Monday, December 31, 2007

UK/FSU Final Analysis

Wildcats Thunder Executive Moderator

The Cats won there 2nd straight bowl game for the 1st time since the 1950's tonight over FSU 35-28. The way UK played today had both it's up's and downs. Here are some of the things that I noticed.

1. Our Defense played outstanding I thought. Our D-Line got penetration almost every time Weatherford dropped back in the pocket and gave him a fit and hit him in the mouth all night long. Corey Peters dropped back into coverage and got his first career INT. Just great D-Line play today I thought.

Our Secondary play was good as well. The didn't give up hardly any deep balls to FSU's good receivers, except for the pass that got reversed for a TD to Carr(FSU receiver that is 6'6) over David Jones. That play was pretty suspect but I believe the ref's decision was correct by reversing the call. Paul Warford played great today. He came up with some big stops all game for us in the secondary.

Our Linebacker play was also pretty good as well. Wesley Woodyard and Braxton Kelley was all over the place tonight and hitting everybody. Wesley led the team in tackles with 15 total(9 solo's and 6 assists). Micah Johnson got some pretty nice tackles for us on some key downs at the end of the game, he also got an INT and returned it back 24 yards but then had it stripped away and FSU recovered it back and retained possession.

Sure we gave up 21 on Defense(FSU ran that INT back for a TD on Woodson for 7 but that was on the Offense) so really take away the FSU INT return for 7 away we only gave up 21. But they didn't come easy for FSU. We had some good stands on the goal line and deep in out own territory. We played really aggressive on D and we played well I thought on this side of the ball.

2. We turned the ball over to many times. Rafael Little committed and lost 2 fumbles. Woodson threw a INT that got ran back for a TD, Micah Johnson had a big INT but turned it over on the return.

We also had some fumbles that we recovered luckily and retained possession. Woodson fumbled a snap early in the game but had it recovered by one of our O-Linemen(can't remember who it was at this moment) and Tony Dixon fumbled once but we recovered it and retained possession.

You can't turn the ball over 4 times and expect to win every time. Luckily we were able to pull it out against a depleted but very very very tough FSU team with all of our turnovers.

3. Rafael had a great game running the football. He finished with 152 yards on 28 carries but with 1 carry for 54 yards called back on a cherry picking call on Stevie Johnson a long way behind the play. He also had 50 receiving yards off of 8 catches. He was all over the place today but the only wrinkle in his performance today was the 2 fumbles he lost. He had 212 all purpose yards today with his 152 rushing, 50 receiving, and a 10 yard punt return. He played his heart out today and played really well.

Woodson went 32-50 for 358 yards, 4 TD's and 1 INT. He really hit our receivers and placed the ball well with the exception of a couple of overthrown ball to Burton and Tamme.

Stevie Johnson led the way receiving with 7 catches for 124 yards with 2 TD, he came up huge for us today like he has all season long. Burton finished with 7 catches for 56 yards. Dicky Lyons finished with 5 catches for 78 yards. Jacob Tamme finished with 3 catches for 35 yards and 1 TD. All of our receivers played great tonight and Woodson got them the ball well.

FSU was depleted of players but I have to give them some praise. They came out and played tough and with a lot of heart. Some people thought they didn't deserve to be in a bowl game and I believe they proved everyone wrong.

So,back to UK, as you can see our performance had both it's up's and downs today and luckily we were able to come out with a victory over a depleted but very very tough FSU football team.

Coach Brooks and his coaching staff has done a tremendous job the past couple of years in bring us back from the ashes and resurrecting our football program. I could not be any more proud to be a UK football fan!

Go Cats!

Thank you Seniors on a having a great career and bringing our football program back to life these last 4 years. This is the best group of Seniors in the country IMHO and we were lucky to have you all!

I couldn't be any more proud of all that they have accomplished and I couldn't be any more proud to be a UK football fan!

Thank you Seniors and you will be missed!

Finally UK has a Lineup

Wildcats Thunder Executive Moderator

Finally we have our true lineup in place. Meeks, Jasper, Patterson, Bradley, and Crawford. Though Jasper and Meeks isn't quite 100% and isn't quite in game shape but regardless this was the best game of the season for the Cats and Gillispie.

Patterson had a normal day at the office with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and a career high 3 blocks in 26 minutes of play today. I have no clue where we would be without him. He is one of the top freshman in the country. He is the real deal and he could go down as one of the best big men to come through UK in my opinion.

Jasper finally played his 1st real full game. He finished with just 4 points but accumulated 10 rebounds 5 assists with a block and a steal. It makes a world of difference having him back and starting the point and running our offense. He is a true point guard and he makes his teammates better. We ned to keep hm back and get him to 100%.

Meeks also had a great game today. He finished with 21 points 4 rebounds 3 assists and a steal. Just like Jasper, he makes a world of difference when he is in the game. We need to have him back 100% as soon as we can get them.

Bradley played a great game today as well. He finished with 22 points 5 rebounds 4 assists a block and 4 steals. He was all over the place today and played his heart out. This was his best game of the season in my opinion.

This was by far our best performance of the year having our 5 best players finally on the court at the same time. UK needs to keep it this way if we want to pull out a "W" against Louisville, Saturday at Rupp.

Go Cats!

What A Difference!

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

What a difference a healthy Meeks and Jasper make to the UK lineup! For the first time this year.....the Cats had their best 5 players on the floor....Patterson, Meeks, Bradley, Crawford and Jasper.....and Cat fans saw how much Jasper and Meeks have been missed. Jasper....flat out...makes everyone on the floor better with his passing and unselfishness.

Give "Smooth" credit....I thought Bradley played perhaps the best game of his career. Crawford had a solid game.....Meeks shows what a great offensive player he is and he plays tough defense. Patterson, as always, brings his A game....what a stud!

All in all, easily the best game the Cats have played all year! Ball handling was vastly improved with TO's down.....good crisp passing.....lots of unselfish play......lots of hustle and heart on both ends of the court. Now, if Meeks and Jasper stay healthy....these Cats may yet surprise us all in the SEC.

I think we got a glimpse of what Gillispie can do if he has the talent on the he did today! Kudos to BCG and the Cats!
Great job!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

UK vs Florida International Panthers...A Preview

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

UK vs Florida International (12PM Foxsports -12/31/07)

Florida International

Location: Miami, Florida

Enrollment: 38,000

Head Coach: Sergio Rouco
Career Record: 33-54 (.379) in 3 seasons

2006-07 Record: 12-17
2006-07 Sun Belt Record: 7-11 (6th-East)
2006-07 Post season: None

2007-08 Record
To Date: 3-8

Fl. International 80 Florida Tech 66
Fl. International 83 Kennesaw State 74
South Florida 77 Fl. International 69
Robert Morris 88 Fl. International 61
Florida Gulf Coast 73 Fl. International 70
Fl. International 76 Buffalo 63
Miami 67 Fl. International 53
Arkansas-Little Rock 75 Fl. International 67
Middle Tennessee 72 Fl. International 63
George Mason 86 Fl. International 68
Purdue 59 Fl. International 44

Projected Starting Lineup

Alex Galindo F..6'6" Jr. (PPG-12.9)
Russell Hicks..C..7'0" Jr. (PPG-13.5)
Kenneth White..G..6'1" Jr. (PPG-9.4)
Chris Fuller G..6'5" Sr. (PPG-8.2)
Michael James..G..5'9" Sr. (PPG-3.9)

Florida International is obviously struggling losing 8 of their past 9 games including 5 straight losses. Hicks, a 7 foot transfer from Pepperdine is the leading scorer and is shooting 64% from the field. Galindo, a transfer from Kansas, is FIU's leading rebounder averaging 6.4 per game. Fuller is the best 3 point shooter hitting 40% while leading FIU in assists. Michael James is an Owensboro, Ky. native and transferred to FIU fom junior college. As team, FIU is shooting 45% from the field and 32% from the 3 point line. FIU is shooting 67% from the free throw line. Like the Cats, FIU has made lots of turnovers...averaging 18 per game. Interestingly, Coach Rouco is a close friend of Gillispie's having served on Gillispie's staff at UTEP during the 2003-04 season.

