Skip to content

Kentucky hits rock bottom, loses at South Carolina

Mar 1, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT

source: Getty Images

Arkansas shot 41.4% from the floor, committed 20 turnovers and gave up 26 offensive rebounds in Thursday night’s win over No. 17 Kentucky on Thursday night, and would you believe that it took less than 48 hours for the Wildcats to notch a loss worse than that?

On Saturday afternoon, Kentucky’s season hit what every member of Big Blue Nation hopes is rock-bottom. They lost at South Carolina, 72-67, in a game where they trailed by as much as 16 points in the second half and John Calipari was so fed up with the performance that he went and got himself ejected.

To their credit, the Wildcats stormed back late as Alex Poythress missed a three that would have tied the game with less than 20 seconds remaining. But the fact that Kentucky, a team with All-Americans and NBA prospects buried on their bench, needed a late-rally just to make the final score respectable against a team that was 3-12 in the conference entering the game and lost at home to Manhattan by 18 tells you all you need to know.

Quite frankly, there really isn’t much analysis to be had here. Kentucky imploded on Saturday. They jacked up bad shots. They didn’t play defense until Cal was gone with 10 minutes left in the game. They shot 26.9% from the floor and still only got Julius Randle seven shots and nine free throws.

The reason Kentucky lost this game had nothing to do with their talent or their offense or anything of that nature. Here’s my read: I don’t think the Wildcats are responding to Cal’s coaching methods anymore. He was very clearly frustrated with his team all day on Saturday. He spent more time screaming at his players than anything else. There are a lot of coaches that use that style of coaching as a motivational tool, but every player and every team has a breaking point.

If you yell at them and beat them down enough, eventually these kids are going to stop reacting positively. That’s what appeared to happen Saturday.

It’s worth noting that once Cal was tossed, the Wildcats finally woke up, played some defense and appeared to run a semblance of an offense.

Don’t get me wrong, Kentucky is still dealing with the same issues we’ve talked about all season long. Poor point guard play, no leadership, an inability to get the ball to Randle where he can score, inconsistent perimeter shooting, poor defending, etc.

Saturday’s loss to South Carolina?

That looked like a coach losing his team.

The irony isn’t lost on my, either.

On the day that Wichita State locks up their undefeated regular season, the team that was “supposed” to make a run at 40-0 lost to South Carolina.

  1. iamhoraceknight - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Hopefully ESPN and all other sports outlets will stop over-hyping these kids. They are NOT NBA ready, they need to develop.

  2. drewvt6 - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    UK sold their soul for the 2012 title. Hopefully Cal doesn’t leave the same trainwreck in Lexington as he did at his last stops.

  3. sportsfan18 - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    They are definitely ready for the NBA…

    No team play, jack up shots etc… etc… etc…

    And people dislike Pop and the Spurs because they are boring.

    Please. At least they know how to play basketball and actually play it.

    All this stuff for show seems to be all that so many care about, even if they lose… it’s like did you see that dunk he threw down on so and so?

    Uh, it’s meaningless when you lose the game…

    I like college basketball more than the NBA for these reasons.

    College used to be even better… even though its slipped, it’s nowhere near as bad as the NBA in this regard.

    Think back in the day… Dean Smith, wonderful coach. He was the only man who ever held Jordan back.

    Bobby Knight, love him or hate him, his teams played basketball. Discipline, they played defense, help defense and they played man to man.

    The players on his teams understood and knew how to play the game…

    The Kentucky players are talented, I’m not saying they aren’t. But this crop doesn’t have the mentality and Coach Cal can’t reach this group in one season. Most of them know that they will be drafted regardless of what happens to this team and they care FAR more about that and going to the NBA than their one yr in Kentucky.

    Now, when Cal gets lucky and his kids are better mentally too… well then they are very good like they were a few yrs ago… Just look at how good Anthony Davis is doing in the NBA. Great talent and a good kid.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      Don’t you think he breeds that though by selling the kids on coming to play for them for 1 year before the NBA? He’s a great recruiter no doubt but you’d think eventually he’d realize that he should recruit some 3 and 4 star players who will be there for 2+ years and take ownership of the program and insist that the one and dones buy in. Instead he has a group of players (hard to describe them as a team) who don’t care that much because they just want to get the 1 year over with so they can get to the NBA. And every year the media buys into, and hypes them up like crazy before the season, they never point out the Coach Cal has only ever won 1 championship.

  4. atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Once again we see that a team of high school all stars doesn’t mean that they’ll be an unbeatable NCAA team, you need veteran players and role players to win a championship. Even when Kentucky did win they had some very talented older players who played key roles.

    The team of 5 star one and done players model is horribly flawed, perhaps it might work with a great coach, but “Coach Cal” isn’t a great coach, he’s a mediocre coach who’s a great recruiter.

  5. cranespy - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:18 AM

    When will BBN tire of Coach Cal and his shtick? Each season it becomes more and more clear that he can recruit like NO other coach in the history of college bball! What he can’t do though is meld the players into a cohesive unit that collectively is greater than the sum of all it’s parts. Basically…..Cal cant coach Em up!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!