Kentucky vs Long Beach State……A Preview
12/23/09 Wednesday at 1PMEST/12PMCST (FS South)
Long Beach State
Location-Long Beach, Calif.
Head Coach-Dan Monson
Career Record-191-163 (54.0%) 12 seasons
At Long Beach St.-21-40 (34.4%) 2 seasons
2008-09 Big West Record-10-6
Long Beach St. 86 Alaska Anchorage 65
Long Beach St. 67 Pepperdine 58
Notre Dame 82 Long Beach St. 62
Long Beach St. 81 Green Bay 69
West Virginia 85 Long Beach St. 62
Clemson 87 Long Beach St. 79
Long Beach St. 79 UCLA 68
Texas 107 Long Beach St. 74
Long Beach St. 96 CS Monterey Bay 61
Long Beach St. 75 Utah St. 62
Loyola Marymount 85 Long Beach St. 80 (OT)
Long Beach St. Stats / UK Stats
PPG-76.4 / 81.8
FG%-46.5% / 50.1%
3 Point %-38.6% / 42.5%
FT%-62.9% / 69.7%
Rebounds-35.4 / 42.5
Assists-14.9 / 16.2
TO’s-15.4 / 16.5
Blocks-2.2 / 7.9
Steals-7.9 / 7.3
Probable Starting Lineup
Eugene Phillips F-6’6” Soph. (PPG-8.9)
TJ Robinson F-6’7” Soph. (PPG-17.0)
Larry Anderson G-6’6” Soph. (PPG-12.8)
Stephan Gilling G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-12.8)
Casper Ware G-5’9” Soph. (PPG-12.2)
Other Key Players
Greg Plater G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-8.8)
Jesse Woodard G-6’1” Soph. (PPG-2.0)
The Long Beach St. 49ers arrive at Rupp arena with 4 returning starters, although they are still young starting 4 sophomores. The 49ers have embarked on a challenging schedule….already losing at Notre Dame, West Virginia, Texas and still must face Duke after playing UK. A look at the 49ers lineup reveals no starter over 6’7” and an overall small team. On the positive side, Long Beach St. does shoot the ball pretty well, especially from the 3 point line. The 49ers have 4 starters scoring in double figures led by TJ Robinson at 17 PPG. Robinson is also the team’s leading rebounder averaging nearly 11 boards per game. Importantly, the 49ers have 2 starters hitting 45% of their long range shots. Unfortunately, Long Beach St. has not shot well from the free throw line only hitting 63% and they are averaging over 15 TO’s per game.
Although,the 49ers have already faced some very tough teams….they will still have to contend with 24,000 Big Blue fans and a rapidly improving UK team.
Kentucky is fresh off a great win over Drexel where the Cats played their overall best game of the year….both offensively and defensively. All the players exhibited great energy on defense while holding Drexel to only 44 points. Coach Calipari was able to empty his bench….playing all 13 players. Importantly, every player got at least 10 minutes. The Cats were led by Wall, Cousins and Patterson in scoring. Wall continued to dazzle UK fans with great plays….while scoring 16 points and handing out 7 assists. Cousins continues to mature and play better and better……adding 18 points and was a beast on the boards with 13 rebounds. Patrick Patterson player another solid game and continues to shoot very well from out on the court. Liggins who recently got out of Calipari’s doghouse played defense like a man possessed while hitting both of his 3 point shots. Liggins is making a strong case for being in Calipari’s 8 man rotation or at least getting increased playing time. Also, it was great to Kentucky native Jon Hood get some meaningful playing time and he didn’t disappoint scoring 5 points, including a long range 3 pointer….grabbed 2 rebounds and had a steal.
For those who were able to view the great celebration of UK becoming the first college to reach the historic 2,000 wins…..it was truly a wonderful night and made all UK fans so very proud. ESPNU did a great job and certainly having Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Dykes as analysts added to the UK lovefest. There were a number of very special moments with interviews and comments from Herky Rupp, Adolph’s son, Joe B Hall and former players. Truly, the love and support for UK basketball is unmatched anywhere in college basketball….UK deserved to be first to 2,000 victories….and I can’t imagine any UK recruit viewing this great celebration not being incredibly impressed.
Obviously, the evening would have been even greater if those very special UK individuals were still with us….Cawood Ledford, the beloved voice of UK basketball….Mr. Keightly who played such a great role over many years in the UK program as far more than an equipment manager, but rather a friend and mentor to many past UK players. And of course, the many great UK players who have sadly passed away such as Mike Casey very recently. As UK fans, we all have so many wonderful memories that we will treasure forever….but, importantly, the future looks very bright with more wonderful memories to come.
Lastly, unfortunately, the one individual who was most responsible for the greatness of UK basketball couldn’t see this great program reach the 2,000 victory milestone…..but, I suspect that the Baron….the great Adolph Rupp was looking down with a big smile as the Cats hit the 2,000 win mark.
I look for the Cats to dominate the paint against Long Beach St. and handle the 49ers rather easily. GO CATS!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009