After losing to San Diego in Rupp arena, the Cats are trying to regroup and get a badly needed win over anyone.....and certainly FIU would be a great game to start showing some improvement offensively and defensively and garner a win. Hopefully, Meeks and Jasper will be able to play more in the FIU game. Next up is Louisville and then the Cats enter SEC play. Unfortunately, after 11 games and 6 loses, this UK team is still struggling and so far has played poorly throughout most of the season. This UK team is still making far too many TO's....plagued by inconsistent shooting.....and having too many lapses on the offensive and defensive end. If the Cats are going to salvage this season and have any hopes of postseason play....then this team has got to get on the same page and play hard smart basketball starting with FIU!

Music City Bowl Game Time

Music City Bowl

Kentucky vs. Florida State

UK 7-5

FSU 7-5
4 p.m. Monday

UK Healthcare reminds fans to attend the Cat Walk in Nashville at 12:30 pm CST. Fans are encouraged to line up on the east side of the stadium (same side of the stadium as parking lot “C”) in order to greet the Wildcats when they arrive. Note that Kentucky is the visiting team this year, therefore the Cat Walk will be on the opposite side of the stadium from a year ago.

Bowl Photo Galleries
Dec. 27 - Practice
Dec. 27 - Welcome Party/Rib-Eating Contest
Dec. 28 - FCA Breakfast
Dec. 29 - Coaches Luncheon
Dec. 29 - Practice
Dec. 30 - Team Photo

More info on Music City Bowl Game Day Click Here

Chatroom: Discuss UK's Two New Years Games

The chat room will open for those who want to join in during Monday's Kentucky vs Florida International basketball game and the Music City Bowl game Kentucky vs Florida St.. The basketball game is at 12:00EST on Foxsports, while the Music City Game is set to kick-off at 4:00EST on ESPN. The chat room will open 30 mins before each game. Click here to enter Wildcats Thunder's chat room and remember we have the chat room open every game before tip off and through out the whole game. We look forward to seeing you there. So be sure to bookmark the chat room. GO BIG BLUE

My thoughts and rant on UK (Caution: LONG)

Wildcats Thunder Member

While some are at a loss for words I can’t seem to say enough… So I’m going to let those of you who don’t know how I feel or those that might give a care for a second opinion a chance to read mine. The opinion of a fanatic, one that’s in sports and been through a coaching change (with a good team), knows how these things work and someone who actually thought this could happen.

Let me start off with how I feel with the contract situation. Shut up. No Major D-1 coach has the kind of contract BCG is looking for and it will be negotiated. Tubby signed his a couple weeks ago; U Minn is much easier to push around in what you want than UK. I don’t expect a contract to be signed this season. I don’t think Roy signed his in the first season at UNC, nor did Saban (Famous football coach) in his first season. It happens, and often. All most of you bringing up the contract are doing is using it as yet another pointless argument against this coach.

On to arguments that do hold merit. Coach isn’t coaching during the game. You are right, he isn’t. We were glowing on his ability to turn programs around. In every case he has taken 1-2 years to do that, we should expect no different. This guy can coach make no mistake about that. He has taken teams such as Kansas and Texas while they were very good down to the wire, and beating U of L making MANY in game adjustments. He has been a finalist for NCAA coach of the year three times. To think that he has gotten here and somehow forgot how to coach or has some agenda against our storied program is ludicrous. He isn’t coaching and has his reason for doing so, I don’t claim to have this reason, but I believe 110% that he has not forgotten how to coach. Maybe he is waiting for the team to be ready to be coached?

On to the players and buying (or lack there of) into coaches way. When I was in high school my team was very good. Our coach left midway through my playing time there to coach a local University. Our new coach was a good coach and had good ideas. They sounded like they would make sense but we were used to winning most of our games as it was. We now have a guy coming in saying we are going to start doing it his way. All of us say “ok I’ll listen,” we even say we’re trying our best to do what he wants. The problem is at least for me and many of my teammates was that we wanted to be good players and follow our coach but in our head we already knew how to play, we had been set in our ways, our ways that had for the most part been working. We thought coach could learn from watching us. We had one rough year, went to the championship the following year (My senior year) and lost. But the point is it took time for us to meet in the middle. Some guys wanted coaches’ way; the better ones wanted our way. One of our teammates bailed on us because he was too stubborn or something but I think taking over a bad team and a good team are two different things. The point of this is BCG is doing what he knows, he’s done it (successfully) at all his stops and he isn’t going to change here. The fact that he got better players and louder, stubborn outspoken fans isn’t going to change that. Thank god, he has a backbone.

The best example I can think of is not a basketball one, it’s a golf one. Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer in the world, until he changed his swing coach of course. After changing his coach he was terrible for a couple years. Point? No matter how much talent you have, a coaching change messes you up to some extent usually. Usually with a new coach, if you were really good, you get worse before you get better.

We have the talent to beat the teams we’ve lost to. I think with Tubby coaching these kids we may have even been in the game against UNC and Indiana. I think Tub is probably a better XO coach on both of their best days. However; BCG is our coach and he is trying to do something, he is overhauling our program and he isn’t going to bow down to the players, me, you or anyone else to accomplish that goal, and if not teaching XO’s during games that we lose to teams like San Diego helps him do that somehow that’s cool with me.

BCG has one kid on the team that he brought in, and he is most of our favorite player. Next year alone will be better. MUCH better. I think he will have 3 or 4 MORE of his players in here. He is going to get kids with fire and emotion. Meeks and Jasper will play that way next year with a better supporting cast. BCG will start playing his best players next year once his law is firmly in place. He will pull out his clipboard and show us why we brought him here and why we loved him before the season started. His law is not in place yet and until it does I’m going to be listening to some of you whining and calling for his head and that sucks. I’m going to keep seeing subjects about his contract and the list goes on.

Some get it, and sadly for the first time this season I feel most don’t. Even some of the smartest posters on this board seem to be falling off the bandwagon. I don’t understand what has changed? We knew this was going to be a rough season, what changed? Did you think we would ONLY lose to ranked opponents and the good non ranked ones? That’s no change from Tubby folks, you can’t have a double standard.

