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REPORT CARD: Kentucky vs. Mississippi State

After the loss to Florida, John Calipari outlined four things his team must do if they want to make a run in March. How did they fare in a 78-65 win over Mississippi State? Let’s take a look at the report card.

Limit turnovers: B

vs. Florida: 16 turnovers
vs. Mississippi State: 11 turnovers
Season: 14.1 turnovers per game

Kentucky took better care of the ball last night, turning it over 11 times vs. the 16 times they did vs. Florida. There were still some egregious errors (I’m still grimacing at the turnover PJ made after his big dunk midway through the second half), but for the most part, Calipari was pleased.

“We’re that team that, you know, we can’t afford those kind of errors. Now, we only had 11 turnovers today. That’s a big jump for us.”

That being said, Mississippi State scored 18 points off those 11 turnovers, which leads me to my next point…

Better passing/Create more shots: D

vs. Florida: 13 assists
vs. Mississippi State: 11 assists
Season: 14.1 assists per game

Calipari’s pet peeve with this group is passing, and with good reason. Over the past few games we’ve seen more than our fair share of bad passes, ranging from too fast to too slow, too long to too short. Just when Kentucky’s getting into a groove, someone makes a lazy pass and boom! Momentum stopped. Calipari is switching up practice in hopes of improving ball movement. With “Press Virginia” waiting in the wings, let’s hope it works.

Shoot more threes: B

vs. Florida: 4-17 (24%)
vs. Mississippi State: 5-14 (36%)
Season: 98-285 (4.9-14.25 per game, 34.4%)

Kentucky was more efficient from the three-point line last night thanks to Kevin Knox, who was a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc after going 4-21 over the last three games.

Make free throws: B+

vs. Florida: 8-12 (66%)
vs. Mississippi State: 23-30 (77%)
Season: 68.3%

Kentucky’s free-throw percentage was good last night, but I’m most encouraged by the number of free throws they took. Sure, part of that is because the game had the pace of a snail, but the Cats (okay, PJ Washington) drove to the basket more, which sent them to the free throw line 30 times. Extra kudos to Washington for hitting 71.4% of his free throws, a marked improvement over his 59% average coming in.


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.

15 Comments for REPORT CARD: Kentucky vs. Mississippi State

  1. Skeps
    4:32 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Since I was unable to watch the game last night, what was everyone’s opinion of what the tweak is?

    • KYcats11
      4:41 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Looks like the plan is to work it to the middle with pj, have him drive or kick to the open shooters. Also seems to be a lot more passing, Hami only kept the ball on a fast break once.

    • secrick
      4:52 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Why not send Know to the free throw line and post him up. Didn’t see a tweak last night.Didn’t see P.J. kick to any open shooters either. Didn’t see much good except a win. Sorry .

    • KYcats11
      5:16 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      My guess is because Knox is one of our shooters.

  2. az1006
    4:51 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    It’s clearly passing the ball more. And I would disagree with the D grade for the MSU game, in that regard. While there were a couple of stretches (one in the first half, one late in the second) where we were stagnant offensively, and reverting back to too much one-on-one play, but there were also several possessions with crisp ball movement, and guys making the extra pass. We missed a couple of open shots that would have completed those possessions, but overall I thought there was marked improvement there, especially from Shai and Hami. I’d give them a C+…Just need to be more consistent in that regard.

  3. secrick
    4:53 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    I meant Knox

  4. Swizzle
    5:09 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    5th step less diallo, more vanderbilt

  5. BigBlueNationDude
    5:09 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    I think the tweak is to get Wenyen the ball and iso out front and let him dribble drive with those clean ball skills. Also let Hami turn into tasmanian devil when he has the ball.

  6. unbridled
    5:43 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    The offense was ok last night. I personally would prefer more off ball movement and cleaner screen usage, but I’m not John calipari. I’m not really concerned on the offensive end. It the perimeter defense, pick and roll, straight line drive, and interior defense that worried me. I like that coach cal mixes it up with zone, but teams seem to have a knack for getting the ball to the basket rather easily. The full court press perplexes me as well.

    • unbridled
      5:43 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      ….again I’m not John calipari. In cal I trust.

    • unbridled
      5:45 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Also, U.K. defenders leave their feet waaaaaay to easy especially with a height advantage. Leads to silly fouls and missed blocks.

  7. Smyrna_Cat
    5:50 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Absolutely agree. You don’t evaluate moving the ball based on assists. I thought we moved the ball better and had less one-on-one, holding the ball issues.

  8. tuk
    8:43 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    How about a grade for defense on opponent under the basket out of bounds plays. Am I the only one that thinks we give up too many lay ups on these plays. Why can’t we figure this out. Thought we played great last 3-4 minutes.

  9. SamKat83
    9:43 am January 25, 2018 Permalink

    Cal wants more rewards to this young team for passing. I understand; however, I don’t need to tell this coach or his great staff, that this team is among his poorest passing teams. Perhaps, that is why he has placed the emphasis. I just know that HE knows and that is good enough for me.

    Knox is an outstanding basketball p[layer who becomes satisfied whenever he exceeds his own expectations. He is a terrible passer, but has an excellent maturity about him. I want him to never be satisfied until the game is over and to practice passing. These young men were all receivers of passes because of their being stars in HS. Now they must become quarterbacks to star at this level. I love Cal’s youngest team, but hey have so much to do to become a team this season.