Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Thoughts on the WV game

Lwcat
WT Administrator

First, I give WV credit....they are a very good team and they played solid defense. However, I do feel that UK was the better team. Unfortunately, for UK....a NEGATIVE PERFECT STORM occured in the game. WV known as a poor shooting team.....was making 3's like crazy, including one WV player who had never made a 3 the entire season. While WV was hitting 10 3 point shots.....UK was having a horrible shooting night.....missing it's first 20 perimeter shots and shooting 12.5%. On top of that...the Cats FT shooting, especially in the 2nd half, has terrible....55.2% for the game. To complete the PERFECT STORM....UK had 16 TO's.

Basketball isn't rocket science.....when you shoot only 34.3% from the field....12.5% from the perimeter....55.2% from the FT line....throw in 16 TO's.....guess what.....you are very likely to lose to a good team like WV.

I notice a few posters have blamed coach Cal....suggesting he is a poor bench coach. I respectfully disagree.....A coach doesn't go 35-2 with mostly freshmen....a new system.....win a number of very close games during the year....win the SEC and the SEC tourney....have UK ranked in the top 3 most of the season.....and advance to the Elite Eight....and be a poor bench coach. In fact, Calipari's record at U Mass and Memphis more than confirm his solid coaching ability.

Some posters have pointed to the fact that UK didn't go inside enough....but, WV had very tall defenders that had packed the zone around Cousins making it exceedingly difficult to go inside. WV simply didn't respect UK's ability to hit perimeter shots and let the Cats fire away. If UK could have hit a decent number of perimeter shots....then WV would have been forced to loosen the zone and that would have made it much easier to get the ball inside.

All UK fans have known that UK's too often......inconsistent perimeter shooting and poor FT shooting could cause UK to lose against a very good team.....that is what happened. Coach Cal wasn't shooting the ball.....the players were.....and unfortunately the Cats simply couldn't throw the ball in the ocean.

Folks, this was a tremendous season.....UK is back among the elite programs and the future looks very bright. The Cats have the perfect coach.....I give coach Cal an A plus for his first year at UK.....and I give these UK players an A plus for their hard work....their passion on the court.....their on court achievements....the thrills and excitement they have given UK fans. These Cats are great kids.....WOW....what a fantastic year!

KUDOS to the entire coaching staff and all the UK players for making all UK fans super proud of this year's UK team!!!!!!

Is DDMO real or just a marketing/recruiting tool?

Golfncat
WT Executive Moderator

I am beginning to wonder if the Dribble Drive Motion Offense (DDMO) is a real team offense or just a way to recruit top players and then allow them to work their talent, individually, on the floor to beat their man on offense.

Top players are definitely going to be attracted to this proposed offense in that it allows them the freedom to do their thing.

We certainly did not see any effective signs of the DDMO this year and we were told that it didn't fit with the BIG guys that we had.

We also did not see an offense that would have fit the BIGS and that was more 'inside-out' movement of the ball on a consistent basis.

During the year, I have talked to a few of my friends in Memphis that are really big Univ. of Memphis fans. They tell me that Calipari was great at beating other teams that did not have Memphis' talent and it was due to his better players working one-on-one. There was very little 'Team concept' on offense but there was on defense where they thought Calipari did a really good job.

Also, once again, a Calipari Team, got bit by poor free throw shooting. Calipari readily admits that his teams do not practice free throws in regular practice. DA!!! - don't you think that he would learn and have the players shoot free throws in practice, especially at the end of practice when they are fatigued.

I don't want to replace Calipari who has brought back tremandous excitement to the Kentucky Program but just giving my thoughts now that are very similar to what I was posting during this season even when we were winning.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Video: "I Bleed Blue"

Lwcat
WT Administrator

As the Cats enter the NCAA tourney, I thought it would be nice to post Ryan Parker's terrific video of "I Bleed Blue". Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

UK vs East Tennessee State.....A Brief Preview

Lwcat
WT Administrator

UK vs East Tennessee State....3/18-
Thursday @ 7:15PMEST/6:15PMCST CBS

Location- Johnson City, Tenn

Enrollment-13,126

Head coach- Murray Bartow
UAB-6 years- 103-83
ETSU- 7 years-138-85
Career Record-241-168 (61.9%)

Murray Bartow is the son of Gene Bartow who once coached UCLA and started the UAB program.

