Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Few Observations on UK's season

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

I realize that as passionate UK fans, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out Coach Gillispie's coaching strategy, particularly in regard to why certain players start or get more playing time than other players. While I don't pretend to have all the answers, here are a few observations as I reviewed UK's stats for their first 14 games.

Minutes played to date by each UK player are as follows:

  • Meeks - 452 minutes
  • Patterson - 442 minutes
  • Stevenson - 349 minutes
  • Porter - 299 minutes
  • Liggins - 291 minutes
  • Miller - 280 minutes
  • Harrellson - 188 minutes
  • Harris - 187 minutes
  • Galloway - 84 minutes
  • Slone - 83 minutes
  • Stewart - 79 minutes
What jumps out at me is that Gillispie has used these first 14 games to look at various lineups and has done an excellent job in allowing 11 players to gain valuable experience in a variety of circumstances. Admittedly, 8 players have received the most minutes, but in recent games...Galloway, Slone and Stewart have gotten their opportunity to get on the floor with some meaningful minutes. At this point, it appears that the starters are likely to be...Porter, Liggins, Meeks, Stevenson and Patterson. The other six players are vying to be part of a probable 7-8 man rotation....although, Billy might expand that rotation. Unquestionably, this UK team is significantly more talented than last year's team with far more depth.

From the time Gillispie was hired he made it clear that defense was a priority and he wanted his players to be tough minded and play hard on every play. Billy has instilled that mentality in each and every practice....some players bought into BCG's philosophy early while others have taken longer to understand and embrace
Gillispie's system and philosophy. Hence, early this season UK fans have seen players rewarded and punished in regard to playing time based on their practice attitude and understanding of UK's system. In short, Coach Gillispie has been molding these players into a hard nose team that will play hard in practice and in the games. This is Billy's system.....this is his philosophy......this approach to coaching is what has made Gillispie a successful coach. As UK fans we may not understand or always agree with Gillispie's coaching methods, but so far they have been working.

Last year, the Cats game on strong despite all the injuries suffered during the season and Crawford and Bradley had their greatest year's as a Cat....why.....because, as they said.....they totally bought into Gillispie's system. Coach Gillispie wants to win as much or more than any UK fan......he sees how the players practice......and he knows who deserves to be on the floor. If Billy has made one thing crystal clear to each and every player......talent alone won't give you playing time......it's embracing the hard nose mental toughness that Billy demands....it's playing tough defense......it's understand your defensive and offensive assignments......it's playing hard on each play......and it's playing with heart....lots of heart!

Another interesting and disturbing stat is UK's 3 point shooting so far:
  • Miller - 4-20--20%
  • Slone - 4-13--30.8%
  • Porter - 8-32--25%
  • Harris - 1-8--12.5%
  • Liggins - 5-27--18.5%
  • Harrellson - 3-7--42.9%
  • Meeks - 51-118--43.2%
Overall, the Cats are shooting 33.6% from 3 point range, but if you exclude Meeks numbers...you get 23.3%. The Cats obviously need another parameter shooter that can take the pressure off of Meeks and I suspect that aside from the great intensity and hustle that Landon Slone brings to the lineup, Billy wants to see if Slone, a 45.7% 3 point shooter in high school, might be able to provide some needed parameter shooting in different game situations. In any case, the Cats need Porter, Slone or someone to provide some decent long range shooting. Slone might or might not be the answer.

The Cats are now faced with Louisville and SEC play.....the easy part of the schedule is over.....and importantly, UK is a much improved team that previously lost to VMI. Still, this UK team must continue to improve in all facets of the game and each player needs to fully embrace Gillispie's system and philosophy and give 100% in each and every game. The recent positive comments from Liggins regarding Coach Gillispie were needed....now if this UK team plays together and stays on the same page as Coach Gillispie......a good deal of success is likely for the remaining games. I for one continue to have great confidence in Billy Gillispie and his returning this great UK program to it's glory years.

This UK team is well prepared.....a terrific recruiting class is arriving for next season and the future looks very bright. GO CATS!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kentucky vs Central Michigan....A Preview

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Kentucky vs Central Michigan Chippewas 12/29/08
Monday at 7PM) ESPN Fullcourt, Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Ohio, and ESPN360.com
The game will be taped delayed on the BBSN, just check ukathletics.com for details.

Central Michigan

Location-Pleasant, Michigan
Enrollment-26,787
Arena-5,200
Coach-Ernie Zeigler
Career Record-17-42 (28.8%) All at Central Michigan-2 seasons

2007-08 Record-14-17
2007-08 MAC Record-8-8

2008-09 Record-3-8

Central Michigan 55 Princeton 53
Missouri St. 60 Central Michigan 57
Chicago St. 84 Central Michigan 74
Central Michigan 70 Wright St. 68
Illinois-Chicago 77 Central Michigan 67
Marquette 81 Central Michigan 67
Cal State Fullerton 79 Central Michigan 65
Central Michigan 74 Alcorn St. 66
Illinois St. 72 Central Michigan 69
Robert Morris 73 Central Michigan 60
Detroit 67 Central Michigan 55

Stats

Scoring PG-64.5
FG%-41.1%
3 Point FG%-33.2%
FT%-59.3%
Rebounds-32.1
TO’s-16.1
Assists-10.5
Steals-8.2
Blocks-2.2

Probable Starting Lineup

Jordan Bitzer-F-6’2”Jr………...PPG-9.3
Jacolby Hardiman-F-6’4” Jr…..PPG-10.7.
Marcus Van-C-6’7” Sr…… PPG-12.5
Robbie Harman-G-5’11” Jr….. PPG-12.1.
Adrian Hunter G-5’11” Fr…. .PPG-5.7

Other Key Players

Jeremy Allen-G-6’2” Soph…. .PPG-12.6
Antonio Weary-G-6’2” Soph…..PPG-2.7

Central Michigan is from the always dangerous MAC conference, but they arrive at Rupp Arena with a dismal 3-8 record. Coach Zeigler went 3-25 in his first season at Central Michigan, but last year they improved to 14-17. This season has not gone well so far for the Chippewas, but as UK found out against a 4-8 Florida Atlantic team…..records don’t mean much when a team arrives at Rupp Arena with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Central Michigan is not a team of great size…..Van at 6’7” is their leading rebounder with 8.3per game. The Chippewas have shot 238 3 pointers in their 11 games….averaging 21.6 3 pointers per game. Harman has taken the majority of 3 pointers hitting 30-91 for 33%. Central Michigan will likely try to use their small size quickness against the Cats and hope they can hit a high percentage of 3 pointers.

