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.
Tweet of the Morning
Pearl on Wednesday's game: "Kentucky is still Kentucky. That game still matters. They had six guys in the McDonald’s All-American Game - Mustapha Heron should’ve been, but he wasn’t. We have to continue to use the motivating factor."— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) February 13, 2018
- UK linebacker’s coach Brad White could show Josh Allen the way to the NFL.
- What’s UK’s scholarship situation after National Signing Day?
- In 1963, he made a 15-footer to beat Duke in the Sugar Bowl Classic. Terry Mobley went on to become a fixture in the University of Kentucky administration. He passed away yesterday. Godspeed, Terry.
- This is a stupid idea. I get it, but it’s still a stupid idea.
- Coach Cal asks fans not to blame players. He sees the same things I do, and I get him — he’s not used to having to coach effort at this point in the season.
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!
- John Calipari joins Isaac Humphries’ “Inside Out” campaign.
- In all these crucial categories, this is Calipari’s worst team. Interesting stuff. So what you’re saying is we need more talent, more long-range shooting, and more experience. Sounds right to me!
- Yep. Unfortunately, our entire offense seems to be, “Shai to the right” and “Shai to the left.” Teams have figured that out.
Calipari says Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is their best player right now. Credits his work ethic for never being late for anything as why.— Kernel Sports (@KYKernelSports) February 12, 2018
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.
- Tyler Herro is an example of what UK is missing right now. Truth, forsooth.
Other Kentucky sports
- Former UK coach Mickie DeMoss, player Ceal Barry named to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
- UK cross-country earns multiple academic honors.
- Recruiting is getting top-heavy again, per SB Nation’s Bill Connelly.
- Congrats to the Hoos. They earned their spot.
Virginia is No. 1 in the AP poll the first time since 1982 https://t.co/HqEr2lOq6F— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) February 13, 2018
- Bucknell comes back from 10 points down in the final minute to nip Colgate. Impressive.
- The NCAA reveals its top 16 teams, and unsurprisingly, Kentucky is not among them. Frankly, I wonder if another NIT bid is in our future. Lose the game tomorrow and it will be a hot topic for sure.
- FBI agent in NCAA basketball corruption probe accused of… corruption.
Other sports news
NFL officiating guru Mike Pereira says the Eagles lined up in an illegal formation on the 'Philly Special' trick play https://t.co/AyuvwBZRNy— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 13, 2018
- Grav waves!
- Fake paper about Star Trek and warp 10 was accepted by a so-called “predatory” scientific journal.
Not a good look.
- News you can use: The scientific reasons why people get mean when they’re drunk.
I just get stupid, and make everyone else want to be mean to me.