Kentucky vs Louisville 12/31/10 NOON-EST/11AM-CST Friday on TV-CBS
Arena: KFC Yumi Center (22,000)
Head Coach: Rick Pitino
Career Record: 572-210 (73.1) 24 Seasons
At UL: 220-86 (71.9%) 9 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 20-13
2009-10 Big East Record: 11-7
2009-10 Postseason: NCAA 0-1
2010-11 Record: 11-1
Louisville 88-Butler 73
Louisville 62 Jackson St. 45
Louisville 106 Chattanooga 65
Louisville 80 Marshall 66
Louisville 92 FIU 55
Louisville 97 South Alabama 70
Louisville 61 San Francisco 35
Louisville 77 UNLV 69
Drexel 52 Louisville 46
Louisville 78 Gardner-Webb 49
Louisville 114 Western Ky. 82
Louisville 104 Morgan St. 74
Probable Starting Lineup
Chris Smith F 6’2” Jr…………..8.7
Kyle Kuric F 6’4” Jr……………7.9
Gorgui Dieng C 6’10” Fr…… .5.8
Preston Knowles G 6’1” Sr……..15.2
Peyton Silva G 5’11” So………..11.5
Other Key Players
Terrence Jennings F 6’9” Jr……...9.6
Rakeem Buckles F 6’8” So………8.2
Louisville is off to a surprising start of 11-1 and is ranked 22nd in the nation. The problem is getting a handle on just how good the Cardinals are this season. Their 11-1 record is somewhat deceiving in that UL has played all but one game in their new arena. The Cards have a SOS RPI OF 94 compared to UK’s 23. Most of UL’s opponents have losing records….and their only 2 decent wins are not now ranked….Butler is 9-4 and UNLV 11-2. Still, UL has won many games by huge margins such as defeating Western, Ky. by 32 points at Western.
Whatever fans think of Rick Pitino, he is still a premier coach who frequently gets the most out of his players. Pitino won’t know just how good his team is until they play UK and embark on the Big East schedule. However, he has thus far taken a team without great talent and molded it into a successful fast break pressing team. The results thus far, with the exception of a bad loss to Drexel, have been positive as his previously unranked Cards have now climbed to #22 in AP.
An advantage of a soft schedule has allowed Pitino to have 10 players average 11 minutes PG. His often small quick lineup produces nearly 11 steals PG. However, 6’9” Jennings and 6’8” Buckles often play and give UL good size. The Cards are led in scoring by Knowles and Silva, but 4 other players are averaging 8 plus PPG. Silva leads UL in assists with 59, TO’s at 36 and steals at 28. Buckles, Jennings and Dieng are the leading rebounders.
UL has been red hot from 3 point range the past 2 games…..16-30 against Western, Ky. and an incredible 17-23 against Morgan St……that’s 33-53 for 62%. Overall this season, the Cardinals have made 9.7- 3 point shots PG and averaged 26 perimeter shots. Obviously, the 3 point shot is a very important part of the UL offense. The Cards shoot only 65.9% from the charity line, but Knowles is hitting 86.7% of his free throws.
Mike Marra has been out of the lineup with a bad sprained ankle…..his readiness for the game is unknown at this time, but it is likely doubtful.
Pitino knows the great importance of the UK-UL game and you can bet he will have some surprises up his sleeve. Maybe a change in the lineup or his overall game strategy.
Rick Pitino hates to lose to Cal and he will have UL ready to play extremely hard. And, of course, UL will have home court advantage in their beautiful new arena.
UK got the holiday cobwebs off with a nice 91-61 win over Coppin St. The Cats had 5 players in double figures…and handed out 21 assists….hit 13-16 from the FT line….and out rebounded Coppin St. 43-22. Terrence Jones broke out of his mini slump with 18 pts on 9-12. Jones made good decisions by not forcing up bad shots and instead made great moves to the basket. Coach Cal was extremely pleased with Miller’s play….very aggressive in grabbing 6 rebounds…handed out 4 assists…played good defense and scored 7 points. Miller still needs to get more shot opportunities because he is a very good shooter. Knight had another solid game scoring 17 points and handing out 8 assists. Liggins played another great game….10 points…..8 rebounds…..6 assists…..and his usual great defense. It was nice to see Hood get some playing time, but he still struggles in his shooting hitting 2-7 and one basket was a dunk.
Coach Cal used the Coppin St. game to evaluate a UK zone which will likely be needed at various times to protect players in foul trouble. It was obvious that the Cats need to improve their zone defense. I think it’s fair to say that coach Cal will only use a zone when he feels it is an absolute necessity….instead he prefers the hard nose man to man defense. UK’s defense has improved, but it still needs to get better. Cal also experimented with a smaller lineup and it was very successful, however, Coppin St. was not a big team. My guess is that knowing UL often plays smaller quick lineups and presses a lot, Cal wanted to get a good look at UK’s smaller lineup in selected game situations. The small lineup is obviously UK’s best offensive lineup, but against tall teams, defense and rebounding are a likely problem.
The UK-UL game remains a big game for both teams…..the winner gets bragging rights for a year. UK comes into the game with more overall talent, but lacking good depth. UL is playing better than most experts predicted, but the easy schedule muddies the water as to how good the Cards are this season. Look for an aggressive UL team….lots of pressing and looking for lots of perimeter shots. Also, look for Pitino to attempt to get Jones especially and other Cats in foul trouble.
Fortunately, UK is a very good ball handling team and a good shooting team, however, staying out of early foul trouble will be a huge key for a UK win. Having Jones and/or Knight go to the bench early would put the Cats at a big disadvantage.
UK vs UL…,Calipari vs Pitino…,State of Kentucky bragging rights…,both teams will play very aggressive basketball and I hope the refs swallow the whistle and let these teams play. I see a very close game with UK pulling out a 5 point win.! GO CATS!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Coppin State|
Kentucky leads series 1-0
Kentucky vs Coppin Sate 12/28/10 Tuesday..7PMEST/9PMCST on FSSouth
Location: Baltimore, MD
Head Coach: Ron “Fang” Mitchell
Career Record: 606-388 (61.0%) 32 Seasons
At Coppin State: 379-343 (52.5%) 24 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 8-22
2009-10 MEAC Record: 3-13
2009-10 Postseason: None
2010-11 Record: 4-5
Oklahoma 77 Coppin St. 57
Towson 89 Coppin St. 74
Coppin St. 71 UMBC 69 (OT)
Coppin St. 71 Lincoln, PA 57
Morgan St. 70 Coppin St. 64
Coppin St. 65 Navy 64
Coppin St. 79 West Virginia Tech 63
U Conn 76 Coppin St. 64
Wisconsin 80 Coppin St. 56
Probable Starting Lineup
Michael Harper G 6’4” Jr….………15.3
Tony Gallo G 5’11” Jr………….….13.0
Vince Goldsberry G 6’0” Sr…….….7.0
Akeem Ellis F 6’6” Jr………………10.4
Antonio Williams F 6’6” Jr…….…..6.8
Other Key Players
Brandon Doughty F 6’8” So………...4.6
Ceslovas Kucinskas C 6’8” Sr………3.1
Michael Murray F 6’5” Fr…………..3.0
You have to love a coach whose nickname is “Fang”….It would be interesting to know how he got that nickname. What’s important, of course, is that coach Fang Mitchell has won 379 games in his long tenure at Coppin St…..and he isn’t afraid to schedule big name opponents. This season the Eagles play Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, U Conn and UK.
The Eagles 4-5 record already has losses to Oklahoma, U Conn and Wisconsin. However, they did lose to U Conn by only 12 points. Coppin St. starts 4 juniors and a senior so they bring experience to the floor, but they are lacking in overall size.
Harper and Gallo are the leading scorers and both shoot well from the perimeter….Harper hitting 37.8% and Gallo 42.8%. Although the Eagles as a team shoot poorly from the FT line at 62.%....Harper is hitting 81.3% and Gallo 74.4?% from the charity line. Ellis and Williams are the leading rebounders….Goldsberry leads in assists and Harper in steals.
