Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kentucky vs Missouri....A Preview

Kentucky vs Missouri….2/1/14 Saturday 1PM (TV-CBS)
UK leads the series 5-0

Missouri Tigers

Location: Columbia, Mo.
Enrollment: 34,748
Arena: 15,061

Head Coach: Frank Haith
Career Record: 182-117 (60.9%) 9 Seasons
At Missouri: 53-16 (76.8%) 2 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 23-11
2012-13 SEC Record: 11-7
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA (Lost in 2nd round)

2013-14 Record: 16-4
2013-14 SEC Record: 4-3

Missouri 89 Southeastern Louisiana 53
Missouri 72 Southern Illinois 59
Missouri 92 Hawaii 80
Missouri 72 Gardner-Webb 63
Missouri 78 IUPUI 64
Missouri 78 Northwestern 67
Missouri 83 Nevada 70
Missouri 80 West Virginia 71
Missouri 80 UCLA 71
Missouri 66 Western Michigan 60
Illinois 65 Missouri 65
Missouri 68 North Carolina St. 64
Missouri 69 Long Beach St 59
Georgia 70 Missouri 64
Missouri 70 Auburn 68
Vanderbilt 78 Missouri 75
Missouri 68 Alabama 47
LSU 77 Missouri 71
Missouri 82 South Carolina 74
Missouri 75 Arkansas 71

Missouri Stats:

PPG-74.8
FG%-46.1%
3 PT%-36.7% (6.3 PG)
FT%-72.3%
RPG-39.4 (+7.3 PG)
APG-10.7
TPG-12.7
SPG-5.2
BPG-3.5

Probable Starting Lineup:

Johnathan Williams-F 6’9” Fr……………………………6.8 PPG
Ryan Rossburg-F 6’10” Soph……………………………4.7 PPG
Jabari Brown-G 6’5” Jr…………………………….…….19.8 PPG
Jordan Clarkson-G 6’5” Jr…………………………..…..18.5 PPG
Earnest Ross-G 6’5” Sr……………………………….…14.5 PPG

Other Key Players:

Tony Criswell-F 6’9” Sr……………………..……….…..5.0 PPG
Wes Clark-G 6’0” Fr……………………………………..4.2 PPG

Missouri returns home from an important win over Arkansas on the road. Now, they welcomes UK to Columbia with an excellent opportunity to get a big SEC win and enhance their NCAA chances. 

The Tigers are led in scoring by Jabari Brown, the lone returning starter from last season. Brown is an outstanding perimeter shooter hitting 59-124 for 47.6%. Jordan Clarkson, an all USA conference redshirt transfer from Tulsa, has added lots of firepower with his 18.5 PPG and also leads the team in assists with 69. Senior Earnest Ross is having a solid year with the Tigers averaging 14.5 PPG and leading the team in rebounds along with Johnathan Williams…..also, Williams leads the team in blocks. Four of the seven players that see most of the minutes are juniors and seniors….so there is solid experience. Importantly, the three leading scorers, Brown, Clarkson and Ross, are tremendous FT shooters….hitting 75.9%, 80.4% and 78.3% respectively!

This is a good Missouri team that has previously been ranked in the top 25 and would like to climb back in the rankings with a big win over UK!

UK Stats:

PPG-79.8
FG%-47.1%
3 PT%-32.3% (5.3 PG)
FT%-67.6%
RPG-42.4 (+10.7 PG)
APG-12.4
TPG-12.7
SPG-4.7
BPG-6.8

UK is reeling from a very bad performance and loss at LSU. The Cats where trailing most of the game by double digits and only closed the margin to 5 points at the end by hitting a few 3 pointers….but, UK fans saw their beloved Cats soundly beaten in Baton Rouge. The stats were very revealing….LSU had 15 assists to UK’s 8….11 steals to UK’s 6….11 blocks to UK’s 4…..and most importantly, UK’s very poor defense allowed LSU, a team that averages 45% hit 50.8% of their FG’s. 

There is no question that the coaching staff must be very frustrated and disappointed with the lack of energy….lack of effort…and terrible defense at this point in the season. We are now two thirds of the way through the schedule and for whatever reasons….this UK team has only showed marginal improvement through the season…..and nothing resembling a breakthrough performance which I strongly suspect the coaching staff thought would have happened by now. 

