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Wow Morning Headlines 9/5/2012

Taunting billboard aimed at Florida Gators fans comes down in Gainesville
Caught mouthing obscenities on camera, Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease apologizes for “potty mouth”
Injury to Connor Shaw puts South Carolina’s quarterback status in doubt this weekend
Tyrann Mathieu officially enrolls at LSU – football future uncertain
Washington Huskies prepare for LSU with caged, live tiger
Auburn center Reese Dismukes returns from suspension to play against Mississippi State
Georgia mum on status of safety Baccari Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree  - Bulldogs face Mizzou Saturday night
Forbes says Nick Saban is still the most powerful coach in all of sports
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Connecticut Huskies @ Kentucky Wildcats (9): Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats play for their third pre-season tournament championship in three years.  The first was the Findlay Las Vegas Invitational, last year it was the Cancun Challenge, and this year it is the Maui Invitational.  Their opponent is the Connecticut Huskies.  Details as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Connecticut Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Nov. 24, 10:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Live Video via ESPN3
Text Updates
Location Lahaina Civic Center
Maui, Ha.

 

Despite the lack of a ranking by their name, the Huskies have defeated the #2 team in the land, and one of the better mid majors in the land en route to the championship.  The tendency of the Wildcat faithful, after seeing the ‘Cats defeat the extremely talented and highly-ranked Washington Huskies.

More after the jump.

What UK needs to do to win:

  • Continue the outstanding offensive rebounding.  UK has been very effective on the offensive glass in this tournament, surprisingly so.  This is no time to stop.
  • Continue to attack the rim.  In the last two games, Kentucky has upped their game in the FTR% statistic.  That needs to continue.
  • Defend the Huskies primary scorer, Kemba Walker.  Because almost 40% of UConn’s offense is Walker and have limited other scoring options, face-guarding Walker would seem to be a wise choice defensively.
  • Keep the energy high.  I was pleased to see how hard the team played last night late in the game.  UConn is another team that has more depth, albeit young depth, than Kentucky, so they will need to continue to hustle when they are tired.

What UK must avoid:

  • Giving Walker open looks, or clear lanes.  If he gets his average, UK is in deep doo-doo.
  • Turning the ball over.  This is something that the Wildcats have done very little this year, but with athletic teams like UConn, the defensive pressure will be there.
  • Getting productive players in foul trouble.  Last night, we wound up with 40% of our scoring on the bench for the last 3 minutes of the first half.
  • Abysmal free-throw shooting.  This is likely to be a close game, and sooner or later, shooting 50% from the line is going to turn a victory into a defeat.

This is what we didn’t really expect, but had every right to hope for — a shot at the Maui Invitational crown.  This young, inexperienced and talented team has really impressed a lot of people.  If they can defeat another top-tier program like UConn, it will do nothing but enhance Kentucky’s reputation this year.

This is yet another huge game early for the ‘Cats.  Let’s cheer them on to a tournament championship.

This place is going to the dogs. Go, ‘Cats!


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Maui Invitational Semifinal: Second Half Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

The second half is coming up, and the Washington Huskies have a 1 point lead.

Who will make the best adjustments, and who will execute well enough to win?

We’ll find out.  Go, ‘Cats.


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Scouting report on the Washington Huskies

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Some links and notes to get you ready for Washington:

  • Washington is ranked 13th in latest AP poll.
  • “We respect Kentucky’s program and the job they do,” Lorenzo Romar said. “Terrence Jones is a fantastic basketball player, but we’re not coming out there because of any type of rivalry. We’re coming out because this is the next opponent and we have to play at a high level.”
  • Romar also said: “”If I really wanted to do the media a favor, I could just makeup a wild story that we hate Kentucky and all that. But that’s not the case. Sorry. Kentucky is the next opponent. If it wasn’t Kentucky and if it was Oklahoma, then we’d have animosity towards them because they’re the next opponent.”
  • The Huskies are averaging a Division I-best 107.3 points.
  • Washington made a school record 17 three-pointers in its 106-63 rout of Virginia on Monday.
  • Isaiah Thomas scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half.
  • Terrence Jones‘ high school teammate Terrence Ross scored 12 points for Huskies on Monday.

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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.

View full size photo »

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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