Kentucky vs Louisville…A Preview of the Rivalry
Kentucky vs Louisville 1/2/10 at 3:30pmEST/2:30pmCST on CBS
Head Coach-Rick Pitino
Career Record-552-197 (73.7%) 23 seasons
At Louisville-200-73 (73.3%) 8 seasons
2008-09 Big East Record-16-2
2008-09 Postseason 3-1 (Lost in Elite 8)
Louisville 96 Arkansas 66
Louisville 69 East Tennessee St. 56
Louisville 90 Morgan St. 81
Louisville 80 Appalachian St. 53
UNLV 76 Louisville 71
Louisville 80 Stetson 48
Charlotte 87 Louisville 65
Western Carolina 91 Louisville 83
Louisville 94 Oral Roberts 57
Louisville 102 Western Ky. 75
Louisville 84 Louisiana-Lafayette 69
Louisville 79 Radford 53
Louisville 73 South Florida 52
Louisville Stats / Kentucky Stats
PPG-82.0 / 83.6
FG%-45.9% / 50.5%
3 Point FG%-32.1% / 42.2%
FT%-68.5% / 69.5%
Rebounds-40.8 / 42.6
Assists-17.2 / 17.2
TO’s-13.8 / 15.3
Steals-8.6 / 7.1
Blocks-3.8 / 7.6
Probable Starting Lineups
Reginald Delk F-6’4” Sr. (PPG-6.7)
Jared Swopshire F-6’8” So. (PPG-8.0)
Samardo Samuels C-6’9” So. (PPG-16.4)
Edgar Sosa G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-13.3)
Jerry Smith G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-8.7)
Other Key Players
Preston Knowles G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-8.5)
Kyle Kuric G-6’4” So. (PPG-4.5)
Terrence Jennings F-6’9” So. (PPG-6.4)
Peyton Siva G-5’11” Fr. (PPG-4.6)
The Louisville Cardinals arrive in Rupp Arena fresh off of defeating South Florida and with a decent 10-3 record, but without a single signature win thus far. The Cards have won 5 straight after suffering a humiliating defeat to Western Carolina. Louisville lost 3 outstanding players from last season’s 31-6 Elite 8 team….namely, Earl Clark, Andree McGee and Terrance Williams. Although, the Cards overall talent is down from last season, it would be a mistake to underestimate the talent of this season’s team.
The Cardinals are led in scoring by 6’9” soph Samardo Samuels at 16.4PPG, but he also is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.6 per game. Interestingly, Samuels has shot a third of all Louisville’s free throws hitting 71-104 for 68.3%. Senior guard Edgar Sosa is the Cards 2nd leading scorer at 13.3 PPG….and also leads in assists with 56 thus far. Sosa also leads the team in 3 point shots made and percentage….hitting a solid 41.4%. Jared Swopshire is the team’s 2nd leading rebounder at 5.7 per game. Reginald Delk, a cousin of UK great….Tony Delk….is hitting 47.2% of his 3 point shots.
Coach Pitino uses his bench a lot with 9 players averaging 13 plus minutes per game. The Cards are not a big team, but count on 6’8” Swopshire and 6’9” 260 lb. Samuels to be effective in the paint….and often bring 6’9” Terrence Jennings off the bench to help on the frontline. Louisville starts 3 seniors and 2 sophs, so they bring a good bit of experience to each game. Importantly for the Cards, their 2 starting guards, Sosa and Smith, are both seniors and bring a lot of experience and savvy to the backcourt.
Louisville averages 24- 3 point shots per game and although the overall team 3 point percentage is only 32.1%.....they are still dangerous….especially with both Sosa and Delk hitting over 40%. Coach Pitino often likes to press other teams and the Cards have 6 players with 10 plus steals thus far this season.
Although, Louisville will be an underdog in Rupp Arena against the undefeated Cats, you can bet that Pitino will throw everything but the kitchen sink at these young Cats. Look for different zones….man to man….and various presses….all designed to throw UK off it’s comfort zone on the floor. If the Cards are shooting the 3 ball well….this could be a very tough game for the Cats. Whatever anyone thinks of Pitino the person, no one can question that he is one of the very best floor coaches in college basketball.
Kentucky is riding a 14 game winning streak and comes into the rivalry game undefeated and 3rd ranked in the nation. The Cats have shown definite improvement both offensively and defensively. Unquestionably, this UK team ranks among the most talented in Wildcat history. The starting guards of Wall and Bledsoe, although freshmen, bring incredible quickness, athletic ability and talent to the backcourt and are shooting a combined 46’9% from long range. Wall has established himself as a rare talent and an amazingly unselfish player who is the consummate team player. Freshman Cousins is showing dramatic improvement in the pivot and is learning the importance of controlling his emotions on the court. This Wildcat team will need Cousins to stay out of foul trouble and play at least 25-30 minutes in most games. Patrick Patterson has been a rock of stability for this young team….Patterson has been incredibly consistent in playing well in each and every game while revealing his ability to shoot the rock well from the outside. In addition, Patrick has brought excellent leadership to this young UK team. Darius Miller is beginning to gain more and more confidence in his offensive game. Importantly, The Cats are getting solid contributions off the bench….especially in Dodson, Orton, Harris and Liggins. Dodson is bringing instant offense in most games and is improving his defense. Harris and Liggins are playing solid defense while Orton plays an important role in playing the pivot when Cousins goes to the bench. There is still much more improvement needed for these young talented Cats, but already fans have seen significant gains in the offense and defense.
