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A 5-spot from UK basketball presser

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

A 5-spot from just-complete UK basketball interviews, previewing Saturday’s game with North Carolina:

1. Alan Cutler was hot on the Enes Kanter reaction angle, etc. The WLEX-TV anchor asked every player about the Kanter situation, and if the team expected to hear anything after yesterday’s appeal hearing was conducted. They all said they had no idea. They said that Enes has been in good spirits,  joking around, and that he has played well in practice. Asked what it would be like if UK had Kanter for Saturday’s game with the Heels, Doron Lamb said, “That would be crazy.”

2. John Robic pinch-hit for head coach John Calipari again. Cal is here, and was to conduct practice, but did not  talk to the local media here for interviews. By the way, Robic said he had no idea what was going on with the Kanter situation. “I’m like everybody else around here.” Asked about first true road game of the year, he said it wasn’t like football where you can blast music to simulate crowd noise.

3. Brandon Knight said he does know Harrison Barnes. But the UK freshman said he had not talked to the North Carolina freshman in awhile. He said that Barnes is a great player, and that he looked forward to playing against him.

4. Knight did not know that Josh Harrellson had been called a “mother hen,” laughing at the notion.

5. Robic on Barnes: “He’s a very talented player. I’ve never seen him play in person, just on tape, but at 6-7, 6-8 he’s a jump shooter who can create his own shot. They look to him for big shots. They run some isolations for him. A good offensive rebounder. I think they’re expecting a lot; it’s unfair what the media has done with him, I think there have been people who have said that. But he sure is a talent. He’s a pro. He’s a definite pro. We have our hands full with him because of his size.”

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VSL Gets You Ready: Previewing Vanderbilt vs. UNC

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Today is one of those epic sports days as college basketball and pro football gloriously intersect. My beloved Falcons take on the Rams at 4:30, and the Commodores get a nice early season surprise playing UNC at 5:30. UNC is a 4 point favorite in the game.

The ‘Dores are coming off a tough last second loss to West Virginia on Friday, and UNC is coming off a tough upset at the hands of Minnesota. UNC is a young and incredibly talented team led by freshman phenom Harrison Barnes and junior forward Tyler Zeller. They have a deep young bench as well with 10 players average at least 15 minutes a game.
Zeller, Barnes, and John Henson are tough players to work against in the post. All are athletic and create match-up problems against big guys who have difficulty moving their feet. They are set up by Larry Drew II at the point, who incurred much wrath from the UNC faithful last year. Freshman Kendall Marshall is also a significant contributor from the perimeter.
I do believe that the ‘Dores match-up well with UNC. While the Tar Heels have height, they don’t have any true bangers down low. The most interesting match-up of the game will likely be Jeffery Taylor going against Harrison Barnes. Barnes is projected to be the number one pick in next year’s NBA draft, and Taylor is touted as one of the best defensive players in college basketball. Both have a lot of length and athleticism, and it should be interesting to see two first-round NBA picks battle it out.
I love this match-up early in the season. It’s not a must-win by any stretch, and it provides a real nice measuring stick for this team, which has, in my opinion, played only one half of the kind of basketball it is capable of in this tournament. Will Stallings get the ‘Dores playing to their potential against his old mentor Roy Williams? It should be fun to watch.
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