Saturday, February 28, 2015

SEC Men's BB Schedule 2/28/15

Saturday, February 28, 2015 


  • 12:00 PM Missouri at Georgia ESPNU

  • 2:00 PM Ole Miss at LSU ESPN3, Fox Sports Net

  • 4:00 PM Alabama at Vanderbilt ESPN3, Fox Sports Net

  • 4:00 PM # 18 Arkansas at # 1 Kentucky CBS

  • 6:00 PM Mississippi St at South Carolina SEC NETWORK

  • 6:00 PM Tennessee at Florida ESPN2

  • 8:30 PM Auburn at Texas A&M SEC NETWORK

Friday, February 27, 2015

Video/Transcript: UK Associate Head Coach Kenny Payne Pre-Arkansas Presser

Video courtesy of Kentucky.com

ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH KENNY PAYNE

On the style and play of Arkansas …
“I think Arkansas is the type of team that creates a lot of turnovers. They’ve played well against us. It’ll be a great game tomorrow. We have to handle their pressure, keep them off the boards and dominate in rebounds. I think they’re style will be similar to Louisville’s – constant pressure. They’ do a great job on the boards. They’re active. They switch and trap a lot. Their zone is similar to man principles with the way they get after the ball in their zone. We’ve seen it before. We just have to go out there and handle it.”

On the players rising to the challenge …
“We tell them every game that they’re playing a good team. When they win, they say, ‘I thought you said they were good.’ Tomorrow will be a very good team that will come in here and they’re capable of beating us. We will have to play well to beat them.”

On Arkansas beating UK twice last year and if it motivates …
“I think our guys will have fire, to answer your question. I just think they have a competitive edge about them. The freshmen know that this team has beaten us twice.”

On if Bobby Portis is the best big man that UK has faced to this point …
“I wouldn’t rank him. I will say that he is a very good player. I don’t know where he falls in terms of the big guys that we’ve played. We’ll be facing really good players, and he’s one of them. He can really shoot the ball to be that size. He’s good around the basket and can shoot 3s. He’s excellent from the post and shooting turnaround jumpers. He’s a really good player.”

On how opposing players’ performances can affect their NBA draft stock when playing UK …
“Every guy that comes in that’s a pretty good player in our conference or an opponent that’s not in our conference, if they played well against Kentucky, then they think, ‘I’m a pro.’ (Portis) is really a good player and possibly is.”

On Trey Lyles’s performance against Mississippi State …
“Trey has all the ability in the world to have an outstanding game and outstanding season. We need Trey at his best. I thought we saw him do the things that we need him to do – the way he attacked the rim and rebounded the ball. There were four or five shots that he passed up and he didn’t feel comfortable shooting them. Trey Lyles is an excellent basketball player, and if you forget about him, then he’ll burn you.”

On Arkansas guard Michael Qualls’ athletic ability …
“Qualls is very athletic, very fast, very good off the dribble, driving the ball. I haven’t seen him miss a shot in the left corner. He shoots the ball really well from that area. He is a guy that we’re going to have to deal with.”

On Arkansas point guard Anton Beard …
“He can really shoot the ball. Very smart, very heady. Last game they played Ole Miss, I watched him, and he didn’t miss a shot. He shot it really well.”

On if the team feel the spotlight getting warmer …
“Not at all. The great thing about coaching these kids, they’re in the moment. They’re not worrying about the spotlight, the heat, the pressure, the perfect season. All of that doesn’t come into play. They want to win every game, of course. They go out and compete. But, we keep this one game at a time.”

On team always being in the spotlight …
“Yeah, it’s constant. I think this year more than most, there’s been more TV coverage of it. But, I think we do a good job of keeping this in-house and keeping this focused on what we have to do: not looking ahead to people, working on the things we have to do in practice for us, concentrating on us and what makes us a great team. Then, going out and performing against opponents.”