Stay the course and keep watching as painful as it may be, because Billy is going to right this ship one of these games, maybe this season, probably next. I for one don’t want to miss it when he does. When he does a lot of you should be writing apology letters to coach. I admit maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not going to be furious until seasons end. After a few games next season we should know how upset we should be.

Well, this rant is long enough. Later Cat fans.

Be careful what you wish for!

Wildcats Thunder Member

Since 1999 we wanted a coach who would run and play man to man just like the old days under Rick. Don't lie to yourself it is true and if you say it is not then you have not been true to yourself. We want a coach who could bring in the top High School players and under Tubby's style of play that was not going to happen. The new and improve High Schoolers want to run and gun and not play 1/2 of the court. So now we have the coach and it's going to take a few years for you to get your dream. If you can not understand this then maybe you should watch hockey or maybe some floor dancing and ice skating is a good sport. Blue Fans, players out there he is going to run and gun......his style of play. Tell them how much we need them for this type of playing and we are going to get good players who want to show its going to take a little time to get the players we want that can run. Billy has try to get his players into shape and do this as you all know we have players who can not do this. He is not going to change his system for you and me to win a few games. He wants to show the younger players themselves as a pro players in a pro system. Wake up and smell the rose cause you will be kicking yourself in a few years for this unholy putting down of a UK coach who we all wanted his style of play. We just have 3 players who fit in this mold as I see it. Patterson and Meeks and Jasper. Remember one thing I am no english major or writer so no need to kick me around for my English or use of words,nouns, verbs or spelling as I don't care about that. But I will say how I feel and hope you all understand what I am saying.
Thank you
Cat Fans

P.S. Think about this how did Rick get the players to UK. Playing this style. He just couldn't treat pro players like college kids thats why he was not a very good Pro coach.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

UK falls to 5-6 after San Diego loss

Kentucky comes up short again San Diego a team it should have beaten very easily, some will say this GW2 and now UK is 5-6 on the season after 11 games. UK fans most give San Diego credit as they were the more aggressive team on the floor today as they had nothing to lose and allot to gain. Now at times today I did see flashes of what "may or could be", if this team can pull together and "WILL" stay on the same page. When Jasper came in the game you could sense a team that was hungry and hustling. The energy that Jasper brought when he came in the game seemed to rub off on the other UK players.Once Jasper and Meeks are completely healthy and back to game speed UK could be a dangerous team to play later in the season. Lets all stay positive and stop the doom and gloom.Things will get better, its just a matter of time for UK.And

Jasper's comment on the radio today after the game:

Jasper said, he was going to ice the knee later today in the weight room with trainer. Said he wanted to play UAB game, but coaches and medical staff said no go.
Coach Gillispie Kentucky vs. San Diego Post-Game Quotes:
Opening Statement…
“This was a tough game for us. They ran the game exactly how they wanted to. We didn’t make them do anything differently with our defense. We made to many bonehead plays when we had opportunities and we didn’t get the job done on the boards.”

On what the fans might be thinking…
“I couldn’t disagree much with the fans being unhappy about how we are playing. I think we are getting better and I thought we would play good today but we didn’t get it done.“
Some other comments Gillispie made on the Radio show after the game:
Gillispie said, points on offense is going to be hard to get.(DUH) Points will have to come from "defense" like we saw some of today against USD. Its not going to be get any better the rest of the season.

72 points and 50% shooting should be enough to win. Coach said, he wants to score more then 72 pts. "Believe Me"

Patterson not getting the ball enough not the reason the Cats lost to USD. Reason is TEAM not competing hard. 16 TO's = 12 Pts Team needs to be more aggressive.

Jasper "definitely" will get better, Meeks not playing til late in the game was coaches decision.

Team starting to understand.

TO's because UK not thinking and need to take care of the ball.'

Team not competing hard enough on Defense for Rebounds.
Official San Diego vs Kentucky Basketball Box Score

Now the Cats most get ready for Florida International on Monday at Noon on Foxsport.

UK vs San Diego Gameday Chatroom

The chat room is now open for those who want to join in during todays Kentucky vs San Diego game. Click here to enter Wildcats Thunder's chat room and remember we have the chat room open every game before tip off and through out the whole game. The chat room will be open Monday for the Kentucky vs Florida International and the Music City Bowl game. We look forwarded to seeing you there. So be sure to bookmark the chat room. We look forward to seeing you there.

Cats could see Jasper and Meeks return today providing Coach Gillispie, UK Medical Staff and players think they can. We'll find out for at tip-off time around 2ET/1CT on ESPN2. GO BIG BLUE!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gillispie Call-in Show tid-bits 12/27/07

Here are a few comments from Coach Gillispie on his weekly call-in show. I didn't hear the beginning of the show, however I did tune in about 15 mins into the show and below are a few comments from last night. Also the phones lines went dead about halfway through the show and coach answered some email questions.

I tuned when Coach was talking about the rumors on transfers. Coach commented that Acie Law from A&M was rumored to transfer the first year Gillispie was there. Coach went onto to say that there were times when Law told him he didn't want to transfer, but that there was times that Law didn't LOVE Gillispie and the coaching staff. Gillispie replied to Law that was fine, cause there were times that he and the coaching staff didn't Love him or the other players either, be it in practices or during games. Coach said at the end of the day the team was family and they Loved each other regardless.

Coach was ask about recruiting Big Men and what he looked for when he was recruiting? Gilispie said, 1) that they "Love to Win" 2) How mobile he is(not just going in one direction 3)How he gets up and down the floor 4) Keeps playing whether he gets the ball or not every time on offense 5) Coach added that he looks for that in all the players he recruits.

One caller ask about his actions on the sidelines and Bill Keightley? The caller referred to Hall carrying a program during the game, Pitino stumping, Tubby's stare. Coach replied that he couldn't ralley tell allot about his actions and him squatting on the sidelines, but that mainly that he was trying to see the court, players and to coach the team.

Gillispie's comments on Keightley were as followed: Keightley is a GREAT FRIEND, has lots of Wisdom and got his 1,100th win at UK. Coach thanks most people Keightley's age would have already stopped working at the age of 81. Coach said, Keightley shows up early for work and leaves work late. Also that Keightley doesn't put all the work on kids. And said again Keightley is a "GREAT FRIEND".

Coach commented that the team needs to ready to go from tip-off, compete regardless of the scouting reports. Players need to have more skill to cut, set screens, the team is getting better and can still learn. The sets are very simple, team standing straight up when UK has ball and needs to improve.

Coach was ask how a high school senior who wanted to coach what he should do getting started. Coach replied get with the smartest coaches, open your ears and keep your mouth shut for about 5 years and coaching is the best thing one can do, if thats what they desire to do.

Coach was ask how he felt the first time he walked into Rupp Area as UK's coach. Gillispie said it was a great feeling and will be better once UK starts playing the way he knows the team can.

Gillispie was ask about facial hair rules. Coach replied that he had NO rules for facial hair, but added if it got out of line then he was address it.

Coach answered a question about a SEC run and what UK needed to make a run. Gillispie's reply, a "HEALTHY" roster would be the big reason for a SEC run by UK.

