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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Falling Down Edition

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Kentucky is on an express elevator to an unfamiliar and undesirable place this season.

John Clay: How an October development has affected this Kentucky basketball season Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

Since we were last together, the Kentucky basketball team has hit the skids, losing two games between my most recent article and this one, and three contests in a row for the first time in John Calipari’s storied career at Kentucky. I am especially thankful for the Winter Olympics now, since I desperately needed an excuse to ignore Kentucky’s woes and focus on something positive.

If that sounds vaguely surrender-ish, I suppose it is. I have reached the conclusion that this particular team just has too many flaws to overcome either now or later in the season. They don’t play hard enough, they are entirely one-dimensional, and they have no apparent leadership among the players. At least, that’s what I’ve seen.

It’s amazing to me that just two weeks ago, we were celebrating the biggest UK victory of the season and thinking that the 2017-18 Wildcats had finally arrived. After the intervening four games, that feeling looks like little more than a mirage — or perhaps, a Kentucky fan’s unfailing ability to see what he or she wants to see at various points in the season.

But the last four games have laid bare the truth — nothing has “clicked” for these guys. Individually, some are playing well, but as a team, they are … not. Since basketball is still a team sport last time I checked, that’s a bit of a problem.

It isn’t as if UK fans haven’t been here before, of course, but it never feels good. We can come up with endless excuses and rationalizations about the youngest team ever, outside shooting, and so forth. But all of those things, while valid, overlook the fact that the team lacks energy, jogs up and down the court while the opponent lays the ball in, and generally gives up on possession after possession.

That’s not what I’m used to seeing, and I miss the inspired effort, the determined defense, the running so hard for a few possessions you have to tap out and take a seat. I miss that stuff. I particularly miss the result of that stuff, which is markedly different from what we’re seeing now.

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But he’s right. This is college basketball, and while I do care, my absence from this space has greatly modified my perspective. I can now see this game as a game. I still hate to lose, I still hate to see bad basketball and lack of effort, but I agree with Calipari that it does no good for anyone to vent at the players. We have all seen this before. Sometimes, a team just doesn’t come together when they should. Maybe they will yet. You never know.

On the bright side, there’s always next year. Oh, wait, is it to early…? Shame on me!

Today, Kentucky possesses a squad full of underachievers, and Duke and Mike Krzyzewski signed the incoming class Calipari wanted. This is a crucial period for Kentucky. The Wildcats entered the week surrendering a 53.7 percent clip to SEC opponents inside the arc. Only LSU is worse in league play. But this is good news for the SEC.

Ouch.

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Not a good look.

I just get stupid, and make everyone else want to be mean to me.