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Texas A&M vs. Kentucky: Game Thread

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post
    I also don't think this team plays super hard and that's always a problem in the game of basketball.

    You can count on Hagans, Herro, and Johnson bringing it. Washington's motor goes about 50% of the time. Travis is similar. You can't play the sport like that. It'll hurt you every time, and where it comes out is almost always defensively.

    Agreed... I'm not a Washington fan. Wasn't last year and I'm still not. He's very lazy on defense and very lazy in transition. Just go watch tapes and see how much he just stands around. If he hustled, his game would be so much better. I like Reid. He's a Hoss but the biggest issue with him is that he just can't jump and he's not going to have a ton of success against bigger, faster, and more athletic big men. He's been a good addition overall though.

    But - Hagans is the key here. He's slowly becoming a solid player. His shot has to get better but the defense, hustle, and flat out quickness if very good. As for Herro. I like this kid. He's go all of the attributes you look for but I'm beginning to think that the shooting woes is just that he's just not that good of a shooter like we all want him to be.


    When we run....we're pretty good. When we go into the Calipari grind, we suck. We lack good, consistent shooters and our post players are off and on. Why Cal doesn't press and force tempo is maddening to me. I literally despise his offense. Yeah...I know...he wins games with it.
    I've been yelling at the TV for about 4 games now about this very thing... Want to know why this team looked so good in the summer? Cal was in the bleachers and these guys were being athletes running and gunning. Why did they push Alabama at the very end - because of pressure. This team needs to press and run. They got too much speed and are extremely athletic and need to be in transition.


    The whole talk about stars? Well - that whole 'star' quality is fading more and more in the game - mostly as kids are only staying 1 or 2 seasons. Johnson is a 'star-type' player that is on this team and as Will stated, he will go in the top 10 in the draft. Sure, he'll fade at times on the court and in games but he's 18 and a freshman. He's been very good this season other than playing defense which he's terrible at. Mashburn didn't sizzle in every game either as a freshman and I consider him to have been a 'college star'. I think Herro is your next in line with Hagans following up. I do think Montgomery could end up becoming a very good college player but I think he's a season or two away. I'm not sure why he isn't playing and thought he was playing every bit as good as Washington and Reid tonight. The kid needs to be in there. BUT yeah - There's only a handful of true 'college stars' out there right now with Williamson being the best. That kid is fantastic.

    I think it will be interesting after this season. Johnson, Reid, Washington are gone. I'm thinking that Richards will end up leaving. Herro - I'm not sure what he will be doing. Personally, I think he needs another year as do the rest of the players.

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    • #47
      I agree about the points above regarding slow vs. fast.

      I think what's happening right now is that Cal is trying to get Travis and Washington going. Travis in particular is having a rough go. He's doing all kinds of things you teach big men not to do.

      Cal is clearly trying to get the game into a halfcourt affair and feed Travis in hopes that he'll start clicking. But for two games now he's been blocked an absurd number of times, had the ball raked out, missed easy shots. And all the while, Washington hasn't been active except for spurts. (I will say that his one spurt last night, which Billy Kennedy talked at length about after the game, was pretty impressive. But he won't give you a sustained, consistent effort for 40 minutes except for sometimes.)

      The only way this team does anything is if all seven or eight who play give you something. We've seen that only once or twice this year, with Carolina being one of those games. Otherwise we've got one going, one struggling, a couple more just playing meh. We can't get that consistent, fiery effort from all eight on a given night. Defensively in particular we just can't put anything sustained together across 40 minutes. Until we do we'll continue to struggle.

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      • #48
        This team is so much better getting up and down, like inithe UNC game. Everybody benefits, Hagans especially. But, alas, Cal will not let his teams do that. He will micromanage and slow it down and grind. Execution becomes mandatory, and possessions are limited. Yes, you can win doing that if you hit enough shots, but ultimately itlli come back and bite you when you go cold or become predictable in the half court....

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        • #49
          And Bama loses at LSU last night...Mack only scores 6 points

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          • #50
            Originally posted by TrueblueCATfan View Post
            And Bama loses at LSU last night...Mack only scores 6 points
            Not a terrible loss because LSU is pretty solid.

