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The Mourning After a Season-Ending Loss

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.

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.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

52 Comments for The Mourning After a Season-Ending Loss

  1. Mc12
    9:09 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I’ll give some credit for that D. Wade kid. He only played a few minutes because of his injury, but he gave his team a quick spark off the bench. I appreciate watching some toughness. Still think the blocked shot by Wenyen was a bad call. Oh well.

    • syrin23
      9:21 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Dude didn’t sit our for some ankle sprain that took a month to heal. He had a broken foot needing eight weeks to recover, but toughed it out and played any way. Anyone think we didn’t need Vanderbilt pushing it up the floor leading to a dozen or so fast break points? Did we get ONE fast break point the whole game? Cal likes to say he wants to play “fast”, then why doesn’t he bench SHai every time he goes into the Andrew Harrison, “walk it up the floor” mode killing ten seconds on the clock before we even start our offense?

    • dakich is stupid
      2:44 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I think there was more to the injury then was led on.

    • catdaddyd
      11:55 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      The refs killed this game from the beginning. You can’t call fouls every trip down the court, kills the flow of the game. Takes teams out their style of play. The game before with Loyola and Nevada they let them play. If there was incidental contact and it didn’t affect the play they didn’t call it.

  2. Ridge Runner
    9:14 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Of all things I see a few of KSU players upset because we didn’t shake hands at end of game.

    NewsFlash… If your team is on the floor and in the stands celebrating their super bowl, the other team is not going to wait on ya

    • JerryDamage
      9:50 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Yup. I saw them walk off without shaking hands, but then I saw the KSU players and thought that they’d prefer to have their celebration than a handshake. I didn’t think that UK were bad sports because of it. KSU were excited as they should have been.

      Now I just hope that the magic of Loyola-Chicago is enough to take down KSU.

  3. mm40
    9:15 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Alexander, Vanderbilt, Knox and Diallo all declare for the draft and Richards and/or Killeya-Jones transfer

    • syrin23
      9:23 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I can’t imagine anyone taking Diallo or Vanderbilt based on their body of work. Do our players learn from the Teagues of the world who declare and then are never heard from again?

    • JerryDamage
      9:53 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Knox and Shai are most likely out as their draft stock is enough to make it too hard to come back. Diallo and Vanderbilt will go through the process but it’s TBD on what they find out. Could go through it again and get told you’re a late second round pick. Then there’s no reason to go. Could go through it and get told that they are pick 25-30. At that point it’s a gamble and one that they’ll have to think about. If Diallo hears that I think he goes for sure. Just a lot of time and a lot of workouts to be had before we have any idea what will happen.

    • TWhite
      10:07 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I agree 100%. Those four all gone. I don’t think Richards or Jones transfer because we have no bigs coming in. I think both Diallo and Vanderbilts draft stock sky rocket after the combine.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      4:25 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink


  4. syrin23
    9:16 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Knox has to be one of the most disappointing players I have seen come through UK. So much raw ability, but long stretches of sleep walking. He didn’t play well this whole NCAA tourney given his potential. He missed a gimme lay up in the first two minutes of the game. Had two incredibly dumb fouls. He just disappears for long stretches when he should be taking it over. As far as not being able to run, that’s on Shai. We have far better athletes, and on long kick out rebounds, he would start to run, then go into the “walk it up the floor” mode which I absolutely hate. We absolutely had to try to force the run. Get an easy shot in transition where someone blows a coverage, or someone gets by their defender or an alley oop. How about, yet again, the awful end game coaching. They didn’t have a player over 6’2″ in the game for many minutes down the stretch. How many post ups did we do for Knox? How many alley oops? Then there are the little things. Wenyen shot an air ball from 2 feet on an offensive rebound. Cal got a stupid technical trying to show the refs who has the biggest ego on the floor. Shai drove into the lane and got sloppy with the ball three times and Green did it twice to TO’s that led directly to fast break EASY points. Did we even have ONE fast break point the whole game? This is becoming a common place thing with Cal and UK. Inexplicable losses to lesser talented teams. Sure Sneed was hot, but I can recall two threes he hit because our guy left him open to double team some non-threat in the post. They left the hottest player on the floor open. Now when the tourney comes along, I think “WHich lesser talented team beats us this year”. It’s not like we lost 80-77 to a great talented team. Does ANYONE think that K. St. team was better than us. And before everyone goes blaming it on us being young, tell me why Duke will easily be favored to win it all next year based on their freshman class. If Coach K can win with young but talented players, why can’t Cal. Cal has won one title and he needed Anthony Davis and Doron Lamb to do it. Why doesn’t he recruit a lights out shooter every year when it seems every year shooting is suspect? He lost his national championship at Memphis because that team couldn’t shoot FT’s. Seems like a constant weakness. An inability to learn from past errors and weaknesses makes you a bad coach. Can anyone recall when FT shooting was a team strength?