Although the Eagles bring more experience to the floor, they simply don’t match up to UK’s far superior talent and size.
UK is fresh off an impressive 89-52 win over Winthrop. Game ball easily went to Doron Lamb who set a freshman scoring record with 32 points breaking the previous record held by Jamal Mashburn. Lamb was blistering hot in shooting 11-12 and 7-8 from the perimeter. Lamb also played 29 minutes with 2 assists, a steal and zero TO’s…..plus he played solid defense! An absolutely great game by Lamb! Importantly, there were other solid performances from Josh Harrellson with 10 boards….Darius Miller had 9 rebounds…..DeAndre Liggins played his usual top notch defensive game and added 9 assists…..Brandon Knight added 21 points and did a good job overall in running the offense…..and last but not least….Eloy Vargas had a break through game as a Cat. Vargas was 4-7 from the field with 3 rebounds…3 blocks and a steal. Importantly, this game gave Eloy added confidence that he can play a lot better than his earlier performances. In addition, UK hit 11-13 from the charity line which was great to see.
Perhaps, the only negative in the game was the mini slump that Terrence Jones is in. Unquestionably, Terrence is a great talent and his greatness was vividly revealed in the Notre Dame game where he had 27 points and 17 rebounds. However, in the North Carolina game Jones was 3-17….against IU 3-11…MVSU 5-10….and only 5-16 against Winthrop. Jones too often appears to be forcing things on the court….taking questionable or bad shots….and he has got in foul trouble too often which hurts his game. As coach Cal has said….Terrence needs to focus on rebounding and playing great defense….and let the game come to him. It appears that Jones is putting too much pressure on himself to score a lot of points. Terrence is a freshman and he is in a learning process….he will be fine if he comes to play each and every game and quits forcing shots that aren’t there.
Despite these mini slumps….Jones still is UK’s leading scorer at 18.2 and leading rebounder at 9.6. As I said, Jones is a great talent, but he needs to be more consistent in the energy and mindset that he brings to each game….plus improving his dismal 59.1% from the FT line.
The great thing about Terrence, aside from his incredible talent, is that he is a great kid who wants to learn and get better. Importantly, Terrence needs to embrace and execute Cal's coaching.....and I predict that as the season progresses, Jones will show significant improvement in his overall game and we will see more games like his monster performance against the Irish..
I look for the Cats to easily win over Coppin St……I see a 25 point victory….GO CATS!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Winthrop|
Kentucky leads series 1-0
Kentucky vs Winthrop…12/22/10 Wednesday 1PM-EST/NOON-CST on FSSouth/BBSN
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Head Coach: Randy Peele
Career Record: 98-114 (46.2%) 7 Seasons
At Winthrop-62-45 (53.6%) 3 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 19-14
2009-10 Big South Record: 12-6
2009-10 Postseason: 0-1 NCAA play-in-game
2010-2011 Record: 5-6
Winthrop 70 Queens U. 61
VCU 67 Winthrop 54
Hampton 45 Winthrop 44
Winthrop 83 Wake Forest 74
Belmont 71 Winthrop 44
Winthrop 65 Lander 46
Winthrop 88 VMI 82
Liberty 75 Winthrop 72
Charlotte 68 Winthrop 57
Winthrop 77 Jacksonville 66
Dayton 73 Winthrop 58
Probable Starting Lineup
George Valentine F 6’8” Jr…………..8.3
Matt Morgan C/F 6’9” Jr……..………7.1
Robbie Dreher G 6’4” So……………15.6
Andre Jones G 6’2” Jr……………….13.1
Reggie Middleton G 6’1” Jr…………11.2
Other Key players
Gideon Gamble G 6’7” So……………6.2
Charles Corbin F 6’7” Sr…………..…5.5
Justin Burton G 5’10” Sr……………..4.6
The Winthrop Eagles have dominated their Big South league in recent years….as they have won 8 league championships in the past 11 years and advanced to the NCAA 8 times. Winthrop defeated Notre Dame in the 1st round of the NCAA in 2007.
Thus far this season, Winthrop has been up and down with a 5-6 record. They have a signature win over Wake Forest out of the ACC. The Eagles start 4 juniors and bring 2 seniors off the bench so they are an experienced team. Although, Winthrop has been inconsistent in their play early in the season, they can be a very dangerous opponent.
The Eagles are led in scoring by Robbie Dreher and Andre Jones who are both shooting lights out from the perimeter….hitting 41.9% and 44.8% respectfully. George Valentine is the leading rebounder with 8.3 PG. while Reggie Middleton leads the team in assists and steals.
You can bet that Winthrop will be pumped to play Kentucky in legendary Rupp arena before 23,000…..they will play hard….but, talent wise they simply don’t match the Cats!
UK is coming off an easy win over Miss. Valley St., but it was not a great game by the Cats. Coach Cal was not happy to see UK out rebounded by MVS and have fewer assists. On the plus side, UK had 5 players in double figures…..and again .again Harrellson was a force on the boards grabbing 12 rebounds and added 2 blocks in 24 minutes. Vargas added 6 rebounds in 10 minutes. Terrence Jones encountered some foul trouble again and was limited to 23 minutes, but he did score 19 points and haul down 8 rebounds.
Coach Cal will likely start employing some type of zone defense in certain game situations where fouls are a concern. As the Cats get ready to face SEC teams….UK simply can’t afford, with a thin bench, to have key players in early foul trouble. Hopefully, Hood and Poole can demonstrate in practice that they deserve some playing minutes. It is not unlikely, that Hood and/or Poole will be needed in some key game situations and they need some playing time.
I look for an easy Kentucky victory over Winthrop…..20 plus points. GO CATS!!!!!!!!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley State |
Kentucky leads series 2-0
Kentucky vs Mississippi Valley State 12/18/10 Saturday 8PMEST/7PMCST
TV: CSS Radio: BBSN
Mississippi Valley State
Location: Itta Benna, Miss
Head Coach: Sean Woods
Career Record: 15-46 (24.6%) 2 seasons at MVSU
2009-10: Record: 8-21
2009-10: SWAC Record: 7-9
2009-10 Postseason: None
Georgia 72 MVSU 70
Indiana 71 MVSU 54
Saint Mary’s 87 MVSU 52
Brigham Young 86 MVSU 36
Liberty 64 MVSU 58
MVSU 75 Georgia Southern 64
Butler 91 MVSU 71
Mississippi 101 MVSU 69
Arkansas 87 MVSU 64
Probable Starting Lineup
Orlando Smith F 6’5” Sr…….....6.4
Jason Holmes F 6’9” Jr………...8.5
Terrance Joyner G 6’2” Jr……..10.9
D’Angelo Jackson G 6’1” Sr…..10.3
Kevin Burwell G 5’10” Sr……...7.3
UK fans will be able to give a warm welcome to MSVU coach Sean Woods, a member of UK’S “Unforgettables” in 1992. Unfortunately, coach Woods is bringing in a struggling team with one win and eight losses. Admittedly, MVSU has played a challenging schedule thus far, but they have been beaten soundly in most games. Woods has gone to the JC ranks in much of his recruiting, but so far there has been very little improvement by MSVU in Woods short tenure as coach. I know UK fans will want Woods to succeed at MVSU after he leaves Lexington and it’s fair to say that Woods job might be on the line if MVSU finishes the season with little or no improvement over the past two years.
Hopefully for coach Woods….MVSU will start winning once they play their conference games
The truth is that MSVU has very little talent and they are a small team. There isn’t a single player on MSVU that merits any special concern from UK. This isn’t to say that MVSU won’t play hard….they will…..being back in Rupp Arena will be special for Woods and he will want his team to not be embarrassed.
UK defeated an inspired IU team that hung with the Cats through much of the game. However, although the Cats had a poor night shooting from the field, UK demonstrated it’s superiority with some solid defense, good rebounding, and only 6 TO’s, Game ball to Josh Harrellson who in 29 minutes contributed 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks and zero TO’s. Liggins again played great defense while adding 19 points and 9 rebounds. Also, Knight played a solid game with 18 points, went 10-10 at the FT line, added 4 assists and had only one TO. Terrence Jones unfortunately was hampered by foul trouble throughout the game and it obviously hurt his usual aggressiveness.
