Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kentucky vs Louisville...A Preview of the Rivalry

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Louisville…A Preview of the Rivalry

Kentucky vs Louisville 1/2/10 at 3:30pmEST/2:30pmCST on CBS



Head Coach-Rick Pitino
Career Record-552-197 (73.7%) 23 seasons
At Louisville-200-73 (73.3%) 8 seasons

2008-09 Record-31-6
2008-09 Big East Record-16-2
2008-09 Postseason 3-1 (Lost in Elite 8)

2009-10 Record-10-3

Louisville 96 Arkansas 66
Louisville 69 East Tennessee St. 56
Louisville 90 Morgan St. 81
Louisville 80 Appalachian St. 53
UNLV 76 Louisville 71
Louisville 80 Stetson 48
Charlotte 87 Louisville 65
Western Carolina 91 Louisville 83
Louisville 94 Oral Roberts 57
Louisville 102 Western Ky. 75
Louisville 84 Louisiana-Lafayette 69
Louisville 79 Radford 53
Louisville 73 South Florida 52

Louisville Stats / Kentucky Stats

PPG-82.0 / 83.6
FG%-45.9% / 50.5%
3 Point FG%-32.1% / 42.2%
FT%-68.5% / 69.5%
Rebounds-40.8 / 42.6
Assists-17.2 / 17.2
TO’s-13.8 / 15.3
Steals-8.6 / 7.1
Blocks-3.8 / 7.6

Probable Starting Lineups

Reginald Delk F-6’4” Sr. (PPG-6.7)
Jared Swopshire F-6’8” So. (PPG-8.0)
Samardo Samuels C-6’9” So. (PPG-16.4)
Edgar Sosa G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-13.3)
Jerry Smith G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-8.7)

Other Key Players

Preston Knowles G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-8.5)
Kyle Kuric G-6’4” So. (PPG-4.5)
Terrence Jennings F-6’9” So. (PPG-6.4)
Peyton Siva G-5’11” Fr. (PPG-4.6)

The Louisville Cardinals arrive in Rupp Arena fresh off of defeating South Florida and with a decent 10-3 record, but without a single signature win thus far. The Cards have won 5 straight after suffering a humiliating defeat to Western Carolina. Louisville lost 3 outstanding players from last season’s 31-6 Elite 8 team….namely, Earl Clark, Andree McGee and Terrance Williams. Although, the Cards overall talent is down from last season, it would be a mistake to underestimate the talent of this season’s team.

The Cardinals are led in scoring by 6’9” soph Samardo Samuels at 16.4PPG, but he also is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.6 per game. Interestingly, Samuels has shot a third of all Louisville’s free throws hitting 71-104 for 68.3%. Senior guard Edgar Sosa is the Cards 2nd leading scorer at 13.3 PPG….and also leads in assists with 56 thus far. Sosa also leads the team in 3 point shots made and percentage….hitting a solid 41.4%. Jared Swopshire is the team’s 2nd leading rebounder at 5.7 per game. Reginald Delk, a cousin of UK great….Tony Delk….is hitting 47.2% of his 3 point shots.

Coach Pitino uses his bench a lot with 9 players averaging 13 plus minutes per game. The Cards are not a big team, but count on 6’8” Swopshire and 6’9” 260 lb. Samuels to be effective in the paint….and often bring 6’9” Terrence Jennings off the bench to help on the frontline. Louisville starts 3 seniors and 2 sophs, so they bring a good bit of experience to each game. Importantly for the Cards, their 2 starting guards, Sosa and Smith, are both seniors and bring a lot of experience and savvy to the backcourt.

Louisville averages 24- 3 point shots per game and although the overall team 3 point percentage is only 32.1%.....they are still dangerous….especially with both Sosa and Delk hitting over 40%. Coach Pitino often likes to press other teams and the Cards have 6 players with 10 plus steals thus far this season.

Although, Louisville will be an underdog in Rupp Arena against the undefeated Cats, you can bet that Pitino will throw everything but the kitchen sink at these young Cats. Look for different zones….man to man….and various presses….all designed to throw UK off it’s comfort zone on the floor. If the Cards are shooting the 3 ball well….this could be a very tough game for the Cats. Whatever anyone thinks of Pitino the person, no one can question that he is one of the very best floor coaches in college basketball.

Kentucky is riding a 14 game winning streak and comes into the rivalry game undefeated and 3rd ranked in the nation. The Cats have shown definite improvement both offensively and defensively. Unquestionably, this UK team ranks among the most talented in Wildcat history. The starting guards of Wall and Bledsoe, although freshmen, bring incredible quickness, athletic ability and talent to the backcourt and are shooting a combined 46’9% from long range. Wall has established himself as a rare talent and an amazingly unselfish player who is the consummate team player. Freshman Cousins is showing dramatic improvement in the pivot and is learning the importance of controlling his emotions on the court. This Wildcat team will need Cousins to stay out of foul trouble and play at least 25-30 minutes in most games. Patrick Patterson has been a rock of stability for this young team….Patterson has been incredibly consistent in playing well in each and every game while revealing his ability to shoot the rock well from the outside. In addition, Patrick has brought excellent leadership to this young UK team. Darius Miller is beginning to gain more and more confidence in his offensive game. Importantly, The Cats are getting solid contributions off the bench….especially in Dodson, Orton, Harris and Liggins. Dodson is bringing instant offense in most games and is improving his defense. Harris and Liggins are playing solid defense while Orton plays an important role in playing the pivot when Cousins goes to the bench. There is still much more improvement needed for these young talented Cats, but already fans have seen significant gains in the offense and defense.

The Louisville game will be a big test for the Cats. They will face a number of varying defenses and likely a number of presses. You can bet that Pitino will have this underdog Card team playing at a frantic pace. UK must play solid defense, especially in preventing open 3 point shots. Also, the Cats must keep their 3 best players, Wall, Cousins and Patterson out of foul trouble. A repeat of the Long Beach St. game when all three spent significant time on the bench because of fouls could cause a UK loss.

This will be a tremendous game….Calipari vs Pitino. Two of the top 5 coaches in America. The Cats will be a definite favorite, but to win….UK must play solid defense, handle the Louisville press, score in the paint and shoot a solid percentage from the field.

As we have learned in the past, the best and most talented team has not always won in this great rivalry. Importantly, this young UK team has already been tested under fire….beating a talented North Carolina team in Rupp Arena…..beating a very good U Conn team in Madison Square Garden and defeating an Indiana team supported by a frenzy IU crowd in Assembly Hall. This will be another important test and I look for these talented Cats to pass another test in defeating Louisville. It won’t be a blowout….in fact, it likely will be a close game. Cats by 5-7 points. GO CATS!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kentucky vs Hartford......A Preview

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Hartford 12/29/09 Tuesday at 7PM (ESPN 2)


Location-West Hartford, Conn.

Head Coach-Dan Leibovitz
Career Record-38-6- (42.2%) 3 seasons
All at Hartford

2008-09 Record-7-26
2008-09 America East Record-2-14
2008-09 Postseason-None

2009-10 Record-2-9

Quinnipiac 85 Hartford 74
Baylor 71 Hartford 69
Hartford 75 Marist 38
Hartford 70 Fordham 62
Lafayette 86 Hartford 82
Dartmouth 68 Hartford 56
Yale 48 Hartford 46
Seton Hall 89 Hartford 56
LaSalle 75 Hartford 62
St. Francis 63 Hartford 60
Sacred Heart 76 Hartford 65

Hartford Stats / UK Stats

PPG-65.0 / 82.1
FG%-42.8% / 49.6%
3 Point%-38.2% / 41.1%
FT%-64.2% / 70.0%
Rebounds-29.5 / 42.7
Assists-11.2 / 16.2
TO’s-12.3 / 15.9
Steals-6.5 / 7.4
Blocks-1.9 / 7.9

Probable Starting Lineup

Morgan Sabia F-6’8” Jr. (PPG-12.6)
Joel Barkers F-6’6” Jr. (PPG-11.1)
Milton Burton G/F 6’5” Jr. (PPG-7.2
Joe Zeglinski G-6’0” Jr. (PPG-15.6)
Andre Torres G 5’10” Jr. (PPG-8.2)

Other Key Players

Clayton Brothers G-6’1” So. (PPG-3.5)
Charles White G-6’1” Fr. (PPG-2.8)
Anthony Minor F-6’6” Jr. (PPG-2.6)

There is no sugar coating the fact that Hartford is simply not a very good team. They are currently 2-9…..they are not a big team…..and they are a poor shooting team from the field and free throw line. The only positives are that Joe Zeglinski and Morgan Sabia, who lead the Hawks in scoring, have been pretty good 3 point shooters hitting 39.2% and 44.8% respectfully. Hartford is totally overmatched against UK!

UK climbed to 13-0 with a hard fought win over Long Beach St. The Cats dug a hole in the first half with 3 starters getting into foul trouble and Cousins sitting for virtually the entire 1st half. The Cats played much better in the 2nd half with Wall, Patterson and Cousins leading the scoring. As coach Calipari pointed out, this game was another learning experience for these young Cats. Going forward, it will be increasingly important that Cousins control his emotions, play smart and stay out of foul trouble.

The Hartford game should provide ample opportunity for UK’s bench to get some increased playing time. Importantly, the holidays will allow coach Calipari much more practice time with these young Cats. The result should be significant improvement in running both the offense and defense. The next big test for the Cats is the Louisville game.

UK easily defeats Hartford with big contributions from the bench. GO CATS!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kentucky vs Long Beach St......A Preview

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Long Beach State……A Preview
12/23/09 Wednesday at 1PMEST/12PMCST (FS South)

Long Beach State

Location-Long Beach, Calif.

