Good morning. Let’s talk basketball and five things I think need fixin’ before March. Feel free to add your own in the comments section if you got ’em because these aren’t the only five, just five on my brain at the moment.
1. Turnovers. (Obviously.)
The turnover problem is still fresh on our minds after Kentucky turned the ball over some 15 times in the loss at South Carolina. Ashton Hagans is at the root of this problem. He has 16 turnovers in the Cats’ four SEC games, nine of those coming in his last two games: four turnovers against Alabama, five Wednesday night at South Carolina. Combine that with his inability to finish at the rim and it is fair to say Hagans has room to improve offensively, although he is still an assist machine.
As a team, Kentucky is averaging almost 14 turnovers per game in league play, while sitting one turnover shy of matching its opponents in total turnovers on the season.
UK, 203 turnovers; Opponents, 204 turnovers.
Protect that ball because it only gets harder from here.
2. Defending ball screens.
The pick-and-roll defense has been bad all year. The entire defense hasn’t been good, but the pick-and-roll has been a killer.
You know what also has been a killer? When the other team spreads the floor and goes 1-on-1 to the basket. Go ahead and put two points on the board if you ever see this happening.
3. Boxing out.
Wednesday night at South Carolina the UK bigs were like Oprah, just tossing out free offensive rebounds to anyone who wanted one.
The Gamecocks had TWENTY offensive rebounds; before that, Alabama had 16 in Rupp Arena. It looks to be an effort issue too. Zero interest in boxing out. If Nick Richards isn’t in the game, Kentucky probably isn’t getting it.
4. EJ Montgomery needs to shoot some free throws.
While looking over the season stats earlier I couldn’t help but scream WTF at my computer when I saw that, before Wednesday night, EJ Montgomery had only taken 12 free throws all season. That’s less than one free throw a game, so probably like one trip to the foul line every two games at best. How? This man is 6-10, 230. He should be inside drawing contact and getting some free points.
Now to be fair, he went 4-for-5 from the line at South Carolina, so maybe this complaint is one game too late.
5. Some guys are way behind.
I think it’s pretty clear who’s dragging behind while others get better. There is a desperate need for a couple more consistent contributors, but right now it is a lot of inconsistency from the group outside the Big 4. One guy in particular — you know who I’m talking about — just can’t seem to do anything right.
Ok now I’m in a bad mood on a Friday morning. I regret doing this, but what has been said has been said. Kentucky is still a good basketball team with Final Four potential. Just got some things that need fixin’.
Let’s beat Arkansas tomorrow. Go Cats.