I look for coach Cal to use this MVSU game to work on his offense and defense….might even experiment with some zone defense. Also, some subs should get some decent minutes. This will very likely be a blowout with UK winning by 30 or more points….a lot will depend on when Cal pulls a lot of the starters. GO CATS!
Friday, December 10, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Indiana|
UK leads series 30-23
Kentucky vs Indiana 12/11/10 Saturday at 5:15PMEST/4:15PMCST (ESPN)
Location: Bloomington, IN
Head Coach: Tom Crean
Career Record: 206-142 (59.2%) 11 Seasons
At Indiana 16-46 (25.8%) 2 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 10-21
2009-10 Big Ten Record-4-14
Indiana 88 Florida Gulf Coast 60
Indiana 67 Wright State 44
Indiana 71 Miss. Valley State 54
Indiana 67 Evansville 54
Indiana 72 N,C, Central 56
Indiana 100 Northwestern St. 66
Boston College 88 Indiana 76
Indiana 79 Savannah St. 57
Probable Starting Lineup
Christian Watford F 6’9” So…….…17.8
Tom Pritchard F 6’9” Jr………….…2.0
Verdell Jones G 6’5” Jr…………….14.3
Maurice Creek G 6’5” So………….11.8
Jordan Hulls G 6’0” So……….…….9.5
Other Key Players
Victor Oladpo G 6’5” Fr……….…..6.4
Jeremiah Rivers G 6’5” Sr…………1.6
Will Sheehey F 6’6” Fr…………….4.5
Indiana’s proud basketball tradition has taken a beating in recent years. Coach Crean has had to virtually start the program from scratch after previous coach Kelvin Sampson’s NCAA violations left the program in shambles. Last season when Hoosier fans were beginning to show some optimism…...until freshman sensation Maurice Creek went down for the season after 12 games with a fractured knee.
Coach Crean, who enjoyed solid success at Marquette before taking the Indiana job, has started his 3rd season in Bloomington with a 7-1 mark….however, the wins have come at the expense of lesser opponents. The only loss was to Boston College from the ACC. Still, this season promises to be one of significant improvement over the past 2 seasons where IU was 16-46. Importantly, Creek is back from his injury…..there is more experience on the team…..and coach Crean has added some nice freshmen talent.
Thus far this season, the Hoosiers are led in scoring by Watford, Jones and Creek….all scoring in double figures. Creek and Hulls are both shooting very well from the perimeter…in fact, Hulls is red hot hitting 18-31. Guard Verdell leads the team in assists, but unfortunately also leads in TO’s with 38 so far this season. Watford not only is the Hoosier’s leading scorer, but also leads in rebounds.
Indiana will be an improved team than UK has faced in the past couple of years. Tom Crean is a solid coach and although the Hoosiers don’t match UK in talent, you can bet they will play for pride and play hard.
Kentucky defeated a ranked Notre Dame team 72-58 overcoming an 11 point deficit in the 1st half. Game ball easily went to Terrence Jones who had a monster game with 27 points and 17 rebounds. Brandon Knight ran the team well dishing out 5 assists with only 2 TO’s while scoring 20 points. UK’s first half defense was lacking….especially against Hansbrough who scored 19 points. However, the Cats played solid defense in the 2nd half and basically shut Hansbrough down. UK The Cats out rebounded Notre Dame and importantly….made their free throws hitting 17-22.
The win over the Irish, a ranked team, was exceedingly important to this young UK team in terms of building confidence. Although the IU rivalry is not as intense as in past years, it is still UK vs IU….and look for Crean to have his Hoosiers ready to play hard and try for an upset. Coach Cal will be looking for continued improvement from his young team and a nice victory over his friend Tom Crean. I see a UK win over the Hoosiers by 15 points. GO CATS!
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Here is my evaluation comments on the 2010 UK football team.
2010 Evaluation Offense
QB--B M Hartline played well and minimized mistakes. Had he not had the 2008 season (with 0 talent--D Lyons got hurt, D Locke got hurt and R Cobb was a true Freshman), he would go down as a better than average UK QB. Unfortunately, he bears that stigma. Time will be much better to him than many of the current UK Faithful.
Could have been better: If one of the backups had gotten more snaps for the future
RB--B D Locke got hurt and even though they had chances no one really stepped up enough to impact the team. The backups were respectable/average just not dominant--YET.
Could have been better: If backs had demonstrated more of an impact especially when Locke got hurt.
WR--A- Cobb was Cobb. C Matthews had 9 TD catches and L King had 5 TD catches Much better than in previous years.
Could have been better: If the WRs would stop dropping balls (Cobb included) and another WR had stepped up a little more Roark flashed a couple of times
TE--C- But compared to the 2008 and 2009 seasons A++++ J Aumiller and T Robinson surprised everyone We have red-shirts in the wings for depth
Could have been better: A few more catches and 3-4 more TDs would have really put this team over the top
O-Line--B++ Few expected the success that the team experienced here before the season (I thought they would be pretty good but not quite this good) The interior of the line has never been this good and the tackles are not bad. There is also some depth
Could have been better: Stupid penalties have to be eliminated--PERIOD. This is rapidly becoming one of the true strengths of the team
2010 Evaluation Defense
DT- D The CATS were seriously challenged here. R Lumpkins never made a real impact, and S Mc Cords best ever moment was the turnover in the Georgia game in 09. M Crawford got suspended 2 times and ended the season that way. A Glenn was never in the mix, and D Rumph came in with lots of rust and not in serious shape. Arguments could be made that L McDermott was the best player, but honestly the CATS were just outmanned here all year.
Could have been better IF: Cobble had not been suspended for academics, Crawford had not been kicked off of the team, and the CATS had a better recruiting class for the D-line in 2007 to 2009. Bottomline, there was almost nothing to work with here talent wise; 2011 can not get here soon enough so that D Rumph has a year in the system and B Laughlin (and hopefully, E Porter) begin their treks to stardom.
DE D Just not enough plays made. D Evans seemed hurt all year and I still do not think that T Wyndham is recovered from his 2009 injury. C Ukwu still has yet to make any statements on the field as well. N Delic played early and then seemed to disappear, they should have just redshirted him.
Could have been better IF: Evans would have been healthy, and at least one more DE stepped up to the plate for the season. Again, the D-line recruitment was terrible for 2007-2009. The good news is that we redshirted tons of talent here and it will begin to get better although that may not be until 2011. Look for the redshirt freshmen (J Henderson, M Evans, A Davis et al) to really push the returning players here.
The bottomline is that the players: Lost Cobble before the season, and Crawford 2 times during the season. Add into that D Evans being injured and that is 3 out of 4 D-line starters out for several games.
LB C- D Trevathan is a Stud-pure and simple. My favorite quote of the year came from a D-lineman who said that he was pursuing a runner when "DT gave me a little nudge and I went flying up the field 5 yards and Danny made the tackle". R Wilson started out behind J Dufrene, but was really beginning to come along at the end. R Snead just seemed out of place until the end as well when he started playing some better as well. Q Huzzie had almost no impact and A Williamson got banged up as well. We were highly inexperienced here.
Could have been better IF: The staff had spent time developing players earlier in their career and they had better talent to work with sooner. They needed to devote some playing time to these guys in 2009, so they would have been better in 2010.
CB C+ P Warford was academically ineligible before the season began and that made M Neloms a starter. Neloms really came on and showed to be a very good tackler and better than average cover man while Burden was nothing special. Due to the lack of a pass rusher and bad LB play, the CBs were going to look bad by default. A Mosley made a few plays and broke up some important passes especially in the end zone as a backup, but stayed #2 on the depth chart due to the ability of the starters. J Priester got burned a couple of times and probably should have redshirted. C Rice blended in with the rest of the group.