The Louisville game will be a big test for the Cats. They will face a number of varying defenses and likely a number of presses. You can bet that Pitino will have this underdog Card team playing at a frantic pace. UK must play solid defense, especially in preventing open 3 point shots. Also, the Cats must keep their 3 best players, Wall, Cousins and Patterson out of foul trouble. A repeat of the Long Beach St. game when all three spent significant time on the bench because of fouls could cause a UK loss.
This will be a tremendous game….Calipari vs Pitino. Two of the top 5 coaches in America. The Cats will be a definite favorite, but to win….UK must play solid defense, handle the Louisville press, score in the paint and shoot a solid percentage from the field.
As we have learned in the past, the best and most talented team has not always won in this great rivalry. Importantly, this young UK team has already been tested under fire….beating a talented North Carolina team in Rupp Arena…..beating a very good U Conn team in Madison Square Garden and defeating an Indiana team supported by a frenzy IU crowd in Assembly Hall. This will be another important test and I look for these talented Cats to pass another test in defeating Louisville. It won’t be a blowout….in fact, it likely will be a close game. Cats by 5-7 points. GO CATS!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Kentucky vs Hartford 12/29/09 Tuesday at 7PM (ESPN 2)
Location-West Hartford, Conn.
Head Coach-Dan Leibovitz
Career Record-38-6- (42.2%) 3 seasons
All at Hartford
2008-09 America East Record-2-14
Quinnipiac 85 Hartford 74
Baylor 71 Hartford 69
Hartford 75 Marist 38
Hartford 70 Fordham 62
Lafayette 86 Hartford 82
Dartmouth 68 Hartford 56
Yale 48 Hartford 46
Seton Hall 89 Hartford 56
LaSalle 75 Hartford 62
St. Francis 63 Hartford 60
Sacred Heart 76 Hartford 65
Hartford Stats / UK Stats
PPG-65.0 / 82.1
FG%-42.8% / 49.6%
3 Point%-38.2% / 41.1%
FT%-64.2% / 70.0%
Rebounds-29.5 / 42.7
Assists-11.2 / 16.2
TO’s-12.3 / 15.9
Steals-6.5 / 7.4
Blocks-1.9 / 7.9
Probable Starting Lineup
Morgan Sabia F-6’8” Jr. (PPG-12.6)
Joel Barkers F-6’6” Jr. (PPG-11.1)
Milton Burton G/F 6’5” Jr. (PPG-7.2
Joe Zeglinski G-6’0” Jr. (PPG-15.6)
Andre Torres G 5’10” Jr. (PPG-8.2)
Other Key Players
Clayton Brothers G-6’1” So. (PPG-3.5)
Charles White G-6’1” Fr. (PPG-2.8)
Anthony Minor F-6’6” Jr. (PPG-2.6)
There is no sugar coating the fact that Hartford is simply not a very good team. They are currently 2-9…..they are not a big team…..and they are a poor shooting team from the field and free throw line. The only positives are that Joe Zeglinski and Morgan Sabia, who lead the Hawks in scoring, have been pretty good 3 point shooters hitting 39.2% and 44.8% respectfully. Hartford is totally overmatched against UK!
UK climbed to 13-0 with a hard fought win over Long Beach St. The Cats dug a hole in the first half with 3 starters getting into foul trouble and Cousins sitting for virtually the entire 1st half. The Cats played much better in the 2nd half with Wall, Patterson and Cousins leading the scoring. As coach Calipari pointed out, this game was another learning experience for these young Cats. Going forward, it will be increasingly important that Cousins control his emotions, play smart and stay out of foul trouble.
The Hartford game should provide ample opportunity for UK’s bench to get some increased playing time. Importantly, the holidays will allow coach Calipari much more practice time with these young Cats. The result should be significant improvement in running both the offense and defense. The next big test for the Cats is the Louisville game.
UK easily defeats Hartford with big contributions from the bench. GO CATS!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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!
WT Executive Moderator
Alot of back slapping and high fiving in the early season for the Cats. Understandable. UK fans have not had alot of fun the last 4-5 years.
The teams of Tubby Smith never made it past the opening weekend of the NCAA the last few years of his tenure. Then there was the NIT of Billy Gillispie.
New life has been breathed into the Commonwealth and they are starry eyed.
UK has arguable the best starting 5 in the nation. What they don't have is a bench. To go deep in the NCAA a team needs eight dependable players to carry the bulk of the minutes.
Ramon Harris plays hard on defense but is not a scorer that is needed off the bench.
Daniel Orton fouled out in 3 minutes of play verse UConn. These are the type of NCAA teams UK will have to beat in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 if they want to go further.
John Hood, Perry Stevenson and Josh Harrellson don't strike fear in a middle school team.
DeAndre Liggins could not fall out of a boat and hit water. Provided he doesn't refuse to go in or sit out 10 games like he did to start the season.
Darnell Dobson has the ability to provide a spark that is needed.
There will come a time where Patterson and/or Big Cuz get in foul trouble. There will be a game where Bledsoe has to move to PG and Dobson has to play SG due to foul trouble on John Wall.
How much confidence is there that the bench can bail them out?
