach run on to the floor and push a college player to try to get him in position in the middle of a play. He was 5 or 6 feet on the floor, they should have called a T for having 6 players on the floor. My daughter coaches 5 and 6 year olds and she stays on the floor with them and directs them, maybe they should start letting college coaches do the same.

    • brain
      3:22 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Stupid comment and comparison.

    • Syrin
      3:26 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      How’s it stupid? If Tom Crean had done that in an IU/UK game, you’d be screaming bloody murder like the blind fan boi you appear to be.

  25. Teachable Mo'
    3:04 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

  26. Syrin
    3:05 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    But. But. This can’t be true. The douche bag f’tard fan boys here kept telling me how wonderful we are after the Louisville win when I couldn’t disagree more. After all, NBA scouts and execs were just waiting in line to pay our guys billions because PG’s who don’t defend, give 80% effort (much better the last 3 games), can’t shoot, don’t pass, don’t start fast breaks, and miss FT’s were in high demand at the next level. Clearly, I was wrong, as were all the numbers backing me up. Just ask the f’tard fanbois.

    • L1C5
      3:21 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      but you continue to read the blog created and ran by f’tard fanbois daily. you’re pathetic.

  27. katdaddy
    3:06 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    May not make it to th tournament. 17 losses in the last year and a half. that’s three or four seasons of losses by UK’s standards. It not gonna get better with al on the sidelines unless he changes his system. And that i don’t see happening.

    • AnthonyBBN
      3:42 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      In each of the 4 years before Cal UK lost at least 12 games. In his first four years with UK he lost 3, 9, 2, and 12. He has lost 5 so far this season. So you are frankly making too big of a deal of this in each and every post all day long.

  28. Billy Gillispie
    3:06 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I guess ole Cal needs more of my recruits…because every since my players left back to back N.I.T are coming

    • Jack Daniels
      3:22 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      You been hitting the bottle again?

  29. raccoon
    3:07 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    The only one I agree with is physical play.

    Leadership is just a word that is used based on performance. Quick tell me a team that outperformed expectations without leadership or underperformed without questionable leadership? It is cliche. Useless.

    Competitive fire. This team has not given up in any game. In 3/5 losses and in the Louisville game we won the second half. This team doesn’t quit. Even the game we blew against Baylor wasn’t quitting, it was just bad play. To me, if you don’t quit you are competing. Yeah, they could be better, but this isn’t a case of the guys just needing to try harder.

    Teamwork. They are running the offense. Probably should talk more. But this team doesn’t have selfish players on it. We have a ton of flaws, but selfishness isn’t one of them.

    Chemisty. Again, every winning team has chemistry, every losing team doesn’t. Another useless cliche.

    The lack of physical play is allowing teams to beat us in the TO and rebounding departments. We are big enough, strong enough, and fast enough to physically dominate games and we don’t. At least not as a team for 40 minutes. We should be good enough at defense to not need a good 3-point shooting night to win a game. To not need Randle to take over the game to win a game.

    But I think that the teams physicality only needs to be notched up a little. Physical play can turn into out of control play pretty fast.

    What this team needs to do is three things:

    1. Start Dakari
    2. Run the offense through Young so that Randle doesn’t turn the ball over 10-15 feet from the basket and take every shot against 2-3 defenders. Young is the best scorer on the team. He should get the ball the majority of offensive plays. And not just in the weave they like to run up top.
    3. Play some zone

    • Patrick
      3:11 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Are we watching the same team? We only need more physical play? Wow

    • raccoon
      3:25 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      You noticed those coaching adjustments, right? I mentioned three more things we need. I was wondering if you saw them?

      But yes, if we play more physically and make those adjustments we will win and have a shot at a title. Andrew Harrison needs to stop making lazy passes in the half-court too.

      Playing zone doesn’t matter. And we don’t necessarily need to run the offense through Young and not Randle. What we need to do is stop having 5-7 turnovers a game either 1) trying to pass the ball to Randle when he is 10-15 feet from the basket or 2) Randle trying to take it from 10-15 feet from the basket to the block against 2-3 defenders.

