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Time to Give Up on This UK team? ESPN’s Jeff Borzello Thinks So

Losing games without Quade Green and Jarred Vanderbilt was to be expected. But now that the Cats have real depth at multiple positions, and are still losing, many folks around the bluegrass and in the media are letting the pessimism get to them.

Take ESPN’s Jeff Borzello for example:

We keep waiting for Kentucky to take the next step, to become the team that its No. 2-ranked recruiting class indicated last spring and summer. But the Wildcats are definitely not that right now, and it’s unlikely they’re going to become that in the next six weeks before the NCAA tournament. They lack consistent playmakers at the point of attack; they go through long droughts from the perimeter; and they still have defensive issues.

Whenever Kentucky wins, though, it seems as if the Wildcats are inching closer to becoming the SEC favorite or a team that can play at the Final Four in San Antonio in April. We all want to think the talent on that roster will put it together and become a force. But we can probably put that to rest.


Kentucky has 12 games left before the SEC Tournament. Hopefully they can prove everybody wrong.

“Hopefully” being the operative word there.


Article written by Jay Winkler

Avid fan of UK Athletics, WWE, and chicken wings. Preferably at the same time.

72 Comments for Time to Give Up on This UK team? ESPN’s Jeff Borzello Thinks So

  1. Rembrandt
    2:03 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    The sky is falling!

    • BigBlueNationDude
      3:42 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      5 losses already, no good wins, no improvement. Please explain your optimism. Lemme guess. 2014 did it.

    • Jambluehue99
      3:58 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Isn’t the point of being a fan supporting and believing in your team? If all you have is paralyzing pessimism, perhaps stepping away for some perspective is a good idea. This is GAME being played by 18 year olds after all.

    • njCat
      5:32 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      It is a game played by 20 and 21 year olds in most schools. And part of being a fan is complaining when your team sucks. Happens everywhere. Get used to it.

    • Bull Filmer
      3:48 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      CAL’s arsenal includes the un-yet invoked Tweak.

      Thought that was gonna be JV.

      SO – look forward to another tweakage.

  2. Bill Selfs Hair Piece
    2:08 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    So basically what he’s saying, when they play their best they’re a top 5 team, but that probably won’t happen again. Yeah, that makes sense.

    • Bull Filmer
      3:59 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Billy Preston set that hair piece a-flamed. Can KU cheat any more than that? Calling themselves out is tantamount to uavel calling theirselves out. Apparently, some Kids are getting paid “unbeknownst” to folks who manage major college Basketball programs – via CARS….HOOKERS……CLASSES. I’m staring down at Kansas, uavel, and Huckleberry Hound who came from a Cheating programs (UNC KU), – as he, should be a Naval Officer for having successfully navigated the NCAA Waters ….cheated at KU, …cheats at UN sea. And continues to Cheat @ Eew N Sea. Ole Roy….. And so whatabout Coach K, anyone?

    • RealCatsFan
      4:57 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      What about Coach K? Cheating? Ever heard of Corey Magette? Lance Thomas? Duke should have TWO titles vacated.

  3. DelrayCat
    2:09 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    He hit the nail on the head in one key aspect. Cats have no effective point guard. Green and Alexander are good players…. for freshmen. But neither is very quick, thereby allowing opposing point guards to reek havoc. Neither is a very capable shooter at this point. And neither one is really hardwired to be a distributor. Therefore, Cal seems content to allow the offense to be run through the forwards who are all more skilled passers. And most glaringly, we don’t have a single guy on this team who can consistently knock down a 3….the guards are all slashers, and definitely not shooters. Therefore, traditional guard play, or lack thereof, is seemingly our ultimate downfall.

    • Rembrandt
      3:38 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      People overreact after losses, but some of what you said is true. Criticisms of our point guards are probably shortsighted. Gilgeous-Alexander wasn’t sharp last night, but is among the best players in the SEC. Some of our fans have been reading Trae Young headlines, and have forgotten how good Shai is.

      Our team lacks scoring discipline and inside-outside scoring balance. Most of the right pieces are there, but they are young and haven’t been executing. This has gone worse during second halves of our losses, when freshmen panic and forget the importance of shot selection.

      By March, this team will be better than our 2015-16 team, and they can be better than our 2016-17 team if Nick Richards gets it in the next month. But they have to learn how to close out a game against a more experienced opponent. Right now, they can’t seem to do it.

