That was not the best half of basketball that Kentucky has played this season, but we have to give the Notre Dame Fighting Irish a lot of credit — they did a good job of working their offensive sets, and Kentucky made some errors, especially handling the ball. For some reason, the Wildcats were turning the ball over in the dumbest possible ways in that half. I don’t expect that to continue.
Kentucky is doing exactly what they need to do defensively, they just need to do it better. They are permitting too many back-door cuts, and that has cost them at least six points in the first half. They need to clean up the back-cuts and keep doing what they are doing, because Notre Dame worked incredibly hard for those 31 points. That hard work is going to revisit them with about 8 minutes to play, I suspect. Yes, they can get some rest, but they cannot get those calories back.
First half stats
UK shot just 37 percent and committed seven turnovers in 31 possessions, but hit 10 FTs in 12 attempts. Stats: pic.twitter.com/TZtr83TDN7— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) March 29, 2015
Kentucky had 7 turnovers, and that’s way too many. The Wildcats have to clean that up, and we have to do a much better job of making layups, because Karl-Anthony Towns has missed about six layups. That’s no good at all.
I am concerned that Kentucky is losing focus on defense, and they absolutely cannot do that. The Wildcats have got to get the ball inside consistently, and score there. Zach Auguste is a good player, but he is not good enough to have this kind of half against the Wildcats.
This game is going pretty much as I imagined it, but I thought it would be more because of three-point shots than because of offensive execution by Notre Dame. Kentucky has to be very unhappy with how well they guarded in the half court, because despite all the blocked shots, they allowed too many rebounds to the Irish, and did a poor job of getting the ball in the basket from close range.
We need better. Let’s get this done.