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SEC Headlines 12/18/2011

1. Ohio State 74 –  South Carolina 66. Early second-half lead evaporates for the Gamecocks.

2. Mississippi State 80 – Detroit 75.  Bulldogs win their 10th straight game.

3. Florida 84 – Texas A&M 64.  Billy Donovan: “I thought the first half was the best we’ve played all year.” Kenny Boynton dominates with 22 points.

4. Arkansas  62 – Southeast Louisiana  55. Mike Anderson: “A raggedy ride is better than a smooth walk.”

5. Southern Miss 86 – Ole Miss 82.  Southern Miss scores 53 points in the second half.

6. Indiana State 61 – Vanderbilt 55. Commodores drop a third non-conference game at home for the first time since the 1977-1978 season.

7. Kentucky 87 – UT Chattanooga 82.  UTC coach John Shulman on the Wildcats 18-2  run to start the game.  ”I looked at [assistant] Ricky Cabrera and said, ‘I don’t know what to do,’” Shulman said. “He looked back and said, ‘We’re playing against five NBA players. It’s OK.’”

8. Terrance Jones dislocates a finger.

9. Auburn 84 – North Florida 71.  Tigers off to their best start since the 2003-2004 season.

10. Kansas State 71 – Alabama 58.  K-State goes on a 19-6 run in second half.  Tide have lost three of last four games.

11. Georgia 63 – USC 59.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scores 21 for the Bulldogs.

12. Former Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell interviews at his alma mater.

13. Auburn coordinator search continues.  Mark Stoops reportedly staying at Florida State.

14. Is the Auburn program “barely recognizable”?

15.  Kiehl Frazier prepares to adjust to a post-Malzahn career at Auburn.

16. SEC Freshman of the Year Isaiah Crowell is currently reduced to second-string status.

17. Alabama is fired up for a second opportunity to face LSU.  ”This is what the world wants to see,” said strong safety Brandon Taylor.

18. Should SEC officials work the Alabama-LSU game?

19. Georgia backup quarterback Hutson Mason may transfer. Why the Bulldogs 2012 schedule could be easier than this year’s version.

20. Five South Carolina juniors submit paperwork for the NFL.

21. Mississippi State has started game planning for Wake Forest. All-SEC lineman Gabe Jackson is a key cog.

22. Attendance eroding but still high at Tennessee for both football and basketball.

23. Bobby Petrino wants the Arkansas-Texas A&M game to remain in Dallas every year.

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SEC Headlines – 5/7/2011

1. Tennessee forward Tobias Harris is headed to the NBA draft and projects as a mid-first round round pick.

2. Brandon Knight makes his departure official from Kentucky while Terrance Jones will announce his decision today.

3. Who does Urban Meyer spend more time with: His family or ESPN?

4. Former Gator QB Tim Tebow is back in his home state and that always draws attention.

5. Recapping the spring performance of the Auburn offensive line.

6. Will offensive lineman Antonio Richardson be eligible at Tennessee this fall?

Extras

7. Uh-oh.  Ohio State to investigate used car purchases by former players.

8. A breakdown of the Kentucky Derby field.

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Kentucky 79 @ Portland 48: Postmortem

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Defense was the key to Kentucky's win tonight.

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Greg Wahl-Stephens – AP

Defense was the key to Kentucky’s win tonight.

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Some people, like my wife, don’t like blowouts.  I love them.

Thanks to the Portland Pilots for the invitation out west, and the hard and gutsy game they played against us.  They will not be happy when they look at this tape, because they will find that they allowed Kentucky to mentally dominate them in the early going.  The K E N T U C K Y across the chest of the boys in Blue and White is well recognized, and the Portland Pilots were far too “up” for this game.  They exhausted themselves early, and Kentucky cruised to an easy victory.

I don’t want to minimize the great game that UK played.  It was, unquestionably, one of the best early-season games that any Kentucky team has played in many years.  Despite the lopsided outcome, Portland is a very good basketball team that just ran up against a UK team that did everything right — from sticky, almost impermeable defense on the perimeter, to an impressive victory on the glass.  Portland was 3-0 coming in to this game, and none of them were even close. 

