Kentucky Wildcat Basketball: Consistency was 'Cats' Kryptonite

Kentucky head coach John Calipari watches as his team goes down to Vanderbilt in the SEC tourney - USA TODAY Sports

Inconsistency killed the 2013 Kentucky basketball squad -- particularly among freshmen not named Nerlens Noel or Willie Cauley-Stein -- sapping all nine of the 'Cats' lives.

Now that the 2012-2013 Kentucky Wildcat basketball season is firmly in the rear-view mirror, it's time to take a final look -- at least for this writer -- at the team, and why they struggled so mightily.

There are of course countless reasons why UK posted a disappointing 21-12 record, but perhaps the most significant shortcoming of the 2013 Wildcats was their inconsistency (with the exception of Nerlens Noel, and too a slightly lesser extent, Willie Cauley-Stein). Due to youth, hardheadedness, and a lack of leadership on the floor, this Kentucky squad struggled to find consistency from game-to-game in any meaningful category.

Archie Goodwin

Season averages: 33 games, 31.8 minutes per game, 14.1 points per game, 44.0 percent field goal shooting (157-357), 26.6 percent 3-point shooting (17-64), 63.7 percent free throw shooting (135-212), 4.6 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, 3.1 turnovers per game, .9 assist/turnover ratio, 1.1 steals per game.

  • Goodwin scored in double-figures in 11 of the first 12 games of the season, averaging 16.5 points per contest.
  • Over the next 13 games, AG averaged only 11.0 ppg, scoring in single-digits seven times.
  • In the last eight games, all double-digit scoring efforts, Goodwin averaged 15.6 ppg.
  • On the season, Goodwin scored in single-digits on eight occasions, with UK sporting a 4-4 record in those games.
  • Goodwin shot over 50 percent from the field in 15 games, going a combined 89-of-158 (56.3 percent) in those contests, with UK winning 11 of the 15 battles. He made less than 50 percent of his shots in 18 games, making 68-of-199 shots (34.2 percent), with the 'Cats posting a 10-8 mark in those contests.
  • For the year, Goodwin connected on 47.8 percent of his 2-point attempts.
  • In his first eight games of the year, Goodwin made 7-of-12 shots from beyond the arc (58.3 percent).
  • The next 18 games, he made only 4-of-34 from distance (11.8 percent).
  • The last seven games of the season, he was good on 33.3 percent of his long-distance attempts (6-18).
  • In the first 26 games of the year, AG dished out an average of 3.2 assists per contest. The last seven games he averaged only .9 dimes per game.
  • Goodwin shot a less-than-stellar 63.7 percent from the free throw line for the year, but had games where he made 9-of-11 (Maryland), 10-of-11 (Marshall), 12-of-14 (Ole Miss), and 8-of-8 (Robert Morris). The remaining 29 games of the year he was true from the line only 57.1 percent of the time (96-168).

Ryan Harrow

Season averages: 29 games, 27.1 mpg, 9.9 ppg, 41.4 percent fgs (110-266), 29.6 percent 3-point shooting (21-71), 70.8 percent fts (46-65), 2.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.7 tpg, 1.7 a/t ratio

  • Through his first 10 games of the year, Harrow dealt 35 assists versus only 11 turnovers (3.2 assist/turnover ratio).
  • The next seven games, he dished out 22 assists versus 20 turnovers (1.1 a/t ratio).
  • The following seven games he once again had 20 assists, but only seven miscues (2.9 a/t ratio).
  • In UK's final five games, Harrow recorded a mere five assists to 12 turns (.4 a/t ratio).
  • In the 11 losses UK recorded with Harrow in the lineup (he did not play in the Duke loss), he had 13 assists and 19 turnovers (a .7 a/t ratio).
  • In the 18 Wildcat victories Harrow participated in, he recorded 69 assists (3.8 pg) to only 29 turnovers (1.6 pg), a strong 2.4 assist/turnover ratio.
  • When Harrow had four or more assists in a game, the 'Cats posted a perfect 11-0 mark.
  • In his first five games with UK, Harrow averaged only 2.8 points per game, while shooting 22.2 percent from the field (6-27).
  • The next eight games, Harrow put up 15.1 points per contest, while making 48.0 percent of his shots (48-100).
  • The eight games following, Kentucky's point guard averaged 7.8 points while shooting 41.1 percent from the floor (23-56).
  • The next six games, Harrow averaged 13.5 points, and made 46.2 percent from the field.
  • In UK's final two games of the year, Harrow averaged 4.5 points and made 4-of-18 shot attempts (22.2 percent). Coincidentally, the exact same percentage he shot in the first five games.
  • When Harrow scored in single-digits, UK had a 4-7 record.
  • In Harrow's first nine games he recorded 14 steals (1.6 pg), in the last 20 contests he had seven thefts (.4 pg).

