Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky-Louisville basketball review with Big Blue Links

Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox (0) drew contact on a drive during UK’s 73-70 loss to Louisville at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville.
Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox (0) drew contact on a drive during UK’s 73-70 loss to Louisville at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Thursday:

Louisville beats Kentucky 73-70. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports, “On Saturday, Kentucky Coach John Calipari offered a sobering assessment of a heart-bumping victory over North Carolina. It proved only that UK could beat any good team or lose to any good team. Wednesday’s game at archrival Louisville re-enforced that conclusion. Louisville beat Kentucky 73-70 in a game that could have been won by either side.”

Kentucky shows it’s not quite ready for the road. My column says, “Meanwhile, it was the first true road game of the season for Kentucky, and it looked like the first road true road game of the season for the Cats. Malik Monk, who couldn’t miss in Vegas, scoring 47 points in Vegas against the Tar Heels, couldn’t make a basket against the ’Ville. What happened in Vegas stays in Vegas. The freshman sat out the final 8:52 of the first half after picking up his second foul. He missed his first seven three-pointers before finally draining a triple to bring UK to within 71-70 with 10 seconds remaining. It wasn’t enough, however.”

Calipari laments Bam Adebayo’s lack of scoring chances. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports, “When asked to explain the plan to defend Kentucky big man Bam Adebayo, Louisville Coach Rick Pitino quipped, ‘Well, obviously, it wasn’t to back up and let him dunk on you.’ But that’s what happened more than once Wednesday night. The problem for Kentucky, which lost 73-70, was that it didn’t happen more often.”

Monk plays like Mork, comes down to earth. Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes, “Malik Monk was set up for a fall. After the Kentucky freshman scorched North Carolina with 47 points in a scintillating 103-100 UK victory Saturday, Monk was the toast of college hoopdom. It was probably the worst conceivable time to face a Rick Pitino-designed defense.”

Tyler Ulis’ advice helps Quentin Snider play his best. Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader reports, ‘Be more aggressive,’ the text message read. It was from Ulis. Two years after Ulis’ face was bloodied at the Yum Center, it was Snider who delivered the haymakers for the Cardinals. His stat line Wednesday night: A career-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 37 minutes. Most importantly, for him, was the final score: Louisville 73, Kentucky 70.”

Louisville won primarily with defense. Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal reports, “Beyond those three, the Cards (11-1) primarily did it with defense. Kentucky (10-2) came into the game making 34.2 percent of its 3-pointers, but the Wildcats shot 5-of-22 from 3-point range. Leading scorer Malik Monk, who averaged 21.9 points before the game, scored a hard-earned 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting. His 3-point attempt to tie the game at the buzzer missed, leaving him 1-for-9 for the night from long distance.”

Wildcats find no Kentucky home on Louisville’s court. Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News writes, “These Kentucky Wildcats had never seen anything like this. They have traveled for basketball games several times in this young season, from their home in Lexington to New York and from Paradise Island to the Las Vegas desert. There is a difference, though, between playing away from home and playing on the road. The Wildcats were going to discover it eventually.”

No one wanted to beat Kentucky more than Quentin Snider. Evan Daniels of Fox Sports writes, “Louisville guard Quentin Snider had Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo dancing at the top of the key. With 1:40 left on the clock Wednesday night and Louisville up four, Snider crossed right, back left, hesitated and exploded by a collapsed Adebayo for the signature moment in Louisville’s 73-70 win over its bitter rival.”

Snider is Louisville’s new hometown hero. Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports writes, “When the media poured into the Louisville locker room Wednesday night, sports information director Kenny Klein alertly grabbed the object of their attention and ushered him into the center of the room to stand on the Cardinal bird carpet. A teammate reached over the minicams and microphones to hand Quentin Snider a Santa hat, which he drolly wore throughout his star-of-the-game interview session. Ho, ho, hometown hero.”

Kentucky’s offense struggles against the Cards. Alex Forkner of the Cats Pause writes, “When Kentucky's typical tempo was slowed by the Louisville Cardinals' defense, the Cats struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the halfcourt. Shots wouldn't fall, especially from deep. UK's 39.7 field goal percentage against UofL is its second-lowest of the season, while its 5-of-22 clip (22.7 percent) from 3-point range ranks as its worst performance so far.”

Rick Pitino unloads his Kentucky burden. Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal writes, “Rick Pitino needs validation like the world needs another Kardashian. He has made his mark on basketball, and it is indelible. Final Fours at three different schools. NCAA titles at two. A niche in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. A lucrative contract that runs past his 73rd birthday. The University of Louisville basketball coach is so successful, so innovative, so demanding and so driven that he has been able to weather storms that would leave other men wobbly.”

A Snider family hug seals the Louisville win. Rick Bozich of WDRB writes, “You know what Quentin Snider did after Kentucky beat Louisville in Rupp Arena last Dec. 26? Parked in his bedroom at his family’s home and rarely left his room. ‘For two days,’ said Snider’s father, Scott. ‘He took that loss harder than the state championship game (at Ballard in 2013). He blamed himself for that loss because he didn’t score.’”

Kentucky crumbles in its first road test. Kyle Tucker of SEC Country writes, “Don’t let that final score fool you. Louisville’s 73-70 win over Kentucky basketball on Wednesday night was not some valiant near-miss. The young Wildcats broke under the weight of the moment, lost their minds amid the throbbing sound inside the KFC Yum! Center. The 10th-ranked Cardinals (11-1) made sixth-ranked Kentucky (10-2) play their game.”