    • henderblue
      9:42 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      If only we had syrin23 over there on the sidelines. He’s so smart. I bet he coaches an unbeaten YMCA team

    • syrin23
      10:08 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Great refutation. I bet you used all your crayons writing a rough draft before typing that out, didn’t you?

    • syrin23
      10:13 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      And by the way f’tard, if I did coach a YMCA team, and we had 5 players over 6’9″ tall, and they only had a 6’2″ player to guard us, guess what the strategy would be. Doesn’t take genius to take advantage of clear mismatches, just bad coaching like we got down the stretch AGAIN.

    • henderblue
      10:18 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      You’re a genius. Mr know it all. Nothing I can say that you don’t already know.

    • henderblue
      10:22 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      You’re a classic arm chair QB that has all the answers. If someone would just pay attention to you, you could have been a coaching legend

  5. catsarerunnin
    9:17 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    The charging call on Knox was a bad call. The basket was waved off so that was probably 3 points taken away. Then the T on Cal right afterwards was bogus too which resulted in a made free throw. That’s a 4 point swing plus they got the ball and I believe they scored. I’m not blaming the refs but that took the wind out of our sails.

    • JTHinton
      9:19 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Catsarerunnin you’re 100% correct. I personally think that cost us the game; we were getting ready to take the lead and get the crowd in it and that really hurt us

    • syrin23
      9:26 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I disagree. Yeah, the charge might have been bad, but Cal clearly was out of the box making it an easy call for the refs if they wanted it. STUPID coaching by Cal and 100% preventable. Was he trying to show off how big his junk was? Well grats Cal, it cost us the game. The refs called more fouls on them than us. They could hit their FTs. We could not. Don’t forget PJ missed the front end of two 1+1’s as well.

    • JTHinton
      9:52 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Syrin, to clarify, I’m blaming Cal for that, not the referees. Cal is too experienced to make that mistake. That sequence, which led to the seven point defect, imo killed our momentum.

    • syrin23
      10:09 am March 23, 2018 Permalink


    • rockatao
      10:32 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      You’d think Cal would have learned from UMASS loss to UK in 1996 tourney. His coaching box violation changed the course of that game too.

    • catdaddyd
      11:43 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      That was in the 92 tourney, not 96.

  6. Wildcat Sheli
    9:39 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Still proud of this team!
    The way the game was called was rough. We met Jamie Luckie at South Carolina this season with similar results. And it sure reminded me of 2010 vs. West Virginia—another Luckie-officiated game. The disparity between our game and others last night is unreal. Calling a foul more than once a minute makes any flow or momentum extremely difficult. We never really recovered from that 13-1 start. Sad to see it end that way.
    The last few weeks have been fun. Go ‘Cats!

  7. kyblue0220
    9:40 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Nice balanced view of the loss. Thanks Nick

  8. slangterm
    9:41 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    That charge was as costly as the one called on Antoine Barber in 03 vs Marquette. Made bucket to cut it to 4, on a huge run from a big hole. With the tech on top of it. As bad the bed it looked UK should have won the game with many different things. That team no where near as good. Shai had 5 turnovers he hasn’t had since Jan. They were awful. Kentucky should have won by 15 points.

  9. mcp157
    9:44 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have been thinking that it would be fun to make the nun cry.

  10. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    10:07 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    K-State flat out wanted this game more. You could see it! They seized their moment and did what KState does, and we flat out had bug eyes most of the game by their game plan. They mixed it up and bullied our guys and got them out of their comfort zone. Got outplayed and out coached. No excuses from me. Good season for the young guys, but thats just it, young men that eventually ran out of room to grow this year. Nothing wrong with that, just sucks cause this teams growth ends here and then we reassess for next year and start brand new chemistry all over. Hopefully we have guys that stay and put it work for next year. You cannot put a price on experience.

    • syrin23
      10:10 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      When Knox missed the lay up about two minutes into the game I had a sinking feeling we were done.

  11. TWhite
    10:11 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    So, since we don’t have much to talk about on the basketball front until May, lets play the guess the depth chart for next year game. Who ya got?
    If all four go to the draft…
    1. Quickley
    2. Quade
    3. KJ
    4. PJ
    5. Richards

    If Hami stays…
    1. Quickley
    2. Hami
    3. KJ
    4. PJ
    5. Richards

    • Mc12
      10:20 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      If JV, Diallo, Knox, and SGA go pro:
      1. Quickley 2. Herro 3. KJ 4. PJ 5. I have no idea. There aren’t good options here. Maybe a grad transfer lol.

