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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: SIU Edition

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  • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: SIU Edition

    The Good

    * Basketball Jones. Basketball season has started in earnest. My son had a scrimmage game last night for his high school team. Texas and Arkansas played a thriller on a military base. Maui looms. Auburn looks like a Final Four contender. Probably my favorite time of year, even moreso than March because March is the end. November hoops, baby. Feel it.

    * All I Do. Kentucky notched win number one on the year. Let's hope it's one of 30 or so more, but if we stay on this track then we'll never...No, no! I'm not going to go negative right here. This is "The Good." The Cats are 1-1. They beat a decent veteran team last night. Let's build on it.

    * Defense Rising. Kentucky's defense was MUCH better last night. Yes, there were still breakdowns, but SIU clearly watched the Duke tape and was trying to drive us the same way all these teams have so far. It worked at times, but there were other times Kentucky's help cut them off. We even forced a few steals if you can believe it. Baby steps.

    * Nick Richards is Patrick Ewing. I'm so happy for Nick Richards, who was a step behind everything against Duke. He rebounded every ball last night, and even though he still couldn't put together any sort of offensive game, he was at least a presence. At his size he just needs to be a presence. Don't back down. Don't fade away from the game. Don't play scared. If he can do that then he can be a factor on this team, because there aren't too many people in college basketball with his size.

    * The Quick and the Live. Immanuel Quickley redeemed himself last night and showed that he has the chops to be this team's point guard. He's definitely a scoring point guard--he had no assists. But that's his game. Get the team in the offense and then hit the shot when it's there. He was stamped all over that W.

    * Green Monster. Quade had maybe his best game as a Kentucky Wildcat last night. After playing like a man with a learning deficiency in the first half, Quade slowly put together a tremendous game, hitting big shots, making huge defensive plays, and redeeming himself after arguably the worst individual performance we saw against Duke.

    * Run Baby Run. What's been missing for Kentucky--in the Duke game, but also in the two exhibitions--is any semblance of a run. Think about the number of times we saw Kentucky go on one of their patented 15-0 runs and put the game on ice. That literally didn't happen once even against DII and DIII competition. Well, last night we saw it, and it came after we got down by 7 and it looked like we might lose. That suggests this team needs to play with greater urgency. That stretch was the best we played all year, and we put the run together because we actually rolled up a few stops. That age-old cliche is as true as it's ever been: defense wins.

    The Bad

    * Bad Reid. Reid Travis drifted out of that game very early last night after his second foul. He also had monumental problems with the length of Scottie Pippen's nephew. We'll see much better from Reid, but last night was a dog.

    * There Goes My Herro. Tyler Herro is scuffling right now. He's forcing some shots. He looks unsure of himself. The confident killer we saw in the Bahamas is nowhere to be seen. I think he'll get it, but right now he hurts as much as he helps.

    * Speaking of the Bahamas. The team we saw in August mysteriously vanished in the intervening months. I chalk this up to everybody, including the coaches, getting carried away with those performances, as well as the fact that we might have too many guys who are panicking about where they might fit. I still like the ceiling of this team, but you can clearly see that certain players are unsure about their role and what they're supposed to be doing. That's not good, and against a veteran team like we played last night it can easily get you beat on your home floor. That would have been a crusher of a loss, and thank goodness we played well in the last few minutes.

    The Ugly

    * Turnover City. The turnovers were embarrassing and brutal through thirty minutes last night. In the first half we threw some passes that my son's freshmen team wouldn't throw. I think at one point something snapped in my brain and I began to hallucinate like a madman. This is the sort of team who will end up making my neighbors call the cops on me if things don't change.

    * The Corruption in Washington. PJ Washington is just out of it right now, and for a guy who returned to try and work himself into the first round, he's going in the opposite direction. He had five turnovers last night. Five. That will reduce grown men to tears. Clearly he has no idea how he should be playing on this team, clearly he isn't ready to be a leader, and so far he's been the biggest disappointment.

    * The Fans Always Love the Back-Up. Ashton Hagans lost his starting point guard spot, and he played a similar game to the one we saw at Duke: tentative, unsure, hesitant. I didn't think that was the player we were getting when we signed him, and it's kind of shocking to watch. He had maybe one decent run in that game, but otherwise it was hard to watch.