What last season’s sweep of Kentucky means for Arkansas players …
“They will not be in awe of us. They won’t be intimidated. They’ll come in with some confidence. But, we will, too. We’ll come in knowing that we’re a different team, that we’re going to get after them, just like they’re going to try to get after us.”

On whether depth becomes more of a factor because of Arkansas’ ability to run …
“I think so. I think this team is a little different. They play a bunch of guys, as well. It will come down to— one of their strategies is that they feel like they are in better condition than us. Well, we’ll see.”

On team’s multiple “X-factors” …
“We have a lot of X’s. I think that Trey (Lyles) has demonstrated how good he can be for us. We need Trey to play like he played last game to finish this year out. Dakari (Johnson) is big, strong, brings a physical presence to our team. We need him to be that. So, we do have numerous guys that can be X-factors. That’s a good problem to have.”

On whether Arkansas’ unique style of play calls for additional preparation …
“What it does it, defensively, they’re style is making you play basketball. So, if you think you’re going to just catch the ball, hold the ball, run the offense, set offensive plays, not happening. They will force you to attack. Hopefully, teams that handle it have success. Be strong.”

Video/Transcript: UK Players Lyles, Booker Pre Arkansas Interviews

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

DEVIN BOOKER

On playing a top-25 team and if it feels like a big deal …
“I wouldn’t say it’s a big deal. Every game we’re playing against ourselves. So, I think Arkansas, we know they’re going to bring it. We just have to go out there and be more focused and I’d say come out to a better start.”

On if their style is one that can challenge Kentucky …
“I guess we’ll see tomorrow.”

On his relationship with Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson, who was the head coach at Missouri and recruited Booker at a younger age …
“He was recruiting me. I was really young then, so it wasn’t really heavy, but I made a visit up to Columbia when he was coaching there. I met the coaching staff and everything, but he ended up going to Arkansas and he recruited me a little bit there, but kind of fell off.”

On what he thought of Coach Anderson …
“It was a long time ago. I don’t really remember. But I know he was a cool guy. I was so young, I don’t think he was on me that hard. It really wasn’t that big of a deal.”

On if it would benefit him, personally, if Arkansas chose to run against Kentucky …
“I feel like our team can adjust to any type of playing style with so many different type of weapons that we have. I feel like it will be good for us and a good challenge for us.”

On Arkansas potentially trapping and pressing …
“I’m sure Coach (Cal) will prepare us for whatever they’re doing. That’s their job. They study on how they’ll play, so they’ll just let us know. They’ve done a good job of every game getting us prepared for each opponent.”

On if UK’s depth comes in handy if Arkansas decides to play fast …
“Yeah, like I said, I feel like we can slow it down or we can play fast paced. With so many weapons that we have, we can just adjust to any type of game play. I think it will be a good challenge for us because we haven’t really played an up-tempo game like they play in a while.”

On if he’s gotten to see Arkansas play much …
“Not yet. We usually watch film today or the day of the game so I haven’t seen much, but I’ve watched a little bit, highlights on TV. They’re having a great season. I think they’re second in the SEC or whatever, so I’m sure they’ll come out and try to prove a point.”

On how aware they are of the perception, by many, that Arkansas is the team that can challenge UK …
“We’re aware. Every game we know that we’re going to get a team’s best. They’re going to come in and try to beat us. We just have to, like I said, prepare for that game and play against ourselves each and every game.”

On if they can feel the attention continuing to grow as the season progresses …
“I don’t know about that, because when you first get to Kentucky the spotlight is on you. That’s the reason a lot of us came here is to be on that big stage. I kind of see what you’re talking about, how it’s become more and more each and every game we win, but we just have to focus on what’s at hand, and that’s to get a win.”

On if he thinks the older guys remember that Arkansas beat them twice last year …
“I think they remember it most definitely, but we’re a whole different team this year. … That’s what we’re going to focus on.”