The Wildcats are coming off of a tough game against a scrappy Florida Atlantic team that pushed the Cats to the end. Coach Gillispie continues to look at different starting lineups and combinations as well as reward those players who practice well. This last game revealed that UK still has a lot of work to do on the defensive end of the floor. On the plus side, UK handled the ball very well and committed a season low turnovers. Fortunately, Patterson is continuing to play great basketball and the Cats generally did a good job of getting the ball inside to Patterson. At least at this point in the season, it is obvious that the strength of this team is it’s inside game with Patterson, Stevenson and Harrellson. Unfortunately, UK’s parameter game blows hot and cold with only Meeks being a good 3 point shooter. The Cats are in great need of someone stepping up and providing steady parameter scoring aside from Meeks. Teams will likely play a lot of zone against UK with a chaser on Meeks daring the other UK parameter players to demonstrate they can make shots from the outside. Slone, who played an inspired game against the Owls, is known as a good shooter, but missed all four of his 3 pointers. Also, Porter who is playing solid ball continues to shoot horribly from the outside. Hopefully, someone finds their outside shot besides Meeks because the better teams will likely collapse on Patterson and chase Meeks all over the court daring the other the Cats to prove they can score. The Central Michigan game will hopefully provide Coach Gillispie with the necessary information he needs to zero in on a starting lineup and rotation….because next up is Louisville and the SEC season. Obviously, Coach Gillispie is looking for those players who consistently play tough hard nose defense and play with passion on the court. Landon Slone was UK’s “Rudy” on the court against the Owls....because of the great passion he shows.... although Slone is blessed with far more talent than Rudy had at Notre Dame. Slone gives 100% and if he can start hitting his shots, UK fans are likely to see this Kentucky kid gaining more playing time. Mailing in effort at practice or during a game….will never be tolerated by Coach Gillispie…..no matter how talented you are as a player. I look for the Cats to bounce back with an improved defensive effort against the Chippewas. GO CATS!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kentucky vs Florida Atlantic Owls....A Preview

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Kentucky vs Florida Atlantic Owls….
12/27/08 Saturday..at 3PM. FSN
BBSN-Delay

Florida Atlantic

Location-Boca Raton, Fla
Enrollment-26,000
Arena-5,000
Coach-Mike Jarvis
Career Record-363-202 (64.2%) At Boston U., St. John’s, George Wshington
This is Mike Jarvis first year at Florida Atlantic

2007-08 Record-15-18
2007-08 Sun Belt Record-8-10

2008-09 Record-4-8

Florida Atlantic 72 Monmouth 69
Arizona 75 Florida Atlantic 62
Florida Atlantic 65 Santa Clara 61
Florida Atlantic 77 UMKC 59
Davidson 76 Florida Atlantic 60
James Madison 81 Florida Atlantic 64
McNeese St. 72 Florida Atlantic 68
FGCU 60 Florida Atlantic 55
Florida Atlantic 72 SE Louisiana 58
Denver 66 Florida Atlantic 55
Troy 94 Florida Atlantic 87
UAB 76 Florida Atlantic 43

STATS

PPG- 65.0 OPP-70.6
FG %-41.2% OPP-45.1%
3 Point FG%-31.7% OPP-32.5%
3 Point FG Per Game-5.4 OPP-5.4
FT%-72.0% OPP-70.1%
Rebounds-34.8 OPP-34.2
Assists-12.0 OPP-13.2
TO’S-13.3 OPP-11.6
Steals-4.3 OPP-5.9
Blocks-2.6 OPP-2.4

Probable Starting Lineup


Carlos Monroe-F-6’8” Sr……PPG-13.7
Brett Royster-F-6’8” So…… .PPG-6.3
Alex Tucker-G-5’11” Fr……...PPG-5.9
Carderro Nwoji-G-6’0” Sr……PPG-8.8
Paul Graham III-G-6’5” Sr…...PPG-15.9

Other Key Players

Shavar Richardson-G-6’2” Fr…PPG-10.2
Chris Watson-F-6’6” Fr…….…PPG-5.3
Sammy Hernandaz-F-6’5” Sr…PPG-2.6

Mike Jarvis, a very well liked coach who most remember from his years as St. John’s coach, brings his Florida Atlantic Owls into Rupp Arena on Saturday with a struggling 4-8 record. This is Jarvis first year as the Owls coach and he takes over a team with 3 starters returning from last seasons 15-18 team. It’s always a learning process for a new coach and the players, but the Owls got a solid new coach in Jarvis, who has a very respectable 64.2% career winning percentage in 18 years. As a team, Florida Atlantic is not shooting very well from the field hitting only 41.2% of their shots and 31.7% from the 3 point line. The three players who have taken the bulk of the shots from the field are Graham, Richardson and Nwoji…..Graham is is hitting only 39.2%.....Richardson only 34.6% and Nwoji only 33.0%. These three players are taking 62% of the team’s shots and hitting a combined 36.0%. Only Monroe and Royster, both 6’8”, give the Owls any size and they both are the leading rebounders. Until the Owls can find their shooting eye, they are likely to struggle in most games, Unquestionably, the Owls are a decided underdog against UK, but they are not without talent and could be a dangerous opponent with Jarvis at the helm….especially, if UK doesn’t take the Owls seriously!

