Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cats vs. Dogs

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst


vs.

The last time UK beat Georgia Bill Curry was a lame duck coach. Georgia comes into this contest LOSING 3 of 4. A lot of UK fans see Vandy winning in Athens and think the Cats have a good chance to beat the Dogs in Lexington.

UGA's offense has struggled with a freshman QB in Matt Stafford. But, let's look what our defense has done for other QB's. Central Michigan with a freshman QB lights up UK for over 300 yards passing. Mississippi State's QB was completing 43% of his passes with 1 TD and 5 INT entering the UK game. He smokes us for 400 yards passing.

Myron Pryor, Lamar Mills and Corey Peters do seem to be healthier. Braxton Kelly seems to coming back to form after last years ACL injury. He had 12 tackles last weekend and 2 tackles for loss. UK has to get some pressure on Stafford to force him into bad decisions.

UGA committed five turnovers last week vs. the Gators and only lost by seven. UGA is last in the league in turnover margin, while UK is one of the SEC better teams in takeaway/giveaways.

UK is coming into the game missing guards Trai Williams and Jason Leger. Hayden Lane now moves inside at guard. The back-up at the guard position is seldom used Sefo Blaylock. I would guess Eric Scott will be the back-up center whose only live action at center was in a JV game.

Alphonso Smith gets his first college starts this weekend. The kid had a good game vs. Mississippi St. and hopefully UGA will have to pay attention to Smith and his speed giving Andre a little more time to read coverages and get the ball to the right spot.

UK will have to play the "perfect" game to beat the Dogs. Win the turnover battle, have the defense get off the field on 3rd down and break 1-2 plays on special teams.

Monday, October 30, 2006

WT's Football "Top 10" (Oct. 30)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. W VA
3. UL
4. Texas
5. Michigan
6. Notre Dame
7. UT
8. Cal
9. Florida
10. USC

Sunday, October 29, 2006

WT's Preseason Bball "Top 25" Poll

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

1. Florida
2. North Carolina
3. Kansas
4. LSU
5. Georgetown
6. Ohio St.
7. Boston College
8. Washington
9. UCLA
10. Alabama
11. Pittsburgh
12. Arizona
13. Duke
14. Memphis
15. Teaxs
16. Michigan St.
17. Gonzaga
18. UConn
19. Wisconsin
20. Kentucky
21. Syracuse
22. Marquette
23. Louisville
24. Georgia Tech
25. Wichita St.

Cats get SEC Road Win!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

vs.

It wasn't the prettiest win in the world, but the UK football team went on the road as a favorite, and Won! Anybody want to guess how many times that has happened in your lifetime?

UK got out of the gate early and took a 14-0 lead on a spectacular catch by Lyons! Then it seemed we were ready for deja vu all over again.

UK had 3 straight possession start inside the 50 and failed to score on all three. The most costly an interception inside the 10 yard line.

The second half seemed to be the Alphonso Smith show. The seldom used freshman got the bulk of the carries after a first half fumble by Tony Dixon. Smith ran for 90+ yards to go along with a 50 yard reception. The kid has speed that we have not had in the backfield for sometime.

Andre had some "pretty" stats but I think we are starting to see the some ole' Andre and his "negative" plays. Delay of games, interceptions in the red zone and taking sacks. Anybody think its a coincidence Curtis Pulley got some snaps after a bad sequence of plays?

Once again our vaunted defense took a below avergae QB with a 40% completion rate and made him look like Dan Mariono with 400 yards passing. The kid had 1 TD and 5 picks entering the game and lights us up for 3 TD's!

IIRC, Tom Leach said Mississippi State was 0-20 entering the game on 3rd and 10 or longer. I can think of 3 conversions they got with one being 3rd and 15 that went for a TD.

Our record is 4 - 4 and we still have a shot to get bowl eligible. We begin a 3 game home stand that will determine if we can make a bowl. Up next is the Georgia Bulldogs.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

UK vs Miss St.

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

Our beloved Wildcats are in Starkville today for their most important road game of the season.

UK comes into this game a slight favorite. As much as I love my Cats UK being favorite in a SEC road football game is unfathomable.

You've heard the irresistible force mets the immovable object? MSU offense vs our defense is the immovable object mets the irresistible force. MSU is 111th in total offense we are 119 in total defense.

MSU has seemed to get better as the season as progressed. Their starting QB has returned after a shoulder/collarbone injury the opening game vs South Carolina.

MSU played UGA very well in Athens last week. IIRC, UGA had ~350 yards of offense. UK is still missing their best RB in Rafael Little.

This is a game UK HAS TO COME OUT READY TO PLAY! How many times have we said that, only to see them stink up the joint the first 15-20 minutes of a game.

A road win does wonder for our kids as we head into the last four games of the season. Can they get win #1?

