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  • Kentucky v Michigan Report Card

    By: Ronald "Doc" Ball


    Photo: O2 Arena, UK Men's Basketball


    General Impressions I expect quite a bit of disagreement which is fine so long as you support your side. My impression of the game overall was it was a quality win vs a quality opponent from a quality league which will help us come March seeding. It was not a well played game but that has no relevance come March. Nobody will remember. It is also hopefully the first step in an improvement of the team play. There were some bright spots but far more nonbright ones. Games like this expose your flaws, and shows where work needs to be done. Games vs N. FL and Bellermine don't. Lets hope we learn. My impression is UK plays much better when up tempo is used. Of course that sort of goes for any talented team. Its when underdogs slow the pace to keep the game close. We also need massive work on end of games/holding leads.

    Jacob Toppin B- Grade really benefited from his second half. Played 25 minutes, 10 in the first half due to fouls. Managed 14 points with 10 coming after the break. Shot 50% on 6-12 and 2-3 from the line, to go with 5 rebounds. However he needs to become much more aggressive. He also needs to look to set screens and set up others. His missing Oscar wide open under the basket where he opted to shoot a 16 footers was about as bad as it comes. 1 assist in 25 minutes, to go with 2 turnovers. Also had the worse +/- score of -10. His defense wasn't bad, it just wasn't good.

    Cason Wallace A- A bad turnover late along with some suspect FT shooting dropped him from a solid A, maybe A+ grade. Shot 5-8 including hitting all 4 of his treys to get 14 pts which tied with Toppin for team high scoring. However the 0-2 from the line isn't good. Was second to Oscar with 8 rebounds and led the team in assists with 5, on 2 turnovers. His block was sweet as well. Without his 36 minutes we lose. Got called for 2 really bad fouls, well actually not fouls. Was easily the best we had to offer.

    Chris Livingston C Tough grade here. Only played 7 minutes, which is one less than Onyenso! I thought he played hard and tough. This was an ideal game for him yet his opportunity was limited which is even more discouraging considering Cal comments following last game. He had a better +/- than any starter (+6) which is a take if for what its worth thing. Only 1 rebound and 2 points.

    CJ Fredrick C Manage to sink a trey with some kind help from a friendly rim. All three of his shots were treys. Played 15 minutes and got an assist to go with the 3 points.

    Lance Ware I/C I would have loved to see him sub in for Oscar rather than Onyenso. Let Lance beat on the BUMF (big ugly ....... ......) for a good 5-10 minutes. He wouldn't have needed to score, just physically work over Dickenson. Instead he played 2 minutes and provided zero stats.

    Antonio Reeves B- As a team we need to get him, CJ and Wallace open looks. We don't. That does not just fall on the player. In 26 minutes he hit 3 of his 4 treys and 2 pointer for 11 points. His assist to turnovers was "upside down" with more TO (3) than assists (2) but he did grab 4 rebounds.

    Adou Thiero DNP

    Ugonna Onyenso C+ Physically over matched in this one. A boy vs a man. Had to be 50#wt difference there, and 3 years of experience. To his credit he held his own. In 8 minutes he grabbed 2 rebounds and 4 pts on a basket and 2 FT, and his FT% led the team. Of course his bread and butter is the blocks. He provided 2.

    Daimion Collins C The good? 5 rebounds in 13 minutes. The bad? Everything else. 0-2 shooting from the field. 1-2 from the line. Still looks uncomfortable out there.

    Oscar Tshiebwe C+ Tough grade for a player with a double double. His 13 pts and 14 rebounds are typical Oscar numbers. However weaknesses exposed were defense where he has zero idea how to deal with a pick and roll, as well as being the ultimate black hole center. Too often the perimeter shooters like CJ, Antonio and Cason were open with the ball in the lane in Oscars hands. There was never a consideration for it coming back out for open shot.

    Sahvir Wheeler C- A pg has to make free throws, he doesn't. He was 2-6 with 2 of those being front ends. He also needs to set the tempo, which one would expect with his speed and quickness you would expect a fast pace. Instead we repeatedly see shots going up with 3-7 seconds on the shot clock. Props for the 7 assists but I can't get over the late game breakdowns. Led the team in minutes with 37.

    Coaching C For all the times Cal talks about tempo, maybe he should stop with putting on the breaks. Didn't really have a game plan for when Oscar was out and what to do with a mediocre big man. We had zero idea on how to attack a zone defense....other than have Savhir dribble for 10 seconds, pass, get it back then dribble 10 seconds, then force up a shot while driving the lane. That isn't an game plan or an effective offense.

    Officials D Hope these are the worse of the year, but I doubt it. They were DJ Carstensen, Joe Lindsey and Courtney Green. Of course we are familiar with Joe Lindsey who usually does a credible job. Today there were some bad calls. 2 fouls on Wallace were jokes. The first on the trey where the shooter stuck out his leg, and then the noncontact injury before the noncontact foul. Oscar got called for 2 bad one including the BUMF flop. However we also benefited from some real cheapies, and I'm not including the Toppin out of bounds as he was pushed.

