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Blog Entry

Kentucky's close game woes continue

Posted on: February 6, 2011 2:38 am
Edited on: February 6, 2011 2:47 am
 

Posted by MATT JONES

It was deja vu all over again for Kentucky fans Saturday night when Brandon Knight's three-pointer clanked off the side of the rim as time expired, giving Florida a 70-68 win over the Cats in Gainesville. For the fifth time this season, Kentucky went on the road, fell down by double digits in the second half, fought back to take the lead late, only to lose in the final minutes. Against North Carolina, Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama and now Florida, Kentucky has seen golden opportunities to grab road victories slip through its fingers down the stretch, each time in a bit more painful and frustrating manner than the last.

Against Florida, Kentucky stormed back from a 13 point second half deficit on the back of Brandon Knight. The freshman put on a spectacular show in the second half, scoring in bunches against former AAU teammate Kenny Boynton. Knight finished with 24 points, his ninth game scoring over 20, which tied the all-time Kentucky record for most games by a Freshman over that point plateau. And when Knight found an open Darius Miller for three with 3:40 left to cap a 22-6 rally that turned a 55-42 deficit into a 64-61 Kentucky lead, it looked as if the Wildcats would escape with a hard-fought SEC road victory.

But, like The Situation after a night at the bars on “The Jersey Shore”, the young Cats once again could not close the deal. On the ensuing two possessions, the Wildcats missed a rebound assignment, allowing a Chandler Parsons putback dunk, and then immediately followed it up by turning the ball over when Brandon Knight ran into a teammate attempting to set a screen. A three point lead turned into a one point deficit and Kentucky was forced to play from behind over the final two minutes.

Even still, Knight ended up with a relatively good look at the end to win the game. But after making his other four three point attempts, Knight was unable to connect on the last, sending the Cats back home with another defeat. Unlike in previous close losses, UK wasn’t beaten this time by a mental error, defensive lapse or a late jumper. But they were beaten nonetheless, finding a new excruciating way to drop a close game on the road. This edition of John Calipari’s team has been the bizarro version of the UK group from last season. The Wall/Cousins/Patterson team was 8-2 in games that were within five points going into the last television timeout, while this group is a pitiful 0-5 in such scenarios.

In all five losses, the Cats have failed in a different manner, but they have each followed the same general pattern. After falling behind by a large amount, the Cats have stormed back to take the lead, only to crumble down the stretch. This closing problem is disturbing, as it suggests the problems are not rooted in a continued lapse in preparation or random cold shooting nights on the road. But rather, Kentucky has simply been unable to perform in winning time. When the games are on the line and Calipari’s group needs one basket, rebound, loose ball or defensive stop, it simply hasn’t executed.  Kentucky has found unique ways to be consistently anti-clutch, a death sentence for a team with Championship dreams.

Before the Florida game, Calipari told Dick Vitale that he didn’t much care whether Kentucky won the SEC regular season. That is good, as Kentucky’s chances of winning the conference regular season are quickly slipping away. The Cats are currently three games behind SEC West leader Alabama, and sit two behind Florida in the SEC East. Instead, Calipari told Vitale that he is only worried about how the team’s play will have an effect on the seeding in March, when he still believes his team can make a run.

In theory one could see how Calipari’s optimism about March is possible. His team has lost four games by a combined total of 8 points and is very close to being 20-2, instead of 16-6. However the difference in record is not one based on misfortune or a lack of luck, but rather a consistent inability to execute down the stretch and make winning plays as great teams must do.

Ohio State has been in five games in the Big Ten decided by five points or fewer. It is 5-0 in those games. Kentucky has been in five games in the SEC decided by five points or fewer. It is 0-5 in those games. The difference in the amount and margin of close games between the No. 1 team in America and Kentucky is quite small. But when contrasting Kentucky's poor performances down the stretch in game after game with those of the nation's best team, a paraphrase of W Clement Stone’s famous admonition about people comes to mind.  There may be little difference amongst the top college basketball teams in America, but what little difference there is, makes a big difference.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Florida, Kentucky
 
Comments

Since: Feb 20, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

Once again the uneducated hillbilly gets an opportunity to spill his hatred on air waves. Be it tv or radio I am generally shocked and annoyed that this piece of crap gets any air time. His audacity and outrageous views make my blood boil. How can you be paid to just spew hate and not back a single thing with proof? I genuinely hope and know that UK is going to fail and not even get past the second round of march madness. Also just to be on the record, if we couls suspend laws for one day I would love to stab Matt repeatedly in the face. Just know this, whomever decides to support this piece of garbage will be wholeheartedly not be utilized or supported by myself or anyone I know. So Matt you hateful little troll, I hope you enjoy your pitiful Cats when the cardinals are sweet sixteen or better in the end. Good luck in pursuits of the future and I hope you are fired soon.