Head Coach-Dan Monson
Career Record-191-163 (54.0%) 12 seasons
At Long Beach St.-21-40 (34.4%) 2 seasons

2008-09 Record-15-15
2008-09 Big West Record-10-6
2008-09 Postseason-None

2009-10 Record-6-5

Long Beach St. 86 Alaska Anchorage 65
Long Beach St. 67 Pepperdine 58
Notre Dame 82 Long Beach St. 62
Long Beach St. 81 Green Bay 69
West Virginia 85 Long Beach St. 62
Clemson 87 Long Beach St. 79
Long Beach St. 79 UCLA 68
Texas 107 Long Beach St. 74
Long Beach St. 96 CS Monterey Bay 61
Long Beach St. 75 Utah St. 62
Loyola Marymount 85 Long Beach St. 80 (OT)

Long Beach St. Stats / UK Stats

PPG-76.4 / 81.8
FG%-46.5% / 50.1%
3 Point %-38.6% / 42.5%
FT%-62.9% / 69.7%
Rebounds-35.4 / 42.5
Assists-14.9 / 16.2
TO’s-15.4 / 16.5
Blocks-2.2 / 7.9
Steals-7.9 / 7.3

Probable Starting Lineup

Eugene Phillips F-6’6” Soph. (PPG-8.9)
TJ Robinson F-6’7” Soph. (PPG-17.0)
Larry Anderson G-6’6” Soph. (PPG-12.8)
Stephan Gilling G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-12.8)
Casper Ware G-5’9” Soph. (PPG-12.2)

Other Key Players

Greg Plater G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-8.8)
Jesse Woodard G-6’1” Soph. (PPG-2.0)

The Long Beach St. 49ers arrive at Rupp arena with 4 returning starters, although they are still young starting 4 sophomores. The 49ers have embarked on a challenging schedule….already losing at Notre Dame, West Virginia, Texas and still must face Duke after playing UK. A look at the 49ers lineup reveals no starter over 6’7” and an overall small team. On the positive side, Long Beach St. does shoot the ball pretty well, especially from the 3 point line. The 49ers have 4 starters scoring in double figures led by TJ Robinson at 17 PPG. Robinson is also the team’s leading rebounder averaging nearly 11 boards per game. Importantly, the 49ers have 2 starters hitting 45% of their long range shots. Unfortunately, Long Beach St. has not shot well from the free throw line only hitting 63% and they are averaging over 15 TO’s per game.

Although,the 49ers have already faced some very tough teams….they will still have to contend with 24,000 Big Blue fans and a rapidly improving UK team.

Kentucky is fresh off a great win over Drexel where the Cats played their overall best game of the year….both offensively and defensively. All the players exhibited great energy on defense while holding Drexel to only 44 points. Coach Calipari was able to empty his bench….playing all 13 players. Importantly, every player got at least 10 minutes. The Cats were led by Wall, Cousins and Patterson in scoring. Wall continued to dazzle UK fans with great plays….while scoring 16 points and handing out 7 assists. Cousins continues to mature and play better and better……adding 18 points and was a beast on the boards with 13 rebounds. Patrick Patterson player another solid game and continues to shoot very well from out on the court. Liggins who recently got out of Calipari’s doghouse played defense like a man possessed while hitting both of his 3 point shots. Liggins is making a strong case for being in Calipari’s 8 man rotation or at least getting increased playing time. Also, it was great to Kentucky native Jon Hood get some meaningful playing time and he didn’t disappoint scoring 5 points, including a long range 3 pointer….grabbed 2 rebounds and had a steal.

For those who were able to view the great celebration of UK becoming the first college to reach the historic 2,000 wins… was truly a wonderful night and made all UK fans so very proud. ESPNU did a great job and certainly having Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Dykes as analysts added to the UK lovefest. There were a number of very special moments with interviews and comments from Herky Rupp, Adolph’s son, Joe B Hall and former players. Truly, the love and support for UK basketball is unmatched anywhere in college basketball….UK deserved to be first to 2,000 victories….and I can’t imagine any UK recruit viewing this great celebration not being incredibly impressed.

Obviously, the evening would have been even greater if those very special UK individuals were still with us….Cawood Ledford, the beloved voice of UK basketball….Mr. Keightly who played such a great role over many years in the UK program as far more than an equipment manager, but rather a friend and mentor to many past UK players. And of course, the many great UK players who have sadly passed away such as Mike Casey very recently. As UK fans, we all have so many wonderful memories that we will treasure forever….but, importantly, the future looks very bright with more wonderful memories to come.

Lastly, unfortunately, the one individual who was most responsible for the greatness of UK basketball couldn’t see this great program reach the 2,000 victory milestone…..but, I suspect that the Baron….the great Adolph Rupp was looking down with a big smile as the Cats hit the 2,000 win mark.

I look for the Cats to dominate the paint against Long Beach St. and handle the 49ers rather easily. GO CATS!

UK's Bench Play

WT Executive Moderator

Alot of back slapping and high fiving in the early season for the Cats. Understandable. UK fans have not had alot of fun the last 4-5 years.

The teams of Tubby Smith never made it past the opening weekend of the NCAA the last few years of his tenure. Then there was the NIT of Billy Gillispie.

New life has been breathed into the Commonwealth and they are starry eyed.

UK has arguable the best starting 5 in the nation. What they don't have is a bench. To go deep in the NCAA a team needs eight dependable players to carry the bulk of the minutes.

Ramon Harris plays hard on defense but is not a scorer that is needed off the bench.

Daniel Orton fouled out in 3 minutes of play verse UConn. These are the type of NCAA teams UK will have to beat in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 if they want to go further.

John Hood, Perry Stevenson and Josh Harrellson don't strike fear in a middle school team.

DeAndre Liggins could not fall out of a boat and hit water. Provided he doesn't refuse to go in or sit out 10 games like he did to start the season.

Darnell Dobson has the ability to provide a spark that is needed.

There will come a time where Patterson and/or Big Cuz get in foul trouble. There will be a game where Bledsoe has to move to PG and Dobson has to play SG due to foul trouble on John Wall.

How much confidence is there that the bench can bail them out?

  • Dodson 18 minutes and 8 ppg
  • Orton 15 minutes and 4 ppg 4 rbg
  • Harris 16 minutes and 2 ppg
  • Stevenson 8 minutes 1 ppg 2 rpg
So before people annoit UK with an undefeated season and/or F4 and/or National Title they better find some help off the bench.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kentucky vs Drexel......A Preview

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Drexel Dragons
(12/21/09 7PMEST/6PMCST ESPNU)



Head Coach- Bruiser Flint
Career Record-219-180 (54.9%) 13 seasons
At Drexel-133-108 (55.2%) 8 seasons

2008-09 Record-15-14
2008-09 CAA Record-10-8
2008-09 Postseason-None

2009-10 Record 6-5

St. Joseph 77 Drexel 67 (OT)
Niagara 76 Drexel 69
Rutgers 58 Drexel 56
Drexel 58 Penn 49
Drexel 74 Vermont 61
Drexel 63 Toledo 59
Cornell 61 Drexel 54
Villanova 77 Drexel 58
Drexel 49 Northeastern
Drexel 57 St. Francis 35
Drexel 75 Cal-State Northridge 63

Drexel Stats / UK Stats

PPG-62.4 / 81.2
FG%-40.5% / 49.8%
3 Pt %-29.1% / 35.8%
FT%-63.3% / 68.3%
Rebounds-37.1 / 42.3
Assists-12.9 / 15.8
TO’s-13.1 / 16.7
Steals-6.9 / 7.2
Blocks-3.4 / 8.1

Probable Starting Lineup

Samme Givens F-6’5” So. (PPG-8.1)
Derrick Thomas F-6’4” Fr. (PPG-8.5)
Daryl McCoy F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-1.3)
Jamie Harris G-5’10” Jr. (PPG-15.1)
Gerald Colds G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-9.5)

Other Key Playerss

Chris Fouch G-6’2” Fr. (PPG-7.6)
Evan Neisler F-6’8” Sr. (PPG-4.9)

Bruiser Flint, a longtime assistant to coach Calipari at U Mass, brings his Drexel Dragons to Rupp arena fresh off of a 3 game winning streak. Drexel returns 4 starters from last seasons team, but lost freshman starter, and leading rebounder, 6’8” Leon Spencer with a broken wrist in the Rutgers game…..Spencer will be back, but not in time for the UK. game. The Dragons are led in scoring by Jamie Harris who is the only player scoring in double figures. Only Samme Givens is shooting a high FG percentage….hitting 56.3%. Unfortunately, Drexel as a team is shooting only 40.5% from the field and a very poor 29.1% from the 3 point line. Only Chris Fouch is shooting above 30% from long range…..hitting 32.7%. In addition, the Dragons are only hitting 63.3% from the FT line.

Drexel has scored over 70 points in only 2 games…. as the Dragons simply have difficulty in scoring. For sure, coach Flint will have his team excited to play the Cats in Rupp arena and will likely try and slow the game down to keep the score out of the 80’s or above. Unfortunately, Drexel is heavily overmatched at every position in height and talent.

The Cats are coming off of a lackluster win over Austin Peay in which they finally opened the game up late in the 2nd half. Neither coach Calipari or the players were pleased with their overall performance. Still, there were a number of positives in the Austin Peay victory such as UK hitting 18-18 free throws….including Cousins 5-5 from the charity line. Patterson continued his solid play with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Darius Miller played well hitting 3 long range buckets. Cousins added 19 points and 8 rebounds.

The super talented John Wall was only 6-15 from the field, but did hit 3 long range shots. While Wall did contribute 6 assists, he also had 6 TO’s. UK fans got a real scare when Wall went down in pain during the game, but did come back to play. Hopefully, Wall is OK as unquestionably, John Wall is a huge factor in UK’s success thus far and his loss would border on catastrophic!

Importantly, the 3rd ranked Cats are 11-0 and have the great opportunity to be the first college to win 2,000 games! A 2,000th victory would only add to the longtime greatness of the Kentucky program… would be a tremendous achievement!

I look for UK to easily defeat an overmatched Drexel team and not only go 12-0, but hit the 2,000 victory mark for the Wildcats! GO CATS!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My thoughts on Coach Calipari & Cheating

WT Member

I see most of what the media has done to Calipari as a witch hunt. There is a lot of cheating going on in college basketball these days and they single him out to pick on.

