Monday, December 30, 2013

UK Freshman James Young named SEC Freshman of the Week/ESPN National Player of the Week

James Young has hauled in Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week and ESPN National Player of the Week

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Freshman guard/forward James Young has hauled in Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week and ESPN National Player of the Week accolades it was announced on Monday. Young's SEC Freshman of the Week nod is the second of his career, while ESPN's Andy Katz tabbed the Rochester Hills, Mich., native as the nation's top performer.

Young poured in a team-high 18 points while adding career-bests in rebounds (10) and assists (4) in a 73-66 victory over No. 6 Louisville on Saturday. He registered his first career double-double effort with the team-high tying tally of boards, while the four assists also ranked as a team best.

AP/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll

AP Top 25

1. Arizona (60)
2. Syracuse (5)
3. Ohio St.
4. Wisconsin
5. Michigan St.
6. Oklahoma St.
7. Duke
8. Wichita St.
9. Baylor
10. Oregon
11. Villanova
12. Florida
13. Iowa St.
14. Louisville
15. Kentucky
16. Kansas
17. Connecticut
18. Memphis
19. North Carolina
20. Colorado
21. San Diego St.
22. Iowa
23. Massachusetts
24. Gonzaga
25. Missouri

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: Illinois 57, Texas 40, Geo. Washington 37, Oklahoma 36, Toledo 32, Florida St. 24, UCLA 19, Harvard 10, Michigan 7, Creighton 5, Kansas St. 3, Pittsburgh 2, LSU 1


1. Arizona (30)
2. Syracuse (1)
3. Ohio St. (1)
4. Michigan St.
5. Wisconsin
6. Oklahoma St.
7. Wichita St.
8. Duke
9. Oregon
10. Louisville
11. Baylor
12. Iowa St.
13. Florida
14. Villanova
15. Connecticut
16. Kentucky
17. Kansas
18. Memphis
19. San Diego St.
20. North Carolina
21. Gonzaga
22. Massachusetts
23. Iowa
24. Colorado
25. Missouri

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: Creighton 29, Pittsburgh 22, UCLA 20, Geo. Washington 17, Oklahoma 16, Texas 9, Toledo 8, Michigan 4, Florida St. 4, Illinois 2, Saint Louis 1, New Mexico 1

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kentucky vs Louisville....A Preview of the GAME!

Kentucky vs Louisville….12/28/13 Saturday 4 PM (TV-CBS)

Louisville Cardinals (American Athletic Conference this season....Atlantic Coast Conference next season)
UK leads series 30-15

Location: Louisville
Enrollment: 23,000
Arena: KFC Yum Center 22,000

Head Coach: Rick Pitino
Career Record: 664-239 (73.5%) 27 Seasons
At Louisville: 310-111 (73.6%) 11 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 35-5
2012-13 Big East Record: 14-4
2012-13 Postseason Record: 6-0 (NCAA Champions)

2013-14 Record: 11-1

UL 70 College of Charleston 48
UL 97 Hofstra 69
UL 99 Cornell 54
UL 87 Hartford 48
UL 71 Fairfield 57
North Carolina 93 UL 84
UL 69 Southern Mississippi 38
UL 90 Missouri Kansas City 62
UL 113 Louisiana- Lafayette 74
UL 79 Western Ky. 63
UL 90 Missouri State 60
UL 85 Florida International 56

UL Stats:

3 PT%-35.9% (8.3 PG)
RPG-41.1 (+7.3)

Probable Starting Lineup

Wayne Blackshear-G/F 6’5” Jr…………………..10.3 PPG
Montrezl Harrell-F 6’8” Soph…………………….12.5 PPG
Mangok Mathiang-F/C 6’10” Fr…………………..5.0 PPG
Russ Smith-G 6’0” Sr…………………………….16.8 PPG
Chris Jones-G 5’10” Jr……………………………13.5 PPG

