I'm feeling ill, and unfortunately not just because of the terrible basketball I was forced to witness for the last two hours. As a result, this postmortem will be fairly short and to the point.
Congratulations to the Baylor Bears for their first-ever win against Kentucky. The Bears did not play particularly well, but they really didn't need to in this game. Baylor has a solid team, and they played much more mature basketball than Kentucky did.
Observations for Kentucky. First the players:
- Kyle Wiltjer has been extremely cold the last few games. If he can't make shots, he is no help to us, because he's a defensive liability. Wiltjer missed wide open shot after wide open shot. It was rather pathetic, really.
- Nerlens Noel did some good things and bad things, but one thing he could not do is make a layup. He must have missed a dozen short shots. A quick check of stats reveals he was 3-14, and so he missed only 11. But did do a number of very good things otherwise, including 16 rebounds, 7 offensive. Noel also had 6 (!) steals. All he needed to do was make layups to have a monster game -- well, that and defend better.
- Archie Goodwin did good things and bad, but he had a team high 5 turnovers to go along with 5 assists. I liked Archie's effort but once again it was unfocused and somewhat wild. No way this team has a chance without him, but he certainly wasn't enough. Calipari said it in his news conference: Archie has the will to win, but he doesn't know how to win yet.
- Julius Mays had what I consider to be his worst game. He was 2-8 from three and made a number of bad decisions.
- Willie Cauley-Stein did some things well, but he was so weak inside offensively that it was almost embarrassing. But he did some good things, just not enough of them.
- Ryan Harrow, despite his horrible shooting, did some good things and got into the paint a lot. But we need so much more from him.
- Alex Poythress almost had a good game, but he had five turnovers and way too many defensive breakdowns, and he let several rebounds get away, as well as performing the equivalent of a Morgan Newton self-sack along with Archie Goodwin.
Now, for the game overall:
- This Kentucky team is far to laid back to be successful. They take too many plays off, and they show no sense of urgency.
- Kyle Wiltjer is really playing badly right now. He gets good shots, but missed them. Today, he missed an obscene number of open three-point shots.
- Kentucky did a much better job on the glass this game than they have been, and if there is a bright spot in this loss, that is it.
- I have to say that it is extremely unlikely that Kentucky will ever be this cold again. They got great look after great look, inside and outside, and just missed them.
- I thought Baylor did a good job of disrupting Kentucky in the painted area. The Wildcats big men have to learn to keep the ball higher.
- The officiating in this game was vastly one-sided, and just plain horrible. I don't often complain about the officiating, and I honestly doubt if it actually changed the game's outcome, but it is extremely frustrating to be a fan and see that many bad calls.
- This team reminds me that we are spoiled as fans. We expect to win every game after last year, and we have been reminded over the last two games that those expectations are not rational.
- The indomitable spirit of last year has not manifested itself yet. Will it? Stay tuned...
I'll be putting up a football thread after this for those of you wanting to chat about Championship Saturday.