Monday, December 31, 2012

Kentucky vs Eastern Michigan....A Preview

Kentucky vs Eastern Michigan 1/2/13 (Wednesday 6 PM) TV-ESPNU
First game in the series

Eastern Michigan Eagles

Location: Ypsilanti, Mich.(Population 19,435--6 miles east of Ann Arbor)
Enrollment: 22,638
Arena: 8,824

Head Coach: Rob Murphy
Career Record: 14-18 (43.8%) One season at E.Michigan

2011-12 Record: 14-18
2011-12 MAC Record: 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: None

2012-13 Record: 7-5

E. Michigan 66 Rochester 52
Jacksonville St. 61 E. Michigan 54
E. Michigan 60 Eastern Illinois 52
E. Michigan 60 IPFW 47
E. Michigan 57 Texas-Pan American 47
E. Michigan 75 Madonna 57
Syracuse 84 E. Michigan 48
E. Michigan 47 Purdue 44
Illinois-Chicago 74 E. Michigan 48
Michigan 93 E. Michigan 54
Oakland 59 E. Michigan 57
E. Michigan 87 Siena Heights 49

Eastern Michigan

PPG-59.4
FG%-40.0%
3PT%-29.1%
FT%-67.0%
RPG-35.9 (-1.0)
APG-10.9
TO’s-14.0
SPG-8.3
BPG-5.9

Probable Starting Lineup

Jalen Ross-G 5’11” Fr……………………….4.6 PPG
Daylen Harrison-G/F 6’6” Jr……………….. 10.8 PPG
Jamel Harris-F 6’9” Sr……………………….4.1 PPG
Glen Bryant-F 6’8” Jr……………………..…10.3 PPG
Da’Shonte Riley-7’0” Jr………………………3.9 PPG

Key Sub

Derek Thompson-G 6’3” Sr………………….12.3 PPG

E. Michigan did defeat a 6-6 struggling Purdue team, but they were crushed by both Syracuse and Michigan by over 35 points. The Eagles shoot poorly from the field and the perimeter….although they have one player, Derek Thompson, who has hit 32-82 from the perimeter for a very solid 39%.
 

The Eagles do have good height on the frontline with Daylen Harrison and De’Shonte Riley leading the team in rebounds. Harrison also leads in steals and TO’s and shoots a terrific 89.5% from the FT line. Freshman guard Jalen Ross leads in assists with 39. MAC teams can often be very competitive, but thus far the Eagles are not a very good team.

UK is fresh off their best performance of the season when they barely lost to top 5 ranked Louisville by only 3 points. It is obvious that all the camp Cal practices have significantly improved this very young talented UK team….especially, the intensity and effort by the Cats. UK showed a lot of heart and effort coming back from a 17 point deficit to within an eyelash and missed FT’s of upsetting the Cardinals.

Ryan Harrow is now playing PG with great confidence and his impact on the team,s play has been great. Harrow amazingly played 39 minutes in the UL game and despite the Cardinal press….Ryan made zero TO’s.

The UL game showed two different Archie Goodwin’s….1st half Goodwin was missing in action while in the 2nd half Goodwin scored 19 points. Still Archie needs to play with more control….fewer TO’s…. and more consistency.

Coach Cal seems to be frustrated by the subpar effort and play by Alex Poythress. Alex has really struggled despite his great talent. Now, Cal has indicated that he will work individually with Alex pre or post practice. UK needs Poythress to start meeting expectations and give a lot more effort in games.

Julius Mays needs to work on his shot and break out of his horrible shooting slump. Fortunately, Kyle Wiltjer is now hitting his perimeter shots and Kyle hit some huge shots in the UL game at critical times.

Obviously, free throw shooting is a major concern for several players….UK simply can’t shoot 50%-60% from the charity line and not have those missed points possibility cost them some close games.

UK should no trouble with E. Michigan and I’m sure Cal wants to see the Cats continue to play with increased effort….and especially some solid improvement from Alex Poythress. After the E. Michigan game, UK has 8 days before going to Vandy to start the SEC schedule….so there is some more needed time to practice and improve for these young Cats. One thing is for sure, with 4 losses now….UK needs to start winning a lot of SEC games! I see UK defeating E. Michigan by at least 30 points. GO CATS!

Video: UK Coach Calipari & UK players Pre-E. Michigan Press Conference

UK Coach John Calipari along with UK players Ryan Harrow, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer spoke to the media prior to the Eastern Michigan game. Videos courtesy of Kentucky WildcatsTV.

SEC Men's BB Standings 12/31/12

Mississippi 0-0 10-2
Missouri (7) 0-0 10-2
Florida (14) 0-0 9-2
LSU 0-0 8-2
South Carolina 0-0 9-3
Texas A&M 0-0 9-3
Tennessee 0-0 8-3
Arkansas 0-0 8-4
Kentucky 0-0 8-4
Alabama 0-0 7-5
Vanderbilt 0-0 5-6
Auburn 0-0 5-7
Georgia 0-0 5-7
Mississippi St. 0-0 4-7

AP Top 25/USA Today/ESPN-12/31/12

AP Top 25

1. Duke (63)
2. Michigan (2)
3. Arizona
4. Louisville
5. Indiana
6. Kansas
7. Syracuse
8. Ohio St.
9. Minnesota
10. Gonzaga
11. Illinois
12. Missouri
13. Florida
14. Cincinnati
15. Georgetown
16. Creighton
17. Butler
18. Michigan St.
19. San Diego St.
20. New Mexico
21. Notre Dame
22. Oklahoma St.
23. N.C. State
24. Pittsburgh
25. Kansas St.

Dropped Out: No. 20 UNLV

Others Receiving Votes: UNLV 52, North Carolina 38, Wyoming 28, Temple 21, VCU 15, Kentucky 13, Wichita St. 11, Connecticut 9, UCLA 6, Maryland 5, Oregon 3

USA Today/ESPN

1. Duke (30)
2. Michigan (1)
3. Arizona
4. Louisville
5. Indiana
6. Kansas
7. Syracuse
8. Ohio St.
9. Florida
10. Gonzaga
11. Creighton
12. Missouri
13. Minnesota
14. Illinois
15. Cincinnati
16. Georgetown
17. San Diego St.
18. Michigan St.
19. Notre Dame
20. Butler
21. Oklahoma St.
22. Pittsburgh
23. New Mexico
24. UNLV
25. N.C. State

Dropped Out: No. 23 Kentucky

Others Receiving Votes: VCU 36, Kansas St. 35, North Carolina 34, Kentucky 31, Wyoming 30, Wichita St. 7, Colorado 6, Maryland 5, Connecticut 3, UCLA 2, Temple 1, Bucknell 1, Colorado St. 1

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Videos: UK Post-UL Press Conference 12/29/12

Kentucky’s John Calipari, Ryan Harrow, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Archie Goodwin talk about their 77-80 loss to Louisville. Videos courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Photos 2012 UK Men’s Basketball: Louisville

Video: Coach Calipari & UK Players Pre-Louisville Interviews

Videos courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kentucky vs Louisville....A Preview

