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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Sorry, this isn’t 2014…..

I posted a few weeks ago that John Calipari has earned the right for fans to stand behind this team for the remainder of the season.  He has multiple examples of teams struggling well into February and bringing it together in time for the NCAA Tournament.  I still believe that.  College basketball is not the greatest this year.  If Duke and/or Villanova are the best teams in the country, then Kentucky has enough talent to get to the Final Four.  They don’t have the toughness or togetherness at all for that right now, but the talent is there.

Some fans have already given up on the team.  That’s their choice but they can’t come back on board if things go well in March.  For the rest of the fanbase still trying to figure out a legitimate way this team could pull it together, there is one team that they constantly try and compare this team to: 2014.  At the most basic of surface levels, I get it.  That team had high expectations and did not seem to play well together, suffered serious freshman mistakes, had complete no-shows up and down the roster, and lost a few games that were unexpected.  But the reality is that comparing this team to 2014 is fool’s gold.

It starts with the stars and this is the most glaring difference between the two teams.  There is absolutely nobody on this roster, nor will there be anyone on this roster, that compares to Julius Randle.  Despite that team’s struggles, Randle played at an All-American level for most of 2013-2014.  He was nearly unstoppable in many games and he had something that nobody in the frontcourt has on this team: toughness.  I understand that Aaron Harrison hit all of the memorable shots during the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but it was Randle who was the go-to guy on that team.  We don’t have a guy like that on this squad.  We have no beast in the post.  PJ Washington is a damn good player, but I don’t trust him as the go-to guy in the clutch — nor do I trust him to grab the key rebounds or make the key free throws.  Kevin Knox is one of the softest players in the Cal era.  Nick Richards is the epitome of a raw player.  There is not a tough basket around the rim in any of those guy’s repertoires.

What about James Young?  Young disappeared in games much like the guys on this squad but he was an absolute assassin from the perimeter.  If the Cats needed a big shot, I trusted Young to take it just as much as Aaron Harrison.  There isn’t a soul on this squad I trust to make a clutch shot.  That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t  hit a few big shots at points in this season; it simply means I don’t trust any of them to be the clutch guy when it matters the most.  Diallo probably wants to be that guy, but I don’t see it happening.  I’m not sure anybody else even wants that shot.  During the 2013-2014 season, James Young wanted that shot.

If you are looking for your strongest reason this team could get it together, citing 2014 just doesn’t match up.  That team had certain qualities, even during their low points, that exceed this team.  If this team is going to get anywhere near where the 2014 team got in March, they’re going to have to do it in their own way with their own strengths.  There is no Randle or Young on this team, so it’s time we stop trying to find one.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

27 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Sorry, this isn’t 2014…..

  1. RealCatsFan
    10:08 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Yeah, probably apples and oranges – after all, the whole starting five freshmen in 2014 were the #1 players at their position coming out of HS. However, you did not mention JV at all. I am hopeful that he can merge as the Randal-like player that will be our go-to guy for a critical bucket as he gets back in shape and into the flow of things.

    One thing 2014 taught me – do not ever count a Cal-coached UK team out.

    • kjd
      11:03 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

      JV can’t shoot.

    • RealCatsFan
      12:19 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      And Randle could shoot? Not as I recall. He had that spin move to the basket, but was not a shooter.

  2. Wow, the only guy Matt pays to be Debbie Downer in every post.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:12 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah he tells it how it is. Will some of you please understand the problems we have and even as a fan look in your uk mirror and admit it. This isnt about not being a ” real” or ” bandwagon” fan. This team isnt any good. Doesn’t matter if you dont want to believe it or not. Writing an article isnt about always brown nosing EVERYTHING uk does.

    • BBNDan7
      12:23 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      If we make a run in March BBNDude, then you can’t comment anything positive then

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:45 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Thats completely fair. I wont

    • unbridled
      1:36 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      That’s not necessarily a fair trade off. The team is playing like garbage right now….but they have the coach and talent to improve. I don’t see why we have to ignore the current reality in order to enjoy a tournament run. That’s pretty asinine and defies logic.

    • unbridled
      1:40 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      By the way, making the painfully obvious observation that the cats are currently not very good in no way means I’m less of a fan or that I’m “jumping off the bandwagon.” It means I have vision. They can definitely improve and I’m rooting for that. Hopefully the team takes coaching and realizes how hard they have to work.

    • I’m not happy with these last 2 games, and I’m not saying I’m Nostradamus. It’s just this: can any of you say you actually thought we would come *anywhere* near, much less come within a whisker of, winning #9 with that 2014 team after how poorly we played SC? Heck no! We looked PUTRID in that game. That’s all I’m saying.

  3. TJY
    10:39 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    This isn’t the 2014 team, because it has the ability to play better defense than that team. James Young couldn’t guard anyone. Are you telling me that Luke Hancock is more athletic than James Young? Luke made James look like a slow child. 2014 couldn’t put 6’6″, 6’7″, 6’9″, 6’9″, 6’10” on the floor either. Now that Vando is healthy, we have Knox, PJ and Vando that can all take their man to the basket when they have a mismatch. Shai can always get to the basket.

