Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
After a thrilling come from behind victory vs. West Virginia last Saturday, fans thought this team might have turned the corner but this week shows otherwise.
The Wildcats needed overtime to prevent an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena earlier in the week and followed that with the worst shooting performance of the season on Saturday at Missouri. Kentucky shot a frigid 31.3 percent, including 10 percent from the three-point line.
Within the last week, fans have seen how good and bad this team can be. According to John Calipari, missing shots was an issue but it’s deeper than just makes and misses.
“The biggest thing is we still refuse to pass the ball,” said Calipari. “I don’t have any answer for that.”
The Wildcats totaled 9 assists for the game but six of those came from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Wildcats only had 7 assists in Tuesday’s win vs. Vanderbilt, a total of 16 assists in two games this week.
“I’m just waiting for them to break through and most of it is they play this way,” he said. “Guys are fighting that. You know, I’m going to play my way, which means I’m not passing, which means none of us pass, which means no easy shots and you’re in a dogfight.”
Right now, Calipari has no idea what the answer is. He’s tried everything to get this team to pass the ball, including creating his own assists tally system. Calipari mentions the youth of his team being the biggest reason guys are not playing for each other.
“I’ve done this a long time but I haven’t had a team this young and when they’re this young, each player is trying to establish who they are as a player and it just takes time.”
The Wildcats will look to get things right before taking on No. 18 Tennessee at Rupp Arena on Tuesday night. The Volunteers top Kentucky early in conference play and are now ahead of Kentucky in the SEC standings.
The Wildcats can just about kiss an SEC regular-season title goodbye, as they trail first-place Auburn by three games.