Kentucky vs Louisville….12/29/12 
(Saturday 4PM-EST/3PM-CST) TV-CBS
UK leads the series 30-14


Louisville Cardinals

Location: Louisville, Ky
Enrollment: 22,000
Arena: KFC Yum Center 22,000

Head Coach: Rick Pitino
Career Record: 629-234 (72.9%) 26 Seasons
At Louisville: 275-106 (72.2%) 10 Seasons

All time Record: UK 30 wins vs UL 14 wins (UK 4 straight wins)

2011-12 Record: 30-10
2011-12 Big East Record: 10-8
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA (Lost in Final Four)

2012-13 Record: 11-1

Louisville 79 Manhattan 51
Louisville 80 Samford 54
Louisville 80 Miami, OH 39
Louisville 51 Northern Iowa 46
Louisville 84 Missouri 61
Duke 76 Louisville 71
Louisville 69 Illinois St. 66
Louisville 80 College of Charleston 38
Louisville 99 Missouri-Kansas City 47
Louisville 87 Memphis 78
Louisville 79 Florida International 55
Louisville 78 Western Ky. 55

Louisville/Kentucky

PPG-78.1/PPG-78.5
FG%-45.5%/FG%-49.0%
3 PT%-33.1%/3 PT%-35.6%
FT%-69.8%/FT%-64.7%
RPG-38.8 (+6.5)/RPG-38.8 (+4.3)
APG-15.3/APG-16.4
TO’s-12.8 /TO’s-12.3
SPG-11.8/SPG-8.0
BPG-3.3/BPG-7.9

Probable Starting Lineup

Russ Smith-G 6’0” Jr……………………19.7 PPG
Peyton Siva-G 5’11” Sr………………….11.4 PPG
Chane Behanan-F 6’7” Soph…………....10.8 PPG
Wayne Blackshear-G/F 6’5” Soph…...…10.0 PPG
Gorgui Dieng-C 6’10” Jr…………..……..8.2 PPG

Other Key Players

Stephen Van Treese-F 6’8” Jr…………..2.4 PPG
Montrezel Harrell-F 6’7” Fr…………….6.7 PPG
Luke Hancock-G/F 6’5” Fr……………..6.3 PPG
Kevin Ware-G 6’5” Soph……………….4.8 PPG

This is arguably the best and deepest UL team since Pitino took over the reins. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva rate as two of the best guards in college basketball….they make the Cards go! Siva leads in assists with 75 thus far this season while both Smith and Siva lead in steals with 34 and 28 respectfully. Both get to the FT line frequently and are 80% plus FT shooters. Siva is the better perimeter shooter hitting 38%, but Smith shoots the most from long range and hits a decent 34%.

The Cardinal frontline is very tough in the paint….Chane Behanan makes the most of his huge build at 250 pounds in the paint and is second only to Dieng in rebounds. Behanan also gets a lot of put backs on the offensive boards, but can shoot out on the floor as well.
Wayne Blackshear plays both guard and forward…. is a solid perimeter shooter and does a nice job on the boards as well. Of course, it’s Gorgui Dieng who is UL’s leader in rebounds and a player who has continued to improve significantly in his years as a Card. Dieng’s status for the UK game is not clear at this point….Dieng is recovering from a wrist injury. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dieng in the lineup.

Pitino uses his bench a lot….going 9 deep in most games….with all 9 players averaging at least 15 minutes. Montrezel Harrell is a very good freshman who gives Pitino another solid frontline player while Luke Hancock can give UL quality minutes at guard or forward.

Pitino’s excellent bench allows for UL to apply a very effective press which has resulted in a 141 steals this season and an average of 12 SPG. Pitino uses the press at key times during a game and a few quick steals can totally change the game. UL has had great success with it’s terrific defense and press in creating 20 plus TO’s in a number of games.

This is a very good UL team with key 3 starters back from last season’s Final Four team plus a number of key subs….and the Cards added some very talented freshmen. Unquestionably, this Cardinal team has all the ingredients to make a run at another Final Four and a potential NCAA championship. This Cardinal team has the talent, experience, depth, defense and coaching to have a very successful season!

UK arrives at the Yum center after playing arguably it’s best overall game of the season in defeating Marshall. The arrival and progress of Ryan Harrell as PG has been a huge plus for these young Cats. Coach Cal is seeing his very young talented team increase their intensity and play much harder throughout the game. Certainly, the early season losses…. a loss in national rankings….and coach Cal’s tough camp in more practices appears to have finally awaken these young players that talent alone doesn’t win games….team play and hard nose defense along with great intensity wins games.

Cal is still waiting for Goodwin and Poythress, especially, to play to their potential. Right now Archie Goodwin is struggling in his shooting missing 4 layups in the Marshall game and too often taking bad shots. Unfortunately, Goodwin also leads UK in TO’s with 36 this season. Archie has great talent, but needs to be more of a team player offensively and defensively. In addition, Goodwin needs to learn that he can’t always drive to the basket….and if he would pull up for an 6-12 ft jump shot he would often get much better shots.

Alex Poythress, like Goodwin, possesses a great deal of talent. Poythress is improving, but thus far UK fans have only seen glimpses of just how talented Poythress can be on UK’s frontline. Alex has a good attitude and is working hard to not think so much on the court and just react with his great talent. For this UK team to have a very successful season…..both Goodwin and Poythress must significantly improve their overall game!

While coach Cal is preaching defense and the Cats are playing better defense….they also need to start making shots. Julius Mays who has had a calming effect on the court and is known as a good shooter…..has really struggled shooting the ball thus far this season. Mays is only 33-92 for 35.9% and a very disappointing 16-52 from the perimeter for a 30.8%. Kyle Wiltjer has had two great perimeter shooting games, but has struggled in most other games. Wiltjer is working hard on his shooting….and he is a proven very good long range shooter….the Cats really need much more consistency from Wiltjer’s perimeter shooting…and more scoring in the paint.

Free throw shooting is also a problem…especially for Noel who is shooting 53.3% and WCS who is hitting only 41.7% from the charity line. A team average of 64.7% from the free throw line can easily cost UK games in very close contests.

While this talented UK team is definitely improving, they still have a long way to go and a number of issues to correct. The UL game will be a huge challenge for UK….the Cats will be facing a top 5 Cardinal team on their home court. To pull an upset….UK will need to be very strong with the ball and minimize TO’s…..play defense with great intensity….shoot the ball well….and make free throws. Last but not least, UK needs to stay out of foul trouble. This is a tall order for such a young talented UK team, but it is definitely a possibility.

I would feel a lot better regarding UK’s chance against UL in March, but right now this early in the season….I see UL defeating UK by at least 10-12 points. Hopefully, I’m wrong and UK springs a huge upset! GO CATS!

Monday, December 24, 2012

AP Top 25/USA Today/ESPN-12/24/12

AP Top 25

1. Duke (63)
2. Michigan (2)
3. Arizona
4. Louisville
5. Indiana
6. Kansas
7. Missouri
8. Cincinnati
9. Syracuse
10. Ohio St.
11. Minnesota
12. Illinois
13. Gonzaga
14. Florida
15. Georgetown
16. Creighton
17. San Diego St.
18. Butler
19. Michigan St.
20. UNLV
21. Notre Dame
22. Oklahoma St.
23. N.C. State
24. Pittsburgh
25. Kansas St.