On if it’s human nature to want a little revenge …
“Yeah, exactly.”
(Devin asks if UK lost to Arkansas twice last year and is told, yes)
“Yeah, I know they feel it deep down inside.”

On if it feels different on the court in games like this …
“I think everybody else makes it a bigger game for us and it’s like, I don’t know why it is, but we lock in when we hear that. Like, all the big games we come out and perform, and that’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow. But, like I said, we need to take every game with an approach like that, that we’re going to go in and just get them out of the way.”

On how fun it is to play in a game where the tempo is up and down …
“It’s fun. With our team, I feel like we have so many different weapons that we can adjust to any type of playing style. I know Arkansas is going to bring that up-tempo game and I think it will be a fun little challenge for us.”

On Arkansas wanting to get teams out of patterns they run and just play basketball, more or less …
“I feel like we have good enough players to play basketball, so it’ll be a good time.”

TREY LYLES

On how things have been going since he was sick …
“Just putting in extra work, doing what Coach (Cal) asks me to do and just going out there and trying to execute.”

On what it was like having someone checking his weight and making him eat …
“I wouldn’t say they were force-feeding me. I was eating regular food and stuff like that. But they were making sure that I was maintaining my weight and just staying at a weight where I’d be able to play on it.”

On what Cal means by calling him the X-factor …
“Just that if I go out there and do what he’s asking me to do I’m just going to help the team out overall and just, you know, push us to be able to win more games.”

On how that makes him feel or if it puts more weight on him …
“No not really, ‘cause I’ve heard coaches say, you know, other players are X-factors, but we all just gotta go out there and play together. And, you know, if we’re all playing well with one another there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be winning.”

On if playing a ranked opponent changes anything about it going into the game …
“I think there’ll be more energy in the building, but we prepare for every game the same way. You know, guys might have a little more for this game since they lost to them last year, but we’re going to go out there and compete as a team and play with one another and just try to win.”

On if it’s hard trying to take more shots when he’s got other talented teammates to help score too …
“Definitely. You know, if I see a teammate with a better shot than me I’m going to give him the ball. But, you know, all those wide-open shots, I had to take those, so I’m just trying to do whatever (Coach Cal) is asking of me.”

On if Cal is trying to get him to be more aggressive …
“Yeah, I’d say he just wants me to be more aggressive.”

On if he can sense this game is personal for some of the veterans since Arkansas has won the last three matchups …
“Definitely. You know, nobody wants to lose to them again, the players or the coaches, so they’ve been talking about it the past couple days and everybody’s pretty much getting energized for it.
“I think they definitely remember. They talk about it quite a lot now since the game is coming up, so I think they’re going to have a little bit more energy and passion going out there tomorrow night.”

On the challenge Arkansas presents …
“They come out and play hard all the time, very aggressive offensively and defensively, so we’re just going to have to match and exceed their energy and their aggression, and just go out there and play with one another.”

On Arkansas having one McDonalds All-American compared to UK’s nine …
“I don’t think that really matters, just gotta go out there and compete and just, you know, go out there and play harder than they do.”

On if he knows Bobby Portis at all …
“I played against him a couple times when we were younger, but I don’t know him personally.”

On his thoughts on Portis’ game …
“No, I haven’t got a chance to watch him play, so I can’t comment on that.”

On watching film on Arkansas …
“We have watched a couple clips and we’re going to watch some more today, but not too many.
“Highlights, ESPN, stuff like that, but, no, I haven’t watched too much film on them. Coach (Cal) is definitely going to have us watch them today and tomorrow and before the game starts.”

On where he feels like he’s come the farthest this season in his development …
“Probably just playing hard all the time throughout the whole game, not taking breaks or stuff like that.”

On how much the Indiana schools were in the mix for his recruitment …
“Yeah, they were. At an early age (I) committed to IU, of course, but I had IU and Purdue looking at me when I was in eighth grade and stuff like that. So they were around for awhile.”