The remaining SEC schedule will not be easy starting with Missouri Saturday. A loss at Missouri, which is very possible, would be a devastating blow to any chance UK could get a good seed in the NCAA. Other SEC teams are likely smelling blood in the water and see opportunities to defeat UK, even at Rupp arena.

The window is starting to close on this team improving significantly with breakthrough performances….there is still time, but the next 5-6 games will tell a lot about this team’s future!

I want to pick UK over Missouri, but after the very bad loss at LSU I can’t…..I hope I’m wrong, but I see Missouri defeating UK by 5-7 points. GO CATS!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Video: UK Coach Calipari, Randle and Cauley-Stein Pre-LSU Interviews

Videos courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

UK's Julius Randle named SEC Freshman Of The Week 1/27/14

SEC Freshman Of The Week

Kentucky’s Julius Randle, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound freshman forward from Dallas, Texas, was named SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 13.5 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and 1.5 blocks in wins against Texas A&M and Georgia. He registered his SEC-leading 11th double-double of the season in a win over Texas A&M. Randle ranked second on the squad with six assists and led the team in rebounding both games. He went 10-of-11 (.909) at the free throw line and hit 57.1 percent of his shots, including his second made 3-pointer on his only attempt in the win over Georgia.

AP/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll 1/27/14


 AP Top 25

1. Arizona (63)
2. Syracuse (2)
3. Florida
4. Wichita St.
5. San Diego St.
6. Kansas
7. Michigan St.
8. Oklahoma St.
9. Villanova
10. Michigan
11. Kentucky
12. Louisville
13. Cincinnati
14. Wisconsin
15. Iowa
16. Iowa St.
17. Duke
18. Pittsburgh
19. Saint Louis
20. Creighton
21. Massachusetts
22. Memphis
23. Oklahoma
24. Ohio St.
25. Texas

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: Connecticut 67, Gonzaga 51, UCLA 39, Virginia 18, Minnesota 5, Kansas St. 5, Geo. Washington 5, Green Bay 5, SMU 3, New Mexico 1, Southern Miss 1, Harvard 1, American 1, Louisiana Tech 1

USA Today/ESPN

1. Arizona (31)
2. Syracuse (1)
3. Wichita St.
4. Florida
5. San Diego St.
6. Michigan St.
7. Kansas
8. Louisville
9. Villanova
10. Oklahoma St.
11. Kentucky
12. Iowa
13. Wisconsin
14. Michigan
15. Cincinnati
16. Duke
17. Pittsburgh
18. Iowa St.
19. Massachusetts
20. Creighton
21. Saint Louis
22. Memphis
23. Ohio St.
24. Gonzaga
25. Oklahoma

Dropped Out: None

Others Receiving Votes: Texas 41, Virginia 26, UCLA 22, Connecticut 18, Geo. Washington 8, Kansas St. 6, Southern Miss 6, Baylor 6, Toledo 5, Colorado 5, Stephen F. Austin 1, SMU 1

SEC Men's Basketball Standings 1/27/14

Florida 6 - 0 17 - 2
Kentucky 5 - 1 15 - 4
Ole Miss 5 - 1 14 - 5
Georgia 4 - 2 10 - 8
Alabama 3 - 3 9 - 10
LSU 3 - 3 12 - 6
Mississippi St. 3 - 3 13 - 6
Missouri 3 - 3 15 - 4
Tennessee 3 - 3 12 - 7
Texas A&M 3 - 3 12 - 7
Arkansas 2 - 4 13 - 6
Vanderbilt 2-4 10-8
Auburn 0-6 8-9
South Carolina 0-6 7-12

SEC Men's Basketball Schedule 1/28/14-2/1/14

TUESDAY, JANUARY 28TH

Missouri at Arkansas 7:00 PM ESPNU
Kentucky at LSU 9:00 PM ESPN


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29TH

Texas A&M at South Carolina 7:00 PM ESPN3
Vanderbilt at Georgia 7:00 PM CSS
Alabama at Auburn 8:00 PM SEC TV
Ole Miss at Tennessee 8:00 PM SEC TV

