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Baylor’s Coach Says UK Is The Best, But They Are Beatable

Baylor basketball coach Scott Drew got a painful, up-close look at the Kentucky Wildcats yesterday.  After his team was given an 82-70 heave-ho from the NCAA tourney — in a game that really wasn’t really that close – the coach was asked about UK’s potential for winning the national crown:


“I don’t think anybody wants to play Kentucky, right now.  (Louisville is) probably more familiar with them, but Kentucky is the best team in college basketball, right now…

I think if Kentucky plays their best basketball nobody’s going to beat them.  If Kentucky doesn’t have a good night, anybody can beat anybody for one game.”


Drew is correct.  See: Chaminade versus Virginia, NC State versus Houston, Villanova versus Georgetown or Norfolk State/Missouri or Duke/Lehigh this season.

But at this point — or “right now” as Drew put it — it does appear that the only way Kentucky goes down is if the Wildcats are hit with an “on any given day” type of historical upset.  They appear to be that good.  And after the loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament finals, they appear to be that focused, too.

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RB Taylor Signs With UK, Not Bama

Atlanta running back Justin Taylor has inked scholarship papers with the Kentucky Wildcats.  Taylor made national news recently when Alabama’s Nick Saban told him that the school would no longer have room for him as an immediate signee, despite the fact that Bama had held Taylor’s commitment for nearly a year.

Taylor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution two weeks ago that Saban wanted him to grayshirt and become a part of the Tide’s 2013 class.  Taylor waffled back and forth before deciding to take the bird in hand UK was offering.

Taylor is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last September.

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Phillips Has Cats Working In “Kitty Litter”

Will Muschamp isn’t the only coach in the SEC preaching the importance of turnovers (as we noted earlier today).  Joker Phillips also has his Kentucky Wildcats working in the “kitty litter,” appropriately enough.

According to Jennifer Smith of The Lexington Herald-Leader, UK’s coach directed a number of players to stay after practice and work on a turnover drill designed to teach — of course — how to strip and how to hold on to the pigskin.

“That’s our kitty litter; it’s a drill I did way back,” the second-year coach said.  “We go over there and recover fumbles and get hot and sweaty and help everyone understand how important turnovers are to this football team.”


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Boston University Terriers @ Kentucky Wildcats (10): Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Tonight, the Boston U. Terriers visit Rupp Arena for a tilt with the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time in over a decade.  Former head coach Rick Pitino was prowling the sidelines the last time the ‘Cats welcomed the Terriers into the Bluegrass.

I have just one question, though –  Who scheduled all these teams with canine mascots?  This is our third in a row!

Game particulars, via UKAthletics.com:

Boston U. @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Boston Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Tues., Nov. 30, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South/BBSN
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Live Video via ESPN3
Text Updates
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

 

Unlike last game, Kentucky faces a team with a significant disadvantage in every measurable area, including size.  This is one of the rare teams so far that is not longer or bigger than Kentucky in some way, and the second team all year with markedly inferior athletes.

More after the jump.

What Kentucky must do to win:

  • Share the basketball.  This, I expect to happen.  Still, I’m looking at you, Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins.
  • Attack the rim.  This, I am afraid might not happen.  It is typical for a team to overreact to criticism, and the “selfish” angle has been way, way over-hyped by the media.
  • Continue the effective offensive rebounding.  I am very pleased to see the Wildcats doing so well in this stat without a high-quality big man.
  • Talk on defense.  This team is as tight lipped as razor clam.  These guys have got to learn to talk on defense, and Darius Miller needs to provide some leadership on the floor.
  • Make free throws.  Bad free throw shooting is getting tiresome.

What Kentucky can do to lose or look really bad:

  • Jack up a bunch of quick threes, like they did against the Connecticut Huskies.
  • Dribble the ball around aimlessly looking for something to do.
  • Stand around on offense.
  • Play defense like they are shod in lead.
  • Fail to learn the lessons of Maui.

