Kentucky’s stay at the top will be short. Seven years in the making, the Cats undo their hard work with 40 poor minutes at South Carolina in route to a 68-62 setback.
The seeds of this loss were sown at the very beginning of the game. Despite having a modest lead for much of it, UK allowed USC, jr. to hang around and steal the win out from under their nose.
How did it happen? Most will tell you that the issue is the Cats continuing problem of not putting people away but that’s not the issue but merely a symptom of a larger problem.
The Cats are simply not aggressive enough. When they assert themselves good things happen.
Demarcus Cousins was a beast with another double-double, this time with 27 points and 12 rebounds but what about the Cats other two lottery picks?
Statistically, John Wall produced but most of his production came late when he had to make plays for his team. If he had played with aggression throughout, I suspect Wall would have had a monster game leading the cats to a win and would have added to his growing legend.
John is a great kid as well as a talent but he’s gotten so much hype and attention that I wonder if he’s become too overly concerned about what his teammates think of the buzz. He’s asked UK to scale back the PR push and that’s fine but is he scaling back his game too?
I think so. While his numbers are still very good he plays the game differently than he did early in the season. He seems willing to defer to his teammates to get them involved (and to keep them happy?) instead of taking control of the game. That needs to change.
Patrick Patterson is more puzzling. I understand he is trying to expand his game to improve his chances at the next level but in the process is he hurting himself instead? Simply, he’s gotten away from doing what he does best and that’s being an enforcer in the paint.
Last night he completely disappeared producing only five points on just four shots while spending most of his time floating around the perimeter. He did have 8 rebounds but two of those came in a 10 second sequence late in the contest when the Cats were desperate to keep possession. Only then did the Warrior return.
Patterson is not going to be a perimeter player in the NBA, he simply needs to show that he can step out and hit a shot facing the basket. He’s done that and now it’s time go back and rediscover the game that made him attractive to the association. That’s his relentless attacking style in the paint.
Kentucky has two great players that are not playing to their strengths right now for different reasons. When Wall and Patterson go back to their old selves, then Kentucky will move forward and become the juggernaut that we all know they can be.