      If Hami Stays, which I highly doubt and think he’ll go regardless:
      1. Quickley 2. Herro 3. KJ 4. PJ 5. I have no idea.
      Quade gets plenty of minutes either way.

      If JV returns:
      1. Quickley 2. Herro 3. KJ 4. PJ 5. JV for 12 games

  12. TWhite
    10:25 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t know if Cal starts Herro. Don’t know if he has the athleticism Cal is in love with. I think Richards will be fine next year. I think he got in his own head early and never bounced back.

  13. Ukgrad2006
    10:28 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    When Nick Richards dropped (YET ANOTHER) ball at the start of the game for an easy dunk i knew we were in for a rude awakening. That’s where the momentum swung to K State and we never got it back. This kid couldn’t catch a cold.

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      10:33 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Very true, but my thing is why does Cal continue to start him? To me that was his downfall, his mentality was, start the game, make a bad play and get taken out. My point is he was just always waiting for the negative to happen. Almost always thinking that way, makes him put it into the universe sort of say and thoughts always become things, that was the result of his mental state the whole year.

    • rockatao
      10:35 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Worst hands i have ever seen on a UK player. How do you correct that? Does he need glasses?

    • TWhite
      10:38 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I think it stems from low basketball IQ. I think the kid plays with a lot of energy, but he doesn’t anticipate getting passes and lobs like a lot of former bigs. Seems like they always catch him by surprise.

    • Ukgrad2006
      10:48 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah, I agree 100% with everyone. I don’t understand Cal’s philosophy of starting him. To boost his confidence maybe? But we would have started games off with a whole lot more momentum with a SKJ ally oop IMO. Richards hasn’t been playing the game for very long so I’m hoping that leaves a lot of room for improvement.

    • Al B. Frank
      11:17 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I would assume that Cal sees something in practice that we are not privy to, something that Richards has not been able to duplicate in real game situations.

    • symphonist41169
      11:53 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Richards is the 2nd coming of Rob Locke, known to most of us as Lob Rock. Toss-up who has the worst made-of-stone hands.

  14. rockatao
    10:43 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    It appears we drank the “SEC is tough this year” kool-aid far too long
    5-seed UK defeats 12-seed, 13-seed, loses to 9-seed
    9-seed Bama defeats 8-seed, loses to 1-seed by 23
    3-seed Tenn defeats 14-seed, loses to 11-seed
    6-seed FLA defeats 11-seed, loses to 3-seed
    7-seed Ark loses to 10-seed by 17
    4-seed Auburn defeats 13-seed, loses to 5-seed by 31
    8-seed Mizzou loses to 9-seed by 13
    7-seed TexA&M defeats 10-seed, 2-seed, loses to 3-seed by 27

    The only good win by the SEC was TexasA&M trouncing UNC.

  15. futrelljr
    10:59 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    This might make some feel better about coach. Last night on the ksr post game show Matt let out a secret. In a discussion with Cal earlier in the season he told Matt that he was not going to recruit any more players who could not shoot.

  16. 2kittle
    11:03 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Okay so I need to speak my peace on this team before we forget about them in the annals of Kentucky Basketball.

    Diallo was a complete bust in his time here. A freak athlete like that should have been the best player in college ball.
    Never looked comfortable, always tried to play hero ball, was a bad fit for our line-up.
    I believe he comes back

    Knox is the softest SF I have ever seen. The only game where he played well was at West Virginia, disappeared in the tournament. Only player softer than him is Skal.
    Knox is gone

    Richards is extremely raw, so I have no hard feelings toward him, he is going to be our next Cauley-stein (3-4 year player)

    Wenyen was starting to look good, sucks they didn’t give him the ball more later in the season.

    Vanderbilt needs to come back, mock’s have him going something like 40ish in the draft.
    Lot’s of potential here guys, if he can stay healthy and come back next year watch out.

    SGA was the best cat by far, but he was plagued by inexplicable turnovers at times, saw it against Florida and you saw it last night. Idk how you cannot get to the rim on these guys. Running into the paint and then stopping to throw it to a player behind you. Can’t win that way. That being said, he is gone.

    That being said, I love my cats. They just drank the poison. Better luck next year.

    BTW, it wasn’t too long ago where we were nervous we weren’t gonna make it to the tournament, so take that into perspective guys. But Calipari has to start winning some championships around here or his one and done approach is not going to be acceptable.