If you missed the coaches show and would like to listen, try visiting or try this link for UKathletics.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Coach Gilispie's call-in show

Coach Gillispie's call-in show is scheduled for
Wednesday Dec. 26 on the Kentucky: Big Blue Sports Shows at 6:00 pm EST. For those that would like to tune in you can listen at scroll down till you see the link) or try

SEC Basketball Standings 12/26/07

Vanderbilt (15) 0-0 11-0
Tennessee (11) 0-0 11-1
Florida 0-0 11-2
Georgia 0-0 7-3
South Carolina 0-0 6-5
Kentucky 0-0 5-5

Mississippi (22) 0-0 11-0
Auburn 0-0 7-2
Alabama 0-0 9-3
Arkansas 0-0 9-3
LSU 0-0 7-4
Mississippi St. 0-0 7-5

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from WildcatsThunder Blog

The Wildcats Thunder Staff and Wildcats Thunder Blog would like to wish you and your family a Safe and Merry Christmas. May all your dreams and wished come true. "Go Big Blue!"

glitter graphics

Christmas Glitters

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Cats Show Improvement--Nice Win!

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

There was finally something to cheer about at Rupp Arena this season. These Cats definitely came to play against Tennessee Tech. UK played solid tough defense including a full court press on occasion. I liked the passion and intensity that UK showed today.

There were terrific contributions from a number of Cats....especially Patterson who was marvelous....24 points and 15 rebounds. Harris played all 40 minutes and had 8 points, including 2-3 pointers along with 10 rebounds. Also, Harris played solid defense while making only 2 TO's. Stewart contributed 9 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of action. I really like Stewart's athletic he becomes more familiar with where to be on offense and defense....he can be a huge help to Patterson on the front line. Crawford played only 10 minutes, but what stood out was his 5 assists in that short time. Stevenson, also played well adding 4 points and 8 rebounds.

Not sure what the reasons were for Bradley and Crawford not playing until the 2nd half, but BCG continues to show the players and the Wildcat Nation that he is in total control of the UK program and all players better get on the same page or they will be sitting.

All in all, a much needed win by the Cats in which they played their best game of the season IMO. The only negative was the number of TO's...21....far too many. I think the Cats are making progress and if we can get Meeks and/or Jasper healthy....then the Cats might surprise all of us this season. In the meantime, let's savor this victory and hope the Cats can build and improve on today's game. Good job Cats and BCG!

UK vs. Tenn.Tech Game Day Chatroom

The chat room is now open for those who want to join in during todays Kentucky vs Tennessee Tech game. Click here to enter Wildcats Thunder's chat room and remember we have the chat room open every game before tip off and will have it open for the Music City Bowl game as well. We look forwarded to seeing you there.

Also Jodie Meeks is doubtful for the game due to injury and Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford not starting.

Friday, December 21, 2007

UK vs Tennessee Tech....A Preview

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

UK vs Tennessee Tech (12/22/07 Sat. 1PM)
Fox Sports South, more TV Coverage Info Here

Tennessee Tech

Location: Cookeville, Tenn
Enrollment: 9,733

2006/07 Record: 19-13
2006/07 OVC Record: 13-7 (3rd)
2006/07 Postseason: None

2007/08 Record to Date: 4-7

Rutgers 70 Tennessee Tech 64
Florida 93 Tennessee Tech 65
Tennessee Tech 97 Union (Ky) Coll 54
North Dakota St. 90 Tennessee Tech 72
N. C. Central 73 Tennessee Tech 70
Northwestern State 83 Tennessee Tech 81
Tennessee Tech 117 Bluefield Coll 88
Austin Peay 79 Tennessee Tech 76
Tennessee Tech 72 Eastern Illinois 53
SE Missouri 84 Tennessee Tech 74
Tennessee Tech 79 Oregon St. 62

Head Coach: Mike Sutton
Career Record: 93-70 in 5 seasons overall at Tenn. Tech

Projected Starting Lineup

Anthony Fisher G- 6'3" Sr....PPG-15.6
Adam McKensie F-6'7" Sr....PPG-14.8
Daniel Northern F/C-6'9" Jr....PPG-12.1
Frank Davis G-6'2" Soph....PPG-9.7
Rashaud Nixon G-6'4" Sr....PPG-7.4

Tennessee Tech's coach, Mike Sutton, will be very familiar with Rupp Arena and Lexington as he was a former asst. under Tubby Smith at UK. The Golden Eagles are coming off a nice win over Oregon St., but have been struggling with a 4-7 record thus far this year. Tenn. Tech is shooting 45% from the field....29% from the 3 point line.....64.4% from the free throw line. Like UK, Tenn Tech has had trouble taking care of the ball committing an average of 18 TO's per game. Sutton has 9 players getting 10 plus minutes per game. Fisher, the leading scorer, is shooting a respectable 37% from the 3 point line as is Frank Davis. McKensie is shooting a hot 57% from the field. Sutton, as many UK fans know, fought a rare disease that left him paralyzed and fighting for his life.....however, Sutton won the battle and is now on the bench coaching Tenn Tech. Hopefully, UK fans give Mike Sutton a very warm welcome as he returns to Rupp Arena!

UK is coming off it's 4th consecutive loss....a rarity in UK basketball history. The Cats loss to Houston game with the bad news that Patterson was unable to play with an ankle injury and the good news that Jodie Meeks returned to action. Meeks played amazingly well despite not having played in 6 weeks....although Jodie tired greatly in the 2nd half.

This game against Tennessee Tech takes on great the Cats desperately need a victory over anyone. The Cats confidence needs a big boost and there is nothing like a win to help confidence. This UK team continues to make far too many turnovers and it is costing the Cats dearly. The margin for error for this UK team is exceedingly small against virtually all opponents. The recipe for victory for UK is not complicated.....UK must get the ball to Patterson frequently.....significantly cut their TO' solid man to man defense.....get good games from Bradley, Crawford and Meeks. Lets hope the Cats turn the corner against Tennessee Tech and get a much needed win!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Very Important Perspective For Giving BCG Time!

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

I feel it would be very instructive to take a look at other coaches at other programs and see how they did in their early years as coach.

Ben Howland
1st Year at Pittsbugh..13-15
1st Year at UCLA..11-17
2nd Year at UCLA..18-11
3rd Year at UCLA..NCAA Runnerup
4th Year at UCLA..NCAA Fina Four

Billy Donovan
1st Year at Florida..13-17
2nd Year at Florida..14-15

Rick Pitino
1st Year at UK..14-14
Coach K
1st Year at Duke..17-13
2nd Year at Duke..10-17
3rd Year at Duke..11-17

Tom Izzo
1st Year at Michigan St...16-16

Lute Olson
1st Year at Arizona..11-17

Jim Calhoun
1st Year at U Conn...9-19

Travis Ford
1st Year at U Mass..13-15

John Pelphrey
1st Year at S Alabama..14-14
2nd Year at S Alabama..12-16
3rd Year at S Alabama..10-18

I would submit that the talent level at UK left behind by Tubby was no better and IMO, likely worse than many of the above programs....and then you have to factor in the very key injuries.

The above coaches obviously needed time to recruit the talent and types of players that would thrive in their didn't happen overnight. In most cases it took at least 2-3 years.

