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Monday’s Top 10: Kentucky falling, tweak coming?


Well, it’s been a day and a half and I don’t feel any better about Kentucky’s loss to Kansas. Sure, on paper, it doesn’t seem too bad — Kansas was the #2 ranked team in the country, after all — however, watching a team that looked so good and was ahead by 12 disintegrate into a rudderless heap at the mere sight of a zone was disheartening to say the least. Regardless, it’s technically still January and there’s a lot of basketball to be played, so we soldier on. I thought this picture of a young fan with some of the UK Cheerleaders after their 22nd national championship might cheer us all up a bit.

1. John Calipari will address the media this afternoon

After back-to-back losses, John Calipari sounded as defeated as I’ve heard him this season while addressing media after the game. After holing up in his office with his dogs and “Alaskan Bush People,” will he feel any better? We’ll find out when he previews the Georgia game around 2:30 p.m. Check the site for a live stream and afterwards for a full recap.

2. Is it time for a “tweak”?

Two out of the past three seasons, John Calipari has implemented a “tweak” midway through the conference season to attempt to fix his squad. After two straight losses in which Kentucky looked incapable of playing defense, is another tweak on the way? It sure feels like it. After all of the clamor for Bam Adebayo to get more touches, he was still only 3-7 from the floor Saturday night. Easy “tweak”: get the ball to Bam more. More necessary tweak: teach your guards to play better defense.

3. How bad was UK’s offense Saturday night?

This graphic from ESPN sums it up:


AND IT’S NOT LIKE KANSAS HAS A GREAT DEFENSE. They just played a zone that wasn’t even that good but it still made the Cats look like toddlers trying to use silverware for the first time.

Sorry. Right now, Kentucky basketball just makes me feel like…

4. On the bright side, SEC Tournament ticket prices are down

If you’re looking for a silver lining to Kentucky’s recent dip, it’s that SEC Tournament ticket prices are down on secondary markets and Nashville’s always a fun time, right? I haven’t started my annual phone tour of other schools’ box offices to see if they have extra tickets, but given how bad the SEC is this year, I’d say that’s not a bad idea. If you find out which schools are selling extra tickets, let us know.

5. What will happen in the polls?

Yes, Kentucky will fall, but how far? The rest of college basketball was a mess last week as well, with only three teams in the Top 10 coming through unscathed: Gonzaga, Baylor, and Arizona. It seems absurd, but Gonzaga might become the number one team in the country this week, another reminder that even the dominant teams are struggling this season.

6. Meanwhile, I’m gonna try to avoid how good Louisville looked yesterday

To add insult to injury, the Cards beat NC State by 25 after beating Pitt by 55 earlier in the week. I really don’t like the way things are trending for both programs right now.

7. Hey, let’s look at a highlight of our NBA players facing off

Serious Cat on Cat crime yesterday when John Wall blew past on Anthony Davis for a dunk and then flexed on him:

More to come in today’s BBNBA roundup a little later…

8. Did UK’s big recruiting weekend have any impact?


Walker Wood and Jedrick Wills Saturday night (Photo @joe_mussatto)

Signing Day is Wednesday, meaning Freddie Maggard’s probably already parked outside the training facility to prepare for the festivities. UK hosted a bevy of big recruits this weekend in both football and basketball alike, and although the final result of the game wasn’t what we all would have liked, the atmosphere at Rupp was impressive. Did that have any sway on Kentucky’s top targets, notably Alabama commit Jedrick Wills? At the game, Wills looked chummy with several UK players, including his Lafayette teammate Walker Wood. Alabama being Alabama, I wouldn’t bet on Wills flipping, but stranger things have happened in the days before Signing Day. We’ve got our ear to the ground, so stay tuned for scuttlebutt.

9. Shai Alexander’s teammate shattered a backboard Saturday night

Usually, it’s Shai Alexander stealing the headlines for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, but on Saturday night, his teammate, 6-10 Canadian junior center Kaosi Ezeagu, shattered a backboard, prompting a three hour delay as the game had to be relocated to another gym.

Still waiting on Bam to shatter a backboard at Rupp…

10. Congratulations are in order

Between sports, politics, and life, we could all use some good news right now, and thankfully, there’s some to share. Congrats to former KSR writer/current ESPN employee John Wilmhoff, who got engaged over the weekend on the rooftop of the Carew Tower in Cincinnati. Best of luck, you crazy kids.