Williams approved gifts to players and there were how many other violations at KU???, but nothing is ever done to ol Roy either. Where are the articles talking about how UNC went and hired a cheating coach to bring back their program? OSU had multiple players come out and talk to the media about NCAA rules breaking by the football program and isn't their basketball program in trouble as well? Coach K has not always been squeaky clean and Pitino had 6 or 8 NCAA violations on his record from when he was at Hawaii. Now Pitino is mixed up in a huge scandal involving multiple people from his basketball program, but I have not once heard of an NCAA investigation into it to see if any rules were broken. USC has now been busted for cheating in both football and basketball I think.

Jim Calhoun is in trouble for the second time. I'm not sure if the NCAA is investigating, but yahoo sports reported:

Yahoo! Sports' allegations state that between 2006 and 2008, UConn furnished Nate Miles with lodging, transportation, restaurant meals, and representation by a former UConn student manager.

Yahoo! also says that UConn called Miles up to 30 times a month during his junior year of high school. The NCAA maximum is once a month.

UConn is also said to have exchanged up to 1,565 text messages with Nochimson, who was managing Miles. 16 of those were from Jim Calhoun.

This is insane because when this story came out the guys from ESPN actually seemed to be rooting for him, saying things like: "They don't know our boy, he's a fighter!"

Michigan had 4 players testify in front of a grand jury they got between 2 and 4 hundred thousand dollars each to play at UM and that Webber got 900K. (I think?) Yet with all that money being paid out all UM had to do was take down their final four banner? If that is all that happened I find it shocking the Memphis FF is vacated because the NCAA clearing house messed up. Sampson at Indiana, Dale Brown at LSU in the 90ies and Nolan Richardson's kid pulled a freaking gun on one of his assistants!

There is SO much cheating going on today and most people do not want to believe it is out there, but it is. However, it has always been out there. It is nothing new. The problem is John Calipari has now been made the poster boy (because he is at UK) of cheating and the head of the witch hunt. They will not stop until they find something on him so UK needs to be very careful and make sure we don't even break a rule on accident. If Cal were to drop a cheeseburger at Mickey D's they will try to find a way to say he was cheating and giving a gift to someone.

But a lot of the "media favorites" have been busted in the past as well and some of them for more then one thing. Yes, people talked about Cal in the past but nothing like they do now that he is at UK. I know some people try to say there is no media bias, but there most surely is. If not, there would still be two or three article per week written on Pitino and Calhoun, plus they would be taking shots at Williams.

That's my two cents.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kentucky vs Austin Peay......A Preview

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Austin Peay
12/19/09 (Saturday at 4PM)

Austin Peay

Location-Clarksville, Tenn.

Head Coach-Dave Loos
Career Record-396-314 (55.8%) 23 seasons
At Austin Peay-314-261 (54.6%) 19 seasons

2008-09 Record-19-14
2008-09 OVC Record-13-5
2008-09 Postseason Record-0-1 (NIT)

2009-10 Record-7-4

Tennessee 83 Austin Peay-54
Austin Peay 80 Akron 77
IUPUI 77 Austin Peay 63
North Carolina St. 66 Austin Peay 59
Austin Peay 69 Niagara 67
Drake 78 Austin Peay 72
Austin Peay 99 Freed-Hardeman 61
Austin Peay 76 Southeast Missouri 71 (OT)
Austin Peay 73 Eastern Illinois 60
Austin Peay 68 Ohio U. 66
Austin Peay 85 Marion (Ind) 55

Austin Peay Stats / UK Stats

PPG-72.5 / 80.3
FG%-45.8% / 49.7%
3 Point %-38.4% / 38.0%
FT%-67.7% / 66.0%
Rebounds-36.4 / 42.1
Assists-14.0 / 15.6
TO’s-14.2 / 16.8
Steals-5.4 / 7.6
Blocks-3.4 / 8.1

Probable Starting Lineup

Marcel Williams F 6’6” So. (PPG-7.2)
Anthony Cambell F/G 6.6: So. (PPG-15.3)
John Fraley C 6’8” So. (PPG-8.9)
Caleb Brown G 6’0” Jr. (PPG-4.4)
Wes Channels G 6’3” Sr. (PPG-14.1)

Other Key Players

Duran Roberson C/F 6’8” Fr. (PPG-7.5)
Tyrone Caldwell G 6’0” So. (PPG-6.5)

The Austin Peay Governors return 3 starters from last season’s NIT team. They usually start 3 sophomores and are led in scoring by Anthony Campbell who has hit 25-51 3 pointers thus far this season for a blistering 49.0% Campbell also is an 84.1% free throw shooter and leads the team in steals. Wes Channels, the lone starting senior, is the 2nd leading scorer for the Governors while also lighting it up from 3 point range at 48.8%. In addition, Channels leads Austin Peay in assists. The leading rebounders are center Bill Fraley and forward Marcel Williams.

The key to stopping Austin Peay will be containing Campbell and Channels who have accounted for 40% of the Governors points per game and 67.6% of all 3 pointers made this season. The Governors record thus far has been anything but impressive, but they did play a 7-1 NC St. team rather close losing by only 7 points.

The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of perhaps their best overall game this season defeating a very feisty Hoosier team at Assembly Hall by 17 points. The Hoosiers started out on fire from the field, but these young Cats never lost their composure….and ran IU out of the gym in an impressive run of points in the 2nd half. Both the Cats offense and defense showed very positive signs of improvement. Certainly, the growing maturity and unselfishness of this young UK team was seen in the past 3 impressive wins over North Carolina, U Conn and Indiana.

UK continues to be led in scoring by the fantastic freshman John Wall who also leads the Cats in steals. Wall has been tremendous in his 1st 10 games as a Cat. Patrick Patterson has been solid in consistency…..2nd in scoring and the leading rebounder. Importantly, Patterson has greatly improved his overall offense by becoming a consistent threat from the outside. It was great to be DeMarcus Cousins play under control with his emotions in the Indiana game as he added 14 points and 8 rebounds in only 16 minutes…..unfortunately Cousins continues to pick up too many fouls… does Daniel Orton. Darius Miller’s offense remains a bit up and down, but he has great potential. Eric Bledsoe, the too often forgotten guard, has exceeded expectations with his overall play and shooting prowess from long range. Bledsoe is a terrific guard who will be even better when he eliminates some of his unforced TO’s. Ramon Harris continues to play solid defense off the bench as well as grabbing his share of rebounds. Darnell Dodson has now established himself in UK’s 8 man rotation and often provides key buckets when needed. Still, Dodson’s defense needs work and if his defense improves significantly…..Dodson might challenge Miller later for a starting position.

The Cats are 10-0 and I look for UK to be 11-0 after easily handling Austin Peay at Rupp Arena. GO CATS!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Video: Calipari puts Cousin in headlock

Coach John Calipari puts DeMarcus Cousin in headlock during the UK vs Indiana games.

Monday, December 14, 2009

UK Coaches: Joe B Hall vs Rick Pitino

WT Administrator

I think virtually all UK fans would agree that UK's greatest coach was Adolph Rupp. However, many others feel Pitino was the 2nd best coach. Here's a comparison.

Joe B Hall - Record Link

13 years as head coach.....had to follow the great Rupp and did it successfully...a rarity!

Over all Record in 13 years-297-100 for a 74.8% winning %.

7 SEC championships

UK had 3 Final Fours under Hall and one NCAA championship

UK was ranked in the top 8 in 7 of Hall's 13 years and ranked in the top 20....9 of Hall's 13 years.

Under Hall....UK had one of UK's greatest wins in defeating number one ranked and undeafted Indiana 92-90 in the NCAA Mideast Regional.

Rick Pitino - Record Link

8 years as head coach and had to turn the UK program around after probation.

Record-219-48 for a 82% winning %

Ranked in top 9 in 7 of 8 years as coach.

6 SEC championships

3 Final Fours and one NCAA championship

Both Hall and Pitino has huge challenges when they became UK's coach. Admittedly, Pitino took over a UK program in shambles and rebuilt it. He deserves tremendous credit for that achievement.

Coach Pitino was like a shooting star as UK coach....very successful and very popular while UK's coach, but going to Louisville, UK's arch rival, was more than most UK fans could tolerate, including me. I am no longer a fan of Pitino, but I do acknowledge and appreciate what he did for UK in his 8 years as coach.

However, IMO....Coach Hall has never been given the credit he deserves for successfully continuing the legacy of the great Rupp. We all know how many coaches tried to follow Coach Wooden at UCLA and failed. Also, I feel that as time goes by coach Hall's terrific achievements as UK's coach for 13 years tend to be forgotten and Hall has too often has been overlooked by too many UK fans. Any objective look at coach Hall's achievements reveal a highly successful coach.

Coach Hall who played for Coach Rupp and then coached UK is a class act who always represented UK with class.

For me, I pick coach Hall as UK's 2nd best coach and I know a great argument will be made by many for coach Pitino. JMO!

Let's hear what you think......

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kentucky vs Indians......A Preview

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Kentucky vs Indiana….A Preview
(12/12/09 Sat. @ 12PM EST/11AM CST) CBS


Location-Bloomington, IN.

Head Coach-Tom Crean
Career Record-196-121 (61.8%) 10 Seasons
At Indiana-6-25 (.194%) 1 Season

2008-09 Record-6-25
2008-09 Big 10 Record-1-17
2008-09 Postseason-None

2009-10 Record-4-4

Indiana 83 Howard 60
Indiana 69 USC Upstate 61
Mississippi 89 Indiana 71
Boston U 71 Indiana 67
George Mason 69 Indiana 66
Indiana 90 Northwestern St. 72
Maryland 80 Indiana 68
Indiana 74 Pittsburgh 64

IU Stats / UK Stats

PPG-73.5 / 79.2
FG%-42.7% / 49.2%
3 Pt.%-35.5% / 36.8%
FT%-65.9% / 66.7%
Rebounds-39.4 / 41.3
Assists-14.4 / 15.6
TO’s-16.0 / 17.2
Steals-8.8 / 7.8
Blocks-4.3 / 8.2

Probable Starting Lineup

Christian Watford F-6’8” Fr. (PPG-13.3)
Tom Pritchard F-6’9” So. (PPG-4.9)
Maurice Creek G-6’5” Fr. (PPG-15.6)
Verdell Jones G-6’5” So. (PPG-12.5)
Jeremiah Rivers G-6’5” Jr. (PPG-7.3)

Other Key Players

Bobby Capobianco F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-1.9)
Devan Dumes G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-5.0)
Derek Elston F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-7.6)
Jordan Hulls G-6’0” Fr. (PPG-2.8)

Coach Tom Crean left a very successful coaching job at Marquette to try and rebuild an Indiana program left in ashes by former coach Kelvin Sampson. Last season, playing with virtually a complete new roster….the Hoosiers season was a not unexpected disaster going 6-25 and winning only one game in the Big Ten. However, Crean has rapidly restocked the IU roster with the 11th best recruiting class in America. Unquestionably, Tom Crean is a first class coach….a proven winner….and IU is already showing much improvement. This exceeding young IU team is 4-4 and coming off a big win over Pittsburgh.