That’s it.  This should be a mismatch, and if it isn’t, something is badly broken.  But the Terriers are not just going to come in here and lay down — they are led by seniors and that does matter.  Kentucky should win, but Boston U. is going to make them earn it, and if UK starts to lose focus like they did in the late first half against UConn, who knows — this could turn into a dog and ‘Cat fight.


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Kentucky (9) 74 @ Washington (13) 67: Postmortem

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

DeAndre Liggins just keeps getting better and better.  He still makes a few bad decisions, but he could defend Kobe Bryant.

More photos »

Eugene Tanner – AP

DeAndre Liggins just keeps getting better and better. He still makes a few bad decisions, but he could defend Kobe Bryant.

Browse more photos »

Many Washington Huskies fans had been waiting anxiously for a shot at the Kentucky Wildcats in Maui after two former Husky recruits changed their pledge to the Wildcats.  The old saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” comes immediately to mind.  Some times, wishes come true, but the desired outcome doesn’t.

The Huskies gave an outstanding effort in a ridiculously physical game.  The problem was, their guards did not deliver like they had been so far this year, partially because they finally ran up against a team athletic enough to defend them at least most of the time.  Washington deserves great credit for coming back from a big early deficit to take the smallest of  leads at the half.  But as coaches are so fond of pointing out, the most insignificant score of all is the halftime score.

In the end, Kentucky did just enough to eke out a close win against a worthy and talented opponent.  I was very impressed with the athleticism of Washington.  They tired out this UK team like no other team I have seen, and at the end, it was purely a battle of attrition, and you’d have to figure that UK would be in tough in a grind-it-out game due to their shallow bench, and the deep bench of the Huskies.  But this young Kentucky team is made up mostly of players who are used to winning tough games, and to them, this was just one more.

This was an entertaining early-season game, particularly in the early stages when both teams were playing at break-kneck speed.  It slowed down in the second half due to sheer fatigue and good defense by both squads, but it was thrilling throughout and in doubt up until the last minute.  This was always likely to be a tough, physical and close game, and what we saw was what we should have expected.

Superlatives:

  • John Calipari — I don’t give many kudos to Coach Cal, but he really earned his pay this game.  If he keeps working this hard on the sideline, he may drop those extra pounds he picked up from mama’s pasta this summer.  Caliipari did a great job of motivating these young guys and keeping their heads in the game.
  • Terrence Jones was a full-grown man out there tonight.  When Jones came to UK, he was timid and wanted to stay on the perimeter.  Credit this young man for taking his coach’s instructions so fast, because over a period of five games including two exhibitions, Jones has turned into the reincarnation of Patrick Patterson.  He does need to work on that shooting form, though, it’s no good as it is.
  • Darius Miller played a better game than people might think.  It wasn’t really a praiseworthy game, but he defended well and rebounded pretty well in short minutes, and made some big free throws, something that UK did poorly again tonight.
  • Brandon Knight burned more calories tonight than I have in six months, and despite taking some bad shots and making some forced plays, he was the difference between victory and defeat tonight.  Game ball.
  • How great were the Kentucky fans?  You thought the Lahaina Civic Center had been hit by a Big Blue tsunami.
  • Josh Harrellson, despite turning the ball over a ton with drops, fumbles, stumbles, and general clumsiness, really played extremely well, and made some huge plays.  If we could get this out of him every game, we might go undefeated.
  • Eloy Vargas is coming along faster than I dared hope, and how big were those free throws he made near the end when nobody could make them for Kentucky?
  • Jon Hood made a huge play near the end, grabbing an offensive rebound and making a little shovel pass to Harrellson for a layup.
  • How is it possible that Harrellson played all those minutes and didn’t draw one foul?
  • I was screaming “Dead-ball contact technical foul!” at the monitor on the Liggins collision.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  How cool was Liggins for just getting up and walking straight to the bench without a word, or a gesture, or anything.  This kid is a Spartan in spirit.
  • Speaking of DeAndre Liggins, can he shut you down, or can’t he?  Ask Isaiah Thomas.
  • Doron Lamb made some huge free throws, and had his moments.  They were a bit fewer and further between than they have been in recent games.
  • I did mention that UK shot free throws badly?  But they made them when it really mattered.