Could have been better IF: It is hard to imagine how they could have looked much better unless there had been a pass rush and better LB play. They were really put in a difficult situation.
Safety C- Poor Tackling and bad angles continue to define the position. W Guy did progress as a tackler some, but he still missed way too many and really needs to be held accountable by the coaches. M Bailey was a JUCO transfer who came in with lots of fanfare but seemed lost at times. D Tyler has really improved his stock and will start by 2012 at the latest T Smith was nothing special and did little to distinguish himself.
Could have been better IF: They would tackle better, play better angles and had more help in front of them. Like the CBs, they were put in an almost no win situation. They need to be made to own the poor tackling and bad angles.
2010 Evaluation Special Teams
Punting-- A- Hard to believe that R Tylacka could have done much better, but there were a couple of times that it was evident
Punt Return--C Nothing special, very bland for the most part As the saying goes "Even a blind hog..." which proves the grade
Kick Off--B- Kickoffs were OK, but nothing to write home about
Kick Off Coverage--D+ You knew it was going to happen and could often see it, but you just could not prevent it from happening. We definitely need to improve in this area
Kick Return--C Nothing spectacular either way We were really average here
Field Goals--B- UK missed a couple of important ones that could have been game changers, then again UK hit a couple of big ones
***Special Ops Penalties really took the wind out of the sails at times
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Frankly, I am puzzled as to a number of posts on messageboards that seem to suggest that Calipari only wins because of his recruiting talent......that he won at U Mass and Memphis because he seldom played anyone......that he isn't a good bench coach......and on and on......
First, name me any great coach who didn't win big with great talent.....we saw what happened to Bob Knight when he went to Texas Tech.....he didn't win big because his talent was so so. Look at the incredible talent John Wooden had at UCLA.....Dean Smith at NC......coach K at Duke.....and even our great Adolph Rupp. Great coaches recruit top talent.....mold them as a team.....and win big. Bottom line.....great coaches bring in top recruits......in fact, excellent recruiting is the most important part of any basketball or football coaches success.
However, great coaches also understand how to build team chemistry.....teach their players to master the offense and defense......and very importantly....motivate the team to play unselfishly and play hard.
John Calipari's college record is outstanding in everyway.
At U Mass he took over a floundering team and made it into a highly successful team.....achieving 5 straight conference titles.....5 straight NCAA appearances with one Elite Eight and a Final Four.
Cal's record at U Mass was 189-71
At Memphis, Cal had 6 NCAA appearances....one Sweet 16....2 Elite 8's....and a Final Four runner-up. By the way, that year Memphis defeated the following very good teams: Oklahoma, U Conn, USC, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Arizona, Gonzaga, Miss. St. Michigan St., Texas, UCLA before losing in OT to Kansas in the NCAA championship game. Obviously, Cal had to compete in his conference, but the suggestion by some that Cal couldn't defeat colleges from major conferences is ridiculous. At Memphis, Cal achieved an outstanding record of 252-69.
We all know what Cal achieved last season at UK. He brought in a fantastic recruiting class and won the SEC, the SEC tourney, and went to the Elite 8 with mostly freshmen.....finishing the season 35-3. A great year!
Coach Cal has a terrific 77% winning percentage in his 18 year career. Below are the awards and achievement he has won during his career.
My point is that coach Cal is not only a great recruiter, but he is a solid bench coach. Like all great coaches, there are times when a different strategy might have been better.....but no coach achieves the tremendous success that Cal has achieved without building good team chemistry.....effectively installing his offense and defense......motivating his team......and yes.....being a good bench coach.
I realize there are those on messageboards who disagree and I respect their views.....but, I disagree because Cal's tremendous record of success proves that he is far more than just a great recruiter.
The awards below during Cal's career show the respect he is held as terrific basketball coach. IMO, Cal ranks in the top ten as a college basketball coach!
2010 Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year
2010 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
2010 SEC Coach of the Year (AP)
2010 Sporting News SEC Coach of the Year
2010 Yahoo! Sports SEC Coach of the Year
2010 USBWA District IV Coach of the Year
2009 Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year
2009 Iba National Coach of the Year Finalist
2009 C-USA Coach of the Year
2008 Naismith National Coach of the Year
2008 C-USA Coach of the Year
2008 Phelan and Iba National Coach of the Year Finalist
2007 Phelan National Coach of the Year Finalist
2007 USBWA District 4 Coach of the Year
2007 Basketball Times South Region Coach of the Year
2006 C-USA Coach of the Year
2004 NABC District 7 Coach of the Year
1996 Naismith National Coach of the Year
1996 The Sporting News National Coach of the Year
1996 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
1995 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
1994 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
1994 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
1993 USBWA District I Coach of the Year
1993 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
1992 Eastern Basketball Coach of the Year
Overall Record: 480-143 (.770)
March/April Record: 102-29 (.779)
NCAA Record: 28-12 (.700)
Conference Record: 222-68 (.766)
Conference Tourney Record: 37-9 (.804)
NCAA Division-I Active Winningest Coaches
By Percentage - Min. 10 yrs. at Division I level
Rank Coach Team Years Pct.
1 Mark Few Gonzaga 10 .799
2 Roy Williams UNC 21 .798
3 John Calipari Kentucky 17 .770
4 Bo Ryan Wisconsin 25 .764
5 Mike Krzyzewski Duke 34 .757
NCAA Division-I All-Time Winningest Coaches
By Percentage - Min. 10 yrs. at Division I level
Rank Coach Years Pct.
1 Clair Bee 21 .826
2 Adolph Rupp 41 .822
3 John Wooden 29 .804
4 Mark Few* 10 .799
5 Roy Williams* 21 .798
6 John Kresse 23 .797
7 Jerry Tarkanian 31 .784
8 Francis Schmidt 17 .782
9 Dean Smith 36 .776
10 John Calipari* 17 .770
* only active coaches in top 15 on all-time list
The University of Kentucky men’s basketball program agreed to take part in a three-year deal beginning in the 2011-12 season to play in the Champions Classic, pitting the Wildcats against three of the top programs in college basketball over a three-year span. The other three schools that will be part of the three year double-header are Kansas, Duke and Michigan St. The games will be played at three different neutral sites starting in 2011 and on ESPN. Below is the schedule of the match-ups over the next three season.
Tuesday - November 15, 2011 (Madison Square Garden - New York)
Duke vs. Michigan State
Kentucky vs. Kansas
Tuesday - November 13, 2012 (Georgia Dome - Atlanta)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky
Tuesday - November 12, 2013 (United Center - Chicago)
Michigan State vs. Kentucky
Kansas vs. Duke
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Notre Dame|
UK leads series 41-18
Kentucky vs Notre Dame…12/8/10 Wednesday 9:30PMEST/8:30PMCST (ESPN)
Game played at Freedom Hall in Louisville
Location: South Bend, IN
Head Coach: Mike Brey
Career Record: 310-165 (65.3%) 15 Seasons
At Notre Dame-211-113 (65.1%) 10 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 23-12
2009-10 Big East Record: 10-8
2009-10 Postseason Record: 0-1 NCAA
2010-11 Record: 8-0
Notre Dame 98 Georgia Southern 61
Notre Dame 72 Liberty 51
Notre Dame 102 Chicago State 62
Notre Dame 92 Maine 72
Notre Dame 89 Georgia 83 (2 OT)
Notre Dame 57 California 44
Notre Dame 58 Wisconsin 51
Notre Dame 81 Indiana State 72
Probable Starting Lineup
Tyrone Nash F 6’8” Sr……..…..12.5
Tim Abromaitis F 6’8” Sr….…..15.6
Carleton Scott F 6’7” Sr………..11.0
Scott Martin G 6’8” Sr. ……..…9.4
Ben Hansbrough G 6’3” Sr…….15.8
Big man Luke Harangody has finally graduated, but even though the Irish don’t have a player of Harangody’s size, they do start three 6’8” players and one 6’7” player…..so they still have good size. Notre Dame will be a very experienced team starting five seniors.