The Hoosiers are led in scoring by Maurice Creek who is shooting a solid 39.5% from the 3 point line and has launched 43 of the 110 3 pointers taken by IU this season. Creek also leads the Hoosiers in steals. Jeremiah Rivers, a Georgetown transfer, leads the team in assists. Christian Watford, 6’8” freshman, is the 2nd leading scorer and the leading rebounder. Coach Crean went 9 deep in players against Pittsburgh with no one playing less than 13 minutes. Importantly, the Hoosiers have good size often starting two 6’5” guards and two 6’9’ big men….and often play two big 6’8/9” forwards off the bench.

Indiana is always dangerous playing in their Assembly Hall arena and will certainly have increased confidence coming off their Pittsburgh win. While the Hoosiers are very young, they have a number of talented players. I look for this IU team, as it gains experience, to be much improved this season in the Big Ten.

UK, might be affectionately known as the cardiac kids, because they continue to win a lot of close games. The win over a very tough U Conn team in Madison Square Garden was another big step forward for this incredibly talented team. As coach Calipari has continually stressed to the UK faithful….while this team is exceedingly talented….it’s also very young and inexperienced and has a lot of improving to do going forward. Still, these young Cats seem to have a swagger…a confidence….even when trailing teams by large margins…..that they can will themselves to victory by their great talent. So far…so good! Certainly, the win over two of the most talented teams in America in NC and U Conn was very impressive and will add to the confidence of these young Cats.

In just nine games, John Wall, has taken the college basketball world by storm. He has played incredibly in each and every game….not only meeting expectations, but exceeding expectations…..and when the game is on the line….he seems to have ice water flowing through his veins. Wall’s play in Madison Square Garden before a host of NBA scouts and celebrities such as former UK great, Pat Riley and Michael Douglas…..and against arguably two of the best guards in America….left everyone from Dick Vitale totally in awe of this young player’s greatness. What is so great….is that not only is John Wall a very very special player, but he is a class act who represents UK in a very positive way!

Importantly, Patterson continues to play solid in each and every game and his leadership on the floor is a huge positive for the Cats. Although Cousins had a tough 1st half, he came back strong adding 10 points and leading UK in rebounds with 10. Eric Bledsoe, who has a world of talent, is still adjusting to the college game and finding that a number of game decisions that worked in high school simply don’t work against college talent. Bledsoe simply needs to work on his decision making….offensively and defensively. I think that as the season progresses, Bledsoe will show significant improvement. Unfortunately, Miller continues to be inconsistent in games….but, I also look Darius to gain confidence and play more consistently as he gains more experience.

As a long time UK fan, I am tremendously proud of coach Calipari and this very talented UK team. These kids are only going to get better and better….especially by Jan./Feb!

In the meantime, it’s important for these Cats to stay focused and play hard in each and every game. Next is IU….and you can bet that Hoosiers will come to play before a rabid home crowd. It will be important that UK effectively guard the 3 point line, especially Maurice Creek, IU’s top 3 point shooter. I look for UK to have a tougher time with IU then many expect, but I see the Cats winning by 8-10 points. GO CATS!

What I Saw vs. UCONN

WT Member

I haven't done this for awhile. It's been kind of hectic for me lately. But here it goes.

The postitives....

* I saw John Wall just go nuts. The kid is a special player. I don't know what to say. I really don't.

* I saw DeMarcus Cousins do a 180 after halftime, and come out a completely different player in the 2nd half.

* I saw Patterson, once again, be Patrick Patterson. You can't say anything about this kid that hasn't already been said.

* I saw us come out and start fast. I like that we come out of the gate looking to put an early dagger in teams.

* I saw John Wall.

* I saw Ramon Harris play a VERY important role for this team. He might not be much of an offensive threat, but this kid is definitely earning himself some playing time with hustle, big time defensive plays, and big time rebounds. Harris has taken more heat than any kid to ever play at UK with the exception of Saul Smith and Michael Porter. But, it's time for the fans to give him the props he deserves!

* I saw us fight through a lot of adversity throughout the game. The officiating was very poor. I never say this, EVER, but the officiating was not only poor, but very one-sided. We were victims of playing UCONN in MSG, but we fought through it. We fought through foul trouble by Bledsoe, Orton, and Cousins.

* I saw John Wall.

* I saw Patrick Patterson once again show he can play outside and that he has added a new dimension to his game.

* I saw a team find a way to win despite not shooting very well. We were shooting like 27% in the first half without Wall, Cousins, and Patterson for much of the half, yet we were only down 6.

* I saw much better perimeter defense. UCONN is not a great 3 point shooting team, but I saw them have very little opportunites to take the outside shot.

* I saw very good defense down low. We're so long, that we alter a lot of shots. Props to the guys down low.

* I saw John Wall.

* I saw John Calipari out coach one of the best coaches in the game.

* I saw what I think was the coming out party for DeMarcus Cousins. The move along the baseline, then the dunk was amazing. He looked like he thought towards the defender "Umm, excuse me, but you are in my way".

* I saw us play the last part of the first half with 4 Gillispie/Tubby guys on the court, and stay in the game. That speaks volumes to coaching.

* Did I mention I saw John Wall?

Now for the negatives. There's not many to name, as we played a very good game all around, but there are a few spots I'd like to see us improve on.

* I saw Bledsoe and Orton both with more fouls than points. Both were relatively ineffective. I've seen a lot from these two kids that make me think they're both going to be special. But, they are the two that are playing like freshman right now.

* I DID NOT see Jon Hood. The kid was supposed to be a great shooter coming in. I was hoping he was going to be a major 3 point threat. I wonder what the deal with him is...

* I saw John Wall slow down on fast breaks to try to get the "Big time dunk". While they're nice, just get the bucket. The one he had blocked and off his knee was because he slowed down to go up for the dunk.

* I saw below average free throw shooting, again. This is something we really need to improve on.

* I saw Darius Miller once again lack confidence. The kid needs to have more of a scorers mentality and not be afraid to take shots. Miller is the type of player that if he comes out and knocks down 2 or 3 shots early in the game, he can have a big game. But, if he comes out and misses his first 2 or 3 shots, he's likely going to be a non-factor for the rest of the game.

* I saw us once again look lost without John Wall on the court. Against both UNC and UCONN, when Wall went to the bench for an extended time, we gave up big runs. We need someone to step up and lead this team when Wall goes to the bench.

Overall, I saw a very good basketball team. I think the second best team in the country behind Kansas. I would have never guessed we'd be this good in early December. And to think, we're just going to get better!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Kentucky vs U Conn….A Preview

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Kentucky vs U Conn….A Preview
(12/9/09 Wednesday at 9:30pmEST/8:30pmCST ESPN)

SEC vs Big East Challenge at Madison Square Garden in New York

U Conn

Location-Stoors, Conn

Head Coach- Jim Calhoun
Career Record-805-342 (70.2%) 37 seasons
At U Conn-557-205 (71.3%) 23 seasons

2008-09 Record-31-5
2008-09 Big East ecord-15-3
2008-09 Postseason-4-1
NCAA-Final Four

2009-10 Record-6-1

U Conn 75 Wm & Mary 66
U Conn 77 Colgate 63
U Conn 76 Hofstra 67
U Conn 81 LSU 55
Duke 68 U Conn 59
U Conn 92 Boston U 64
U Conn 79 Harvard 73

U Conn Stats / UK Stats

PPG-77.0 / 81.1
FG%-46.3% / 50.7%
3 Pt%-35.1% / 37.9%
FT%-69.6% / 66.8%
Rebounds-42 / 42.2
Assists-16.3 / 16.4
TO’s-12.9 / 17.6
Steals-7.4 / 7.1
Blocks-9.9 / 8.3

Probable Starting Lineup

Stanley Robinson F-6’9” Sr. (PPG-15.4)
Alex Oriakhi F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-6.0)
Charles Okwandu C-7’1” Jr. (PPG-0.9)
Jerome Dyson G-6’3” Sr. (PPG-20.1)
Kemba Walker G-6’1” Soph (PPG-15.4)

Other Key Players

Gavin Edwards F/C 6’9” Sr. (PPG-11.6)
Jamal Coombs-McDaniel F 6’7” Fr. (PPG-4.0)
Danius Smith G-6’1” Fr. (PPG-1.7)

U Conn returns only 2 starters from last seasons final four team…...including losing their dominant defensive player, Hasheem Thabeet. Still, Jim Calhoun is never without talent and he has it especially in guards Sr. Jerome Dyson and soph Kemba Walker along with Sr. Stanley Robinson. Dyson and Walker lead the Huskies in scoring along with Robinson. Walker leads U Conn in steals with 18 and assists with 40 and is shooting 55.6% from the 3 point line. Dyson adds 11 steals along with 37 assists. Oriakhi, a 6’9” Fr. Leads the team in rebounds with 9.7PG while Robinson is 2nd with 7.1 PG. Although 7’1” Okwandu frequently starts…..he seldom plays much….only averaging 6 minutes PG. It’s Sr. Gavin Edwards who comes off the bench and is shooting an eyepopping 71.4% from the field and leads the team in Blocks with 23.