Big win for the Wildcats, and the Big Blue Nation.  Now, we know this team is legitimate, even as currently constituted.  Are we Final Four contenders?

We just took a big step in that direction, because this is a high-quality team we just defeated on a neutral site.

Go, ‘Cats!


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Big Blue Game Preview: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Washington Huskies

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Doron Lamb, like the rest of the Wildcats, must step up his game today if Kentucky is to defeat the Washington Huskies.

Eugene Tanner – AP

Doron Lamb, like the rest of the Wildcats, must step up his game today if Kentucky is to defeat the Washington Huskies.

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So now it comes down to it.  The Kentucky Wildcats and the Washington Huskies face off tonight for the right to take on the winner of the Michigan St. Spartans vs. the Connecticut Huskies for the championship of the Maui Invitational.

This is the game a fairly small but vocal segment of the Washington fan base has been pointing to ever since Enes Kanter and Terrence Jones changed their commitment from Washington to Kentucky.  For Kentucky fans, it represents the first test of the 2010-11 Wildcats against a top-ranked team.  These early-season matchups rarely hold big implications for the future, but it will give both Washington and Kentucky a clue about how good their respective teams really are, at least at this young stage of the season.

How They Got Here

Kentucky got to the semifinal by defeating a game but rebuilding Oklahoma Sooners team.  For a while, it looked as if the ‘Cats would run away with the affair, but thanks to a determined effort by the Sooners, tentative offense and matador defense by Kentucky, Oklahoma got within six late in the second half.  Kentucky regrouped behind Jones to pull away for a convincing if not exactly inspiring win.

Washington had a much easier time of it, dismantling the Virginia Cavaliers in a game that was competitive for all of about 10 minutes.  The domination by Washington was so complete that the game was statistically out of reach with 15 minutes left.  Washington went on a 3-point shooting tear, shooting 70% from the arc and managing an eFG% of over 70%.  When you shoot the ball that way, it pretty much doesn’t matter what you do in other statistical areas.

A Look At Washington’s Players

First, we’ll look at who the Huskies lost from last year:

Name Height Weight Class Comments
Clarence Trent 6-5 225 Freshman Lost – Minor reserve 
Elston Turner 6-4 205 Sophomore Lost – major reserve
Quincy Pondexter 6-6 215 Senior Lost – Last year’s leading scorer and rebounder

 

The big loss was obviously Quincy Pondexter, arguably one of the best players ever at UW. He led the Dawgs in scoring, rebounding, minutes, and on the floor.

The other two losses are far less significant, especially considering how many players return from last year.

The new Huskies are:

Name Height Weight Class Comments
Antoine Hosley 5-11 185 Freshman New
Desmond Simmons 6-7 215 Freshman New
Terrence Ross 6-6 190 Freshman New – impact freshman
Aziz NDiaye 7-0 260 Sophomore New – JUCO transfer
C.J Wilcox 6-5 180 Freshman New

 

Of these, the two most significant are Terrence Ross, a Rivals 4* and good friend of Terrence Jones, and Aziz NDiaye, a JUCO transfer from the College of Southern Idaho who gives the Huskies more size in the post, and a shot-blocking presence.


Washington Huskies Basketball Roster

# Pos. Comments W H College
Tyreese Breshers 33 F Returning minor reserve 255 6-7 sophomore
Matthew Bryan-Amaning 11 F Returning starter LS/LR 240 6-9 senior
Adbul Gaddy - G Returning starter 2LA 190 6-3 sophomore
Darnell Gant 44 F Returning reserve 225 6-8 junior
Justin Holiday 22 F Returning starter 3LS/2LR 180 6-6 senior
Antoine Hosley 10 G New 3LR 185 5-11 freshman
Aziz NDiaye 5 C New 260 7-0 sophomore
Venoy Overton 1 G Returning major reserve LA 185 5-11 senior
Terrence Ross 31 G New 190 6-6 freshman
Brendan Sherrer 42 F Returning minor reserve 240 6-9 junior
Desmond Simmons 30 F New 215 6-7 freshman
Scott Suggs 15 G Returning reserve 185 6-6 junior
Isaiah Thomas 2 G Returning starter 2LS/3LA 185 5-8 junior
C.J Wilcox 23 G New 180 6-5 freshman

Legend:  LS = leading scorer, 2LS = 2nd leading scorer, etc.