    • kjd
      4:50 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Come on. Do you even watch Richards? He shows no natural rebounding instincts at all. He’s clueless on a regular basis. He needs longer than 6 weeks to get it.

    • henderblue
      3:40 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      I agree with you Delray and would add that we don’t have a lock down defender at the guard position either. Teams are breaking us down and getting to the rim pretty easy. Our length, which was supposed to be a strength defensively, has not made the difference yet that we thought it would.

    • philbo
      4:00 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.

    • njCat
      5:48 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Stay away from sycophant enablers. They will kill your program.

    • TB112162
      6:22 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      It’s like deja vu on here 2011,2014 all you know it all’s thought we were done .It is January 21st

    • syrin23
      7:08 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      We have a team of great athletes. Very few basketball players.

  4. ebow1
    2:10 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Vanderbilt hasn’t played all year and can’t play more than 3 min without being gassed. That will change in a few games. Green just came back from some type of back injury and probly isn’t close to 100%. Most bball writers are clueless and your careers are most times meaningless. Desperate for a story!!!!

  5. ebow1
    2:11 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Jeff borzello.. Get a real job!!!!!

    • plumloopy
      2:16 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      I bet he makes a decent amount of money at his non-real job.

  6. Jambluehue99
    2:12 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    “But now that the Cats have real depth at multiple positions, and are still losing…”. You realize FL is the first game that both Quade and Vanderbilt have played. It’s not as if the team has been at full strength for weeks. If that ends up making a difference or not remains to be seen, but let’s not pretend one game with a full roster means anything.

    • bosshogg24
      3:27 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Real depth means nothing if “the players can’t play”!

  7. blueballs80
    2:14 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    This team is too young and has lots of maturity issues. Hami has been in the system for one year and still hasn’t developed to be the go-to guy. This team is good but they cant play a full 40 min against good teams. This will be an average year for us and hopefully, we make the tournament.

  8. TonyMontana
    2:27 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    We see flashes of brilliance with this team. When they work together, move the ball, run up and down the court, have fun. We see it. They CAN be a great team. I dont have the solution but Cal needs to make a TWEAK! We had the game recorded, so I say to my friend “You ready to watch Florida beat Kentucky”? I already knew…. Sad.

    • 72uksprinter
      2:46 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      But, Tony, that poolside scene with Michelle Pffeifer…

  9. StevieGotLoose
    2:45 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    This team is not good. Florida did not shoot well at all and it wasn’t because of our defense. The small forward used to be a position that could shoot a jump shot, so it is not all on the guards. There is not one shooter on this team and the next 12 games are not going to create one. All we have and all we have are Harrison dribble drive players,which sucks. Look at the last possession. 2 forced drives with no fouls called and a turnover. Exactly what we did against Wisconsin. We do not run any plays, just force a drive to the basket when we can’t shoot foul shots either. No shooters and no defense means no success in any tournament. Vanderbilt gives you some hustle but he is not a shooter either. Scorers is a hack term for someone who can’t shoot. Yeah it is time to realize that this team is not going anywhere.

    • catsarerunnin
      2:56 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Hmmmm I wasn’t aware we played Wisconsin this year….

    • BigBlueNationDude
      3:44 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Typical runnin

    • StevieGotLoose
      4:09 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      When we lost to Wisconsin in the tournament with the Harrisons.

    • syrin23
      7:11 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      You are 100% correct. I don’t understand why we put such a high value on “athletes” who can dunk but have no fundamental bball skills. Why doesn’t he recruit a lights out shooter with EVERY single recruiting class. It’s no co-incidence that the team that won the title with Anthony Davis ALSO had some amazing shooters on it meaning you couldn’t pack it inside the time. This is not genius level material.

    • TB112162
      8:47 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah ukbigblue1 this is the year that 42 teams ranked in the top ten have lost to unranked teams 3 Top 10!teams lost this week twice to unranked teams.Im not happy that we lost twice this week but we have 12 games to figure out .hopefully the lights will come on and these guys will get it.Im a fan of Kentucky win or lose so I’m gonna Still cheer for the Cats

  10. Bobbum Man
    2:48 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Let Vanderbilt Run the point, seems to have the best vision honestly aside from maybe Shai. Play shai at the 2 with Diallo Knox and Richards

    • Cokely53
      3:34 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      SGA can’t play without the ball. Vanderbilt is too sporadic right now to have the ball in his hands at all times. Plus you can sag off of him because he doesn’t have a jump shot to keep you honest. We have the go to guy in Knox, but he still hasn’t realized it.