U Conn often has 3 seniors on the floor and a very tall frontline with at least 3 players 6’9” or taller in the paint. The Huskies, aside from Walker, have not been a very good 3 point shooting team….and average only 4 PG. Importantly, U Conn has limited their TO’s to 13 PG while averaging a very high 10 blocks per game. The Huskies one loss this season was to Duke, a game in which U Conn shot poorly from the field and made zero 3 point shots.

It’s important to underscore that Robinson is picked on the preseason Big East 1st team with both Dyson and Walker making the 2nd team. These 3 players are very talented and give Calhoun’s Huskies a solid foundation to build on this season. U Conn will be a tough competitor in the Big East and will likely return to the NCAA.

UK is fresh off of a tremendous signature win over North Carolina before the largest crowd in Rupp area history. These young Cats arguably played the best and most exciting first half in UK’s past 10 years. It was truly a glimpse of just how talented these Cats can be. John Wall was simply amazing and continues to live up to, if not surpass, all the predictions of greatness for this gifted young player. Wall leads UK in scoring and has dished out 54 assists….nearly 7PG. UK’s youth and inexperience showed up in the 2nd half, especially with Wall out of the lineup. Still the Cats hung on for a terrific win over an exceedingly talented Tarheel team. As expected, this game provided important info as to how this young team is progressing and the fundamentals that need further work. It was, in essence a great measuring stick, as to where UK stands against a very tough opponent. The 2nd half found UK making too many poor decisions resulting in a flood of TO’s and an overall letdown in team intensity. None of this was unexpected, but it reveals to these young players just how important it is to value each possession and not let up in focus or intensity. The one player who played the entire game with great intensity was Patrick Patterson who is off to a great start this season…..and seems to be flourishing in the DDMO.

An early concern was who would be effective for the Cats from the 3 point line….however, so far that has not proven to be a concern at all. The Cats are getting very good 3 point shooting from Bledsoe, Miller, Patterson and Dodson and are shooting a healthy 38% as a team. However, there is an increasing concern regarding free throw shooting, especially from Cousins (52.9%)….Patterson (54.8%) and Orton (65%). These three players are often fouled and are shooting nearly half of UK’s free throws. It is imperative that these 3 players, especially, improve their free throw shooting as they could easily cost UK some close games in the future. Importantly, this is a very unselfish team with 4 players scoring in double figures and Miller and Dobson almost in double figures. Lastly, the North Carolina game underscored the immaturity of Cousins at times……allowing his emotions to lead him to make poor decisions, especially in needless fouls. Cousins is an exceedingly gifted big man…..a real stud in the paint….but, for Cousins to reach his great potential, he must start harnessing his emotions. It will take time, but the sooner the better. While I believe that Cousins has a great NBA future, I do feel he needs another 1-2 years at UK to continue to mature as a player.

UK’s frontline will find another big talented frontline facing them when they take on the Huskies. An important key is for the Cousins and Patterson to stay out of foul trouble. In addition, UK exciting freshmen guards will be challenged by 2 of the best guards in the Big East conference. Like the NC game, the U Conn game will be another great game to evaluate these young Cats against another very good opponent.

I look for these young Cats to defeat U Conn in a very competitive game and win the SEC/ Big East challenge. It will undoubtedly be a thrill for the Cats to be playing in the Big Apple at Madison Square Garden. GO CATS!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Kentucky vs North Carolina....A Preview

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Kentucky vs North Carolina….A Preview
12/5/09 Saturday at 12:30PMEST/11:30AMCST

North Carolina

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Enrollment: 27,700

Head Coach- Roy Williams
Career Record-594-138 (81.1%) 21 seasons
At North Carolina-176-37 (82.6%) 6 seasons

2008-09 Record-34-4
2008-09 ACC Record-13-3
2008-09 Postseason-6-0 NCAA National Champions

2009-10 Record-7-1

North Carolina 88 FIU 72
North Carolina 89 North Carolina Central 42
North Carolina 88 Valpariso 77
North Carolina 77 Ohio State 73
Syracuse 87 North Carolina 71
North Carolina 93 Gardner-Webb 72
North Carolina 80 Nevada 73
North Carolina 89 Michigan St. 82

North Carolina | Kentucky

PPG-84.4 | PPG-83.0
FG%-52.3% | FG%-51.5%
3 Point %-37.5% (36-96) | 3 Point%-37.9% (44-116)
FT%-64.9% | FT%-66.8%
RPG-42.6 | RPG-42.7
APG-21.1 | APG-16.9
TO’s-17.3 | TO’s-17.1
SPG-7.8 | SPG-7.0
BPG-6.1 | BPG-8.3

Probable Starting Lineup

Deon Thompson F-6’8” Sr. (PPG-17.3)
Ed Davis F-6’10” Soph. (PPG-13.9)
Will Graves F/G 6’6” Jr. (PPG-7.0)
Marcus Ginyard G/F 6’5” Sr. ( PPG-11.1)
Larry Drew II G 6’1” Soph ( PPG-9.0)
Other Key Players

Tyler Zeller F-7’0” Soph (PPG-9.6)
John Henson F 6’10” Fr. (PPG-3.4)
Dexter Strickland G-6’3” Fr. (PPG-3.3)

North Carolina arrives in Rupp arena fresh off a very impressive win over Michigan St. where the Tarheels hit 57.9% of their shots. The Tarheels now have 1,991 school victories with a 73.8% winning %....they trail UK in both school victories….Cats are at 1,995…..and overall winning %.....UK leads all schools winning 75.8% in it’s long history. These two college basketball juggernaughts, arguably the two greatest programs in all of college basketball, face off Saturday in their quest to not only having bragging rights, but move a step closer to be the first program to achieve 2,000 victories!

North Carolina suffered the loss of 4 outstanding players from last season NCAA championship team.….namely, Ellington, Hansbrough, Lawson and Green. However, no one should be fooled that this season’s Tarheel team is hurting for talent. Carolina returns seniors Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson…..both are great players…plus a number of other very talented players. Coach Roy Williams has established himself as one of the 5 best coaches in America and always has his players ready to compete.

Thus far this season….the Tarheels are led in scoring and rebounding by forwards Thompson and Davis. These two players have been exceedingly effective in scoring down low in the paint. Davis, for example, is shooting a spectacular 70% from the field. In fact all the Tarheel starters are shooting over 50% except Graves. Ginyard is an all round great player….a real defensive stopper….who is shooting nearly 50% from the 3 point range and leads in steals while contributing significantly in assists.

As expected with new players seeing significant playing time, Carolina sometimes struggles with their ball handling and TO’s. The Tarheels have scored the vast majority of their points in the paint and don’t shoot a great deal of 3 pointers….but, they have shown that they can be deadly from long range. A big key to stopping the Tarheels is to do a good job on both Thompson and Davis….as they have dominated most of their early games. In addition, Carolina can bring in 7’0” Zeller off the bench and he has been very productive and runs the floor very well for a big man.

Replacing Ty Lawson at PG has not been easy and it’s at the guard position that the Tarheels occasionally struggle….although Drew is improving.

There is no question that North Carolina will be a top ten team and be a tough out for any team this season.

Unfortunately, the past few years, the Tarheels have had superior talent to UK, but this season under new coach John Calipari….the Cats can match any team in America with overall talent. Importantly, UK has a great frontline with Patterson, Cousins and Miller with Orton coming off the bench. One of the big keys to the Carolina game will be for Patterson and Cousins to stay out of foul trouble…..if they don’t….Thompson and Davis will be very tough to stop from scoring in the paint. It is gratifying to see Miller’s game progressing in a positive direction both offensively and defensively. In addition, Dodson’s return adds a significant scoring punch off the bench for the Cats. Certainly, the play of super talent John Wall and Eric Bledsoe will be huge in determining the outcome of Saturday’s game. These two players must play smart and minimize TO’s. Wall and Bledsoe provide the Cats with two of the very best guards, if not the best, in America…both in terms of their incredible athletic ability and tremendous talent.

The Tarheels are starting two seniors, but the other players are not greatly experienced. However, the Cats counter with three freshmen in the starting lineup and all the players have had to learn a completely new system under new coach Calipari.

Despite UK’s youth and inexperience….the talent on this team ranks among the best ever at UK. The keys to this game, as they often do, will likely boil down to the fundamentals….taking good shots, playing good hardnose defense, solid rebounding and taking care of the ball with good court decisions. Of course, the Cats will need to shoot a good percentage to win.

It’s very early in the season and no matter who wins…..I look for both UK and the Tarheels to be vastly improved in March and able to make a deep run in the NCAA tourney. These are both very talented teams, but I give the edge in talent to UK and the edge in experience to Carolina. I look for a great game….a close game….but, I feel these young Cats will prevail with Rupp Arena rocking with thunderous noise….and defeat the Tarheels by 3-5 points. GO CATS!

Monday, November 30, 2009

My UK Freedom Hall Open Practice Report

WT Member

Just got back from the practice. It was a fun, light-hearted affair, definitely nowhere near one of his real practices (I assume).

Started off, he had the players come out and sign autographs for 20 minutes. It was entertaining to watch as a player would leave one position and huge groups of fans would cheer loudly to try to grab the player's attention. Best part was Patterson weaving between two corners, goading them into trying to outcheer the other corner.

Orton and Liggins did not practice. Calipari gave the explanation that they both had an important class in the morning, and that they stayed in Lexington tonight. Both will be at the game tomorrow. Strangely, Cousins was wearing Orton's #33 Practice jersey.

After the autograph session, the players spent about 10 minutes just generally shooting around. Nothing special. Once Calipari got finished signing autographs himself, the players split into guards and bigs, and worked on special skills. Guards worked mainly on dribbling to the elbow then kicking out to the wing for a 3-pointer. Bigs worked on their turnarounds, both into the lane and out into the wing, and shot 18-footers.

During this time, Calipari had gathered about 6 5-8 year old children. At random times they would come out and shoot free throws until they hit one. Players would give them pointers or scoot them up if they missed. Whenever one of the kids hit their shot, the people in the arena would give out a good cheer, and players would high-five the kids as they walked off the court.