Team Comparison

Advanced Statistics:

Team POS PPG PPP FLR% Eff eFG% TS% FTR 2P% FTP% 3P% OR% DR% A% A/T T% S% B%
UK 200 66.7 1.22 63.2 121.5 58.8 58.4 36.7 51 14.4 34.6 39.6 72.9 46.7 1.31 16 8.5 11.8
UW 246 82 1.31 65.7 130.9 59.5 59.4 30.4 48.4 12.4 39.1 43.8 71.9 61.7 2.39 12.6 13.8 8.2
Advantage

-0.09 -2.5 -9.4 -0.7 -1 6.3 2.6 2 -4.5 -4.2 1 -15 -1.08 3.4 -5.3 3.6
UK Opponents 200 66.7 0.89 46.9 88.5 41 44 27.5 62.1 17.5 20.3 27.1 60.4 41.8 0.85 16.5 6.5 5.6
UW Opponents 246 82 0.81 42 80.9 42.9 46.7 53.5 52.3 26.6 21.1 28.1 56.2 33.3 0.32 27.6 7.3 4.2
Advantage

0.08 4.9 7.6 -1.9 -2.7 -26 9.8 -9.1 -0.8 -1 4.2 8.5 0.53 -11.1 -0.8 1.4

 

One of the things that really impresses me looking at these stats are the assist % of Washington.  Almost 62% of their baskets are assisted.  That’s really good.  Kentucky is no slouch at 47%, but the passing of UW is striking.

Another thing that stands out is points/possession.  UK isn’t bad at 1.22, and that includes a fairly sloppy game against Oklahoma last night, but 1.31 by UW is strong — too strong if UK allows anything like that.

Ken Pomeroy has this game as UW favored 51% to 49%, and that is simply a push. Both teams have nearly identical offensive and defensive efficiencies, and even though UK plays at a somewhat slower pace, that is likely more due to their youth and allowing opponents to dictate the tempo than to a desire to play slow.  This game figures to be a track meet, and I don’t think that works for or against either team.

The Four Factors:

Here’s what the Four Factors to Winning comparison looks like for this game:

 

 

Overall, these two teams are remarkably similar on paper.  Kentucky turns the ball over a bit more, hits the offensive glass a bit better, and gets to the line a bit more per field goal attempt than the Huskies.  The Huskies shoot it a tiny bit better.  What we learn from these stats is that so far, adjusted for competition, these two teams have played equally well.

I’m a little surprised at UW’s OR% number, especially considering the solid front-line size they have.  The Dawgs are small in the backcourt, especially the starters, but they are much bigger coming off the bench.

Wrapping It Up

This game is a good early-season test for both teams.  The worst that can happen to the loser is a slight drop iin the polls unless, of course, the game is uncompetitive, in which case a larger drop and more questions will be forthcoming.  But a close, competitive game here will hurt neither the reputation nor the season prospects for either team.

Washington is vastly more experienced than this Kentucky team, and that has to give them the advantage.  Washington is very talented and speedy, and they shoot the ball very well from the perimeter, much like Kentucky.  Neither team has a beastly inside game this year, and the similarities far outdistance the differences between these contestants.

The one thing, besides experience, that worries me about this matchup is that Washington should be a much better defensive team.  Offensively, you can’t really pick between them, but you have to worry about UK’s defense (or rather, their lack of it) particularly given what we saw last night.  I think Kentucky allowed Oklahoma to slow the game down last night, and when UK got comfortable in that pace, the Sooners began getting out on the break and scoring in transition.  The one encouraging thing is that despite the fact the Huskies should be better defensively, they haven’t been so far.

