We all know that John Calipari still likes his team, but the frustration in his words are obvious when he speaks. It’s no secret that Kentucky has not played up to the level the he (or the pundits or fans) has expected. In his latest media availability, Cal says that his Wildcats are still “in flux”:
On how this team has been in flux…
“Kyle [Wiltjer] is starting to change. Alex [Poythress] is beginning to change. We’re getting better but we’ve been in flux the whole season. We have not been able to say, ‘Okay, here’s who we are. Now let’s just get better than what we are.’ And, it has put us in positions where we’re not as confident in each other. Guys don’t believe in each other the way they should. We just haven’t been together like that.”
On where he feels his team is on the calendar for the season…
“I have no idea. All I know is we’re getting better and now hopefully we’ll start growing from here but I don’t know.”
On what he thinks this team’s identity should be, could be, or is…
“I don’t know. It’s still developing.”
Tonight’s game versus South Carolina is a game that the Wildcats should win and win easily, especially at Rupp. But opposing teams seems to know the Achilles heel of this Wildcat team is in the pacing of the game. If you can slow the game down and force Kentucky to play a half court game, you have them at their worst. Glenn Logan explains:
UK has lost, or nearly lost, every game they have played under 67 possessions. Now, we know this year’s team is not exceptional in transition offense or transition defense, so it may seem strange that pace would help or hurt the Wildcats, and I don’t think the pace of the game itself really does.
What I do think is that this team is very average, or even below average, in half-court execution. The more they have to run offense the more trouble they seem to have. But I think it drills down even deeper than that.
This team is much more efficient when they attack before the defense is set. Conversely, Kentucky is very efficient defensively without being set up because of the presence of Nerlens Noel. In fact, it seems to be a negative for Kentucky to have teams run their half-court offense against us. What happens, too often, is that UK defends well for about 20 seconds, and then breaks down.
As we know, Marcus Lee has been tearing it up on the west coast and I can’t wait to see him play next year. He is getting some good publicity in California. Check out this “A Day in the Life of Marcus Lee” ” video.