- Dodson 18 minutes and 8 ppg
- Orton 15 minutes and 4 ppg 4 rbg
- Harris 16 minutes and 2 ppg
- Stevenson 8 minutes 1 ppg 2 rpg
Monday, December 21, 2009
Kentucky vs Drexel Dragons
(12/21/09 7PMEST/6PMCST ESPNU)
Head Coach- Bruiser Flint
Career Record-219-180 (54.9%) 13 seasons
At Drexel-133-108 (55.2%) 8 seasons
2008-09 CAA Record-10-8
2009-10 Record 6-5
St. Joseph 77 Drexel 67 (OT)
Niagara 76 Drexel 69
Rutgers 58 Drexel 56
Drexel 58 Penn 49
Drexel 74 Vermont 61
Drexel 63 Toledo 59
Cornell 61 Drexel 54
Villanova 77 Drexel 58
Drexel 49 Northeastern
Drexel 57 St. Francis 35
Drexel 75 Cal-State Northridge 63
Drexel Stats / UK Stats
PPG-62.4 / 81.2
FG%-40.5% / 49.8%
3 Pt %-29.1% / 35.8%
FT%-63.3% / 68.3%
Rebounds-37.1 / 42.3
Assists-12.9 / 15.8
TO’s-13.1 / 16.7
Steals-6.9 / 7.2
Blocks-3.4 / 8.1
Probable Starting Lineup
Samme Givens F-6’5” So. (PPG-8.1)
Derrick Thomas F-6’4” Fr. (PPG-8.5)
Daryl McCoy F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-1.3)
Jamie Harris G-5’10” Jr. (PPG-15.1)
Gerald Colds G-6’1” Jr. (PPG-9.5)
Other Key Playerss
Chris Fouch G-6’2” Fr. (PPG-7.6)
Evan Neisler F-6’8” Sr. (PPG-4.9)
Bruiser Flint, a longtime assistant to coach Calipari at U Mass, brings his Drexel Dragons to Rupp arena fresh off of a 3 game winning streak. Drexel returns 4 starters from last seasons team, but lost freshman starter, and leading rebounder, 6’8” Leon Spencer with a broken wrist in the Rutgers game…..Spencer will be back, but not in time for the UK. game. The Dragons are led in scoring by Jamie Harris who is the only player scoring in double figures. Only Samme Givens is shooting a high FG percentage….hitting 56.3%. Unfortunately, Drexel as a team is shooting only 40.5% from the field and a very poor 29.1% from the 3 point line. Only Chris Fouch is shooting above 30% from long range…..hitting 32.7%. In addition, the Dragons are only hitting 63.3% from the FT line.
Drexel has scored over 70 points in only 2 games…. as the Dragons simply have difficulty in scoring. For sure, coach Flint will have his team excited to play the Cats in Rupp arena and will likely try and slow the game down to keep the score out of the 80’s or above. Unfortunately, Drexel is heavily overmatched at every position in height and talent.
The Cats are coming off of a lackluster win over Austin Peay in which they finally opened the game up late in the 2nd half. Neither coach Calipari or the players were pleased with their overall performance. Still, there were a number of positives in the Austin Peay victory such as UK hitting 18-18 free throws….including Cousins 5-5 from the charity line. Patterson continued his solid play with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Darius Miller played well hitting 3 long range buckets. Cousins added 19 points and 8 rebounds.
The super talented John Wall was only 6-15 from the field, but did hit 3 long range shots. While Wall did contribute 6 assists, he also had 6 TO’s. UK fans got a real scare when Wall went down in pain during the game, but did come back to play. Hopefully, Wall is OK as unquestionably, John Wall is a huge factor in UK’s success thus far and his loss would border on catastrophic!
Importantly, the 3rd ranked Cats are 11-0 and have the great opportunity to be the first college to win 2,000 games! A 2,000th victory would only add to the longtime greatness of the Kentucky program…..it would be a tremendous achievement!
I look for UK to easily defeat an overmatched Drexel team and not only go 12-0, but hit the 2,000 victory mark for the Wildcats! GO CATS!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I see most of what the media has done to Calipari as a witch hunt. There is a lot of cheating going on in college basketball these days and they single him out to pick on.
Williams approved gifts to players and there were how many other violations at KU???, but nothing is ever done to ol Roy either. Where are the articles talking about how UNC went and hired a cheating coach to bring back their program? OSU had multiple players come out and talk to the media about NCAA rules breaking by the football program and isn't their basketball program in trouble as well? Coach K has not always been squeaky clean and Pitino had 6 or 8 NCAA violations on his record from when he was at Hawaii. Now Pitino is mixed up in a huge scandal involving multiple people from his basketball program, but I have not once heard of an NCAA investigation into it to see if any rules were broken. USC has now been busted for cheating in both football and basketball I think.
Jim Calhoun is in trouble for the second time. I'm not sure if the NCAA is investigating, but yahoo sports reported:
Yahoo! Sports' allegations state that between 2006 and 2008, UConn furnished Nate Miles with lodging, transportation, restaurant meals, and representation by a former UConn student manager.
Yahoo! also says that UConn called Miles up to 30 times a month during his junior year of high school. The NCAA maximum is once a month.
UConn is also said to have exchanged up to 1,565 text messages with Nochimson, who was managing Miles. 16 of those were from Jim Calhoun.
This is insane because when this story came out the guys from ESPN actually seemed to be rooting for him, saying things like: "They don't know our boy, he's a fighter!"