It seems that most every season, the Irish have good perimeter shooters…..and this season is no different. Abromaitis and Hansbrough led Notre Dame in 3 point shooting last season hitting 42.9% and 41.4% respectfully. Thus far this season Hansbrough has hit 23-42 perimeter shots for a blistering 55%.
Scott Martin is a transfer from Purdue where he started 8 games as a freshman. Martin sit out his transfer sophomore year at Notre Dame and missed his junior year with a torn ACL. Finally, in his senior year, Martin is able to once again play college basketball.
So far, the Irish have very balanced scoring with 4 starters averaging over 11 PPG and Martin at 9.4 PPG.
Although, Notre Dame has not played a tough schedule, they are undefeated with victories over Georgia, Wisconsin and California. The Irish bring experience and good shooting to the UK game and will be a dangerous opponent for any team this season.
The box score of the UK-NC game is very revealing. Our worry regarding the big advantage NC had on the frontline length wise became a reality. NC outrebounded UK....Zeller had 11 rebounds and Henson had 12 rebounds.....plus NC had 9 block shots. Harrellson got 21 minutes before fouling out....but he did grab 7 rebounds and played his heart out.....remember that terrific effort near the end of the game when Josh got a huge rebound and put in back in the basket. However, Josh still has great difficulty defending players of Zeller's talent. Vargas played only 9 minutes before fouling out. Obviously, UK needs Vargas to play much better. Uk's Jones had a very poor game hitting only 3-17 from the field as he was obviously taken to the woodshed by Zeller and Henson as they blocked Jones shots and prevented him from scoring inside. Jones was obviously frustrated, but IMO he would have been better off taking more shots away from the paint....on a number of occasions he had open looks from the outside, but chose to drive into the paint where he was either blocked or threw up a bad shot.
Actually, Miller had a good game from the field.....hitting on 4-8 from the field....3-5 from the perimeter.....and grabbed 7 rebounds. Miller is flat out a very good shooter......however, he needs to be more aggressive offensively.....in short....Miller needs to demand the ball and take more shots. He too often disappears on offense.....UK needs Miller's offense.
Knight shot the ball reasonably well.....but had 6 TO's....a number at very bad times. Knight needs to be much less careless with his passes. Also, Brandon missed a huge one & one late in the game....Knight must significantly improve his free throw shooting.
Game ball to Lamb....this kid plays with great confidence....and is a terrific shooter. Lamb wanted the ball at the end and made some nice moves, but a couple of his late shots didn't fall.
All in all, I'm very proud of the effort these young Cats made....they played hard in front of 20,000 Tarheel fans against a talented NC team. This was a terrific college game.....many lead changes and ties....and the game was in doubt until the very end.
Frankly, it is amazing that UK only lost the game by 2 points with Jones having such a subpar game and 4 UK players fouling out.
I like this young UK team.....but, it is a reality that against big talented frontlines....the Cats will have to really bring their A game.
The Notre Dame game in Freedom Hall is very important….as these young Cats need a confidence win over a good opponent. Also, it would be great to see Jones get back on track with a solid game….and Brandon Knight minimize his TO’s. UK needs both Jones and Knight to bring their A games against tough opponents.
It will be very important for the Cats to defend the perimeter shots where Notre Dame is very dangerous. Playing against 5 seniors on a solid Irish team will be another tough challenge for UK, but I look for these young Cats to defeat the Irish by 12 points. GO CATS!
Monday, December 06, 2010
BYU vs. UTEP
University Stadium Dec. 18, 2010 2 p.m. ESPN
Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State
Bronco Stadium Dec. 18, 2010 5:30 p.m. ESPN
R+L Carriers New Orleans
Ohio vs. Troy
New Orleans, La
Louisiana Superdome Dec. 18, 2010 9 p.m. ESPN
Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg
Southern Mississippi vs. Louisville
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tropicana Field Dec. 21, 2010 8 p.m. ESPN
MAACO Las Vegas
Utah vs. Boise State
Las Vegas, Navada
Sam Boyd Stadium Dec. 22, 2010 8 p.m. ESPN
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia
Navy vs. San Diego State
San Diego, Calif.
Qualcomm Stadium Dec. 23, 2010 8 p.m. ESPN
Hawaii vs. Tulsa
Aloha Stadium Dec. 24, 2010 8 p.m. ESPN
Florida International vs. Toledo
Ford Field Dec. 26, 2010 8:30 p.m. ESPN
AdvoCare V100 Independence
Air Force vs. Georgia Tech
Independence Stadium Dec. 27, 2010 5 p.m. ESPN2
West Virginia vs. NC State
Florida Citrus Bowl Dec. 28, 2010 6:30 p.m. ESPN
Missouri vs. Iowa
Sun Devil Stadium Dec. 28, 2010 10 p.m. ESPN
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman
East Carolina vs. Maryland
RFK Stadium Dec. 29, 2010 2:30 p.m. ESPN
Illinois vs. Baylor
Reliant Stadium Dec. 29,2010 6 p.m. ESPN
Oklahoma State vs. Arizona
San Antonio, Texas
Alamodome Dec. 29,2010 9:15 p.m. ESPN
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Army vs. SMU
Gerald J. Ford Stadium Dec. 30, 2010 Noon ESPN
New Era Pinstripe
Kansas St. vs. Syracuse
Yankee Stadium Dec. 30, 2010 3:20 p.m. ESPN
Franklin American Mortgage Music City
North Carolina vs. Tennessee
LP Field Dec. 30, 2010 6:40 p.m. ESPN
Bridgepoint Education Holiday
Nebraska vs. Washington
San Diego, Calif.
Qualcomm Stadium Dec. 30, 2010 10 p.m. ESPN
Meineke Car Care
South Florida vs. Clemson
Bank of America Stadium Dec. 31, 2010 Noon ESPN
Notre Dame vs. Miami
El Paso, Texas
Sun Bowl Dec. 31, 2010 2 p.m. CBS
Georgia vs. UCF
Liberty Bowl Dec. 31, 2010 3:30 p.m. ESPN
South Carolina vs. Florida State
Georgia Dome Dec. 31, 2010 7:30 p.m. ESPN
Northwestern vs. Texas Tech
Cotton Bowl Jan. 1, 2011 Noon ESPNU
Florida vs. Penn State
Raymond James Stadium Jan. 1, 2011 1 p.m. ABC
Alabama vs. Michigan State
Florida Citrus Bowl Jan. 1, 2011 1 p.m. ESPN
Mississippi State vs. Michigan
Municipal Stadium Jan. 1, 2011 1:30 p.m. ESPN2
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
Wisconsin vs. TCU
Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 2011 5 p.m. ESPN
Connecticut vs. Oklahoma
U. of Phoenix Stadium Jan. 1, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3D
Stanford vs. Virginia Tech
Sun Life Stadium Jan. 3, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Ohio State vs. Arkansas
New Orleans, La.
Louisiana Superdome Jan. 4, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (Ohio)
Ladd-Peebles Stadium Jan. 6, 2011 8 p.m. ESPN
LSU vs. Texas A&M
Cowboys Stadium Jan. 7, 2011 8 p.m. FOX
BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky
Legion Field Jan. 8, 2011 Noon ESPN
Kraft Fight Hunger
Nevada vs. Boston College
San Francisco, Calif.
AT&T Park Jan. 9, 2011 9 p.m. ESPN
Tostitos BCS National Championship Game
Oregon vs. Auburn
U. of Phoenix Stadium Jan. 10, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3D
Thursday, December 02, 2010
|Kentucky vs. North Carolina|
North Carolina leads the series 21-11
Kentucky vs North Carolina…12/4/10 Saturday 12:30PM/11:30AM on CBS with Gus Johnson & Clark Kellogg calling the game.