In the past couple of games, UK has finally showed the talent and intensity that Cat fans have been waiting for this season. It is great to see the obvious improvement among most all the players regarding running the offense and playing tough defense. Certainly, Meeks and Patterson who were looked at before the season as being the two top guns for UK….. and now both are playing exceedingly well. It is terrific to see Galloway, who struggled mightily in the early season, show tremendous progress on the court. His passing and decision making is excellent. A nice surprise has been the play of AJ Stewart in the past two games…..Stewart is playing with more confidence and intensity and the results have been very positive. Stevenson, after a slow start this season, appears to have found his mojo and has really stepped up his game. Michael Porter, the recipient of far too much criticism, has let it all roll off his back and settled down in playing some solid minutes as PG….dishing out some nice assists while significantly cutting down his TO’s. Darius Miller, who started the season well….then hit a rough patch…..has now shown renewed confidence in both his offensive and defensive game. Liggins, while still committing too many TO’s, is also demonstrating improved play on offense and defense. Josh Harrellson, who apparently had a couple of subpar practices, is now trying to get back in the good graces of Gillispie. Harrellson, has demonstrated his solid shooting ability and now he needs to satisfy Gillispie with more consistent defensive play. Harris, who had a brief setback in a recent practice, should be back on the court very soon. Harris brings great defense to the UK lineup and he will be needed during the SEC season.

It’s important that UK build on the success of these past few games with the coming games against Florida Atlantic and Central Michigan…. and continue to improve their offense and defense. The Cats appear to be on the threshold of hitting on all cylinders and are really starting to push the ball on offense and play inspired intense defense. This coming game against the Owls is another building block as the Cats start setting their starting lineup and rotation. UK fans are increasingly optimistic after these last few games and I’m sure the coaching staff feels that they have finally made the progress with this team that they have been hoping for over these past few weeks. I look for another positive performance from these rapidly improving Cats. GO CATS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meeks named SEC player of the Week

SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky
6-4 * 208 * Jr. * Norcross, Ga

Meeks' Season Stats

PPG 24.1
RPG 3.1
APG 1.7
BPG 0.2
SPG 1.7

Kentucky's Jodie Meeks was named the SEC Player of the Week after he scored 46 points in leading the Wildcats to a 93-69 win over Appalachian State on Dec. 20. His 46 points are the second-most in the nation this year and the most by an SEC player since Shaquille O'Neal had 53 against Arkansas in 1990. It is the most points by a UK player since Dan Issel notched 47 at Alabama in 1970. Jodie also broke Mike Pratt's 42 point scoring record against Norte Dame (Saturday, December 27 1969) in Freedom Hall, Meeks 46 points is the best by a UK player in Freedom Hall.. The junior from Norcross, Ga., was 14-of-21 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He made nine of his 14 three-point attempts to tie a school record for three-pointers made.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kentucky vs Tennessee St.....A Preview

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Kentucky vs Tennessee State 12/22/08
(Monday) at 7:00PM FSNS/BBSN...TV

Tennessee St.

Location-Nashville
Enrollment-9,024
Arena-10,600
Coach-Cy Alexander
Career Record-339-290 (53.9%) in 22 seasons
At Tennessee St.-62-90 (40.8%) in 5 seasons

2007-08 Record-15-17
2007-08 OVC Record-10-10 (6th)

2008-09 Record-3-6

Cumberland Univ. 93 Tenn. St. 85
Loyola 73 Tenn. St. 70
Tenn. St. 75 Northern Illinois 73
Tenn. St. 109 Miles College 92
Belmont 91 Tenn. St. 63
Eastern Illinois 71 Tenn. St. 61
Tenn. St. 83 Southeast Missouri St. 72
Alabama A&M 69 Tenn. St. 67
Alabama 75 Tenn. St. 66

Stats

PPG-75.4….OPP.-78.8
FG %-43.7%....OPP.-43.3%
3 Point FG %-25.4%....OPP.-29.7%
3 Point FG Per Game-3.8….OPP.-6.7
FT %-75.0%....opp.-67.5%
Rebounds Per Game-40.9….OPP.-38.6
Assists Per Game-14.2….OPP.-14.1
TO’S Per Game-16.3….OPP.-12.7
Steals Per Game-5.9….OPP.-7.6
Blocks Per Game-3.7….OPP.-4.0

Probable Starting Lineup

Jerrell Houston-F-6’8” Sr…..PPG-14.6
Darius Cox-F-6’7” So…..PPG-13.3
Stephen Evans-F-6’8” Sr…..PPG-9.3
Jeremiah Crutcher-G-5’10” Jr…..2.6
Gerald Robinson-G-6’0” Sr…..PPG-18.7

Oter Key Players

Wil Peters-G-5’11” Fr…..PPG-1.8
Parker Smith-G-6’3” Fr…..PPG-7.1
Emmanuel Gaiter-G/F-6’5” Sr…..PPG-7.2

The Tennessee St Tigers bring a disappointing 3-6 record into Rupp Arena on Monday, however, they did play a competitive game against Alabama in their last game losing by 9 at Alabama. The Tigers are led in scoring by Gerald Robinson who averages 18.7 per game, but is shooting poorly overall. Robinson has launched 36-- 3 pointers and hit only 7 for a horrible 19.4% shooting percentage. Robinson leads the team in both assists and TO’s. Evans and Cox, both frontline players, are shooting over 50% and Houston, the other frontline starter, is hitting 48%. Cox, Evans and Houston are all averaging over 7 rebounds per game. These three frontline players appear to be the strength of the Tigers and they all bring good size to match up against the Cats. One problem for the Tigers seems to be that Robinson has launched 137 shots this season hitting only 38.7%. Smith, Peters, and Crutcher, the other Tiger guards, have also shot very poorly. It would appear that one major problem the Tigers have is that there are too many shots taken by the guards, who have a poor shooting percentage, and not enough shots taken by their frontline players who have shot well this season. It will be interesting to see the shot distribution between the guards and frontline when the Tigers take on UK.