            The more interesting score last night was South Carolina beating Mississippi St. South Carolina looked like the bottom of the league just a few weeks ago. Now they've got two solid wins.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post

              We've got a couple of stars. We just don't have anybody who has bought in defensively outside of Hagans.

              If you can't guard you can't play consistent basketball at this level.
              We don't have anyone whom i feel like you can give them the ball and just let them take over. I like Johnson and Herro both don't get me wrong but jury is still open when it comes cluth time who going to take and make the shot or keep you in a game when the rest of the team goes cold.


              Anyways, i agree about the defense, must play better.

              On another note, we always talk about Cal's team's are as good as his point guards and i agree but i also think that with the way Calipari likes to slow it down and grind,,it's important in his system to have a big who can post and score and we just don't have that, Towns or even a D. Johnson doesn't exist on this team. PJ wants to showcase his Patrick Patterson transformation and shoot threes to show his improved shooting and Reid is just stuck on the ground and hit short Jimmy Butler alligator arms just don't cut it in the paint.....

              Glad we won but made it harder than it should have been...
              I can spell, blame it on my not so smart smart phone, makes up it's own words as it goes.....

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post

                Not a terrible loss because LSU is pretty solid.

                The more interesting score last night was South Carolina beating Mississippi St. South Carolina looked like the bottom of the league just a few weeks ago. Now they've got two solid wins.
                We all know this but i don't the players on our team know this, NO SEC TEAM IS GOING TO LET US WALK AND GET A EASY WIN WITHOUT A FIGHT, ESPECIALLY ON THE ROAD, THEY HATE KENTUCKY MORE THAN THEY HATE TRUMP AND THAT SAYS ALOT!!!!!!!!
                I can spell, blame it on my not so smart smart phone, makes up it's own words as it goes.....

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Ratt View Post


                  Agreed... I'm not a Washington fan. Wasn't last year and I'm still not. He's very lazy on defense and very lazy in transition.
                  Did a great job on Nworra in the Louisville game though.

                  I like Washington much more than you because I like how versatile he is. But he's a guy you sort of have to push to get going.

                  When he's going he can carry the team. But when he's not he can hurt you because he's a bit undersized and he tends to turn the ball over.

                  He reminds me a little of the Harrison twins. Pretty high highs but his lows can be team-killers. Also a little Alex Poythress in him, but Washington's a more versatile player.

                  I still think the guy who's hurt us badly in the last two games is Travis. You have to cross your fingers that he's going to figure it out against SEC competition because if not we go nowhere.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by J.Jennings View Post

                    We don't have anyone whom i feel like you can give them the ball and just let them take over.
                    Johnson has taken over a few games, as has Herro. Hagans has taken over games here recently. Travis and Washington have as well.

                    I completely disagree that this team doesn't have guys out there who can control basketball games. We've seen it. You and crazzedcats for some reason are vastly underestimating how much talent this team has. Just because they're not Duke doesn't mean they don't have top 10 talent. This is a top 10 roster just like it was when we looked at it back in the summer and were so excited.

                    Kentucky won't play defense all the time. Full stop. Until it does we won't see a legitimate Final Four contender. The only question is can Kentucky play defense at a high enough level. Some of the things you see from Travis and Washington aren't about not playing hard; Travis and Washington give up a lot against long, athletic teams. Travis gets scored over down low a lot. That might just be stitched in to who we are.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post

                      Johnson has taken over a few games, as has Herro. Hagans has taken over games here recently. Travis and Washington have as well.

                      I completely disagree that this team doesn't have guys out there who can control basketball games. We've seen it. You and crazzedcats for some reason are vastly underestimating how much talent this team has. Just because they're not Duke doesn't mean they don't have top 10 talent. This is a top 10 roster just like it was when we looked at it back in the summer and were so excited.

                      Kentucky won't play defense all the time. Full stop. Until it does we won't see a legitimate Final Four contender. The only question is can Kentucky play defense at a high enough level. Some of the things you see from Travis and Washington aren't about not playing hard; Travis and Washington give up a lot against long, athletic teams. Travis gets scored over down low a lot. That might just be stitched in to who we are.
                      I am not saying the team doesn't have any talent. They have a lot of talent and a lot of "could be" and "what if". And maybe your definition of a "college star" is different from mine.

