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Sunday Quickies: Two Steps Back Edition

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Setting expectations going forward for UK basketball, Rick Pitino back to college, and NFL Wildcard recap.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Well here we go again. After a strong close to the non-conference season, the Kentucky Wildcats went to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide and maybe they were feeling a little too good about themselves.

After all, they had just beat a nationally ranked North Carolina team on a neutral court and they destroyed their rival on the road. And once again John Calipari stated that he’s done coaching effort and that his team was now player led.

And then they went and played a second half in which they were out-worked, out-hustled, and out-coached by an inferior team. A team that lost to Northeastern, Georgia State, and Central Florida. A team that is led by a coach that was 0-7 against Kentucky. A team that played in front of a half filled sleepy stadium.

It’s a bad loss, no two ways about it. Now Kentucky will have to make up for it by winning on the road against Tennessee, Auburn, or Mississippi State. That was a seed dropping loss.

So for me, no more hyping this team up. They’re on a game to game contract. I will have zero expectations of them until March.

And yes, I understand SEC losses happen, especially on the road, but much of my problem has to do with Calipari continuing to hype this team and then the exact opposite happens.

Do I think they’re good? Absolutely. Do I think they have a chance at a Final Four? I’m less sure of that than I was a week ago but they have the pieces.

Tweets of the Day

Had Zion Williamson gone to Kentucky like we all thought he would we aren’t having these issues.

At least UK wasn’t the only team that suffered a bad conference loss yesterday.

One of many absurd fouls called yesterday. What made it worse was Donta Hall laughing in his huddle because he knew the flop worked. Officiating wasn’t the reason UK lost, but those three quick offensive fouls in the second half changed the flow of the game for the Cats. But good teams adjust and overcome.

Quickies

UK falls to Alabama in SEC opener | Cats Pause- Kentucky didn’t deserve to win but they fought back thanks to some gutty play from Ashton Hagans. He’s the one guy that I can point to and say he fought every possession.

Furious finish not covering up the issues | UK Athletics- Honestly, the best thing that happened to Kentucky was them not finishing the comeback. If they had, there could have been a danger of them thinking they could cruise through these SEC games and then turn it on when they need to. That’s not going to be the case.

Alabama deals UK first loss in SEC opener since 2011 | WDRB- The last time Kentucky lost it’s opener in the SEC was after a big road win at Louisville. The Cats lost to a bad Georgia team but went on to go to the Final Four thanks to Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, DeAndre Liggins, and Josh Harrellson.

Kentucky with manageable games until Auburn | CBS- Texas A&M is next up for the Cats on Tuesday night and that’s followed by a tilt against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Then they get a road match up with Auburn on January 19th. That’ll be the game we can use to put Alabama behind us.

Three star O-Lineman has UK is his top 5 | Cats Illustrated- Ronato Brown was committed to Miami until Mark Richt retired. Now he has UK, Louisville, FIU, Nebraska, and Virginia in his final five. He’s a 2019 recruit.

Rick Pitino is the top choice of UCLA boosters | Forbes- As Pitino is doing his time exiled in Greece, it seems his opportunity to once again coach college basketball may come sooner than expected. One of the most influential boosters at UCLA, a billionaire that got Chip Kelly to LA, has Pitino in his sights. I think Pitino would do well against the Pac 12 clowns.

Zeke leads the way for Cowboys | CBS- Ezekiel Elliott torched the Seahawks with over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown in the Cowboys Wildcard win last night.

Red hot Luck sets sights on Chiefs | ESPN- The Colts embarrassed the Texans in their first round playoff game in Houston. Now Andrew Luck wants to add another amazing chapter to his comeback story. He will face Andy Reid and a Chiefs team that has had issues winning playoff games.