Billy Gillispie is a proven coach....he was an terrific asst under Bill Self at Illinois....he took over at UTEP and was 6-24 his first year....his second year he was 24-8. We all know BCG's tremendous success story at Texas A&M in his 3 years.

You don't pass judgement on a new coach in 9 games or even the 1st year. Mitch Barnhart recognizes that and publicly stated that this is a rebuilding year at UK. Next year BCG will have added several recruits of his choosing and it will be expected that the UK program should show improvement. No one is saying that BCG shouldn't be evaluated, but how fair is it to criticize and second guess a brand new coach who has inherited a royal mess at UK and only coached 9 games. BCG has never once had all five of his most talented players on the court in a single game this season.

Some folks are questioning his intense and hard practices.....well it has been those hard intense practices that BCG has used as a critical part of his culture and rebuilding a program. If BCG used a boot camp, intense practices and gameday practices and they have worked for 5 years in his coaching success....then why should he change his success formula at UK? There has been all kinds of second guessing of BCG's coaching, but none of us have attended his practices....none of us know how cooperative or uncooperative a player has been.....none of us know his specific reasons for who starts or who sits beyond his comment that playing time is largely determined by each players performance and attitude during practice.

IMO, too many UK fans have simply not come to grips as to the glaring lack of overall talent on this UK team. We got a glimpse against Houston as to how much Jodie Meeks has been missed.....he is a surperb talent. I think we all know that having Jasper at the point this year would have been a huge plus. But, BCG has had the misfortune of not having either of those players for most of the year. Plus. not having Patterson against Houston, really took away any chance for a win.

As we watch games on ESPN and elsewhere, it is easy to recognize that there is more parity in college basketball than ever before. We saw big name colleges lose to so called "no name schools" and others won by the skin of their teeth.

This year UK has virtually no inside game aside from Patterson who is mostly double teamed. The Cats can't press as they don't have the athletes or bench. UK's outside has mostly depended on the inconsistent shooting of Bradley or Crawford...who are hot and cold. Some fans clamor for Stevenson, Stewart, Harris or Coury to start.....but, the fact is that all four lack the talent to be effective on the front line. Porter, who is not an SEC caliber player, plays because Bradley has shown poor decisions and leadership on the floor. Still, BCG is forced to play certain players because he has no one else. BCG has few options with this UK what it is.....and except Patterson.....BCG didn't recruit a single player on the roster and wouldn't have recruited the vast majority of them.

Yes, BCG will be judged in good time. Let's see how this year plays out...let's see how BCG's recruiting goes.....and importantly, let's see how BCG does next year. Make no mistake, Mitch will be continually evaluating and monitoring the UK program under BCG.

However, as the records of some very accomplished and successful coaches listed above reveal.....there are seldom quick fixes or miracles in rebuilding programs. It takes a great deal of hard work in all areas and it takes time.

The $64 question is will the great UK fans give Gillispie the necessary time to rebuild the UK program? Hopefully, they will.....certainly, BCG has my support. It would mean a great deal to to BCG's efforts as coach and in his recruiting if the UK fan base supported BCG. Time will tell as to how the majority of UK fans react to a tough year this year. I'm betting on the wisdom and understanding of most UK fans!

UK Coach Brooks quotes on Music City Bowl

Here are some quotes from the University of Kentucky football head coach Rich Brooks and UK players quotes(more quotes in link) and comments on the Music City Bowl. Quotes courtesy of

Head Coach Rich Brooks
“If we were going to play tomorrow we wouldn’t be in very good shape. Christian Johnson can not practice. We hope that he will be able to practice when we go to Nashville. He’s got a fractured finger. He did it the second weekend that we practiced, which would have been about 10 days ago. One of the fractures shifted just a bit. So, we sat him down and he will not resume contact of any kind. We’ll just wait and see how that goes. David Jones strained a shoulder last Saturday. Derrick Locke strained a back muscle last Saturday. Keenan Burton has some swelling in his knee. E.J. Adams has an ankle injury. Micah Johnson has a groin injury. Paul Warford irritated his shoulder, first in basketball, and then fell down at practice and jammed it yesterday. He’s not practicing. Dicky Lyons’s patellar tendinitis has flared up on him. Those are all of the people who did not participate in practice today. So, thank goodness we don’t have to play tomorrow.

“We’re looking forward to the upcoming game. Our players had a great experience a year ago in Nashville. We’re excited about our opponent (Florida State). Bobby Bowden is obviously an icon in the coaching profession. He has a very good football team. This will be their 26th straight bowl appearance. This is a program that has a lot of great respect nationally. We’re going to have our work cut out for us. They have tremendous speed. Their defense is scary. It looks like we are looking at another SEC team.”

#16 Wesley Woodyard, LB
On facing Florida State in the Music City Bowl…
“We’re excited to get another chance to play, especially the seniors. This is our last time coming out in a Kentucky blue uniform, so we’re just excited about the opportunity at hand.”

#3 André Woodson, QB
On whether he has thought about his collegiate career being nearly over…

“No, not really. Right now, we’re just really trying to focus on the bowl game. We want to get ourselves in a situation to come out with a win and that should make another statement in front of the nation that this program is obviously headed in the right direction and we are continuing to turn things around. I hope it will continue to be a big-time program.”

#91 Corey Peters, DT
On what it would mean for Kentucky to beat Florida State in the Music City Bowl…
“It would mean a lot. Florida State is a good team. They have beaten some really good teams. They beat Boston College. Beating them would be the next step in continuing to improve Kentucky football. Of course, this year, we didn’t finish the way that we wanted to, but we still have a chance to make this season into a positive.”

#18 Jacob Tamme, TE
On playing the Florida State defense…
“There obviously strong on defense. Their defense is extremely fast. They have a defensive line that is comparable to any d-line that we’ve faced all year. It’s as good as the best that we’ve faced all year. It might be the best. They’re athletic, just unbelievably athletic. Their linebackers are extremely fast. I think they have a really athletic defensive backfield. When I was growing up, they’re the kind of team that all of the announcers were talking about their speed. They almost kind of brought speed into the game. Now, they continue to do the same thing. With Coach Bowden still there they obviously still have the same type of defense.”

ERUPPtion Zone Tickets Available

The University of Kentucky has eRUPPtion Zone tickets available for the public for the following three home game over the Christmas holiday. The games are for the mens basketball program against Tennessee Tech, San Diego and Florida International. Tickets are $5(cash only) and available at the Rupp Arena box office and a limit per person. This would make a nice little Christmas present for a "TRUE BLUE FAN" this weekend.

UK Hoops prepare for UL

The University of Kentucky womens basketball team prepare to play interstate rival University of Louisville tonight at Rupp Arena 7 pm. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio/TV) and FSN South (TV). Single-game general admission tickets are available for purchase $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children 6-18. Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. UK will be playing with graduates Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) and red-shirt junior Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) Below is a few quotes from UK's womens Head Coach press conference.

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

“We are getting ready to play Louisville. It will be a big game on the schedule as always. We wish we were playing a little bit better coming into this. We’ve been off for the last 12 days trying to get ready for exams and all of those things that happen at the end of the semester. On a bright note, our team finished up well academically, so we were glad to see that happen. This is going to be a tough game for us. Louisville is a team that has been playing very, very well and is off to a great start. They are playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger. We have had a bit of a bumpy road and are not real happy to be sitting at 4-5. But, really, the only way we can get our swagger back is to go out and win. We can’t talk about it, we just have to go out and make some things happen. I’ve been encouraged with the practices that we’ve had and it’s going to be a tough test tomorrow.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Good Is Houston?