Dropped Out: No. 16 New Mexico, No. 23 North Carolina

Others Receiving Votes: New Mexico 66, Kentucky 37, Temple 36, Wyoming 28, VCU 16, North Carolina 16, Wichita St. 11, Maryland 7, Connecticut 6, Oregon 6

USA Today/ESPN

1. Duke (30)
2. Michigan (1)
3. Arizona
4. Louisville
5. Indiana
6. Kansas
7. Syracuse
8. Cincinnati
9. Missouri
10. Ohio St.
11. Florida
12. Creighton
13. Gonzaga
14. Minnesota
15. Illinois
16. San Diego St.
17. UNLV
18. Georgetown
19. Michigan St.
20. Notre Dame
21. Butler
22. Oklahoma St.
23. Kentucky
24. Pittsburgh
25. N.C. State

Dropped Out: No. 17 New Mexico, No. 19 North Carolina

Others Receiving Votes: New Mexico 62, North Carolina 34, Kansas St. 22, VCU 22, Wyoming 20, Connecticut 6, Oregon 6, Temple 5, Wichita St. 3, Maryland 3, Colorado 3, Colorado St. 1

Friday, December 21, 2012

Kentucky vs Marshall....A Preview

Kentucky vs Marshall….12/22/12 (Saturday 4PM) TV-ESPN 2
UK leads series 11-0


Marshall Thundering Herd

Location: Huntington, WV
Enrollment: 14,000
Arena: 9,043

Head Coach: Tom Herrion
Career Record: 123-62 (65.1%) 6 seasons
At Marshall: 43-24 (64.2%) 2 seasons

2011-12 Record: 21-14
2011-12 C-USA Record: 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: Lost in NIT

2012-13 Record: 7-5

Marshall 81 Longwood 47
Villanova 80 Marshall 68
Marshall 80 District of Columbia 58
S. Dakota St. 78 Marshall 77
Hofstra 103 Marshall 100 (2 OT)
Marshall 89 Nevada 82
Marshall 70 Morehead St. 67
Marshall 61 UNC Wilmington 58
West Virgina 69 Marshall 59
Marshall 69 Coppin St. 63
Cincinnati 72 Marshall 56
Marshall 64 Savannah St. 48

PPG-72.8
FG%-43.4%
3 PT%-34.2%
FT%-59.2%
RPG-41.3 (+4.9)
APG-15.0
TO’s-14.9
SPG-6.2
BPG-4.7

Probable Starting Lineup

D.D. Scarver-G/F 6’4” Soph…………………..15.5 PPG
DeAndre Kane-G 6’4” Jr………………………15.0 PPG
Elijah Pittman-F-6’9” Fr……………………… 14.3 PPG
Dennis Tinnon-F 6’8” Sr……………………….10.8 PPG
Nigel Spikes-C 6’10” Soph……………………..7.0 PPG

Marshall comes into Rupp Arena with a 7-5 record….including two very tough losses….one by 1 point and another in 2 OT’s. Still, the Thundering Herd will offer more competition than UK’s last 3 games. Marshall has 4 players in double figures with DD Scarver leading in scoring….in addition, Scarver has hit 34-79 perimeter shots for an excellent 43%. Freshman Elijah Pittman, from Covington, Ky, is also a solid 3 point shooter hitting 20-50 for 40%. Dennis Tinnon and Nigel Spikes are tough in the paint and lead the team in rebounds.

DeAndre Kane who led the team in scoring last season has had a terrible year thus far. Kane is shooting overall at 35.7% with only 55-154..….hitting only 7-43 for 16.3% from long range and has hit only 47.1% from the FT line. It appears that Kane has been benched the last 2 games as he hasn’t played in either game. Otherwise, I have not seen any news regarding an injury to Kane. The problem for Marshall has been despite his awful shooting….Kane continues to take more shots than any other player. Kane also leads the team in assists and TO’s. Whether Kane will play against UK is unknown at this time. If Kane doesn’t play…..look for possibly freshman Tamron Manning from Georgetown, Ky. to play…..and also sophomore Chris Martin along with others.

Marshall has not shot well this season and also had difficulty at the FT line hitting only 59.2%. In addition, TO’s have also been a problem. Despite all this, you can bet that Marshall will be pumped to play UK in Rupp Arena.

UK has added 3 victories over inferior competition after the disappointing Baylor loss.
Coach Cal has been working these young Cats very hard in practices to improve their overall game energy and effort along with their execution of Cal’s offense and defense.
It has become very apparent that this has been an extremely young team lacking in experience and leadership. There is individual talent, but, as of yet, these young kids have had difficulty adjusting to the type of effort required to compete at the college level.

These practices leading up to the UL game will go a long way in defining what kind of team Cal has as UK enters SEC competition. If there is the overall improvement that Cal expects and hopes for….then there is a lot to be optimistic about for the season….however, if there is little improvement….then coach Cal warns that this team could have a lot of losses.

Certainly, the return of Ryan Harrow to the team and recently to the starting lineup at PG…..his natural position….has been a definite plus in the past few games. Importantly, Kyle Wiltjer got his long range mojo back and showed solid improvement in the paint grabbing 12 rebounds. The Cats need Goodwin and Polythess to embrace the consistent great effort needed on defense throughout the game…..both are incredibly talented, but have struggled at times on both offense and defense during most of the games. It’s definitely a work in progress, but if all the players totally buy in to the effort needed and master the offense and defense…..another exciting year could happen for UK in the NCAA.

It would be great to see some solid progress against Marshall this Saturday. I remain optimistic….UK wins 83-65! GO CATS!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

UK Football Recruiting Update 2/20/12

So at most, UK can only sign 11 more players. Here is a projection of what I think that they still need in this class.

OT - I am not impressed by the O-line talent and they really need at least one OT who is considered a stud

OC - The injury to Z West puts this spot in question. The staff had recruited a JUCO and still reportedly wants one. IF I were them, I would pass on this need given the other pressing needs of the team.

WR - The team has 2 listed, but I think only Deangelo Yancey will eventually wind up signing. They are looking at a couple of JUCOs one is a 4-Star and then there are the HS-ers. They will probably take a total of 3 probably hoping for the JUCOs and Yancey. IF I were them I would take 1 JUCO and another HS prospect. We shall see.

TE - Sting Jr definitely helps, but he is definitely not enough. They really need a true HS TE and I am not sure that Dowdell is the answer given his speed, but that may not be an updated time for his 40. I doubt they take 3 TEs but I guess it could happen?

QB - Reese Phillips is solid and scheduled to start classes in January. Given the other needs, I can see them taking another if the right QB flips or agrees to come.

RB - Khalid Thomas is listed, but is he enough? or does he even stay at RB?

DE - Alvonte Bell and Zadarius Smith are great additions and really upgrade the talent level. Will UK take another one?