Alex Poythress

Season averages: 33 games, 25.8 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 58.1 percent fgs (133-229), 42.4 percent 3-point shooting (14-33), 68.9 percents fts (91-132), 6.0 rpg, .7 apg, 2.0 tpg.

  • In his first nine games, Poythress averaged 15.4 points per game, while shooting 69.1 percent from the floor (56-81 overall, 5-9 from distance). AP took double-digit shots in five of those games, and averaged 9.0 shots per game during that span.
  • In his next nine games, Poythress averaged 10.0 points per contest, and shot only 50.9 percent from the floor (26-51 overall, 4-10 from beyond the arc). He did not attempt double-digit shots in any of those games, and averaged 5.7 shots per contest.
  • In Kentucky's final 16 games, AP averaged 9.6 points per game, and shot 52.6 percent from the field (51-97 overall, good for 52.6 percent; 5-14 from 3-point land, 35.7 percent). He took double-figure shots only twice and averaged 6.3 shots per game.
  • In his first five games of the season, AP averaged 7.4 rebounds per contest, and corralled eight boards on three occasions. In the final 28 games, Poythress averaged 5.8 rebounds and snagged eight-plus boards only seven times.
  • AP had nine steals ... for the entire season, and posted one or fewer offensive rebounds in 16 games.
  • When Poythress scored in double-figures, UK posted a 13-3 record. When he scored 15-plus points, UK was 10-1.
  • In five of UK's 12 losses, Poythress played 20 minutes or less (UofL, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia).
  • In five of UK's 12 set-backs, Poythress committed four or more fouls (Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Vanderbilt). He averaged 2.7 fouls per game on the season.
  • AP averaged 27.0 minutes in Kentucky's victories, and 23.8 minutes in Wildcat losses.
  • In UK's wins, AP averaged 4.8 free throws per game, and 2.6 charity stripe attempts in Kentucky losses.
  • In UK's final six losses of the season, AP averaged 3.3 rebounds per game.
  • After Noel went down, Poythress averaged 9.1 points per contest, but in UK's final five games AP only scored an average of 6.8 points, and took merely 4.6 shots per game.

Nerlens Noel

Season averages: 24 games, 31.9 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 59.0 percent fgs (98-166), 52.9 percent fts (55-104), 9.5 rpg, 4.4 bpg, 2.1 spg, 1.9 tpg, 1.6 apg.

  • The 'Cats posted an 11-3 record when Noel grabbed nine-plus rebounds.
  • The 'Cats posted an 11-3 record when Noel scored in double-figures.
  • UK was 10-2 when Noel blocked five-plus shots.
  • UK was 17-7 with Noel in the lineup, and 4-5 with him hobbled on the sidelines (really, the only stat that matters).

Willie Cauley-Stein

Season averages: 29 games, 23.6 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 62.1 percent fgs (105-169), 37.2 percent fts (32-86), 6.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 1.7 tpg, .9 apg.

  • In Cauley-Stein's first 20 games of the year (and prior to Noel's injury), and in an average of 20 minutes per game, he averaged 7.8 points on 63.9 percent shooting (69-108), 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.0 turnovers.
  • In WCS's last nine contests, all after Noel's injury, and while averaging 31.4 minutes per game, he averaged 9.6 points on 59.0 percent field goal accuracy (36-61), 7.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 3.1 turns.

Kyle Wiltjer

Season averages: 33 games, 23.8 mpg, 10.2 ppg, 42.1 percent fgs (117-278), 4.2 rpg, 36.7 percent 3-point shooting (55-150), 81.0 percent fts (47-58), 1.5 apg, 1.3 tpg.