On if he feels like the attention is getting crazier …
“I think more people are looking into it. Like Coach (Cal) says, it’s outside clutter that we need to push to the side and just worry about what we can control and go out there and play our hardest all the time.”

On if he feels like being undefeated isn’t as dramatic at UK as it is at other places …
“Somewhat, but we really try not to pay attention. Coach (Cal) tries to keep us away from that kind of stuff and we just gotta go out there and compete. Any given day is somebody else’s day, so we just gotta go out there and make sure that if we’re out there playing, we’re playing to the best of our abilities.”

On if he feels like this team rises to the challenge when they hear a game is a marquee matchup …
“Definitely. You know, when we hear that a team is going to challenge us, you know, could beat us, in some aspects we take it personally. We wanna go out there and show those people who said that differently and just go out there and compete.”

On if anything stands out from what he’s watched on Arkansas …
“They just play with a lot of energy, very aggressive offensively, defensively.”

On if it feels differently playing in a marquee matchup …
“I just think there’s more energy from the crowd and from the team, and, you know, we just try to go out there and make a statement every time we play ranked opponents, and stuff like that.”

On if he feels the buzz surrounding this game and that Arkansas is one of the teams that could get them …
“Definitely. You know, that, and then guys talking about the two losses that they took last year. You know for us there’s a lot more energy and passion that’s going to be in this game I think.”

On if he likes it when Cal says he could be the X-factor …
“I think any player would like that, but, you know, I just gotta go out there and play to the best of my ability and do what he asks me to do.”

On how long it took him to get into basketball shape …
“Yeah, it took me about a week, but I’m back to where I was before I was sick and stuff like that, so I’m feeling fine.”

On how fun it’ll be running up and down the court against Arkansas the way it was against Auburn …
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. You know, that’s when we’re at our best—when we’re playing fast and pushing the ball and doing a lot in transition.”

On if that’s a game where their depth comes in handy …
“Definitely, ‘cause you know five guys get a little tired or whatever, and, you know, we’ve got five more coming in, so it’s good for us and bad for the other teams.”

Kentucky vs Arkansas....A Preview

Kentucky vs Arkansas 2/28/15 
(Saturday 4PM) CBS SPORTS
UK leads the series 25-11

Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC)

Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
Enrollment: 24,595
Arena: 19,200

Head Coach: Mike Anderson
Career Record: 259-137 (65.4%) 12 Seasons
At Arkansas: 59-39 (60.2%) 3 Seasons

2013-14 Record:22-12 
2013-14 SEC Record:10-8
2013-14 Postseason:1-1(NIT)

2014-15 Record: 23-5 (Home:17-1 Away: 6-4)
2014-15 SEC Record: 12-3 (Home: 7-1 Away: 5-2)

Arkansas 97 Alabama State 79
Arkansas 83 Wake Forest 53
Arkansas 99 Delaware St. 71
Arkansas 78 SMU 72
Arkansas 89 N. Texas 73
Arkansas 94 Iona 77
Iowa St. 95 Arkansas 77
Clemson 68 Arkansas 65
Arkansas 69 Dayton 55
Arkansas 84 SE Missouri St. 67
Arkansas 84 UW-Milwaukee 54
Arkansas 100 Northwestern St. 92
Arkansas 79 Utah Valley 46
Arkansas 79 Georgia 75
Arkansas 82 Vanderbilt 70
Tennessee 74 Arkansas 69
Ole Miss 96 Arkansas 82
Arkansas 93 Alabama 91
Arkansas 61 Missouri 60
Arkansas 69 Tennessee 64
Florida 57 Arkansas 56
Arkansas 75 South Carolina 55
Arkansas 61 Mississippi St. 41
Arkansas 101 Auburn 87
Arkansas 71 Ole Miss 70
Arkansas 84 Missouri 69
Arkansas 65 Mississippi St. 61
Arkansas 81 Texas A&M 75

Arkansas Stats:

PPG-80.0
FG%-45.3%
3 PT%-36.3% (7 PG)
FT%-72.0%
RPG-36 
APG-17
TO’s-12
SPG-8
BPG-5

Probable Starting Lineup:

Alandise Harris-F 6’6” Soph……………….……..7.5 PPG
Bobby Portis-F 6’11” Soph………………….……17.6 PPG
Anton Beard-G 6’0” Fr……………………….…...6.4 PPG
Rashad MaddenG 6’5” Sr…………………………9.9 PPG
Michael Qualls-G 6’6” Jr………………………….15.1 PPG

Jacorey Williams-F 6’8” Jr………………………..5.4 PPG
Moses Kingsley-F 6’10” Soph…………………….4.0 PPG
Manvale Watkins-G 6’3” Soph……………………3.1 PPG
Anthlon Bell-G 6’3” Jr…………………………….8.1 PPG

Arkansas arrives in Lexington as the 18th ranked team in college basketball with a very good 23-5 overall record…..and two of those losses go back to early December when they lost on the road to 20th ranked Iowa St. and Clemson. The Razorbacks are in 2nd place in the SEC with 12-3 record and have won 9 0f the last 10 SEC games.

Coach Mike Anderson returned his top three scorers from last season in Bobby Portis, Michael Qualls and Rashad Madden plus adding, Arkansas player of the year, Anton Beard a 4 star recruit along with other quality players. This is arguably the most talented Razorback team in over 10 years and it is very athletic. There is experience, size and solid depth along with a truly great player in Bobby Portis who leads the team in scoring, rebounds with 238 and blocks with 44. 

Arkansas likes to run and press…get steals…and use their bench with quality players.
PG Rashad Madden leads the team in assists with 133. The Razorbacks are a solid perimeter shooting team hitting 36.3% overall with several players shooting 35%-40%…….and are also very good at the charity line hitting 72%.

Arkansas will arrive at Rupp arena brimming with confidence….the Razorbacks have defeated UK in 4 of their last 5 games, but 3 of the wins have been in Fayetteville. Last season, Arkansas defeated the Cats twice….both were overtimes….and one of the wins was in Rupp arena. Coach Anderson will have the Razorbacks more than ready to play their best game of the year…..featuring a high octane offense….and lots of pressing on defense. 

Kentucky Stats:

PPG-74.7
FG%-47.0%
3 PT%-34.5% (5.6 PG)
FT%-70.9%
RPG-38.6 (+7.8)
APG-15.4
TO’s-11.1
SPG-6.8
BPG-7.0

Kentucky pulled away from Mississippi St. in the 2nd half for a 74-56 win and their 28th straight victory without a loss…..the Cats got the job done, but didn’t play a great game.
Game ball to Trey Lyles who scored a season high 18 points and was very aggressive in the paint area. Karl Towns played another solid game with 12 points and 10 rebounds. It was nice to see Aaron Harrison get his shooting eye back and finish with 16 points while Devin Booker garnered 14 points and played a solid game.

Kentucky now faces 18th ranked Arkansas which has won 9 of their last 10 SEC games and are 2nd in the SEC behind UK. The Razorbacks present the biggest SEC challenge to UK’s undefeated season with a talented team that is very athletic and will likely press the Cats much of the game. Although Arkansas doesn’t play a platoon system, they go deep in their bench with quality players. Bottom line, the Razorbacks will be a very tough opponent for the Cats.

Certainly, the UK coaching staff and players are very much aware of losing to Arkansas 3 straight times including twice last season. Make no mistake, this is a huge game for UK and one that requires the Cats bring their A game. It’s payback time and I see a highly motivated UK team defeating the Razorbacks in a great game by 5-10 points. GO CATS!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Video/Transcript: UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell Pre-Arkansas Presser

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement … 
“Arkansas is coming off of a great win against LSU where they played extremely well. They’re a very good basketball team with a lot of weapons and they are very hard to score against. It’ll be a big challenge for us to go on the road and see if we can earn a victory which would be real significant for us. It’s a big game for us, so we need to work hard to get prepared.”