                      I don't believe, at this time, UK has any "star" players. I think of college stars as the top 15-20ish or so players and I don't think UK has one. If you put all the college players into a bucket and let coaches form a top players list I don't think a UK guy would be in their top 15-20. Maybe Keldon would be towards the back of that list but I think he's a tossup

                      Crazy things can happen in the NCAA tournament (UK in 20114) but I don't even see any semblance of anything that shows this team is a Final Four caliber team.
                      Last edited by JFCats22; 01-09-2019, 08:55 AM.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post
                        I agree about the points above regarding slow vs. fast.

                        I think what's happening right now is that Cal is trying to get Travis and Washington going. Travis in particular is having a rough go. He's doing all kinds of things you teach big men not to do.

                        Cal is clearly trying to get the game into a halfcourt affair and feed Travis in hopes that he'll start clicking. But for two games now he's been blocked an absurd number of times, had the ball raked out, missed easy shots. And all the while, Washington hasn't been active except for spurts. (I will say that his one spurt last night, which Billy Kennedy talked at length about after the game, was pretty impressive. But he won't give you a sustained, consistent effort for 40 minutes except for sometimes.)

                        The only way this team does anything is if all seven or eight who play give you something. We've seen that only once or twice this year, with Carolina being one of those games. Otherwise we've got one going, one struggling, a couple more just playing meh. We can't get that consistent, fiery effort from all eight on a given night. Defensively in particular we just can't put anything sustained together across 40 minutes. Until we do we'll continue to struggle.
                        This is what frustrates me most with Cal. I think you are right that he's trying to get PJ going, but he's a little too stubborn. Against Bama he was getting torched in the first half. If he isn't into it then sit him. Has he EVER been that patient with Richards? EJ? If they make a mistake they get pulled almost immediately. PJ's biggest mistake in his off games is flat out not trying. If he doesn't want to be out there take him out. I would rather lose with a player actually giving effort. If he is having a lazy game, which he does too often, give his minutes to Nick and EJ.

                        All that being said, I know PJ is much more capable of taking over a game than Nick or EJ. I know I don't see what goes on in practices. But, when you have a guy who just isn't interested he doesn't need to play. Like you said, his lows can be team killers. Surely Cal can recognize that.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by JFCats22 View Post
                          I think of college stars as the top 15-20ish or so players and I don't think UK has one.
                          Probably not, but I'm not sure what that proves. That's a very small number of players. You can look at a lot of Final Fours and not see many players who were probably the best 20 in the game.

                          Kansas/Michigan/Villanova/Loyola Chicago last year: probably one top 20 player in Brunson in that group, although Devonte Graham was pretty close.

                          North Carolina/Gonzaga/Oregon/South Carolina two years ago: probably three top 20 players in that bunch in Dillon Brooks and Jackson and Berry for UNC.

                          Villanova/North Carolina/Oklahoma/Syracuse: Buddy Hield might've been the only one in that group. (ON EDIT: Josh Hart would be in this group.)

                          You can go down the line. I just think top 20 players is a really arbitrary cut-off. Kentucky in Cal's era has had a couple of good teams with no top 20 players (2011 and 2014). Another team in 2017 that had only one (Fox) but he only became a top 20 player at the end. I look at a guy like Ashton Hagans and he looks like a special player to me. I mean I watch him play and see a guy who shows flashes that he could be every bit as valuable as De'Aaron Fox. But he's just sort of scraping the surface right now.

                          So I just don't know what the argument you're trying to make says about how good Kentucky can be. How good Kentucky is will depend on whether or not they buy in defensively.

                          Last edited by Will Lavender; 01-09-2019, 09:35 AM.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post

                            Johnson has taken over a few games, as has Herro. Hagans has taken over games here recently. Travis and Washington have as well.

                            I completely disagree that this team doesn't have guys out there who can control basketball games. We've seen it. You and crazzedcats for some reason are vastly underestimating how much talent this team has. Just because they're not Duke doesn't mean they don't have top 10 talent. This is a top 10 roster just like it was when we looked at it back in the summer and were so excited.