Radio in an hour…

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.

25 Comments for Monday’s Top 10: Kentucky falling, tweak coming?

  1. UKBlue1982
    9:07 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    The best thing about the shattered backboard video was big white guy center walking towards the offensive end without attempting ANY defense.

    • RealCatsFan
      9:58 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Are we recruiting him? He would fit right in with the way this group plays defense! 😀

    • symphonist41169
      10:21 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      lol @ RCF!!

  2. runningunnin.454
    9:20 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    So how bad is the SEC? Big 12 challenge ended up 5-5; if we had done our part, SEC would’ve won.
    Ole MIss only lost to #5 Baylor by 3, Texas A&M only lost to #18 West Virginia by 4; remember W Va…they whipped Kansas by 16.
    Florida whipped Oklahoma who beat West Virginia.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:00 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      But that won’t matter to the talking heads and the Selection Committee. It does not fit their narrative that the SEC always sucks in basketball.

  3. bigbadcat
    9:37 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Between sports, politics, and life, we could all use some good news right now? The only bad news is the funk our Cats are in. You forget, an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians voted for Donald Trump. An overwhelming majority of Cats fans are ecstatic about politics right now.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:01 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      … and approximately half or the rest of America did NOT vote for Trump, as hard as he wants to try to spin it that he won the popular vote so he can get his imaginary mandate to do everything his way.

    • catsarerunnin
      10:33 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      That’s tellin him Madonna…

  4. Jiminy Crickets
    9:59 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    First, Its hard to know how to play against a zone, when our coach refuses to play one, meaning we never practice against one. Second, teams have figured UKs offense out. Kansas, just like TN, and UL decided to take away Monk, who refuses to drive to the basket because its so much easier to jack up repeated off balance, contested 3s .Teams now know, that without Monk scoring, the rest of the team is average at best and can not carry them to a win. Indiana did it to Murray last year in the tourney, and I guess we haven’t learned anything yet. As long as Monk gets his 25pts off 3-13 from 3, everyone is happy. Monk gets his numbers and stays a top draft pick, opposing coaches can sleep at night, and Calipari can fly to NY in June a happy man.

    We have been a terrible defense all season, but masked it by scoring a ton. Now that teams are figuring out how to slow down our offense to the 70s instead of 90s, we can not stop any good teams from beating us.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:05 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Ding-ding-ding – we have a winner! Couldn’t agree more. Hate to say it, but this stubborn refusal by Cal to play zone makes me wonder if the reason is that it is not played in the NBA, so he doesn’t want to “waste” any of his players’ time teaching it to them. After all, they won’t get to use it next year.

    • symphonist41169
      10:46 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Agreed 100%. I still believe in Cal, think he’s a great fit for UK, but when he says “players first” he obviously means the ultimate goal is getting players into the NBA, and that really bothers me. If he thinks UK fans really care about that more than hanging championship banners then he’s made a major miscalculation. While I certainly don’t pretend or want to speak for other UK fans, I COULDN’T CARE LESS about the “BBNBA” crap that gets force-fed to us by Cal and, sadly, this site. If people cared as much about former Cats in the NBA as they do about CURRENT players on UK’s team then why are there rarely any comments on the “BBNBA” and “Former Cats…”etc posts? Big waste of space that I just scroll past without reading, ever. Cal refuses to play zone because he either A) doesn’t understand it and can’t teach it, B) is more concerned about the kids’ NBA careers than he is about UK wins and banners and knows they won’t play hardly any zone in “the league”, C) Is an egomaniac who refuses to change because it may appear to be an admission of being wrong about something, D) all of the above. I really hope we can turn it around, but I also think in the back of my mind “We’ll just have to re-learn the entire team’s names again next year anyway…” I’m just not sure how I feel about that. YES, please go after the top players, but is it totally necessary to go after 1-year five star players exclusively? I’m certainly not a Pitino apologist or sympathizer, but it seems like he does more with much less talent in a much tougher league and schedule. So has Pastner, Drew, Miller, etc.etc. Yes, I know how many Final Fours Cal has been to in the last 7 years. But at the end of the day it’s about championships. Dean Smith went to a LOT of Final Fours too but had only 2 championships in 30+ years to show for it. I still support Cal, but there may be cracks forming in its foundation.