Michigan had 4 players testify in front of a grand jury they got between 2 and 4 hundred thousand dollars each to play at UM and that Webber got 900K. (I think?) Yet with all that money being paid out all UM had to do was take down their final four banner? If that is all that happened I find it shocking the Memphis FF is vacated because the NCAA clearing house messed up. Sampson at Indiana, Dale Brown at LSU in the 90ies and Nolan Richardson's kid pulled a freaking gun on one of his assistants!
There is SO much cheating going on today and most people do not want to believe it is out there, but it is. However, it has always been out there. It is nothing new. The problem is John Calipari has now been made the poster boy (because he is at UK) of cheating and the head of the witch hunt. They will not stop until they find something on him so UK needs to be very careful and make sure we don't even break a rule on accident. If Cal were to drop a cheeseburger at Mickey D's they will try to find a way to say he was cheating and giving a gift to someone.
But a lot of the "media favorites" have been busted in the past as well and some of them for more then one thing. Yes, people talked about Cal in the past but nothing like they do now that he is at UK. I know some people try to say there is no media bias, but there most surely is. If not, there would still be two or three article per week written on Pitino and Calhoun, plus they would be taking shots at Williams.
That's my two cents.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Kentucky vs Austin Peay
12/19/09 (Saturday at 4PM)
Head Coach-Dave Loos
Career Record-396-314 (55.8%) 23 seasons
At Austin Peay-314-261 (54.6%) 19 seasons
2008-09 OVC Record-13-5
2008-09 Postseason Record-0-1 (NIT)
Tennessee 83 Austin Peay-54
Austin Peay 80 Akron 77
IUPUI 77 Austin Peay 63
North Carolina St. 66 Austin Peay 59
Austin Peay 69 Niagara 67
Drake 78 Austin Peay 72
Austin Peay 99 Freed-Hardeman 61
Austin Peay 76 Southeast Missouri 71 (OT)
Austin Peay 73 Eastern Illinois 60
Austin Peay 68 Ohio U. 66
Austin Peay 85 Marion (Ind) 55
Austin Peay Stats / UK Stats
PPG-72.5 / 80.3
FG%-45.8% / 49.7%
3 Point %-38.4% / 38.0%
FT%-67.7% / 66.0%
Rebounds-36.4 / 42.1
Assists-14.0 / 15.6
TO’s-14.2 / 16.8
Steals-5.4 / 7.6
Blocks-3.4 / 8.1
Probable Starting Lineup
Marcel Williams F 6’6” So. (PPG-7.2)
Anthony Cambell F/G 6.6: So. (PPG-15.3)
John Fraley C 6’8” So. (PPG-8.9)
Caleb Brown G 6’0” Jr. (PPG-4.4)
Wes Channels G 6’3” Sr. (PPG-14.1)
Other Key Players
Duran Roberson C/F 6’8” Fr. (PPG-7.5)
Tyrone Caldwell G 6’0” So. (PPG-6.5)
The Austin Peay Governors return 3 starters from last season’s NIT team. They usually start 3 sophomores and are led in scoring by Anthony Campbell who has hit 25-51 3 pointers thus far this season for a blistering 49.0% Campbell also is an 84.1% free throw shooter and leads the team in steals. Wes Channels, the lone starting senior, is the 2nd leading scorer for the Governors while also lighting it up from 3 point range at 48.8%. In addition, Channels leads Austin Peay in assists. The leading rebounders are center Bill Fraley and forward Marcel Williams.
The key to stopping Austin Peay will be containing Campbell and Channels who have accounted for 40% of the Governors points per game and 67.6% of all 3 pointers made this season. The Governors record thus far has been anything but impressive, but they did play a 7-1 NC St. team rather close losing by only 7 points.
The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of perhaps their best overall game this season defeating a very feisty Hoosier team at Assembly Hall by 17 points. The Hoosiers started out on fire from the field, but these young Cats never lost their composure….and ran IU out of the gym in an impressive run of points in the 2nd half. Both the Cats offense and defense showed very positive signs of improvement. Certainly, the growing maturity and unselfishness of this young UK team was seen in the past 3 impressive wins over North Carolina, U Conn and Indiana.
UK continues to be led in scoring by the fantastic freshman John Wall who also leads the Cats in steals. Wall has been tremendous in his 1st 10 games as a Cat. Patrick Patterson has been solid in consistency…..2nd in scoring and the leading rebounder. Importantly, Patterson has greatly improved his overall offense by becoming a consistent threat from the outside. It was great to be DeMarcus Cousins play under control with his emotions in the Indiana game as he added 14 points and 8 rebounds in only 16 minutes…..unfortunately Cousins continues to pick up too many fouls…..as does Daniel Orton. Darius Miller’s offense remains a bit up and down, but he has great potential. Eric Bledsoe, the too often forgotten guard, has exceeded expectations with his overall play and shooting prowess from long range. Bledsoe is a terrific guard who will be even better when he eliminates some of his unforced TO’s. Ramon Harris continues to play solid defense off the bench as well as grabbing his share of rebounds. Darnell Dodson has now established himself in UK’s 8 man rotation and often provides key buckets when needed. Still, Dodson’s defense needs work and if his defense improves significantly…..Dodson might challenge Miller later for a starting position.
The Cats are 10-0 and I look for UK to be 11-0 after easily handling Austin Peay at Rupp Arena. GO CATS!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
I think virtually all UK fans would agree that UK's greatest coach was Adolph Rupp. However, many others feel Pitino was the 2nd best coach. Here's a comparison.
Joe B Hall - Record Link
13 years as head coach.....had to follow the great Rupp and did it successfully...a rarity!
