Since there were no Kentucky players in the NBA last night, which means they all watched the Cats lose to Notre Dame in dominating fashion, I figured I would list what we learned.
For the first time in the Calipari era, the point guard position has become the biggest concern. Ryan Harrow’s two week disappearing act has left Archie Goodwin holding the ball and throwing it at the goal whenever he catches a glimpse of the rim. John Calipari says he has 3 point guards, but the one with the least overall talent happens to be the best true point guard at this time. Jarrod Polson has been the point guard in the truest sense of the word, someone that looks to get teammates involved and makes good decisions. Archie Goodwin is Calipari’s point guard though, and he will have to learn on the job and take his growing pains on national television until he figures out how to calm down and make strong basketball plays, instead of slinging it around like he is playing in a Sunday morning AAU game at 9am.
Nerlens Noel hustles but doesn’t get a lot accomplished. Noel was exploited on the boards as Jack Cooley found ways to outplay the projected #1 pick, outrebounding him 11-7. Also, Noel doesn’t seem to ever be in the right position on the floor to block shots and when he does it seems to always find the other team’s hands or ends up out of bounds. Offensively, he definitely has a long way to go, so I guess it is a good thing it is November 30th.
This team needs either Archie Goodwin or Alex Poythress to score to win. Probably both. Poythress getting in early foul trouble changed the game tremendously and really took him out of the game from that point. He still needs to be more active and should average close to a double double by the end of the season.
Defending the three is definitely a concern. John Calipari’s defense is a staple with his teams, but the rotation on guarding the three has a ways to go. The Fighting Irish killed the young Cats last night from behind the arc, and until they learn to extend their defense and make the shooters drive to shot blockers, any team that gets hot has a chance to beat Kentucky.
I know some people are going to be upset and say that they are young, it is too early to jump the gun and say this team will not be any good. I am a game by game guy, and after last night, everyone that watched the game should know that there is a lot to do to get this team right. John Calipari has a great task ahead of him, but this team could likely lose 8-10 games this season.
Of course, the last time that happened Kentucky was in the Final Four.