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Kentucky falls to Notre Dame: 5 things to know and postgame banter

The Cats lose their first true road game of the season.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats take a bad loss on the road to a 3-4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish team, 66-62.

Quite possibly one of the worst road losses in the Calipari era.

Kentucky had a seven game “tune-up” schedule, but the tune-up didn’t seem to work and prepare them for the first power-five opponent since game one against Duke.

Notre Dame was coming off a blowout loss to Boston College, both teams are projected to finish near the bottom of the ACC this season.

Aside from Oscar Tshiebwe, no Wildcat stepped up to make a play or hit a shot, until Kellan Grady hit a go-ahead three with less than two minutes remaining.

Here are some things to know about Kentucky’s loss to Notre Dame.

Poor Shooting

This was probably the worst shooting performance in quite some time for the Wildcats. There seemed to be a lid on the basket on anything outside of six feet or more. Kentucky started off 0-13 from three. Kellan Grady hit their first three with 13 minutes left in the second half. Kentucky was 11% from three.

I don’t expect Kentucky to shoot that poorly again, but if that shooting bug strikes again in SEC play, it won’t end well for the ‘Cats.

On top of not being able to buy a basket, Kentucky showed poor shot selection all game, taking puzzling shots that were the equivalent of a turnover.

Oscar Tshiebwe

Oscar Tshiebwe continues his tear on college basketball. Notre Dame could not stop him inside the paint, and he got pretty much anything he wanted down low. The Irish quite literally could not stop Tshiebwe down low.

Tshiebwe also showed off his defensive prowess, logging a handful of steals by jumping passing lanes.

But for the first time this season, Oscar had just single-digit rebounds.

Road Environment

It wasn’t a “raucous” environment by any means, but it was Kentucky’s first true road game, with full capacity fans, since March of 2020.

It showed, as Kentucky couldn’t buy a shot for far too many stretches of this game, and on the final sequence, TyTy Washington freaked out and took the ball 94-feet to throw up a shot that had no chance of going in.

Calipari did a horrible job of preparing Kentucky for this game with the schedule they played.

Calipari’s Rotation

It seems that John Calipari is figuring out which guys he will play, and which guys he will go away from when things start to heat up. Tshiebwe, Brooks Jr., Wheeler, Washington Jr., Grady, Mintz, and Toppin saw the bulk of the minutes with Hopkins and Collins seeing only a little bit of action.

Dontaie Allen and Lance Ware saw no minutes.

Collapsing Defense

Kentucky could not find an answer for the cuts and screens Notre Dame was running. Guys were constantly getting lost on out-of-bounds plays, leading to multiple baskets. Calipari needs to find a defensive answer and a dawg on the defensive end to step and be a leader.