Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Dissecting Kentucky basketball’s loss at LSU

LSU guard Tim Quarterman (55) grabbed a rebound in the first half of the Kentucky at LSU basketball game at Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rogue, La., on Jan. 5, 2016.
LSU guard Tim Quarterman (55) grabbed a rebound in the first half of the Kentucky at LSU basketball game at Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rogue, La., on Jan. 5, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Thursday:

Kentucky could add No. 1 center to No. 1 class, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer recently changed his ‘Crystal Ball’ prediction for five-star center Marques Bolden to Kentucky, which already has signed five of the top 16 prospects in the 247Sports rankings for the class of 2016.”

John Calipari goes back to the drawing board, writes Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “The final tally was not pretty. LSU outscored Kentucky 44-24 in the paint and outrebounded the Cats 46-32. The latter was UK’s worst beating on the boards since Dec. 6, 2013 (Baylor 41-25), and worst in a Southeastern Conference game since Feb. 16, 2013 (Tennessee 39-21 in the first game after Nerlens Noel’s torn anterior cruciate ligament shellshocked the Cats).”

With this Kentucky basketball team, John Calipari will have to be Mr. Fix-It, says my column. “Alex Poythress can sky for an improbable rebound and weakly miss a 1-footer on the same possession. Here are Poythress’ stats in UK’s three losses: four points and five rebounds in 17 minutes at UCLA (fouled out); six points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes versus Ohio State; four points and four rebounds in 26 minutes at LSU (fouled out).”

With win over Kentucky, LSU proves it is gaining traction, writes Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. “The biggest keys to LSU’s win: defense and rebounding. The Tigers denied the Wildcats penetration time after time, forcing them to settle for long jump shots that they aren’t as adept at making this season. Still, LSU’s rebounding dominance was almost shocking. LSU outrebounded Kentucky 46-32, dominating a Wildcats team that came in second in the SEC with a plus-7.6 rebounding average.”

Kentucky women try to rebound from first loss, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “They played so much harder than we played,” Mitchell said of Aubrn. “You can talk about what you could’ve done or what you should’ve done, but what happened was that Auburn just outplayed us. Credit to them and a great lesson for us.”

Ulis, Murray vow increased leadership, reports Alex Forkner of the Cats Pause. “It was just frustrating. Knowing that we’re so much better, and just a couple key plays, a couple key moments in the game where we can take advantage of it and we just don’t. That’s what we got to figure out,” Jamal Murray said. “As a leader and point guard I just think we need to do a better job of getting this team organized and getting us more prepared for games like this one when other teams are so fired up and excited to play us.”

Kentucky suffers from front-line frustration, writes Eric Crawford of WDRB. “Put simply, as the team’s most experienced players, Poythress and Lee have to play not just better, but smarter. Kentucky doesn’t have the frontcourt depth it has had in the past. Early foul trouble from these two is going to be a problem anytime it happens this season.”

UK releases contracts of new football assistants, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “For his veteran status, and the fancy new title of assistant head coach of the offense, Gran received a $650,000 a year contract that runs through June 30, 2019, roughly $100,000 a season more than UK paid each of its past two offensive coordinators.”

Tennessee rolls over Florida 83-69, reports Grant Ramey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “We obviously played the best 20 minutes we've played all year, really on both ends of the court,” first-year Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said after picking up his first career SEC win. “We played tonight the way you have to win in this league, by really defending.”

Texas A&M holds off Mississippi State 61-60, reports the Bryan/College Station Eagle. “Jalen Jones scored 11 points, including the go-ahead dunk with 20 seconds left, to help the 21st-ranked A&M men's basketball team shake off a bad offensive night and beat Mississippi State 61-60 in Southeastern Conference action.”

Georgia blows out Missouri 77-59, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “After hitting only two 3-pointers against the Gators, Georgia (8-4, 1-1) seemingly couldn’t miss from long range against Missouri (7-7, 0-1). The Bulldogs hit 11 of 19 3-pointers, which is good for a 57.9 percentage. Georgia’s hot shooting continued from start to finish, with guard J.J. Frazier hitting the game’s opening 3 and adding his fourth of the game with fewer than three minutes left to play.”

SEC men’s basketball standings

Team

W

L

W

L

Texas A&M

2

0

12

2

LSU

2

0

9

5

South Carolina

1

0

14

0

Alabama

0

0

9

3

Kentucky

1

1

11

3

Georgia

1

1

8

4

Florida

1

1

9

5

Tennessee

1

1

8

6

Auburn

1

1

7

6

Arkansas

1

1

7

7

Ole Miss

0

1

10

3

Miss State

0

1

7

6

Missouri

0

1

7

7

Vanderbilt

0

2

8

6

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