Observations from Kentucky (w/vid)

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Apologies if these aren’t great. The video isn’t great quality because it’s taken from my work computer. With Bob Holt in Lexington and we’ve been rushing all night. Airport wifi is awful and I’m just finishing as we board our flight back to NWA. Don’t have time to type out a short summary in here like usual, but I’ll be on later today. Obviously UK’s talent took over in the second half, but I thought there were a lot of positives to draw from overall.

We did well competing for a half. I expected Kentucky to win. They have superior athletes and players at every position.

I’m proud of the way our guys fought the first half couldn’t have asked for much more. Second half when we got down by 12 we lost our confidence and seem to lose our way on both sides of the ball for the rest of the game. IMHO we are not a pressing team and have proved it in almost every game but yet we continue to try even against Kentucky. Either we didnt coach our guys to get back on defense quickly or they failed to execute that part of the game plan not sure which, either way monumental fail just don’t know who to blame the coaches or the players. You cannot allow layups against Ky or any other team and expect to win and many of those turned into 3pt opportunities. I think it’s difficult to play Hannah and Beard at the same time against a opponent this talented, Beard is to short to make a stop on a run out and DH is a half step to slow. But like I said earlier I’m proud of our effort early in the game and if we cultivate that and play a complete game I feel that we can and will we can compete with anyone and will have a very good season. MA I know is still trying to get the pieces to fit together and get the right groups on the court at the right time and will eventually. We have a lot of ball to play yet but I think we probably learned more about this team last night in this loss than we have in all our wins this season and I mean that in a good way. Watch the film, learn from it and move on and let’s get a W next game out! WPS

I was encouraged after that game. I thought we showed toughness and never gave in. I think this team will win another 3-4 games on the road in SEC play.

One thing that stuck out to me after looking at the box score was Manny Watkins playing 32 minutes. This should NEVER happen. Watkins is most definitely not a 30+ MPG player. I thought played a good game, grabbed boards, and was able to finish at the rim a couple times, which was good. But, he just doesn’t bring much to the offensive end, and after a while the offense just becomes very stagnant with him out there. I’m not a stats guy, but I would be interested in seeing the statistics on how many times Watkins has been on the floor this year when we’ve gone on scoring droughts.

On the same discussion of minutes, Baford has only played 17 minutes 3 of the last 4 games. Now, I know last night he picked up 4 fouls, however he wasn’t brought back in until the game was pretty much out of hand. Start him or not, but CMA has got to get Barford more minutes, he’s showing that he wants them and has potential to take games over. I know he’s had turnover problems, but, at the same time he gives us a better chance at winning, you gotta kinda take the good with the bad on that. He’ll clean the turnovers up as he goes along, he was actually doing pretty good until this Kentucky game, and TBH a few of those turnovers were bogus.

Another player to discuss is Dustin Thomas, I thought he might have turned the corner after the Tennessee game, but he continues to struggle against teams that have athletes are just as good or better than him. He pretty much just comes in and fouls. He had 4 fouls in 7 minutes yesterday. We need him to play better, looks like Cook may have solidified himself as the starting 4, and Dustin could be in danger of losing even more minutes, if CMA decides to go with some more Trey/Kingsley lineups, which worked pretty well yesterday.

Other thoughts, Dusty has got to go back to coming off the bench, I know he doesn’t like it, but something is going on with him in starting lineup. I know somebody posted his stats as a starter and he’s only averaging 9 PPG as a starter and shooting like 24%. Beard, really for the first time had a bad game. Kingsley showed up big time against Kentucky played very well and Macon had a decent game.

I agree on all but Macon, but I turned the game off with about 10 mins left. It wasn’t to long before that one of the announcers mentioned Macon only having like 5 points and his first “bad” game on the road. Did he play better the last 10 minutes?

I thought he played solid defense and made some timely shots. Not sure when each basket came, I just remember him hitting a couple of big 3s. Hard to say somebody had a bad game with 15 points on 5/12 shooting, 3/7 from 3, that’s why I said he was decent. Not really a good game, but not terrible either.

Hey, knowing your passion I thought you would DVR every game and not miss anything. That is what I do.

I did, but I got PO’d, turned it off and deleted it. Was more to do with the bias officiating than anything else.

The two halves were so different, I wonder how it would have played out if the second half was played at BWA.

I think it would have played out the same.

I had a similar discussion a few years ago on the old Scout Board.

My opinion: When Nolan was here we were always considered in the National Championship conversation. We were expected to at least be Sweet 16. So, we got calls no matter if it was in Barnhill, Barton, Bud Walton, College Station, Austin, Oklahoma, or Charlotte. If you look at Duke, KY, Louisville, and a few others, they have been getting those calls, no matter where they are for the same reason, they’re in the conversation. We fell out of the convo, so we no longer get callas away from home, and we definitely don’t get calls when we play an “in the convo” team, even if it’s at Bud.

