Well, that was quite an adventure, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. We all thought, I imagine, that UK would maybe face one overtime game down in Gainsville or Columbia during the SEC season, but that’s been blown out of the water in the first two games. Kentucky may not have played in the nine days preceding the Ole Miss game, but since then, they’ve played an awful lot of basketball — one overtime short of five full halves.
The Wildcats have definitely gotten more than many people thought they would early in the SEC season, and I have no idea if that’s good or bad. I guess a good angle is that Kentucky has played a lot of competitive basketball in a short time. On the other hand, I wonder about their confidence after having to face down three overtimes in two games they were favored to win by huge margins.
The old saying is, the horse doesn’t know what it’s odds are, and I think that can be fairly said about Texas A&M today. They played with heart, nerve, and effort. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they played one of their better games of the season today considering the competition with the exception of free throw shooting, which arguably cost them the game. Good game, Aggies.
FINAL STATS UK vs. A&M... pic.twitter.com/LD2G3oDfxo
— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 10, 2015
Winning a game like this on the road is very hard. Kentucky played very poorly, and made a lot of basic mistakes that should’ve cost them the game. The fact that it did not is a positive, not a negative.
28% shooting really tells you all you need to know about how this team played offensively.
Defensive rebounding still remains a problem. I can’t figure out why, I think we have guys trying to get rebounds by jumping over everybody instead of getting good position and blocking out. It’s great when you can get way up in the air, but position is more important.
Lots of fundamental errors including falling for fakes, timing jumps poorly, missing layups, missing free throws, making bad fouls, poor transition defense. As a basketball game, this one was played very poorly by Kentucky. They are far better than TAMU, but they didn’t show any of that today, letting players they should dominate force them into dumb errors.
In the second overtime, John Calipari finally got this team to play zone offense correctly. We won going away after that. I am very frustrated by Calipari’s insane dedication to trying to run pick and roll from the top against the 2-3 zone. He may think that’s a counterintuitive strategy, and it is, but it doesn’t work. Dear Coach Cal — please do the fundamental thing and pass the ball to the middle of the zone for a dump-down pass, wing pass, or jumper. Please. I beg you.
Kentucky takes their foot off the gas too much. The loss of Alex Poythress has really hurt the way this team plays, and they’re having to learn a new way. I can understand some hiccups as we get there, but some of this fundamental stuff is ridiculous.
Defensive rotation has become a step slow. Why? They weren’t slow against Louisville. What’s with that?
I think we’re having communication problems again, and that’s to be expected. The team let Aaron Harrison run into a tooth-chattering screen. That should never happen.
Too many threes. That’s not who Kentucky is. The zone offense problem is why.
Odds and ends
Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 10, 2015
And Louisville lost...Today was a good day— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 10, 2015
Amazing stat ---- with this loss, Rick Pitino is now 0-6 in his career against North Carolina.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 10, 2015
That’s all I have. Add your observations below. I’ll have the postmortem later on today, most likely, but if not, first think in the morning tomorrow.