    Commentators B Guess they don't have good soft serve in England. IMO it was better than most Bilas game as he didn't go on some rant about officials.

    Other Disappointed in the attendance of 8242 but it was late Sunday night in England, and going up against the home country's World Cup game. Stat wise, we shot 46.6 overall but a staggering 60% from long range. Our 3 pt shooting surpassed out free throw shooting where we only hit 50%. Contrasted to MI who we held to 39% overall and 40% from long range. We won the glass battle by 1 (34-33), assist by 5 (17 to 12) and points (all that matters). They beat us with steals (4-3) and blocks (5-3). Our bench did not come thru as they only provided 10 points overall. MI took 6 more shots than us but our better percentage game us 2 more baskets than them.
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. Bakert's Avatar
      Bakert -
      Great stuff as usualy, Doc!!

      However,...

      I think someday Wheeler is going to get the second triple double in UK history and get a B-.

      There was a possession inside of five minutes where UK tried to run Reeves from underneath off a Toppin screen. Reeves looked like he actually got held under the basket and was slow getting to the screen which was half-heartedly set by Toppin. I can't remember if Wheeler ended up passing the ball to Toppin and getting it back or not, but he drove the lane and hit about a 10 footer at the buzzer at which point the Greek chorus was critical of him taking that shot. Sure, it was not optimal, but with three seconds on the clock and not many options, that worked.

      I agree he needs to push the tempo, but how many times does he have the ball in his hands and is one of the first couple of guys to the top of the key? Furthermore, how can he, or any PG, push tempo in the Model T we run offensively?

      He absolutely needs to be better at the FT line. He should *never* take a shot outside of five feet with more than 3 seconds on the shot clock.

      His box +/- today was 1.3 behind Onyenso (14.9!!), Wallace (16.2), Oscar (3.6), and Reeves (2.5). BTW, those were the only 5 with a positive number.

      I'm not here to argue that Wheeler should get a better grade on this game, only to point out that I'm not convinced what he is sometimes criticized for is really his fault.

      Not sure how one would find it, but it would be interesting to see tempo numbers for when he is in the game vs when he is not.
    1. MickintheHam's Avatar
      MickintheHam -
      I agree with you that we play better in uptempo. But, what % of NCAA tournament and SEC regular season games are uptempo? Sooner or later players have to play in the half court on offense. That requires offensive sets. It’s hard to give high grades for coaching with what I see on the floor. A Grade of C is fair, but it must improve.
    1. MickintheHam's Avatar
      MickintheHam -
      I agree with you that we play better in uptempo. But, what % of NCAA tournament and SEC regular season games are uptempo? Sooner or later players have to play in the half court on offense. That requires offensive sets. Itís hard to give high grades for coaching with what I see on the floor. A Grade of C is fair, but it must improve.
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darryl View Post
      Doc, we out rebounded Michigan 46-33
      Thanks....not sure where I got that!
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bakert View Post
      Great stuff as usualy, Doc!!

      However,...

      I think someday Wheeler is going to get the second triple double in UK history and get a B-.

      There was a possession inside of five minutes where UK tried to run Reeves from underneath off a Toppin screen. Reeves looked like he actually got held under the basket and was slow getting to the screen which was half-heartedly set by Toppin. I can't remember if Wheeler ended up passing the ball to Toppin and getting it back or not, but he drove the lane and hit about a 10 footer at the buzzer at which point the Greek chorus was critical of him taking that shot. Sure, it was not optimal, but with three seconds on the clock and not many options, that worked.

      I agree he needs to push the tempo, but how many times does he have the ball in his hands and is one of the first couple of guys to the top of the key? Furthermore, how can he, or any PG, push tempo in the Model T we run offensively?

      He absolutely needs to be better at the FT line. He should *never* take a shot outside of five feet with more than 3 seconds on the shot clock.

      His box +/- today was 1.3 behind Onyenso (14.9!!), Wallace (16.2), Oscar (3.6), and Reeves (2.5). BTW, those were the only 5 with a positive number.

      I'm not here to argue that Wheeler should get a better grade on this game, only to point out that I'm not convinced what he is sometimes criticized for is really his fault.

      Not sure how one would find it, but it would be interesting to see tempo numbers for when he is in the game vs when he is not.
      My biggest criticism is the very poor shot selection. Drives too often for that runner. When its available, fine, but its not option 1. Same with the 3 pointers. If he is WIDE open, great. Hell, I'm OK with Collins, Livingston, Toppin or Lance taking the open one. It when he predecides (or it appears as he has decided) he is going to take it. Him shooting a trey with 15 seconds on the clock should not happen. You got 10 seconds to find Reeves, or CJ, or Cason for that. Add the very poor FT shooting, you can't have that.
    1. KentuckyWildcat's Avatar
      KentuckyWildcat -
      Listening on the radio I expected a better grade for Ugonna.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      Can't really fault Wheeler. Cal is the one who has them run dummy motion to grind the clock down under ten seconds 50% or more of the time. Heck, any team playing UK gets a nice little rest for three of their guys when we do that and only have to D up for the last ten seconds. It's a gift for the opposition and Wheelers gotta do what he's gotta do.

