So. Many. Fouls. The stripes blew 51 whistles. Fifty. One. It was an ugly slobber-knocker, the perfect game for Kansas State to pull off an upset.
Poor P.J. — Nobody was on the receiving end of the whistles more than P.J. Washington. Arguably Kentucky’s best player on the court (18 points, 15 rebounds), he did almost everything right. Almost. Washington made only 8-of-20 free throws. If P.J. just got to his season average (62%), Kentucky wins.
“We lost. I didn’t play good at all,” he said. “As you saw, I went 8 for 20 from the line. I feel like if I would have made at least half of those, we would have won the game, so I didn’t play really good
What Happened to Knox? Kevin Knox’s disappearing act happened at the worst possible time. His hot hand knocked down a three with five minutes to play to close the K-State lead to two. He ended the game without taking another shot.
The blame does not fall completely on his shoulders. He could’ve done a better job getting open, his teammates could’ve done a better job finding him and the coaches could’ve moved the offense through his hands.
The Final Play for…Wenyen? That’s correct. The final play Calipari drew up was a Wenyen Gabriel three. It actually makes a little sense. Cal used Knox as a decoy off a double screen. K-State chased him, as UK planned, but the other defender jumped the open lane to Gabriel and forced Shai to throw up a prayer.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 23, 2018
You would prefer to see Knox take the shot, but that’s what everybody expected. To use him as a decoy was almost brilliant. I don’t like that Knox’s screen ran him away from the ball, essentially taking him out of the play to nullify the decoy. Flip the side of the floor and maybe the timing does work out perfectly for Kentucky.
Holy Sneed — That dude was on fire. He entered the game on a cold streak. He left with five fouls after hitting five threes to lead all scorers with 22 points. His big night was exactly what they needed offensively to put K-State over the top.
Bad Company — Kansas State shot only 35 percent, worse than Kentucky’s 38 percent. According to Corey Price, it’s just the fourth time in the shot clock era (since 1985-1986) that Kentucky has lost a NCAA Tournament game with their opponent shooting worse than 40% from the field. The other three were brutal losses: March 31st, 1997 vs. Arizona, March 18th, 2000 vs. Syracuse and March 27th, 2010 vs. West Virginia.
A Stat that Sticks Out — All will point to the free throw line, but that might not be the most lopsided number. Kansas State had 24 points off turnovers to Kentucky’s seven. UK committed five more turnovers, but that does not account for 17 more points. K-State got back and refused to let Kentucky run, outscored in transition by an 11-2 margin.
Anybody but Duke — Please God.
Go Ramblers! At least we don’t have to cheer against Sister Jean?
Who Stays? Who Goes? We do not know. Nobody pulled an Ayton or a Lonzo and declared for the draft in the locker room. Here’s what little they did say about their futures.
Maybe Nobody Leaves? I will take solace in very little from last night’s loss, however, the nature of it gives me hope that more will come back than we originally anticipated, a la 2014. If that is the case, a perfect storm is brewing with a summer trip and a Louisville Regional in 2019.
This Kentucky team could never consistently put it together, but maybe next year?
A Reason to Laugh — If that spin zone/silver lining wasn’t enough to help you crack a smile, see what Matt did on Finebaum.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 22, 2018