What We Learned from Last Night’s Notre Dame Loss

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.

About Scott Anderson

I love covering the Kentucky Wildcats and even though I can't cheer on the outside when I go to games now, I am definitely cheering on the inside. You can follow me at @SAndersonNOB on twitter.
  • http://www.facebook.com/gerald.vinson.50 Gerald Vinson

    THY WILL BE THEIR BY MARCH.

    • Jason

      *There

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.orms Jason Orms

    I believe that this team is taking longer than teams of the past to get comfortable with the dribble drive. The issues with Harrow are compounding that problem, because if anyone needs to be at home with the dribble drive it is the point guard. I think watching the offense or lack there of, Calipari needs to get 3 to 4 offensive plays for these kids. I think with instruction of what to run they will be more effecient, at least until they get more comfortable with the dribble drive. i think without this the team has a strong chance of dropping another 1 or 2 games before conference play. I don’t think the problem is there defense. Don’t get me wrong they did not play outstanding defense last night, but ND was hitting contested threes. The team looked lost on Offense which lead to week defense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frankie.landrum Frankie Landrum

    This team reminds me a lot of the team 2 years ago. I remember the UConn game went almost exactly the same way as this one. Experience level on that team was almost identical to this team that early in the year. We will take some L’s during the season but when the conference tournament and NCAA tourney comes along we will be where we need to be to make a run. The good news is, there is more talent on this team than anyone in the country so there is a lot of upside.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ndeweese1 Nora Deweese

      i disagree we had more experience and leadership that year remember harrelson and miller from last year we have no one this year to be that leader

  • sarahthequitter

    Florida is the team to beat in the SEC, they have looked fabulous this season.

  • Lawrence Staton

    What I think is really missing is their ability to play together. They’re still not comfortable playing with each other. Mays needs to become a more immediate option. Defending the 3 has been an issue all year. So far. Rebounding is another. We seem to let the other team get some easy put backs. Noels still hasn’t transitioned to the college level game. Leaves his feet and jumps at everything. Harrow….. Well maybe in time he’ll be ok. He did seem to play with his head up more last night. We look lost on offense, lot’s of standing around. The other team really has to play little D on us.
    With all this being said I would not want to play us come mid January on… If all our players develope loike they should we’ll be fine. Not sure we’ll have as many players leave this year as in years past. At least not how their playing now. Which could be bad news for everyi=one else in 2013-14….
    GO CATS!

  • John Brown

    Lot of pressure was placed on the CATS before they ever played together, I mean by ranking them #3 in the country. I see no leadership on the floor. Players are acting as individuals each thinking they must do it all. Coach Cal will bring them around by tournament time. Go CATS!

  • Shaun Mosley

    As sad and disappointing as this is for me to say this team is the worst team Cal has assembled so far. Sure there is a lot of potential there, but potential without organization can become a recipe for disaster. All of our newbies have world class talent and they all try to win the game by themselves. How many times this season have we seen the opposing team retrieve an offensive rebound because two of our guys went for it ran into each other and the other team retrieves it. There is no communication on defense or offense. I am only being realistic when I say even by March there is very little chance for a national title from the looks of things as they stand right now. Remember every team gets better by March, and if we do not begin to play as a national contender by January then the window will be pretty much closed this year. Does that mean this combination of players is incapable of such a feat? Of course it doesn’t, but this year may bring a close to the 1 and done. There is nothing more exciting then seeing our Cats stand at the top of the podium every spring, and then all of them exit to the NBA. Our “bigs” need to work harder on the glass, they need to work harder on their offensive skills. They have to want it. Becoming a champion or winning a championship doesn’t come from talent alone, it comes from something within, The intangible ability to rise to the next level. If they dont start playing together then they will fall individually. But nobody can get a team together quickly than Coach Cal. We need you to work your magic Coach.

    • Jason Bolton

      This team just illustrates the magnitude of what Cal accomplished last year and how special those young men were.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41105942 Sandy Marie Goad

    Another thing that needs to happen is that Coach Cal needs to train Kyle Wiltjer better on being the starting big man. Out of the 5 starters he’s the tallest and from what I watched last night it seemed that Wiltjer only chose to shoot 3-pointers. Yes Wiltjer is the best 3-point shooter on the team but if Cal is putting him in as the Big Man, he needs to work on being more aggressive in the post and learn how to block shots at the rim. UK took a huge hit when Davis left to go pro. and since Wiltjer is the only one left from last year’s recruits he needs to pick up his game and show everyone that he isnt just a reserve that can shoot really good. He’s got a lot of talent but he just has to bring that out.


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