Other Key Players

Terry Rozier-G 6’1” Fr……………………………5.8 PPG
Luke Hancock-f 6’6” Sr……………………….…..7.8 PPG
Chane Behanan-F 6’6” Jr………………………….8.3 RPG
Stephen Van Treese-F 6’9” Sr………………….....3.1 PPG

Louisville, the reigning NCAA champions, comes into Rupp arena with the bulk of their roster returning from last season. The loss of Peyton Siva has been replaced by JC transfer Chris Jones who has played well thus far. However, the loss of Gorgui Dieng with his defense in the paint and shot blocking, has not been replaced. Unquestionably, the return of Russ Smith for his senior season has been huge for the Cards success this season. Smith is the leading scorer and also leads in assists….Russ Smith is an All-American and one of the very best guards in college basketball. Smith and Jones give the Cards two excellent guards with terrific quickness. Importantly, UL is shooting a solid 36% from the perimeter….led by Wayne Blackshear who is hitting an outstanding 45.6% and Jones who is shooting 40.5% from long range.

Montrezl Harrell at 6’8” 235 lbs. and Chane Behanan at 6’6” 250 lbs. are a big force in the paint and lead the team in rebounds. UL has a deep bench and utilizes that depth to implement a smothering press on opponents. The Cards average 10 steals per game and are only turning the ball over 9 times PG. 

Coach Pitino has dome another masterful job with UL and they are poised for another run at a NCAA championship. This Cardinal team has solid talent and great experience and will be a very tough opponent for any team this season. However, their 11-1 record is based on only playing one good team….North Carolina….which they lost. A look at the box score reveals a Tarheel team that played arguably their best game this season while UL had an off game. 

As always, Pitino will have the Cards playing their A game against UK…

UK Stats:

3 PT%-31.7% (5.0 PG)
RPG-44.1 (+12.8)

UK has played a more challenging non conference schedule than UL and now has a 9-3 record. However, the Cats have lost all three games against ranked opponents and the losses all came in the final 3-4 minutes when UK made too many mistakes. Obviously, the UK-UL game is always a huge game, but it is arguably even more important this season….because the Cats greatly need a big win over a ranked opponent to help their NCAA seeding later.

Importantly, in the Belmont win, the Cats did show improvement, especially in their defense. There were very good games from Randle, Aaron Harrison and WCS. Certainly, Alex Poythress also played some solid minutes and Polson helped settle the Cats down and get them in their offense.

Unfortunately, Andrew Harrison is still struggling at the PG and UK’s perimeter shooting remains subpar and inconsistent. Hopefully, Aaron Harrison and James Young can find their long range shot and significantly raise their shooting percentage. 

Certainly, a concern in the UL game, especially with the Cards press, is UK’s ball handling and their far too many unforced turnovers this season. The Cats must be able to handle the press and minimize turnovers….play solid defense… shoot well outside the paint….and play 40 minutes of hardnose basketball to defeat UL.

UK has the talent to defeat UL and I have a good feeling that these young Cats will play a great game in Rupp arena before a great crowd….and defeat UL in a very close game. UK 84 UL 82! Go Cats!

Monday, December 23, 2013

AP/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll

AP Top 25

1. Arizona (63)
2. Syracuse (2)
3. Ohio St.
4. Wisconsin
5. Michigan St.
6. Louisville
7. Oklahoma St.
8. Villanova
9. Duke
10. Wichita St.
11. Baylor
12. Oregon
13. Florida
14. Iowa St.
15. Connecticut
16. Kansas
17. Memphis
18. Kentucky
19. North Carolina
20. San Diego St.
21. Colorado
22. Iowa
23. Massachusetts
24. Gonzaga
25. Missouri

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: Oklahoma 65, Illinois 53, Texas 47, Geo. Washington 43, Toledo 27, Florida St. 23, Michigan 15, UCLA 14, Harvard 14, St. Mary's 8, Pittsburgh 6, Creighton 5, SMU 1, LSU 1


