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So far Cats playing like a musician with only one string

EJ Montgomery (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

After watching the UK Basketball team lose 69-66 to the Utah Utes Wednesday night in Las Vegas it reminded me of a guitar player I watched play a few years ago. This guitar player was very unique in that he only had one string on his guitar – -the low E string. He sounded really good as long as he played very simple songs. But if he had to play anything complex or difficult the limitation of only having one string was too much to overcome. He couldn’t do it.

That’s what made me think of the UK Basketball game against Utah. They looked like a musician playing with only one string. He’s what I mean.

Early in the game they played extremely poor defense, couldn’t stay in front of their man and gave up plenty of open three pointers and shots in the paint. That allowed Utah to build a double digit lead in the first half. While the UK players were not playing defense they also weren’t playing any kind of productive offense unless they were able to get a rebound and get out in transition.

Their half court offensive sets were horrendous to watch. A lot of dribbling and holding the ball before someone threw up a three pointer late in the shot clock or a drive through three Utah defenders to then throw something up off the backboard. No consistent screening, no moving with out the ball, no reading the defense when they changed to a zone or switched back to man to man. Once again they looked like a musician playing with one string.

And you know, that offense works against weaker teams, against less talented or less physical teams. Against less difficult opponents the Cats can wear down their opponents, get out in transition and ultimately win the game.

But like the guitar player with one string, when the difficulty level improves as it did against Utah and will against Ohio State and U of L, the likelihood of playing well decreases dramatically.

As a team Kentucky struggles in half court defense, they struggle in half court offense, they don’t shoot the ball well from the floor and they don’t rebound well for their size and talent. The only thing they do relatively well is get out in transition on offense.

In most games this season they are “playing with one string” and it shows. Losing to Utah exposed them as an overrated one dimensional team that will continue to lose to average or better basketball teams unless they learn how to actually play a five man game. Playing a lot of one-on-one, either on offense or defense, is not going to cut it. This team doesn’t have the talent level that is required to be able to dominate their opponents one on one.

John Calipari agrees and said as much. He said after the loss to Utah Wednesday night, “My team, more than any team I’ve coached in the last five to seven years, needs each other,” Calipari said. “You have to do your job or we’re in trouble and most of that is battle. We all have to do this together.”

And I would agree with him wholeheartedly, they are in trouble. The players don’t seem to understand the team concept or they refuse to employ it. Either way it puts them in a tough spot.

So watching Kentucky fiddle away with one string while their opponents continue to play a complete symphony is getting to be tiresome music to listen to, even for UK fans.


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  1. If OSU beats UK tomorrow, does that put Holtmann at top of list as Cal replacement in 2022 when Catmandoo says will be Cal’s last year?

    1. Maybe Calipari will do the right thing and we won’t have to wait until 2022. Billy Donovan and Brad Stevens should be at the top of that list. I am not sure that either would want the job though. Mark Few would be the No. 1 active college coach to talk to, but he most likely would not leave Gonzaga. Holtmann could be on that list as could Chris Beard, Larry Krystowiak, and Tom Crean. Yes Crean didn’t cut it at Indiana, but who has since Knight left the program in a mess? Scott Drew and Dana Altmann could very well be on that list. These are all coaches who have taken lesser talent, coached them up, and been successful at schools not known to be called blue blood programs. That is the kind of coach Kentucky will need to move on from the One and Done era.