DT - Jacob Hyde is rock solid. Rumors continue to swirl that there will be a JUCO DT, (3-seniors: Cobble, Rumph, T Johnson and then C Coleman, A Davis, P Grafree and T Chapman). They do need at least 2 and probably preferably 3 since they are losing that many after the '13 season. Huge question, will C Coleman ever be the player that the previous team thought? He stays injured a lot and is in rehab again.

MLB - After Avery Williamson, I am in love with noone on the roster. I think that the staff needs 2 serious ballers for the future that can redshirt. Can they take that many given the other needs?

OLB - The probably need at least 2-one for both positions that can RS. I like the talent and depth at OLB better than MLB at least depth wise-We all know Avery is a stud.

CB - Rumor is that K Thomas will convert from RB to CB, is this true? Look for M Caffey and probably E Dixon to move on elsewhere. There is also speculation that JD Harmon may move back to WR this coming season given the depth and talent at the CB position and serious need at WR.

Many have speculated that Alexanders will come to UK-do not count it out, but neither should we plan on it. There is also speculation about Blake McClain and his future at UK. Fans should not get upset either way, UK is fine at the position but you can not turn down the Alexanders if they qualify.

Safety - another position that got hammered by injury in the '12 season. Will Lowery, D Tyler, and G Faulkner ever get healthy and return as impact players? The Cats really need 2 players here for the future.

Kicker - I am not sure how this team lets McGinnis get away? He just seems to be a natural for the team?

So at this point there are about 15-16 needs for about 11 spots which is not a good position to be in at this point. It looks to me like they still need one more: OT, TE, MLB, WLB, and SLB. To me, it looks like they still need 2 of the following in addition to what they already ahve listed: WR, DT, Safety--which is 11 total, but I am not so sure that the Staff feels the same way. They could also use another QB, TE, MLB, CB at a minimum which just do not seem to be in the picture unless they evaluate the youth of the team differently than most.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Women's AP Top 25/USA Today/ESPN Polls 12/18/12

AP Top 25

1. Stanford (22)
2. Connecticut (16)
3. Baylor (2)
4. Duke
5. Notre Dame
6. Georgia
7. Kentucky
8. California
9. Maryland
10. Tennessee
11. Penn St.
12. UCLA
13. Purdue
14. Louisville
15. Oklahoma St.
16. Dayton
17. North Carolina
18. Oklahoma
19. Kansas
20. Texas
21. South Carolina
22. Texas A&M
23. Florida St.
24. West Virginia
25. Colorado

Dropped Out: No. 20 Ohio St., No. 21 Miami (FL)

Others Receiving Votes: Arkansas 94, Miami (FL) 58, Nebraska 52, Iowa St. 41, Ohio St. 37, Vanderbilt 15, Delaware 15, Michigan 10, Michigan St. 9, Duquesne 7, Chattanooga 7, Syracuse 6, Villanova 5, Iowa 5, Toledo 2, Rutgers 1, Gonzaga 1


USA Today/ESPN

1. Stanford (25)
2. Connecticut (6)
3. Baylor
4. Duke
5. Notre Dame
6. Kentucky
7. Georgia
8. Maryland
9. California
10. Penn St.
11. Tennessee
12. Purdue
13. Louisville
14. Oklahoma St.
15. Dayton
16. UCLA
17. South Carolina
18. Oklahoma
19. Kansas
20. West Virginia
21. Nebraska
22. Texas A&M
23. Texas
24. Ohio St.
25. North Carolina

Dropped Out: No. 23 Miami (FL)

Others Receiving Votes: Florida St. 71, Syracuse 32, Iowa St. 20, Miami (FL) 18, Arkansas 15, St. John's 14, Colorado 13, Gonzaga 12, Chattanooga 9, Middle Tenn. St. 4, Vanderbilt 4, Rutgers 3, South Florida 2, UTEP 1, Toledo 1

Friday, December 14, 2012

Video: Coach Calipari Pre-Lipscomb 12/14/12

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Kentucky vs Lipscomb....A Preview

Kentucky vs Lipscomb 12/15/12 (Saturday 12:30 PM) TV-FSN
UK leads series 1-0
Lipscomb Bisons

Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Enrollment: 4,018
Arena: 5,028

Head Coach: Scott Anderson
Career Record: 277-195 (58.7%) 16 Seasons
At Lipscomb 210-183 (53.4%) 13 Seasons

2011-12 Record: 13-18
2011-12 Atlantic Sun Record: 8-10
2011-12 Postseason: None

2012-13 Record: 4-4

Belmont 89 Lipscomb 60
Lipscomb 73 Marysville 55
Lipscomb 66 Gardner-Webb 62
Ole Miss 91 Lipscomb 45
Murray St. 88 Lipscomb 79
Lipscomb 80 Tennessee Tech 64
Belmont 100 Lipscomb 66
Lipscomb 86 UT-Martin 62

PPG-69.4
FG%-42.7%
3 PT%-32.0%
FT%-63.1%
RPG-40.0 (+4.3)
APG-12.6
TO’s-18.8
SPG-6.5
BPG-1.4

Probable Starting Lineup

Martin Smith-F 6’4” Soph………………….12.0 PPG
Stephen Hurt-C 6’10” Fr……………………8.9 PPG
Khion Sankey-G 6’5” Jr……………………..8.0 PPG
Deante Alexander-G 6’1” Jr………………...11.6 PPG
Talbott Denny-G 6’6” Fr……………………1.8 PPG

Malcolm Smith-F 6’5” Soph………………..13.0 PPG (Injured-game status unknown)

Lipscomb returns only one starter from last season’s team and that is Deonte Alexander who leads the team in perimeter shooting hitting a solid 39.0%. Twin sophs…Martin and Malcolm Smith are the leading scorers….however, Malcolm didn’t play in the last Lipscomb game because of an injury and his status for the UK game is unkown at this time. Junior guard Khion Sankey leads the Bisons in rebounds and assists.

This is a young inexperienced Lipscomb team that is obviously struggling with it’s 4-4 record and includes a 46 point loss to Ole Miss. Coach Sanderson has played 10 players averaging at least 9.4 minutes so he is developing team depth….and likely looking for the best combinations. The stats thus far reveal a Lipscomb team that shoots poorly from the field and FT line….while averaging 19 TO’s a game. Bottom line…..this is not a very good Lipscomb team!

UK posted a nice win over Portland that revealed some over all improvement…..but as coach Cal said….”this team still has a long way to go to be a top 8-10 team”. A huge plus in the Portland game was the obvious improvement of PG Ryan Harrow. It was great to see Harrow run the point with increased confidence and it showed just how important Ryan is to UK’s success this season…..allowing Goodwin to play his natural 2 position really opens up the offense.

Kyle Wiltjer played a solid game adding 12 points mostly scoring in the paint with some nice moves. Kyle did hit one perimeter shot and hopefully, his long range mojo will return.