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

For those UK fans who feel that this Houston was not very talented and BCG and UK should have won this are some very revealing facts!

Last year in Rupp arena the Cats defeated this Houston team by only 7 points......and that was with Jr Randolph Morris and Srs Bobby Perry, Thomas and Woo.....along with a full compliment of UK players including Meeks and player was injured.

Morris had 20 points and 10 rebounds.....Jasper had 12 points and 6 assists.

None of those players played last night.....even Patterson, UK's lone front line talent was injured on the bench. Also, Meeks was running on fumes from late in the 1st half because he hadn't played in 6 weeks.

Instead, BCG was forced to play young inexperienced players seriously lacking in talent against a senior laden Houston team that was more athletic, quicker and had more overall talent.

Folks can criticize BCG all they want.....but, he is playing with a very weak hand this year. If, all the players get healthy, and that is still a question mark, then the Cats will be more competitive and hopefully pull out some wins.

Last night, Harris, Stewart, Porter and Stevenson were simply over matched in talent and experience last night.....Porter had 6 TO's. These players are poor ball handlers and are often completely lost on offense and defense. Carter, did provide some decent minutes, but he obviously lacked the quickness and aggressiveness that would make him a much better player against Houston.

None of us like to see UK play as poorly as they have been.....we cringe when we see a lesser name team run rings around UK and embarrass us. It's natural for UK fans to want to blame the coach, but we must stop and consider why this is happening.

Few UK fans consider the losses from last years team. Morris was obviously a huge loss, but so was senior Bobby Perry who provided scoring from the wing position and had a number of stellar fact, last year was Perry's best at UK. Admittedly, Thomas and Woo were far from great players....they didn't score much, but importantly they frequently played solid defense and brought maturity and stability to the lineup. All these guys are gone....3 seniors and 1 junior.....that is a lot of experience that graduated.

I think most UK fans would admit that UK has 5 talented players....Bradley, Crawford, Patterson, Meeks and Jasper on their entire roster. Bradley and Crawford have too often not played consistently on offense or defense and not provided the senior leadership that Gillispie had hoped for. Patterson has been the lone front line talent.....while Meeks and Jasper have been on the injured list through most of the season.

As UK fans, we can delude ourselves that UK has as much talent as most teams, but the truth is that ....we don't. If UK can get Meeks and Jasper healthy again then the Cats will be much more competitive, but it won't change the fact that UK's front line will remain the weakest in UK history and the subs that BCG will be forced to play will be inferior in talent to most teams.

As Mitch Barnhart recently said....this is a rebuilding year. For me, I will remain behind BCG and give him the opportunity to recruit the kind of talent that UK needs to become an elite team again. This year will be tough on UK fans, but I am optimistic that BCG will restore UK's greatness.....but, not with the roster that Tubby left behind!

UK has New License Plate Available

The University of Kentucky now has its new license plates available for the public. Alumni, students, friends and fans of the University of Kentucky can show their Wildcat spirit with an all-new UK collegiate license plate. The plate features the interlocking UK athletics logo in blue against a white background and features the slogan "Go Big Blue" across the bottom. The design update is the first since the UK collegiate plate appeared in 1988.

UK Fans "MUST" be Patience and Keep the Faith

Wildcats Thunder Member

It is really hard to believe that Our Kentucky Program has sunk to its present level.

Some of us were talking about OTS taking us in that downward direction over 4 years ago and his ineptitude was covered up by his good overall winning percentage.

However, it was becoming obvious that the Kentucky Program was not really competing on the same level when it came to teams that get to the Final Four and compete for National Championships.

Let's all remember that we didn't arrive to our present situation in just one year and it will take more than just 9 games or even one year for us to turn it around.

Is Gillispie the miracle worker that most of us would like to think? - only time will tell but that is who we have now and he and the players need our support.

The True Blue Kentucky Fans must have patience and that has not always been our MO.

We are spoiled by all of the year in and year out success that goes with being one of the Premier College Basketball Programs for many, many years.

It will be very difficult for us to watch and root for our Cats this year but "It is what it is" and we must keep the faith and get thru these awkward times because the Wildcat Program will rise again.

WHEN? - only time will tell but IT WILL HAPPEN!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 SEC Football - Bowl Game Previews

Mississippi State
Central Florida

12/29 - AutoZone Liberty Bowl
3:30 p.m. CT
Memphis, Tenn.
Liberty Bowl (62,338)
Liberty Bowl (12/29) - Mississippi State vs. Cent. Fla. [ESPN] - 4:30 p.m. ET


PetroSun Independence Bowl
12/30 - 7 p.m. CT
Shreveport, La.
Independence Stadium (49,949)
Independence Bowl (12/30) - Alabama vs. Colorado [ESPN] - 8:00 p.m. ET

Florida State

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
12/31 - 3 p.m. CT
Nashville, Tenn.
LP Field (67,000)
Music City Bowl (12/31) - Kentucky vs. Florida State [ESPN2] - 4:00 p.m. ET


12/31 - Chick-fil-A Bowl
7:30 p.m. ET
Atlanta, Ga.
Georgia Dome (71,977)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (12/31) - Auburn vs. Clemson [ESPN] - 7:30 p.m. ET


1/1 - Outback Bowl
11 a.m. ET
Tampa, Fla.
Raymond James Stadium (65,657)

Outback Bowl (1/1) - Tennessee vs. Wisconsin [ESPN] - 11:00 a.m. ET


1/1 - AT&T Cotton Bowl
10:30 a.m. CT
Dallas, Texas
Cotton Bowl (71,252)

AT&T Cotton Bowl (1/1) - Arkansas vs. Missouri [FOX] - 11:30 a.m. ET


1/1 - Capital One Bowl
1 p.m. ET
Orlando, Fla.
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium (65,438)

Capital One Bowl (1/1) - Florida vs. Michigan [ABC] - 1:00 p.m. ET


1/1 - 7:30 p.m. CT
Allstate Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, La.
Louisiana Superdome (69,703)

Sugar Bowl (1/1) - Georgia vs. Hawaii [FOX] - 8:30 p.m. ET

Ohio State

1/7 - 7 p.m. CT
BCS National Championship
New Orleans, La.
Louisiana Superdome (69,703)

BCS Title Game (1/7) - LSU vs. Ohio State [FOX] - 8:00 p.m. ET

UK Football getting New Uniforms?

Wildcats Thunder Executive Moderator

I contacted Mitch Barnhart via E-mail yesterday about the possibility of UK getting new uniforms and he sent me the following E-Mail. Both mine and his e-mails are below. Not sure that it tells us much, but here it is anyway.

To: Barnhart, Mitchell
Subject: football uni's

Good afternoon,

Word on the street here is that UK will have new uniforms next year and that they will be similar to those worn by Oregon this past season. I certainly hope that is not the case as I have talked to no one who is in favor of that change, including myself.