      1. We’ll see Keith, this season is far from over.

        1. Maybe not…we’ll know by end of month.

          1. You sure are hoping UK folds aren’t you Mr. Cardinal. I can read between the lines. Let’s look across the college landscape a little now, UNC is 6-5 now, with 4 straight losses, Duke lost a shocker to SFA, MSU, Catmandoo’s team, lol, sit at 8-3, with one loss as the No. 1 team to the mighty UK Wildcats I might add. That looks good on the resume. Auburn is rolling, but has not played anybody, and Pearl, the guy you recommend to replace UK’s HOF John Calipari, well UT fired him for good reason, and he would be a “train wreck” at UK if they hired him. Now, try to keep up here, the Cards bit the dust in Lubbock as the No. 1, but they are a great team, and your alma mater, so I’ll be nice and leave them alone for now. Hey Catmandoo, “hot shot” chew on these scores, 69-62, 45-13, both UK victories, one in basketball, the other in football, remember? Sure you do. One of those games cost you a place at the VV’s table, but you did not own up to your word, sad sack that you are. You guys are not Kentucky fans, just a couple TROLLS stirring up trouble and heartache to us real UK fans. If this UK team wins it all come March, etc., which I expect them to do, I will take no prisoners. LOL.

          2. The end of the month will be the end of the season for all of the Rah Rahs.

        2. How dare Larry let a negative article be posted on his site! Doesn’t he know this is a Rah Rah site for Know Nothings like Pup? We really didn’t get punked by Utah…we just didn’t score as many points as they did. Rah Rah Rah!!!!

          1. Honor you word! Get off this site like you gave your word to all who work this blog. No UK didn’t get “punked” as you say, they lost by 3, after being down by 17, with several questional calls in the mix. Now you got “punked” by a score of 69-62, and 45-13. Hurts don’t it. And a Lifetime Contract for Cal to boot. LOL

      2. Few would be great but don’t think he wants the high visibility…agree with most of your picks cept Crean. The Pearlmeister would be on my list. He count paint his body blue, recruit about same level as Cal, and out coach him from the bench.

        1. My guess would be Drew. He recruits well at a football school, is competitive in the Big 12, he plays and wins a tough non conference schedule, and he is young, but not too young.

          1. If hired, after his first couple years, if he didn’t win a NC, or recruit top talent, or fail to win the SEC title and SEC tourney title, you would be on his case relentlessly, add that in to all your above BS. Cal will leave one day, and when that happens, I want to see what you two idiots say when the s_ _t hits the fan. I hope I’m still around. Until then, I say proudly, LIFETIME CONTRACT, read it and weep big shot.

  2. Keith, you have painted the picture well. This team has been dysfunctional for 80% of the season and Calipari doesn’t have a clue as to why or how to fix it. Maybe, the better story would have been one about a one trick coach who has lost his knack for bringing in vastly superior talent any more? Specifically his failure to recruit bigs like Cousins, Davis, Towns, Randle and Adebayo. Maybe that has more to do with his decision to let his wings and guards be ball hogs where the bigs get left out of the offense? After all, what big guy wants to come to KY just to rebound and play defense? Starting with the Harrison twins, Calipari has caved in to letting his guards call and take the shots, literally, while the bigs are after thoughts on the offensive end. This is why elite big men refuse to come to KY. After the draft of 2022 , all of the superior talent will go straight to the pros, leaving kids who will have to be coached up. Calipari will move on then knowing that he is ill equipped to do so. For some reason, we did not get the Calipari that coached at UMass and Memphis. I guess the bright lights, big money, and at that time, vastly superior talent made him content, if not lackadsical in his profession. He focused so much on recruiting that he didn’t need to coach kids up. Now, he can’t. He is in a position to write his own ticket to the NBA and should do so and let Kentucky get on with the business of bringing in it’s next coach. National titles won is the ultimate barometer of a coach’s success at UK. One title in what will be 11 years with most likely, a second NIT appearance is ample reason enough to move on to another coach. Calipari will be remembered as another coach outside of Adolph Rupp who could not win more that one national title. Its time to give someone else a shot at this seemingly impossible task.

    1. Hey Mr. Spartan, suck on this…. 45-13, you lost. Now be a man and get off this site.

  3. Pup, Mike and Catmandoo also on one musical string always repeating themselves on this site. That’s why I skip there saying and read t the real BBN fans facts.

    1. Don’t forget your outta here in less than 48.

  4. Yes this team is struggling but as always I believe Cal will figure it how to fix there problem. We may take a few more bumps and still plenty time to figure it out.

    1. Cal’s teams always seem to be struggling thru first half every season…that is on him.

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