Importantly, Kentucky is coming off their best overall performance this season with a solid win against Appalachian St. at Freedom Hall. Jodie Meeks had a lights out performance burning the nets for 46 points….a truly magnificient performance by Meeks. However, there were a number of other UK players that had solid games. The ball handling….passing….and decision making was much improved and that is a huge plus. The Cats played terrific defense…swarming to the ball….and making any decent shot very difficult. The box score revealed some nice team positives….23 assists…..11 steals…..12 block shots….and only 14 TO’s. Kudos to A.J. Stewart for his best 15 minutes as a Wildcat….very nice to see. Darius Miller had 3 rebounds…4 assists….2 steals….1 block shot and zero TO’s. Miller appears to becoming much more comfortable on the floor and this performance should help his overall confidence. It was great to see Harris back on the floor and his play and defense will be needed as the Cats approach their SEC schedule. Galloway, who has struggled early this season grasping the UK system, is now making very positive strides forward in his game play…..he added 4 rebounds and 4 assists in his 12 minutes. Liggins added 3 assists and 3 steals, but had 4 TO’s. Liggins, unquestionably, brings a load of talent and potential to the UK lineup, now he must learn to implement Gillispie’s system and improve his overall decision making…..which I believe he will as he gains experience. Lastly, let’s give Michael Porter some kudos…..Porter who shoulders far too much criticism, showed why he retains the confidence of Coach Gillispie. In 20 minutes Porter had 4 rebounds and 5 assists while committing only one TO. The fact is that Porter understands Gillispie’s system and is still superior in running the offense. I expect Liggins to eventually replace Porter at the PG, but Porter will remain a very important player for the Cats this season.

The Cats should add another win over an outmanned Tennessee St. I’m sure Coach Gillispie will be hoping to see a continuation of UK’s very solid play in their last game. Gillispie wants consistency of effort on both the offensive and defensive ends. These next few games will, no doubt, solidify the starters and the rotation as the Cats enter the SEC season. The Cats are making solid progress….let’s hope we see that progress continue against the Tigers. Go Cats!

UK's 2009 Football Schedule



Here's a early look at the University of Kentucky Wildcats 2009 football schedule as of 12-21-08.

Sept. 5 Open
Sept. 12 Open
Sept. 19 LOUISVILLE
Sept. 26 FLORIDA
Oct. 3 ALABAMA
Oct. 10 at South Carolina
Oct. 17 at Auburn
Oct. 24 LOUISIANA-MONROE
Oct. 31 MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 7 EASTERN KENTUCKY
Nov. 14 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 21 at Georgia
Nov. 28 TENNESSEE

Note: Home games in BOLD

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart:

"It's been a struggle," Barnhart said. "As coaches move around, a lot of things get changed up, and we're still trying to shuffle things around so we get it done. We've got some things in the works, and I think we're pretty close."

If Louisiana-Monroe game remains on Oct. 24, Kentucky would have to play at least 11 straight games without an open date. Eastern Kentucky, which is scheduled to play at UK on Nov. 7, has an open date on Sept. 12, so UK could conceivably move the EKU game to that date and be off between an Oct. 31 home game with Mississippi State and a Nov. 14 game at Vanderbilt.

Keep in mind that the schedule could change..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turnovers....Turnovers....Turnovers!

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

UK is now 10 games into this season and they have shown little or no improvement in cutting down on TO's. Far too many TO's are not caused by the opponent, but rather, by very poor decision making by various UK players. In the Indiana game....against a totally inexperienced team.....at Rupp Arena....the Cats managed to have 23 TO's.....three more TO's than Indiana. IMO, this is inexcusable! UK is averaging over 20 TO's per game......among the worst teams in the nation for TO's. This Kentucky team simply can't give the ball away 20 plus times and win many SEC games. What is really frustrating is that you see many of the same UK players repeating their poor decisions game after game. It's way past time for these players to learn to value possessions.....make good decisions.....and significantly reduce TO's. One begins to wonder about the basketball IQ of players and a team that seemingly doesn't learn how to value each and every possession after playing one third of a season. Every TO is a lost scoring opportunity and this UK team can ill afford to lose 20 plus scoring opportunities in the SEC. Let's hope that finally we start seeing a UK team that takes care of the ball and understands that TO's can lead to losses!

UK's Point Guard Situation!

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

As we all know, the PG is like the QB in football.....his responsibility is to run the offense.....get the ball to the right players at the right time.....show leadership and be on the same page as the coach. UK's dilemma is that Liggins is clearly the most talented player for the PG position, but he has had off the court issues and on the court issues which have been negative to the Cats. If you scroll down in this article where Kenny Walker comments about off the court issues with Liggins.

Most UK fans, including myself, have been posting that Liggins needed to be starting at PG. Well, I think we are all now getting a better understanding as to why Porter is still starting. You simply can't reward a player who refuses to go in a game.....talks back to coaches.....is late for practice and misses classes with a starting role. In the Indiana game, Liggins had 6 TO's and had an overall poor game offensively and defensively. Liggins decision making....such as throwing the ball the length of the court to a UK player who had 3 IU players near him.... was sorely lacking. To date, Liggins has 35 TO's for the season which is 2nd only to Meeks, with 36, who has played 115 more minutes than Liggins. Porter has 26 TO's with about the same playing time.

Do not misunderstand, I, like all UK fans, want Liggins as UK's PG.....we want him to succeed. Unquestionably, Liggins is a terrific talent.....exciting player..... and we all understand that freshman make mistakes as they are learning the system, but, in Liggins case, it appears that it his immaturity, questionable attitude and butting heads with Gillispie that are contributing to his overall disappointing PG play.

