John Clay: No cause to cuss, Cats just acting their age this year

jclay@herald-leader.com,JohnClayJanuary 20, 2011 

Twenty bleeping questions, asked and answered, about Kentucky's bleeping loss at Alabama.

1. What was the most disconcerting aspect of the 68-66 loss to the Crimson Tide? Those bleeping selfish so-and-sos, oops, just kidding. Call it Road Rage.

2. No, seriously? Seriously, the most disconcerting thing is that instead of reloading, this is starting to feel like rebuilding.

3. Most disconcerting stat Tuesday? Alabama got 56 percent of the rebounds at its offensive end of the floor. That's effort. That's where UK lost.

4. It's all effort? Well, not all effort. UK just doesn't match up well with physical teams. That's why the Cats beat finesse teams such as Washington and Louisville and lost to tough teams such as Georgia and Alabama.

5. Is that a voice from the past? It's Billy Gillispie saying, "We gotta get tougher."

6. What can John Calipari do about this? Hey, it's not as if he's ignoring the issue, which makes it all the more frustrating.

7. Most disconcerting (clean) post-game quote? Calipari said afterward that in the second half, he could not play Josh Harrellson in the game.

8. Oddest and biggest play of the game? With 14:21 left in the first half, Harrellson's accidental tip-in of an Alabama miss was the difference in the game. Also the breaks of the game.

9. Anything else prove fate was against the Cats? In three previous conference games, Alabama made three of 21 three-point shots. The Tide made four in the first half Tuesday, and finished 7-for-14.

10. Does that go back to Cal's point that Kentucky is every opponent's Super Bowl? Sure. Alabama was amped up. But if you are everyone's Super Bowl, you don't want to be the Buffalo Bills.

11. Under-the-radar stat? After fixing their free-throw problem, the Cats have reverted. They are 46-for-73 in Southeastern Conference play for 63 percent. That won't win close games.

12. You got nothing positive? Darius Miller has scored in double digits each of the past three games.

13. Moving forward, what's the biggest worry? Still no bench. Yes, Cal relied on six players when Massachusetts made the 1996 Final Four, but that team had Marcus Camby. He was pretty good.

14. Anything else? Brandon Knight has to get to the foul line. He's taken three free throws in four SEC games.

15. Moving forward, what's a reason for hope? Here's one: Down 20, the Cats didn't toss in the towel. Those execution problems at the end can be worked out.

16. Are you tired of Cal saying this is a young team? Well, it is a young team. Cal is probably always going to have a young team. Difference is, last year's young team did not play like a young team. This one plays like a young team, especially on the road.

17. How so? For one thing, it looks too much to the refs for calls. After the game, freshman Doron Lamb said, "(Alabama) also got some calls that helped get them on that big run but, just as Coach says, you can't blame the refs." Even if you want to.

18. So how is Cal handling all this? I'd ask him, but he's currently washing his mouth out with soap. The guy isn't used to this. From 2006 to 2009, he was 61-1 in Conference USA with Memphis.

Two league losses in one season don't seem like much unless you lost one league game in four years.

19. And next up is another road game? At South Carolina, where Kentucky lost last year, remember.

20. So what should we make of this little uproar over Cal's use of the mother tongue as directed at Terrence Jones? Mark Twain famously said in "certain trying circumstances, swearing provides relief denied even to prayer." But I'm not for any coach talking to any player like that. Cal was correct to quickly apologize afterward. Bob Knight never did.

Reach John Clay at 859-231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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