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Big Blue Bric-a-Brac: Kentucky Spidermen Edition

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Competitiveness, thy name is Hartline.

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Andy Lyons – Getty Images

Competitiveness, thy name is Hartline.

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You’ve seen them on the tube during games this season — Kentucky fans dressed as Spiderman, only with a blue outfit instead of a red and blue one.  Wonder about them, ever?  I have.

Leave it to A Sea of Blue’s own Ken Howlett to investigate that matter, and discover the hidden secrets behind the Kentucky Spidermen over at CoachCal.com.  Enjoy it.

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Terrance Jones has his first SEC Freshman of the Week award for his stellar performance against the East Tennessee St. Buccaneers last Friday.

Jones was impressive in his freshman debut, and even though he may be a long way from the second coming of DeMarcus Cousins, Jones is showing the kind of versatility that Cousins lacked.  Despite his tremendous impact on the Wildcats last year, Cousins was cast in a pretty one-dimensional role.  Jones does not have that problem, and he has the skill set to handle almost any role that the young Wildcats need.

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You have to hand it to Mike Hartline, he has really been a revelation this year at quarterback.  Most people in the Big Blue Nation had serious doubts about his ability coming into this year, but he has put them all emphatically to rest and is having what would surely be an all-SEC season if not for the presence of Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Auburn’s Cam Newton.

Larry Vaught explains Hartline’s legacy of competitiveness.

It does not look as if Mitch Barnhart is being seriously considered for the Kansas AD position despite a report by Sports by Brooks linked by Ken earlier. (Hat tip:  Matt Jones).  More recently, there is this typical non-response.

What this report does not say is that Barnhart is not being interviewed, and he may well be.  SbB’s intimation that concern about Calipari’s recruiting as a reason sounds like nonsense to me, but Dan Wolken recently tweeted that Calipari’s friends in Memphis are saying that Cal and Barnhart don’t see eye to eye.

Does Barnhart get along with anyone besides Rich Brooks?  I’m just asking, but he didn’t get along with Tubby Smith, nor Billy Gillispie, and now he has issues with Calipari?  Maybe he just doesn’t like college basketball, or perhaps schools at which basketball is the biggest sport.  If so, Kansas is definitely the wrong place for him.

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Andrew Sharp on the Cam Newton affair:

Next thing you know, CBS’ SEC halftime show becomes a soliloquy about integrity, with Spencer Tillman talking of a father selling his son. “This is so disappointing to me,” he said. “Sport merely reflects what’s going on in society … And we’re losing our moral compass.”

…And here we are. Pretending this doesn’t happen all the time, pretending that it shouldn’t happen at all, and waxing poetic about some grand ideal that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) exist anywhere else in America. It’s the one aspect of this eccentric little world that’s not charming in the least. It’s cruel and exploitative. But most of all, the attitude of the media is just insulting.

Basically, they’ve taken word-of-mouth testimony from transparently shaky sources and used that as an excuse to execute a witch hunt against the most famous player in college football. And that would be fine, but not when you consider how many rumors these guys hear every day about this guy who took that, or that guy who took this. The rumors are everywhere, and completely believable.

Even if you don’t know Cam Newton from Wayne Newton, you need to read the whole thing.


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East Tennessee St. Buccanneers @ Kentucky Wildcats: Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Tonight, we get a rematch with our first-round opponent from last year’s NCAA tournament as the first game of the season as the Kentucky Wildcats welcome the East Tennessee St. Buccaneers into Rupp Arena.

First of all, the game particulars courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

ETSU @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | ETSU Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Fri., Nov. 12, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South / SportSouth / BBSN
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Text Updates
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

 

This is an ETSU team that has been to the NCAA tournament the last two years and looks like a lock to be heading for a third trip in a row out of the Atlantic Sun Conference.  ETSU is a skilled basketball team with many mature players who will be a serious challenge for the young and untested Kentucky Wildcats.

The Wildcats come into tonight’s game on a bit of a downer after Enes Kanter was declared permanently ineligible yesterday.  That means that Coach Cal will have to decide how much of the DDM UK can play this year, and whether or not their size will force a defensive change later on.  Obviously it won’t force one tonight, but it will be interesting to see his personnel mix coming out of the gate.

First, a look at the ETSU roster:


East Tennessee St. Buccaneers Basketball Roster

# Pos. Notes W H College
Isiah Brown 41 F Fourth-year junior, 11 in NCAAT 210 6-8 junior
Sheldon Cooley 5 G - 180 6-3 sophomore
Tommy Hubbard 13 G - 210 6-4 senior
Anthony Johnson 15 F - 235 6-7 junior
De`Shaud Johnson 10 G - 165 5-9 senior
Josh Johnson 52 F - 210 6-10 freshman
Jarvis Jones 25 G - 190 6-2 junior
Lukas Poderis 34 F - 230 6-8 sophomore
Mike Smith 1 F Fifth-year senior 225 6-6 senior
Adam Sollazzo 43 G Scored 14 in NCAAT 200 6-6 junior
Justin Tubbs 3 G Fifth-year senior, 15 in NCAAT 205 6-3 senior
J.C. Ward 44 F - 235 6-6 sophomore
Curtis Wilkinson 45 F - 220 6-8 junior
Micah Williams 30 G Fifth-year senior, 19 in NCAAT 220 6-4 senior
Ryan Woumn - G - 170 6-3 freshman

ETSU is a talented team that will run the floor and defend.  They are athletic at every position and even though they don’t have a size advantage on Kentucky, they do match up with us very well both size-wise and athletically.  These are talented, vastly experienced college players who are capable of pulling an upset against major Division I competition.

What Kentucky must do to win:

  1. Rebound the basketball.  ETSU had an OR% of 36% last year, and they return almost everybody;
  2. See #1 above;
  3. Defend the perimeter.  ETSU wasn’t a great 3-point shooting team last year, but they got better as the year went on;
  4. Create turnovers.  ETSU turned it over a lot last year.
  5. Take care of the basketball.  ETSU was 14th in the nation in creating turnovers last year.

What Kentucky can do to lose:

  1. Jack up a bunch of threes.  UK needs to get to the line a lot, and to do that, they must drive the ball;
  2. Fail to defend the dribble.  UK so far has been very weak at defending the dribble, and they must do so versus ETSU;
  3. Play passive on defense.  ETSU’s weakness is taking care of the ball.  UK needs to force them to turn it over;
  4. Allow ETSU’s pressure defense to push them away from the basket.  UK needs to force ETSU onto their heels with quickness and intensity;
  5. Go late into the shot clock.  Kentucky must get into their offense early to take advantage of mismatches and draw fouls.
  6. Be thinking about how they need Kanter.  Forget him, at least for now.

This is actually quite a good early test for Kentucky, and we’ll see just how far Coach Cal has brought them over the last week.  He worked wonders between Pikeville and Dillard.  Now, let’s see what a little more time can do.

Go, ‘Cats!


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