    • Patrick
      3:39 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      You’re right about physical play but they need all those “cliches” too, chemistry and leadership. And you couldnt be more wrong about teamwork. Just look at their assists stats. They are not the least bit concerned about working together to be a better team. Kinda sad really

    • raccoon
      3:56 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I’m not that concerned about assists in a vaccuum. What you don’t see on this team is guys just trying to fill a stat sheet and taking bad shots. You aren’t going to get a lot of assists getting Randle the ball12 feet from the basket, he drives and scores/turns the ball over/misses (and maybe get a put-back). That is the offense that Cal is running. Now if we Young had the ball and ran by his guy or forced help, then Randle could get more, easier looks inside and you would have more assists. I don’t care about assists, I care about good shots and few turnovers. If you take good shots and don’t turn the ball over you have a good offense. With the way this team rebounds we’d be nearly unstoppable. If we did that then even without any other changes all the sudden our leadership and chemistry would be great.

    • Patrick
      5:08 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Good assists create good shots. We need that desperately

  30. katdaddy
    3:09 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Hope we can get him out of lexington without a violation. Because the pressure may cause him to do something stupid.

    • Jack Daniels
      3:23 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      trollin. worry about your immoral coaches at UofsmelL

  31. Orney focker
    3:09 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Bet the Harrison’s transfer, can’t see them in the NBA next year, and they won’t be able to stand the pressure here.

  32. Dan -O
    3:10 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    The level that this team is playing at will not win any championships. SEC, NCAA or NIT

    • Yep
      3:21 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I would have disagreed with you until yesterday. We can’t play against teams with big guys or good guards. Guess what EVERY team in March is going to have. Big guys, and quick guards. This is a final 32/ sweet 16 team at best at this point depending upon the draw. Arizona, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Wichita State and Michigan beat this team by 25.

  33. CPACAT
    3:12 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Well, we finally have a team name…”Team Azibuke”…they “look like Tarzan, but they play like Jane”!!

  34. Raazoul
    3:12 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    KSR comment sections bring out the biggest bandwagon fake ass fans! LOL! So this team hasn’t meshed well. Big Deal. We will be ok, maybe not win the title but we will be ok. I can say one thing for sure, this team is better than the UConn team that won the title and just as good as that overrated garbage UL team that one it last year. Just takes a good draw and this team to figure it out by March. But if I had to complain about one thing overall its Calipari. Wouldn’t trade him for any coach but this year he hasn’t done a good job. Period. No one can really argue that.

    • Patrick
      3:17 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      You hear that everybody? We’ll be “ok”. LOL

    • Lol
      3:18 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      He said this UK team is better than last years national champion cards. Lmfao. Delusional…

    • Lol
      3:19 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      And it’s “won”, “One” is a

    • Hey moron
      3:22 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      We can’t play against teams with big guys or good guards. Guess what EVERY team in March is going to have. Big guys, and quick guards. This is a final 32/ sweet 16 team at best at this point depending upon the draw. Arizona, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Wichita State and Michigan beat this team by 25.

    • L1C5
      3:25 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      They are better than last years Cards and this years Cards too.

    • Lol
      3:28 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      “Overrated” is a word that best describes UK’s 2013 recruiting class. You’re truly the first person in history to call a national championship team “overrated”..

    • AnthonyBBN
      3:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Last year’s Championship UofL team was the first to be a Cal UK team, at home, by 3, vs the worst team Cal has brought to Lexington.

  35. brain
    3:12 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    When you come out on the road and turn the ball over half of your 1st 10 to 15 possessions, take bad quick shots, play zero defense and fall behind by 10 or more why wouldn’t a team think they can beat you? They have to come out and take the fight to the home team to quiet the crowd.. Our guys just don’t have the fight in them to win on the road. It’s sad.

  36. Orney focker
    3:13 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Y’all know cal hates us don’t you? Bet he never had this many assistant coaches in Memphis or UMASS. Does he read these posts?

  37. On the boardwalk
    3:13 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    6. Heart.
    No disrespect to the players, but as is with the football team, the basketball team recruits players that really do not know or care about the history of the BBN. This one and done is frustrating and I see the football team going 2-10 again. Can’t teach heart!

    • Troy
      3:19 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      We’re a lay over to their “real destination”, and this team reflects that. Cal rewards potential, not productivity or hard work. Otherwise, Derek Willis would start, and no, he cannot be a bigger defensive liability than the twins, two of the worst perimeter defenders I have ever seen at UK.