Make no mistake about it gang, a loss IMO almost seals the fate of our coaching staff, a bowl season and our 2007 recruiting class.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Can UK win on the Road?

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst



UK has never been very successful on the road. That better change in a hurry if the Cats want to hold on to hopes of a bowl invitation.

As we head into the game vs. Mississippi St I'm not sure which is worse, their offense or our defense. Have you heard the one about ugliness runs in the family? Well, ugliness WALKS REAL SLOW through these two units!

It does seem that Corey Peters, Lamar Mills and Ricky Abren should be on the field. That can't hurt a defensive unit that gives up yards like politicians use pages and interins!

I am anxious to see what adjustments the UK staff has made on defense. Will they be aggressive? Will the LB's be within 5 yards of the LOS?

Rafael Little is still out this game. Joker needs to throw the ball down the field. I'm not sure why we use the dink-n-dunk offense, but it is time to let Burton and Lyons do what they do best and that is get down the field. Use, the RB's on swing passes, much like the 49ers used to do as their running game.

If UK loses this game to MSU, Mitch will probably be going through his rolodex of contacts as he looks for UK's next head coach. Let's hope it does not come to that point!!!!!

WT's Football "Top 10" (October 23)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. USC
3. W VA
4. Texas
5. UL
6. Michigan
7. Notre Dame
8. UT
9. Cal
10.Florida

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

WT's Football "Top 10" (October 16)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. USC
3. W VA
4. Texas
5. UL
6. Michigan
7. Notre Dame
8. UT
9. Cal
10. Florida

Monday, October 16, 2006

Much needed week off!

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst



After a disastorous trip to LSU the Cats have an off week to lick and hopefully heal their wounds.

UK heads into the bye week at 3-4 with the chance of winning 6 games to become bowl eligible. The questions is, can they? A road game to MSU is the next "must win" of the season. MSU is AWFUL, but UK needs to show they can with this type of game on the road.

That is follow-up with a 3 game home stretch that determines our bowl chances. First up is Georgia. The same Georgia Bulldogs who lost at home to Vandy.

Those same Vanderbilt Commodores come to Lexington remembering how we ruined their bowl chances last year. If the 'Dores can win in Athens they can win in Lexington.

Louisiana-Monore comes to the Commonwealth for Senior Day.

In order for UK to beat any of these opponets the defense HAS to IMPROVE.

In UK's four (4) loses:

Score: UK 13 Opponets 40
Rush: UK 46 Opponets 264
Pass: UK 202 Opponets 279
Total: UK 248 Opponets 543
3rd Down Conversions: UK 26% Opponets 51%

Season Totals:

Score: UK 24 Opponets 31
Rush: UK 79 Opponets 209
Pass: UK 230 Opponets 268
Total: UK 309 Opponets 477
3rd Down Conversion: UK 34% Opponets 45%

Alot of UK fans look at Vandy winning at UT last year and beating Georgia in Athens this past weekend and seem to be losing patience with Coach Brooks and his staff. After all we are better than Vandy, right?

UK needs to get healthy these next two weeks and somehow find a way to slow other teams down. The most important question might be the latter and what can be done differently the next 5 weeks that hasn't been done the first seven?

Big Blue Madness, Follow-Up on Recruits

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst

Sorry it took me a little longer then it should have to post some news, but I wanted to get my info right before posting it, because I do have some news.

So lets start with BBM, it couldn't have went any better for UK. The recruits loved the players and atmosphere at Rupp. The whole UK family did there job including the fans and Tubby.

Now the first bit of good news, AJ commited which we already know thanks to Matt Jones, the one that does a great job with his blog. Also I got a little info that has leaked out to me that some others may not have just yet, but then again they may and just haven't let it out yet. Well I'm going to let it out and here it goes. Barnes will anoounce for UK this Thursday, he has already informed the UK staff of the decsion. I'm not sure if he has or hasn't called the other schools yet. So now with Barnes that makes UK a class so far of:

Williams - 7 foot C
Stewart - 6-7 SF
Barnes - (I am almost certain my sources are correct)6-8 PF/C

Thats a great start to a class. It has 2 that will be 4 star recruits by the end of thier senior seasons and 1 that has a good chance to climb to 4 star as well.

Now for what I think from what I have been told by my sources will happen with Patrick Patterson, Lucas and Moses.

Lucas will take his visit next weekend to Okla. St.(he is suppose to take 2 others as well but I dont think he takes them) and then commit to either UK or OK ST., I think he comes to UK. I think this becasue from what I have gathered from interviews he has done and I have heard things his father has said and I believe he wants his kid at UK.