Over all Record in 13 years-297-100 for a 74.8% winning %.
7 SEC championships
UK had 3 Final Fours under Hall and one NCAA championship
UK was ranked in the top 8 in 7 of Hall's 13 years and ranked in the top 20....9 of Hall's 13 years.
Under Hall....UK had one of UK's greatest wins in defeating number one ranked and undeafted Indiana 92-90 in the NCAA Mideast Regional.
Rick Pitino - Record Link
8 years as head coach and had to turn the UK program around after probation.
Record-219-48 for a 82% winning %
Ranked in top 9 in 7 of 8 years as coach.
6 SEC championships
3 Final Fours and one NCAA championship
Both Hall and Pitino has huge challenges when they became UK's coach. Admittedly, Pitino took over a UK program in shambles and rebuilt it. He deserves tremendous credit for that achievement.
Coach Pitino was like a shooting star as UK coach....very successful and very popular while UK's coach, but going to Louisville, UK's arch rival, was more than most UK fans could tolerate, including me. I am no longer a fan of Pitino, but I do acknowledge and appreciate what he did for UK in his 8 years as coach.
However, IMO....Coach Hall has never been given the credit he deserves for successfully continuing the legacy of the great Rupp. We all know how many coaches tried to follow Coach Wooden at UCLA and failed. Also, I feel that as time goes by coach Hall's terrific achievements as UK's coach for 13 years tend to be forgotten and Hall has too often has been overlooked by too many UK fans. Any objective look at coach Hall's achievements reveal a highly successful coach.
Coach Hall who played for Coach Rupp and then coached UK is a class act who always represented UK with class.
For me, I pick coach Hall as UK's 2nd best coach and I know a great argument will be made by many for coach Pitino. JMO!
Let's hear what you think......
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Kentucky vs Indiana….A Preview
(12/12/09 Sat. @ 12PM EST/11AM CST) CBS
Head Coach-Tom Crean
Career Record-196-121 (61.8%) 10 Seasons
At Indiana-6-25 (.194%) 1 Season
2008-09 Big 10 Record-1-17
Indiana 83 Howard 60
Indiana 69 USC Upstate 61
Mississippi 89 Indiana 71
Boston U 71 Indiana 67
George Mason 69 Indiana 66
Indiana 90 Northwestern St. 72
Maryland 80 Indiana 68
Indiana 74 Pittsburgh 64
IU Stats / UK Stats
PPG-73.5 / 79.2
FG%-42.7% / 49.2%
3 Pt.%-35.5% / 36.8%
FT%-65.9% / 66.7%
Rebounds-39.4 / 41.3
Assists-14.4 / 15.6
TO’s-16.0 / 17.2
Steals-8.8 / 7.8
Blocks-4.3 / 8.2
Probable Starting Lineup
Christian Watford F-6’8” Fr. (PPG-13.3)
Tom Pritchard F-6’9” So. (PPG-4.9)
Maurice Creek G-6’5” Fr. (PPG-15.6)
Verdell Jones G-6’5” So. (PPG-12.5)
Jeremiah Rivers G-6’5” Jr. (PPG-7.3)
Other Key Players
Bobby Capobianco F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-1.9)
Devan Dumes G-6’2” Sr. (PPG-5.0)
Derek Elston F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-7.6)
Jordan Hulls G-6’0” Fr. (PPG-2.8)
Coach Tom Crean left a very successful coaching job at Marquette to try and rebuild an Indiana program left in ashes by former coach Kelvin Sampson. Last season, playing with virtually a complete new roster….the Hoosiers season was a not unexpected disaster going 6-25 and winning only one game in the Big Ten. However, Crean has rapidly restocked the IU roster with the 11th best recruiting class in America. Unquestionably, Tom Crean is a first class coach….a proven winner….and IU is already showing much improvement. This exceeding young IU team is 4-4 and coming off a big win over Pittsburgh.
The Hoosiers are led in scoring by Maurice Creek who is shooting a solid 39.5% from the 3 point line and has launched 43 of the 110 3 pointers taken by IU this season. Creek also leads the Hoosiers in steals. Jeremiah Rivers, a Georgetown transfer, leads the team in assists. Christian Watford, 6’8” freshman, is the 2nd leading scorer and the leading rebounder. Coach Crean went 9 deep in players against Pittsburgh with no one playing less than 13 minutes. Importantly, the Hoosiers have good size often starting two 6’5” guards and two 6’9’ big men….and often play two big 6’8/9” forwards off the bench.
Indiana is always dangerous playing in their Assembly Hall arena and will certainly have increased confidence coming off their Pittsburgh win. While the Hoosiers are very young, they have a number of talented players. I look for this IU team, as it gains experience, to be much improved this season in the Big Ten.
UK, might be affectionately known as the cardiac kids, because they continue to win a lot of close games. The win over a very tough U Conn team in Madison Square Garden was another big step forward for this incredibly talented team. As coach Calipari has continually stressed to the UK faithful….while this team is exceedingly talented….it’s also very young and inexperienced and has a lot of improving to do going forward. Still, these young Cats seem to have a swagger…a confidence….even when trailing teams by large margins…..that they can will themselves to victory by their great talent. So far…so good! Certainly, the win over two of the most talented teams in America in NC and U Conn was very impressive and will add to the confidence of these young Cats.
