When it comes to Kentucky’s losses this season, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. It’s the same movie, the same script, almost always. They are going to excite you, they are going to have a long scoring drought, and when the final minutes approach, the other team will find a way to win.
It happened once again in Oxford, Mississippi, in the last game on Super Tuesday and now we’re all too far from bedtime to have the same conversations we’ve had countless times this season. Kentucky lost again. Kentucky lost in Ole Miss of all places. Stinks. We are not used to this. Seasons like this were never supposed to happen in the UK, but it’s happening and now a show that can’t handle 10-loss seasons will need to win its only two guaranteed games on the schedule for a 10-win season.
The latest version of the 10 takeaways after a 62-70 loss …
Devin Askew’s conversation is difficult.
It’s not ready, never has been. And that should be fine, but he is being asked to play 30 minutes per game because someone, not him, did not recognize this problem ahead of time. So instead of being a true rookie playing 10-15 minutes a game behind a capable point guard that he can learn from, he’s the point guard and he’s just not working in the first year of his time at Kentucky.
In the loss to Ole Miss, Askew scored a +/- of -19 in just 17 minutes played on zero shots for the second straight game. His final stat line says zero points, zero assists, zero steals and zero fouls, only one loss (there is a positive) and a rebound to his name. The empty-box scoreboard follows a 0-for-5 game with more turnovers than assists in 30 minutes against Florida.
Fortunately, Calipari made the decision to finally give Askew a break and let Mintz take over. It worked, but it was just a little bandage for general problems. This team isn’t equipped to be good and starts off with a severe lack of playmakers, or even a real point guard, on the backcourt.
And again, that’s not Askew’s fault. The staff sniffed the reviews and now they’re asking too much of the talent they recruited, letting people like you and me have these difficult conversations about what we’re seeing in Kentucky Basketball. I think most if not all fans support Askew in his fights and believe there will be good morning ahead if he stays. But right now, he’s not ready to be the protagonist.
Davion Mintz sees Vince Carter in the mirror.
Mintz is 6-foot-3 and is dying to put someone on a poster before his time in Kentucky is up. On Tuesday night he crashed while auditioning for the role of Dirk Minniefield, but I love the effort of trying to put a seven-point lead on someone’s head in the second half.
? | https://t.co/l7iWa6i0dh | # SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/gbyzPNLEfF
– Ole Miss men’s basketball (@OleMissMBB) March 3, 2021
Mintz also garnered attention when he gave Kentucky their first game lead with this wild 3-pointer early in the second half.
As it did …
It does not matter. @ deemintz1 we did and we lead. ?
? @spn – https://t.co/uwVzwpdjc2 pic.twitter.com/gFLLVcBYsw
– Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 3, 2021
It’s easily a fan favorite, right?
Kentucky left too many free points out there.
It’s easy to imagine a different ending if Kentucky makes its free throws. With the game at stake below the dreaded four-minute mark, Britain missed five free throws, one of which was a one-on-one lead. There are only six points left, left on the line in the closing minutes of an eight-point game.
Kentucky shot 60 percent (15 of 25) for the entire game, so badly that Calipari broke character and called his team’s shots in the postgame press conference. “Take a free throw,” he said. “I got mad. I don’t normally do much of that, but I had enough missed free throws.”
Olivier Sarr and Isaiah Jackson were abused on the glass.
Calipari pointed to rebound differential as the number one factor in Kentucky’s loss to Ole Miss. The Cats entered the game averaging +3 per game on the boards, but the Rebels had 14 more rebounds (42-28), the biggest margin in a couple of years for Kentucky.
Olivier Sarr was pushed all night. Only Keion Brooks contributed eight rebounds to the glass, the team’s most, and even he was being abused on the inside by the greats of Ole Miss.
Jackson again had foul problems.
For the fifth time in the past six games, Jackson’s minutes were shortened due to foul problems. Things were looking good and then he received two cheap fouls within seconds at the start of the second half, earning him a spot on the bench where his extraordinary length and athleticism are useless.
Of course, Ole Miss turned off the lights.
Kentucky did enough to lose the game on its own; It didn’t help that Ole Miss hit twice as many 3s as she averaged per game this season. Usually good for about four per game with a 29 percent success rate as a team, Ole Miss made eight of 13 attempts against Kentucky, one of the most unlucky teams in KenPom’s lucky rankings. Sammy Hunter hit three 3s, more than he did in the other 23 games combined.
ESPN broadcasts are so bad.
I’m sure Mike Schmitz is a wonderful person. This is not a statement about Mike Schmitz. This is ESPN doing in-game podcast interviews with Mike Schmitz about BJ Boston when the game is on. Also, Mike Schmitz was talking about BJ Boston’s inability to score, while the on-screen graph gave Boston A, even on scoring. Boston went 1 of 9 by the way and his confidence seems pretty drained.
I wish I would consider another year at Lexington.
One positive note: the attendance-to-turnover ratio was much better.
Kentucky had 16 assists and seven turnovers, the second-fewest all season, against a team known for taking steals and generating turnovers. Kentucky delivered Ole Miss 17 times.
We shouldn’t comment on Coach Cal saying that he can give Dontaie Allen some of Devin Askew’s minutes until we’ve all gotten a full night’s sleep and calmed down from the loss and ate a good breakfast and maybe even after a good workout or two
In case you missed it, Calipari said Mintz could take over as point guard, which would later open up a spot for Dontaie Allen. “With (Mintz) on point,” he said, “it gives Dontaie a chance to come in and be that other guard too.”
Will Davion Mintz take over as point guard? “Maybe,” says Calipari
Kentucky is heading into the 8-seeded / 9-seeded game in the SEC Tournament.
Get ready for a notice at noon Thursday of the SEC Tournament, a whole new territory for this fan base. Win that one and it’s another Friday noon game. The opponent? No. 1 seed Alabama.
Have a good night.