After a good night’s sleep (four hours) and a hearty breakfast of coffee and more coffee, I sit here at my desk, looking back at last night’s basketball game, wondering why.
Why did Kentucky not demolish Missouri on its home floor in a game the Tigers couldn’t even sell out? Why? Why was it a game until the final minutes?
Or should I say: How? How do you not bludgeon Missouri’s incompetent basketball team to make a statement with March right around the corner? Missouri has two SEC wins, seven all year. An elite team, which we believe Kentucky to be, should be up 20 at the under-16 timeout. But nope, last night Kentucky played down to its opponent and I had to read more than one text message asking, “Are we going to lose this game?”
And please save the “SEC road atmosphere” and “everybody’s Super Bowl” and “any road win is a win.” That’s what we say when the Cats survive 30+ points from J.J. Frazier in Athens or Vandy shooting the lights out in Nashville.
Kentucky played it tight against Missouri last night. MISSOURI. And Missouri sucks.
Let’s do this 10 thing…
1. The fight/hunger in this team is disappointing.
If I’m the 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and I am up by only one point at halftime against Missouri, I come out with my pants on fire and try to hold them scoreless in the second half because I know my opponent shouldn’t even be on the same floor as me, let alone within one point. I’m telling myself, ‘I’m one of the best basketball players in the country and the guy across from me will be selling insurance in two years. Watch me embarrass him and remind him of that.’
To me, this Kentucky team lacks that drive to want to kill. That’s been the case in many games this season when they’ve gone up big and let teams creep back in (LSU being the most obvious). You have to want to beat teams to a pulp if you’re elite and you should be embarrassed by a one-point lead against Missouri. If you’re dominant, show it. Be dominant. Don’t play down to your competition and give them the pleasure of being in the game.
2. Bam Adebayo finally played like the Bam Adebayo we expected to see each night.
Hell of a game for the big fella — 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds — after the conversation around him the last couple of days was his fall from NBA draft boards. It’s pretty hard to believe it was only his fourth double-double of the season, but it was a double-double nonetheless.
After getting wind of the negative NBA chatter around Bam and then watching Bam’s big night, Coach Cal said, “If someone passes on him in the draft this year, they should be f-f-fired.”
3. Malik Monk was cold for a second straight game.
Monk is 2-for-10 from outside in Kentucky’s last two games, both on the road. By my calculations, that means he is due to go the **** off against Florida in Rupp Arena on Saturday. (Please?)
4. This is one way to beat traffic:
Does Missouri get a fine for that? Maybe like a fraction of a fine?
5. Calipari admitted he deserved the technical foul, but wants you to know he did not swear.
It was a family-friendly technical, one could say:
“I can say this: I did not swear, but I did deserve it. I did deserve it, I’ll just say that. But I did not swear. I don’t swear. I was at mass this morning with all of the kids at the Catholic church, begging forgiveness knowing I was going to get a technical tonight. Please, in advance I’m asking for forgiveness.”
6. How about this jackass St. Louis sportscaster pulling the “Calipari cheats” card?
Bummer for #Mizzou fans…but the good news is 5 years from now when Coach Cal has to abdicate this year's wins…the Tigers will get the W
— Martin Kilcoyne (@martinkilcoyne2) February 22, 2017
Uh, hey Martin, Missouri basketball is currently on probation for cheating.
7. Mark my words:
The high pick-and-roll offense will end Kentucky’s season in the tournament. Write it down, put it on your bathroom mirror, whatever — just mark it down. Kentucky will get pick-and-rolled out of the tournament by a team with a small, frustrating point guard…
… unless they are able to figure out how to defend it in the next couple of weeks. So figure it out, guys.
8. Tom Crean is finna be toast.
I think you and I will coach as many Indiana basketball games as Tom Crean next year as Crean is counting down the days until IU hands him his pink slip. The Hoosiers lost to Iowa last night to fall to 5-10 in the Big Ten and 15-13 overall, after beginning the year as the preseason No. 11 team.
I gotta be honest, though: I’m going to miss him. What if they hire a guy who doesn’t have a butt-cut or doesn’t make the best faces for internet memes or doesn’t cut down the nets every year or doesn’t kiss his son on the mouth? What will we do then?
9. Florida kept SEC race alive with 15-point win over third-place South Carolina.
Florida handled its business against the visiting Gamecocks last night to maintain the tie for first place. With the Gators and Cats sitting at 13-2 in league play with three to go, Saturday’s game in Lexington will likely determine the regular season champion of the SEC, as well as the No. 1 seed in Nashville.
10. Let me tell you about a couple of fun events coming up in Louisville next week…
First and foremost, the Bourbon Classic is next week and you should try to attend one of the many events throughout the week if you like the sweet nectar of the Bluegrass and you are able to pull it off. Check out BourbonClassic.com to read all about the Classic and to look into tickets. I highly recommend Friday night’s Classic Cocktail and Culinary Challenge, where you smash food and drink from some of the world’s best bartenders and chefs. Or there is the Pappy Van Winkle event on Tuesday for those of you who like drinking 10y, 12y, 15y and 20y Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. You really can’t go wrong attending any of it.
Or if getting day drunk during a Cats game is more of your speed, Tin Roof Louisville is hosting its annual DanceBlue fundraiser during the Texas A&M game. Doors open at 10 am for the real savages and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to DanceBlue.