Missouri came out HOT and Kentucky...um...did not. The Tigers were firing on all cylinders from the get-go and used the Cats’ calling card—run and gun—to beat them at their own game. It was over before it even started. Kentucky couldn't make shots and Mizzou couldn't miss as the home team went into the half with a 42-30 lead.
After the break, it didn't get much better. Kentucky came out flat, again, and Missouri extended their lead to as many as 21 points—Kentucky’s largest deficit of the season. Once the Cats went to a lineup consisting of Sahvir Wheeler, Cason Wallace, Adou Thiero, Lance Ware, and Oscar Tshiebwe, things seemed to be turning around as Kentucky cut the lead to as little as nine.
However, it didn't last long, and before you could blink, the lead was back to 17, and Kentucky was done for.
Next up, the Cats will return to Lexington to take on the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday afternoon.
Run, run, run
You’re used to seeing Kentucky talked about in this section, but that isn't remotely the case in this one. The Tigers did to Kentucky what they usually do to other teams—they ran and scored at will.
The Cats had no answer as they weren't able to push the tempo effectively, score in the halfcourt, or stop Missouri from doing whatever they wanted. Kentucky’s halfcourt offense was once again abysmal. They turned the ball over and failed to knock down easy, wide open looks.
These two teams couldn’t be more diametrically opposed offensively and Kentucky played right into Missouri’s hands as they were run right off the court.
On defense, Calipari continued to run out multiple big lineups, which in and of itself is a bad idea on both ends, but especially against a team that likes to run. That didn't deter the head man from putting Chris Livingston, Jacob Toppin/Lance Ware, and Oscar Tshiebwe on the court at the same time.
But I’m not sure any of the lineups mattered in the end. There was no fight, especially from Toppin has become flat out unplayable at this point. Quite simply, Kentucky was scrambling from the start and never found their footing.
CJ Fredrick injured
Ah, the story of Kentucky basketball over the last several seasons cannot be told without hearing about the injuries. And the same can be said of CJ Fredrick’s basketball career as the kid just can’t seem to stay healthy.
Fredrick was viewed as one of the transfers in the county when he came to Lexington from the Iowa Hawkeyes, but foot and hamstring injuries kept Fredrick out all of last season before finally making his debut this season. Fredrick has been healthy to this point of the season, but the injury bug finally hit him as a right-hand injury forced him from the game, and he did not return.
This is something you hate to see for anyone, but especially Fredrick with the luck he’s had thus far. Let’s hope the injury isn't a serious one and Fredrick makes his way back to the floor quickly.
Calipari has become Billy Gillespie
I never thought I'd see the day where John Calipari became absolutely loathed across the Bluegrass, but I think we’re at that point. Calipari followed up one of the worst seasons in Kentucky basketball history with one of the worst NCAA Tournament losses in Kentucky basketball history, and now has this team to show for it.
It’s quite frankly just unacceptable. I don’t remember the Big Blue Nation being this down since Billy Gillespie. Calipari was a breath of fresh air, but we all know things haven't been the same since 2015, and now, Kentucky has a shell of its former self. We’re looking at a team that might not even get into the NCAA Tournament.
I'm not saying fire the man, and I’m not entirely sure they could even if they wanted to, but I’m just saying that Tubby Smith got run out for a lot less.
Not a lot of positive to take from this game. The Cats should be able to get back on track against the Cardinals on Saturday, but outside of that game, I’m not sure there’s a guaranteed win left on the schedule. This season is certainly looking bleak at the moment.
Now, let’s vent.