Porter, as we all know, is a great kid.....has a great work ethic and attitude, but lacks the overall talent and athletic ability to be an effective starting PG. He is better utilized as a role player off the bench.
Unfortunately, Gillispie has had to deal with Liggins less than cooperative attitude and has chosen not to start him.....so he goes with Porter.

Lastly, no one is writing Liggins off....and certainly I'm not......but his on court and off court actions are a concern and have hurt the Cats. Hopefully, Liggins gets on the same page as Coach Gillispie and this team can move forward with much improved play from the PG position. Frankly, Liggins attitude, play and cooperation will play a significant role in UK's success or lack of success this season. In college basketball, it is imperative that a successful team have a solid PG who implements his coach's system and philosophy. UK and Sandy Bell worked very hard to see that Liggins was qualified.....we need this kid......I'm rooting for Liggins to succeed as UK's PG!

Coach Gillispie Call-in Show Summary

Here's a short summary from Gillispie's call-in show Monday night. If you would like to listen to a replay you can visit ukathletics.com and look for it there.

Injury Updates and Todays Practice Report:

  • Porter - (Ankle) didn't practice, is wearing a walking boot and don't know if he'll be able to play this weekend.
  • Harris - Good report from Dr today, but still not able to return to practice because of injury. Harris doing some small things on the sidelines in practice.
  • Not all UK players practiced today due to Finals. No names givens.
Appalachian St Comments:
  • They are 4-3
  • Beat Miss St in Starksville
  • Has a nice group of players
  • Shots 24-26 3's a game
  • 7-8 players that avg double digit points
  • App. St. avg +8 in rebounds
Coach comments on Players:
  • Sloan - could see more PT this weekend if Porter doesn't play and could see more PT at times when he does.
  • Patterson - becoming more of a vocal leader during games and in practice as well. Coach said, PP is like another coach on the team knowing what players can do and can't do and tries to help them.
  • Harrellson - doing better then expected this early in the season.
  • Galloway - Coach thinks that Galloway had things given to him and never had to work hard for it and now he has too and is doing a great job. Coach said, Galloway played good against IU and will see more PT and is earning it.
  • Donald Williams - Coach likes him a lot and doesn't see him making a big difference in conference play by playing 10-15 mins a game, but if he does Williams would play. As of now Coach doesn't think he will and is considering using a RS year on him and thats why he hasn't played, so he can use the RS.
Best perimeter shooter be sides Meeks, is Harrellson. Coach added that Liggins, Miller, Porter are good as well and that Porter would be better if he was playing PG Coach even mentioned Liggins and Porter on the court and Porter being the SG for certain plays.

Mentioned playing Murry St at Rupp, but not going to Murry St when a fan ask him question about playing Murry St.

Comments on the UK fans when a caller said something about some being fickled. Coach said that UK fans were the best and expected the best and he could understand them being mad and as a fan he is the same way.

Comment on 5 star recruits:

One caller ask about having a team of all 5 star recruits and Gillispie's response was along the lines that 1/2 of the ones that do the rankings don't know what they're doing and should let the coaches be the ones that do the rankings as they are the ones that offer the kids scholarships. He went on to say that 'ANY' kid that gets a D-1 scholarship offer is a 5 star recruit or they wouldn't have a D-1 offer...

Louisville Practice Plans:

Tom said that UK's plans as of now was to have the Freedom Hall doors opened Friday at 4:30PM in Louisville, Practice would start 5:30PM or 6:00PM depending on Coach.

The reason for the delay announcement is because some of the players still have their finals to take and that some would be taking them Friday. They also said to check ukathletics.com for more info and updates.

Thats is for now...

Again check ukathletics.com tomorrow for a reply.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kentucky vs Indiana....A Preview

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Kentucky vs Indiana
Dec. 13th (Saturday)
4PM..CBS

Indiana

Arena-17,357
Coach-Tom Crean
Career Record-190-96 (66.4%)

2007-08 Record-25-8
2007-08 Big Ten Record-14-4 (3rd)
2007-08 Postseason-Lost in NCAA 1st round

2008-09 Record-4-4

Indiana 83 Northwestern St. 65
Indiana 60 IUPUI 57
Notre Dame 88 Indiana 50
Saint Joseph’s 80 Indiana 54
Indiana 81 Chaminade 79
Indiana 72 Cornell 57
Wake Forest 83 Indiana 58
Gonzaga 70 Indiana 54

Probable Starting Lineup

Tom Pritchard-F-6’8” Fr……PPG-14.0
Devan Dumes-G-6’2” Jr……PPG-12.1
Nick Williams-G-6’4” Fr……PPG-8.6
Daniel Moore-G-5’11” Fr……PPG-4.5
Kyle Taber-F-6’8” Sr……PPG-3.9

Other Key Players

Matt Roth-G-6’3” Fr……PPG-6.1
Malik Story-F-6’5” Fr……PPG-7.4
Tijan Jobe-C-7’0” Jr……PPG-0.3

STATS

PPG-64.0 Opp.-72.4
FG%-43.4% Opp.-45.9%
3 Point FG %-29.9% Opp.-37.0%
3 Point FG Per Game-5.1 Opp.-7.1
FT%-66.1% Opp.-63.7%
Rebounds Per Game-33.4 Opp.-35.2
Assists PG-12.1 Opp.-15.5
TO’S PG-20.3 Opp.-17.3
Steals PG-8.3 Opp.-10.4
Blocks PG-2.3 Opp.-4.5

Indiana comes into Rupp Arena the victim of former coach Kelvin Sampson’s NCAA rules violations. Tom Crean, former Marquette coach, has had the huge task of replacing all but two players who remained from last year’s roster. Crean is a proven coach who did a very good job at Marquette and he will turn the Indiana program around, but first he must rebuild it from the ground up. The Hoosiers play 5 freshmen, 2 JC transfers and one senior among their first 8 players. Obviously, Indiana is a very inexperienced team, but they are not without talent. Pritchard, a 6’8” Fr. leads the Hoosiers in scoring with a 14 point average. Also he leads the team in shooting percentage hitting nearly 60% of his shots while also leading the Hoosiers in rebounds with 7.4 per game. JC transfer Devan Dumas is 2nd in scoring with a 12.1 average. Few expect Indiana to be very competitive, but that can be a big mistake by opponents as this season progresses under the coaching of Crean. Make no mistake, this Hoosier team will improve and can be a dangerous opponent for any team that underestimates them. In the last game, Indiana gave top ten ranked Gonzaga a competitive game until finally falling 70-54.