The next phase of the practice was a three-point shooting contest where the team was split in two. The Blue team consisted of Cousins, Harris, Stevenson, Dodson and Krebs. The White team consisted of Wall, Patterson, Harrellson, Miller and Bledsoe. Teams would line-up, player would take a shot, grab his own rebound, kick it to the next player in line and repeat. The first team to hit 10 gets a point and it was best of 7. After each round, they would move around the three-point line similar to a three-point contest at an all-star game.

Surprisingly, the Blue team won four rounds in a row to complete the sweep. Each side of the stadium kept count for one of the teams, and led to a very fun atmosphere as the round got closer to 10. Blue side was jumping up and down, raucous, whenever that 10th shot went in.

After this, Calipari called a close to the practice and let the players go back to signing autographs.

Overall, I liked the practice. For the serious basketball fanatic it would have been nice to actually watch them run some drills and see what a normal practice looks like. On the other hand, most of the audience were parents with little kids, and they were totally into every aspect of it. Calipari knows how to keep a crowd happy. I can't wait to go back tomorrow and cheer on the team in the real deal.

Best part of the night came in two parts. First, 10 minutes before the players came out, three boys run out onto the court and start jumping up and down on the Cardinals logo on center court. Very cute and the crowd got a kick out of it. Second, staying in the spirit of this, Harrellson and Cousins lined up on either end of the center line, run at each other and do a back bump at center court, coming down loudly onto the cardinal logo. Wall and Bledsoe quickly line up to do the same but are stopped by Asst. Coach Antigua before they could finish the maneuver.

The crowd went absolutely nuts when Cuz and Jorts launched, and gave a mild jeer to Orlando for breaking up the second round.

From what I have heard, after Louisville moves into the new arena, we will still use Freedom Hall. It will be easier to get since Louisville will no longer have the exclusion rights to it.

Calipari said that he would love to add a second date in Freedom Hall to the schedule. He even said that he would like to get a conference game there, but fans have to come out and support the team.

There are roughly 3000 tickets still available for the game today, if you can make it, please go to ticketmaster and pick some up.

I hope you enjoy this summary, and if you have any questions, feel free to post and I will answer what I can.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

UK vs UNC-Ashevillle....A Preview

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs UNC-Asheville….A Preview (11/30/09-Monday-7PM) Freedom Hall
TV-FS South


Location-Asheville, NC

Head Coach-Eddie Biedenbach
Career Record-210-253 (45.4%) 16 seasons
At UNC-Asheville-181-202 (47.3%) 13 seasons

2008-09 Record-15-16
2008-09 Big South Record-10-8
2008-09 Postseason- None

2009-10 Record-0-5

Charlotte 86 UNC-Asheville 70
Tennessee 124 UNC-Asheville 49
Cambell-85 UNC-Asheville 66
Georgia 79 UNC-Asheville 58
Furman 72 UNC-Asheville 66

3 point%-25.2%

Probable Starting Lineup

J.P. Primm G-6’1” Soph (PPG-12.2)
Matt Dickey G-6’3” Soph (PPG-8.8)
Chris Stephenson G 6’3” Soph (PPG-11.0)
Sean Smith F 6’6” Sr. (PPG-7.2)
John Williams F 6’4” Jr. (PPG-8.8)

Other Key Players

D.L. Cunningham C 6’10” Fr. (PPG-(4.4)
Eric Stubbs C 6’8” Jr. (PPG-(4.0)

UNC-Asheville arrives in Freedom Hall with an 0-5 record including a 75 point loss to Tennessee. The Bulldogs have only 2 players averaging over 10 points a game and the team is shooting a dismal 37.7% from the field…..25.2% from the 3 point line…..and 57.7% from the free throw line. Simply put, UNC-Asheville is not a very good team. They are mostly undersized and not very experienced. Unless there is remarkable improvement, the Bulldogs are facing a very bad season. Suffice it to say…..UNC-Asheville will soon be 0-6 after facing UK in Louisville Monday!

UK is fresh off of winning the Cancun Challenge….barely….with an OT win over Stanford. In this early season, these young Cats have been tested with tough wins over Miami, OH and now Stanford. These early tests have hopefully added to the needed maturity and experience of these very talented Cats. Obviously. The development of this young UK team remains a work in progress, but there are positive signs that improvement is occurring….especially defensively.

The game against UNC-Asheville should provide a good opportunity for UK’s bench to get some significant playing time. It’s good to see Dodson out of the doghouse and I suspect that Liggins will soon be playing as well. I would think that with Patterson having hurt his ankle at Cancun, that coach Calipari might consider holding him out against the Bulldogs so as to have Patterson at full strength when the Tarheels come to call next Saturday.

This game against UNC-Asheville should simply provide UK the opportunity to work on their execution of the DDMO and improving their defense. This should be a very easy win for the Cats over a far less talented Bulldog team. GO CATS!

Friday, November 27, 2009

UK vs. Tennessee 2009 Football Preview

WT Member

This week the Kiffins (Monte and Lane) roll into Lexington to take on those pesky Wildcats from the Commonwealth. As most fans know, the Vols have had the CATS number for quite some time, and look to exact this years beating on the historically bad kittens of Rich Brooks and Company.

When the Big Orange shows up on Senior Day, the heat will be on the CATS to end this stupid losing streak and make a special mark in Wildcat lore. During this streak, the CATS have found novel ways to lose this competition in ways most CAT Fans would love to forget.

Tennessee seems to always have one of the Top 10 recruiting classes of College Football Talent in the Nation. Their talent and history is well known. The CATS on the other hand have upgraded talent at every level, and look to show The Big Orange that it is a New Day in Town and things may look the same, but are in fact quite different.

This year, the teams stack up better than usual. The CATS seem to be peaking at the right time, the Vols struggle away from home; the CATS are tired of hearing about the Vols and their dominance over previous Wildcat teams.

On offense, the Vols have a dominant O-Line, running game (led by Hardesty and Company) and an improving QB in Crompton. The CATS have a young, and improving D-Line led by C Peters which looks to take away the running lanes, and make Tennessee 1 dimensional with the passing game. Crompton is easy to rattle, the running game is not. If Tennessee controls the line of scrimmage and the running game, the day could get long and tiresome for the Wildcats. If the Kittens hold the point of attack, and get heat on Crompton, the CATS can end this silliness called “The Streak”. If the CAT D plays up to its potential and gets them out of their comfort zone, the CATS will be tough to handle—just ask Georgia!

The CATS Offense is much like the Vol’s Offense in that they both like the run game. As usual, look for Joker to keep Tennessee off balance with the “WildCobb Formation”. This years Wildcat O-line is the best it has been in many years, and can control the UT Front 4 due to its depth and talent. For the CATS to win, they will have to keep Eric Berry in check by mixing the passing game and running game with equal deadliness. If a UK quarterback (especially Newton) can hit 3-4 long balls to a receiver and keep the Tennessee defensive backs honest the CATS can definitely ride off into the sunset victorious over the prima donna Vols.

The other key to a Wildcat Victory will be special teams. The CATS will have to keep the special teams “Clean” meaning no penalties or bad plays which can spin the game in favor of Lane’s team. The most important player will be Ryan Tydlacka, it will be up to him to make the Vols have a long field each time he punts the ball. This game may actually come down to a field goal, and if that happens Lones Seiber will be able to atone for all of the past with 1 kick which would put him at the top of the UK Mt. Rushmore for the last 30 yrs.

Almost every game, fans hear coaches speak of “all 3 phases of the game” IE Offense, Defense, and Special Teams being important in victory. This is very true of this years game for the “Beer Barrel (yeah, but it will always be that to me). If the CATS win the game, it will be because they win all 3 phases and nothing else.

This years edition of the Volunteers is very beatable, for that to happen the Wildcats must play clean and tough from beginning to end. As stated before, look for the game to come down to a field goal. This is the one year that I am counting on Lones to ride off into the sunset not only as UK’s leading scorer of all time, but also as “The Hero who Broke the UT Streak”! I am also looking for Brooks to be on someone’s shoulders for the simple reason that he led the team in victory over UT!

CATS 31-30

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kentucky vs Cleveland St.....A Preview

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Kentucky vs Cleveland St. Vikings (11/24/09-Tuesday at 4:30pm)

Cleveland St.

Location-Cleveland, OH

Head Coach-Gary Waters
Career Record-228-180 (55.9%) 13 Seasons
At Cleveland St.-57-45 (55.9%) 3 Seasons

2008-09 Record-26-11
2008-09 Horizon Record-12-6
2008-09 Postseason-1-1 (Lost in NCAA 2nd round)

2009-10 Record

St. Bonaventure 72 Cleveland St. 62
Cleveland St. 99 Wilmington, OH 74
Cleveland St. 78 Florida A&M 64
Cleveland St. 80 Sam Houston St. 65

3 Point %-36.8%
Assists PG-13.5
Rebounds PG-35.3
TO’s PG-14.5
Steals PG-10.8
Blocks PG-1.3

Probable Starting Lineup

Aaron Pogue C/F-6’9” Soph (PPG-8.0)
Jared Cunningham F-6’9” Jr. (PPG-10.0)
Norris Cole G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-21.0)
D’Aundray Brown G-6’4” Jr. (PPG-8.5)
Trevon Harmon G-6’0” Soph (PPG-10.3)

Other Key Players

Jeremy Montgomery G-6’2” Soph (PPG-7.5)
Tim Kamcyc F 6’6” Fr. (PPG-5.0)
Nigel Ajere F-6’6” Soph (PPG-4.7)

Last season Cleveland St. defeated Butler at Butler….Syracuse in the Carrier Dome….took down Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA. Although the Vikings lost 3 starters from last season’s team, this year’s team promises to be dangerous to any opponent that overlooks them. Coach Waters in only 3 seasons has turned the Vikings program around from a 10-21 record his first season to 47-24 over the past 2 seasons including 26 wins last season. Coach Waters is on a mission to take the Viking program to a higher level and he is off to a very good start.

This season, Cleveland St. is led in scoring by Norris Cole who is shooting 56.5% from the field and 58.3% from 3 point range. Coles also leads the Vikings in assists and steals. Aaron Pogue leads in rebounding for Cleveland St. The Vikings are starting 3 juniors and 2 sophomores and mostly bring 2 sophomores and one freshman off the bench, so while there is some experience, it is a fairly young team….but, the Vikings certainly have talent and any opponent that takes them lightly risks defeat.

