Monday, March 3, 2014

S. Carolina 72 - 67 Kentucky

This has been an incredibly disappointing season, and this was one of the worst games I've ever seen Kentucky play.  We never play well in Columbia -- just as John Wall -- but this was embarrassing even by our usual standards.

Ken Pomeroy now has UK ranked number 24, which puts the Cats below Duke (# 3), Florida (# 4), Louisville (# 5), Kansas (# 9), Cincinnati (# 18), North Carolina (# 20), and Tennessee (# 23).

The season is now almost over.  The Cats have their last home game of the year on Tuesday against Alabama, and then they'll go to Florida for the last game of the regular season.  If they beat Alabama, they will go 12-6 in the SEC -- the same conference record that they had last year.  They'll probably lose their first game in the SEC Tournament -- even good UK teams struggle with the Friday game in the SEC Tournament, and mediocre UK teams almost always lose it.  Then there'll be one more game in the NCAA or NIT, and the season will be over.  If the Cats beat Alabama tomorrow, they will finish with a record of 22-11 -- almost the same as last year, when they finished 21-12.

There's a lot of anger in the Commonwealth over this team, and I can see why.  Calipari spent a lot of time in recent weeks trying to convince UK fans to keep the faith -- that this team, for all its flaws, was made up of good-character kids who were learning and getting better.  But the roof has fallen in on him in these last three games.  UK's offense -- which had been the team's biggest strength -- has just stopped working.  Look at these numbers:

LSU:  UK made 27-58 from two-point range (46.6 percent) and 1-9 from three-point range (11.1 percent).
Arkansas:  UK made 23-65 from two-point range (35.4 percent) and 3-11 from three-point range (27.3 percent)
S. Carolina:  UK made 8-35 from two-point range (22.9 percent) and 6-17 from three-point range (35.3 percent).

Most of those bad shots are coming from the Harrisons and Young throwing up desperate heaves in traffic.  Look at these numbers:

Aaron Harrison:  9-31 (29.0 percent) from two-point range in the last three games
Andrew Harrison:  8-26 (30.8 percent) from two-point range in the last three games
James Young:  10-28 (35.7 percent) from two-point range in the last three games

Together, those three guys have gone 27-85 (31.8 percent) from two-point range in three games.  On the Internet, I saw someone refer to the UK offense as the DDFH -- dribble drive fling and hope.  With numbers like these, it's hard to argue with that.

Of course, the biggest problem is still the defense.  UK has only the fourth-best defense in the SEC, and only the 44th-best defense in the country.  The Cats still give up an extraordinary amount of baskets in transition, and they still can't stop the other team's guards from getting to the rim.  Again, I don't know enough about basketball to know what the problem is, but I do know it's not likely to be fixed now.

In any event, there's nothing to be done now.  I still think Calipari is a great coach, and I still think he gives us the best chance to be nationally competitive.  It didn't work out this year, and we just have to hope that next year goes better.

In the meantime, I'm going to concentrate on the KHSAA, and see who our new state champion will be.


  1. Jon Hood's three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer last night at Alabama should've counted. I think he does a fine job whenever he's on the floor, and it was great to see UK come back and win.