Atlantic Sun conf- 13-7 over Record 20-14

ETSU

PPG-69.2
FG%-43.5%
3 Pt%-31.0%
FT%-66.3%
TO's-14.9

Starting Lineup

Tommy Hubbard F-6'4" Jr. (PPG-14.1)
Isiah Brown F-6'8" Soph (PPG-7.7)
Justin Tubbs G-6'3" Jr. (PPG-12.0)
Jocolby Davis G-6'1" Sr. (PPG-2.8)
Micah Williams G-6'4" Jr. (PPG-12.5)

Other Key Players

Adam Sollazzo F-6'6" Soph (PPG-3.7)
J.C. Ward F-6'6" Fr. (PPG-2.4)
Sheldon Cooley G-6'3" Fr. (PPG-6.9)

A quick look at the ETSU starting lineup reveals a very small team, but it also reveals a very experienced team with 2 seniors and 2 juniors in the lineup. Tragically, ETSU lost 6'11" Seth Coy, who was a projected starter this season, to an auto accident last summer that cost Coy his life.

Tommy Hubbard who is ETSU's leading scorer is also their leading rebounder hauling in 8.4 PG...and Hubbard is only 6'4". Hubbard also leads the team in steals. Williams and Tubbs take the vast majority of 3 point shots and hit a very respectful 36% and 33%.

ETSU finished the year wining 9-11 and 6 straight at the end of the year. ETSU got the NCAA bid by winning the Atlantic Sun conference tourney.

Early in the year....ETSU lost at Louisville 69-56......defeated Arkansas at Arkansas 94-85......and lost to Tennessee at Knoxville 78-66.

ETSU is essentially playing a 4 guard lineup.....very likely a quick team on the floor that depends on speed and experience to win games.

UK obviously has a significant advantage in talent and height....and will be a definite favorite.....but, although a 16 seed has never defeated a 1 seed......doesn't mean it will never happen. ETSU will have nothing to lose.....they will likely play loose because no one expects them to win.....teams that are underdogs are always dangerous in the NCAA. One bad game and you're home!

However, coach Calipari will have the Cats ready to play......and as long as UK brings the same great intensity and heart to NCAA games as they showed in the SEC tourney.....the Cats will be hard to defeat. Still, it will be critical that UK improve their FT shooting as well as their 3 point shooting. Cats by 14! GO CATS!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Kentucky vs Florida……Preview 2

Lwcat
WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Florida……Preview 2
3/7/10-Sunday at 12PMEST/11AMCST
TV-CBS

Florida

Location-Gainesville
Enrollment-51,520
Arena-12,000

Head Coach-Billy Donovan
Career Record-345-146 (70.3%) 15 seasons
At Florida-310-126 (71.1%) 13 seasons

2008-09 Record-25-11
2008-09 SEC Record-9-7
2008-09 Postseason-NIT-1-1

2009-10 Record-20-10
2009-10 SEC Record-9-6

Florida 74 Stetson 46
Florida 69 Georgia Southern 49
Florida 80 Troy 58
Florida 68 Florida State 52
Florida 77 Michigan St. 74
Florida 73 Rutgers 58
Florida 80 Florida A&M 59
Florida 85 Jacksonville 67
Syracuse 85 Florida 73
Richmond 56 Florida 53
South Alabama 67 Florida 66
Florida 76 American U. 60
Florida 79 Presbyterian 38
Florida 62 NC St. 61 (OT)
Vanderbilt 95 Florida 87
Kentucky 89 Florida 77
Florida 72 LSU 58
Florida 71 Arkansas 66
Florida 58 South Carolina 56
Florida 87 Georgia 71
Tennessee 61 Florida 60
Florida 66 Alabama 65
Florida 69 Mississippi St. 62
South Carolina 77 Florida 71
Xavier 76 Florida 64
Florida 78 Auburn 70
Florida 64 Ole Miss 61
Florida 75 Tennessee 62
Georgia 78 Florida 76
Vanderbilt 64 Florida 60

Florida Stats / UK Stats

PPG-71.7 / 79.9
FG%-44.4% / 47.8%
3 Point FG%-30.8% / 34.6%
FT%-70.6% / 68.1%
Rebounds-37.2 / 41.9
Assists-14.2 / 14.9
TO’s-12.3 / 14.7
Steals-7.3 / 7.3
Blocks-2.7 / 7.2

Probable Starting Lineup

Chandler Parsons F-6’9”” Jr. (PPG-12.0)
Alex Tyus F-6’8” Soph (PPG-11.8)
Vernon Macklin C-6’10” Jr. (PPG-10.7)
Erving Walker G-5’8” Soph (PPG-12.7)
Kenny Boynton G-6’2” Fr. (PPG-13.5)

Other Key Players

Dan Werner F-6’8” Sr. (PPG-4.8)
Erik Murphy F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-3.4)
Ray Shipman G/F 6’5” Soph (PPG-2.5)

Coach Billy Donovan brings his Florida Gators into Rupp Arena hoping to get an upset win over the highly ranked Cats….so that Florida can return to the NCAA after two disappointing years playing in the NIT. The Gators have quality wins over Michigan St. and Tennessee, but recent losses to Georgia and Vandy have placed Florida on the NCAA bubble. Certainly, a win over UK in Rupp Arena would be huge for Florida’s NCAA resume….but, a loss….will likely mean that Florida would have to virtually win the SEC tourney to garner an NCAA bid….of course, a lot depends on how other bubble teams finish their season.