  11. jim tom
    2:49 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    One quality win this year period. One of those years. It is what it is

  12. check
    2:52 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    As we know, you don’t give up on the Cats. They will be a different team in March. But we do need a consistent go-to guy. We see magnificent plays when we need them late in the games, each time seemingly by a new/different hero. Yes, we see botches, too. But the aggravating thing is the lack of consistency. Recall the rise of Shai, and PJ, and now Vanderbilt will slowly rise. We need Hami to grow in the long rage shooting and basketball IQ departments, even though he gets that 3-pointer when we need it. These guys will grow. There’s no prediction for the tournament at this time.

  13. A_Blue_Wildcat
    2:52 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    This team is basically identical to the 2013-2014 team at this point in the season, now whether or not they make a similar tournament run is hard to say but I doubt anyone thought that team would get past the sweet 16 that year.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      9:36 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      If not for 3 miracle 3 point shots we wouldn’t have

  14. lexslamman
    2:59 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    I get fatigued just from watching these guys fumble around the court. Can’t imagine how Jarred Vanderbilt feels. Not giving up, but my expectations for UK basketball haven’t been this low since the Billy Clyde era.

  15. UKfanforlife
    3:00 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    75% of the fans have given up on the typical Cal coached, Kentucky season. Most think they will not get on track, being as how they look so bad at this point in the season.

    I have thought this from day one and still believe that Kentucky will go as far as their PG position will take them. The year they went to the NIT, was because Noel got hurt, but they would not have gotten far, if he had been healthy, because the PG play was sub par. The guard play is not as bad as that year, but it is way below average for a Calipari team. He needs to have a Juco or a grad transfer at the PG spot as a safety net to help those young guards, even if its to give them tough competition in practice.

    PG is mediocre, especially on the defensive side, this season. If that does not improve, their will be a ton of pissing and moaning from the fan base, who expect a final four appearance every season.

  16. lexslamman
    3:11 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t see a single player on this team that is ready for the NBA next year That’s something to keep in mind.

    • bosshogg24
      3:31 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      and if they all return next year, what will you have? The same kind of team you have this year!

    • Jambluehue99
      3:47 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Because players never improve or mature from one year to the next. They are as good as they will ever be right now. Got it.

    • check
      4:46 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Quickley, Herro, Johnson next year…

  17. BigBlueMeade
    3:16 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Made your bed 2.0??

    • CatsfaninFL
      4:01 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      I thought the same thing too

  18. 8generationsblue
    3:37 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    It will be so frustrating if a bunch of these kids get drafted this year.

    • DelrayCat
      3:47 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Luckily the 1-3 guys that are most likely to be drafted (Knox, Diallo, and maybe Alexander) already have guys signed to fill their spots who likely will be better (Johnson, Herro, and Quickley).

  19. BigBlueNationDude
    3:41 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    I agree with Mr Borzello. This team is well done

  20. gwhittle
    3:43 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    He’s not wrong. If this team hasn’t figured it out by now, we can’t expect them to magically click in the twelve games. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but it’s time to stop saying this is a final four or elite eight team.

  21. henderblue
    3:50 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    You’re exactly right about the point guard play. It’s below average for a Cal team. Especially defensively.

  22. mrcoconuts
    3:57 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    All this the sky is falling, chicken little stuff is amazing. Fair weather fans?!?!? What was everyone saying before Harrison hit those shots and we ended up in the championship game? Everyone needs to take a deep, deep breath for a minute. Geez!

    • Skeps
      4:29 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      It’s like we’re saying the Titanic is sinking and we’re discussing actions we should take to survive. Then you walk by and tell everyone they’re so negative and in Captain Smith you trust.

    • mrcoconuts
      9:40 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      A little over dramatic comparing losing 5 games to the Titanic isn’t it? So by comparing captain smith and coach cal r u saying Cal will be the end of Kentucky basketball? Really? Wow.

    • Blue Bill
      5:44 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      The definition of “bandwagon fans”. Root for them when they’re winning, throw them under the bus and bash them when they’re not. Good grief.

  23. bosshogg24
    3:57 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Why travel the country spending a million dollars recruiting? Why not stay home and save the money, just offer the same players that Duke, KU, UNC offer? These teams get the cream of the crop while UK gets the worst! UK has players that are slow, not athletic, can’t shoot, can’t defend!