  38. Troy
    3:13 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Competitive fire? Why do they need competitive fire? Face it. This is the AAU stop over program to the NBA, and the dumb asses here have bought into as well. They know they’ll get drafted for the NBA no matter how poorly they perform on the court, and no matter how little success they have. Look at most of the posts defending the shit play of the twins. “Oh yeah, the NBA scouts like them”. Really? Have you seen the latest projections? Meanwhile these guys believe they’re going pro no matter what they do, so why try? We’re a lay over to their real destination.

    Cal should be ashamed for not playing Willis WAY more than the twins. He works hard, is a better interior post feeder, better shooter, and gives WAY more effort than the twins. He moves without the ball, plays hard on defense, and before you douche bags tell me he’s a defenseive liability, then you must not have seen ANY Kentucky game this year as I cannot recall a bigger defensive liability than the twins. Andrew got beat so bad off the drive yesterday, I thought they were going to call Child protective Services.

    Hard work should be rewarded. PRODUCTION should be rewarded, not “potential”.

  39. Hayley's quadriceps
    3:14 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I just can’t see how any of them are NBA ready, even D league ready. Randle seems to have the best shot, but he isn’t getting it done against the better half of power forwards and centers. NBA teams have significantly better front courts than LSU, MSU, UT, etc.

  40. I come in peace
    3:15 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    So, honest question UK fans. What would all of you guys said if Doug Gottlieb or any sports analyst would’ve predicted that UK wasn’t a top 25 team and would drop games to Arkansas and LSU in October? Honest question. Be real about it..

  41. You missed one
    3:16 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Mrs. Tyler Thompson, why did you leave off the fact that we can’t guard quick guards to save our lives. It’s so bad, they should play zone all game long. How many times did Andrew get beat to have his guy dish it off to some interior post player? He’s terrible at man to man D.

  42. schwing
    3:18 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    teams not being afraid of us anymore is what we hear during the gillispie era and the last few years of tubby’s time here.

  43. schwing
    3:22 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    this is the new starting lineup:

    aaron h.

    • Mike
      5:12 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      To me Aaron is the worst of the twins. He is the ball stopper Cal refers to. This should be our starting 5
      pg hawkins
      sg young
      sf poythress

  44. All
    3:22 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    You people whine and complain like uofl fans…. It makes sense that a larger portion of our fan base are bandwagon fans seeing that we have more fans. But get a grip people…

  45. jpg
    3:25 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    You can say what you want about Cal, but this team lacks the EFFORT to win games. If something bad happens they just fold up. This team does not have the determination!

    • jpg
      3:36 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Cal does things with freshmen that other coaches can not. If the team does not want to put forth the effort/intensity, there is not much he can do about that.

  46. Don
    3:26 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Julius Randle is 6’9 and 252 lbs..How is that not big enough or physical enough to hold his own against these other guys? When I read that it makes me want to vomit…He doesn’t hold his own because of lack of effort and intensity. He is physically able to do it…Mentally,he never had to so he is having a hard time understanding what it takes. This team is way too soft…

  47. katdaddy
    3:26 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    He’s terrible period!

  48. Colonel Blue
    3:29 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    No leadership, no chemistry and 5 star players who have not lived up to the billing. Seems more are concerned about the $$$$ at the next level and what playing for Cal could do for them than what they could do while they were at UK. It just doesn’t seem to matter and they play with very little emotion. How can you play at that level without it???

  49. rukiddingme
    3:40 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I will tell you why the “starting five” are not in the gym with Willis, because they dont give a flying, that’s why. Our players under Tubby always played hard and unlike Cal, he made great in-game adjustments. Say what you will, Tubby was a much better “Coach” than this spin doctor we have right now.

  50. kwd
    3:42 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Can we please stop acting like “the dribble drive” is a thing?
    Drive to the basket – take the shot if it’s there – if the defense collapses on you, pass the ball to the open man. THIS IS NOT SOME REVOLUTIONARY NEW OFFENSE. Calipari didn’t reinvent the wheel.

    He just gave it a slick new nickname and marketed it as something new.

  51. 8generationsblue
    3:43 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    For freshmen they are overachieving. I’m not going to be applauding if some if these guys are drafted in the first round. With the exception of Randle they all should return to UK for next season. I think Cal needs to tweak his recruiting philosophy for the future.

