What can you say? Kentucky lost to Louisville 73-70 tonight, only the second time that’s happened during the Calipari era. I’m pretty sure I could write 2,000 angry words about Kentucky’s performance tonight, but you know what? It’s Christmastime and I’m too damn tired to do that. So, let’s all just take a breath, look it over, and then move on.
Louisville outplayed Kentucky in every way
Coming off a win for the ages vs. North Carolina in Vegas, Kentucky was due for a hangover. Louisville pounced on that opportunity, exploiting Kentucky’s weaknesses and then some. The energy was just off, Monk was off, Fox was off, defense was off, rebounding was off. It was all off. You could sit here and make excuses all day, but the simple fact is, Louisville outplayed Kentucky tonight and it showed.
Monk went cold
After dropping 47 on North Carolina, Malik Monk went cold tonight, scoring only 16 points and going 1-9 from three-point land. That one three he did hit was huge, pulling Kentucky within one with eleven seconds left. Sadly, it was too little too late. After four days of seeing his name all over the news, Monk coming out flat and maybe a little cocky was to be expected, but that three at the end gives me hope he’s got some Aaron Harrison moments in his future.
Quentin Snider won the matchup with De’Aaron Fox
Who knew Quentin Snider would have such a game? Snider was unstoppable, scoring a game-high 22 points along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. On the flip side, De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points, but only had 3 assists to 4 turnovers. De’Aaron showed why he’s one of the most talented players in the country with speed so fast ESPN’s cameras couldn’t keep up, but he also showcased some poor defense and questionable shot selection. Never thought I’d say it, but Snider outplayed Fox tonight.
Can Camp Cal please include a lesson on shot selection?
Because I can’t see another contested 18 footer or a bizarre jumper when the lane’s wide open. This has been a problem all season, but our guards especially need to learn to drive and get fouled instead of taking an ill-advised jumper. Speaking of getting fouled…
Free throws, free throws, free throws
If you look at the stat sheet, the reason UK lost is clear: free throws. Kentucky was 19-29 from the line and five of those misses came from Bam, who had the chance to tighten the game in the final minutes but failed. Gotta hit those, they free!
Otherwise, Bam had a great game
If Kentucky had won tonight, we might be calling it Bam’s coming out party. Bam had a huge second half, finishing with 11 points off 5-6 shooting and 9 rebounds. Those may not seem like flashy numbers, but he was doing all the little things around the basket we’ve been wanting him to the past few months. While some of the Cats looked like they were sleepwalking, Bam played with energy and assertiveness.
“We have to have more fight and come up with more balls,” Bam said afterwards. “We just have to win.”
If only the guards had gotten the ball to Bam a little more, maybe I’d be writing a different story.
Here’s an unfortunate stat
Kentucky is now 2-6 in their true road openers in the Calipari era. Gotta chalk that up to freshmen being freshmen, right? In the postgame presser, Calipari blamed the loss on a lack of discipline, and shouldered the blame.
“The biggest thing is we didn’t have discipline,” Cal said. “No discipline, and I told them that’s not their fault, that’s my fault. We’ll get it right.”
The players will go home for a few days and then Camp Cal is on
Cal said he’s giving the guys a couple of days to spend with their families for Christmas and then they’ll come back and Camp Cal will be on in full. It can’t come soon enough.
This is not the end of the world
It may feel like it, especially if Louisville fans know your Twitter handle, but a young team losing their first real road game to a top ten team just happens sometimes. Yes, it sucks, especially when we’re not accustomed to it, but Kentucky will learn from it. Right, Cal?
“It’s December 21st, we start four freshmen and a sophomore. We’re not ready to go on an opponent’s court that’s a top ten team and win. We’re just not. And thank god it’s only December 21st. I’ve got a lot of time.”
Honestly, if you believe in karma, you probably also felt like things were going our way way too often lately. Don’t worry, the universe will correct itself, hopefully sometime around March.
Until then, let’s take a page from Calipari’s book
…and handle the loss with class. For a rivalry to be a rivalry, the other guy has to win once in a while, and Louisville earned it tonight. Calipari not only refrained from flipping off the fans, he showed up at the postgame presser and congratulated Pitino and the Cards on the win. Others didn’t handle their win as well:
Hey, how about that bowl game…