Florida has shown improvement this season and they have a solid starting five….all scoring in double figures. However, the Gators haven’t got much help off the bench in most games. Importantly, Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons are both shooting 50% and both lead the team in rebounds. Guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker are the primary 3 point shooters….but, while Boynton is shooting only 27.4% from the perimeter…..Walker has shot much better hitting 35.8% from long range. Walker leads the Gators in both assists and steals. Tyus, Parsons and Macklin give the Gators plenty of good size in the paint and all three frontline players are very active in the paint…..both scoring and rebounding. Walker is only 5’8”, if that, but he is both quick and clever offensively.

Florida only losses one senior and that is Dan Werner who was recruited by UK when he decided to transfer from N.C. State….in the end he chose Florida. Unfortunately, although Werner has played some good defense in his career at Florida, he fell short in the offense he was supposed to bring to the Gators. Werner has had problems shooting the ball and his average this season is a lowly 4.8 PPG. Regardless of whether Florida makes the NCAA this season, Billy Donovan will be returning all five starters and adding some very nice recruits….so the future looks bright next season for the Gators.

UK welcomes the Florida Gators for Senior Day at Rupp Arena. The Cats will say good-bye to Perry Stevenson, Ramon Harris, Mark Krebs and Patrick Patterson. Patterson, although not a senior, will graduate this year….his junior year. Although Patterson hasn’t said for certain that he won’t return, UK decided to include him because he will graduate and secondly…he will most likely go to the NBA. UK will also be entertaining some big time recruits. Senior Day is always a big day at Rupp Arena…. the Cats want to continue their undefeated season at Rupp Arena and keep their likely #1 seed in the NCAA alive.

UK fans will want to show their deep appreciation to Stevenson and Harris who, except for this season, started and played a lot of basketball for the Cats. Of course, Patterson will leave a huge mark at UK as one of the very best players in UK’s long great history. Mark Krebs obviously could have gone to a smaller college and played a lot of basketball, but he chose to be at UK where certainly in practice he helped prepare his teammates for games. All these kids did UK proud and I’m certain that they will be saluted by a great Rupp crowd for all their contributions to the UK program.

At Georgia, UK finally got out of their perimeter shooting slump and defeated a tough Bulldog team on their home court. Now, UK hopes to finish the regular season with a 2nd win over Florida this season. Look for a huge and intense effort from Florida because they want an NCAA bid in the worst way. The Cats will need to match that intensity. A win over Florida would give UK a tremendous 29-2 record….that would be a terrific way to end the regular season and prepare for the SEC tourney in Nashville…and then, of course, the true goal….an NCAA championship!

I see a UK sweep of the Gators….winning by 10 points. GO CATS!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Kentucky vs Georgia.....Preview 2

Lwcat
WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Georgia……Preview 2
(3/3/10-Wednesday @ 8PMEST/7PMCST)
TV - SEC Network

Location-Athens,Ga.
Enrollment-33,900
Arena-10,523

Head Coach- Mark Fox
Career Record-123-43 (74.1%) 5 seasons
First season at Georgia

2008-09 Record-12-20
2008-09 SEC Record-3-13
2008-09-Postseason-None

2009-10 Record-13-14
2009-10 SEC Record-5-9

Georgia 67 New Orleans 59
Wofford 60 Georgia 57
UAB 72 Georgia 56
Georgia 79 UNC Asheville 58
Georgia 67 Jacksonville St. 64
Georgia 64 St Louis 56
Virginia Tech 74 Georgia 62
St. John’s 66 Georgia 56
Georgia 70 Illinois 67
Georgia 77 Florida Atlantic 60
Georgia 64 Pepperdine 47
Missouri 89 Georgia 61
Georgia 73 Georgia Tech 66
Kentucky 76 Georgia 68
Ole Miss 80 Georgia 76
Mississippi St. 72 Georgia 69
Georgia 78 Tennessee 63
Florida 87 Georgia 71
South Carolina 78 Georgia 77
Arkansas 72 Georgia 68
Georgia 72 Vanderbilt 58
Auburn 82 Georgia 63
Georgia 66 South Carolina 61
Tennessee 69 Georgia 60
Georgia 76 Alabama 70
Vanderbilt 96 Georgia 94 (OT)
Georgia 78 Florida 76