Louisville never wavered. Seedy K of Card Chronicle writes, “The Louisville PG understood his Cards needed this Battle of the Bluegrass W on the hardwood, as much as that Blue School down the road needed the one it fashioned on the gridiron. So Q grabbed the intense midweek slugfest by the short and curlies and made it his own. On a night when the media seats were filled with pro scouts coming to see ballers who can't be recognized by a single letter, it was Q who made sure his team prevailed.”

Kentucky’s lack of discipline hurts on the road. Keith Taylor of KyForward writes, “Kentucky had a hard time making shots. That didn’t matter. Freshman sensation Malik Monk wasn’t on target. In the grand scheme of things, that didn’t matter, either. Kentucky coach John Calipari can live with his team when they shoot 40 percent from the field and even 65 percent from the charity stripe. If you ask Calipari, the poor shooting wasn’t the issue in sixth-ranked Kentucky’s 73-70 loss to No. 10 Louisville Wednesday night.”

Each possession was bigger than the last. Josh Ellis of Cats Illustrated writes, “Well, that was crazy. Fans of both No. 6 Kentucky and No. 10 Louisville can now exhale for the first time in what seems like forever. The Cardinals earned a 73-70 victory at the KFC Yum! Center in what was a back-and-fourth battle all night long. It was a game that came down to the final minutes, each possession bigger than the last. Louisville nursed a six-point lead with 1:44 to go, but UK coach John Calipari’s squad wouldn’t quit. The Wildcats clawed their way back to cut the U of L lead to two and keep the streak of four straight wins against their instate rival alive.”

Snider adds to Kentucky-Louisville legend. Eamonn Brennan of ESPN writes, “Just minutes after the final buzzer, Quentin Snider was in the concrete concourse undercarriage of the KFC Yum! Center, ostensibly on his way to ... well, somewhere. It was hard to tell, actually, and Snider didn't seem to know. The locker room? A postgame interview? He was moving with purpose, just as he had all night, past media members with rolling phone cameras and a cheering throng of Louisville fans and friends and family members, when suddenly -- in a way Kentucky could never quite manage in Snider's 37 minutes on the floor Wednesday night -- somebody stopped him cold.”

Louisville exploits Kentucky’s shooting. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports writes, “The Cardinals entered this game with the nation's best defensive efficiency rating. They exited with the same thing after holding a Kentucky team that shot 54.1 percent against North Carolina while scoring 103 points to just 39.7 percent shooting and only 70 points. That's strong and encouraging because if you can beat a team as talented as Kentucky by shooting just 43.3 percent from the field like Louisville just did, you can beat basically anybody.”

Louisville snaps the Kentucky streak. Eric Crawford of WDRB writes, “The headline acts of this game were supposed to be Kentucky's NBA-ready guards De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. But University of Louisville point guard and Louisville native Quentin Snider will earn a fair share of headlines out of it. The former Ballard High School standout scored a career-high 22 points to lead all scorers as the No. 11-ranked Cards held off Kentucky 73-70 before an ear-splitting crowd of 22,783 in the KFC Yum! Center, a crowd that ESPN's Dan Schulman called ‘the loudest we have heard yet this season’ in college basketball.”

Kentucky women survive scare from Washington State. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader reports, “Morris might have been the mopiest of all if No. 18 Kentucky hadn’t topped the Cougars 69-67 on Wednesday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum. The sophomore, who had made 20 of her 21 free throws coming into the game, missed two that would have iced a back-and-forth game in the final seconds.”

Five takeaways from Louisville’s win. Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk writes, “1. Louisville is a different team when their guards are making perimeter shots: That’s been the knock on them all season long. Entering Wednesday’s game, the trio of Donovan Mitchell, Quentin Snider and Deng Adel were shooting under 32 percent from three and none of the three were shooting better than 37 percent from the floor, and that’s after they had spent the last couple of weeks actually knocking down jumpers.”

Grayson Allen is suspended indefinitely. The Raleigh News and Observer reports. “We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen from last night’s game against Elon,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday in a statement. “As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to Steven Santa Ana and Coach Matt Matheny. As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball. To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time.”

Louisville’s defense slows Kentucky. Brian Bennett of ESPN writes, “The pregame hype video at the KFC Yum! Center interspersed highlights of Louisville players with classic moments from Muhammad Ali. The grainy footage from the late heavyweight champ showed off the ridiculous speed of Ali’s punches. The Greatest’s hometown team knew it would have to absorb some ultra-quick jabs from archrival Kentucky on Wednesday. The No. 10 Cardinals hoped that, like Ali, they could get tougher as the fight went on and find a way to survive.”

This time Louisville’s experience pays off. Brian Rickerd of the Frankfort State Journal writes, “So there was little reason to think UK wouldn’t get away with a starting lineup of four freshmen and a sophomore here Wednesday night against a Louisville team that, while hardly an old team, is a bunch of grizzled veterans compared to the Wildcats. But this time Louisville’s experience paid off as the Cardinals played with more discipline most of the way in holding off Kentucky 73-70 at the KFC Yum! Center.”

Louisville attacked the rim. Larry Vaught of Vaught’s Views reports. “They put so much pressure on your defense every possession, but our guys did a great job, not only defensively, but attacking the rim offensively. So many teams who play Kentucky, settle on jump shots, rather than drive to the basket, and it is always a four-point play, or a five-point play because they will beat you down the court,” Pitino said.

Loss to Louisville sheds new light on UK. Anthony Crawford of the Kentucky Kernel writes, “One thing became clear following UK men’s basketball’s 73-70 loss to the Louisville Cardinals Wednesday night in the KFC Yum! Center — while Malik Monk’s 47-point outburst against UNC was truly a blessing to UK fans and college basketball fans in general, it was also a curse to the young team moving forward.”

UK’s irst game on opponents’ home floor under Calipari












@North Carolina










@Notre Dame





@North Carolina



















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