Patrick Patterson is a tough guy to get anything from. I was told that he enjoyed his visit and loved the guys he visited with. The key to Patterson will be Stewart and Lucas. If these(AJ already commited)guys commit and come to UK I think they bring Patterson with them. One reason for this is how the players get along but another is also how the parents got along. Patterson said his parents would be a big role in his decsion and I think the way they took the visit matters alot also. From all these points I will at this time say that I think Patterson comes to UK with his buds and wins a chamionship together in '08.

Now for Moses and the rumors he has commited. I will say that I have heard nothing of a commitment to UK from Moses yet, but it wouldn't suprise me if he did. Because I for one expect him to commit this weekend after his visit if he still has a offer for '07. I say this because Im not 100% sure of how many UK takes for '07 5 or 6, I say 6.

Now with the biggest recruiting weekend in over a decade being over I will try and figure out what kind of class UK should pull in from what I am being told. UK has 2 commits Williams and Stewart so thats 2 and thats were I'll start.

1) Williams - C
2) Stewart - SF

Now for what I think the rest will be. Now this is just form what sources have told me over the weekend so its fresh.

3) Barnes - PF/C ( I was told he has already pledged to Tubby and will let it be known on thursday but I have been wrong before but I dont think my sources are wrong this time)

4) Lucas - PG This kid is ready to commit but he just wants to cover all his bases first. Look for a visit this weekend to OK ST. and then probably a commit(hopefully to UK) the following week probably Wed. or Thur.

5) Moses - PF/SF He will visit UK this weekend and more than likely commit during or shortly after the visit.

6) Patrick Patterson - PF This kid is the make and break part of Tubby class. If the guys above commit to UK he will as well. I have a funny feeling about this guy for some reason, my gut says UF but all my sources says UK jumped ahead this weekend. I will go with my sources and say he commits to UK. He will visit Virginia this weekend and may or may not go to Wake Forrest the following weekend. If he goes to Wake it is probably a bad sign for UK. If he sets a date to announce after the UV visit it will bold well for UK.

So if what I have been told comes to life UK should have a very nice class to build around for the future. A top 5 class for sure and maybe a top 3 class. UK will have 1 5 star recruit in PP and probably 4 4 star recruits in Stewart, Barnes, Lucas and Moses then also Williams who could beacome a 4 star but probably ends up a being a 3 star recruit. That would give UK 6 recruits with a 4 star average per recruit thats a solid class if you ask me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Big Blue Madness Wrap-Up

Andrew
Wildcats Thunder Global Moderator

This Big Blue Madness was a very important one, to say the least. Our three main recruits were there: AJ Stewart, Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas, and as this event has served as such a great recruiting tool in the past, the fan base was in very high hopes of the positive influence this event may have on them. Seeing as, in many people’s minds, UK’s recruiting has been lackluster, this game could have really been the turning point as far as that goes. Not only was this game important for the recruiting, it was important for the fans as well. They needed an exciting experience, something to fire them back up after last year’s disappointing season. In my mind, this night could have been a very telling event to the future of Tubby Smith’s tenure here, both from a recruiting standpoint and support from the fans.

The event gave me mixed feelings. As I saw it, there are two aspects to Big Blue Madness: an entertaining pre-game, and an exciting scrimmage. UK finished one for two. The pre-game, quite honestly, was not very good. The hosts were pretty bland (we love you Kyle, but please, stick to the three-point shootout), and were too involved. There role should have been smaller in my mind. Also, clogging is probably not what the majority of UK fans, or Kentucky recruits, like to watch. I can’t envision A.J. Stewart going to clog dances on Friday nights. In general, it was dragged out too long. It probably isn’t the best idea to have the women’s scrimmage on the same night, either. They did look good, and no offense, but I, along with what I assume is the majority of the crowd, finds women’s basketball somewhat boring. Overall, I don’t think UK did very well as far as pre-game goes. Too long and kind of boring.

As for the actual basketball, I was very impressed. Our team looks better than last year’s. I know it’s just a little scrimmage, but I still see a difference. Jasper appeared to be a very good player, with great athleticism and a knack for seeing the floor. Meeks seems to have a nice shot and appears to be aggressive. Stevenson finishes very well around the basket and has great hoops. Porter has a nice shot and good form, just kind of a slow release. Carter, Morris, Bradley, Perry, and Thomas have appeared to have improved a good amount. The basketball section of the evening was a definite success.