    • syrin23
      7:14 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      This is incredibly stupid. We have great athletes, not great basketball players. You are describing the Tubby years.

  24. Cousins Fake Tooth
    4:05 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    They are just not that good.

  25. lexslamman
    4:28 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Thank goodness the Winter Olympics are right around the corner, because I’m not sure I care to watch any more basketball or football right now.

    • jim tom
      4:45 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Yes indeed

    • Blue Bill
      5:42 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      Oh, that’s a real fan for ya…… go root for another team thats winning at the moment…. B A N D W A G O N!!

  26. Blue Bill
    4:55 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    They’re my team ALL THE WAY!!!! Win or lose, root for your team and support them. So easy to support them when they’re 38-0 and dominating every game. I still think they’ll “get it” and make a good run. Go Cats!!!!

  27. 96ChampionBestTeamEver
    5:05 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not too worried as long as Cal’s system still works, about having an off year. My concern is his system (of relying mainly on freshmen) only works if he gets the cream of the crop of recruits. That seems to be slipping some. I guess only time will tell if this is long term or just temporary.

    • syrin23
      7:16 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

      This is exactly right and why Duke will not go far next year. Coach K has never won with super young teams, and Trippy McTrip Face will be gone. Zion is not ready to play defense on the college level, and coach K won’t get him there as fast as Cal would.,

    • makeitstop
      7:18 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly right. Last year’s team had top talent, and should have gone all the way. They missed on Young and Bagley. So, the system worked last year we got a bad break in UNC game. We’re 2/3 of the way through and we see what starting w a little less talent does to you. They’re ceiling isn’t quite as high so their mistakes are more glaring and exploited and the holes are just a little deeper to dig out of. Good shooting masks a lot of problems, and makes coaches look like geniuses and bad shooting makes fans say your system is broken. We have no Monk, no Murray to shoot us out of a hole, and not quite enough taken to stay out of the hole. That’s a personnel issue not a system issue. Until it happens over 2-3 years… then it’s a system issue. Fingers crossed Vando makes a difference and Green or Knox finds his shot otherwise we better hope next years class exceeds expectations.

  28. newell760
    5:51 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Some of the “fans” on here ought to be rooting for other teams it seems like. I see complaints about defense yet nationally, UK is in the top 40 in field goal defensive percentage and top 5 nationally in 3 point field goal percentage. I’m seeing doubts about SGA and Green but prior to Green missing the last couple of games, SGA was almost single handely winning games for us. The two guards compliment each other very well.

    Absolutely no reason to give up on this team until the season is officially over. It’s college basketball, one of the most unpredictable sports in America. There’s only been TWO seasons UK has not progressed to at least the Sweet 16 since Cal has arrived. Question his coaching intangibles all you want in the regular season. But that kind of success in the postseason in college basketball isn’t a fluke. And many programs would kill for that.

    NCAA tournament is all about matchups…no more “Kentucky on the chest motivating teams” because at that point everyone has something to lose. We are a matchup nightmare for most teams. Once Vanderbilt gets fully intergrated, Green gets back to pre injury form, and we break out of this offensive cold spell (which will happen), this team will be good enough to make a run. The hustle and defense is there which can’t be coached hence why Cal doesn’t appear to be to worried about.

  29. ukbigblue1
    8:02 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    All, this team is full of freshmen and not good. That doesn’t mean that can’t be good next year, but this year is a bust. You are in denial if you don’t see that or you need to come back to reality. Let’s just chalk this up to what it is, the negative of Cal’s process. If your blinded by this you will see shortly. Sweet 16 is a win and any additional expectations is a misguided attempt of satisfaction by you.

  30. robson15
    8:38 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    This reminds me of 2013-2014 and a loss to South Carolina late in the season. We all saw how that turned out.

  31. robson15
    8:38 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Almost got #9.

  32. TB112162
    8:49 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    robson15 you are correct and this team has not looked nearly as bad as that team did

  33. Undeniable
    8:59 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Borzello click bait, knowing the BBN will pump up his views.

    Can has proven time and again, that they’ll be running strong come March.

    • Undeniable
      9:04 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink


  34. rockatao
    11:34 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    I think we find out Saturday whether this team has a shot at doing anything. Unfortunately, I fear WVU will destroy us.

  35. Biscuits Old Dad
    12:51 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Who is Jeff Borzello?
    Big expert. Never heard of him.