1. Arizona (30)
2. Syracuse (1)
3. Ohio St. (1)
4. Louisville
5. Michigan St.
6. Wisconsin
7. Oklahoma St.
8. Wichita St.
9. Duke
10. Oregon
11. Villanova
12. Baylor
13. Iowa St.
14. Florida
15. Connecticut
16. Kansas
17. Memphis
18. Kentucky
19. North Carolina
20. San Diego St.
21. Gonzaga
22. Massachusetts
23. Iowa
24. Colorado
25. Missouri

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: UCLA 44, Pittsburgh 26, Creighton 25, St. Mary's 23, Geo. Washington 20, Toledo 13, Oklahoma 11, Texas 10, Michigan 8, Illinois 7, Florida St. 6, Utah 1, New Mexico 1

UK's Aaron Harrison named SEC Freshman of the Week 12/23/13

SEC Freshman of the Week

Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison, a 6-foot-6, 218-pound freshman guard from Richmond, Texas, was named SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring 23 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds in a win over Belmont. Harrison has scored 20 or more points in consecutive games and four times this season. He dished out a career-high seven assists while coming within one board of tying his career-best with six rebounds. He converted eight of his 11 free throw attempts.

Photos: 2013-14 UK Hoops - 61 vs Duke - 69

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Video: UK Coach Calipari Pre-Belmont Presser

Video: UK Players Cauley-Stein, Andrew Harrison pre Belmont Interview

Kentucky vs Belmont....A Preview

Kentucky vs Belmont 12/21/13 Saturday 12 Noon (ESPNU)
First Meeting

Belmont Bruins (Ohio Valley Conference)

Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Enrollment: 6,665
Arena: 5,000

Head Coach: Rick Byrd
Career Record: 663-346 (65.7%) 32 Seasons
At Belmont: 571-291 ( 66.2%) 27 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 26-7
2012-13 OVC Record: 14-2
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA (lost to Arizona in 2nd round)

2013-14 Record: 8-4

Belmont 87 Lipscomb 83
Richmond 69 Belmont 61
Belmont 96 Indiana St. 95
Belmont 83 North Carolina 80
Belmont 94 Lipscomb 64
Belmont 81 Holy Cross 70
Belmont 85 Hofstra 75
Belmont 102 Brescia 68
VCU 81 Belmont 68
Belmont 70 Middle Tennessee St. 58
South Dakota St. 85 Belmont 72
Denver 90 Belmont 62

Belmont Stats:

3 PT%-38.3% (8.8 PG)
RPG-32.3 (-0.3)

Probable Starting Lineup:

Blake Jenkins-F 6’7” Sr………………………..8.6 PPG
Drew Windler-F 6’9” Sr……………………….12.6 PPG
J.J. Mann-G/F 6’6” Sr………………………...18.7 PPG
Craig Bradshaw-G 6’3” Soph………………...12.0 PPG
Caleb Chowbay-G 6’2” Fr…………………….5.6 PPG

Other Key Players:

Nick Smith-F 6’8” Fr………………………….4.0 PPG
Jeff Laidig-G 6’4” Soph……………………….1.5 PPG
Holden Mobley-G 6’3” Jr……………………..1.3 PPG

Belmont is a mid major that has had a lot of success over the past 10 years. The Bruins have made the NCAA in 6 of the last 8 years and have had eight 20-win seasons in the last 10 years. They have a veteran coach in Rick Byrd who has a terrific 663 wins in his 32 year career.

Belmont has made the second most three pointers in the nation since the 1996-97 season and has ranked in the top 10 nationally in three point percentage 11 times in the past 15 seasons. Thus far this season, the Bruins are averaging 23 perimeter shots per game and making 9 PG for an excellent 38.3%.

J.J. Mann is the leading scorer and also leads in rebounds and steals. Drew Windler is hitting an incredible 58.3% from lost range making 48-139 shots while Craig Bradshaw is close behind hitting an amazing 48.6% making 35-120 shots. In the North Carolina win….the Bruins hit 15 three’s and made 20-22 FT’s.