                            Kentucky won't play defense all the time. Full stop. Until it does we won't see a legitimate Final Four contender. The only question is can Kentucky play defense at a high enough level. Some of the things you see from Travis and Washington aren't about not playing hard; Travis and Washington give up a lot against long, athletic teams. Travis gets scored over down low a lot. That might just be stitched in to who we are.
                            Travis and his vertical remind me of Dakari Johnson. I don't feel like he could jump over Sunday's paper. He's big enough he should just be able to stand there with his arms straight up and somewhat challenge/effect a shot. He gets in trouble trying to block the guy he's guarding. It's elementary to teach a player not to jump on defense before your opponent with the ball, yet the number of guys who do it is through the roof. He's also pretty awful at coming over on help D trying to block someone. I just don't think he's athletic enough to be that type of player.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by teamchemistry15 View Post

                              This is what frustrates me most with Cal. I think you are right that he's trying to get PJ going, but he's a little too stubborn. Against Bama he was getting torched in the first half. If he isn't into it then sit him. Has he EVER been that patient with Richards? EJ? If they make a mistake they get pulled almost immediately. PJ's biggest mistake in his off games is flat out not trying. If he doesn't want to be out there take him out. I would rather lose with a player actually giving effort. If he is having a lazy game, which he does too often, give his minutes to Nick and EJ.

                              All that being said, I know PJ is much more capable of taking over a game than Nick or EJ. I know I don't see what goes on in practices. But, when you have a guy who just isn't interested he doesn't need to play. Like you said, his lows can be team killers. Surely Cal can recognize that.
                              I'm going to disagree a little with this. I don't see anything from Washington that suggests he shouldn't be playing. The guy needs to put the ball in the basket a little more but he's still giving you solid games.

                              He definitely has a motor issue but you have to have him out there most of the time.

                              I do think Montgomery needs to be playing a little more but I would play him in front of Travis. Richards remains an enigma and if he can help you in about five possessions a game it's a win with him.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Will Lavender View Post

                                Probably not, but I'm not sure what that proves. That's a very small number of players. You can look at a lot of Final Fours and not see many players who were probably the best 20 in the game.

                                Kansas/Michigan/Villanova/Loyola Chicago last year: probably one top 20 player in Brunson in that group, although Devonte Graham was pretty close.

                                North Carolina/Gonzaga/Oregon/South Carolina two years ago: probably three top 20 players in that bunch in Dillon Brooks and Jackson and Berry for UNC.

                                Villanova/North Carolina/Oklahoma/Syracuse: Buddy Hield might've been the only one in that group.

                                You can go down the line. I just think top 20 players is a really arbitrary cut-off. Kentucky in Cal's era has had a couple of good teams with no top 20 players (2011 and 2014). Another team in 2017 that had only one (Fox) but he only became a top 20 player at the end. I look at a guy like Ashton Hagans and he looks like a special player to me. I mean I watch him play and see a guy who shows flashes that he could be every bit as valuable as De'Aaron Fox. But he's just sort of scraping the surface right now.

                                So I just don't know what the argument you're trying to make says about how good Kentucky can be. How good Kentucky is will depend on whether or not they buy in defensively.
                                I think what crazzed is trying to point out is the common denominator of Cal getting to the Final Four, which is him having one of those guys. I believe it is him or Jworld who always bring that up.

                                But, it's wrong. We have had teams with those guys and not made it, and vice versa. The Wall team probably had three of the top 20 with Wall, Cousins, and Patterson. I don't think Brandon Knight was. Randle? Maybe. Ulis his sophomore year was a guy every coach in the country wanted. Having one (or multiple) of those guys doesn't mean or guarantee anything. Cal needs what every coach in the history of the game needs: To have a group of kids who know their roles and perform them to the best of their ability. How many times have we heard about Davis taking the 4th (or whatever it was) most shots on that team? Terrance Jones being willing to focus on Thomas Robinson. You think KAT would've had the numbers he had here at any other school in the country? Booker? It's a "sacrifice for the cause" type of thing. Right now we don't have it. If PJ can shut down Nwora he can shut down Mack from Bama. He just didn't seem like he wanted to. We need EJ and Nick to go 100% for their limited minutes and not just float around. Until they all get on (and stay on) the same page we won't know what they're capable of. But, that team that handled UNC is a final four caliber team.

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                                Texas A&M vs. Kentucky: Game Thread

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