Georgia Stats / UK Stats

PPG-69.2 / 79.9
FG%-46.3% / 47.6%
3 Point FG%-37.9% / 34.7%
FT%-71.7% / 67.9%
Rebounds-35.7 / 42.4
Assists-13.9 / 15.0
TO’s-15.3 / 14.9
Steals-6.0 / 7.2
Blocks-4.9 / 7.1

Probable Starting Lineup

Trey Thompkins F-6’9” So. (PPG-17.9)
Albert Jackson F/C-6’11” Sr. (PPG-3.5)
Travis Leslie G-6’4” So. (PPG-14.4)
Dustin Ware G-5’11” So. (PPG-8.3)
Ricky McPhee G-6’1” Sr. (PPG-9.9)

Other Key Players

Jeremy Price F-6’8” Jr. (PPG-7.1)
Chris Barnes F-6’8” Jr. (PPG-3.2)
Ebuka Anyaorah G-6’4” Fr. (PPG-2.7)

Coach Mark Fox who had 5 years of successful 20 plus seasons at Nevada, has found his first season at Georgia much more difficult.. The Georgia program has struggled for a number of years and hasn’t had a 20 win season since 2002-03 season. Coach Fox did not inherit a lot of talent, but despite Georgia’s 13-14 record….the Bulldogs have some nice wins this season…defeating Illinois, Tennessee, Vandy and Florida. Importantly, Georgia is very tough at home in Athens achieving a 12-3 record….while the Bulldogs are terrible on the road losing all 10 away games.

Georgia is led in scoring by very talented sophomore Trey Thompkins with 17.9 PPG. Importantly, Thompkins is shooting a nifty 50.4% from the field and an excellent 42.0% from the perimeter.…..plus he leads the team in rebounds with 8.1 PG. Another sophomore, Travis Leslie is 2nd in scoring while shooting a solid 49.1% from the field…and Leslie is 2nd in rebounds with 6.8 PG. The majority of Bulldog 3 pointers are taken by Ricky McPhee who has hit 58-147 for a very good 39.5%. Dustin Ware is the team’s assist leader with 92 for the year or 3.4 PG.

As a team, Georgia is a good perimeter shooting team hitting 38% and also does a nice job at the FT line hitting 71.7%. There is some talent on this Georgia team, but clearly not enough….and coach Fox will need some good recruiting classes to upgrade the Bulldog program. Certainly, talented sophs Thompkins, Leslie and Ware are very nice building blocks for coach Fox to take the Georgia program to the next level.

The Georgia Bulldogs are very likely the best and most dangerous 13-14 team in America…..they played UK very tough at Rupp Arena trailing 70-66 with just 37 seconds left in the game. Cats won by 8 based on some free throws. You can bet that coach Fox will have the Bulldogs more than ready to play….and defeating UK would be a huge win for coach Fox and the Georgia program.

UK unfortunately did not come close to matching Tennessee’s intensity at the start of the game and allowed the Vols to run off 18 unanswered points for an 18-4 lead. Throughout the game, the Cats played poor defense allowing open shots at the basket…..plus UK’s transitional defense was flat out horrible. Coach Pearl had his team hold the ball on most possessions until late in the shot clock thereby slowing down the Cats and minimizing overall game possessions. It was a similar well executed plan that nearly worked at Rupp arena….but in Knoxville with a frenzied home crowd….a UK team not playing with intensity…..not playing good defense…..and not shooting well….the result was a Vol victory! Although Cousins added another double double….there wasn’t much to cheer about regarding UK’s overall play in Knoxville. However, I was pleased to see that this young UK team trailing by 19 points in the 2nd half….didn’t fold their tent….instead they played with heart and even tied the game….but, the tank was empty and the Cats lost their 2nd game of the season.

The regular season is almost over with only two SEC games remaining…Georgia and Florida…. before the SEC tourney. On the plus side….these young super talented Cats have exceeded everyone’s expectations in achieving a 27-2 record thus far. A huge plus for these Cats is that their overall defense has significantly improved over the season and that is extremely important. In addition, even though these Cats are young, they play with a great deal of confidence, swagger and heart. They play hard and they don’t quit. However, there are some issues that need definite improving….shooting from the field and perimeter….minimizing TO’s…..free throw shooting. There is still time for improvement in these areas before the NCAA tourney.

Georgia was tough at Rupp Arena and they will tougher in Athens. UK must show up with intensity for 40 minutes….play solid defense….minimize TO’s….and, hopefully, start shooting the ball much better. I see a UK 7-9 point win over these feisty Bulldogs! GO CATS!