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30TH

Florida at Mississippi St. 7:00 PM ESPN/2

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1ST

Kentucky at Missouri 1:00 PM CBS Sports
Georgia at Auburn 1:30 PM SEC TV
South Carolina at Ole Miss 1:30 PM SEC TV
Texas A&M at Florida 4:00 PM SEC TV
Arkansas at LSU 5:00 PM ESPNU
Mississippi St. at Vanderbilt 5:00 PM FSN
Tennessee at Alabama 8:00 PM ESPN2

Kentucky vs LSU....A Preview

Kentucky vs LSU….1/28/14 Tuesday 9PM (TV-ESPN) 
UK leads series 83-24

LSU Tigers

Location: Baton Rouge, La
Enrollment: 29,549
Arena: 13,215

Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Career Record: 224-174 (56.3%) 13 Seasons
At LSU: 19-12 (61.3%) 1 Season

2012-13 Record: 19-12
2012-13 SEC Record: 9-9
2012-13 Postseason: None

2013-14 Record: 12-6
2013-14 SEC Record: 3-3

Massachusetts 92 LSU 90
LSU 88 Northwestern State 74
LSU 81 New Orleans 54
LSU 89 Southeastern Louisiana 66
LSU 82 Saint Joseph’s 65
Memphis 76 LSU 69
LSU 70 Butler 68 (OT)
LSU 61 Louisiana-Monroe 54
LSU 71 Texas Tech 69
LSU 86 UAB 63
LSU 79 McNeese State 52
Rhode Island 74 LSU 70
Tennessee 68 LSU 50
LSU 71 South Carolina 68
Ole Miss 88 LSU 74 (OT)
LSU 81 Vanderbilt 58
LSU 77 Missouri 71
Alabama 82 LSU 80

LSU Stats: 

PPG-76.1
FG%-44.6%
3 PT%-33.1% (6.4 PG)
FT%-66.8%
RPG-41.3 (+4.8 PG)
APG-14.2
TPG-14.7
SPG-9.2
BPG-6.5

Probable Starting Lineup:

Johnny O’Bryant-F 6’9” Jr………………………..14.6 PPG
Shavon Coleman-F 6’5” Sr…………………….….8.9 PPG
Jordan Mickey-F 6’8” Fr………………………….13.0 PPG
Anthony Hickey-G 5’11” Jr……………………….8.5 PPG
Malik Morgan-G 6’4” Soph……………………….4.9 PPG

Other Key Players:

Andre Stringer-G 5’10” Sr………………………..12.0 PPG
Jarell Martin-F 6’9” Fr………………………….…8.7 PPG

LSU’s fortunes took a positive step when 6’9” 256 lb. Johnny O’Bryant returned for his junior season. O’Bryant leads the team in scoring and rebounds. Also, importantly, coach Johnny Jones brought in one of the most highly rated crop of newcomers in LSU history. Already 6’8” freshman Jordan Mickey has made a big impact as 2nd only to O’Bryant in scoring and rebounds while leading in block shots with 64. Senior Andre Stringer leads the Tigers in perimeter shooting hitting 36-92 for an excellent 39.1%. LSU averages 9.2 steals PG and is led in steals by lighting quick 5’11” Anthony Hickey with 39 steals.

This LSU team has a nice mixture of talent, athletic ability and experience. Make no mistake, this is a good LSU team….in fact, two of LSU’s three SEC losses came on the road with an OT loss to Ole Miss and a 2 point loss to Alabama. Look for a packed arena and a tough LSU team looking to upset the Cats!

UK Stats:

PPG-79.6
FG%-47.4%
3 PT%-31.5% (5.1 PG)
FT%-67.6%
RPG-42.4 (+10.9 PG)
APG-12.6
TPG-12.6
SPG-4.6
BPG-6.9

UK has finished a successful home stand winning 3 games and showing some nice improvement….although, as coach Cal says, he is still waiting for this team to have breakthrough improvement, especially in team discipline on the court.

It was nice to see WCS break out of his 3 game slump and show solid improvement, particulary on the defensive end. The big win over Georgia allowed the Cats to play a lot of players….and most everyone played well.

