Several times last season, a very talented Kentucky team would play just well enough to win. Exhibits: A two-point win (on a last second shot) over Miami (Ohio); a 10-point win over Sam Houston State; an overtime win against Stanford; a five-point win over Auburn. There are others, but the point remains: often times, last year's young Wildcats were prone to inefficient offense and a lack of urgency.
This year, coach John Calipari hopes to quell that problem before it begins, stressing to his freshman-heavy team that they need to play with more consistency and a stronger sense of urgency. Especially after Kentucky's last two games -- a loss at Georgia and an uninspiring win over a hapless Auburn squad -- Calipari made it known to his team that he wasn't happy with their recent effort.
"Just play better, (have a) more consistent effort," Calipari said. "Come out with a sense of urgency, (don't be) content with how they're playing. We had a lot of guys content with how they're playing and that just sets you up for more failure."
In addition to this growing lack of urgency, Calipari has rued the lack of depth on his bench. After the starting five and Doron Lamb (or, as was the case Tuesday, Terrence Jones) off the bench, there's little by way of talent. Eloy Vargas, plucked as a transfer from Florida as a back-up plan to now-student assistant Enes Kanter, has not provided much of anything in the post. Likewise, swing men Jon Hood and Stacey Poole Jr. have been equally inconsequential.
"We only have six guys right now," Hood said. "When you go into tournament play, you have to have depth. We don't have the 13 guys that some of the other teams have."
Depth or no depth, the Wildcats can't afford to have slow starts and periods of inefficiency. Especially in conference play, where they already have one loss. Still, they easily possess the most talent of anyone in the conference, and it would be a surprise for anyone else to take home the conference crown.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
John Calipari Wants Urgency Up at UK