The point to that last paragraph is this — if UK cannot stop the Sooners in transition, they have absolutely no chance of stopping the Huskies.  Washington has arguably the best transition offense in Division I college basketball, and if UK lets the UW shooters run to the arc and get unopposed looks at 3, it’s hard to imagine how the Wildcats can manufacture a win.

In the final analysis, this game is going to be about defense.  Both offenses are capable and have shown repeatedly that they can put up impressive numbers.  The question is, can either of these defenses stop the other team?  As far as picking a winner goes, I think a neutral observer would have to pick Washington on experience alone.  Kentucky may be somewhat more talented in an absolute sense, but Washington has, or should have, a better team since most of the players have been around a year or two and their freshmen provide depth, rather than starters.


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The EA Sports Maui Invitational: Looking at UK’s First Two Opponents

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

If the 'Cats are to come home happy, Darius Miller and Terrence Jones will lead the way.

Greg Wahl-Stephens – AP

If the ‘Cats are to come home happy, Darius Miller and Terrence Jones will lead the way.

View full size photo »

Will Maui become a Kentucky Wildcats (No. 12 AP; No. 13 ESPN) paradise for only the second time in five tries?  The boys in blue will begin to find the answer to that question on Monday at 5:30 EST against the Oklahoma Sooners on ESPN2.

Having won only a single Maui Invitational tournament title (1993 on a Jeff Brassow last mili-second put-back; fast forward to the seven-minute mark) in four previous appearances (’93, ’97, ’02, ’06), the ‘Cats will look to exit paradise with a duffel bag full of shiny new hardware.  But more importantly, coach John Calipari should have a good idea of how far his team has come since the beginning of practice in mid-October.  For the competition has more experience, more size, and the talent to send the ‘Cats home with their tail between their legs … or, will the ‘Cats claw their way up the Maui ladder and put the nation on notice?

Regardless, it should be an exciting tournament.  For the particulars of UK’s initial opponent, and the second round  possibilities, follow me after the jump.   

First up for the ‘Cats are the …

Oklahoma Sooners — Go here for my pregame look at Jeff Capel’s squad for CoachCal.com.

Next up for Kentucky will either be the University of Washington Huskies, or the University of Virginia Cavaliers.  Let’s begin with the …

Washington Huskies (No. 17 AP; No. 15 ESPN/Coach’s) 

Results: Beat McNeese State, 118-64; beat Eastern Washington, 98-72.

Selected by most prognosticators to win the Pac 10 this season, UW returns several key contributors from last season’s 26-10 (11-7) third place Pac 10 squad.  But Lorenzo Romar’s team lost its leading scorer to the NBA in the form of Quincy Pondexter (19.3 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game), an athletic, 6-6, 225 lb swingman. 

Picking up the slack for the Huskies in 2010-2011 is 6-9, 240 lb senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning.  Bryan-Amaning is averaging 21.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game (5.5 offensive rpg) for UW after putting up 8.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last year.  The solid shooting frontcourt player is making 61.5% of his shots from the floor (16-26) and provides Romar with a physical presence in the paint.  Helping out in the Huskie frontcourt is 6-6, 180 lb senior forward Justin Holiday.  Holiday, who averaged only 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season, has raised his scoring average to 14.5 points per game so far this year.  Not the physical player Bryan-Amaning is, Holiday will drift out beyond the arc and take a three-pointer (3-9 on the year), but still rebound the ball effectively (4.0 rpg).

Adding depth and bulk to the Huskie front line is 6-8, 225 lb forward Darnell Gant.  Gant, who doesn’t shoot the ball often (4-13 from the field; 30.8%), does provide Washington with rebounding (3.5 pg).  Gant is averaging 5.5 points per contest.

Freshman swing Terrence Ross, an athletic, 6-6, 180 lb freshman, is being looked at to provide immediate help, and has so far come through for Romar — Ross is averaging 7.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.  A strong shooter from outside, Ross has yet to find his range at the collegiate level: Ross has made only six of 16 shots from the field (37.5%) and 2-9 long range tries (22.2%).