Free throw shooting must be a point of focus going forward. UK is shooting a dismal 63.3% which is 10% lower then the overall competition. Obviously, this is unacceptable!
Thus far: Noel is 20-37 for 54.1%….WCS is 8-21 for 38.1%….this means UK’s two big men are together shooting less than 50% from the FT line. Goodwin who is shooting the most FT’s is 47-69 for 68.1% while Poythress is 22-33 for 66.7%. These FT percentages don’t reflect the front end of one and one misses. Aside from Wiltjer who has hit 11-13 for 84.6% and Mays who has hit 12-13 for 92%…..everyone else needs to spends a lot of personal time improving their FT shooting. It is fair to say that if the present poor FT shooting continues….it will cost this team games in the SEC.

Fortunately, Cal and the coaching staff will have most of the next 3 weeks for lots of practice time to hopefully make great leaps in overall improvement in this young team.

I see some continued improvement in the Lipscomb game….especially with Harrow running the point. Cats should win by a least 30 points. GO CATS!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

UK Foootball: 2013 Preview WR

The Cats do return several young players for the 2013 season; however, none of them have really made significant impact. This lack of impact for the ’12 season was due to the revolving QB situation for the team when they used 4 QBs due to injury (M Smith), ineffectiveness (M Newton), and inexperience (both J Whitlow and P Towles, both of which were true freshmen). Returning players for the team include: Demarcus Sweat, Demarco Robinson, A J Legree, Daryl Collins, Rashad Cunningham, and Bookie Cobbins.

It looks as though that D Sweat (Soph.) may not return to the team; it is pretty well known that he is unhappy in Lexington, and in fact he missed the last few games in order to get his grades up to par in order to maintain his eligibility for the ’13 season (which is never a good sign for a true freshman). While talented (4 receptions and 2-TDs), the new coaching staff may/may not decide to invest more into Sweat especially since they are in need of scholarships and may want to weed out some of the marginal players on the team as a statement. Only time will tell what will happen with Demarcus.

Bookie Cobbins (R/S Soph.) is another WR who has red-shirted (2011) and then basically got no field time this past season (he posted no receiving stats for the ’12 season) while still young, Cobbins looks to just not be the part of an SEC WR and was in fact recruited as a QB. In fact, some actually thought that he would be a “wildcat QB”, but as of yet, he has not shown the ability to get on the field in any substantive way. In addition to injury, Bookie almost flunked out of school, so I would also put him on the short-list of players who may be on their way out of Lexington.

D Robinson (Junior) is another undersized WR who set all kinds of HS receiving records in the state of Georgia; however, he is just too small to play the level of competition which is required at this level. He did have 2 TDs as a true freshman, yet for the ’12 season, Demarco did not score. If he is going to get time in the future, it would seemingly be playing time as a slot WR, but when looking at the roster, UK seems stacked at slots and totally barren at true Wide-outs.

Daryl Collins (R/S Soph.) made a few splash plays (17 receptions) for the ’12 season; however, they were not enough. UK also had problems at the QB position as far as getting the pigskin to the WRs, so that may have been part of the problem as well. Seemingly, the former BAMA verbal should be in a position to stake a claim at one of the starting positions due to his tenacity and athleticism. Only time will tell, if he can in fact man up on the outside as a true starting WR, or if he will have to move in to the slot due to a lack of explosion off of the ball. The good news is that this will be the 2nd season after a serious knee injury (2011 season), so he will probably be as good this year health wise as he is ever going to get in regards to recovering from the knee injury.

Rashad Cunningham (R/S Sop.) is another WR who has proven nothing on the field as of yet (he literally put up no stats for the ’12 season). Seemingly Cunningham should project to an outside WR and is cut physically. He will be given every opportunity to win a starting position for this upcoming season seemingly has at least a million miles to go in order to land a starting position.

The other returning scholarship WR is A J Legree (Soph.). AJ has the size and leaping ability to make plays downfield over smaller receivers and should claim one of the outside positions. His 17 receptions (for the ’12 season) leads all returning players and he did minimally flash some potential this past season, so he is probably a starter who will nail down one of the positions in Spring

Ideally, Legree would make tremendous strides and claim one of the outside spots with Cunningham and allow either Sweat (if he returns) or Collins (most likely) to become the starting slot and D Robinson as a reserve slot WR due to his lack of size and ability to fight off defenders. If Sweat does decide to stay then the WR Corp does look much better on paper; however, they need these players to push one another and for at least 3 WRs to distinguish themselves as playmakers on the field,

So far, UK has 2 WR verballed to the team in Jevontey Smith and Deangelo Yancey. Seemingly, Yancey is the higher rated of the 2 WRs since he has more offers from higher profile schools. As it stands now, look for UK to take at least one more WR (for a total of 3) and possibly one of the WRs currently verballed to not be renewed with the new coaching staff. Whoever UK signs for the upcoming class will probably get immediate playing time at least as a back-up player just due to the lack of depth at the position for the 2013 season.



Saturday, December 08, 2012

Video: Coach Calipari - Portland Postgame

Coach Calipari spoke to the media following Kentucky's 74-46 win over Portland.

Video: 1996 National Championship Team Honored at Rupp

The 1996 National Champs made an appearance during the University of Kentucky men's basketball game. vs. Portland.

Photos 2012 UK Men’s Basketball: Portland

 
Courtesy of KyKernel.com.

Photos 2012 UK Women’s Basketball: Depaul

 
Courtesy of KyKernel.com

Friday, December 07, 2012

Video: Coach Calipari Pre-Portland Press Conference

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Video Interview: UK Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer

Where In The World Has Wiltjer's Shot Gone?
Kentucky's Kyle Wiltjer, a 43% three-point shooter last season, has hit a slump that's now spanned five games.

Kentucky vs Portland....A Preview

Kentucky vs Portland….12/8/12 (Saturday-12PM) TV- ESPN2

UK leads the series 3-0
 

Portland Pilots

Location: Portland, Ore.
Enrollment: 3,300
Arena: 4,852

Head Coach: Eric Reveno
Career Record: 85-103 (45.2%)
6 Seasons all at Portland

2011-12 Record: 7-24
2011-12 West Coast Conference Record: 3-13
2011-12 Postseason: None

2012-13 Record: 3-5

Ohio U. 81 Portland 52
Portland 51 Idaho St. 48
Montana St. 83 Portland 64
Portland 81 Portland St. 60
New Mexico 69 Portland 54
Portland 78 Lewis and Clark College 73
Washington St. 72 Portland 60
UNLV 68 Portland 60

PPG-62.5
FG%-42.8%
3 PT%-31.3%
FT%-68.0%
RPG-33.5 (-0.5 PG)
APG-13.8
SPG-5.8
BPG-4.0

Probable Starting Lineup

Ryan Nicholas-F 6’7” Jr……………..…...13.6 PPG
David Carr-G 6’3” Soph……………….….4.6 PPG
Kevin Bailey-G 6’5” Soph………….…....10.0 PPG
Thomas Van Der Mars-C 6’11” Soph……..6.9 PPG
Korey Thieleke-G 6’3” Jr………………….6.8 PPG

From 2008-2011 Portland averaged 20 wins per season and ranked in the top 5 colleges in 3 point shooting with an average of over 41%. Last season, the Pilots lost their perimeter shooting mojo and hit only 32% from long range….and unfortunately, this season thus far is a disappointing 31.3%. Portland is led in scoring and rebounds by junior Ryan Nicholas. Although only 6’7”, Nicholas weighs 235 and is tough on the boards averaging 10 rebounds PG. Guard David Carr leads the team in assists while substitute Tanner Riley comes off the bench and is the leading perimeter shooter hitting 9-24 for 37.5%. Otherwise, the Pilots have thus far struggled from long range.