In just nine games, John Wall, has taken the college basketball world by storm. He has played incredibly in each and every game….not only meeting expectations, but exceeding expectations…..and when the game is on the line….he seems to have ice water flowing through his veins. Wall’s play in Madison Square Garden before a host of NBA scouts and celebrities such as former UK great, Pat Riley and Michael Douglas…..and against arguably two of the best guards in America….left everyone from Dick Vitale totally in awe of this young player’s greatness. What is so great….is that not only is John Wall a very very special player, but he is a class act who represents UK in a very positive way!
Importantly, Patterson continues to play solid in each and every game and his leadership on the floor is a huge positive for the Cats. Although Cousins had a tough 1st half, he came back strong adding 10 points and leading UK in rebounds with 10. Eric Bledsoe, who has a world of talent, is still adjusting to the college game and finding that a number of game decisions that worked in high school simply don’t work against college talent. Bledsoe simply needs to work on his decision making….offensively and defensively. I think that as the season progresses, Bledsoe will show significant improvement. Unfortunately, Miller continues to be inconsistent in games….but, I also look Darius to gain confidence and play more consistently as he gains more experience.
As a long time UK fan, I am tremendously proud of coach Calipari and this very talented UK team. These kids are only going to get better and better….especially by Jan./Feb!
In the meantime, it’s important for these Cats to stay focused and play hard in each and every game. Next is IU….and you can bet that Hoosiers will come to play before a rabid home crowd. It will be important that UK effectively guard the 3 point line, especially Maurice Creek, IU’s top 3 point shooter. I look for UK to have a tougher time with IU then many expect, but I see the Cats winning by 8-10 points. GO CATS!
I haven't done this for awhile. It's been kind of hectic for me lately. But here it goes.
* I saw John Wall just go nuts. The kid is a special player. I don't know what to say. I really don't.
* I saw DeMarcus Cousins do a 180 after halftime, and come out a completely different player in the 2nd half.
* I saw Patterson, once again, be Patrick Patterson. You can't say anything about this kid that hasn't already been said.
* I saw us come out and start fast. I like that we come out of the gate looking to put an early dagger in teams.
* I saw John Wall.
* I saw Ramon Harris play a VERY important role for this team. He might not be much of an offensive threat, but this kid is definitely earning himself some playing time with hustle, big time defensive plays, and big time rebounds. Harris has taken more heat than any kid to ever play at UK with the exception of Saul Smith and Michael Porter. But, it's time for the fans to give him the props he deserves!
* I saw us fight through a lot of adversity throughout the game. The officiating was very poor. I never say this, EVER, but the officiating was not only poor, but very one-sided. We were victims of playing UCONN in MSG, but we fought through it. We fought through foul trouble by Bledsoe, Orton, and Cousins.
* I saw John Wall.
* I saw Patrick Patterson once again show he can play outside and that he has added a new dimension to his game.
* I saw a team find a way to win despite not shooting very well. We were shooting like 27% in the first half without Wall, Cousins, and Patterson for much of the half, yet we were only down 6.
* I saw much better perimeter defense. UCONN is not a great 3 point shooting team, but I saw them have very little opportunites to take the outside shot.
* I saw very good defense down low. We're so long, that we alter a lot of shots. Props to the guys down low.
* I saw John Wall.
* I saw John Calipari out coach one of the best coaches in the game.
* I saw what I think was the coming out party for DeMarcus Cousins. The move along the baseline, then the dunk was amazing. He looked like he thought towards the defender "Umm, excuse me, but you are in my way".
* I saw us play the last part of the first half with 4 Gillispie/Tubby guys on the court, and stay in the game. That speaks volumes to coaching.
* Did I mention I saw John Wall?
Now for the negatives. There's not many to name, as we played a very good game all around, but there are a few spots I'd like to see us improve on.
* I saw Bledsoe and Orton both with more fouls than points. Both were relatively ineffective. I've seen a lot from these two kids that make me think they're both going to be special. But, they are the two that are playing like freshman right now.
* I DID NOT see Jon Hood. The kid was supposed to be a great shooter coming in. I was hoping he was going to be a major 3 point threat. I wonder what the deal with him is...
* I saw John Wall slow down on fast breaks to try to get the "Big time dunk". While they're nice, just get the bucket. The one he had blocked and off his knee was because he slowed down to go up for the dunk.
* I saw below average free throw shooting, again. This is something we really need to improve on.
* I saw Darius Miller once again lack confidence. The kid needs to have more of a scorers mentality and not be afraid to take shots. Miller is the type of player that if he comes out and knocks down 2 or 3 shots early in the game, he can have a big game. But, if he comes out and misses his first 2 or 3 shots, he's likely going to be a non-factor for the rest of the game.
* I saw us once again look lost without John Wall on the court. Against both UNC and UCONN, when Wall went to the bench for an extended time, we gave up big runs. We need someone to step up and lead this team when Wall goes to the bench.
Overall, I saw a very good basketball team. I think the second best team in the country behind Kansas. I would have never guessed we'd be this good in early December. And to think, we're just going to get better!