Kentucky is still a team in transition as Coach Gillispie is still evaluating his best starting team and best rotation. Porter and Liggins have been taking turns at PG, which remains a major concern for UK. The Cats must have consistency and leadership from their PG. Michael Porter plays hard, but, so far, lacks the offense and defense that UK needs. In contrast, Liggins is a superior offensive and defensive player to Porter, but has shown some unfortunate immaturity and poor decision making at times from the PG position. It appears that eventually Liggins should win the starting role at PG, but he must get on the same page as his coach. UK still needs to understand that they simply can’t get away with not playing hard nose intense basketball for 40 minutes. They can’t dig big holes from lackluster play and then decide to play hard to catch up…..it simply won’t work against most teams. Also, the Cats must understand where their bread is buttered…..it is getting the ball to Patterson, Harrellson and Stevenson on the interior far more often. Jodie Meeks, a superb talent, has taken 146 shots this season….hitting 43.8%, while Patrick Patterson has taken only 91 shots hitting 72.5%. Josh Harrellson has taken 37 shots hitting 51.4% and Perry Stevenson has taken 36 shots hitting 47.2%. The point is not that Meeks quit shooting….only that he take better shots and make more of an effort to get the ball to the interior players. The same goes for all the parameter UK players. The fact, at least so far, is that this Kentucky team is not a very good parameter team…..hitting a poor 31.1%. The Wildcats unquestionably have good talent, but they must increase their basketball IQ and start getting the ball to those inside players that hit a much higher % of shots. In addition, UK must start playing 40 minutes of defense…..not 30 minutes….not 20 minutes, but 40 minutes!

It is still early in the season, but with more practice time around the holidays, hopefully, UK shows some much needed improvement…both offensively, defensively, in taking care of the ball and minimizing TO’s and in their overall basketball IQ. This UK team has good potential….they have good talent…..now, they need to start demonstrating that talent and fulfilling that potential. The Cats can overlook no team….especially a rival like Indiana. Tom Crean didn’t bring Indiana into Rupp Arena to roll over for the Cats. UK fans want to see an energized, hard nose, smart UK team that plays hard for 40 minutes!

I have confidence that Coach Gillispie and the Cats are ready to take a big positive step forward in their overall play. Hopefully, it happens Saturday against Indiana!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2008 SEC/Big East Invitational


The second annual SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, the two-night men's college basketball tournament will take place in two cities, with a doubleheader in Nashville
's Sommet Center (Dec. 16) will feature of Vanderbilt vs. South Florida at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and Tennessee vs. Marquette at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena (Dec. 18) will feature Cincinnati vs. Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by Louisville vs. Ole Miss at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN. For more info and ticket info visit the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational Website.

SEC Men's Basketball Schedule 12/10/08-12/20/08

December 10 (Wednesday)
Charlotte at Mississippi State 7:00 p.m. CT
Alabama A&M at Vanderbilt [CSS] 7:00 p.m. CT
North Carolina Central at Arkansas [RSP] 7:00 p.m. CT
Florida Gulf Coast at Florida [FSN-FL] 8:00 p.m. ET

December 13 (Saturday)
Indiana at Kentucky [CBS] 4:00 p.m. ET
Texas A&M at Alabama [CSS] 7:00 p.m. CT
Grambling State at LSU 7:00 p.m. CT
Tennessee at Temple [ESPN] Noon ET
South Alabama at Mississippi State 7:00 p.m. CT
Ole Miss at New Mexico 2:00 p.m. MT

December 15 (Monday)
Alabama State at Ole Miss [CSS] 7:00 p.m. CT

December 16 (Tuesday)
Vanderbilt vs. South Florida [ESPN2] 6:00 p.m. CT
Tennessee vs. Marquette [ESPN] 8:30 p.m. CT
North Carolina Central at South Carolina [SS] 8:00 p.m. ET

December 17 (Wednesday)
Tennessee State at Alabama [CSS] 7:00 p.m. CT
Austin Peay at Arkansas [RSP] 7:00 p.m. CT
Tuskegee at Auburn 6:00 p.m. CT
Nicholls State at LSU [CST] 7:00 p.m. CT

December 18 (Thursday)
20-Mississippi State vs. Cincinnati [ESPN2] 6:30 p.m. ET
20-Ole Miss vs. Louisville [ESPN] 9:00 p.m. ET

December 20 (Saturday)
Belmont at Tennessee [SS] 3:00 p.m. ET
LSU vs. Texas A&M 3:30 p.m. CT
Wofford at Georgia [CSS] 2:00 p.m. ET
Auburn at Virginia [FSN] 4:00 p.m. ET
Florida vs. Central Florida [FSN-FL] 6:30 p.m. ET
Tennessee Tech at Vanderbilt [CSS] 5:00 p.m. CT
Stephen F. Austin at Arkansas [RSP] 7:00 p.m. CT
Kentucky vs. Appalachian State [FSNS] Noon ET
The Citadel at South Carolina [SS] 5:00 p.m. ET


ALL TIMES LOCAL: [ ] TV Game; FSN includes FSN South, FSN Southwest and SUN Sports; RSP - Razorback Sports Properties; CSS: Comcast Sports Southeast; CST: Cox Sports Television; FSN: Fox Sports Net; FSNS: FSN South; FSN Fla.: FSN Florida; SS: SportSouth; SUN: Sun Sports; CBSCS: CBS College Sports.