Importantly, the Cats made solid improvement defensively in defeating Rider 92-63. The Broncs were held to 23.5% from the 3 point line. Through 4 games, UK is shooting a solid 52.8% from the field and a bit surprising 36.8% from the 3 point line. Certainly, much of the credit for UK’s better than expected 3 point shooting thus far is due to Eric Bledsoe’s 9-18 for 50%. Also, it is great to see that the Cats have 5 players averaging double figures….which is terrific balance for this young team. Unlike last season, when teams often double teamed Jodie Meeks, this year’s team scoring balance makes it dangerous for any team to try and double team a UK player without paying a price.

The Cats did curtail their TO’s to 15 with Bledsoe still committing 5 TO’s. Bledsoe is a terrific player, but needs to be more careful with the ball….and he will. Offensively, the tremendous athletic ability coupled with great talent have made these young Cats a joy to watch. Obviously, there remains lots more improvement offensively and defensively, but UK is definitely taking some positive steps forward.

Hopefully, the situation with Dodson and Liggins will soon be cleared up…..Dodson especially….as his offense will certainly be needed against tougher opponents.

I think the Miami scare sobered up these young Cats and I look for UK to respect and defeat a feisty Cleveland St. team. GO CATS!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kentucky vs Rider Broncs....A Preview

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Kentucky vs Rider Broncs…A Preview(11/21/09-1PMEST/NoonCST-Saturday)
TV-Fox Sports South(Live)/BBSN(Tape Delayed)


Location-Lawrenceville, NJ

Head Coach - Tommy Dempsey
Career Record - 146-51 (74.1%) in 8 seasons
At Rider - 58-39 (59.8%) in 3 seasons

2008-09 Record-19-13
2008-09 MAAC Record-12-6
2008-09 Postseason-None


Rider 88 Mississippi St. 74
Rider 86 Lehigh 71
Virginia 79 Rider 46

3 Point %-48.5% (33-68)
Assists PG-15.3
Rebounds PG-35.0
Steals PG-6.0
TO’s PG-13.0

Probable Starting Lineup-

Ryan Thompson G-6’6” Sr. (PPG-14.7)
Justin Robinson G-6’2” Jr. (PPG-11.3)
Novar Gadson G-6’7” Soph (PPG-14.7)
Mike Ringgold F-6’7” Jr. (PPG-11.7)
Jermaine Jackson F-6’8” Soph (PPG-1.7)

Other Key Players

Jhamar Youngblood G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-6.0)
Jonathon Thompson G-6’4” Fr. (PPG-1.7)
Patrick Mansell G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-6.0)
Brandon Penn F 6’7” Soph (PPG-4.0)

The Rider Broncs arrive in Rupp arena with an impressive win over a solid Miss. St. team in Starkville….a win over Lehigh….and a bad loss to Virginia. Rider has been shooting lights out from the 3 point line….hitting 48.5%, but hit only 7-23 (30.4%) against a tough Virginia defense. The Broncs starting lineup has 2 seniors and a junior along with 2 sophs…they return 4 starters from last season plus several players with experience from last season. Overall, Rider has good size with 4 starters being 6’6” or better and the Broncs are a veteran team. Ryan Thompson, the Broncs 6’6” guard, is considered one of the top mid-major players in America. Thompson is shooting 50% from the field and 52.6% from the 3 point line. Thompson gets plenty of scoring help as 3 other starters are scoring 11 points or better. Ringgold and Gadson are the Broncs leading rebounders. Rider will look to rebound from their disappointing loss to Virginia, but their early victory at Starkville reveals that the Broncs can be a very tough opponent!

The young inexperienced Cats did get a win over SH St., but once again defensive problems allowed far too many 3 point shots. In the past 2 games, UK has allowed 33 3 pointers which is simply inexcusable. Coach Calipari is exceedingly disappointed in the overall defense exhibited thus far by these Cats. The Cats also had 23 TO’s….most caused by carelessness and poor decisions by Wall and Bledsoe. On the plus side, there were solid offensives games from Cousins, a real stud, Patterson, Wall and Bledsoe. Importantly, Darius Miller finally got untracked and added 15 points.

Unfortunately, UK got zero points from their bench…..and both Liggins and Dodson appear to be in Calipari’s doghouse as neither saw action. Hopefully, Dodson, who is arguably the Cats best shooter, will learn his lesson and soon be back on the court. Unquestionably, UK will need Dodson’s offense in the coming games. Certainly, coach Calipari is sending a clear message to his young team that if anyone violates team rules or is not following coach’s practice instructions… will be sitting on the bench.

The Cats are a shaky 3-0 and it is imperative that they start playing much improved defense as well as minimizing TO’s…..because the upcoming competition will be much tougher. Everyone knows that this UK team is the most talented in years, but to achieve great success this season….they must learn to follow Calipari’s instructions offensively and defensively. Coach Calipari appears to be not as concerned with the execution on the floor, but rather, players simply not following his instructions. Those are two different things and must be corrected ASAP. Youthful mistakes are one thing….but doing the opposite of what coach has instructed is quite another. Coach Calipari is a great coach and he will mold these incredibly talented Cats into a terrific team, but….in the meantime….he will be a strict taskmaster insisting on players following his instructions….if they don’t….look for them at the end of the bench.

The game against Rider will test UK’s defense…as the Broncs can shoot the 3 ball and will likely be the toughest opponent for these young Cats so far this season. I look for increased improvement by the Cats on the defensive end. This could be a close game, but I look for the Cats to come away with their 4th win in this young season. GO CATS!

What I Saw vs. Sam Houston State

WT Member

There are a lot of things that need to be worked on, but I'll start with the positives, again.

* I saw our starting 5 put up 102 points between them. That's impressive.

* I saw DeMarcus Cousins get Coach Cal's message from the second half of the Miami game. He can be a dominate big man. 27 points and 18 boards in only your 3rd regular season college game. WOW!

* I saw this team finally begin to run the DDM offense effectively.

* I saw 50% 3 point shooting. If we can shoot even close to that throughout the year, we'll be tough to stop.

* I saw the Eric Bledsoe/John Wall combination show glimpses of greatness. These two on the court together is going to be fun to watch.

* I saw Daniel Orton, once again, play very good, physical defense.

* I saw 10 blocked shots. We are such a long team, we are going to create a lot of problems for a lot of teams when they drive to the paint.

* I saw Eric Bledsoe show that he is more than capable of being a 3 point threat, which is something we'll need from him at the 2 guard spot.

* I saw John Wall show that he's not just a highlight reel player, and play a solid, smart game. 19 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds. I'll take that out of our point guard every game.

* I saw Patrick Patterson be Patrick Patterson. There's not much you can say about the guy that you don't already know.

* I saw Patrick Patterson move very well inside the lane, and position himself for a lot of rebounds.

* I saw DeMarcus Cousins SMILE! Amazing what happens when you just go out and play the game, and have fun doing it.

* I saw Darius Miller begin to play with a little more confidence, and even knock down some outside shots. He will be huge to our success this year.

* I saw DeMarcus Cousins show a lot of hustle. He was hitting the floor for loose balls more than anyone on the court.

* I saw Coach Cal show a lot of intensity on the sideline. Like they said before the game, no more Mr. Nice Guy from Coach. I was scared for his heart after the 3 they hit when he called the timeout in the 1st half.

* I saw John Wall show just how basketball smart he is. There were many times when we began to look sloppy, and he would back it up, and slow the game down. Very impressive for a freshman.

Now for the negatives...

* I saw our 3 point defense, once again be abysmal. However, it got better in the 2nd half. 12 in the first half, cut down to 6 in the 2nd half. Don't get me wrong, 6 in a half is still not good, but it's improvement. Also, a lot more of the 3s in the 2nd half were at least contested.

* I saw 0 points from our bench. There's really no way I can try to justify this. That's unacceptable.

* I saw too many turnovers. We need to protect the ball better. 20+ turnovers against a good team, and we'll get beat, bad.

* I saw a few times where we tried to make the highlight play rather than making the simple play for a bucket. We need to play more fundamental basketball.

* I saw Daniel Orton, once again, be soft on the offensive end of the court. I don't understand it. He's very physical on defense, then soft on offense. Might be a confidence issue.

* I saw very few times where we actually boxed out for a rebound. Once again, that comes down to needing to play more fundamental basketball.

Overall, this is what you get with a young team most of the time. They will pick up one side of the ball very early, like we have done offensively. But struggle with one side of the ball, like we have defensively.

It's shown that Cal has put more emphasis on offense in practice so far, but I think that will change after the performance last night. I'm not worried yet about our defense, because every year, Cal's teams are near the top in the country in defense, and I think in time, we will be too.

We have a long way to go to show we deserve that #5 ranking, but we definitely have the potential to be a top 5 team this year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kentucky vs Sam Houston St......A Preview

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Kentucky vs Sam Houston St……A Preview (11/19/09-Thursday)
7pm-FS South-Live/BBSN-Taped Delay

Location-Huntsville, Texas

Head Coach: Bob Martin
Career Record: 323-158 (67.2%) 16 seasons
At Sam Houston St.: 200-123 (61.9%) 11 seasons

2008-09 Record:18-12
2008-09 Southland Conf. Record: 12-4
2008-09 Postseason: None


Sam Houston St. 73 Le Tourneau 42
Sam Houston St. 91 Texas College 54

3 Point %-28.6%

Projected Starters

Corey Allmond G-6’1” Sr. (PPG-14.0)
Ashton Mitchell G-5’11” Sr. (PPG-10.0)
Gilberto Clavell F-6.6” Jr. (PPG-15.0)
Josten Crow F-6. 4” Jr. (PPG-5.5)
Arthur Zulu C-6’8” Sr. (PPG-6.5)

Sam Houston St., from the Southland conference, has opened their season with 2 easy victories and has played all 12 players on their roster for an average of 10 minutes or more. Although SH St. is an undersized team, they will likely start 3 seniors and 2 juniors….so they will bring solid experience to the floor. Three starters and the top four scorers return from last season’s team. Most dangerous is Sr. Corey Allmond who shot an eyepopping 43.6% from 3 point range making the 13th deadly 3 point shooter in the nation last season. In addition, Allmond’s 99 (3 pointers) made ranked him 14th in the nation. Last season starter Senior 6’6” Preston Brown started the 1st game, but didn’t appear in the 2nd game… as I write this….it’s unclear as to whether Brown suffered an injury or was held out for another reason. The Bearkats can add height to the lineup with 6’9” Fr. Aaron Thompson and 265 lb- 6’7” Soph. Artuan Bootie… look for several rotations of players in their lineup.