    * Look in the Mirror. We made some strides last night, but we're still not very good. I watched Auburn after our game. Auburn would beat Kentucky as bad as Duke did. They're way more organized. They shoot the ball much better. I'm happy that we won, but the team we're seeing out there is many notches below the one we thought we were going to get. I still don't think Cal really knows what he has, and our young players aren't being helped along by our returners as much as we've seen with other Cal teams with some experience. In fact some of the returners look just as young as the freshmen, and the freshmen look really young. The best we can do until the Seton Hall game is just keep grinding out these wins and hope something clicks. Because if it doesn't, Kentucky is probably a middle-of-the-pack team in the SEC.


    Last edited by Will Lavender; 11-10-2018, 09:00 AM.

  • #2
    Very good analysis. We have a long way to go.

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    • #3
      You call it like you see it Will. I like that,
      John 3:3

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      • #4
        One addition I would make to the good. I thought EJ Montgomery was very good as well.

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        • #5
          Hope this team figures it out by December. I will start watching again then and hope to see a better unit. For now I will let them grow and learn without watching. I will continue to read up on them and read the good bad and ugly posts. They help me understand what is happening for now. Thank you for posting.
          Proverbs 25:24

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          • #6
            Will, I'm with you on college basketball. I typically take off work for the 24 hour marathon and watch basketball for 24 hours while eating Little Cesar's. Something you left out, though, is that these posts from you return. I really enjoy the Good, Bad, Ugly threads. Thanks for taking the time.

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            • #7
              ^Same here. I don’t watch the news, but I certainly read Will’s GBU posts.

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              • #8
                Will, just want to let you know how much I enjoy your GBU post throughout the season, along with all the responses.
                God, Family, Kentucky Basketball

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                • #9
                  Somebody should collect them all in one place at the end of the season. I think it would be interesting to read how the team progressed; might give a different perspective on the season as a whole.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KCKUKFan View Post
                    Somebody should collect them all in one place at the end of the season. I think it would be interesting to read how the team progressed; might give a different perspective on the season as a whole.
                    It also would be interesting to compare them each season to the same post the previous season at the same point.
                    John 3:3

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lighthouse View Post

                      It also would be interesting to compare them each season to the same post the previous season at the same point.
                      In game two last year, we were fending off a decent Vermont team in Rupp Arena. It wasn't a bad game necessarily, but it was sort of indicative of how we would play for the most part throughout the entire season. Only for that one stretch where we won 9 out of 10 did we look like a solid basketball team. It took us until February 17th to get there.

                      The odd thing about this team so far is that we've seen no improvement. They've looked the same in all four games. I'm not sure what that's about but it's probably the only time in Calipari's tenure at UK where it's happened. Even the 2013 team beat Maryland in their first game and then played right with Duke in the Champions Classic.

                      This is the worst product we've seen in the Cal era.

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                      • #12
                        I think there has been improvement. I saw a marked improvement on defense against SIU, particularly in the 2nd half. And some individuals have certainly improved. Quickley most notably. EJ, Quade as well. Richards just needs to find consistency.

                        These first few games may turn into a blessing in disguise. We know PJ and Travis are going to be much better. And I think it's safe to say Herro will. If the guys who played well Friday can sustain that and add those 3 to the mix this will become a very good team very quickly.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by catfaninin View Post
                          I think there has been improvement. I saw a marked improvement on defense against SIU, particularly in the 2nd half. And some individuals have certainly improved. Quickley most notably. EJ, Quade as well. Richards just needs to find consistency.
                          Agree about the defense.

                          We're still a long way from good, though. Which is okay because it's just November 13...but I think most of us felt like we'd be WAY beyond this on November 13th.

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                          • #14
                            As a FYI....#25 Buffalo (current media darling) beat SIU last night on the road by 9. It was a 15ish point lead until late and SIU was missing their leading scorer and best player who was hurt in the UK game.

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                            • #15
                              Saw a Naismith Watch list a few minutes ago and the guy from Buffalo was like #3 on the list. This would be CJ Massinburg. (I see he only had 7 in that game last night.)

                              Also see that the Pippen kid had 18. He's pretty good. Not the silky smooth assassin his uncle was, but he looks like he could play professionally.

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                              The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: SIU Edition

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