I don’t know if it’s that more so than officials letting the crowd/big name coach influence them. I don’t think there are many officials out there purposely cheating or favoring one team. What happens is human nature kicks in. Think about it, your in front of 20,000 screaming fans, you got a future hall of fame coach on you all game, so your human instincts are to want as least backlash as possible, so you see a 50/50 call, like the Barford charge, on the fly your human instincts go with the least backlashed decision at the time, which would be to call a charge in front of the 20,000 fans. Those refs know in back of their head if they have some questionable calls against Calapari, it’s going to be problems, because he’s going to let them know about it, and he’ll be all in the media letting them know about it. So any 50/50 calls or automatically going to go against us or anyone else in Rupp arena. Now it’s easy to say refs should be professionals and not let this affect them, but when you are making judgement calls in a split second like that, most of time your instincts just kinda kick in, and you may think about it a second later that you may not have made the best call. That’s why on the road, you gotta really outplay a team by 10-15 points to get the win.

The thing Nolan did which cut down on this is, he would take a technical or be screaming at the refs the entire game, so they knew in the back of their head, if they didn’t make the right call or give us some of those 50/50 balls they were going to have to hear him and have him all over them, so that cut down and us seeing games called like what we did yesterday. I love CMA, don’t want anyone else as our coach, but that’s my one criticism of him, he really tries to avoid any type of confrontation. Which I guess is good and bad, you don’t want a coach like Frank Martin that all he does he cuss everyone out, but you do want your coach to kinda get fired up and really get on the refs if they are calling a one sided game like that, if you’re guys are playing hard, it’s your job as a coach to make sure the officials give them a chance on the road.

I agree with your description of how human instincts affect officials. That is part of the 10 point home court adavantage besides things such as your own rims, sleeping in your own bed, fans cheering, etc.

Regarding CMA, it is what it is. It is hard to combine the best of Nolan and Mike into one person. Mike is not a loud outspoken person who will speak his mind without worrying about consequences. Nolan was despised for giving out honest opinions. Nolan always kept me on the edge of what he is going to say next, which was exciting at the time. Maybe because I was younger. But now I kind of like Mike the way he is. Calm and hard to rattle and non-controversial. With him, we can focus on Razorback basketball.

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This is a statement I have made and saw several others make when comparing CMA to Nolan. I want to see Mike go nuts on the officials.

PIG, is Mike’s post game presser anywhere. I’d like to see and hear what he said.

Here’s the post game presser.

http://video.wholehogsports.com/

Thank you

Good stuff.

Mike went with defense and experience on the road. Manny actually had a really good offensive rating this year coming into the last week (haven’t checked since before UT), but that’s an interesting point about the runs. He was out there for the entire 12-0 Vols run on Tuesday (so were Macon and Moses). The lack of perimeter shooting on this team is glaring (going to be the second straight year they easily rank last in the SEC in attempts). Obviously Manny playing big minutes means a guard who can shoot isn’t getting that time.

I thought he could’ve gone back to Jaylen sooner. Was going to be highly unlikely they came back regardless, but might as well go down swinging. Will be interesting to see how much he plays Tuesday. I agree with your point on Dusty. Barford’s played well off the bench, so does that mean you move Anton into the starting lineup?

SEC play may be rough for Dustin and it’ll be interesting to see how Mike handles that. Like you said, his game is completely different against guys as big or athletic as him. The Trey/Moses lineups are interesting because it’s not like you really lose any shooting (Arlando and Dustin aren’t shooting enough or well enough from mid-range or beyond to really make a difference), but you gain a smart passer who knows how to play with guys, a much-improved shot blocker and a good rebounder. Guarding teams with stretch bigs would potentially be an issue, but definitely something to keep track of moving forward.

I believe Thomas is playing out of position and he is learning on the job. From everything I have read he played a 3 in Colorado. I believe he was about 6-6 when he got here, but put on a couple of inches, bulked up and lost some quickness. I remember being shocked seeing him stand next to Moses late last season. It will slow down for him soon.

Odd game to slam Watkins. Confirmation bias at its worse. He was great in the first half when we played well. He’s 8 of 12 from the floor in his last two games. Watkins was probably our best guard on the night. The only other candidate is Barford, who scored impressively but had 5 TOs. Beard couldn’t make a shot from anywhere, probably injury related. Macon scored half of his 15 points in the final five minutes, long after the game was over. He had no boards, no steals, and a single assist. Hannahs was 2 of 12 on FGs.

CMA doesn’t want to play any guard 30+ minutes, but foul trouble dictated that Watkins play a lot. He and Barford were the only two guards that didn’t have subpar nights. In fact, Barford, Kingsley, and Watkins were the primary reasons that we were in the game at half.

My impression is that the commonality of when the offense is playing well is usually when Beard is at PG. The droughts usually happen when is on the bench. I don’t think it’s necessarily a coincidence that Barford and Hannahs play better on the second unit with Beard.