Improvement is needed. The defense was slow on rotations, double downs, blocking out on the defensive boards, and nary an offensive rebound. These are many of the basic aspects of the game that were leading Kentucky to victories in January.
They have not been in existence or dwindling in existence in February.
Smith noted that he's regularly had his teams practice at 6 a.m. as the post-season approached. UK fans will recall that the 1998 Cats credited the pre-dawn drills as a factor in their national championship run.
"Some teams are winding down now," Smith said. "I want our team winding up, because we expect to play another month or two. That's why I do it."
Some may think that the players will get even more tired since they seem to lose intensity at points during the game allowing the opponents to mount comebacks (e.g. Georgia on Saturday, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt in Nashville).
Coach Smith retorted with "Georgia (starters) play just as many minutes," he said. "They play more minutes than we do. They didn't seem to wear down very much."
Something needs to be done. This team is too talented and Coach Smith is too good of a coach to allow this team which has played above most predictions to falter in February.
Tubby Smith-coached teams always play well in March (vice the Team Turmoil years) and there is no reason a senior lead team with the experience and talent that Kentucky has to think any different.