I guess going one for two isn’t bad, considering the “hit” was the basketball, the more important part. I’d rather have it the way we did it then to have a great pre-game and terrible basketball. It all kind of relates back to what UK is about: Basketball. That’s who we are. We might never have a decent football team, our baseball might be on and off, but we’ll always have basketball. We might not have a very entertaining Big Blue Madness host crew, but we know we’ll get to see some good basketball. As of late, however, our standby sport and trademark has been slacking a little. We had a bad year. But from the looks of tonight, both of how our team played and the general atmosphere, we’re going to be good this year. How good? I don’t know. But it will be better than last year. The 2nd annual Big Blue Madness should have shown you that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Making Of A Wildcat Fan For Life

“TheProfessor”
Wildcats Thunder Member

I was born about 7 months after Adolph Rupp claimed the first of four basketball national championships for the University of Kentucky. Before I was 3, Coach Rupp had claimed his second and third championships. Kentuckians from the Big Sandy to the Mississippi Rivers shared the great pride that Coach Rupp delivered at a time when life in Kentucky was hard for many. Employment opportunities in the mountains were limited at best as the Eastern Kentucky coal economy declined in the early 1950s, and dad moved our family from Eastern Kentucky to Michigan to find work. However, the Kentucky pride that Rupp provided never left him, and my earliest childhood memories include a clear understanding that dad wanted my future to include the University of Kentucky.

Kentucky basketball was special to dad, as it was for most Kentuckians of that era. On game nights, he would retire to his bedroom where he would work the tuning dial on his nightstand radio and listen to Cawood describe the Wildcat games on WHAS between the competing static and Cuban stations. I was aware of basketball while growing up in the Detroit area, but I understood that basketball was only a winter diversion between Michigan football and Detroit Tiger baseball seasons, and Red Wing hockey diverted a significant amount of the winter attention from basketball.

I would not discover why Kentucky basketball was so special for several more years.

In 1962, dad moved our family back to Eastern Kentucky when new work opportunities appeared for him, and I began my freshman year of high school in Kentucky. Before long, I discovered that basketball was King in Kentucky, and the former mainstays, baseball and football, simply filled the time between basketball seasons. High school basketball games were ritual events that captured the attention of entire communities. Social calendars included those regularly scheduled Tuesday and Friday night high school games and everyone dreamed of their team playing in the Sweet Sixteen.

Kentucky Wildcat basketball remained in the background during my freshman and sophomore years, even though I was well aware of the stir that Kentucky games always created when Cotton Nash and company enjoyed a rare televised game.

On January 2, 1965, I attended my very first UK basketball game. I saw Kentucky defeat Dartmouth College 107-67 at Memorial Coliseum. I had certainly gained a heightened awareness of Kentucky basketball as a result of this experience, but I was not “hooked,” yet. The 1965 Wildcat team finished 15-10, a “poor” overall season outcome that overshadowed my first eyewitness experience because my high school team supplied greater hope for post-season success.

In March 1965, UCLA won its second straight NCAA Championship by defeating a favored Michigan team, led by Cazzie Russell. My years in Michigan created a natural interest in that game for me. As I began my senior year of high school the following fall, it was clear that Michigan would open the 1965-66 season as the consensus team to beat on the strength of the great Cazzie Russell and its other returning players. One of my cousins began college at Bowling Green State University. Bowling Green had a fine basketball heritage, having sent two of its recent players to the NBA, Howard Komives and Nate Thurman. The University of Michigan opened their 1965-66 season in Ann Arbor against Bowling Green, and my cousin got two tickets, and invited me to join him.

Wow!!!. I was going to see Cazzie Russell’s Michigan Wolverines open their season, and they did not disappoint. That late November experience elevated my interest in college basketball to a new level, and as soon as I returned to my Kentucky home, I transferred that newfound interest to the UK games.

Kentucky defeated Hardin Simmons by 28 points on December 1. Kentucky then won at Virginia [26 pt win] and at Illinois [18 pt win]. Northwestern was the next victim, by 11 points in Lexington. As Claude Sullivan’s voice brought these games to life, I recognized that this Kentucky team was creating quite a stir. They were a rag-tag group of runts left over from the team that had lost 10 times in 25 tries the year before. Kentucky’s tallest starter was only 6 ft 5 inches, and they had a 6 ft 3 inch forward jumping center, yet they were handling each of their opponents with apparent ease.

The winning continued, over Air Force by 20 and Indiana by 35 points in the UKIT, propelling Kentucky to #10 in the wire service polls. A perfect 6-0 start, and I was captivated. My Kentucky pride began to swell and my infatuation with Michigan, Cazzie Russell, and the trip to Ann Arbor rapidly faded.