Portland is a skilled and impressive program for its size, and if anyone thinks this was just another UK pounding of an inferior opponent, you know nothing about college basketball.  Portland is not in danger of cracking the top 25, but they are a quality program playing in a near-home arena against a team that had to travel 3,000 miles to play them.

For me, this was an impressive victory for a team full of mid and upperclassmen, let alone mostly freshmen.  Here are my observations:

  • Game ball — DeAndre Liggins.  He didn’t score much, but he completely invalidated Portland’s best shooter, rendering him utterly impotent.  Liggins did it with class, ease, and effort.  It was impressive in the extreme.
  • Josh Harrellson had a terrific game.  He had at least 11 rebounds, and was always involved in the middle.  He made a mistake or two, but overall, played like a senior.
  • Love me some Brandon Knight.  He managed to both score and deliver the ball this game, and his defense was excellent.
  • Doron Lamb is the silent assassin of this team.  Twice, Portland came down and made a three, and both times, Lamb answered with one of his own.  This kid has a feel for the dramatic, and has a knack for making huge plays look effortless.
  • Darius Miller was just exactly what the Wildcats needed him to be tonight — terrific.
  • Terrance Jones did not have one of his best shooting games, but he was always in the play, he rebounded, and generally played hard.  And well.
  • Eloy Vargas had some good moments.  I was pretty happy with what he did.
  • Jon Hood hustled, but could have done more.  He was strong with the ball, and that is something.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with Kentucky this game.  There just isn’t a lot to criticize, and not having seen the stats, my impression is that this team played their best game of the year tonight, particularly defensively.  This was far and away the best defensive performance we have seen from this team in any game, including Canada.  Offensively, it was very good, but the defense is what has been lacking.  Tonight, it lacked little.

I’m not a fan of the long trip to Portland, but it will do this team good to know they can handle a talented team this far away from home.  In Maui, the teams will be far more talented, and the distance even farther.

But for now, a great victory.

Go, ‘Cats!


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Kentucky Wildcats (12) @ Portland Pilots: Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Portland, Oregon to take on the Portland Pilots in the Rose Garden.

Game details are as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Kentucky @ Portland
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Portland Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Fri., Nov. 19, 10:30 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPNU
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Text Updates
Location Rose Garden
Portland, Ore.

 

As you can see by the preview of a couple of days ago, Portland is a serious team that cannot be taken lightly.  Yes, the University of Portland is a small Catholic school, but they get good basketball talent and have upset their share of BCS conference teams.

One of  the things working against the Pilots is that they are very young off the bench, and not in the same way as Kentucky.  Kentucky is young, but they are talented far beyond their years.  These young Portland reserves are not in the same universe with Kentucky’s talent, although their older players are quite accomplished and they are probably superior to Kentucky in the team concept at this point in the season.

This will be a test very much in the same vein as ETSU, except it will be a long way away.  The further one travels from home, the tougher the game is, and Kentucky’s maturity is in for an early test.

What UK needs to win:

  • Good communication on defense.  That has been a weakness so far.
  • Run, run, run.  UK forced ETSU to fear their open-court game and  get back fast on defense and eschew offensive rebounding.  Kentucky needs to prove early and often that they are going to push the pace, and Portland might react the same way.
  • Rebound, rebound, rebound.  Kentucky has to find a way to get on the offensive glass and dominate it.
  • Make open shots.  If UK can continue to shoot well, lack of size will not matter nearly as much.

What can cause an upset:

  • Turnovers.  The ‘Cats have done a good job of taking care of the ball, and if they continue to do that well, it will be tough to beat them.
  • Giving Portland open threes.  Portland has some guys who can really shoot.  Kentucky must deny them open looks from three and force them to shoot on the move.
  • A lack of intensity.  Terrance Jones has been bringing plenty of emotion, and that has helped this young team play with passion.
  • Getting out-hustled.  This is an underdog playing at home, and you can bet that they will try to out-effort Kentucky.  We have seen that happen before, and it can turn a should-be blowout into a competitive game, and a competitive game into an upset.  DeAndre Liggins could be pivotal in the role of energy guy.

There is a lot that can go wrong on this trip.  Kentucky must use effort, focus and determination to overcome distance, a hostile arena, and an upset-minded team with talent and skill.  This will be a good test for this young group.  We’ll see how much progress they’ve made in a week.

Go, ‘Cats!


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