Any team that can hit three’s like Belmont is going to be a dangerous opponent for anyone! Belmont just lost badly to Denver and they only hit 4-19 perimeter shots….but, they are obviously capable of making a lot of 3’s as they have shown this season.

UK Stats:

3 PT%-32.6% (5.2 PG)
RPG-44.3 (+12.4)

UK returns to Rupp A
rena after losing in the Dean Dome to North Carolina. There was obvious disappointment in losing to the Tarheels following loses to other ranked teams in Michigan St. and Baylor this season. Since the NCAA championship, the Cats have defeated only one ranked team….and that was Florida last season.

It has become very apparent that this UK team was over hyped and over rated starting the season….and now the Cats have fallen to #19 and #21 in the polls. Despite the drop in the polls, this team does have talent….and there is plenty of time to start a winning streak and climb back up in the polls.

Importantly, UK has had a whole week to practice and improve all facets of their game as they face Belmont. There are a host of issues that these young Cats need to improve on….starting with significantly cutting turnovers….for the season UK has 30 more turnovers then the competition….the last two games the Cats committed 19 turnovers in the win over Boise St. and 17 turnovers in the loss to North Carolina. The overwhelming majority of turnovers have been unforced….occurring with very poor passing and decision making.

Free throws have been a big problem in all 3 loses to ranked teams…..UK shot 20-36 for a terrible 55.6% in the Michigan St. loss…..12-23 for a horrible 55.2% in the Baylor loss…..and 29-43 for 67.4% in the North Carolina loss…with several key FT misses occurring late in the game.

Certainly, UK needs to improve it’s offense and defense and hopefully that will occur this week. The Cats better guard the perimeter against Belmont or they could have a difficult win. I see UK bouncing back from the North Carolina loss and handing Belmont a 20 point defeat. GO CATS!

Monday, December 16, 2013

AP/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll

AP Top 25

1.Arizona (63)
2.Syracuse (2)
3.Ohio St.
5.Michigan St.
7.Oklahoma St.
11.Wichita St.
14.North Carolina
17.Iowa St.
24.San Diego St.

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: UCLA 69, Pittsburgh 66, St. Mary's 11, Geo. Washington 5, Harvard 4, Oklahoma 4, Toledo 3, Michigan 3


1. Arizona (30)
2. Syracuse (1)
3. Ohio St. (1)
4. Louisville
5. Michigan St.
6. Wisconsin
7. Oklahoma St.
8. Duke
9. Wichita St.
10. Connecticut
11. Oregon
12. Villanova
13. Iowa St.
14. Memphis
15. Baylor
16. Gonzaga
17. Florida
18. North Carolina
19. Kansas
20. Massachusetts
21. Kentucky
22. UCLA
23. San Diego St.
24. Colorado
25. Missouri

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: Iowa 53, Pittsburgh 48, St. Mary's 24, Creighton 9, Michigan 7, Geo. Washington 5, Virginia 3, New Mexico 3, Oklahoma 1

UK Hoops Harper named SEC Women's Basketball Freshman Of The Week

SEC Freshman of the Week
Linnae Harper • Kentucky Guard •

Harper averaged a team-high 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal in Kentucky’s wins at DePaul (96-85) and vs. ETSU (73-56). • She was an efficient 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the field during the two games and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. • Recorded career highs in points (18), minutes played (18), defensive rebounds (4), field goals (7), free-throws made (4) and free-throws attempted (5) vs. DePaul. • Key player off the bench at DePaul, as she helped UK erase an 11-point deficit in the first half. • In the win vs. ETSU on Sunday, Harper scored all 10 of her points in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. She also tied a career high with two steals, while playing a career-high 19 minutes.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Video: UK Hoops 96 vs DePaul 85 Game Highlights

Kentucky vs North Carolina....A Preview

Kentucky vs North Carolina..12/14/13 Saturday 5:15 PM (ESPN)
UNC leads the series 22-13

North Carolina Tarheels (Atlantic Coast Conference)

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Enrollment: 29,278
Arena: 21,750