  52. MikeMan
    3:49 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Looking forward – we are undefeated at home this year so let’s say we win out at home (I know the Fla game will be tough but let’s go with it). Remaining away games – Mizzou, Miss St., Auburn, Ole Miss, South Car and Fla. I’m going to say we beat Mizzou Saturday bc Cal will be so far up their a** at practice that they will literally fight their hardest all year. Next away games are Miss St, Auburn and S. Car. – I would like to say we should win these games being that these are 3 of the weakest teams in the conference. None of which are as good as LSU or Ark, so HOPEFULLY we can win (I say this now, but who knows). At Ole Miss and Fla I am chalking up as losses. Record based on this would be 24-7 (or 23-8 if we lose to Fla both times).

    • MikeMan
      3:55 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I think those records are correct*

  53. 07Grad
    3:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    With the players who might return next year and the newcomers, does anyone else think we’ll have a lot better team next year? I hope for a Jones and Lamb transformation for some of these guys

  54. Jackie waldeck
    3:51 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I’m tired of all the smoke cal sends out. He controls who plays and doesn’t I want to see hustle and if they can’t set their butts down. Not only that but I would rather have the 100th recruiting class and end up number one then have the number1 recruiting class and end up 100th. Cal quit owing smoke and play the ones that want to play ie Polson Willis etc

  55. Full Court Press
    4:06 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    This has been a frustrating season, to be sure. But there’s one thing I can’t figure out for the life of me: why do we never employ a full court press? I’ve only seen it a couple of times this season, after made free throws.
    This team has incredible depth and tremendous athletes, polished basketball skills aside. Shaka Smart, Pitino, Mike Anderson and others have pressed their way deep into tournaments and it cures a lot of ills.

    If we would press for 2-3 minute increments a handful of times each game, it would force us to come together as a team, right? You turn people over, you pass the ball on a manufactured fast break and you share the ball. We score, morale goes up, team gets fired up, etc. We’ve certainly got enough guys to do this with the bench as deep as it is.

    Instead, we get burned on drives and torched on 3 pointers for the ENTIRE GAME like we did last night. Why not amp up the pressure and “out athlete” our opponents? We don’t have to do the 40 minutes of hell philosophy all game, every game, but why not give the press a try?

    Am I missing something?

    • kwd
      4:10 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Because that would require playing those less-heralded guys on the bench, which would cut down on PT for the McDAAs, which might hurt their chances to jump to the NBA immediately, which would then hurt future recruting of more McDAAs, which would mean fewer McDAAs on the roster, which would ultimately mean that Calipari would be forced to actually coach somebody.

  56. UKBlue
    4:13 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    We might as well stop complaining, these kids aren’t going to get it, and this year is going to end in disappointment.

  57. RICK
    4:22 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Its funny as hell reading these comments, when they took ark. to overtime every one was talking about how good they played and the toughness they played with coming back. And now this. How stupid are we. Wont be long to Matt and the gang will be talking about the help we got coming next year.

  58. SoCalCat
    4:26 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    If UK is going to start games down 15, then start the reserves who will likely hustle and wear down the other team’s starters so when this year’s starters come in they can get confidence against worn down opponents 🙂

  59. TheBlueMax
    4:28 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Hawkins, Young, Poythrese, Randle and Johnson to start. We have Great HS talents that haven’t translated to the next level and been able to mesh for any number of reasons. No reason not to give Willis extended minutes and see what happens, and Lee is an energy guy so he should play more in games where we are showing a lackluster effort. Heck, you only have depth as an advantage if you use it. Collectively they have played with a low IQ. All that being said I am really anxious to see how they respond @ Missou

  60. Confused
    4:28 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Play some of the worst defense I have seen. Can’t stop dribble penetration, so why do we pick up on D at mid court. Why not make the court smaller & guard from the 3 pt. line in. Our help defense is poor & helping the helper, sucks! With our lack of quickness, guarding a smaller area has to help. Would like to see some zone but since that doesn’t seem to be an option, this might help

  61. bigblueincincy
    4:32 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Last night was an disappointing performance but coming into the game I really thought it was going to be tough win the game. LSU is not a bad team, they have a lot of talent. UK definately has more talent but when you go on the road you better come to play. This team just doesn’t start games well and they also don’t start off strong in the second half. But I really don’t see starting Polson and Willis as the answer. Everyone is saying Tubby was such a great coach and I do think he is a good coach also but he wasn’t a very good recruiter. Yes he won a National Title but with hold overs from the Pitino era. The one thing that does bother me with this team is the transition defense.