The spark plug, the man who makes the Huskies go, is 5-8, 185 lb junior point guard Isaiah Thomas.  A 1st Team All-Pac 10 selection last year, Thomas is super quick, both offensively and defensively.  He is averaging 13.0 points and 3.5 assists per game, and shooting the ball quite well, making 47.1% of his shots from the floor, and 62.5% of his trey tries (5-8).  Pondexter was the unquestioned leader of last season’s Huskies team, and his absence opens the door for Thomas to take over the leadership mantel. 

Abdul Gaddy, a 6-3, 190 lb sophomore guard, has been very solid in the early going of the 2011 season, averaging 11.5 points per game, and leading the squad in assists with 5.5 per contest.  Gaddy is shooting the ball extremely well, making 9-14 shots overall (64.3%), and 4-6 three-point attempts (66.7%).  Adding depth, experience, and a fearsome defensive presence to the Huskie backcourt is 5-11 senior guard Venoy Overton.  While not averaging a ton of points (5.5 pg), he provides Washington with great court vision (team-leading 7.0 apg) and a toughness all good teams need (4.0 rebounds & 3.5 steals pg).

Rounding out the UW rotation is redshirt freshman C. J. Wilcox (10.5 ppg & 4.5 rpg).  Possibly the team’s best three-point shooter, Wilcox has made 5-11 trey attempts (45.5%) and six of 13 shots overall (46.2%).  Six-six, 185 lb junior guard Scott Suggs will also see plenty of floor time, and is so far averaging 10.0 points and 3.0 assists per game.  Another outside threat, Suggs is making 38.5% of his shots behind the line.

Romar also has at his disposal 7-0 sophomore transfer (College of Southern Idaho) center Aziz N’Diaye.  N’Diaye, a shot-blocker extraordinaire, has yet to play much this season.

The other possible second round Wildcat opponent are the …

Virginia Cavaliers

Results: Beat William & Mary, 76-52, beat South Carolina Upstate, 74-54, lost @ Stanford, 81-60.

Second-year Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett is firmly in rebuilding mode.  After posting a better-than-expected 15-16 (5-11) record last season, Bennett returns only five scholarship players to campus this year, and making a bad situation worse, he lost his best player in highly touted swingman Sylven Landesberg (17.3 points & 4.9 rebounds pg), and experienced guard Jeff Jones (7.3 ppg)  Bennett, though, hit the recruiting trail, and reeled in some big fish who will contribute to this year’s Cavalier effort.  But, despite Bennett’s recruiting haul, the Cavaliers are picked by most to come in last in the 12-team ACC.

Virginia is led this year by 6-8, 240 lb senior forward Mike Scott (a blast from the UK past).  Scott averages 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest.  He has become a solid shooter in the paint area, evidenced by his 15-27 accuracy from the field (55.6%), and Scott is solid from the free throw line, having made 15-17 charity tosses (88.2%).  A ferocious rebounder, Scott will sorely test the the big blue big men if the two teams face one another.  Assane Sene, a 7-0, 234 lb junior center starts for the Cavs but plays only 12.7 minutes per game.  In the game primarily as a defender, Sene has yet to block a shot, and averages only 1.3 rebounds per game. 

Also manning the frontcourt for Virginia is 6-9, 217 lb senior forward Will Sherrill.  Sherrill, a big man who will pop-out and take the occasional three-pointer (3-6 on the year), will also mix it up under the basket, grabbing 4.0 rebounds per game.  Overall from the field, Sherrill is 5-11 (45.5%).