In Portland’s last game against a 6-1 UNLV team….the Pilots played the Running Rebels tough leading at the half and losing by only 8 points.

Kentucky after losing a very disappointing and winnable game against a so so Baylor team….bounced back with an 88-56 win over a clearly inferior Samford team. The Cats played well in the 1st half grabbing a 45-14 lead, but then upset coach Cal with a sub par 2nd half with UK winning the 2nd half by only 1 point….43-42.

While no one questions the talent on this UK team, thus far they have disappointed and frustrated coach Cal with their too often lack of effort…especially on defense…. during games. Apparently, unlike last season’s great team….this team has not been working on their skills in the gym in the evening. As coach Cal has said….he can’t wave a magic wand and make this team a great team. Instead, these young players have to understand that it takes lots of heart and a total commitment to improve their conditioning and skills to improve as a team. Coach Cal has ordered increased conditioning and will do everything possible over the next few weeks….where increased practice time is available….to significantly improve UK’s defense and offense.

There is no question that Cal was counting on Ryan Harrow to be UK’s PG this season. Then Harrow’s illness cost him a couple weeks of practice at a critical time and now Ryan has to play catch up and get in much better physical shape. Thus far, Harrow is 3-19 from the field…0-6 from the perimeter….and 0-2 from the FT line. Hopefully, over the next few weeks Ryan shows significant improvement and can be an effective PG. The question regarding Harrow is his mental toughness and his physical ability….because the kid has PG skills. Right now it’s PG by committee with Goodwin, Polson and Harrow. The best outcome is for Harrow primarily and Polson to hold down the PG so that Goodwin can play the 2 guard which is his natural position.

UK is hoping that Kyle Wiltjer breaks out of a horrible slump from the perimeter. In credibly, Wiltjer has hit only 4 of his last 27 long range shots. The Cats have been counting on Wiltjer and Mays to provide the majority of their perimeter game….thus far Mays has shot a solid 38.5%, but Wiltjer’s slump has been very costly to the Cats.

UK has 3 games and 3 weeks to show significant improvement in conditioning, mastering the defense and offense…and perhaps most of all…the players demonstrating the needed commitment and heart to improve their game as the season progresses…..before the UL game and the start of the SEC schedule.

It starts with the Portland game this Saturday….I see a high energy UK team defeat the Pilots by 20 points. GO CATS!


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

Video: Coach Calipari - Pre-Samford Press Conference

Coach Calipari met with the media to discuss Tuesday's game against Samford. Video of Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauely-Stein can be seen here. Video courtesy of Kentucky WildcatsTV

AP Top 25/USA Today/ESPN-12/3/12

AP Top 25

1. Indiana (45)
2. Duke (20)
3. Michigan
4. Syracuse
5. Louisville
6. Florida
7. Ohio St.
8. Arizona
9. Kansas
10. Gonzaga
11. Cincinnati
12. Missouri
13. Illinois
14. Minnesota
15. Georgetown
16. Creighton
17. San Diego St.
18. New Mexico
19. Michigan St.
20. North Carolina
21. UNLV
22. Notre Dame
23. Oklahoma St.
24. Wichita St.
25. N.C. State

Dropped Out: No. 8 Kentucky, No. 19 Colorado

Others Receiving Votes: Kentucky 186, Virginia Tech 170, Pittsburgh 164, Oregon 155, Alabama 96, Connecticut 92, Baylor 49, Colorado 44, Boise St. 22, Butler 18, Maryland 9, Temple 9, Miami (FL) 7, Wyoming 5, Colorado St. 5, Murray St. 4, LSU 1, Marquette 1

USA Today/ESPN

1. Indiana (25)
2. Duke (6)
3. Michigan
4. Syracuse
5. Florida
6. Louisville
7. Ohio St.
8. Arizona
9. Kansas
10. Gonzaga
11. Missouri
12. Cincinnati
13. Creighton
14. Illinois
15. San Diego St.
16. North Carolina
17. Michigan St.
18. UNLV
19. Kentucky
20. New Mexico
21. Minnesota
22. Oklahoma St.
23. Georgetown
24. N.C. State
25. Notre Dame

Dropped Out: No. 19 Colorado, No. 24 UCLA

Others Receiving Votes: Pittsburgh 89, Wichita St. 47, Colorado 41, Oregon 40, Connecticut 38, Virginia Tech 38, Alabama 27, Baylor 18, Wyoming 9, Kansas St. 8, Murray St. 7, Butler 6, Miami (FL) 5, Mississippi 5, Memphis 3, Colorado St. 3, Boise St. 2, VCU 1

Kentucky vs Samford....A Preview

Kentucky vs Samford….12/4/12 (Tuesday 7PM) TV-FoxSportsNetwork
UK leads the series 1-0

Samford

Location-Birmingham, ALA.
Enrollment-4,715
Arena-5,000

Head Coach-Bennie Seltzer
Career Record-First season as a HC.

2011-12 Record-12-19
2011-12 Southern Conference-8-10
Postseason-None

2012-13 Record-2-7

Austin Peay 75 Samford 64
Samford 59 Martin Methodist 40
Louisville 80 Samford 54
Memphis 65 Samford 54
Toledo 82 Samford 69
Alcorn St. 69 Samford 65
UT Arlington 65 Samford 58
Florida Gulf Coast 86 Samford 62
Samford 57 Georgia Southern 48

PPG-60.2
FG%-41.1%
3 PT%-29.9%
FT%-64.2%
RPG-30.4 (-6.4)
APG-11.6
TO’s-13.9
SPG-6.7
BPG-2.9

Probable Starting Lineup

Raijon Kelly-G 6’4” Soph…………………..13.4 PPG
Connor Miller-G 6’3” Soph…………………6.6 PPG
Tim Williams-F 6’5” Fr……………………..15.6 PPG
Clide Geffrard-F 6’5” Jr……………………..8.2 PPG
Jaylon Bekham-G 6’0” Fr……………………2.8 PPG

Tyler Hood-F 6’ 6” Soph…………………….7.8 PPG

Samford has a new coach in Bennie Seltzer, a long time assistant at Indiana, Marquette and Oklahoma. There is a UK connection at Samford with former UK player Scott Padgett as Assistant coach. In addition, former UK director of basketball operations Martin Newton is now the Samford AD.

The record and stats tell the story….this is not a very good Samford team. The Bulldogs are not a very big team and they have thus far not been a good shooting team. Samford may start Jaylon Beckham, a freshman guard from Lexington. Tyler Hood usually starts, but didn’t play in Samford’s last game…not certain whether it is injury related or something else….so UK may or may not see Hood on the floor.