  • Through UK's first three games, Wiltjer made 12-of-19 three-pointers (63.2 percent) -- The 'Cats won two of three games.
  • In the next six games, Wiltjer connected on only 5-of-30 from long-range (16.7 percent) -- UK was 4-2 in those six contests.
  • The four games following, he made 16-of-27 from beyond the arc (59.3 percent) -- Kentucky won three of four.
  • The next six contests, Wiltjer made 6-of-20 from 3-point land (30.0 percent) -- UK won four of six.
  • The following seven games, KW was good on 13-of-31 trey tries (41.9 percent) -- Kentucky won five of seven.
  • In the Wildcats' final seven games (all without Noel in the lineup), Wiltjer made 3-of-23 from beyond the arc (13.0 percent) -- UK won only three of seven.
  • In the 21 Wildcat wins, Wiltjer made 42-of-102 from beyond the arc (41.2 percent), in the 12 UK losses, he connected on only 13-of-48 from long-range (27.1 percent).
  • In UK's first 11 games, KW averaged 5.0 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per contest. In the final 22 games, Wiltjer snagged 3.7 boards in an average of 24.2 minutes per game.
  • In Kentucky's final nine games (after Noel was injured), Wiltjer scored 6.7 points and grabbed 3.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 30.0 percent from the field (20-66) and 20.0 percent from distance (6-30).
  • On the season, Wiltjer made 48.4 percent of his 2-point shots (62-128)

Julius Mays

Season averages: 33 games, 33.0 mpg, 9.3 ppg, 37.7 percent fgs (93-247), 37.1 percent 3-point shooting (65-175), 84.6 percent fts (55-65), 2.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.2 tpg, 2.5 a/t ratio.

  • In Kentucky's first four games, Mays connected on 4-of-14 shots from long-range (28.6 percent) -- UK won three of four.
  • In the next four games, he made 11-of-23 from beyond the arc (47.8 percent) -- The 'Cats split those games.
  • The next seven contests, Mays made 8-of-37 from long-distance (21.6 percent) -- Kentucky won five of seven.
  • Over the next 13 games, Uncle Julius was true on 35-of-71 three-pointers (49.3 percent) -- UK won 10 of 13.
  • In Kentucky's final five contests, Mays made only 7-of-28 shots from distance (25.0 percent) -- UK won only one of five.
  • In UK's 21 wins, Mays made 42-of-108 three-point shots (38.9 percent). In the Wildcats' 12 losses he made 23-of-67 from beyond the arc (34.3 percent).
  • Through UK's first 17 games, Mays dished out 54 assists (3.2 pg). In the final 16 games, he dished out 41 dimes (2.6 pg).
  • Mays averaged 9.2 points per game after Noel went down, but only 5.4 points in UK's final five games.

Jarrod Polson

Season averages: 33 games, 13.8 mpg, 3.1 ppg, 52.9 percent fgs (36-68), 28.6 percent 3-point shooting (6-21), 71.9 percent fts (23-32), 1.7 rpg, 1.1 apg, .8 tpg, 1.4 a/t ratio

  • In the 24 games prior to Noel's injury, Polson averaged 12.3 minutes, 2.4 points on 21-of-41 shooting (51.2 percent), 4-of-13 three-point accuracy (30.8 percent), 1.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist and .6 turnovers per game.
  • In the nine games after Noel's knee injury, Polson averaged 18.0 minutes of play per game, 4.9 points on 15-of-27 field goal tries (55.6 percent), 2-of-8 shooting from distance (25.0 percent), 2.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 turnovers per game.

Jon Hood

Season averages: 23 games, 6.3 mpg, 1.5 ppg, 50.0 percent fgs (13-26), 40.0 percent 3-point shooting (6-15), 1.2 rpg.

  • In 146 minutes of play on the season, Hood committed only three turnovers.
  • In the first 14 games Hood appeared in (all before Noel's injury), he averaged 4.4 minutes, 1.1 points, and .8 rebounds per contest.
  • In the nine games Hood played in after Noel was hurt, he averaged 10.6 minutes, 2.0 points on 7-of-16 field goal shooting (43.8 percent), connected on 2-of-9 shots from distance (22.2 percent), and grabbed 1.9 rebounds per game.

Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!

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