2008-09 SEC Bowl Game Schedule

[image] vs [image]
Vanderbilt vs. Boston College

Music City Bowl (12/31) - Vanderbilt vs. Boston College [ESPN] - 3:30 p.m. ET

[image] vs [image]
LSU vs. Georgia Tech

Chick-fil-A Bowl (12/31) - LSU vs. Georgia Tech [ESPN] - 7:30 p.m. ET

[image] vs [image]
South Carolina vs. Iowa

Outback Bowl (1/1) - South Carolina vs. Iowa [ESPN] - 11:00 a.m. ET


[image] vs [image]
Georgia vs. Michigan State

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


[image] vs [image]
Kentucky vs. East Carolina

Liberty Bowl (1/2) - Kentucky vs. East Carolina [ESPN] - 5:00 p.m. ET


[image] vs [image]
Alabama vs. Utah
Sugar Bowl (1/2) - Alabama vs. Utah [FOX] - 8:00 p.m. ET


[image] vs [image]
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

AT&T Cotton Bowl (1/2) - Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech [FOX] - 2:00 p.m. ET


[image] vs [image]
Florida vs. Oklahoma

BCS Title Game (1/8) - Florida vs. Oklahoma [FOX] - 8:00 p.m. ET

Friday, December 05, 2008

Kentucky vs Miami....A Preview

Lwcat
Administrator

Kentucky vs Miami Hurricanes
TV: ESPN
Time: 5:30PM
Series: UK leads 3-0

Miami
Enrollment-15,449
Arena-7,200
Coach-Frank Haith
Career Record-69-60 (53.5%) All 4 seasons at Miami
2007-08 Record-23-11
2007-08 ACC Record-8-8 (5th)
2007-08 Postseason-1-1 in NCAA

2008-09 Record

Miami 96 Florida Southern 60
Miami 70 Southern Miss 60
U Conn 76 Miami 63
Miami 80 San Diego 45
Miami 79 Stetson 65
Ohio St. 73 Miami 68

Stats

PPG-76 Opp.-63.2
FG%-42.7% Opp.-37.1%
3 Point %-34.5% Opp.-27.2%
3 Point FG Per Game-6.5
FT%-70.9%
Rebounds-44.2 PG Opp.-35.3PG
Assists PG-12.5
TO’s PG-13.2 Opp.-13.2 PG
Steals PG-6.0
Blocks PG-3.7

Probable Starting Lineup

Jack McClinton-G-6’1” Sr…..PPG-15.2
Dwayne Collins-F-6’8” Jr…..PPG-12.7
Lance Hurdle-G- 6’2” Sr…..PPG-9.4
Cyrus McCowan-F-6’9” Jr…..PPG-8.8
James Dews-G-6’3” Jr……PPG-6.0

Other Key Players

Brian Ashbury-F-6’6” Sr…..PPG-8.3
Eddie Rios-G-6’0” So…..PPG-6.0
Jimmy Graham-F-6’8” Sr…..6.0

Miami returns four starters from last year’s NCAA team that finished with a 23-11 record. The Hurricanes two loses this season have come to #2 U Conn and Ohio St. In the Ohio St. game, McClinton was ejected early in the first half and IMO, that ejection cost Miami the game. McClinton is a first team all ACC and is almost certain to be a solid NBA player. He has virtually unlimited range and is shooting an incredible 46% from the 3 point line. Dwayne Collins, 6’8” F, is shooting 61% from the field while averaging 12.7 point per game and leads Miami in rebounds with ten per game. Importantly, Miami brings a lot of experience into Rupp arena and play four seniors, three juniors and one sophomore among their frequent eight man rotation. Last season, McClinton and Dews combined for over 150-3 point shots and shot 90% on their FT’s. These two guards will present a big challenge when guarded man to man. This Hurricane team is experienced and talented…..and will be a tough opponent for any team on their schedule this season.

Importantly, UK is coming off their best performance of the season with a very impressive win over Lamar. Although Lamar was outmanned, the Cats showed significant improvement in running their offense, minimizing TO’s and playing tough defense. Liggins, a terrific talent, continues to improve and played a very solid game. Josh Harrellson’s high energy play is a welcome sight and he is revealing his ability to play the 4 or 5 position and be very effective….including shooting the 3 point shot. It was great for Cat fans to see Galloway, almost a mystery player, finally get some minutes and see him play reasonably well. Galloway’s improvement should bode well for the Cats as the season progresses. Patterson…well Patterson was Patterson….a great talent who was very solid offensively, but needs to improve his rebounding. Meeks continues to be a huge offensive presence for the Cats….game after game….Meeks finds ways to score from the field and free throw line. Darius Miller, after a couple of subpar performances, showed flashes of his coming greatness. The only downside of the Lamar game was the very unfortunate collision injury to Porter and Harris…..but, thankfully, both appear to be recovering nicely and should be back on the floor in the near future.

UK will need to continue it’s improvement offensively and defensively while cutting back on TO’s if they are to defeat a tough Miami team. This game will be a real challenge for the Cats and a good measuring stick as to where this UK team is at this point in the season. It is very doubtful that Porter or Harris will play Saturday and the loss of Harris defense could be a problem. Other Cats will need to step up and someone, or by committee, will need to be in McClinton’s grill all game long and try to minimize his scoring opportunities. This will be a difficult challenge and it will be interesting as to who draws that tough assignment. I look for UK to rise to the challenge and defeat this tough Miami team. GO CATS!