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Head Coach: Roy Williams
Career Record: 614-155 (79.8%) 22 Seasons
At North Carolina: 196-54 (78.4%) 7 Seasons
2009-10 ACC Record: 5-11
2009-10 Postseason Record: 4-1 (NIT)
2010-11 Record: 4-3
North Carolina 80 Lipscomb 66
North Carolina 107 Hofstra 63
Minnesota 72 North Carolina 67
Vanderbilt 72 North Carolina 65
North Carolina 80 UNC Ashville 69
North Carolina 74 College of Charleston 69
Illinois 79 North Carolina 67
Probable Starting Lineup
John Henson F 6’10” So……….16.1
Tyler Zeller F/C 7’0” Jr………..14.7
Harrison Barnes F 6’8” Fr……..11.3
Dexter Strickland G 6’3” So..….7.6
Larry Drew II G 6’2” Jr………..3.6
Other Key Players
Justin Knox F 6’9” Sr………..…6.9
Leslie McDonald G 6’4” So…….6.6
Kendall Marshall G 6’3” Fr….....4.3
North Carolina returned only one starter from last season., Larry Drew…and unfortunately Drew had a tough year last season committing 120 TO’s. The Tarheels lost starters Marcus Ginyard, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis…plus excellent 3 point shooter Will Graves was dismissed from the team. In addition, the tall Wear twins transferred back to the West coast.
However, although inexperienced, NC has both talent and size. Tyler Zeller, at 7’0’, John Henson at 6’10” and Harrison Barnes at 6’8” gives the Tarheels a big talented frontline…and they can insert Alabama transfer, Justin Knox at 6’9” off the bench. Those four frontline plays account for 63% of NC scoring. Zeller and Henson are the teams top rebounders. Drew leads the starters in assists and Strickland leads in assists.
NC started the season ranked in the top 10, but recent losses have removed them from the top 25. Undoubtedly, the Tarheels were over ranked at the start of the season, however, NC has good talent, especially in Zeller and Barnes, and they will almost certainly get a lot better as they gain experience playing together. Super talented freshman Harrison Barnes has struggled early this season with his shooting….probably placing too much pressure on himself as he attempts to meet the huge early season expectations for himself.
If the Tarheels can get improved guard play to go along with their excellent frontline, look for NC to still have a very successful season.
Kentucky got to shake off the U Conn loss with a blowout win at Rupp arena over Boston University. It was especially good to see the Cats improved play on offense and defense. However, while the blowout win was nice to see….it has to be evaluated against a clearly inferior opponent.
UK must now play NC in the Dean Dome where the Tarheels are especially tough. Although, NC has lost 3 games….none have come at home. The matchup between UK and NC will be especially interesting as NC has the advantage in the paint while UK has the advantage in the backcourt. The Cats need to have solid defensive games from Harrellson and Vargas ….and both need to avoid foul trouble. Playing good defense will be paramount to achieving a UK victory….the Tarheels like to run and UK must play great transition defense.
It is increasingly obvious that Knight and Jones, especially, need to play well…..but, the Cats will need solid games from Miller, Liggins and Lamb as well.
There is always great interest in a UK-NC game because these are the two greatest programs in college basketball history!
Do not be fooled by NC’s 4-3 record….because the Tarheels are a much better team than they have shown thus far…..couple that with playing at home….and this could very well be a barnburner. Hopefully, Barnes continues to struggle with his shooting…..regardless, I like the Cats in a very close game….get ready to rumble at the Dean Dome......UK wins by 3 points. GO CATS!
Monday, November 29, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Boston University|
UK leads 2-0
Kentucky vs Boston University….11/30/10 Tuesday 7PM...FS South/BBSN/ESPN 3
Location: Boston, Mass
Head Coach: Patrick Chambers
Career Record: 21-14 (60%) One Season
2009/10 Record: 21-14
2009/10 America East Record: 11-5
2009/10 Postseason: 2-1 (CBI)
2010/11 Record: 4-3
Northeastern 66 Boston 64
Boston 76 George Washington 67
Villanova 82 Boston 66
Boston 58 Marist 37
Hampton 51 Boston 50
Boston 66 Nevada 57
Boston 66 Cornell 61
Probable Starting Lineup PPG
John Holland G/F 6’5” Sr…….17.9
Patrick Hazal F 6’6” Jr………..5.0
Darryl Partin G 6’6” Jr………..10.3
Jake O’Brien 6’8” Jr…………..9.9
D.J. Irving G 6’0” Fr…………..7.1
Boston University, not to be confused with Boston College of the ACC, returns 3 starters from last season. The Terriers best player is John Holland who led the conference in scoring last season averaging 19.2 PG. Holland is a terrific player and would likely start on many Division 1 teams. Thus far this season, Holland is leading the team in scoring and takes 26% of the shots. Holland is a solid rebounder for his size….shoots 35.4% from long range while leading the Terriers in steals.
Hazal and O’Brien are the leading rebounders…..while Irving is the leading assist Terrier with 21. The Terriers have good experience, but are not a big team…..and with the exception of Holland….don’t have any top notch players.
As a point of interest…..Boston just defeated Cornell which has ex UK player, Mark Coury. Coury scored 9 points for Cornell and was a starter.
UK returns from Maui after defeating Oklahoma and Washington, but were taken to the woodshed by U Conn. The Cats now know that they have a lot of improving to accomplish…. both offensively and defensively. All in all, the loss to U Conn was a very valuable learning experience for these young Cats.
Brandon Knight, a very talented Cat, must improve his overall play…as his early season stats are not good…..FG%-41.1%....3 Point %-26.5%.....FT%-57.1%.....14 Assists compared to 23 TO’s. Knight has too often over penetrated and taken bad shots. He knows he must be the catalyst for the offense….getting all the Cats involved in the offense. Of course, Brandon isn’t the only Cat that has played out of control….namely Liggins and Lamb. Miller must get the ball more often as he is shooting the rock extremely well this season….47.7%....and 9-19 from the perimeter.
One Cat that has already brought his A game…is Terrence Jones who is playing at a spectacular level……averaging 21.2 PPG……50% FG%....46.2% from the perimeter…..leads team in rebounds with 10.2……has 14 blocks…..8 steals. The only chink in Jones game is his FT shooting which is a dismal 55.3%.
Unquestionably, there is an abundance of talent on the UK team, but it is a young team that will need to work hard week by week to master the offense and defense that coach Cal wants UK to achieve. It will take time, but these Cats after being embarrassed by U Conn will be more than willing to do what’s necessary to correct the early season mistakes.
The Boston game will allow these young Cats to show coach Cal some needed improvement in their overall game…..and I believe we will see a much less selfish team…..and instead more passing and less playing out of control.
I see UK defeating Boston by 25 points. GO CATS!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Oklahoma|
UK leads series 2-0
11/22/10 Monday 5:30/4:30 (ESPN2)
2010 Maui Invitational
Location: Norman, Okla
Head Coach: Jeff Capel
Career Record: 161-92 (63.6%) 8 Seasons
At Okla-82-51 (61.7%) 4 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 13-18
2009-10 Big 12 Record: 4-12
2009-10 Postseason Record: None
2010-11 Record: 3-0
Okla 77 Coppin St. 57
Okla 71 NC Central 63 OT
Okla 82 Texas Southern 52
Probable Starting Lineup
Andrew Fitzgerald F-6’8” So…..PPG-15.3
Nic Thompson F-6’9” Jr………..PPG-6.0
Cade Davis G-6’5” Sr………… PPG-12.7
Steven Pledger G-6”4” So……...PPG-16.7
Cameron Clark G/F 6’6” Fr…….PPG-8.0
Oklahoma returns only one starter off last season’s disappointing 13-18 Sooner team. As a result, Oklahoma is an inexperienced team starting a freshman and two sophomores. On the plus side….the Sooners have added some nice talent and have good size throughout the lineup. The Sooners are off to a nice 3-0 start, but the competition has been lesss than stellar. Thus far, Fitzgerald, Pledger and Davis have been the leader scorers….all three in double figures. Davis is off to a good start hitting 42.1% from 3 point range. Thompson and Fitzgerald are the leading rebounders….while Thompson and Pledger lead the Sooners in assists
A prime reason for Oklahoma's poor season last year was very poor team chemistry which Capel found to be draining mentally and emotionally. Now the Sooners are essentially a new team and there is optimism that this will be a much better year. Time will tell….and coach Capel will now get a good opportunity to see where his team is fundamentally and chemistry wise as he faces ranked Kentucky and other good teams in the Maui Invitational.