  5. Sentient Third Eye
    10:05 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Unfortunately, I think some of our guys are getting draft-itis. Maybe Coach Cal should ban looking at mock drafts until the end of the season (though how would you enforce it?).

  6. Rise
    10:05 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    It pains me to say this but Louisville looks like the best team in the nation right now. They are what we used to be. Long, athletic, and tenacious defense. They will be even better next year.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      10:24 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Louisville is destroying people with BOTH their starting guards out with injury. Mitchell looked unguardable yesterday. Their defense had NC State yanking up shots as soon as they touched the ball, because otherwise they couldnt get a shot off. They made Smith (Projected #4 draft pick) look like a below average player. Pre-season Pitino said this team would play the same ferocious style defense that the 96 team did, and man they are starting to look hard to beat. They have three 7 footers, none of them are good, but they don’t have to be. Whats upsetting to me, is at the beginning of the season, ULs defense was great but they couldnt score, and could not buy an outside shot. Now they are looking good on offense.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      10:26 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      with that all being said, I think UL is playing as good as they possibly can, and think they are maybe the 7-th best team in the country. NC state is terrible, and just because they beat Duke means nothing. Pitt is garbage.

  7. Booby Petrino
    10:12 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Louisville beat NC State by 25, yet UNC beat them by 51. Pitt sucks balls. I’m not worried about the dirty birds, even though they are playing better than we are, they have some losses coming up to Virginia (again) and UNC.

    • catsarerunnin
      10:36 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Yeah but we should always look at our wins in a negative way. Negativity is the newest cool thing sweeping the country.

    • KYcats11
      3:22 pm January 30, 2017 Permalink

      Agree with you petrino, these people on this sight love louisville

  8. pappy2036
    10:35 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    The tweak….simple:
    We are athletic, but we cannot stop straight line drive.
    We cannot switch and guard the pick and roll.
    Willis cannot guard smaller players. For all of his needed offensive assets, he is a liability in the man to man defense.
    We cannot rebound out of our man to man defense.

    …. Press the ball and drop back into a 2-3 Zone, ala Pitino! The deficiencies stated above can be addressed, including correctly putting Willis into position to defend AND rebound.

    Actually, run an offense against the 2-3 zone and stop being reduced to jump shooters.
    Put Bam on the free throw line in the offense, where he can face the basket, shoot or drive the ball, OR drop it down low or back outside for the shooters, Plus, he will be able to rebound better from this position.

    Tweak away!

  9. ceeph
    10:49 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    No team in the nation has five lock down defenders. Yet seems some of them play decent man to man. Throwing Willis under the bus for our defensive woes is ridiculous. If I was an opposing coach I would put Bam in the pick and roll every time down the floor. He is either gonna give up a three a layup or foul. Tennessee and Kansas both played to to pull Bam away from the basket in either the pick and roll or on a switch to make him guard on the perimeter and then scored the ball inside. The espn guys were right even when we tried to help on defense the rotation broke down when the third guy a guard(usually Monk) failed to rotate.

  10. williamjw12
    11:59 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Tweak for 2017: how about mixing in a zone defense every once and a while?

  11. playmorezeppelin
    12:50 pm January 30, 2017 Permalink

    We are forever in search of a shot blocker like Anthony Davis. It’s my opinion that you can’t win a championship at the college level without a strong front court. Your guards could be all lottery picks but without a strong presence in the paint you face a serious disadvantage. We have the talent but we lack the instinct . . . chalk that up to “youth” for the tenth year in a row I guess. I don’t mean to sound so negative – I still feel that we have as much of a shot at the championship as anybody.

  12. 3 fan
    2:29 pm January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Not sure how we can argue to “feed Bam” when he takes too long to make his move resulting in 4 turnovers. And he “only” had 7 shots because he was fouled over and over and missed his foul shots. Fouls in act is shooting do not count as field goal attempts

    Can’t feed the ball to someone who can’t hit foul shots.

    And Lord yes play zone. Never seen a PG who can’t play D at all.