The winning continued, but there was more. The manner in which these Runts won was clearly special. They defeated Texas Tech by 26, Notre Dame by 34, and Saint Louis by 10 to complete their non-conference schedule undefeated, 9-0. By the time the Cats began their journey into the SEC schedule, the wire services declared Kentucky was #2 in the nation. At this point, I realized that MY KENTUCKY basketball team was on the same level as those Wolverines who had captured my imagination just 6 weeks prior. The Cats continued to win as they marched through the SEC. During this SEC march, only one opponent truly challenged the Cats and threatened their unbeaten status. I recall the intensity in Claude Sullivan’s voice as the Cats needed critical free throws from reservist Cliff Berger to send the game into overtime, and again into double overtime before the Cats prevailed, as was clearly their right, by 4 points. The winning continued and Kentucky moved to #1 in the nation following their victory over Florida by 10 points as they moved to 18-0. Kentucky had managed to be one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in the land. Upstart Texas Western was the other unbeaten team.

Then came the seminal experience that cemented my passion for Wildcat basketball, February 26, 1966. My dad, a Brakeman for the C&O railroad, obtained a free passenger train pass for me to travel from Ashland to Lexington and back. I arose at 4:30 am that cold Saturday morning to catch the 6 am train. The train arrived in Lexington shortly after 8 am, and I went directly to Memorial Coliseum to get into the standing room ticket line for the UK-Tennessee game. It was a cold, mid-winter day, but the anticipation of seeing the Cats in person kept all of us warm as we waited for hours. Those around me exchanged their favorite Cat stories, which I absorbed like a dry sponge. The excitement built to fever pitch when the Tennessee team bus arrived at the Coliseum and the enemy actually cut through our line near my location.

They allowed the standing room crowd to enter about 10 minutes prior to tipoff, and I hustled to secure a position at the top of the Coliseum, behind the student section, from which I would watch this epic event. I will never forget the electricity that charged the place on that afternoon. Each time a Wildcat [typically Pat Riley or Louie Dampier] would release a long shot, the Coliseum would begin to roar, in anticipation of another Wildcat basket, followed by a huge “BOOM” as the ball entered the net.

I was hooked.

We all know how that season played out from that 23-0 start. One week to the day after that life altering experience in Lexington, the Cats would travel to Knoxville for a televised rematch with Tennessee where the Cats suffered their only regular season defeat. Ironically, Texas Western also lost its only regular season game that same day, and UK remained #1 in the wire service polls. A season ending victory would secure their 24-1 regular season record.

The Runts’ 15-1 SEC record earned a trip to the NCAA tournament. Dayton, and Henry Finkel were the first post-season hurdle, and the Cats disposed of them by 7. The Mideast Regional Championship game pitted MY Cats against Michigan, yes, the very same Cazzie Russell led team that started the season as the team to beat, the same team that got me started on this journey just four months earlier. The Cats advanced to the Final Four by defeating the #9 ranked Michigan Wolverines and Cazzie by 7. In the final four, the Cats left it all on the floor in defeating #2 ranked Duke by 4, 83-79.

That set up the championship game, #1 Kentucky against little known #3 Texas Western, and we all know about that game, indeed the biggest sporting disappointment that I have ever experienced. At the time, I sensed that this defeat was huge, but I could not comprehend its full historical significance.

I hope you have enjoyed my journey down this memory lane, and thank you for allowing me to share with you how I became a Kentucky Wildcat fan for life.

Monday, October 09, 2006

WT's Football "Top 10" (Oct. 9)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. USC
3. W VA
4. Florida
5. Texas
6. UL
7. Michigan
8. Notre Dame
9. UT
10.Cal

"Opportunity Lost!!"

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

The University of Kentucky had a golden opportunity to go 4-2 and more importantly 2-1 in the SEC. A win over South Carolina would in all probability moved UK to no worse than 4th in the year end SEC East standings.

Keeping that in mind, UK recruits the same areas as SC. UK does well in the state of Georgia and have other players on their roster from SC. Not too mention Kentucky kids are looking for any reason to come to UK with signs the program is moving forward.

Missed opportunities doomed UK from the first series. Marcus McClinton dropped a sure interception around midfield. This would have given UK a short field and made a rowdy crowd much more fired up.

South Carolina did not score on this possesson due to an interception at the goal line, but they did manage to eat up 7-8 minutes on this drive.

Trailing 7-0 SC's punt returner muffed the punt and UK had two kids miss an opportunity to recover the ball inside the 5. Instead of making SC go three and out they have another time consuming drive that leads to a FG and 10-0 lead. While UK needed to make the play on the fumble, the defense needed to hold SC so we could have had a short field to work with. There are times a pitcher has to work around an error and pick his teammate up.

Coming out of halftime Andre Woodson throws a interception leading to a 17-0 SC lead.

UK seemed to be left for dead until a fake punt by Masthay breathed life in the UK football team and fans. UK went on a 10-0 run to make it 17-10.

The defense held SC to 1 first down the third quarter. They gave the offense good field position, but we missed opportunities to tie the game. A penalty, sack or other miscues killed a drive.

On a 3rd down SC takes a TO. A reverse pass leads to a SC TD. Similar to the UF play on the lateral our safety gets sucked up and can not recover in time to make a play on the ball. SC goes up by 14.

