Despite two losses this season, I ask that you do not give up on these Kentucky Wildcats. This is still a young a team. A team that still has to undergo some major learning curves–especially with the new officiating rules.
The Cats lost 67-62 to a Baylor Bears team ranked in the top 25 in men’s college basketball polls. With the loss, the Cats moved to 1-2 in games played on a neutral court–the second such game being played against competition in the Top 25. They also went a stretch of just over 6 minutes in which not a single shot went in the basket. When players aren’t making shots, it does the team no favors in trying to win the game.
The Cats were 52.2% from the free throw line, making 12 of 23 shots. They left 11 points at the line alone and need to make an effort to stop doing that.
After shooting 46.7% in the first half, the Cats shot 35.0% in the second half while attempting ten fewer shots. Again, these are not the percentages that John Calipari or his fans would like to see.
Whether the late start affected the players, I don’t know. Most teams don’t play in double-header games that start this late unless they are playing out in Maui during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
“I would hope, but we are what we are right now,” Calipari said on expecting the team to be tougher down the stretch. “We still left timeouts and broke down and didn’t do what we were supposed to do, did our own thing. But again, the biggest plays were the rebounds down the stretch. There were three or four, we get those, we win the game. It wasn’t that important. It’s more important that I get the ball on offense. That’s where we are as a team right now. But that’s what you would expect from a young team. I would hope they’d have more fight to win the game. They didn’t. They had, Baylor had, way more fight than we had.”
To those pessimistic fans, this team is not North Carolina, a fringe tourney team at best without two of their players. This team did not lose at home to Belmont or on the road at UAB. Cleveland State was the only non-ranked team that gave the Cats a run for the money.