Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kentucky vs Louisville....A Preview

Kentucky vs. Louisville

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Louisville 12/31/10 NOON-EST/11AM-CST Friday on TV-CBS


Location: Louisville
Enrollment: 22,000
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.

3 PT%-41.2%

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!



Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kentucky vs Coppin State....A Preview

Kentucky vs. Coppin State
Kentucky leads series 1-0

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Coppin Sate 12/28/10 Tuesday..7PMEST/9PMCST on FSSouth

Coppin State

Location: Baltimore, MD
Enrollment: 3,875
Arena: 1,720

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

3 PT%-35.9

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… 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....A Preview

Kentucky vs. Winthrop
Kentucky leads series 1-0

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Winthrop…12/22/10 Wednesday 1PM-EST/NOON-CST on FSSouth/BBSN


Location: Rock Hill, SC
Enrollment: 6,600
Arena: 6,000

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

3 PT%-35.1%

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 ST....a Preview

Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley State
Kentucky leads series 2-0

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Mississippi Valley State 12/18/10 Saturday 8PMEST/7PMCST

Mississippi Valley State

Location: Itta Benna, Miss
Enrollment: 3,767
Arena: 4,500

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

2010-11 Record:1-8

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

3 PT-30.7%

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....A Preview

Kentucky vs. Indiana
UK leads series 30-23

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Indiana 12/11/10 Saturday at 5:15PMEST/4:15PMCST (ESPN)


Location: Bloomington, IN
Enrollment: 42,347
Arena: 17,357

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
2009-10 Postseason-None

2010-11 Record-7-1

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

3 PT-38.7%

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

2010 UK Football Evaluation Offense, Defense, Special Teams

WT Member

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

John Calipari is a great coach!

WT Administrator

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 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 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 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!

Coaching Awards

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

Kentucky to be part of Champions Classic

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.

Champions Classic

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....A Preview

Kentucky vs. Notre Dame
UK leads series 41-18

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs Notre Dame…12/8/10 Wednesday 9:30PMEST/8:30PMCST (ESPN)
Game played at Freedom Hall in Louisville

Notre Dame

Location: South Bend, IN
Enrollment: 11,733
Arena: 9,149

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

3 PT%-36.2%

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… 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 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 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

2010-11 College Football Bowl Schedule

New Mexico

Albuquerque, N.M.
University Stadium Dec. 18, 2010 2 p.m. ESPN

uDrove Humanitarian
Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State
Boise, Idaho
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

Sheraton Hawaii
Hawaii vs. Tulsa
Honolulu, Hawaii
Aloha Stadium Dec. 24, 2010 8 p.m. ESPN

Little Caesars
Florida International vs. Toledo
Detroit, Michigan
Ford Field Dec. 26, 2010 8:30 p.m. ESPN

AdvoCare V100 Independence
Air Force vs. Georgia Tech
Shreveport, La.
Independence Stadium Dec. 27, 2010 5 p.m. ESPN2

Champs Sports
West Virginia vs. NC State
Orlando, Fla.
Florida Citrus Bowl Dec. 28, 2010 6:30 p.m. ESPN

Missouri vs. Iowa
Tempe, Ariz.
Sun Devil Stadium Dec. 28, 2010 10 p.m. ESPN

Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman
East Carolina vs. Maryland
Washington, D.C.
RFK Stadium Dec. 29, 2010 2:30 p.m. ESPN

Illinois vs. Baylor
Houston, Texas
Reliant Stadium Dec. 29,2010 6 p.m. ESPN

Valero Alamo
Oklahoma State vs. Arizona
San Antonio, Texas
Alamodome Dec. 29,2010 9:15 p.m. ESPN

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Army vs. SMU
Dallas, Texas
Gerald J. Ford Stadium Dec. 30, 2010 Noon ESPN

New Era Pinstripe
Kansas St. vs. Syracuse
Bronx, N.Y.
Yankee Stadium Dec. 30, 2010 3:20 p.m. ESPN

Franklin American Mortgage Music City
North Carolina vs. Tennessee
Nashville, Tenn.
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
Charlotte, N.C.
Bank of America Stadium Dec. 31, 2010 Noon ESPN

Hyundai Sun
Notre Dame vs. Miami
El Paso, Texas
Sun Bowl Dec. 31, 2010 2 p.m. CBS

AutoZone Liberty
Georgia vs. UCF
Memphis, Tenn.
Liberty Bowl Dec. 31, 2010 3:30 p.m. ESPN

South Carolina vs. Florida State
Atlanta, Ga.
Georgia Dome Dec. 31, 2010 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Northwestern vs. Texas Tech
Dallas, Texas
Cotton Bowl Jan. 1, 2011 Noon ESPNU

Florida vs. Penn State
Tampa, Fla.
Raymond James Stadium Jan. 1, 2011 1 p.m. ABC

Capital One
Alabama vs. Michigan State
Orlando, Fla.
Florida Citrus Bowl Jan. 1, 2011 1 p.m. ESPN

Gator Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Michigan
Jacksonville, Fla.
Municipal Stadium Jan. 1, 2011 1:30 p.m. ESPN2

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
Wisconsin vs. TCU
Pasadena, Calif.
Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 2011 5 p.m. ESPN

Tostitos Fiesta
Connecticut vs. Oklahoma
Glendale, Ariz.
U. of Phoenix Stadium Jan. 1, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3D

Discover Orange
Stanford vs. Virginia Tech
Miami, Fla.
Sun Life Stadium Jan. 3, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Allstate Sugar
Ohio State vs. Arkansas
New Orleans, La.
Louisiana Superdome Jan. 4, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (Ohio)
Mobile, Ala.
Ladd-Peebles Stadium Jan. 6, 2011 8 p.m. ESPN

AT&T Cotton
LSU vs. Texas A&M
Arlington, Texas
Cowboys Stadium Jan. 7, 2011 8 p.m. FOX

BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky
Birmingham, Ala.
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
Glendale, Ariz.
U. of Phoenix Stadium Jan. 10, 2011 8:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3D

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Kentucky vs North Carolina....A Preview

Kentucky vs. North Carolina
North Carolina leads the series 21-11

WT Administrator

Kentucky vs North Carolina…12/4/10 Saturday 12:30PM/11:30AM on CBS with Gus Johnson & Clark Kellogg calling the game.

North Carolina

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Arena: 21,750

Head Coach: Roy Williams
Career Record: 614-155 (79.8%) 22 Seasons
At North Carolina: 196-54 (78.4%) 7 Seasons

2009-10 Record:20-17
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

3 PT%-36.3%

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!