This is the first of 4 games before UK faces the Louisville Cardinals and get ready to tackle the SEC. The 2 recent losses against Notre Dame and Baylor were very disappointing. UK is now 4-3 with only a win over Maryland as a decent win. It’s painfully obvious that this UK team has a lot further to go then any of us hoped to be a good team. Right now the Cats are searching for Harrow and/or Goodwin to step up and play effectively at PG. The UK defense needs lots of work and the offense, as evidenced by the last 2 games scoring in the 50’s, is struggling to score points.

On the positive side, we are only 7 games into the season so there is the month of December to hopefully make significant progress in improving both the offense and defense. Unquestionably, coach Cal has his work cut out for himself to find a PG that can get UK into it’s offense….find an effective starting lineup that can play defense and score points.

On the negative side, the recent bad losses at Notre Dame and home against Baylor….both unranked teams….are likely to be costly in terms of UK’s RPI and rankings. The Cats will be lucky to still be ranked in the top 25….they clearly are not a top 25 team right now. What, at the start of the season, looked to be a UK team that might be a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA…..now reveals a UK team that looks like a 4-6 seed….if that…and that will depend a lot on UK’s record in the SEC. December will be a very key month in how this team develops…..as there are some easy games….and additional practice time.

UK should have an easy win over a 2-7 Samford team….however, if UK shoots as poorly from the field and from the FT line as in the past 2 losses…..it could be a lot closer than we think. I will stay optimistic and say UK comes to play and defeats Samford by 20 points…hopefully more! GO CATS!

UK Football: 2012 Recruiting Class

As the recruiting season winds down, I suspect that the recruiting class will look something like this. I look for the CATS to sign about 23-24 players for the upcoming season.

DEFENSE:

DE: 2-3 depending on who they can get (will A Bell be a DE or an OLB?)

DT: 2-3- J Hyde is as solid as a player can get, but the CATS do lose 3 DTs at the end of the 13 season

MLB: 2- there is nothing sure outside of A Williamson and he will be a senior so there needs to be an upgrade at the position and for depth, given how the roster has panned out

OLB: 3 Again, outside of K Henderson who has not done a lot, but looks to be progressing and M Simpson, there needs to be an upgrade at least within the reserve unit

CB: Probably 2 at most-UK has never ever been this stacked at the position in the 40 yrs. that I have been watching UK Football (McClain is one of the players and possibly K Thomas, so if the Alexander brothers do flip then this will be 3)

Safety: 2-3 Again, there is talent and depth, but injuries have continued to pound the unit (especially Faulkner and the various issues which have impacted D Tyler-who is a senior).


OFFENSE:

QB: 2 there are issues everywhere. M Smith was banged up again this yr. He is projected as the starter, but he may never recover. Whitlow needs to change to the WR position and P Towles needs to progress seriously. Reese Phillips is scheduled to enroll in classes in January, but the question remains; can he be an effective SEC QB as a true freshman?

WR: 2-3 depending on who they can get. It remains to be seen if the incoming staff will honor the verbal commits of Jevontey Smith and Deangelo Yancey? I suspect that the staff will bring in 3 total WRs

TE: 2-Darren Dowdell has already verballed but may become a DE (at least there has been some talk about that). The position has been abysmal since Jacob Tamme left at the end of the ’07 season; simply put, the CATS have to have 2 players for the position this time around.

OL: 3-4 depending on who they can get. The interior of the O-line is well stocked, so I think that Ramsey Meyers may stay and they go after 2 OTs then see what else that they can get for the future. The focus should be for the OLT position since D Miller will be a junior this season.

RB: 1-2 the staff already has a verbal from K Thomas (some have said that he will play CB). If they can get another all-purpose back, they will do so; given the injuries which have hit the position in the past. Fans would love what RB Alex Collins brings to the table and he would probably immediately start.

UK Football: 2012 Defensive Wrap Up

This past season saw the UK defense stoop to new lows that even I thought could never be reached with this team. My preseason write up had me pimping the D-line, which should have been dominant (especially by UK standards), a returning stud MLB in Avery Williamson, along with 2nd yr. starter Bud Dupree and 3rd yr. player Miles Simpson and the front 7 should have been one of the better defenses in the past 40 yrs. The defense also displayed talent in the defensive backfield with the group of Dakotah Tyler (who returned from a drug suspension for steroids), Ashley Lowery, Martavius Neloms, and Glenn Faulkner. Add to that, the return of super-swift senior Mike Benton (of Butler County fame) and this unit was closer to the keystone cops than an SEC Defense. Granted, the suspension of Marcus Caffey at the CB position (for grades) and the lack of experience at the CB position in general was not responsible for the gashing yardage gained by teams running the ball up the middle on the UK defense.

The Defensive Line and Safety positions should have been the strongest and deepest units on the defense; however, the line could never hold the point of attack, nor could they generate heat on opposing QBs, nor force turnovers which is the death of any defense. In short, they looked horrible, but in all fairness, they had no help anywhere and were in the wrong defensive system for their talents (they were not 3-4 players, but would have shown to be ok in a 4-3).

The D-line had players that ranked 7-10 on the tackles list which is horrible. Collins Ukwu never really panned out, yet he led the linemen with 41 tackles and 6 TFLs, 2 FF, 2 Blk. Kicks, 4 sacks and 3 hurries. Donte Rumph was next on the list at #8 with 36 tackles, 6 TFL, 4 sacks and 1 FF. Starting NT Mister Cobble came in at #13 in 10 games with 25 total tackles, 3 TFL, and 2 sacks which is horrible by any stretch of the imagination. Tyler Wyndham’s 15 minutes of fame cam in the Florida game his freshman year (2009) when he put the whammy on Timmy Tebow giving him a concussion; Tyler came in with 27 total tackles, 6 TFL, 2 Sacks, 2 Pass BU, 4 QB hurries, and 1 Fum. Rec. for 10th in total tackles. Tristan Johnson (#9 on the team) came on with 27 total tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 Pass BU, 4 QB hurries, and 1 Fum. Rec.. The fact that David Turner was allowed to stay on this staff, for so long was a disservice to all involved including the players, the fans and the university as a whole.

As bad as everyone else played on defense the LB corp. was worse than all. In fact, I am not so sure that the players knew where to line up at the end of the season much less in the L Game when the CARDS made them look silly by continually running to their right. Avery Williamson is a stud and led the entire SEC with 135 tackles, 3 sacks, 4.5 TFL, 2 FF, 1 Fumble Recovery and 4 Pass Break-ups. Miles Simpson came in at 3rd on the list with 70 total tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 4 Pass BU, and a Fum. Rec. (which is just not enough production, but he did flash the ability to make plays in some key situations). Bud Dupree came in 2nd on the list with 91 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 6 sacks, and 1 Pass BU. Khalid Henderson did see time as a true freshman, but again his impact was only seen in 26 tackles over 12 games with 1 Pass BU, and 1 Fum. Rec.. Overall the linebackers were often out of position and just did not make enough explosion/game changing plays to get the defense off of the field.