Have we gotten to the point that we let the apparel company dictate the design of our uniforms? I was disgusted with the shirts that were being worn by the coaches during the season. Since they were worn by many different schools, I assume that the apparel company also made that decision. If we are going to allow them to make that decision, we need to insist that they hire someone with some basic talent in clothing design and appearance.

Just say it ain't so, Joe.

Wildcats Thunder

University of Kentucky Athletics Director
Mitch Barnhart

Thanks for your email. We will be getting new uniforms, but not like Oregon’s!

Mitch Barnhart

Monday, December 17, 2007

UK vs Houston....A Preview

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

UK vs Houston (12/16/07-Tues.-9PM-ESPN)

Houston Cougars

Coach..Tom Penders
Record 65-40...3 yrs at Houston

2006/07 Record..18-15
2006/07 C-USA Record..10-6 (3rd)

2007/08 Record To Date..9-1

Houston 83 Morehead St. 54
VCU 73 Houston 72
Houston 64 Marist 59
Houston 84 Charleston 69
Houston 73 Texas Southern 66
Houston 95 Grambling St. 53
Houston 86 Coastal Carolina 79
Houston 83 Middle Tennessee 68
Houston 67 Toledo 56
Houston 73 Southern University 49

Projected Starting Lineup

Rob McKiver..G 6'3" Sr....PPG 20.2
Dion Dowell..G/F 6'6" Sr....PPG 13.9
Brockeith Pane..G 6'2" Fr....PPG 12.5
Tafari Toney..F/C 6'8" Sr....PPG 4.9
Lanny Smith..G 6'3" Sr....PPG 5.2

Houston is off to an excellent start this season suffering only a one point loss in their second game to VMI. However, Houston has played a weak schedule with only a win over Toledo as it's only questionable quality win. Time will tell how good this Cougar team is as the quality of opponents increases, starting with UK. Still, this Houston team which can start 4 seniors has experience and some quality players. McKiver, Houston's leading scorer, is not shy about shooting the ball and has already taken 111 three point shots this season hitting 38.7%. Dowell, is a Texas transfer, and is an excellent long range shooter....hitting 46% of his 3 point shots thus far this season. Coach Penders points to freshman Pane as the best player on the Cougar team. Also, watch for Marcus Cousin a 6'11" C, a Seton Hall transfer, to rotate with Toney at the center position. Make no mistake, this Houston team, playing at home, is full of experience and confidence with it's great start on the season and will be a tough opponent for the visiting Cats.

Certainly, the recent loss to UAB was a tough one to swallow. The Cats had control of that game and came apart in the final 10 minutes on both offense and defense. The UAB loss, coming after losses to North Carolina and Indiana, further hurts this team's already shakey confidence. There is no question that this struggling UK team needs a win badly, but it will be very difficult coming on the road against a hot Houston team. It's very apparent that for the Cats to be competitive....Patterson, Crawford and Bradley must play well on a consistent basis. Also, very importantly, this UK team must cut their damaging TO's significantly. This young inexperienced UK team cannot afford to throw the ball away and make poor decisions on the court if they want to beat anyone this season.

For all UK fans, this has been a disappointing start to the season for the Cats. Still, there is a long way to go....and if the Cats can improve their ball handling and decision making significantly......get the ball to Patterson a some solid defense.....while shooting the ball a decent percentage......these young Cats may yet surprise us this season with some good wins.

A win over Houston would be huge....and a much needed boost to this team's confidence. It would be great if the Cats can get some wins before they tackle the SEC schedule. Hopefully, the Cats can give Houston their second loss of the season. Go Cats!

Coach Gillispie's Call-in Show Note

Coach Gillispie's call-in show will not be on Monday night due to UK having to travel to Houston for the UK/Houston game that will air on ESPN on Tuesday night at 9pm EST..
Coach Gillispie's call-in show will air Wednesday at 6 pm on the Big Blue Network.

SEC Basketball Standings 12/17/07

Vanderbilt (20) 0-0 10-0
Florida 0-0 10-1
Tennessee (12) 0-0 9-1
Georgia 0-0 6-1
South Carolina 0-0 5-4
Kentucky 0-0 4-4

Mississippi 0-0 8-0
Arkansas 0-0 8-2
Auburn 0-0 5-2
LSU 0-0 6-3
Alabama 0-0 5-3
Mississippi St. 0-0 5-5

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Few UAB/UK Post-Game Observations

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Obviously, all UK fans are very disappointed in today's loss to UAB. Some UK fans are near meltdown, but none of this is a shock or surprising!

Watching the game and looking at the box score a few things are obvious.

1) UK shot about as good as they can...57.1% from the field and 48% from 3 point range (12-25..3 pointers is outstanding shooting)

2) UK shot a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line

3) UK out rebounded UAB 28-23.

4) UK also had 20 assists

5) Offensively, this was the best UK has played this year

OK...Then why did UK lose?

1) The Cats had 18 TO's....far too many and they came at bad times during the game.....UAB, in contrast had only 9 TO's......and virtually none down the stretch.

2) Poor ball handling, passing and decision making is a huge reason why UK lost this game. Harris alone had 5 TO's in only 12 minutes on the court. The fact is that poor ball handling, lazy passes, dribbling into traffic and overall poor decision making has been a huge problem for this UK team during virtually every game this year.

3) Others have pointed out UK's ineptness against a zone defense and I agree....the Cats have got to learn out to deal with a zone defense this year because they will see a lot of zones. Importantly, to attack a zone you need good ball handlers and without Meeks or's tough sledding!

4) UK still isn't getting the ball to Patterson enough.....he had 9 shots from the field and made 8. Again, getting the ball to Patterson is a twofold challenge....first, the players have got to make it a top priority each time down the court and second they have to execute the passes without TO's. There lies the problem....the players forget about Patterson too much during the game and unfortunately UK isn't blessed with players who can break down the defense and get a good pass to Patterson very often.

5) The Cats are too often playing 3 on 5 against most teams this year....right now we have 3 SEC caliber players playing....Bradley, Crawford and Patterson. It is looking more and more unlikely that Meeks or Jasper will play much, if at all, this year.

6) The margin for error this year is very matter who the opponent is. The Cats played their best game this year and still lost, but if they had handled the ball better they could have won this was a tough loss as UK needs a win badly.

Lastly, we must give UAB credit....they were in a zone with their shooting in the 2nd half....they shot 70% including 64% from 3 point range. Yes, some of it was poor defense, but they also made some tough shots. As an aside, I felt the foul call against Patterson at the end of the game was a horrible call.

Cat fans....prepare yourself for a tough year.....I know everyone is tired of hearing it.....but the Cats simply don't have the talent this year. We are what we are......a team that will be lucky to reach .500 and get a NIT bid.

Friday, December 14, 2007

UK Basketball "The Blame Game!"

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Andrew Skwara a College Basketball Staff Writer answers some questions from his mailbag. One question was on the University of Kentucky mens basketball program and who's to blame, Tubby Smith or Billy Gillisipie? Below is the following comment by Skwara. Several UK fans will disagree with him on this matter like I do and some will agree with him.

Feeling blue in Lexington

Who is to blame for Kentucky's struggles this season – Tubby Smith or Billy Gillispie?

