Bad Kentucky shows up again and gets a butt whipping from Alabama

Isaiah Jackson led UK with 14 points, seven blocked shots and six rebounds but Alabama routed the Cats 85-68 Tuesday. (SEC Photo)

Just when it looked like it might be safe to believe Kentucky could turn around its season after a 1-6 start that thought crumbled. The Cats got beat every way possible in an 86-65 loss to Alabama Tuesday night that ended UK’s three-game SEC win streak.

The game was so bad that Kentucky coach John Calipari said he likely would not even watch the game tape — and why should he. He would just see Alabama making uncontested 3-pointers or beating UK to the rim with ease.

“None of our players played well,” Calipari said. “I obviously did not coach well. I will find five guys who will fight and that’s how we will play. We got beat every which way but loose.”

Kentucky did.

Alabama was 14 of 30 from 3-point range and had 10 3’s in the first half. Alabama got to the rim almost at will. The Crimson Tide converted 19 UK turnovers into 29 points and by not allowing UK the same easy looks it had, Alabama held UK to 21 of 60 (35 percent) shooting overall.

“It was a butt whipping for sure,” UK freshman Dontaie Allen, who had all eight of his points the first half, said.

Kentucky was down 23-22 after an Allen 3-pointer when it collapsed and had what has been an almost every game scoring drought. Alabama went on a 10-0 run when UK missed seven straight shots. Alabama ended the half on a 19-8 run as UK missed 12 of its final 14 shots.

If that wasn’t enough, Alabama started the second half with easy scores on its first three possessions and Kentucky never had an answer.

“We reverted,” Calipari said in a major understatement. “I am not even sure I will watch this tape. This league is not going to get any easier. People are playing the way they are.”

What Alabama did was just spread the court and pick apart UK’s defense and then used its physical play on defense to keep the Cats from getting any offensive flow.

“We didn’t show up today. We didn’t execute today,” point guard Devin Askew, who had 12 points and two assists, said. “We just didn’t play to our best.”

ESPN analyst Dick Vitale had trouble believing how bad the Kentucky defense was during the game.

“Kentucky has got to go back to the classroom and work on the game of basketball fundamentals on defense,” Vitale said late in the game. “They players have to buy into it (what the coaches are teaching) and believe. This is a disappointing step.

“They are going to shock some people like they did against Florida (in an 18-point win Saturday). Then they will be mediocre. It’s going to be up and down all season.”

Calipari didn’t play freshman Lance Ware, UK’s most physical player. He admitted maybe he should have because he knows Ware would “fight and battle” and other players were not.

“Did you expect us to play this way? I was giving guys a chance to play through it and wake up,” Calipari said. “I am looking for five fighters, battlers who will come in and play confident. You cannot play confident if you are getting hit in the head. If you are taking all the shots (from an opponent), you can’t be confident. We got pushed around and shoved around.”

Calipari had no more to add and really there was no more to add. Kentucky reverted to mid-December UK and now you wonder if the three-game win streak was a fluke against so-so competition or if this was just a game to throw out and UK will bounce back.

6 thoughts on “Bad Kentucky shows up again and gets a butt whipping from Alabama

  1. TheProfessor

    The spike in performance we saw in the Florida game was nothing but a 1 game spike in performance, not a sea change. Last night’s plunge to the depths was just that, a 1 game plunge into the abyss.

    This is not a very good team. Neither the Florida win nor the Alabama loss define this team to any greater extent than defining the outer limits of this team’s capability. This team has been defined by its sustained median level of play over the course of the season.

    That is the case this season, just as it has been the case in every other season, and will be the case in seasons yet to arrive.

    This team is a top 100 team. It is not a top 50 team, it is not a NCAA competitor, and it is certainly not even close to a NCAA Championship challenger/contender.

    2020-21 is simply a continuation of an long standing slide in performance that peaked in 2015 with the almost undefeated team that could not finish the job because Calipari left Harrison in the game and left the best shooters on the team on the bench down the crucial stretch drive. Since that night, this program has been is steady decline.

    It will continue to slide so long as Calipari remains the coach because his Players’ first, OAD philosophy places the health and success of the program too far down the list of important goals.

    Reply
  2. LarryPup

    This team is more worried about taking a knee during colors than playing "Wildcat Basketball." Like I said, I am through with, at least for now, UK sports. I hope they lose every game they play now. I was not real happy with the football team back in the spring/summer when they got all choked up with the BLM movement. 33 and the Professor are right, and have been for months. Calipari needs to go.

    Reply
  3. nostalgic33

    What a SNAFU…Situation Normal, All F_cked Up! Only 7 assists on 21 field goals and 19 turnovers! Compare that to 18 assists on 29 field goals with 14 turnovers in the Florida win. When we look to help others score, we win. When we look to score on our own, we lose. Of course, spreading their guys out to the corners and taking our guards one on one to the basket was genius coaching by Oats. He saw the tape of our 6 game losing streak and saw that our guards can’t guard a chair. The result was a layup or kick out to the player whose man came in to help. They took 30 three point shots to our 18. One third of those shots, we were within 3 feet of the shooter and never raised a hand to contest the shot, just watched them shoot. What does Calipari do to get these kids so screwed up?
    He says he is going to find 5 fighters. That will be Ware, Jackson, Toppin, Brooks, and of course his darling Boston. It won’t make any difference. Without a post offense, guards who can guard, and guards who will pass first, it will end up the same. Where did the Florida game come from?

    Reply

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