Monday, December 07, 2009
Kentucky vs U Conn….A Preview
(12/9/09 Wednesday at 9:30pmEST/8:30pmCST ESPN)
SEC vs Big East Challenge at Madison Square Garden in New York
Head Coach- Jim Calhoun
Career Record-805-342 (70.2%) 37 seasons
At U Conn-557-205 (71.3%) 23 seasons
2008-09 Big East ecord-15-3
U Conn 75 Wm & Mary 66
U Conn 77 Colgate 63
U Conn 76 Hofstra 67
U Conn 81 LSU 55
Duke 68 U Conn 59
U Conn 92 Boston U 64
U Conn 79 Harvard 73
U Conn Stats / UK Stats
PPG-77.0 / 81.1
FG%-46.3% / 50.7%
3 Pt%-35.1% / 37.9%
FT%-69.6% / 66.8%
Rebounds-42 / 42.2
Assists-16.3 / 16.4
TO’s-12.9 / 17.6
Steals-7.4 / 7.1
Blocks-9.9 / 8.3
Probable Starting Lineup
Stanley Robinson F-6’9” Sr. (PPG-15.4)
Alex Oriakhi F-6’9” Fr. (PPG-6.0)
Charles Okwandu C-7’1” Jr. (PPG-0.9)
Jerome Dyson G-6’3” Sr. (PPG-20.1)
Kemba Walker G-6’1” Soph (PPG-15.4)
Other Key Players
Gavin Edwards F/C 6’9” Sr. (PPG-11.6)
Jamal Coombs-McDaniel F 6’7” Fr. (PPG-4.0)
Danius Smith G-6’1” Fr. (PPG-1.7)
U Conn returns only 2 starters from last seasons final four team…...including losing their dominant defensive player, Hasheem Thabeet. Still, Jim Calhoun is never without talent and he has it especially in guards Sr. Jerome Dyson and soph Kemba Walker along with Sr. Stanley Robinson. Dyson and Walker lead the Huskies in scoring along with Robinson. Walker leads U Conn in steals with 18 and assists with 40 and is shooting 55.6% from the 3 point line. Dyson adds 11 steals along with 37 assists. Oriakhi, a 6’9” Fr. Leads the team in rebounds with 9.7PG while Robinson is 2nd with 7.1 PG. Although 7’1” Okwandu frequently starts…..he seldom plays much….only averaging 6 minutes PG. It’s Sr. Gavin Edwards who comes off the bench and is shooting an eyepopping 71.4% from the field and leads the team in Blocks with 23.
U Conn often has 3 seniors on the floor and a very tall frontline with at least 3 players 6’9” or taller in the paint. The Huskies, aside from Walker, have not been a very good 3 point shooting team….and average only 4 PG. Importantly, U Conn has limited their TO’s to 13 PG while averaging a very high 10 blocks per game. The Huskies one loss this season was to Duke, a game in which U Conn shot poorly from the field and made zero 3 point shots.
It’s important to underscore that Robinson is picked on the preseason Big East 1st team with both Dyson and Walker making the 2nd team. These 3 players are very talented and give Calhoun’s Huskies a solid foundation to build on this season. U Conn will be a tough competitor in the Big East and will likely return to the NCAA.
UK is fresh off of a tremendous signature win over North Carolina before the largest crowd in Rupp area history. These young Cats arguably played the best and most exciting first half in UK’s past 10 years. It was truly a glimpse of just how talented these Cats can be. John Wall was simply amazing and continues to live up to, if not surpass, all the predictions of greatness for this gifted young player. Wall leads UK in scoring and has dished out 54 assists….nearly 7PG. UK’s youth and inexperience showed up in the 2nd half, especially with Wall out of the lineup. Still the Cats hung on for a terrific win over an exceedingly talented Tarheel team. As expected, this game provided important info as to how this young team is progressing and the fundamentals that need further work. It was, in essence a great measuring stick, as to where UK stands against a very tough opponent. The 2nd half found UK making too many poor decisions resulting in a flood of TO’s and an overall letdown in team intensity. None of this was unexpected, but it reveals to these young players just how important it is to value each possession and not let up in focus or intensity. The one player who played the entire game with great intensity was Patrick Patterson who is off to a great start this season…..and seems to be flourishing in the DDMO.
An early concern was who would be effective for the Cats from the 3 point line….however, so far that has not proven to be a concern at all. The Cats are getting very good 3 point shooting from Bledsoe, Miller, Patterson and Dodson and are shooting a healthy 38% as a team. However, there is an increasing concern regarding free throw shooting, especially from Cousins (52.9%)….Patterson (54.8%) and Orton (65%). These three players are often fouled and are shooting nearly half of UK’s free throws. It is imperative that these 3 players, especially, improve their free throw shooting as they could easily cost UK some close games in the future. Importantly, this is a very unselfish team with 4 players scoring in double figures and Miller and Dobson almost in double figures. Lastly, the North Carolina game underscored the immaturity of Cousins at times……allowing his emotions to lead him to make poor decisions, especially in needless fouls. Cousins is an exceedingly gifted big man…..a real stud in the paint….but, for Cousins to reach his great potential, he must start harnessing his emotions. It will take time, but the sooner the better. While I believe that Cousins has a great NBA future, I do feel he needs another 1-2 years at UK to continue to mature as a player.
UK’s frontline will find another big talented frontline facing them when they take on the Huskies. An important key is for the Cousins and Patterson to stay out of foul trouble. In addition, UK exciting freshmen guards will be challenged by 2 of the best guards in the Big East conference. Like the NC game, the U Conn game will be another great game to evaluate these young Cats against another very good opponent.
