Well. That was a bad loss for UK and the head coach is at fault. The Cats lost to Seton Hall 84-83 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, falling to 7-2 on the season.
Here are five takeaways from UK’s loss.
1. The Loss:
There’s not much you can say besides it was a really, really bad loss for UK. There were some positives for the Cats, but there weren’t for John Calipari, who cost Kentucky the win.
It stinks for fans and players. UK’s players fought. PJ was locked in. Keldon wanted it badly. Reid was Reid but obviously him fouling out was huge. Kentucky’s players seemed to have an answer after every wild Seton Hall shot. Yet, because of Calipari, Kentucky is heading back to Lexington with another loss on the road.
There is absolutely no excuse for Calipari not calling a timeout after Hagans’ made free throw to push the UK lead to two. There’s no excuse for Calipari not calling a timeout after Seton Hall’s three with about 10 seconds to play. There’s no excuse for Calipari not calling a timeout after Ashton Hagans patiently brought the ball up the court to setup the offense that there wasn’t time to see.*
There was no excuse for those mistakes. I think most on this website and most in this fan base appreciate Calipari and wouldn’t want anyone else, but today was one of his top three coaching blunders and that’s saying something.
I know the talent is there for Kentucky. We all saw it in the Bahamas. What in the world happened over the course of three months?
3. PJ and Keldon:
The worst part of today’s loss is that PJ finally was engaged and worked his ass off trying to get the win. Keldon, too. I loved seeing that fight from those two and we all know Reid is going to bring it every night. Those three are good enough to make UK a dangerous team, but there has to be some help elsewhere.
I wish Keldon didn’t take so long to get going. That seems to be an issue with several players, but that happens in college basketball, especially with younger players. Maybe this will be a wake-up call to come out and fight from the tip? Regardless, UK wasted a phenomenal performance from PJ and some big time plays late from Keldon.
And dammit, that shot woulda been such a memorable shot.
4. Guard play:
It’s a major issue for Kentucky. I think Kentucky should roll with Ashton Hagans at point moving forward. He’s far from perfect, but he plays hard, he’s good defensively and he will do more good than harm. But besides Hagans, your guess is as good as mine with who steps up for UK. Quade Green is equally as inconsistent as he was last season. I like Quickley but my issues with him as a high school player are still prevalent. He does plenty of nice things but isn’t great at one thing. Tyler Herro has flashes but if he isn’t hitting outside shots he doesn’t do enough of anything else to warrant playing time.
So, until UK finds some dependable guards the play is going to continue to be average.
5. Moving forward:
Today was a huge blow. Momentum will continue to be low. Many fans who were late to buy in will jump off the train. Some fans who were still waiting to buy in won’t support this team at all. It’s just a complete disaster. We thought this UK team would be a top three or five team all season and now they don’t deserve to be in the top 25 in my opinion. UK has struggled against bad teams, have gone to the wire against average teams and was completely embarrassed by the only great team its played all season.
Kentucky’s a complete mess and if Calipari coaches like he did today it won’ t be fixed this season.
UPDATE: It should be clarified that coaches aren’t permitted to call timeouts during live ball situations, i.e. Ashton Hagans bringing up the ball on the last play, only players can. Coaches are allowed to call timeouts before or during inbounds plays, but once the ball is on the court, it’s up to the players.