Kentucky to honor Bill Keightley

The University of Kentucky will honor the legacy of former equipment manager Bill "Mr. Wildcat" Keightley on Fox Sports South Sunday, Dec. 7 at 4:00 p.m. as the Cats take on former UK player Sean Woods one of "The Unforgettables" team Mississippi Valley St. Mr. Keightley's family will consist his widow Hazel, daughter Karen Marlowe and son-in-law Alden Marlowe, will be honored in a ceremony at halftime at which time the University of Kentucky will retire Bill "Mr. Wildcat" Keightley's jersey for the final time in Rupp Arena. The Mississippi Valley State vs Kentucky game program as well as the game ticket will honor Mr. Wildcat.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kentucky vs Lamar....A Preview

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Administrator

Kentucky vs Lamar
Dec.3rd..Wed..7PM
TV: FSNS
LIVE Online Streams:
www.ESPN360.com
www.channelsurfing.net

www.justin.tv

Lamar Cardinals
Website: lamarcardinals.com
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Enrollment: 14,000
Arena: 10,080
Coach: Steve Roccaforte
Career Record: 34-28 (54.8%) in 2 seasons..all at Lamar

2007-08 Record: 19-11
2007-08 Southland Conf.: 13-2 (T-1st)
2007-08 Postseason: None

2008-09 Record: 5-0
Lamar 105 Louisiana College 72
Lamar 78 Louisiana-Lafayette 68
Lamar 61 Denver 48
Lamar 61 Rice 53
Lamar 97 Lyon College 54

2008-09-Stats
PPG-80.4 Opp.-59.0
FG%-47.8% Opp.-39.3%
3 Point FG%-32.6 Opp.-28.6%
3 Point FG-PG-5.8
FT%-73.4
Rebounds PG-39.0 Opp.-28.8
Assists PG-15.4
TO’s PG-12.2 Opp.-17.8
Steals PG-9.4

Probable Starting Lineup

Kenny Dawkins-G-5’9”Sr…PPG-17.0
Brandon McThay-G-5’11”Sr…PPG-16.6
Tristan Worrell-F-6’7”Sr…PPG-10.6
Jay Brown-F-6’7”Sr…PPG-16.0
Ashton Hall-G-6’6”Jr…PPG-4.2

Other Key Players

Coy Custer-C-6’10”Soph...PPG-5.2
Anthony Miles-G-6’0”Fr...PPG-6.8
Skyler Williams-G-6’2”Soph...PPG-2.4

The Lamar Cardinals enter Rupp Arena with a 5-0 record, but have yet to play a quality team. The Cards starting lineup has four seniors and one junior, although senior Jay Brown missed the last game because of an injury….not certain as to his playing status for the UK game. Bottom line…..this Lamar team is a quick veteran team. Lamar is not a tall team and they often play 8-9 players. Dawkins, McThay and Brown are the three top scorers…Dawkins is a 5’9” dynamo…..very quick…..leads the team in steals and assists. Also, Dawkins shoots the 3 point shot frequently…..hitting 34.5% and he shoots 92% from the free throw line. McThay, who stands only 5’11”, is Dawkins running mate at guard….is shooting a blistering 55% from the field including a very good 44% from 3 point range. Jay Brown, who is 6’7” and 235lbs., is shooting a terrific 57% from the field and leads the Cardinals in rebounds….averaging 10 rebounds per game. Justin Worrell is 6’7” and 250 lbs…..and shoots 53% from the field and is the 2nd leading rebounder. Brown and Worrell have the bulk to be tough on the boards for Lamar. This Lamar team which has shot 48% from the field, averaged only 12 TO’s per game and garnered nearly 10 steals per game will be a dangerous opponent for UK.

Importantly, UK won the Las Vegas tournament, beating Kansas St. and West Virginia, and gaining some much needed confidence. Although, the Cats are still struggling with TO’s and had some offensive droughts, they displayed a gutty never give up attitude and pulled out two very important victories. Overall, UK’s defense continues to improve and at times in the tournament, was very solid. The offense remains a work in progress, but there are signs that this young team is finally understanding the importance of getting the ball to Patterson and he is responding with great play on the inside. Liggins, continues to show glimpses of being a great talent…..his defense is improving….and he is getting more comfortable in UK’s offense, but Liggins still must make better decisions and cut back on poor passes. Josh Harrellson is bringing great energy and hustle to UK’s frontline and he played very well against West Virginia. Meeks continues to find ways to score….even when his shots aren’t dropping…..Meeks hits 12 for 12 at the free throw line. Meeks gives 100% on the floor and he has often carried UK on the offensive end of the court. However, the Cats will need to find a consistent 3rd scorer in the future as opponents focus more and more on shutting down Meeks. Miller and Harrellson have shown the ability to pick up the scoring slack, but they are still young and inconsistent. Perhaps, the Las Vegas tournament revealed the best future starting lineup for UK….Meeks, Liggins, Patterson, Miller and Harrellson…..with Stevenson, Porter and Harris in the 8 man rotation.

It will be important for this young UK team to respect Lamar as a dangerous opponent and come out with great energy and hustle. Look for Lamar to press the Cats, so UK must improve their decision making and not allow TO’s to get out of control. UK needs to play solid parameter defense and get the ball to Patterson as often as possible. I look for a UK win and continued improvement on offense and defense. Go Cats!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Randall Cobb to under go surgery




The University of Kentucky football's Freshman quarterback/wide receiver Randall Cobb will have arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to repair cartilage in his left knee. Cobb was injured in the Tennessee game Saturday. Cobb's status for Kentucky’s upcoming bowl game will be determined following the surgery, UK football Coach Rich Brooks announced today.

SEC Football Standings 12/1/08

East
Florida 7-1 11-1
Georgia 6-2 9-3
South Carolina 4-4 7-5
Vanderbilt 4-4 6-6
Tennessee 3-5 5-7
Kentucky 2-6 6-6

West
Alabama 8-0 12-0
Mississippi 5-3 8-4
LSU 3-5 7-5
Arkansas 2-6 5-7
Auburn 2-6 5-7
Mississippi State 2-6 4-8

With the regular season over Bowl eligible teams wait for Bowl game announcements.