Head Coach: Roy Williams
Career Record: 700-180 (79.5%) 25 Seasons
At North Carolina: 282-79 (78.1%) 10 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 25-11
2012-13 ACC Record: 12-6
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA-(Lost to Kansas in 3rd round)

2013-14 Record: 6-2

North Carolina 84 Oakland 61
North Carolina 62 Holy Cross 54
Belmont 83 North Carolina 80
North Carolina 82 Richmond 72
North Carolina 93 Louisville 84
UAB 63 North Carolina 59
North Carolina 79 Michigan St. 65
North Carolina 81 UNC-Greensboro 50

North Carolina Stats:

3 PT%-29.9% (2.9PG)
RPG-41.5 (+7.4)

Probable Starting Lineup:

Marcus Paige-G 6’1” Soph………………….18.8 PPG
Nate Britt-G 5’11” Fr……………………….5.6 PPG
J.P. Tokoto-F 6’5” Soph……………………..9.4 PPG
Joel James-F 6’10” Soph…………………….4.0 PPG
James Michael McAdoo-F 6’9” Jr…………...13.0 PPG
Other Key Players:

Brice Johnson-F 6’9” Soph…………………13.6 PPG
Kennedy Meeks-F 6’9” Fr…………………..8.5 PPG
Issiah Hicks-F 6’8” Fr……………………….1.8 PPG

It’s been an interesting start for the Tarheels this season with two bad losses and two great wins. In losing to Belmont by 3 points, NC missed 26 free throws hitting 22-48 and in the loss to UAB….NC shot 4-11 while UAB shot 22-28 from the charity line….so FT’s played a significant role in both losses. Importantly, NC had two great quality wins in defeating highly ranked Louisville 93-84 and later defeating Michigan St. at East Lansing 79-65. 

North Carolina has mostly freshmen and sophomores playing except for McAdoo who is a junior. Marcus Paige leads the team in scoring averaging 18.8 PPG….he also leads in assists with 36 and perimeter shooting hitting a solid 39.2%. As a team, the Tarheels take only about 10 perimeter shots PG and Paige has taken 66% of all long range shots. Overall, North Carolina is a good rebounding team with Kennedy Meeks, a 6’9” 290 lb. freshman coming off the bench and also Brice Johnson, a 6’9” Soph doing likewise….both lead the team in rebounds. However, starters….Joel James, a 6’10” 280 lb. Soph and 6’9” James McAdoo also are tough on the boards. Bottom line….the Tarheels have some big bodies they can throw in the paint to make it tough on any opponent.

North Carolina is a great program with a great coach in Roy Williams….and, as usual, they have a very good team. There will be a white out among the fans and you can expect a full house when UK comes to the Dean Dome.

UK Stats:

3 PT%-32.5% (5.3 PG)
RPG-44.3 (+12.4)

UK bounced back from their disappointing loss to Baylor with a nice win over Boise St. Overall, the offense and defense were improved, but still has a long way to go. The 19 turnovers, mostly unforced with sloppy ball handling and poor decisions, could be a big problem in a very competitive game. 

Cal did utilize his bench more to help keep the starters fresh. However, none of the subs scored and the bench has only scored 2 points over the past 2 games. Of particular concern is the lack of productivity from Alex Poythress who hasn’t scored a single point over the past 2 games. It will be increasingly important for the bench to increase it’s scoring contribution and play good defense. 

The North Carolina game will present a huge challenge for these young Cats who are showing signs of improving, but unfortunately they have not advanced as far in their offense and defense as Cal had hoped at this point in the season. Playing the Tarheels in the Dean Dome will be a very difficult game for these young Cats. Certainly, UK has the talent to win, but unfortunately the Cats are not playing at a high enough level that gives me confidence they could defeat the Tarheels in the Dean Dome. Hopefully, I’m wrong and UK plays a great game and defeats North Carolina….however, I must predict with my head and not my heart….Tarheels defeat UK by 7 points. GO CATS!