Kentucky returns to action after a real wakeup call courtesy of the Miami Redhawks who shot lights out from 3 point range. The Cats survived….barely….but, hopefully learned a very valuable lesson concerning not efficiently defending the 3 point shot. It was also a wakeup call for a number of UK fans who had visions of this Cat team rolling through the season undefeated or with only one or two losses. Certainly, no one questions the incredible talent on this UK team, but it’s obvious that these young Cats have a long way to go offensively and defensively. There is a steep learning curve to not only learn the DDMO, but also how to play lock down defense. The difference regarding the necessary intensity required in playing great defense in college vs high school is often measured in light years. Freshmen, soon learn that the caliber of talent is far greater on the college level and that to play….they must learn how to play solid defense of each and every possession….otherwise they will be spending time on the bench. I’m certain that the Miami game has helped coach Calipari and the UK coaching staff to gain the attention of all the players regarding the vital importance of learning and implementing the defensive strategies called for in Calipari’s defensive schemes.

Often, very close and competitive games early in the year can more quickly help the players to understand not only the importance of playing good defense, but taking care of the ball and minimizing TO’s. Both Wall and Bledsoe, in particular, will need improve their decision making on the court and reduce their TO’s. Both are great players, but need to understand that trying to dribble through college players vs high school players is night and day.

What is important for the Cats is to improve offensively and defensively each and every game….it will take time….but, these incredibly talented young Cats will need to shorten the learning curve as much as possible.

It was tremendous to see the great heart and confidence of this UK team to not panic when down by 18 points to Miami, but play their hearts out to come back and win. That will be a confidence booster for these young Cats.

The coming SH St. game will be a quick opportunity to correct some defensive failings and offensive problems. Corey Allmond, SH St.’s very dangerous 3 point shooter, and other Bearkats, should find getting open shots from the parameter very difficult if these young Cats have learned their lesson from allowing Miami to shoot nearly 60% from 3 point range.

I look for these young Cats to show overall improvement and add a third straight win this season. GO CATS!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kentucky vs Miami....A Preview

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Kentucky vs Miami Redhawks….11/16/09 (Monday at 7pm)
TV Coverage—Fox Sports South/Big Blue Network

Location: Oxford, OH
Enrollment: 15,766
Arena: 6,400

Head Coach: Charles Coles
Career Record: 316-252 (.556)-19 seasons
At Miami: 224-168 (.571)-13 seasons at Miami

2008/09 Record:17-13
2008/09 MAC Record:10-6
2008/09 Postseason: None

2009/10 Season
Towson 82 Miami 71

2009/10 Season Stats (Based on one game)
3 Point %-37.5%

Projected Starting Lineup

Rodney Haddix G-6’3” Jr. (PPG-5)
Kramer Soderberg G-6’0” So. (PPG-8)
Kenny Hayes G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-17)
Nick Winbush F-6’7” Jr. (PPG-11)
Adam Fletcher C-6’8” Sr. (PPG-11)

Other Key Players

Julian Mavunga F-6’8” So. (PPG-6)
Orlando Williams G-6’4” Fr. (PPG-5)
Antonio Ballard F/G-6’4” Jr. (PPG-8)

The Miami Redhawks lost a tough opening game against Towson at Towson. The Redhawks had a 5 point half time lead and were close throughout most of the 2nd half, but lost by 11 points. Miami must replace 3 starters including MAC player of the year…Michael Bramor….who averaged 17.9 PPG. Kenny Hayes suffered a season ending injury last season after just 8 games. Certainly, Hayes, who led Miami in scoring against Towson with 17 points, return will be a big plus for Miami. Importantly, the Redhawks, despite losing 3 starters, have a number of returning players with significant game experience. Miami started 3 guards against Towson with last year starter, Antonio Ballard, coming off the bench. Like most teams in the early season, I suspect that the Redhawk rotation is still a work in progress. I noticed that Miami played before only 3,259 fans at Towson…..they will be in for a huge change when they play before 24,000 at Rupp arena.

The John Calipari era officially started with a nice win over the Morehead Eagles. However, as coach Calipari warned..….this exceedingly young, but tremendously talented UK team will likely not be a great team until Jan./Feb. The Morehead game revealed that there is a lot of improvement needed on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court by these young Cats. Importantly, Patrick Patterson played a solid game with 20 points and 12 rebounds while freshman Eric Bledsoe wowed the Rupp arena crowd with 24 points and some spectacular plays. However, coach Calipari was not pleased with UK’s overall opening game performance and was disappointed with the performance of several UK players. Perhaps, most notably, Darius Miller, a very talented player who continues to disappear in games. Miller played 32 minutes while scoring 0 points and committing 5 TO’s. It would be unfair to write Miller off after one game, but Darius must find a way to play with more confidence and be more aggressive on the court or he will lose his starting position. Dodson, who in contrast to Miller, brings terrific confidence and aggressiveness to the game and is a good shooter…..must learn not to take bad shots. While Bledsoe had a terrific game, he occasionally gets out of control and did commit 7 TO’s. Still, Bledsoe plays with the eye of the tiger and I can’t wait to see Wall and Bledsoe together on the court. Cousins got into early foul trouble, but still needs to play with more energy on each and every play. Cousins is a stud and when he is playing hard….can dominate in the paint. Harris and Stevenson, both took a step backward with very lackluster performances.

It is possible that UK will make changes in their starting lineup as coach Calipari remarked that only Bledsoe, Wall and Patterson are certain starters against the Redhawks. This weeks practices will determine the other starters. Once again, UK should enjoy a solid height advantage when they take on Miami and it will be important to exploit that advantage by getting the ball inside the paint…..and take fewer 3 point shots. It will be very exciting to see John Wall play his first game of the official season. I look for a more focused UK team….committing fewer TO’s and playing much better defense. GO CATS!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What I Saw vs. Morehead

WT Member

Believe it or not, I didn't see as much bad during the game Friday night as most people saw. The game went kind of how I expected.

Here's what I saw, starting with the positives.

*I saw, on defense, us closing out on the shooter quick. There were hardly any open jumpshots to be had by Morehead.

* I saw Bledsoe show that John Wall is not the only point guard on this team.

*I saw Bledsoe show a nice touch on his mid-range jumpshot.

* I saw Darnell Dodson show that he is the best shooter on this team. He is going to be key to this team if we plan on getting teams to stop playing zone.

* I saw 8 blocked shots. We're blocking shots like the 1998 team did.

* I saw very good ball movement on the perimeter.

* I saw us push the ball up the court after every missed shot. Looking for fast break points. Which I love to see, because I got so tired of seeing us slow it down and try to play half court offense for the past 4 years.

* I saw Patterson show good instincts on the offensive glass. He got a lot of rebounds by just flat out being in better position than everyone else.

* I saw Patterson once again show that he can step out and knock down a 3. Where was that the past 2 years!?

*I saw Cousins move very well without the ball, which is very important for this offense.

* I saw the type of full court press that I love to run. Look to trap the ball, then drop back.

*I saw a player who is going to have probably 20 double-doubles this year in Patrick Patterson.

* I saw Patterson do a very good job of getting into the middle of the zone for a 15 foot jumpshot or a kick out if everyone closed in on him.

* I saw John Wall looked determined to get back onto the court while on the sideline. Even on the bench, I get the feeling the kid is going to be very special.

* I saw Daniel Orton, in limited time, play very good physical defense.

* I saw DeMarcus Cousins, once again, hustle on both ends of the court, and prove his naysayers wrong yet again. Not only does he hustle on both ends of the court, but he's always one of the first guys to get back on defense.

* I saw a team that is going to get into the paint and score a lot of points inside, and that is also going to shoot a lot of free throws. We're going to get a lot of teams in foul trouble.

* I saw two guys, Eric Bledsoe and Darnell Dodson, look like they were really trying to run the DDMO.

* I saw a solid 16 point win over a very underrated Morehead team. Kenneth Faried could play for a lot of top teams.

Now for the negatives.

* I saw a lot of telegraphed passes. The equivalent of a quarterback staring down a receiver in football. Lot's of passes being deflected away.

* I saw a team that needs to try to work the ball inside more. I know the DDM is more about getting to the basket and creating, but we have Patterson and Cousins down low, we need to get them the ball.

* I saw Eric Bledsoe not be very vocal. Not everyone needs to be vocal to be a leader. However, Bledsoe is a point guard, he needs to be vocal, and demand respect from his teammates. I think he'll learn a lot as far as this goes from John Wall as the year goes on.

* I saw Darius Miller lack confidence. He played scared, and it showed with 0 points and 5 turnovers.

* I saw 14 first half turnovers. That's way too many, and won't get the job done when we play teams like North Carolina, UConn, and Louisville. *However, the good I did see in the turnover aspect was that we cut that down to 5 2nd half turnovers.*

* I saw a team who still has timing issues. Again, I think by January, we'll get the kinks worked out and we'll be more crisp, but for now our timing is way off.

* I saw Daniel Orton still fail to be aggressive on offense. I don't understand why he's so aggressive on the defensive end, but lacks on the offensive end.

* I saw a team only score 9 bench points. I'm not overly concerned with this, because when Wall comes back, our bench will be deeper. Add that to the fact that Hood was out with a wrist injury, and I think our bench play will be fine.

Overall the game is almost exactly what I expected. We looked very sloppy, but things began to slowly come together by the second half. I think we will get better and better each game, as the issues we're having are not about talent or coaching, they're simply about timing, which will improve over time.