      It's like getting mad at Billy Jack Haskins for not being able to push the ball down the field while we're running the option offense with Tim Couch on the sideline.
    1. dtalbersjr's Avatar
      dtalbersjr -
      Wheeler has to be limited to no more than 15-20 mpg or we will never be as good as we should be.

      He’s completely unreliable and an absolute disaster in end of game situations. The two missed FT’s in OT against St. Peter’s were clearly the rule not the exception.
    1. Jeeepcat's Avatar
      Jeeepcat -
      Watching the game now. Not sure what we're doing a lot of the time. No second move on offense after initial soft screen, screen switching and help D is really poor.

      As for Savir, he needs to be able to do something else when he gets there and there's no shot. Too many on this team stand around and watch others work with the ball. This screams there isn't a designed motion for them to be executing.

      That no call on the block was awful end of first half.
    1. Jeeepcat's Avatar
      Jeeepcat -
      Wallace needs to shoot more threes.
      Our PGs need to practice more FTs.
    1. kingcat's Avatar
      kingcat -
      Not a disagreement so much as a but if. As in, but if Wheeler wasn’t out there we would not have been in this game or several others. That is, without him pushing tempo and bringing the ball up against pressure. He makes it look like anyone can do it I agree..but that’s not the case.
      And while not one of his better games, Wheeler is by far the best free throw shooter out of the point guards. One of the best on the team.
      Wallace shoots 60% while Wheeler is at 73.3%.
      Today was not indicative of what the latter will give UK at the line. Nor what we would lack if he was not pushing the tempo and bringing the ball up court.

      Last season he shot 78% so his FT numbers could still shoot up.

      As for Damion, I did think he was quicker and more in the flow of the game that at any point this season. He was hammered under the basket on perhaps the worst non-call of a foul in the game. And he missed a decent look from midrange on a good look so offensively he didn’t look for much. But his minutes were an improvement over what Toppin had given us to that point. He was underneath right beside Oscar a couple of times fighting for rebounds. Something Toppin often avoids.

      And I’d probably give Oscar a little better grade. When he went out the big guy dominated inside. ‘Onyun gave the best effort in reserve.
      But mainly because if not for Oscar we lose to them by double digits nine times out of ten.

      Still love these report cards! Thanks.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
      Thanks....not sure where I got that!
      I assume from the bartender.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeeepcat View Post
      Watching the game now. Not sure what we're doing a lot of the time. No second move on offense after initial soft screen, screen switching and help D is really poor.

      As for Savir, he needs to be able to do something else when he gets there and there's no shot. Too many on this team stand around and watch others work with the ball. This screams there isn't a designed motion for them to be executing.

      That no call on the block was awful end of first half.
      I taped it. I really don't have time this week but I'm dying to chart our offensive possessions. Pretty sure I know what I'll find but want to be objective.

      Maybe this next weekend, but time with girlfriend still sounds like more fun.
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      However weaknesses exposed were defense where he has zero idea how to deal with a pick and roll, as well as being the ultimate black hole center. Too often the perimeter shooters like CJ, Antonio and Cason were open with the ball in the lane in Oscars hands. There was never a consideration for it coming back out for open shot.
      Remember a player named Cousins? He played 38 games and tallied 38 assists. Cal is playing Oscar the same way that he did Cousins and is expecting him to score points and not be an assist man.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by dan_bgblue View Post
      Remember a player named Cousins? He played 38 games and tallied 38 assists. Cal is playing Oscar the same way that he did Cousins and is expecting him to score points and not be an assist man.
      This. This is as much coaching as the player.
    1. StuBleedsBlue2's Avatar
      StuBleedsBlue2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dan_bgblue View Post
      Remember a player named Cousins? He played 38 games and tallied 38 assists. Cal is playing Oscar the same way that he did Cousins and is expecting him to score points and not be an assist man.
      If this were true, I donít think the primary focus of recent practices would be the kick out from the post for the 3.
    1. Jeeepcat's Avatar
      Jeeepcat -
      Quote Originally Posted by CitizenBBN View Post
      I taped it. I really don't have time this week but I'm dying to chart our offensive possessions. Pretty sure I know what I'll find but want to be objective.

      Maybe this next weekend, but time with girlfriend still sounds like more fun.
      I bet it is!
    1. catmanjack's Avatar
      catmanjack -
      Time with a dentist is as much fun as watching Calís offense spit and sputter.
    1. Jeeepcat's Avatar
      Jeeepcat -
      Would love to see Wallace and O play a little two man for the kick to Wallace for the three. Or fake and drive.
    1. MickintheHam's Avatar
      MickintheHam -
      Quote Originally Posted by dtalbersjr View Post
      Wheeler has to be limited to no more than 15-20 mpg or we will never be as good as we should be.

      He’s completely unreliable and an absolute disaster in end of game situations. The two missed FT’s in OT against St. Peter’s were clearly the rule not the exception.
      That’s hard to ignore.
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