Running the show for the Cavaliers is 5-11, 185 lb point guard Jontel Evans.  While only a sophomore, Evans gained valuable experience last season as a rookie, and has displayed a defensive intensity unusual for a player so young, a commodity coach Bennett looks for in his players.  Evans has shot and distributed the ball very keenly thus far; he has made 11-20 field goals (55.0%), and he’s averaging 4.3 assists per game (13 assists to only four turnovers).  The other starting guard is 6-4, 175 lb senior Mustapha Farrakhan.  Farrakhan is averaging 11.7 points per game, and 1.7 assists per game.  Not shooting the ball with efficiency so far this year (11-26 field goal attempts for 42.3%; 6-18 three-point tries for 33.3%), he’s been a dead-eye at the free throw line where he’s made 7-8.

The future of the Virginia basketball program, though, lies with the three super freshmen Bennett brought to the Cavalier campus: The 4A Alabama Player of the Year, 6-5, 200 lb guard K. T. Harrell.  Harrell has found himself playing a key role this season, and is averaging 7.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.  He’s not shooting the ball with great confidence yet, having made only eight of 21 shots (38.1%), but he seems to be finding the range on the long bombs; Harrell is 4-10 from beyond the arc (40.0%).  The next, next great Cavalier is 6-2, 188 guard Billy Baron.  The son of Rhode Island coach Jim Baron, Billy prepped last season at Worcester (MA) Academy, and his time their seems to have been well spent.  This season, Baron is averaging 11.7 points per game, and sports an 8-1 assist to turnover ratio.  Baron’s shooting from the field has also been solid — 10-17 overall for 58.8%; 7-13 from long-range good for 53.8% — and like many coach’s sons, he brings enthusiasm to the defensive end of the floor. 

Rounding out the super frosh Cav contributors is 6-6, 202 lb guard Joe Harris.  Harris has provided Bennett with depth in the backcourt, as well as a knack for scoring (7.3 ppg).  He is shooting the rock pretty well early on (8-17, 47.1%), especially from three-point range where he’s made five of 13 attempts (38.5%).

Kentucky 81  Notre Dame 76

A big congratulations to UK Hoops, aka, the No. 9 ranked Kentucky Wildcats women’s basketball team for their epic win over No. 12 ranked Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum.  Coach Matthew Mitchell’s Wildcats are working on a 20-game Memorial winning streak.

Thanks for reading, and Go ‘Cats!


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UK Returns to EA Sports Maui Invitational

It’s been four years, but the Kentucky Wildcats found their way back to Maui for the prestigious EA Sports Maui Invitational. The last time UK appeared on the island, they posted a 1-2 record which included a win over DePaul and losses to No. 5 UCLA and the John Calipari-coached Memphis Tigers in the 2006 Maui Invitational.
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SEC Power Poll Ballot: Week 12

South Carolina
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1. Auburn Tigers

The Tigers took a week off and remain atop my ballot. Tuscaloosa awaits.

2. LSU Tigers

Another week, another wild win for Les Miles and Co.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Tide can salvage their season to some extent by upsetting Auburn.

4. Arkansas Razorbacks

The Hogs have a shot at a BCS bowl if they can knock off LSU.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks

Carolina finally looked Spurrier-esque against cupcake competition.

6. Mississippi St. Bulldogs

The Bulldogs fought hard against Arkansas but came up short. I’m sure a win over Ole Miss will assuage the pain.

7. Florida Gators

The Gators looked good against App. St., but can they do it against FSU? They’ve been dominating bad teams and stinking against good ones all year.

8. Georgia Bulldogs

The Dawgs will look to salvage a bad season with a win over Ga. Tech this week.

9. Kentucky Wildcats

The ‘Cats will be looking to end their losing streak against UT this week.

10. Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols can reach bowl eligibility with a win over UK, which wouldn’t be too bad in Derek Dooley’s first year.

11. Mississippi Rebels

Close but no cigar for Ole Miss against LSU.

12. Vanderbilt Commodores

After looking at the box scores from the past few weeks, I’m thinking that maybe Vandy should have started playing Jared Funk long ago.


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Terrence Jones makes early splash with Kentucky Wildcats, gets early homecoming game in Portland | OregonLive.com

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Terrence Jones makes early splash with Kentucky Wildcats, gets early homecoming game in Portland | OregonLive.com

Terrence Jones talks to the Oregonian about his time at UK.


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