The Leach Report: South Carolina

Tom Leachover 7 years

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Aritcle written by:Tom LeachTom Leach
From "pay back mode" to "bounce back mode" to "full-blown crisis mode."  That sums up the week that was for the Kentucky men's basketball team. When it comes to trying to salvage this season, the first thing that needs to get fixed is the shooting.  The combined 38 percent field goal shooting against LSU and Arkansas the worst two-game stretch since late November but the Cats hit a new low of 27 percent against South Carolina. It's hard to believe that a mere 12 days ago, this Kentucky team scored a blowout win at Ole Miss with an offensive performance that was devastating (1.17 points-per-possession, 62 percent shooting inside the 3-point line).  At South Carolina, UK missed 27 of 35 two-point shots (23 percent).  At one point, 20 minutes of basketball time elapsed during which the Wildcats had two field goals, one of them via a goaltending call on a shot that wasn't going to go in the basket. On the brink of getting blown out, the Wildcats staged a furious rally in which they finally started making shots.  They desperately need to build on that performance.  John Calipari and his staff must find a way to get these players' offensive confidence back to where it has been for most of their lives.  Kentucky spent most of this season ranked in or near the top 10 in the nation in offensive efficiency but has now slipped to 20th. I was watching an interview with Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall yesterday and one thing he said struck a chord for this Kentucky team.  He was talking about preaching to his team to "run hard" and how you don't have to run any offense if you beat the opponent down the court and establish your position, the way, as he noted, as army that gains the "high ground" has an insurmountable edge.  That was the way Kentucky played offense in that game at Ole Miss. This ain't coach Cal's first rodeo, as the ol' saying goes.  The worst thing a coach can do now is panic, to over-practice or beat his team down.  You can bet Calipari will be doing everything he can to get his players to feel good about themselves again and play the game with the passion and joy with which they've played it all their lives.  About the only positive to take from the South Carolina is that the will to win is still there for this team, judging from the way they fought to try and escape with a win Saturday night.   --listen to Tom each weekday morning at 9:06am eastern on "The Leach Report" radio network  --check out tomleachky.com for more of Tom's coverage of the Cats and follow Tom on Twitter @tomleachky and @leachreport + via Facebook for "The Leach Report"

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2021-09-25