  17. Bobbum Man
    11:21 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I know Cal says he doesn’t do this burn wonder if he didn’t basically promise Richards he would start. Don’t see any reason he keeps putting him out there to start games only to lay a few minutes before never coming back

    • bluecrowe
      10:40 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      you can honestly wonder if having Nick starting last night truly cost us the game. I believe the first two offensive possessions ended with NIck fumbling it or turning it over. He was overmatched all year.

      Last night was surreal and more painful as I was there in person and it was like watching a ship slowly sinking into the abyss from the very beginning. It was a home game in Atlanta. The refs were literally trying to give UK the game. Does anyone wonder if Cal truly did want this team to push the ball or is that just something he likes to claim? I am not saying this sarcastically. I am confused. I felt there were multiple times Cal said, they needed to run the ball, but I promise you Cal seemed to be just fine with Shai calmly walking it up. It was almost as though we were not trying to win. I know that is absolutely not true, but it did appear that way. Every decision seemed to not work out. We should have overwhelmed that K State team. The fans leaving could not even understand what had happened. They were only recently aware they still had a basketball program.

  18. Ukgrad2006
    11:22 am March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Really could have use Tai Wynyard as a big body and for his 5 fouls last night. Remember him?

  19. jytruebluefan
    12:26 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t understand how Knox is getting blame for “disappearing” he was trying his best to come off screens for the last few min of the game but if that’s the only play you can run a good defense will figure it out at some point. I believe this may be the worst coaching game by calipari at UK. We were walking it up every possession even in transition opportunities, shai was bothered by guards swiping at the ball in the lane every possession and K State brought more fire and passion for about 35 min of the game. When Knox got hot we went away from him and were still running plays for Shai who had made 2 shots out of like 10 or 11. I still can’t get over not calling a timeout before that ridiculous unnecessary 3 point attempt by Quade with 15 sec left when were only down 2 and they had no bigs left in the game to protect the rim. One of the most pathetic displays of coaching I’ve seen and I love Cal and think he’s a great player developer as well as a recruiter but when his game plan goes wrong he’s terrible at adjustments. Idk but this loss makes me sick because that team was significantly inferior and should’ve lost by 10+ to us.

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      12:40 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      Coaching was bad man, I love Cal, but if this season taught us anything, its do not trust these guys when its not going our way. They needed Cal badly this game and unfortunately to me, it was like he was coaching to let them learn themselves. Not the time to do that! This is win or go home and no halftime adjustments, keep going to PJ with him missing 8/20, letting Shai drive into a clogged up lane, no timeout AGAIN. Like I said, love Cal, but man you got to hold the man accountable for how bad Webber made him look. A guy with no potential NBA picks, just out coached a active hall of fame coach with way better talent. You dont win them all, but this one we lost ourselves.

    • bluecrowe
      10:53 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

      I agree with you. I just wish they had inverted Knox, put him on the low block and had PJ come outside, bring his defender with him and have him lobbing the ball into Knox. Knox shoots 16 free throws in the second half and Brad Calipari is hitting 3 threes at the end because the game has been over for over 5 minutes. Shai pushing the ball up getting ahead of the defense, lobs, guys hanging from the rim in transition and we beat Loyola by 20 tomorrow. That is how it should have gone. I honestly do not see what Cal was trying to accomplish.

      Also, not Cal’s job to make millionaires. Most of those guys were going to make that money no matter where they went. You work for us. Game over.

  20. Biglaw Dawgin'
    2:34 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    I think we should have had 1 or 2 set plays for when we needed a bucket down the stretch. I’m not talking about motion offense / ball screen and / low-block-curl types of offense we played the entire game. Those are just meant to give our playmakers the rock in a good position on the floor. What I thought we needed was a set play meant to end in an lob or cut to the basket, or something. Something in Cal’s pocket that he could pull out in dire moments like the last two minutes of a Sweet 16 game.

  21. Ukcatzfan2
    5:34 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    if KNOX and SHAI leave
    with the recruits coming in UK losses 15 games next year
    Richards needs to play for a NAIA school
    if Quickly is the same as green who is gonna play point next year?

  22. bluecrowe
    10:48 pm March 23, 2018 Permalink

    Sock Puppet…you are exactly right about Richards and Cal’s approach! It does put that negative energy out there. I would ask myself, if I were Richards would I even want to be starting these games? Why not put me on the shelf and wait til I have spent another off season with Payne working on my game? It was like cruel and unusual punishment. I do not blame Richards. That is what having a Freshman used to be like! 🙂