By LARRY VAUGHT
Now that Kentucky has lost its sixth Southeastern Conference road game in seven tries Ã¢â‚¬â€ all games the Cats had chances to win Ã¢â‚¬â€ does coach John Calipari have to accept part of the blame for his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s late-game miscues and failure to win close road games.
UK has lost to Georgia by seven points and Vanderbilt by six. It lost by two points to Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. Wednesday night it lost by one Ã¢â‚¬â€ in overtime Ã¢â‚¬â€ at Arkansas.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what vaughtsviews.com reader David White thought:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Another road game … another road loss.Ã‚Â Part of this one has to go on Cal.Ã‚Â Yes, the team is not deep (just how many bench guys have been given a chance to improve in game situations?).Ã‚Â Yes,Ã‚Â they’re young (though it’s true, I’m tired of hearing that excuse).Ã‚Â Yes, Arkansas played their best game of the year … a recurring theme, but not one that should be surprising us.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Cal has yet to grasp what it means to have UK come to town in the SEC.Ã‚Â Last year’s Junior. NBA team was far too talented to notice.Ã‚Â This year (and most years), the Cats have to play with a different mentality on the road.Ã‚Â Cal has yet to understand this or at least instill it in his guys.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Were those really the Ã¢â‚¬ËœplaysÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ we had drawn up in the last few possessions?Ã‚Â Give it to Knight no matter where he is or how many guys are on him?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cal has yet to improve this team’s road mentality or show a winning play in close games this season.Ã‚Â With this many close losses on the road, some of the blame has to go to the coach.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Here are comments another reader sent me:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cal is a great recruiter, and a great showman.Ã‚Â He knows all the right things to sayÃ‚Â (most of the time) to the media to deflect blame. But, the bottom line is this.Ã‚Â He is not a floor coach, nor an XÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coach.Ã‚Â ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why he recruits the type of players that he does. Players he can put on the floor, let them play the dribble-drive (street ball), then sit on the bench and chew on his towel hoping their talent makes up for his coaching deficiencies.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“His bench antics (yelling and screaming to no one in particular) is his way to show the fan base, Ã¢â‚¬ËœHey IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here trying as hard as I can people.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ At this point, I put my faith in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœblind squirrelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ syndrome.Ã‚Â That is, based on the presence of talent, maybe the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœblind coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ will find a National Championship somewhereÃ‚Â along the way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
This was a brutal, brutal loss for UK and UK fans. The Cats controlled their SEC destiny and had a great opportunity to finish the season with some sizzle. Instead, UK again fizzled late and lost another game it could have won and I want to know why you think that keeps happening.
On the final play in overtime when Brandon Knight had to force a contested shot after getting the inbounds pass in the corner, Calipari said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“ “Josh (Harrellson) was wide open right there on the block,” Calipari said. “… We (DeAndre Liggins) threw to the wrong guy.”
Maybe. But UK was also out of timeouts and Liggins had to make sure he got hte ball inbounds. Plus, reviewing the play it was at the very last second that Harrellson got open. Still, if the play didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work, does Calipari still have to take blame for that since heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the one calling the play.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I want to know what you think.