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Oct 31

Ralph’s Pre-Season Top 25

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 12:34 pm | Leave a Comment (1)
Category: Basketball

1. North Carolina Tar Heels– Harrison Barnes leads maybe Roy Williams’ deepest roster since he has been in Chapel Hill. Will the “Expectations” be too much to handle for this team??
2. Kentucky Wildcats – John Calipari’s back with even a bigger, more talented squad from last year. All eyes will be on Sophomore Terrence Jones as he looks to be the “main” cog on this unit that is built like a Ferrari.
3. Connecticut Huskies – The defending National Champs are reloaded and ready for action……odd too see Huskies being led by a Lamb (Jeremy).
4. Syracuse Orangemen – Jim Boeheim appears to have his deepest and best team since Carmelo Anthony led them to a National Championship. Only Rick Jackson was lost from a team that can now play “man-to-man” as well as the “2-3 Zone”.
5. Duke Blue Devils – Coach K has a squad that is strong in the middle with the Plumlee Brothers (Miles, Mason & Marshall) but it is the much anticipated play of guard, Austin Rivers that has the “Cameron Crazies” so excited.
6. Ohio St. Buckeyes – Jared Sullinger is back in Columbus for at least one more season and he has some unfinished business………he wants to give coach Thad Motta a Championship, and not just a Big Ten Championship.
7. Florida Gators – The Gators have arguable the best and deepest back-court in the nation but it will be the post play that determines just how far Billy “the Kid” Donovan’s squad will go.
8. Memphis Tigers – Athleticism and talent are abound in Memphis but will the youth they have be best served in a conference where they will not be challenged?
9. Vanderbilt Commodores – Coach Kevin Stallings has his deepest squad in 13 seasons at Vandy and they are primed to shake off the “one & done” syndrome in the NCAA Tournament. John Jenkins is one of the most underrated players in the country.
10. Baylor Bears – Perry Jones came around at the end of last season; the “super Sophomore” will be expected to be a star this season if Baylor is to reach its goals.
11. Louisville Cardinals – Rick Pitino has a good mix of talent led by PG Peyton Siva; the hope here is that talented Freshman, Wayne Blackshear is eligible and or healthy to play because he is an exceptional player.
12. Pittsburgh Panthers – If nothing else, you can count on a Jamie Dixon ball-club being physical and defensive minded. With Ashton Gibbs back for another season, you know he will score points but will he get help from anyone else.
13. Wisconsin Badgers – Led by undervalued PG, Jordan Taylor the Badgers can play with anyone in the nation. The Badgers must find some perimeter scoring though.
14. Xavier Musketeers – Guard Tu Holloway is as good as any guard in the country. The problem was he had a tendency to disappear in some games down the stretch last season. Hopefully he can stay off of the “milk cartons” this season.
15. Michigan Wolverines – This is definitely John Beilein’s deepest and best team since he took over in Ann Harbor. For the Wolverines, it will be about hitting the boards as they finished -11, on average last year in games. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of the premier scorers in the Big Ten conference.
16. Arizona Wildcats – Gone is all Mr. Everything, Derrick Williams but don’t think that Sean Miller still doesn’t have a viable team. The Cats will battle with the Bruins for supremacy of the Pac-12.
17. Alabama Crimson Tide – Jamychael Green is one of the more overlooked players in the SEC but he plans on having everyone take notice this year. Add to that a tough non-conference slate and the Tide will be battle tested for conference play.
18. Kansas Jayhawks – While this is not a typical Bill Self team, they should still be able to hold their own against good teams. PG Tyshawn Taylor will be the catalyst for this squad but an off-the-court incident already has him sitting for two games.
19. UCLA Bruins – The Bruins have maybe the best front-court in the Pac-12 and they will be very physical in the paint. Also add the Ware Twins (transfers from UNC) and now you got more size and depth. If they can find steady play in the back-court Ben Howland may have Westwood rocking once again.
20. Texas A&M Aggies – Forward Khris Middleton is a solid player who may be the best kept secret in the Big 12. He will have to should the load for 1st year coach, Billy Kennedy (former Murray St. coach).
21. Cincinnati Bearcats – Coach Mick Cronin’s team is always one of the most physical teams in the nation and this year will be no exception. Led by Yancy Gates, the Bearcats have a chance to improve on last years 26-9 record.
22. Florida St. Seminoles – The Noles are a great defensive team that has trouble scoring at times. But in the ACC, behind UNC and Duke, they are the next best team in a weak conference.
23. Marquette Golden Eagles – Buzz Williams is one of the most energetic coaches in the nation and he always produces tough teams. Guard Darius Johnson-Odom is an overlooked talent who plays both ends of the court. If Oregon transfer, Jamil Wilson works out, Marquette will be a contender in the Big East.
24. California Golden Bears – Jorge Gutierrez has developed into one of the best players in the Pac-10 and Mike Montgomery hopes that Gutierrez can help lead his team back to the “Big Dance”.
25. Temple Owls – Fran Dunphy’s team has a solid core of players returning (26 wins last season) led by guards Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore. If they can get production from the front-court then the Owls are always dangerous to play in NCAA post season.

