Shanna Lockwood / CAF
“We let one slip out of the way.” This is something John Calipari was right about on Saturday.
Days after Alabama was allowed to drain 14 three-pointers, it effectively took away the shot from the SEC’s second-best three-point shooting team, however it wasn’t enough to leave Auburn Arena with a win. The Wildcats have now lost at Auburn for the fourth time in five years after losing 66-59, pushing the UK down to 4-8. There has never been a Kentucky team with a worse record in 12 games since Adolf Robb became the main cat coach.
The loss at Auburn was more infuriating than the previous seven for a few reasons and John Calipari only made it worse in his post-match press conference. Before we get to that, here’s how it all got revealed.
The first half is obnoxious
The “Ugly” cannot accurately summarize the first half. It was 2-2 on the first media timeout. Kentucky missed the first six shots. Auburn started 1 out of 15 from Earth. Both teams did not miss a set of disputed shots; And it can’t make a layup. Luckily, Dontaie Allen and Jacob Toppin entered the line-up and brought the UK something offensive, taking advantage of 9-2 in the 11-minute mark. It all started with a confirmed ending to the edge by Allen.
After a slow start, this is how to get your team going.
Kentucky Basketball (KentuckyMBB) January 16, 2021
Kentucky had a chance to escape the match early on, but failed to find an offensive rhythm. Find out who can at least save the points, even if that isn’t enough to earn you the second half minutes.
Where are Allen and Tobin?
This is the question BBN was asking when neither of the players, who both scored eight points in the first half, were on solid wood at the start of the second half. Toppin took more than four minutes to get to the game and over six minutes for Allen to have some playing time. Why weren’t they playing?
“I want to win every match I coach, but the flip side of it is that I’m not trying to get away from anyone’s heart, so you can let them go after three or four minutes,” Calipari said.
They only have a few minutes each time. Allen came into a chill in the last minute of the match, finishing the game with eight minutes in the second half as the only player to have scored +/- during the last 20 minutes.
Boston: Still not good
Early in the season, BBN’s fascination with Dontaie Allen seemed to derive from his stature as a state champ. Although the head coach may feel that this is still the case, now fans want him to play because he is one of the few players who can actually shoot. The frustration is amplified when BJ Boston is the reason Allen is on the sidelines.
Boston scored five points, scoring 2 of 9 field goals in 27 minutes of play. Not that he just isn’t helping – Boston hurts the team when he’s on the ground. He made five transformations, two of which were the most important part of the game. Giving a player a long leash is one thing. All this extra slack in the Boston leash suffocates the rest of the team.
The turning point
Despite playing poorly from the Wildcats, they actually led by one ten minutes before play and seemed to be making their way to victory. Then officials fell into the trap of the most volatility since Chris Jones set the standard for extreme volatility in 2015.
Is this the heck of a sale ?? Hahaha pic.twitter.com/2Aos3Iw5Nn
– KY Insider (KyInsider) January 16, 2021
It’s safe to say Mintz wasn’t happy with the call, as he shared this with his Instagram story after the match.
The play was reviewed for making a gross mistake. Unlike targeting college football, officials cannot concede an unwise mistake. Sheriff Cooper’s acting awarded the ball to Auburn and he began sprinting 16-5 during the next five minutes which were fueled by transition points from a few Boston turns. Despite a late push, this run has proven to be a game changer.
One last impressive payment
Although Boston would piss off most fans, Olivier Saar was a significant part of the problem as well. The SAR-15, the worst in the team, was uninspiring on the post as the Tigers snatched 16 offensive rebounds. Once Boston pulled and March, Kentucky made a push almost enough to win.
After trailing by ten points five minutes before play, the Wildcats turned defense into an attack. Two sets of blocks led to transition periods for Mintz and Askew to cut the deficit. With one minute of play, Toppin but flesh over an Auburn defender. Unfortunately, Wildcat’s hottest submersion of the season hasn’t been called And One, but it still makes it a two-point game.
Despite giving Cooper’s corner kick over the ensuing acquisition, Kentucky had another chance. Asco made his first free throw, then wasted the second. Recovery was hampered by Keion Brooks. Instead of pointing a foul at any of the two Auburn defenders sweeping through the sophomore in the UK, officials called the jump ball. Possession went to Auburn, the Tigers fired their free throws and finished the match.
Kentucky will likely not participate in the NCAA Championship. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a fact we must accept after a loss in Auburn.
Although the UK has struggled at Auburn Arena for the past five years, the Tigers are not a great basketball team. It was their second SEC win this season. Every owner of Advanced Statistics has called this game neglected. This was a match Kentucky needed to win, and they were in a position to win and failed to finish the job. John Calipari deserves all the blame for this loss.
Next week’s schedule will make things easier for Wildcats. After that, four of the top 25 teams are waiting for you. This team did nothing to convince us of its ability to defeat good teams and their coach did nothing to suggest that he would make major changes to ensure the UK did not miss the NCAA Championship.