My how easily things can change in college hoops. Only a few short weeks ago, Kentucky fans across the globe were getting extremely excited for a team that seems to have turned a corner under second-year coach Billy Gillespie.
Jodie Meeks was making waves as a contender for National Player of the Year honors, and teammate Patrick Patterson was dominating on both ends of the floor. The team was also getting increased production from freshmen Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins. Things seemed to be going great.
All of a sudden, it seemed as though the team woke up one morning and decided it didn’t love to play basketball anymore.
The defense started to lose its intensity, the turnovers made a comeback, and the team didn't seem to care.
Could that really be? Could a group of kids wearing blue and white actually not be giving it their all?
Over the last three games, we have witnessed opposing defenses find a way to successfully contain Meeks. His point production dropped to 18 per game over those three games, and he is 6-of-19 from beyond the arc.
Without Meeks high scoring, our offense has quite obviously struggled.
Despite Meek's offensive woes, Patrick Patterson has still found a way to produce, but the rest of the team has been unable to pick up the slack.
The team's inconsistent guard play has hurt them tremendously as well. Michael Porter continues to get massive amounts of minutes, while only contributing 3.5 points a game. The two freshmen guards meanwhile, are playing better, but are only adding a combined 10 points per game as well.
When you take a look at the team as a whole, you find it simply does not have enough offensive firepower. Outside of Meeks and Patterson, the next biggest offensive threat is Perry Stevenson and his 7.9 points per game.
It simply isn’t enough.
So where does the team go from here?
Billy Gillespie must find a way to get his players to contribute more on both ends of the floor. The team seems to have lost its fire, and it must get it back. When giving it their all, this team has a tremendous defense that allows them to stay competitive with virtually anyone.
They simply need to dig up a little more offensive firepower.
We are going to find out a lot about this team over the next week. If Kentucky can right the ship and get back on course, they still have time to regroup and make a run in the SEC.
If for some reason they can’t find a way to dig deep and get a couple of wins, they could be in serious trouble.