  62. Bledsoe's Biceps
    4:33 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    I really do hope they prove me wrong, but I think you can put a fork in this team. They’re done, unless Cal does something to shake up the lineup and playing time, which is unlikely. At best, a second round exit in the tourney. Zero defensive effort. Little intensity/effort from most of them. No point guard. Inconsistent outside shooting. A coach who refuses to use his bench to try to motivate them or change anything. A complete and utter disaster, from the best recruiting class in the history of college basketball and the coach who can’t make it work. The revenge tour, became the cringe tour.

  63. J.A.
    4:43 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Dakari should start and alex and Julius should play the 4 and the 5 when daraki is out

  64. Ross
    5:01 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Revenge Tour? Revenge Tour? Does anyone recall John Wall being told to enter the game and waving his hand at Cal and sitting down on the bench, refusing to check in? And he not only remained on the team, he started the rest of the season.

    And of the Cauley-Stein yelling at the coach – Can anyone remember ONCE when a player yelled at Rick Pitino on national television? He would have never played for Pitino again. This coach is not a leader when his players punk him out, and he takes it. UK hired Gillispie for one reason. His Texas A&M team put Louisville out of the tournament the tear before. Obsess much?

    Then they go and hire what they believe to be the closest thing to Pitino they could find, though he has cheated and been stripped of everything he won before becoming UK coach and, the highest paid coach in the country?

    I wonder what Cal will do if Randle pimp slaps him on TV. Start him the next game.

  65. Larry
    5:04 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    UK is 1-10 in its last 11 road games. Time for Calipari to take responsibility.

  66. tankerkat
    5:04 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    remind me, how many first round draft picks we have on the team ? I think I count 1, maybe. WCS has a long way to go, no threat against guys his size or bigger.

  67. harry
    5:09 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    last night was a gut check, I’m puking from the blow to my mid section

  68. Mark Liptak
    5:38 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Great job by Ms. Thompson in her post. I’d only add this team is gutless on the road, acting like scared individuals instead of the “greatest recruiting class in history.”

    Again saying they are kids is a cop out, these are some of the most talented athletes on the planet who have been basically working to be pro’s since they were in junior high. I don’t buy that argument anymore, they’ve played 20 games. Other young teams less talented across the country can win a road game, these guys see some difficulties and fall apart like a cheap suit.

  69. Rob
    5:39 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Can’t win on talent alone. Time for Cal to quit talking and start doing. We’ve got players on the bench who want to be coached. Sit the others on their rears and start coaching the one’s who give a crap.

  70. Rob
    5:46 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Amen Larry

  71. FranklinKYGuy
    6:04 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Our problem isn’t on the offensive side of the ball. Our guards can get into the lane at will. We take high percentage shots. The problem is Cal’s stubborn use of man to man defense only. Billy Gillispie did the same thing. He would not change defense no matter how bad the man defense was getting carved up. We have three 6’6 guards that can’t be given the required speed to stop dribble penetration in one season. I don’t care how much Cal yells at them. And giving up penetration has worked for Cal when he has a Camby or Davis or even Cousins waiting to pick up the dribbler.

    A few years ago, Louisville had a team that was stinking up the place defensively. They had Francisco Garcia at the point and he was 6’6. He was a good guard, but he didn’t have the speed to be effective in Pitino’s press, and he got burned in man to man. Louisville was horrendous and it looked like NIT was all they would be able to muster after multiple losses. So, Pitino decided to switch to a 2-3 zone the remainder of the year and take advantage of his perimeter size. The result?? His first final four at Louisville. Cal is stubborn to his defensive philosophy to a fault, and the reason it stands out more than ever is because his teams are younger than they have ever been. The problem isn’t shooting the three….it isn’t lack of leadership… isn’t that kids aren’t trying. Heck, the man to man has them having to work tirelessly on both ends of the court! Even Rupp would switch to a 1-3-1. Cal could have gone to a 2-3 last night and shut down the inside game of LSU. He refuses to switch defensively and stop the bleeding. If he decides to stick to man to man, we will lose more games. This team doesn’t have the speed needed to play it well.

    • daniel
      8:43 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      Astute analysis! Take a look at how well its worked for Syracuse year in and year out, especially with how big their guards are. This team doesn’t have the speed that the Wall or Teague teams had, with several excellent on-ball defenders each.

      I think there are still a few encouraging take-aways from the game, even if they are individual plays. Andrew twice got into the defense but didn’t try to get all the way to the rim. He pulled up, took an 8-10 foot jumper and knocked them down. He was under control and got an easy shot. That look (or a dump off to a big) is going to be there consistently. I think that is something that he should be encouraged by and should be stressed by the staff. He’s not a Derrick Rose / John Wall finisher – but he has a nice short range shot and is big enough to shoot over a lot of guys.