Since: Dec 28, 2010
Posted on: February 7, 2011 5:21 am
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

Any news on Patterson and Lucas?



Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:14 am
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

In theory one could see how Calipari’s optimism about March is possible. His team has lost four games by a combined total of 8 points and is very close to being 20-2, instead of 16-6. However the difference in record is not one based on misfortune or a lack of luck, but rather a consistent inability to execute down the stretch and make winning plays as great teams must do.

Jones, do you have to make the bias SO obvious?  Let me understand your writing in the last week plus. 

You begrudgingly give  an injury riddled UL and Pitino credit for finding their way to now an 18-5 mark overall and 4th place in the toughest conference in America.  Yet you have no problem forseeing how a team that is completly healthy but losing close games could have a much better record?  How does that come so easily but credit to Pitino's bunch, you know the ones who are ACTUALLY WINNING close games against quality opponents, came so difficultly.

Its ok if you are part of the Big Blue Nation.  Its written all over your columns.  Just come out and say it so that I can once and for all stop taking you seriously as a balanced journalist.




Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:10 am
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

Ha, you amuse me. 
OSU and Villanova are the only 2 teams to make the tourny at least once every decade from the 30s to now. 
I couldn't care less if i played any SEC team this year, they all suck. now run along. 



Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:59 am
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

I mean, if UK doesnt start winning soon, that loss is actually going to look like a bad loss for UL. 



Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:54 am
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

UConn peaked in December and have played inconsistant, at best, since then. And right now, our win over Notre Dame looks a heck of a lot better than beating ul. Enjoy your high ranking come tomorrow. Your ranking is thru attrition and will be short-lived

PEAKED?  They have lost once since losing to UL, to a top 15 team.  So if you say Uconn peaked, than ND was obviously not playing good basketball in December.  I mean after UK beat them in a "neutral court" game, they did get blown out by two unranked conference teams.  So for the record, you are saying that Uconn, who stepped out of conference and beat EVERYONE and only then got beat by UL, peaked in December, but you want me to believe that  ND was playing at the same level they are now back when UK beat them and UK beat them because UK is just that good?  Give me a break. 

And for goodness sake, please stop talking about Kanter.  The guys UL were missing have actually played for the UL progam.  Read this carefully, ENES KANTER WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, OFFICIALLY BE A PART OF UK BASKETBALL.  There is a big difference between being injured and being ruled ineligible.  Cal's fault for taking a risk that blew up in his face.  That is what you guys payed for.  Deal with it.

UL has more wins against the CBSSports top 100 RPI (by far)
As many, or more wins against ranked teams
More wins in true road games
The higher quality road win
Less losses in a tougher conference
A win over Uconn at Uconn (you know, instead of a blowout loss on a neutral floor)
A win over WVU (you know, instead of a blowout loss)

Hey "Big Brother", you should get your little bro to teach you how to win a close game, especially on the road because we do it repeatedly against great competiition.

Hold on tight to that win over UL, we play in a real conference so you need it WAY more than we do,



Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: February 6, 2011 6:58 pm
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

Hey Realstinknky,  what has pay-pal done  with big sis? oh yeah HE got 5 players into the NBA. who cares? get over Pitino. he got over you a long time ago. the enis excuse is starting to get a little old. your dumbazz coach being the recruiting guru he is , should have got a legal amueter center to play this year. suck it big sis.



Since: Jan 19, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

No results? What's Pitino done in 10 years at ul? I see no banners hanging in the grease pit. Little brother, little brother...always will be little brother.



Since: Jan 19, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

News-flash...KY is a great program and will continue to dominate Louisville and college basketball in the coming years. You'll always be little brother to the Big Blue. Might as well accept it. Your win over UConn isn't quite what you think. UConn peaked in December and have played inconsistant, at best, since then. And right now, our win over Notre Dame looks a heck of a lot better than beating ul. Enjoy your high ranking come tomorrow. Your ranking is thru attrition and will be short-lived. Stop crying about who didn't play when we kicked your butts. We also were missing a player or two including the best center in the country and still managed to win on your home grease pit. UK is an average team right now but I believe our conference record vs the big east is pretty damn good overall. Sadly for you, Louisville will always be Louisville and KY will always be the winningest program in college basketball!



Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Kentucky's close game woes continue

IF THE BIG TEN IS SO WEAK THIS YEAR WHY ARE THERE 5 TEAMS IN THE TOP 25????ONLY 3 OR 2 DEPENDING ON WHAT POLL YOU GO BY FROM THE SOUTH-WEAK CONFERENCE.KY WILL BE LUCKY TO BE A 6 OR 7 SEED IN THE TOURNEY......RUMOR HAS IT THAT COACH [CHEATER]CAL IS TRYING TO TEACH HIS BOYS HOW TO SPELL N.I.T.........THEY JUST MIGHT NEED TO KNOW WHERE THEIR AT COME MARCH


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