As a buddy of mine pointed out, it looked like a flow of "Blue Lava" headed to the exits.

UK hits a long pass to Jr. Lyons and scores a play or two after. The on-side kick is recovered by SC and knowing the are going to try and run the clock out they run two plays for 30 yards.

The defense did hold and gave UK a "Hail Mary" chance to tie the game. But this ball fell helplessly to the ground.

I have left Commonwealth after disappointing defeats, but on the way out the crowd seem "defeated." There were comments being made about UK not being able to get over the hump or is UK just doomed to never be a winner.

The Cats had a Golden Opportunity to get the fence riding fans on their side. There was an opportunity for a boost to recruiting. There was an opportunity to leap frog SC in the standings. There was an opportunity for the "Signature Win" of the Rich Brooks era. UK let this opportunity go, one has to wonder when it will present itself again?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Kentucky’s Passion for Basketball is Unrivaled

m1sk
Wildcats Thunder Member &
2 Time ThunderStorm Poster of the Week

Driving down I-64 within the 80 miles or so between Louisville and Lexington, you’ll cruise past some tremendous sights. The famous Bluegrass Region of Kentucky doesn’t disappoint with dramatic rivers snaking between adjacent limestone walls and horse farms dotting the country side. Taking a quick glance at the neighboring cars passing by, you notice a surprising amount of blue shirts and caps, sandwiched inside a midsized family van. Kentucky Wildcat bumper stickers and flags sway proudly in the frosty December breeze. If this isn’t passion, I don’t know what is.

You can take Cameron Indoor, Dean Smith Center, the Pavilion or even Allen Fieldhouse; I’d take Rupp and its zeal any day of the week (even after a 22-13 season). Give me Ashley Judd and the E-Rupp-tion Zone over the Cameron crazies, and give me seven national titles and SEC championship upon SEC championship over Coach K. We don’t have to fabricate a history that was begins 10-20 years ago, tradition is a constancy over time and that is what it takes to win in today’s game.

Don’t listen to the self proclaimed “basketball guru” Greg Swaim, a packed Gallagher Arena in no way compares to the amount of fanfare you will see at Rupp. What other program’s fans camps out for days for tickets to a preseason practice? What other program has fan’s that literally travel the country in support of their beloved team? Tell me if you know of another program where they have a major U.S. city located two states away infamous for having a huge following for that squad (Catlanta, for those who are confused by that statement)?

With Midnight Madness soon approaching, and yet another season filled with its own story lines and question marks, never forget that we belong to an elite program where greatness is not measured in only victories but banners. Not from the players we produce but from the teams. Names like Rupp, Pitino, and Hall all invoke their own images of greatness. Kentucky has developed the great game of college basketball; let’s not let our petty difference tear it apart.

Kentucky Pride

Bigdaddy
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

When you first think of Kentucky several things come to mind.

People outside of the state may think of Kentucky as The Bluegrass State, Home of the Kentucky Derby, the birthplace of Abe Lincoln the 16th President of the U.S. and several movie stars, Country music stars Ricky Skaggs, The Judd's and GMA's Diane Sawyer and the Mammoth Cave National Park were people come from many different Countries to visit each year. And don't forget the "MY OLD KENTUCKY" Home-place. These are just a few things that some people may think the Kentuckians take their Kentucky Pride in. While these are some great places and people from the state. There is only ONE true thing that Kentuckians take "PRIDE" in and talk about 365 days a year and that is KENTUCKY BASKETBALL!

Kentucky Basketball is the true "KENTUCKY PRIDE" of many Kentuckians regardless if they're rich or poor, young or old you can always find someone talking Kentucky Basketball. Whether its about the past seasons, the past players & the HISTORY of UK Basketball or the new season, current players & possible recruits.

When it comes to Kentucky Basketball, Kentucky Fans are the BEST!

The feeling that you get as a fan the first time you walk into RUPP ARENA and look up at the 13 NCAA Final Four Banners, 7 NCAA Championship Banners, the retired jersey's of some of the Great UK players & Coaches such as Issel, Walker, Mashburn, The Unforgettables, Rupp, Hall, Pitino and "The Voice of the Wildcats" Cawood Ledford all hanging from the rafters of Rupp Arena.

After the game getting a change to go down and step onto the UK floor known as "Cawood Court" were so many great athletics have played and made history and great memories for the fans to share and pass down to their children and their grandchildren.

