Kentucky will almost undoubtedly fall from the ranks of the top 25 today, and I'd say deservedly so. I'm pleased to see that the team still thinks they can make a run. All I have to say about that is, "Show me, don't tell me."
Tweet of the Morning
Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid shouldnt even be mentioned in the same sentence together. I question the intelligence of anyone who does so.— GregNJ (@GregNJ) March 3, 2014
All I can say is, I could not agree more.
Kentucky still in the hunt for 4-star cornerback Marcus Lewis, who decommitted from Virginia Tech.
Will Marshal's report on Kentucky's replacement for Bradley Dale Peveto.
Kentucky basketball is a state of mind. A rather grim state of mind at the moment, I'd say.
Can Kentucky get it together? Maybe.
Kentucky freshmen not losing faith because of losing streak. If you believe Jerry Tipton, there is a clear undercurrent of anger among the UK coaches toward the game officials Saturday. I will reiterate to them what I have said to everyone else — you have to be good enough to beat the opponent and the officiating. If Calipari asks his kids not to dwell on bad calls, I think its time for he and the staff to practice what they preach.
The reality is, but for the technicals, USC winds up with six fewer points. That's way more than enough to have won that game if you discount the fouling at the end. It was effectively a 1-point game.
Jim Boeheim makes a great point here:
"I said, 'John [Calipari], man-to-man coaches are funny. They play man-to-man and the (opponent) makes two or three threes, they don't think anything about it. They make one against the zone, it's like, Holy (Toledo), we got to get out of this.'"
He's right, you know. We fans, for the most part, think exactly the same way.
David Schuh of the Kentucky Kernel blames Calipari for "UK's Collapse:"
Calipari has said over and over that the Cats are too "coach driven," that he has to reiterate direction too much throughout games.
That implies that the team needs him too much. Maybe he’s doing too much.
After Saturday’s game where he got ejected following his second technical foul, Calipari said on his radio show that it may have been better that he wasn’t out there in the waning moments.
That sounds like a team that needs a little less of its coach.
This falls into the "correlation does not necessarily imply causation" argument, especially based on a single incident. With that said, I do agree with the general implication of this article that Calipari is overcoaching this team, and probably undercoaching them on fundamentals. He's gone off in to a bunch of philosophical psychobabble like "player-driven vs. coach-driven," and while that may be a great to aspire to, I think it's more important that the team learns how to set a good screen, learns how to move without the ball and learns how to pass to the open man.
Coach your team. Forget the psychobabble. You got them to keep their hands up on the perimeter, now get them to set solid screens, make hard cuts, and look for open teammates. This team is good enough. Shore up their fundamentals like you did on blockouts and perimeter defense.
Tim Sullivan: What is John Calipari thinking?
I know what Calipari has been saying, and I wonder if he has grown weary of the whole one-and-done challenge. I wonder how seriously to take rumors about him bolting for the New York Knicks. I wonder if he is determined to make it work at UK. I wonder if he may have to tweak his recruiting approach to create more continuity. And I wonder how his mindset is perceived by the public.
Some of these things are not worthy of "wondering" about. He's already tweaked his recruiting, but writers like Sullivan are apparently too busy doing ... watever... to notice. Why would he go to the Knicks? It makes little sense to trade one set of prima donnas for another set over which you have even less control.
As to weariness with "one and done," well, he's been weary of that from day one. He's said so repeatedly.
One of the hallmarks of good reporters is to ask good questions, and every one of these has been asked and answered. That would mean that they aren't good questions.
So now, Eric Crawford compares UK to Louisville in 2012, when they lost 4 of 6 heading into the Big East Tournament.
I guess that works. I think Marcus Lee will be fine. We'll need somebody to back up Dakari in the post next season, and if Lee develops a bit, he could be like Willie Cauley-Stein is this season.
Other Kentucky sports
Big win for Kentucky hoops on senior day. It was closer than we'd like, especially after a big early lead, but you take the wins no matter how they're earned. I really thought the seniors played well in that game. Here's the game thread, in case you missed it.
Bat Cats take the broom to Eastern Michigan this weekend, although the last game was cancelled. A.J. Reed continues to swat balls off the reservation. Next up — a not-very-good Cincinnati team who sits at 2-9.
Rifle team finishes second in the Great America Rifle Conference championships. West Virginia won the meet. NCAA Championships up next.
Jarrod Polson's fan following is a little different, according to his father.
David Climer laments the state of SEC basketball. Consider:
The SEC has one very good team (Florida) and one very talented but mismanaged team (Kentucky). After that, it’s a logjam of mediocrity, followed by a bottom tier of misery.
I'm going to have to agree with him about Kentucky, a little bit, anyway.
Arkansas on a winning streak. They've won five in a row.
Other sports news
How's Marquis Teague doing in New York? Better than in Chicago, according to SB Nation's Nets Daily.
Jay Bilas on a crusade against bad coaching behavior:
"This is a social contract we have. The officials are the law of the court. When they make a decision, that decision stands. How coaches act is important. Not every coach acts inappropriately, but too many are doing it and I think we need to put a stop to it and I’ll tell you why: If we think that coach behavior influences the officials, then that’s a competitive advantage and we need to put a stop to it.
I would argue that this is misguided. College basketball needs more transparency from the officials, and we aren't going to get that by declaring them "the law" and demanding coaches shut up about it. I think coaching misbehavior serves the useful purpose of calling attention to said lack of transparency, even though I agree with Bilas that we do need better behavior more often out of college coaches.
We've gone too long in sports with this "guild" mentality of officiating. It's way past time to do better. Bilas is right in his objection to poor behavior, but I think the current model of officiating needs to be overhauled, or it will continue to lose credibility. Professional sports are different, because the officials are much more accountable to the league than is the case in college.