The Safety position should have been the deepest and most impactful unit on the defense, given the talent and depth; however, the injury bug hit and the unit looked like a group of rag tag coal miners trying to play football. Neloms started at Safety and then moved to CB (we will talk about him in a second) in order to strengthen the CB position, yet probably should have stayed at the safety position (he is just not a CB-PERIOD!). Dakotah Tyler returned from a 2011 suspension and played in 5 games before suffering a season ending injury which seriously depleted the depth of the safety unit; and the fact that G Faulkner never got out of the gate this season, forced UK to burn redshirts on the Blaylocks (neither of whom had any impact for the team this past season). A Lowery also suffered from an injury and was limited to only 8 games, but still managed to be #5 on the total tackles list (43 total), 1 TFL, 1 INT, and 1 Pass BU. Mikie Benton came in at #16 in total tackles (20), 3 TFL, and 2 sacks which is just not enough production given the fact that he was a senior and played in 10 games.

The CB position was the least experienced of all of the defensive units and it too showed. The good thing is that there should be a lot of returning experienced talent for the 2013 season. Of all of the CBs on the roster, the one who seemed to make the most significance on the field was JD Harmon (who this writer thought was not worthy of a UK offer-but hey, what do I know?). Harmon had 24 tackles, 2 INTs, and 4 Pass BU while returning senior CB Cartier Rice led the CBs with 41 tackles, 1 TFL, and 3 Pass Bus. Fred Tiller (27 tackles and 2 Pass BU), and Cody Quinn (25 tackles, and 5 Pass BU on 5 Pass attempts!!) were both true freshmen yet their play did seem to really pick up towards the end of the season.

In short, the lack of talented upperclassmen was the result of horrible recruiting classes in the 2008-2010 recruiting cycles, and left the defense completely deft of talent. Teams exploited the youth and faulty defensive scheme at will which ultimately led to the demise of the program and the coaches as well. Most people want to point the finger at Minter; however, there was enough blame to go around in all of this, so that noone should escape lily white. Times do look better for UK and the future staff now has talented and experienced players returning at several positions. Quite honestly, the roster looks to be in pretty good shape (by UK standards for the upcoming seasons especially for 2014-15); however, given the UK schedule for 2013, do not look for a major improvement in wins due to the continued growth of the program and players towards becoming true SEC players.

UK Football: 2012 Offensive Wrap-Up

In my preseason warm-up, I said that if the CATS would pass for 2200-2300 yards and 20 TDs that they would win at least 6 games; well the CATS threw for 2115 yards, 13 TDs and had 10 INTs, while rushing for 1944 yards, and were not even in the building on most Saturdays. The problem was not always the offense, in fact, they were completely run on, dominated, and opposing teams seemingly scored at will; in short, it was a total team failure on many levels.

Max Smith started out as the QB (played in 4 games before getting hurt throwing for almost 1,000 yds., and 8 TDs), but was hurt leading to a complete scramble at the position due to Morgan Newton’s inefficiencies (31% pass completion rate for 1 TD and 3 INTs) at the position and the ineffectiveness of two true freshmen QBs (Jalen Whitlow and Pat Towles). Whitlow (who threw for less than 900 yards in 10 games, and only 3TDs) looked to be the better of the two, while Towles (who only completed 48% of his passes) was almost completely lost and ineffective most of the time on the field. No doubt, both players could have used a red-shirt season; however, the staff obviously felt backed into a corner and played both. The good news is that Smith, Towles and Whitlow will all enter the spring with a new staff that will show no favoritism to any of the returning players.

The RB situation also suffered the injury hit. Starting RB, Josh Clemons basically lost the whole season due to injury. Dyshawn Mosley, a true freshman played very little with only 41 carries and 187 total yards rushing. RB, Raymond Sanders led the team in rushing with 696 yards, and also led the team in rushing 695 with 5 TDs (he made huge strides from the previous two seasons), at the beginning of the season, Raymond looked to be about the #3 RB on the team; however, there were times when he just did not seem to get enough carries in order to establish a rhythm. Senior Coshik Williams only played in two games and will no doubt move on in life, and Jonathon George was 2nd on the team in rushing (528 yds.) and TDs (4). True freshman QB, Whitlow also rushed for 3 TDs.

The WR play was vastly improved over the past two seasons which in the opinion of many was due to having a legitimate WR coach in Pat Washington. The CATS were led by 4 yr. starter LaRod King who had 4 TDs, but the problem was that there was not a QB who could get him the ball. Several other players had 2-TDs each: Aaron Boyd (who finally salvaged something out of a 4 yr. career at UK), “Mean” Gene McCaskill (another senior), and DeMarcus Sweat (a true freshman). Tyler Robinson (TE), D. J. Warren, and Jonathon George each had 1-TD for the anemic offense.

The TE position (I-TD from T Robinson) still produced almost nothing for the 5th yr. in a row, and needs to be beefed up in a serious way for the future.

The offensive line gave up 27 sacks for the season which was in the bottom 10% of football; having suffered due to the lack of crisp QB play. The unit was healthy all season for the first time in forever. Matt Smith and Larry Warford led the unit and will be missed in the future. Kevin Mitchell played decent at times as an ORT (but must become more explosive off of the ball and stronger at the point of attack), while OLG, Zach West (redshirt freshman) looks to be ½ of the next UK O-line dynamic duo with Darrian Miller (true sophomore) at OLT.

The coaching staff continued to throw out players who were ill-prepared and totally unmotivated for the entire season which led to their demise. At this point, it only looks like one coach will be kept (Mike Summers); however, there could be an argument made for P Washington (WR Coach) and Chuck Smith (LB Coach) to be kept as well due to the previous success both have had in turning out players for the NFL. All in all, it was one of the most horrible displays of Kentucky football since I have been a fan, and I go all of the way back to 1973 (so basically in my 40 yrs. as a UK Fan).

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Photos 2012 UK Women’s Basketball: Louisville

UK Hoops win the game 48-47 at the buzzer.

Video: Coach Stoops First Day in Lexington

Follow Coach Stoops as he makes the rounds upon his arrival into Lexington.  
Video courtesy of Kentucky WildcatsTV

Photos: Mark Stoops Introduction to UK


Video: Mark Stoops Introduction Presser

Mark Stoops Introduction
UK Athletics Directer Mitch Barnhart and UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto introduce Kentucky's new head football coach Mark Stoops.  
Video courtesy of Kentucky WildcatsTV

Video: UK Football Coach Mark Stoops

Flight to Tallahassee to pick up Coach Stoops
On-board as Mitch Barnhart and staff fly to Tallahassee to pick up Head Coach Mark Stoops.  
Coach Stoops Arrives At The Airport To Head To Lexington
Coach Stoops and his family meet Mitch Barnhart and the staff to head to Lexington.  
Coach Stoops Heads To Lexington
We take you along as Coach Stoops, Mitch Barnhart, and the staff make the trip to Lexington.  
Coach Stoops First Comments to Big Blue Nation
Coach Stoops addresses the Big Blue Nation for the first time as the new head football coach.  
Videos courtesy of Kentucky WildcatsTV