Kentucky arrives in Hawaii with a 2-0 record and a very solid win over Portland. UK shot 55% including 44.4% from the perimeter….hitting 8-18 against the Pilots. The Cats once again moved the ball well with only 11 TO’s. In addition.UK out rebounded Portland and hit 15-20 FT’s. All in all, an impressive road win for these young Cats.
Individually, game ball to Darius Miller who garnered 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 block shots…..terrific game by Miller. Importantly, Brandon Knight had another solid game hitting for 21 points, but had only one assist. Great defensive job from Liggins who really shut down the Pilots best long range shooter as Stohl finished with 9 points on 1-7 from long range. Terrance Jones, playing before his home fans, didn’t have a great game, but he did contribute 12 points and showed signs of greatness with some terrific moves.
Josh Harrellson got his 2nd start of the season and he didn’t disappoint….pulling down 12 rebounds, adding 6 points and having zero TO’s in 23 minutes….nice effort from Josh. Also, Vargas added 4 points and 4 rebounds in 14 minutes…..so the pivot got 16 rebounds and 10 points from the duo of Harrellson and Vargas…not bad….not bad at all.
While UK has looked very good in it’s first two games against questionable talent….they will very likely get a much truer picture of their strengths and weaknesses in the 3 games at Maui when they face more talented teams then they have faced thus far. When UK leaves Maui….we will all see whether UK’s ranking is too low or too high….or whether they even deserved to be ranked….at least at this point in the season.
Although Oklahoma is not ranked, they are bigger and more athletic then the two teams UK has faced. The game will be a good first test in Maui. I like the Cats to get their 1st win at Maui by defeating the Sooners by 11 points.GO CATS!
- This team is way ahead of where our freshmen were a year ago. While we obviously don't have the athleticism that we had a year ago, this seems to be gelling much quicker than a year ago.
- The basketball IQ for this team is off the charts. This early last year, we were still seeing very questionable decisions from our Freshmen, especially Bledsoe and Cousins, and even Wall at times. We are making far less mental mistakes.
- Josh Harrellson - 6 points, 12 rebounds. He is buying what Coach Calipari is selling. He's not flashy, and he won't show up big in the box score, but I love what I saw out of Harrellson tonight. He's completely happy with anchoring down the middle, grabbing boards, and picking up some garbage points on offensive rebounds and loose balls.
- Terrence Jones - He started off slow, with only 2 points in the first half. A lot of freshmen will let a slow start disrupt the rest of their game. Jones stuck with his game, didn't question himself, and ended up with a solid game with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks.
- Speaking of Terrence Jones, I absolutely loved how he reacted to Coach Calipari taking him out of the game after the situation under the basket. We all saw DeMarcus Cousins last year, pout and throw fits after something like that. Jones, went over, sat on the bench, cooled down. He showed a lot of maturity there.
- And, speaking of the situation under the basket, I believe it was DeAndre Liggins who came over, and cooled down Jones immediately after it happened. I've been very hard on Liggins during his time at Kentucky, but I can now say he's becoming one of my favorite players on this team. I've never seen a player accept his new role the way Liggins has, and that speaks volumes for Calipari as a coach.
- Liggins is one of the best defenders in the country. Completely shut down Stohl last night. One of the best shooters in the country, and Liggins never let him get into a rhythm, and limited him to 9 points on 2 of 9 shooting. You can't say enough about the defensive performance put on by DeAndre last night. It won't show up in the box score, but Liggins is the key to this team. We will go as far as Liggins takes us. His ability to take a teams main offensive threat away is such a great thing to have.
- Brandon Knight is the "quietest" scorer I have seen in a long time. What I mean by that is, if you didn't see the box score, and you didn't keep track of Knight's points, you would have never guess Brandon put up 21 points last night. The kid is special.
- We can shoot the basketball! How refreshing is that to hear after last years 3 point struggles? 8-18 last night. 3-4 from Daron Lamb, 3-4 for Darius Miller, and 2-5 from Brandon Knight. I also love that we are hitting the guy trailing on fast breaks for wide open 3's a lot. Any 3 pointer in transition is a huge momentum boost.
- Darius Miller is much improved from last year. He has the confidence that I have never seen from Miller. What a stat line last night. 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks. Again, the improvement from Darius Miller just shows what a great coach Calipari is.
- We have quick hands on defense. We're always looking for the steal. Going to have a lot of fast break points this year.
The negatives -
- Terrence Jones absolutely has to stop being so quick to pull the trigger on the 3 point shot. He only shot two last night, but they were two bad shots. His best game is the mid-range game, 10-15 feet from the basket, use it!
- Eloy Vargas. I knew he wasn't going to put up huge numbers, and I'm fine with that. But, he looks like he never has any idea where he's supposed to be on the offensive end of the court.
- Stacey Poole. I understand he's buried behind a lot of talent, but what is this guy doing wrong in practice that he can only get 2 minutes, at the end of the game, when we're playing 4 games in 6 days, and we only have 10 guys dressed, including Polson?
- Lack of depth. If Stacey Poole can't at least be a role player for this team, we are in serious trouble here. 10 guys played last night, but of them, Poole had 2 minutes, and Polson had 2 minutes, in a 31 point blowout, so you can't expect them to contribute in close games. How far can we go with an 8 man rotation?
- I saw Darius Miller get lazy a few times on the defensive end. I don't like to see guys rest on the defensive end of the court. This is not like Darius Miller, but it is a negative from last night that I need to point out. I saw a few times where Miller failed to close out on a jump shooter and instead lazily jogged towards him. I will give Darius the benefit of the doubt that it won't happen again, but it was a concern last night.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
|Kentucky vs. Portland|
UK leads series 1-0
11/19/10 Friday @ 10:30PM/9:30PM (ESPNU)
Location: Portland, Oregon
Head Coach: Eric Reveno
Career Record: 58-69 (45.7%) 4 Seasons at Portland
2009-10 Record: 21-11
2009-10 West Coast Conf Record: 10-4
2009-10 Postseason: 0-1
2010-11 Record: 3-0
Portland 80 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 60
Portland 75 UC-Davis 60
Portland 89 Florida Atlantic 75
Probable Starting Lineup
Nemania Mitrovic-G 6’5” So….PPG-9.7
Luke Sikma-F 6’8 ‘ Sr…………PPG-11.3
Kramer Knutson-F/C 6’9” Sr…. PPG-8.7
Eric Waterford-G 6’1” Jr………PPG-8.7
Jared Stohl-G 6’1” Sr………… PPG-16.7
The Portland Pilots are in the same league as Gonzaga so they play some decent competition. The Portland game with UK was set up by the Cats so that Terrance Jones could have a game in his home town of Portland. The game will be played in the Rose Garden where the NBA Portland Trailblazers play….it seats around 20,000.
Importantly, the Portland Pilots ranked 5th in the nation last season on 3 pointers…hitting a dazzling 40.7% from the perimeter. The Pilots Jared Stohl hit 98- 3 pointers for an incredible 47.8%. In his first 3 games this season, Stohl has hit 9-20 from long range.
The leading rebounder for Portland is 6’8” senior Luke Sikma who is averaging 13 rebounds thus far this season. In the win over Florida Atlantic, Sikma hauled down 19 boards. As a point of interest…Luke is the son of former NBA star Jack Sikma who played 14 seasons with Seattle and Milwaukee.
Kentucky opened their season with a solid 88-65 win over East Tennessee St. The Cats hit a terrific 13-26 from the perimeter. Individually, Jones gets the game ball with 25 points, 12 rebounds and zero TO’s in 35 minutes. Great game for the freshman with the only negative occurring at the charity line where Jones hit only 3-10. Knight added 17 points with 5 assists and Lamb garnered 20 points….so all 3 freshmen had solid contributions. Liggins added 14 points and 6 assists.