I look for these young Cats to defeat U Conn in a very competitive game and win the SEC/ Big East challenge. It will undoubtedly be a thrill for the Cats to be playing in the Big Apple at Madison Square Garden. GO CATS!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Kentucky vs North Carolina….A Preview
12/5/09 Saturday at 12:30PMEST/11:30AMCST
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Head Coach- Roy Williams
Career Record-594-138 (81.1%) 21 seasons
At North Carolina-176-37 (82.6%) 6 seasons
2008-09 ACC Record-13-3
2008-09 Postseason-6-0 NCAA National Champions
North Carolina 88 FIU 72
North Carolina 89 North Carolina Central 42
North Carolina 88 Valpariso 77
North Carolina 77 Ohio State 73
Syracuse 87 North Carolina 71
North Carolina 93 Gardner-Webb 72
North Carolina 80 Nevada 73
North Carolina 89 Michigan St. 82
North Carolina | Kentucky
PPG-84.4 | PPG-83.0
FG%-52.3% | FG%-51.5%
3 Point %-37.5% (36-96) | 3 Point%-37.9% (44-116)
FT%-64.9% | FT%-66.8%
RPG-42.6 | RPG-42.7
APG-21.1 | APG-16.9
TO’s-17.3 | TO’s-17.1
SPG-7.8 | SPG-7.0
BPG-6.1 | BPG-8.3
Probable Starting Lineup
Deon Thompson F-6’8” Sr. (PPG-17.3)
Ed Davis F-6’10” Soph. (PPG-13.9)
Will Graves F/G 6’6” Jr. (PPG-7.0)
Marcus Ginyard G/F 6’5” Sr. ( PPG-11.1)
Larry Drew II G 6’1” Soph ( PPG-9.0)
Other Key Players
Tyler Zeller F-7’0” Soph (PPG-9.6)
John Henson F 6’10” Fr. (PPG-3.4)
Dexter Strickland G-6’3” Fr. (PPG-3.3)
North Carolina arrives in Rupp arena fresh off a very impressive win over Michigan St. where the Tarheels hit 57.9% of their shots. The Tarheels now have 1,991 school victories with a 73.8% winning %....they trail UK in both school victories….Cats are at 1,995…..and overall winning %.....UK leads all schools winning 75.8% in it’s long history. These two college basketball juggernaughts, arguably the two greatest programs in all of college basketball, face off Saturday in their quest to not only having bragging rights, but move a step closer to be the first program to achieve 2,000 victories!
North Carolina suffered the loss of 4 outstanding players from last season NCAA championship team.….namely, Ellington, Hansbrough, Lawson and Green. However, no one should be fooled that this season’s Tarheel team is hurting for talent. Carolina returns seniors Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson…..both are great players…plus a number of other very talented players. Coach Roy Williams has established himself as one of the 5 best coaches in America and always has his players ready to compete.
Thus far this season….the Tarheels are led in scoring and rebounding by forwards Thompson and Davis. These two players have been exceedingly effective in scoring down low in the paint. Davis, for example, is shooting a spectacular 70% from the field. In fact all the Tarheel starters are shooting over 50% except Graves. Ginyard is an all round great player….a real defensive stopper….who is shooting nearly 50% from the 3 point range and leads in steals while contributing significantly in assists.
As expected with new players seeing significant playing time, Carolina sometimes struggles with their ball handling and TO’s. The Tarheels have scored the vast majority of their points in the paint and don’t shoot a great deal of 3 pointers….but, they have shown that they can be deadly from long range. A big key to stopping the Tarheels is to do a good job on both Thompson and Davis….as they have dominated most of their early games. In addition, Carolina can bring in 7’0” Zeller off the bench and he has been very productive and runs the floor very well for a big man.
Replacing Ty Lawson at PG has not been easy and it’s at the guard position that the Tarheels occasionally struggle….although Drew is improving.
There is no question that North Carolina will be a top ten team and be a tough out for any team this season.
Unfortunately, the past few years, the Tarheels have had superior talent to UK, but this season under new coach John Calipari….the Cats can match any team in America with overall talent. Importantly, UK has a great frontline with Patterson, Cousins and Miller with Orton coming off the bench. One of the big keys to the Carolina game will be for Patterson and Cousins to stay out of foul trouble…..if they don’t….Thompson and Davis will be very tough to stop from scoring in the paint. It is gratifying to see Miller’s game progressing in a positive direction both offensively and defensively. In addition, Dodson’s return adds a significant scoring punch off the bench for the Cats. Certainly, the play of super talent John Wall and Eric Bledsoe will be huge in determining the outcome of Saturday’s game. These two players must play smart and minimize TO’s. Wall and Bledsoe provide the Cats with two of the very best guards, if not the best, in America…both in terms of their incredible athletic ability and tremendous talent.
The Tarheels are starting two seniors, but the other players are not greatly experienced. However, the Cats counter with three freshmen in the starting lineup and all the players have had to learn a completely new system under new coach Calipari.
Despite UK’s youth and inexperience….the talent on this team ranks among the best ever at UK. The keys to this game, as they often do, will likely boil down to the fundamentals….taking good shots, playing good hardnose defense, solid rebounding and taking care of the ball with good court decisions. Of course, the Cats will need to shoot a good percentage to win.
It’s very early in the season and no matter who wins…..I look for both UK and the Tarheels to be vastly improved in March and able to make a deep run in the NCAA tourney. These are both very talented teams, but I give the edge in talent to UK and the edge in experience to Carolina. I look for a great game….a close game….but, I feel these young Cats will prevail with Rupp Arena rocking with thunderous noise….and defeat the Tarheels by 3-5 points. GO CATS!