    Here’s the thing. The reason we lost Saturday night was due to the UNFORCED turnovers. How many walks did we have? None of them were due to Florida’s defense. That means they are fixable mistakes. Sure we look lost from time to time and need a go to guy, but I really feel that Saturday’s game had more to do with people playing together who have never played meaningful minutes together.

    I don’t like to lose either, but saying Saturday was a must win game is silly. Think back with me Cats fans, when is the last time our seeding in the NCAA tournament helped us? When have we been put in a cupcake bracket because we were a 1 or 2 seed? I’ll wait. If we are a 1 or an 8, we are still going to be in a tough bracket. This team will be SO much better in 3 weeks…I hope the majority of you stay off of the band wagon.

    • ClutchCargo
      10:50 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

      I hope you are right, but it’s not band wagon jumping to recognize that this team needs much more than a “tweak.” The lack of a reliable go to guy and bad defense are glaring weaknesses that I don’t think can be completely overcome.

    • kjd
      11:06 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

      In three weeks we are going to become a team that can shoot?

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:12 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Gimme 2014 all day over these guys.

    • TJY
      12:46 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      How well do you have to shoot when you hold the other team to 33% from field and 20% from 3? (Also that doesn’t sound like bad defense) How well do you have to shoot when you are posting up a guy smaller than you or you going against a player you can take to the rack?

      We shot 40% from the field on Saturday night but we lost because we had 10 more turnovers than Fla. That’s 10 fewer possessions! 10 turnovers times 0.40 equals 4 more made baskets, let’s call them 2s which equates to 8 more points. 64+8 > 66.

      These are mistakes that Cal will fix. Hit me up after the 2/10 game at A&M and let me know if I was wrong.

  4. SoCalCat
    11:05 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    I think you nailed this post. The 2017-18 version will only succeed if they play as a team. I would state that I think Cal is trying to encourage them to find a go-to person, but those trying to assume that role are not there or capable (yet). Here’s a toast to Vanderbilt acclimating and Green staying healthy.

  5. bbnZach
    11:14 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    BTI I hope you get fired

    • Ukgrad2006
      2:15 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      You’re soft. At least someone isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

    • bbnZach
      9:44 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      You’re a bum lol dont reply to me troll. This team is getting there. Don’t pretend to be a fan when we make a run in March.

  6. wadl5592
    11:40 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    I agree

  7. brb_skywalking
    11:48 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Honestly I trust Shai to hit a clutch shot. Especially from 3. No one else on the team seems to hit them consistently enough. Green did early in the season but has fallen off a bit. Shai just doesn’t take enough of them because of his driving ability. But he’s proven to be a pretty solid 3 point shooter

    • RealCatsFan
      12:20 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Early in the season it looked like Knox was going to be the guy who should have the ball in his hands, but lately he seems to have a crisis of self confidence.

  8. Nhaynes84
    12:27 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Every team isn’t different. As awful as the refereeing has been, this team isn’t winning because of silly turnovers, bad shots, and not playing to their strengths. I am sick of Calipari stating that he wants to do what is best for the players. Last time I checked, this is Kentucky, not individual players. Billy Gillespie said once, when asked about Jodie Meeks’ performance, “This is KY not Jodie Meeks. I agree! If I am coaching, Knox would never leave the paint! I see him dominating on post moves if he ever attempted one. Gabriel scored on all 3 of his post moves and then never tried again. This team’s game begins in the paint every possession. If they don’t follow that formula, could be NIT bound. Cal said Saturday that FLA couldn’t stop them in the paint, yet his team won’t listen, because they failed to post up in 2nd half. I am highly frustrated with this team and Cal because they will not play to their strengths!

    • rosquirto
      12:59 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Sorry, as soon as you agreed with Billy Clyde, I threw up and had to stop reading…

  9. trumpetguy
    1:45 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Are any of this years team making much of a contribution on any of the past 6-7-8 years teams? Probably not. Therein is the problem. Talent level just isn’t there.

  10. Skeps
    2:58 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Lol it just keeps getting better. Those fans “can’t come back”, because they’ve “given up” on this team. What a bunch of bulls$^@. Describe giving up on the team. Is it by daring to question Cal’s system? Hell, I’d love nothing more than Cal to fix this team. Problem is anytime we start the conversation about fixing it all the real “fans” swarm that person and try to squash his dissent like a bug. Back in 2014 many of us were complaining about 3 point shooting being the problem and oh my god the hell that came down on us. Turned out we were right because Cal’s “tweak” was having Andrew pass it more instead of running people over in the lane. Stop trying to run us true “fans” off and maybe ask why they’re frustrated about the current state of the basketball program.

    • brb_skywalking
      3:22 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      I think the “giving up on the team” was in regards to the people who literally said “I give up on this team.” Not arguing your post, just elaborating