Saturday, January 30, 2016

Last year’s UK game left bad taste


Kansas University’s basketball team blasted Kentucky, 150-95, on Dec. 9, 1989, in Allen Fieldhouse, handing UK its second-worst loss in school history — worst since an 87-17 setback to Pella, Iowa, in 1910.

In a somewhat delayed counter punch, the Wildcats slugged KU, 72-40, in November of 2014 at the Champion’s Classic in Indianapolis — the fourth-worst loss in Jayhawk history and worst in the Bill Self era.

The 32-point drubbing happened so recently, it might give the Jayhawks extra incentive for today’s 6 p.m. KU-UK battle in Allen.

“I think it’s just natural it’s in the back of everybody’s mind. We all remember it. Those of us that were here last year. There’s not a ton that needs to be said,” said KU junior forward Landen Lucas.

“It was terrible,” Lucas added of the locker-room atmosphere following that drubbing. “That was by far the worst loss I’ve been a part of here at Kansas. That rarely happens. It’s something it sucks, but it’s awesome we get to play them this year. It’s not like that was a one-time deal. We get to play them again. I know it’s not the same team. It’s still Kentucky.”

The No. 20-ranked Wildcats (16-4) hold a commanding 22-6 lead over No. 4-ranked KU in the all-time series, with UK winning the last three under the direction of coach John Calipari. Overall, the two schools enter the Big 12/SEC Challenge as the winningest programs of all time: Kentucky has 2,194 wins, KU 2,169.

“Last year’s game was an anomaly. We had a great team. It’s not going to be like that. You’ve got to throw that out of there,” said UK senior Alex Poythress. “We know some of their personnel from playing last year. Coach does a great job of scouting. We are going into the game with a pretty good idea of what they do.”

Of KU’s possible revenge motive, Calipari said: “Bill is not going to make it anything personal because he knows if he does, your team can’t win the game when it becomes a personal thing, but he will remind them that a different Kentucky team got them pretty good last year. I’m not worried about last year’s game. That’s totally different.”

Kentucky blocked 11 shots in that contest.

“I don’t know if we ever got a shot up, it seems like to me,” Self said. “We drove it, and we just couldn’t score over those guys, and the one thing that we did poorly last year against them obviously was, we didn’t drive to pass. We’d drive to score, and you’re much easier to guard when you play that way. We’ve got to do a better job there.”

“They don’t have (Willie) Cauley-Stein and Anthony Towns and (Trey) Lyles and some of those guys, but they do have some of the same cast of players, obviously, with (6-8) Poythress and Lee (Marcus, 6-9), and Skal (Labissiere, 6-11) is obviously making an impact. They’re a good shot-blocking team, and they’re a terrific offensive-rebounding team,” Self added.

Lucas said the Jayhawks wouldn’t be overly stressed about the potential of another shot-block fest for UK.

“We talked about it. We don’t want anybody in the back of their head to think of last year and think it’s the same team,” Lucas said. “They lost a lot of their shot-blockers. They still have a lot of bigs who can block shots. It’s not quite the length they had. We’re going to go back and go right back at them. There’s some things we got to adjust to. We’re not thinking of last year’s game when it comes to that.”

This, that: KU senior forward Hunter Mickelson (high-ankle sprain) did not practice Friday and is not expected to play today. He was wearing a boot Friday. ... UK freshman point guard Jamal Murray averages a team-leading 17.5 ppg. He has made an average of 2.7 threes a game. Soph guard Tyler Ulis averages 15.5 points and 6.1 assists a game. Frosh guard Isaiah Briscoe averages 10.2 ppg and 6.3 rebounds. Poythress averages 6.6 rpg ... ESPN College GameDay will host its popular TV show at Allen from 10 to 11 a.m. today. Doors open at 6:30 a.m. The event is free. ... KU grad David Booth will formally present Naismith’s original rules of basketball to KU officials in a halftime ceremony. ... A high resolution 360-degree photo will be taken immediately following the alma mater and Rock Chalk Chant at the 12-minute mark on the pregame clock. The image will be over 26 billion pixels in size. Fans, who will be given extra-large crimson, blue or white T-shirts upon arrival to their seats, must wear their designated colors to ensure they are in the photo.

Rout recalled: KU led 80-61 at halftime during that 150-95 win in 1989. “Worst butt-kicking ever,” UK’s Deron Feldhaus told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “If I remember correctly, it was a pretty entertaining halftime. I think (coach Rick Pitino) kicked out all the coaches and managers. Water coolers were turned over.”

When asked what made Pitino so mad, Feldhaus told the Herald-Leader, “I have no idea.”


Kent Richardson 5 years, 8 months ago

Polythess says "we have a pretty good idea of what they do."

What exactly is it that we do?

Bryce Landon 5 years, 8 months ago

We get down, we go brain-dead on offense and defense, and we let the other team shoot 45%-55%.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 8 months ago

Pitino also flipped off Roy in that game and put the sour taste to the series. Even though the series is so one-sided in favor of UK, all the KU coaches felt the game was worth playing from a traditional point of view.

Sadly for this group, last years beat down from UK has been only one of several. UK had a veteran team that had extensive time together playing in Europe against good competition. When this group lost to Temple, in yet another beat down on National TV, that was another embarrassment .... that was topped yet again by WSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, again on National TV. The only embarrassment left for this group to top would be to lose big at home on National TV. Would anyone be surprised if this was that game?

Gerry Butler 5 years, 8 months ago

Ya, I would. I would be surprised, Kentucky is not coming to come and beat us big as you suggest. I feel it will be tight but umm not Kentucky big They have been sooo inconsistent, I've seen ALOT of their games and up until their last 2 they haven trrible shooting the ball, even calipari says these kids will never experience what they will encounter tonight. The phog is gonna be shaking, it will be an ABSOLUTE zoo.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 8 months ago

Not surprised at all. UK can drive and rim defend. We will be again undersized on the perimeter and do not work for open shots at least half of the time. Even if we get hot from three we will not be able to come back enough or stretch a lead. Feeling embarrassment is possible for the fans but I don't really know if this team feels that. If we score in the 60's that may do it.

Robert Brock 5 years, 8 months ago

Ulis may rack up 50 today. Stay with him, Frank.

Tyson Ailshie 5 years, 8 months ago

“Bill is not going to make it anything personal because he knows if he does, your team can’t win the game when it becomes a personal thing". Um, why wouldn't he? And why couldn't you win the game if it becomes personal? I would think it's exactly the opposite of that. I never understand a word Calipari says. Is this his attempt at reverse psychology?

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 8 months ago

Hope for the best - prepare for - well, you know.

I think we win in a close game by 6 but below the over/under (149)

Bryce Landon 5 years, 8 months ago

The thing about last year's loss that bothers me so much is the ho-hum attitude the players had about it at the time. I distinctly remember Devonte Graham saying, "It happens", like 32-point losses are the norm. I remember because I had a very pointed response in the comments section on this website where I said that 32-point losses do not and should not happen at a place like Kansas. Not with our pedigree and not with our history.

A win tonight would be great. But I could also see a home loss to these guys, with the way we've been playing since the OU game...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.