Does anyone feel better after a night’s sleep? Me neither. Kentucky’s 73-71 loss to No. 19 LSU stings in many ways. After playing some of their best basketball over the past month, the Cats reverted in the second half, blowing a nine-point lead at home to let the Tigers snap their ten-game winning streak and take sole possession of second place in the SEC standings. Not only did several players go missing in action, the Cats seemed to lose their identity, which bothered John Calipari the most in the postgame press conference.
“I mean, it’s stuff that we had gotten better at. They shot the ball 32 percent in the first half. They shot it 51 percent in the second half. That’s why you lose. We’re supposed to be a defensive team that rebounds. Well, obviously we weren’t.”
Kentucky’s inability to deal with LSU’s length and athleticism triggered flashbacks of another game we all had hoped we were past. In stretches, the Cats looked lost on offense, unable to drive the ball or score over LSU’s Nazr Reid or Kavell Bigby-Williams. On defense, Ashton Hagans, arguably Kentucky’s best defender, was unable to stay in front of guys, specifically Tremont Waters. Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and Reid Travis all made egregious errors down the stretch, leaving PJ Washington to carry the load.
And then there’s the way the game ended. After Keldon Johnson tied the game at 71 with two free throws, LSU’s Skylar Mays drove the length of the court to score and missed, but Bigby-Williams was there to tip it in. He touched the ball above the cylinder, committing basket interference; however, under NCAA rules, that’s considered a judgment call and is therefore not reviewable, an absurdity made even more ridiculous by the fact that at the end of the Duke/Louisville game, the refs were able to go to the monitor to review a crucial charge call, which was reversed.
Calipari was flummoxed when asked why the refs couldn’t review the basket interference. The refs weren’t made available for comment, so Kyle Tucker asked SEC Basketball spokesman Craig Pinkerton about it. His response will make your blood pressure skyrocket:
FYI: Here’s what I asked an SEC basketball spokesman, and his response, after learning that league officials aren’t made available for comment. pic.twitter.com/6OxtIwZF3r
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 13, 2019
Former coordinator of NCAA officials John Adams tweeted that he believes the rule will change as a result of last night’s debacle, which would be the second time that’s happened after Kentucky’s gotten screwed.
The fix? If you have a MANDATORY review of last second, game deciding shot, use it for anything else you see BUT ONLY AT END OF GAME OR OT. Easy fix. Pretty sure you’ll see a rule change. @wildcatnews @bigblueinsider1 https://t.co/QxC6DIQoEP
— John W. Adams (@jwasports) February 13, 2019
Ugh. Not even Louisville blowing a 23-point lead vs. Duke makes me feel better because it just showed good the Blue Devils are. And when they went to the monitor to see whether or not Cam Reddish’s defender was inside the arc on that charge call?
Again, ugh. But we’ve gotta move on. No. 1 Tennessee comes to town on Saturday and a win over the Vols will cure a lot of ails.
A look at the current SEC standings
LSU is not only ahead of Kentucky now, they own the tiebreaker. The Tigers still have to play Tennessee, Florida twice, and Alabama in Tuscaloosa, so here’s hoping they slip up or we’re looking at the late Friday night slot in the SEC Tournament, which no one wants.
Here are tonight’s SEC games:
|6:30 PM||South Carolina||No. 1 Tennessee||SEC Network|
|8:30 PM||Ole Miss||Auburn||SEC Network|
No. 6 Michigan lost too
Another casualty of a wild night in basketball: No. 6 Michigan, who went down at Penn State in a game that saw John Beilein get thrown out:
Things are not going as planned for Michigan in Happy Valley. ?
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 13, 2019
The Wolverines have lost three of their past eight games, which is comforting since they’re also in the hunt for the top No. 2 seed.
Never change, Louisville
Even if Duke scares the crap out of me, there was one great image to come out of that game last night:
She is BIG MAD pic.twitter.com/TdyMsQvnxD
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 13, 2019
Radio in an hour.