The fans support their team at each ballgame, some even paint themselves Blue and White and travel in herds to away games and every region in the NCAA wants Kentucky in their region come March, because they know that the Kentucky fans are "TRUE BLUE" and "KENTUCKY PRIDE FANS" and will travel to cheer on their beloved "Wildcats" like crazy. Win or Lose as long as UK leaves all they had on the court at the end of the game and did their best that day the Kentucky fans will still have their "Kentucky Pride" and looking forward to the next game or the start of a new season. The Kentucky fans will always show that "TRUE KENTUCKY PRIDE" and pass it on to their children, so they too can enjoy the GREATEST BASKETBALL TEAM of all time the Kentucky Wildcats!

Here are a few QUOTES on the University of Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Team and the Fans.

"They had it before you, they had it during you, they'll have it when you're gone." -Al McGuire

"Apparently the University of Kentucky basketball dynasty is to continue forever." -Philadelphia Inquirer

"They don't have the kind of environment they have here at Kentucky. The fans here have a passion." -Dick Vitale

Hope you have that "KENTUCKY PRIDE" in you!

GO BIG BLUE - CATS, CATS, CATS, GO CATS!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

2008 Early Recruiting Report

Greg Hoover
Wildcats Thunder Basketball/Recruiting Analyst




Pictured as following:
Greg Monroe,Drew Gordan,Brandon Jennings & Daruis Miller
(Photo's by Scout.com & Rivals.com)

The 2008 recruiting period hasn’t even really started and people are already screaming about where do we stand and why haven’t we gotten a commitment from that group already (DWHS).

The 2008 class promises to be very very talented and deep. Especially at the PG and SF slots. The 2G talent pool is average in number but the top 3 are very tal-ented performers. The Center position is deep with numbers of good players but no real stand out. The power forward is top heavy with 6-8 studs and then an avalanche to the lower 4 star and high 3 star level.

Let’s look at the main four players Tubby is recruiting right now. Let’s also add at this time, that Tubby has been working hard on THIS class already with at least 2 Firm OFFERS and a reported third.

Greg Monroe - 6’10” 228 PF from Harvey, LA (Helen Cox Memorial HS). The TOP player in the 2008 class along with Brandan Jennings (coming later). Greg is a complete package already, and he is just a junior. Powerful body, with a sweet touch out to 16 feet and great handle. Incomparable instincts and a knack for mak-ing the right play are two more of the characteristics that set Greg apart from the rest of the PF. Greg has all the top schools drooling, but has already said it would be one of this group: Arkansas, Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Mississippi State, and Southern California. Soph AVGS.. 19 PPG, 11 RPG, 8 BPG, 4 APG.

Drew Gordon - 6’8 ½” 227 PF from San Jose, CA (Archbishop Mitty HS). Just a sliver below Greg is Drew. Drew reminds a lot of people of a slightly larger Carmelo Anthony. I know that is a bad thing to do, but it is a very good comparison. (Carmelo is 6’7” 218 and they have the same arsenal of talent). Some publications and sites will have a couple to 5 players ahead of Drew but that difference is very minute. Gordon can rightly be described as a coach's dream. He is a no nonsense player that always knows what his role is and doesn't deviate from it. He is just as sharp in the classroom as he is on the court. His strong and balanced play at the USA under 18 national trials in San Antonio over the summer made Drew a target for all of the big boys. He was the ABCD underclassman Big man for his week there. His list is Arizona, California, Duke, Connecticut, Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, and Washington.

Brandan Jennings - 6’2” 176 PG from Los Angeles, CA (Oak Hill Academy, VA). NOTE HIGH SCHOOL CHANGE. Team Control; when Jennings is on the court, there is no question which player is running that team. Teammates look to get him the basket-ball, especially when they are pressured by multiple defenders. Jennings' ability to handle pressure limits an opposing team's opportunities to rattle a team with a full court press. Additionally, Jennings' ability to control the tempo of a game from the point guard position is outstanding. He knows when to push the ball upcourt to teammates, and he does a nice job slowing his team down in late-game situations, or if the defense has gotten back quickly enough to limit a transition opportunity. Quite frankly, this is a player that you want to have the basketball in his hands. Shooting; Jennings can score from almost anywhere on the court, and when he gets hot, he will continue shooting and become extremely difficult to contain. Jennings can be dependably relied upon to convert from the perimeter, and he has nice abil-ity shooting the floater, converting such shots from near the free throw line, and fur-ther inside the paint. Ball handling; You may not find a better high school ball han-dler in the country than Jennings. Capable with either hand, Jennings is particularly solid with the left hand, and players at the high school level find it nearly impossible to steal the ball from him straight-up. Jennings keeps the ball very close to his body, and he does an outstanding job driving to the basket, where he can either pull up and shoot the floater, or take it straight in and attempt to convert a layup or draw a foul. Aside of his floor ball handling, Jennings also demonstrated versatility handling the ball in midair. He is excellent making transitions with the ball after jumping, such as switching from the left hand to the right hand, in order to avoid a potential shot blocker. Areas of Improvement I cannot think of anything. Physical Development There is not much to dislike about Jennings' game, but like many young players, he still has plenty of room to develop from a physical standpoint. Jennings stands about 5-11 to 6-0 at the current time, but he could stand to gain a little weight, which will help him stand his ground even more when penetrating, and help him draw charges and bang around a little more in the backcourt on defense. When Jennings starts hitting the weight room at Oak Hill he will likely see en-hancements in several areas of his game, particularly his durability, and ability to take punishment when penetrating the paint. You name the school and they have contacted Brandan. But his list is this: UCLA, Kentucky, Arizona, Connecticut, Southern California, Texas, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and California.

