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Why couldn’t Kentucky match Tennessee’s energy?

Kentucky couldn’t contain Admiral Schofield Saturday or match the Vols’ energy. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

The more I think about, the more I wonder if Kentucky players simply underestimated what to expect against Tennessee Saturday in Knoxville.

“There are no excuses, but I’m sure they had revenge on their mind,” freshman Immanuel Quickley said.

Okay, nothing wrong there.

“I think any team that plays us is going to be ready to play us, just because we are Kentucky,” Quickley added.

Again, nothing out of line there.

But then Quickley added this.

“We are always going to have that target on our back. We just really didn’t match their energy today,” Quickley said.

Didn’t match their energy? How could Kentucky not match the energy it had to know the Vols would bring after being routed at Rupp Arena two weeks earlier.

“We just didn’t bring energy from the jump. They brought more energy than us,” sophomore Nick Richadrs said. “We didn’t execute our offense and our defense wasn’t how it usually is.”

No the defense wasn’t what it usually is. Not close. If anything, it was plain bad.

“We just weren’t ourselves today. It was a bad game,” Richards said.

I think Richards was being completely honest there. It was a bad game and they “weren’t ourselves” at all.

The Vols and Cats likely will be seeded No. 2 and No. 3 in the SEC Tournament meaning if they both win opening games, they will meet in the tourney semifinals.

“It will be a good battle. The rivalry is great. We are going to see them again soon,” Richards said.

But will Kentucky understand then that it has to match the energy the Vols brought Saturday and surely will again in Nashville at the SEC tourney.

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  1. Another example of young players at Kentucky apparently not ready to play their biggest Kentucky rival on the big stage, at their house no doubt. I just like hard nosed veteran teams that are playing for the colors and the name on the jersey. I guess these young men get it, but I don’t know.

  2. I love the guys that come here.
    Most everyone come here as a one year audition.
    Why would you ever let someone outwork you?
    Knowing that your future is being evaluated?

  3. Why would anyone really want to interview or listen to anything Nick has to say?
    He is one of the least inspirational players on the team. If it wasn’t for the FT line and occasional slam, he would have no offense at all. He does have good shot blocking and rebound efficiency but, that is many times neutralized by bad hands and being foul prone.

  4. Mike, I think you may be wrong about Nick. He has a great shot from about 18 feet in. He did a little, very little, of that last year, but he did take a few from around the free throw line, and made them. As for being foul prone, he has a lot of phantom calls made against him because he doesn’t stay straight up. If he was allowed to push and shove like Grant Williams, he would be completely different.
    Remember, no one thought Skal Labissiere was worth 10 cents, me included, but it turned out that Cal did not let him just relax and play where he was comfortable. His first year in the pros, with a coach that just let him play, paid big dividends and he tore it up as a rookie.
    Cal has a problem saying he wants his players to be positionless, then he gets a player like Skal or Nick or even Karl Anthony Towns and he wants to mold them into the standard big man of banging inside and don’t go more than 5 feet from the basket.
    Yes, he gave KAT a little more freedom, but KAT did not shoot near as many 3’s per game at UK as he did his first year in the NBA; even though he came in as a very good outside shooter.
    I think Nick will surprise some people when gets to the NBA. Right now, he just looks like a player that is confused and not sure what he is allowed to do and not do.

    1. OldFan…..I do have to agree with all you said. Nick has shown a decent jump shot from off the key, but he doesn’t seem to have enough confidence to get more offensively involved and shoot it. Nick is not mentally tough at all. After almost 2 years and 100’s of practices, how can he be confused and not be aware of what he is supposed to do?

  5. As for the “audition” All they need to do is wear the “Kentucky” on their front because Calipari has their back. One year of NBA purgatory, served at UK, is the audition. It’s One and Done baby, and if not One and in the NBA, its defined “failure” with one redo chance. If they can’t get it done in a second year, then it is time to simply more on and disappear, see Sasha Killeya-Jones.

  6. I hope I am wrong, But this team has hit the wall and i hope they can correct it! The Ole Miss game will tell everything. If was not for Tyler’s extremely hot shooting night, we would have lost to Arkansas. For the last two games, B J has been more of a cheerleader than a player. Standing around and directing the action instead of taking it to the other team. Keldon has been very active, but his shot is missing and he gets blocked at the basket frequently. Nick and E J are tentative at best. Immanuel and Ashton are ok on offense, but are getting killed on defense. No one is trusting their teammates and it shows.

    How can a team go from their best games of the year to their worst so quickly? I hope Cal and the players figure it out, or this could be a very short post season! We will see which teams shows up tomorrow night. This sporadic play is not a good recipe for a tournament run. I hope i am wrong, but the signs are there.

  7. How could they not be ready for that game? Its too late in the season to use youth as an excuse. This is the kind of mental weakness that will get you beat in the first round.

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