On the challenging road schedule to close out the season … 
“This is a tough week for us with two games in the central time zone. The kids got back very, very late on Monday night and probably even later on Friday morning. It’s just how the schedule falls and it’s a challenge. It’s difficult to play two of your last three on the road. It’s a unique challenge, but we have to fight through some adversity. We’re in the midst of some poor results. We need to really, really fight for a great attitude and I think that’s what will get us to where we need to be – is just getting our mindset right an there’s no better place to do it than have the adversity of the road. The schedule has produced a tough challenge. You can rise and meet the challenge or shrink away from it. I believe this team is going to rise up and meet the challenge.”

On playing another team fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives … 
“For the disappointment of the loss against Ole Miss, I thought the loss had a lot to do with how well Ole Miss played and how prepared they were and motivated. It was like the first game we had with them. It was real close coming down the stretch – same thing here in Lexington. We were able to find a way to win that game, and they made some great, great plays to beat us. We saw some positive things out of the game and I really liked the teams’ mindset yesterday and we will go at it again today. This is no time to flinch and this is no time to hang your head. This is time to rise up and play for each other and play for Kentucky. I believe that we will di that tomorrow night.”

On the team’s offensive struggles … 
“We are putting an awful lot of pressure on our defense right now because we are struggling to score. It just comes down to Ole Miss created some open shots that they made. They created some offensive rebounds and put-backs that they created through their effort and energy. We are just not making open shots. We’re getting some offensive rebounds and just not finishing at the rim, missing a ton of layups, things like that. You just have to continue to persevere, fight hard, things like that – stress in practice. Give the players accountability, and if they don’t do it, find a way to get them to do it. I think that we have to be active in making our offensive woes go away by just being tough, making some open shots, making some layups and you can’t let it deflate you. We just have to persevere. This team has put a lot of time into shooting the ball, and we’ve had some games where we’ve shot it well and we just haven’t done that in the last few games. It’s been very, very poor shooting, and so you just have to stay strong, keep the faith, keep working. Our kids are in the gym right now before practice working hard to see if they can make some shots. Everybody is playing us the same way. Arkansas looks like they’ll play us the same way and force us to make some perimeter shots and at some point you have to step in there and make them.”

On the impact of Makayla Epps’ injury and her status … 
“Well, imagine a team losing their starting point guard and what happens to that. And then you’re blessed enough to have a very capable person who was a starter, but now she slides over to starting point guard and she gets hurt. Now you’re down to your third option, which for us is still a good option, in Jennifer O’Neill. It just shortens your bench and puts some pressure on your bench and your depth, but I talked with Makayla today and she is just going to have a great day of mental preparation and we just feel like the day of rest is important for her right now. She’s going to be with me in practice right beside me all day seeing what I see, and just really having a great day of mental preparation and putting in a great gameplan and being very vocal with her teammates. I think she’ll be ready to go tomorrow night. You never know how the game is going to go and how her injury is going to react, but her mindset right now is to push through it and play through it. There are different things that make it hurt more than others. She’s not going to feel great tomorrow night, and so mentally she is just going to get to a spot where she can just play hard. I think everybody this time of the year is banged up. I bet Arkansas is not feeling 100 percent, so it’s just the nature of a long SEC grind. We just have to gut it out and find a way to win. We expect her to play and be ready to roll tomorrow night.”

On Arkansas in Jimmy Dykes’ first season …
“Well, you know, I’m probably—just the way the schedule’s fallen, I’ve probably seen them the least of anybody. Have watched them a lot here in the last 24 hours and just impressed with how they persevered from an early stretch where they weren’t winning games. Now they find themselves with a chance to fight to .500 in the league, which is a task. So it looks to me like they’re doing a great job and they’ll be a very challenging opponent tomorrow night.”