Darius Miller - 6’6” 212 SF from Maysville, KY (Mason County HS). Darius is a well built small forward. He is a definite inside/outside threat. He can score in the post and is a strong rebounder and shot blocker. On the perimeter, he passes well, but needs to extend his shooting range and improve as a lateral defender. He also handles the ball well, but if he is going to play on the wing, he needs to develop shot off of the dribble. Very gifted athletically and plays football also. Darius list is : Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas State, Kansas, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Cincinnati, and Xavier.

Bud Mackey - 6’ 3 ¼” 202 SG from Georgetown, KY (Scott County HS). Bud is a well built guard from a program that is continually putting out the talent. Bud is working with Coach Hicks on becoming a complete Combo Guard. Bud feels he sees the court real well and he does. He also handles the ball well, and with 2 more years to hone his skills he could be a great get for the right program. He has a great touch out to 20 ft and can create his own shot in the lane and on the wings. Bud is looking at Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Florida, Xavier, Mississippi State, and South Carolina.

That is all for now. More in the coming days.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

South Carolina vs. Kentucky

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

VS.

Have you heard this might be the biggest game in Rich Brook's tenure at UK this season? UK is 3-2 and have a chance to move 2 games over .500. When was the last time that happened? The 7-5 season of 2002.

UK's (lack of) defense has been the talk of sports show and internet message boards this week. This beleaguered group is now missing Corey Peters and Jamil Paris. That leaves a DT rotation of Mills, Pryor and Jenkins.

Let's look at South Carolina.

Don't you just love the thought of UK facing a mobile QB? Those were my words too! Syvelle Newton played very well in the Auburn game. You know he and Steve Superior are licking their chops to face UK's defense. Add standout WR Sidney Rice and you have a very nice combination. Mike Davis, (who decided on SC over UK) is a solid RB. One more great and grand thing to remember when SC has the ball: Steve Spurrier matching wits with Mike Archer!

I assign a spy on Newton, much like Nate Harris was for UL on Raffy. With Peters out I would not be surprised to see Jeremy Jarmon in at DT on pass rushing downs. You might also see Micah get his 1st reps on DE this week. It does seem that Kelly is starting to recover and get more confidence from his knee injury and Pryor's toe is close to 100%.

UK's offense has been very successful in the air. But in order to win in the SEC you have to be able to run the football. UK has not done that this season. Throw into the mix Rafael Little is not 100% and it does not look like the running game gets well this week. But, UK has to estbalish the run. UK wants to use the play action pass, if you can't run the PA is useless.

Despite the score last year this was a 1 TD game late in the 3rd before UK turned the ball over 4 of 5 plays. SC has won 6 in a row vs UK. UK has lost how many games in a row to Stevie Wonderboy? What makes this week different? 70,000 UK fans dressed in BLUE making as much noise as possible!

Monday, October 02, 2006

WT's Football "Top 10" (Oct.2)

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

1. Ohio St
2. Auburn
3. USC
4. W VA
5. Florida
6. Texas
7. UL
8. Michigan
9. LSU
10. Georgia

Sunday, October 01, 2006

MAJORESQUE Defensive Performance

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football Recruiting Analyst

Trevard Lindley #32 of the Kentucky Wildcats leaps to tackle Damien Linson #3 of the Central Michigan Chippewas on September 30, 2006 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

We have heard for years UK is cursed by the ghost of the Bear. I'm begining to wonder if this years defense is cursed by Mike Majors?

Maybe that is who Mike Archer is talking too on his headset? One thing for sure, Archers defense might just be worse than anything we saw under Mike Majors! And that my friends, is worser than worse!!

Over 550 yards and 36 points to CMU!! There is no reasonable explanation for that kind (lack) of performance!

I guess the defense did come away from last night with a +2 turnover ratio and we can look at that as a positive.

Andre Woodson had a good night and it was good to see Keenan Burton be used as anything other than a decoy! Little and Dixon seem to have come out the game in good shape and we need them as begin the meat of our schedule!

We need to fill Commonwealth with 70,000 next week and hope the defense shows up with the crowd.