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Closing Time, One Last Call

As mid February arrives, the Cats are still looking for answers. (UKAthletics)

Kentucky regained its winning ways Tuesday against the visiting LSU Tigers.

If that’s the headline you’re looking for, you probably don’t see a cause for concern.

After all, a win is a huge relief after last week’s beating to the hands of Florida and tough losses to Kansas and Tennessee, a win is all anyone was hoping for in Rupp Arena, and they got one.

After that win, I’m even more concerned. We have more questions than we do answers, and many in the Big Blue Nation, including Calipari, may not know the answers just yet.

Kentucky defeated LSU 92-85, but the score tells a much different story when you look at the final 8 minutes of the second half. Kentucky came out hot, leading by double digits for the majority of the first half. Fans saw Wenyen Gabriel reach a new career high by the time the half came to a close. We appeared to be witnessing what we had seen unfold earlier this season, a blow out win and an excuse for fans to leave and try to beat traffic. Instead, we witnessed two LSU Tigers continue to lead a scrappy and struggling team all the way back from a 25 point deficit that had them within reach with a minute to go.

Fans in Rupp Arena have a reputation for being a little quiet, and as LSU hit on their third consecutive three point field goal to cut the lead down even closer, there was a slight murmur of frustration followed by silence.

LSU scored 23 points off forced turnovers. LSU’s final points came from two free throws, followed by a steal on the inbounds pass that led to a wide open corner three. Had this game continued for another five minutes, I honestly believe LSU would have stole this one. They had all the momentum, and were hustling and grinding out every single play. They dove for loose balls that the Cats walked towards, they out jumped our post defense to grab offensive board after offensive board.

Calipari claimed foul trouble could have been part of the problem, as he said that after Bam picked up his third foul, he stopped defending.

“If you can’t play with three fouls, you can’t be in the game.” Cal said to reporters after the game.

Fans have been active on social media towards Cal, wondering where his frustration and anger was. He found it Tuesday.

“It’s not our team that looks bad, it’s you that looks bad.” Cal said as he describes the effort players displayed in the final 8 minutes.

“First of all, they have to accept what we are trying to do is good for them individually and as a team. I’m not sure we are there yet.” Cal said.

Alabama is next up for Kentucky this weekend. As Calipari spoke about the challenges the team faces and the desire he had to practice for three hours immediately after the press conference, Alabama defeated South Carolina in a four overtime game.

“If they can’t practice, they won’t make the trip.” Cal said.

As the Cats continue to search for answers, they continue to find more questions. With March on the horizon and the NCAA Tournament in the distance. Each player has a key piece to the puzzle, but they are running out of time to put those pieces together.

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