      I’m also really encouraged by Alex’s play lately. I think he is this year’s Darius Miller. He’s been more assertive offensively in the last five or six games, and has been pounding the offensive glass. I think he could work harder on defense sometimes (although who couldn’t).

      I’ll also say, I love how Dakari is coming along. I think its great to get such nice production and hustle from him. With that being said, I still have faith that we can make a run at championship. And the only way there is with WCS. I don’t know what’s going on with Willie right now, but the staff and the team needs to work with him to get him going. I think we should try running a few offensive plays for him early in games, try to get him going and build off the energy that he brings when he’s really playing well. I see him more as the Terrence Jones of this team, in the sense that when he’s on, the team is at its best.

      Anyways, I wanna leave Big Blue Nation with one recommendation. Stay positive! This isn’t 2011-12 but its also not 2012-13. We have a shot. We just need to hope we peak at the right time (remember 2010-11?) and make a run. We have to have faith that the team will continue to improve, like every team under Cal has and that the pieces fall into place.

    • wow
      10:16 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

      I agree with both of you guys.
      I was beginning to think everyone on this board should be on suicide watch!

  72. FranklinKYGuy
    6:17 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Another example…..1998, we are down 17 to Duke. Coach K stubbornly sticks to man to man no matter what. Tubby decided to simply let Wayne Turner penetrate and burn Wojo for the rest of the game. The result?? We come back, win the game and send Duke home. If K would have gone to a zone, he would have beaten us like a drum, because up until we started penetrating and exploiting his man to man, Duke had our number. Man to man is the best defense, but it’s also the easiest to exploit if you have even ONE weak link. We have 6’6 guards that can’t handle dribble penetration. They simply don’t have the speed. There is a way to fix this, but Cal has to mix it up defensively. If he stays stubborn, he will continue scratching his head. It’s also the reason he can’t use his bench. If they can’t play the demanding man to man, they are weak links. We have no issues offensively.

  73. Hanging in there!
    6:54 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Keep Calm…the twins are coming. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

  74. bung
    7:30 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    play Willis Hood Polson more until some others decide they want to….last night was an embarrassment to the Kentucky tradition…play the guys that care…

  75. Catcounsel
    8:53 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Will not take issue with a single point made during this post. Last night’s game against LSU did not show me anything to feel good about when sizing up the potential of our current Kentucky basketball team. It was like they were NEVER IN THE GAME AT ALL, NOT IN THE BEGINNING, MIDDLE OR END! What a shame, it seems that this team ultimately was all talk as we have seen limited instances of production of the floor! Hoping for some production on Saturday against Missouri, we need it!

  76. playersfan
    9:24 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    Maybe dribble drive is not really an offense, when the other team packs the middle or plays zone, there are no shots in dribble drive. Of all the great coaches in the past, and those still around today, I haven’t heard a single one say I’m going to switch to dribble drive. We are supposed to have the No. 1 shooting guard, the No 2 shooting guard, and a point guard that shoots three just as good as the No. 2 shooting guard, maybe they need to practice shooting more, and trying to get fouled less, especially since they don’t shoot free throws well. Just saying.

  77. Third strike
    10:48 pm January 29, 2014 Permalink

    This is my third try at this same post. So here goes! The single thing these freshmen need and will never get is another season of college basketball. Old coach once said, “the best time to play a freshmen is when he is a sophomore.” They just need another to mature at the college level. Great talent- just need to mature.

  78. Ross
    6:34 pm January 30, 2014 Permalink

    It is, and always has been fashionable for even non-basketball people to like UK. I also think that Cali must be some kind of genius to “invent” the dribble drive offense. What? That’s been around since they were playing with peach baskets, but Cal invented it? Wow. Drive the lane, draw the defense, kick it to the open man. Sheer genius Cal.

    Go put some more flowers on Rupp’s grave (see youtube)

    They get the best recruits in basketball, and now they have the highest ranked freshman class in football coming in this season? I know UK has a winning tradition in football, but people have to know that a brown paper bag from some alumni has been passed to a lot of parents and possibly players who can keep their mouth shut for the one season they play before going pro. I grew up loving UK, but I don’t like cheating and under the table deals just to win a championship.