Overall, it was an impressive initial game for these young Cats. The passing was very impressive as UK moved the ball quickly with few TO’s. Unfortunately, the pivot is a concern…..with Enes Kanter unlikely to play this season….UK must look to Harrellson and Vargas to improve their defense and rebounding in the pivot. Josh did pull down 7 rebounds in the opening game but picked up two quick fouls as did Vargas. Vargas is obviously behind the rest of the team in conditioning as he missed the early conditioning and the Canadian trip. Hopefully, as the season progresses, both Harrellson and Vargas can show solid improvement offensively and particulary defensively.
UK now goes on the road to Portland where they will face another experienced team starting 3 seniors and a junior. Perimeter defense must be a huge focus for the Cats because the Pilots are an outstanding 3 point shooting team….and some Cat must make sure the Pilots long range great shooter Stohl doesn’t get open looks at the basket. Hopefully, the Cats worked on their free throw shooting as they were horrible in the opening game hitting only 9-23 or 39%
Portland will be a stiff early season test for this very young UK team…. playing on the road before 20,000. My prediction is UK by 10 points. GO CATS!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
- Mike Gilchrist will sign with UK today at a family celebration. Time and place of announcement/signing hasn't been made public yet.
- Marquis Teague will sign a traditional letter of intent to UK at 3 p.m. today at Pike Freshman Center in Indy.
- Anthony Davis will sign today at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. Chicago time) at his school.
- Kyle Wiltjer will sign with UK at 5:30 p.m. EST (2:30 PST) today.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
|Kentucky vs. East Tennessee State|
UK Leads Series 3-0
Kentucky vs East Tennessee State….A Preview (Friday..11/12/10) 7PM
East Tenn St.
Location: Johnson City, Tenn
Arena : 6,500
Head Coach: Murry Bartow
Career Record: 241-170 (58.6%) 13 Seasons
At East Tenn St: 138-87 (61.3%) 8 Seasons
2009-10 Record: 20-15
2009-10 Atlantic Sun Record: 13-7
2009-10 Postseason Record: 0-1 (Lost in NCAA 1st Round)
Probable Starting Lineup
Mike Smith- F-6’6” Sr.—PPG-9.3
Justin Tubbs-G-6’3” Sr.—PPG-12.1
Micah Williams-G-6’4” Sr---PPG-12.7
Tommy Hubbard F-6’4” Sr---PPG-13.9
Isiah Bown C/F-6’8” Jr---PPG-7.8
Despite losing a player to a fatal car accident and a number of key injuries, ETSU still had a decent year and made the NCAA tourney….only to lose to UK 100-71 in the 1st round.
This season ETSU returns it’s top 6 scorers and gets back Mike Smith who only played 4 games last season before his season ending injury. Smith had been projected as ETSU leading scorer last season. ETSU’s projected starting lineup includes 4 seniors and one junior so they will be an extremely experienced team. Importantly, coach Bartow used his bench frequently with 11 players averaging over 10 MPG., so the Buccaneers will be a deep team in experience.
As a note of interest…coach Murry Bartow is the son of Gene Bartow who previously coached at UCLA and initiated the UAB basketball program.
Importantly, coach Calipari recruited another talented number one class for this season….and it’s a good thing….because UK suffered huge losses losing Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe and Orton. The Cats will obviously be an entirely different team likely utilizing the DDMO far more often than last season when they had a great inside presence in Cousins, Patterson and Orton.
As expected with all the new talent coming on the roster….there are a host of questions regarding this very talented, but very inexperienced UK team. What will the team chemristy be?....Will this team play inspired defense?....How about rebounding?....Will they master the DDMO?....Can this team score consistently from the perimeter?.....Will they minimize TO’s?....Can they shoot a high percentage from the FT line? The answers to these questions will determine how successful these young Cats will be this season.
Who will start and what will be the top 7-8 players in rotation? My guess is that UK might start the most talented 5 players….and that would be as follows:
Of course, while that lineup provides the best offensive lineup….it has a disadvantage in not have a big pivot man. So, depending on the matchups….Harrellson and Vargas will often need to get quality time. I look for Hood to beat out Poole for the primary 7-8 rotation.
Although, UK will depend heavily on the incoming freshmen, it’s important to recognize that Miller and Liggins, both juniors, bring a lot of experience….and both have significantly improved in their UK careers. Miller will be counted on to provide a more aggressive offense and Liggins brings an incredible defensive intensity.
The Cats have an outstanding PG in Knight….a terrific forward in Jones….and a talented guard in Lamb. Still they all have much to learn. Harrellson, although not a great player, has definitely improved and will need be effective on the boards. Vargus has potential, but thus far he has not been as aggressive as he needs to be in the pivot.
Overall, I really like the talent on this UK team….I am optimistic that if we get mostly positive answers to my previous questions….this UK team will have a successful season.
The main worry is the pivot and the lack of overall depth. A key injury or foul trouble could be a huge problem for coach Cal.
In facing ETSU, this young UK team will be at a disadvantage in experience, so they will need to play smart and hard. Make no mistake, this ETSU opening game will not be a walk in the park…as this young UK team will get a taste of Division 1 basketball from a veteran team set on upsetting UK at Rupp arena.I like the Cats over ETSU by 12 points.
Lastly, as you can see, my comments and analysis excluded Kanter because his eligibility is unknown. If Kanter is eligible.....then I truly feel that this UK team has a legitimate shot at the NCAA Final Four….and perhaps an 8th NCAA championship. Without Kanter, UK will likely be a Sweet 16 team. GO CATS!
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Here's a video by Oregon Live of Kyle Wiltjer re-affirming his commitment to play basketball at Kentucky, squashing internet rumors that said he had decommitted.
|Kyle Wiltjer reaffirms his commitment to Kentucky|
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Front Row (from left): Asst. Coach Orlando Antigua; Stacey Poole; Jarrod Polson; Brandon Knight; Doron Lamb; DeAndre Liggins and Head Coach John Calipari. Back Row (from left): Tony Delk; Brandon Weems; Rod Strickland; Mike Malone; Terrence Jones; Enes Kanter; Eloy Vargas; Josh Harrellson; Darius Miller; Jon Hood; Chris Simmons; Asst. Coach Kenny Payne; Asst. Coach John Robic; Bryan Settle and Martin Newton
|No.||Last Name||Name||Pos.||Height||Ht.||Wt.||eligibility||Cl./Exp.||Hometown (Last School)|
|3||jones terrence||Terrence Jones||Forward||80||6-8||244||1||FR/HS||Portland, Ore. (Jefferson)|
|-10||kanter enes||Enes Kanter||Forward||83||6-11||262||1||FR/HS||Istanbul, Turkey (Stoneridge Prep)|
|30||vargas eloy||Eloy Vargas||Forward||83||6-11||250||5||JR/TR||Moca, Dominican Republic (Miami-Dade CC)|
|55||harrellson josh||Josh Harrellson||Forward||82||6-10||275||7||SR/2L||St. Charles, Mo. (SW Illinois College)|
|5||polson jarrod||Jarrod Polson||Guard||74||6-2||185||1||FR/HS||Nicholasville, Ky. (West Jessamine)|
|4||hood jon||Jon Hood||Guard||79||6-7||202||3||SO/1L||Madisonville, Ky. (North Hopkins)|
|1||miller darius||Darius Miller||Guard||79||6-7||228||5||JR/2L||Maysville, Ky. (Mason County)|
|34||liggins deandre||DeAndre Liggins||Guard||78||6-6||210||5||JR/2L||Chicago, Ill. (Findley Prep)|
|20||lamb doron||Doron Lamb||Guard||76||6-4||195||1||FR/HS||Queens, N.Y. (Oak Hill Academy)|
|12||knight brandon||Brandon Knight||Guard||75||6-3||185||1||FR/HS||Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Pine Crest)|
|2||poole stacey||Stacey Poole||Guard||76||6-4||195||1||FR/HS||Jacksonville, Fla. (Providence)|
|Coaches and Staff|