— Steven from Indianapolis


Most Kentucky fans undoubtedly will disagree, but I'd give most of the blame to Gillispie.

Smith left him with some glaring holes to fill on the inside – there's a reason walk-on Mark Coury is in the starting lineup. Injuries to guards Derrick Jasper and Jodie Meeks also have hurt.

But there is no viable excuse for losing to Gardner-Webb – in Rupp Arena, no less. There is no excuse for scoring just four points in the first 10 minutes versus Stony Brook, either.

Nothing like that ever happened under Tubby's watch. His problems had more to deal with not being able to get to the Final Four.

Gillispie has just as much talent now as he did when he took over at Texas A&M. Plus, most of his previous players, including Acie Law IV, were far less attractive on the recruiting trail than most of the Wildcats on scholarship.

The main problem: Gillispie isn't getting the most out of his players. The group he has now isn't playing with nearly the kind of hustle and determination as his Aggies teams. At times, the Wildcats' effort has been embarrassing.

The fault for that goes directly to the current coach.

My thoughts on the above comment that "Tubby's problems had more to do with not being able to get to the Final Four" does not begin to address the problems with Tubby as coach. As all UK fans know.....UK was not even a ranked team the last two years under Tubby and recruiting over the past few years was terrible.

This current UK team is the team Tubby left behind....a team sorely lacking in overall talent. The addition of Patterson was due to BCG.

As Mitch Barnhart acknowledged recently.....UK is in a rebuilding phase this year under BCG. IMO, those who claim UK has a lot more talent than Gardner-Webb and some other less known teams.....are over estimating the talent on this UK team. Unfortunately, Crawford and Bradley have simply not lived up to their rankings and high praise coming out of high school. Yes, they are both SEC caliber players, but neither has performed consistently in their careers and they have turned out to be average guards at best....far from great. Stevenson, Harris and Stewart are still works in progress and may or may not turn out to be SEC caliber players. Williams and Carter, to date, have not demonstrated that they belong in the SEC......maybe, they will prove otherwise later, but I'm not optimistic. Porter and Coury have great attitudes and work ethics, but neither is an SEC caliber player. Bottom line.....UK has three players with a huge upside and are very talented....Patterson, Meeks and Jasper! Folks, that's it.....we can all kid ourselves regarding the overall talent of this UK team, but it simply doesn't exist.

I have followed UK basketball for many years and this has to rank as one of the least talented teams in UK history. I don't care if Adolph Rupp or John Wooden is coaching this team......they wouldn't win very many games with this bunch.

Let me be clear......I will cheer like crazy for these kids.....and I appreciate their hard work and effort.....they are great kids.....but, facts are facts. If you want to see how UK compares in talent with other teams.....take a look at the many games on ESPN and elsewhere. Monday night, in person, I watched Coppin St. hang with Ohio St until the last 3-4 minutes. Believe me there is as much or more talent on some of these no name schools as UK this year. It's a sad fact!

UK fans have two choices this year.....they can delude themselves that UK has more talent then they actually have and blame BCG for being a poor coach. Or, they can agree with Mitch that BCG has been dealt a very poor team in overall talent and that this year is simply year number one in BCG's rebuilding effort. Gillispie is establishing a complete new culture at UK.....a culture that demands and rewards hard work by each and every player.

The talent will will the will a return to an elite team competing again for national championships. It will take 3 years or so.....we will see significant improvement each and every year. For me, I side with Mitch....this is simply a rebuilding year and the wins will be hard to come by matter who the opponent is on the floor. Importantly, as BCG adds very talented players like Miller, Liggins and others to the roster....the future will be very bright! BCG needs and deserves the full understanding and support of all UK fans as to the state of the program that he inherited. For me, I stand 100% behind BCG!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

UK vs UAB......A Preview!

Wildcats Thunder Administrator

UK vs UAB (12/15/07-Sat. at 2PM-ESPN)


2006/07 Record..15-16
2006/07 C-USA Recoed..7-9 (T8th)

2007/08 Record 7-4 To Date

UAB 86 Georgia State 63
UAB 86 Stetson 49
Florida St. 78 UAB 70
Georgia Southern 59 UAB 57
Rhode Island 74 UAB 69
UAB 64 Eastern Ky. 50
UAB 84 Jacksonville 72
UAB 78 Louisiana-Lafayette 72 (OT)
UAB 73 Cincinnati 54
UAB 91 Alabama A&M 48
USF 68 UAB 58

Coach Mike Davis
Career Record 137-99
UAB Record 22-20

Projected Starting Lineup

Robert Vaden-G/F 6'5"Jr. PPG-18.5
Walter Sharpe-F 6'9" Soph PPG-14.0
Reggie Huffman-F 6'7" Jr. PPG-10.4
Lawrence Kinnard-F 6'8" Jr. PPG-9.5
Aaron Johnson-G 5'7" Fr. PPG-4.3

UK fans are very familiar with Mike Davis. Davis, who had the monumental task of replacing Bobby Knight at IU, had a 1-4 record against UK. Davis was never truly accepted by the majority of IU fans and decided to move on as coach to UAB....which I feel is a very good fit for him. Overall, the Cats are 2-2 against UAB....losing 76-75 in the 2004 second round of the NCAA.....and winning 69-64 in the 2006 NCAA 1st round.

Unfortunately, UAB suffered a key loss when Paul DeLaney blew out his left knee in the second half loss to Georgia Southern. DeLaney was a first team All C onference C-USA selection last year. Davis has added some key player transfers to the UAB roster....Varden transferred from Indiana.....Sharpe transferred from Mississippi St.....and Huffman was a junior college All-American. All three of these players are starters and solid players. At this time, Varden is UAB's leading scorer....Sharpe is UAB's leading rebounder.....while Huffman is shooting a dazzling 69% from the field.

Certainly, UAB will present a significant challenge to a UK team that is still a work in progress. The loss of Jasper and Meeks along with the apparent transfer of Legion has definitely hurt UK. There is increasing optimism that Jasper will soon return to the floor for the Cats, but it will take Jasper time to get in game shape.

The margin for error remains very small for this UK team that is woefully weak on it's frontline except for Patterson. At this time, the bulk of the scoring needs to come from Patterson, Bradley and Crawford. While Patterson has played exceedingly well for a freshman, he needs to get more touches and shots. Bradley and Crawford, both seniors, have been disappointing in the early season with their up and down performances. The Cats must have much more consistency in scoring and overall performance to be competitive in most games from these two seniors. Nothing can change the fact that this UK team lacks overall talent and is a very young team. As a result, this UK team must come together as a cohesive unit and greatly reduce TO's and poor decisions on the floor.....while doing everything possible to get the ball inside to Patterson. Hopefully, Jasper and Meeks will both be able to return to the lineup in the coming few weeks, but in the's all hands on deck!

UK's performance against Indiana was exceedingly disappointing in all aspects of the game. It is vital that this UK team start showing progress and play each and every game with high energy and focus for the full 40 minutes. Surely by now, each UK player must know that they can't just show up against any opponent. And make no mistake, this UAB team is a solid team and will be a difficult team to defeat. I'm hoping that starting with this UAB game that UK fans start seeing a much improved UK team that pulls out a much needed Wildcat victory.