As we await tomorrow’s SEC opener against Ole Miss, let’s take a look at five concerning statistics that need to improve over the next couple of months….
Jamal Murray’s turnovers
I had seen enough of Jamal Murray about halfway through the second half of the Louisville game. I wanted him to go to the bench and not return. I was so frustrated with his seflish, careless play offensively. He was trying to do too much, and he wasn’t accomplishing anything. As I said before, Archie Goodwin thought Muray was playing out of control.
Then he hit back-to-back threes moments later and all was forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten those seven turnovers in the game.
Murray now has 40 turnovers on the season to go with only 34 assists for a 0.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. That has to improve, and it will if Murray will settle down and stop trying to force the action.
Skal Labissiere’s lack of rebounding
It’s New Year’s Day so I’ll save the dead horse from another beating, but it deserves a mention since we are talking disappointing statistics.
Labissiere’s rebounding has been nonexistent for a player of his size and caliber. Isaiah Briscoe, a 6-foot-2 perimeter player, averages two more rebounds per game than the Kentucky big man. Tyler Ulis, the shortest player on the court at all times, rebounds at the same rate.
Kentucky’s three-point shooting
The Cats rank 314th nationally in three-pointers made this season. The team’s 31.7 percentage is ranked No. 273.
Jamal Murray is the best at the long ball, but he has the Ohio State game to thank for that. If not for his 7-for-9 flurry on the Buckeyes, Murray’s 39 percent from deep drops to around 33 percent.
As with all statistics in this conversation, three-point shooting must improve.
Tyler Ulis’ minutes
Ulis is among college basketball’s hardest working players at over 35 minutes per game. Calipari recently said his point guard was playing too much, then he played him 39 minutes in the very next game.
“He was cramping up,” Cal said of Ulis in the Louisville game. “I was just trying to get out of the game. That’s all I was trying to do.”
Cal also thinks Murray and Briscoe are playing too much and he hopes to cut down on all three guards’ playing time. The recent emergence of Dominique Hawkins will certainly help out in providing rest for the starters.
Isaiah Briscoe’s free-throw shooting
Mark my words: Isaiah Briscoe will cost Kentucky a basketball game with his foul shooting. At some point during conference play (and hopefully not in the postseason), Briscoe will go to the line late in a close game and ultimately cost Kentucky a victory. We just need to accept that now to help ease the pain when it happens.
He is really, really bad at the line.