Now UK faces 5 road games in their next 7 games. This will be a huge challenge for these young Cats and it starts at LSU. This will be a tough game and the Cats will need to bring great energy and their A game when they face the Tigers in Baton Rouge. I see a 5-7 point win for the Cats! GO CATS!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Video: UK Coach Calipari, Andrew Harrison and Jarrod Polson Pre-Georgia Interviews

Videos courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Kentucky vs Georgia....A Preview

Kentucky vs Georgia..1/25/14 Saturday 1:30PM (TV-SEC-TV) 
UK leads the series 115-26

Georgia Bulldogs

Location: Athens, Ga.
Enrollment: 34,475
Arena: 10,523

Head Coach: Mark Fox
Career Record: 188-106 (63.9%) 9 Seasons
At Georgia: 65-63 (50.8%) 4 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 15-17
2012-13 SEC Record: 9-9
2012-13 Postseason: None

2013-14 Record: 10-7
2013-14 SEC Record: 4-1

Georgia 72 Wofford 52
Georgia Tech 80 Georgia 71
Davidson 94 Georgia 82
Temple 83 Georgia 81
Nebraska 73 Georgia 65
Georgia 71 Appalachian St. 53
Georgia 87 Chattanooga 56
Georgia 84 Lipscomb 75
Georgia 58 Gardner-Webb 49
Georgia 65 Western Carolina 63
Colorado 84 Georgia 70
George Washington 73 Georgia 55
Georgia 70 Missouri 64 (OT)
Georgia 66 Alabama 58
Florida 72 Georgia 50
Georgia 66 Arkansas 61 (OT)
Georgia 97 South Carolina 76

Georgia Stats:

PPG-71.2
FG%-45.5%
3 PT%-33.8% (4.4 PG)
FT%-65.8%
RPG-37.8 (+5.4 PG)
APG-10.4
TPG-13.2
SPG-5.1
BPG-5.1

Probable Starting Lineup:

Marcus Thornton-F 6’8” Jr………………………….…….7.5 PPG
Donte Williams-F 6’9” Sr…………………………………5.9 PPG
Brandon Morris-F 6’7” Soph………………………………9.0 PPG
Kenny Gaines-G 6’3” Soph……………………………….12.0 PPG
Charles Mann-G 6’5” Soph………………………………..13.1 PPG

Other Key Players:

Nemania Diurisic-F 6’8” Jr………………………………..10.5 PPG
Juwan Parker-G 6’4” Fr……………………………………5.0 PPG

Georgia is off to a great start in the SEC with a 4-1 record losing only to Florida. Although the Bulldogs lost leading scorer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from last season, they return seven players who saw double –digit minutes from last season. Importantly, there is good height along with solid experience. 

Guard Charles Mann leads the team in scoring along with assists and steals. Forwards Marcus Thornton and Donte Williams lead in rebounds. Although Georgia is just an average perimeter shooting team, opponents need to find Nemania Diurisoc when on the floor and guard him closely from the perimeter…..as Diurisic has hit 22-41 long range shots for a red hot 53.7%.

Georgia is an improving team that can be dangerous….even in Rupp arena.

UK Stats: 

PPG-79.7
FG%-47.2%
3 PT%-31.1% (5.1 PG)
FT%-67.2%
RPG-43.0 (+11.7)
APG-12.4
TPG-12.7
SPG-4.4
BPG-6.7

UK is now 4-1 in the SEC after defeating Texas A&M 68-51. The win at home was important, but the game revealed that this young UK team is still very much a work in progress. The regular season is now half over and while there has been overall improvement, the Cats must continue to improve to have a chance at advancing in the NCAA. The Cats must cut down on unforced turnovers….and make better decisions in regard to going to their strength in the paint and not shooting too many perimeter shots which is not their strength.

UK must get WCS back on track as he has been missing in action the past 3 games. Although Dakari Johnson has shown solid overall improvement in the paint, there are teams with smaller quick frontlines that Johnson has trouble matching up against…..that’s where the Cats need the quickness and defense from WCS. In fact, it’s the defense of WCS that UK is primarily missing although his offense is needed as well.

I see UK playing a solid game against Georgia and winning by 12-15 points! GO CATS!