Oct 31

QB Battle In Full Effect?

Posted by: Ryan at 8:58 am | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Football


Oct 28

Cats vs. Dogs Preview

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 8:30 am | Leave a Comment (13)
Category: Football

On Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats (3-4) will host the Mississippi St. Bulldogs (3-4) in a game that has potential bowl implications on the line. Neither of these team is where they thought they would be when the season first began. While the Cats may have only been hoping to be at 4-3 based on their schedule, they certainly would have been a lot more competitive as a team. Aside from the disappointing loss to U of L, the other 3 losses have been “no contests” and even their wins (aside from Jacksonville St.) have been ugly and unfulfilling.

For the Bulldogs, they had high expectations entering the season but have completely failed to reach any of them. Their 4 losses are all conference losses, one of their wins was a come from behind victory over a 0-4 UAB team at the time. They have benched starting QB Chris Relf and the offense has been headed downhill faster that a skier on a snowy slope. While both of these teams have been relatively health (the Cats have had injuries at RB) neither has been able to accomplish much on offense lately, although the Bulldogs where pretty good the first two games of the year.

For both of these teams, Saturday’s game is a “must win” simply because there are not many more wins left on either’s schedule….at least not what would be considered a guaranteed win. In fact, it is safe to assume that outside of this game (Bulldogs favorite by +10), that neither will be favorite over anyone remaining on the schedule, outside of Ole Miss, which both teams will play later. Both teams have leaned heavily on their defenses and will continue to do for the rest of the year. Special Teams could be a point of emphasis by both coaches (Joker Phillips & Dan Mullens) because that may be where this game is won or lost.

Of course, the turnover battle will be important as well but isn’t it always; the fact is UK turns it over and doesn’t generate many turnovers to recoup. Mississippi St. creates just as many if not more than they give away, but usually can do nothing to take advantage of these miscues. The loser here will still be winless in conference and more importantly will drop to 3-5 with 4 games to go. The winner can at least say they are only 2 wins away from bowl eligibility and will have a little “head of steam” heading down the stretch.

The UK fans are calling for a “blackout” on Saturday and apparently the team will don their black jerseys for this one. It is the weekend before Halloween so I say “give me the Cats and the points in a mild upset over the Bulldogs”, 17-15.

Oct 27

Coach Cal At SEC Media Day

Posted by: Ryan at 10:21 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Basketball

 

Oct 26

Post Blue/White Scrimmage Interviews

Posted by: Ryan at 11:09 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Basketball

Oct 26

Heisman Hopefuls Update

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 12:56 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Football

Well we are a little over half-way through the College Football season and there have been some great  games, great players and great plays that have defined the season up to this point. As little as two weeks ago, we had roughly 13 undefeated teams still left and then within the blink of an eye, we were down to 10. Now after last week, we are down to just 8 and that list will shrink by at least 2 or 3 more of the next couple of weeks. There is also no shortage of individual star power throughout the nation either. You have QBs like Andrew Luck (Stanford), Kellen Moore (Boise St.), Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) & Denard Robinson (Michigan) among others. Then you have RBs like Trent Richardson (Alabama), LaMichael James (Oregon) and Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina). Then the WRs group may be as strong, if not stronger than last year’s group was with the likes of Alshon Jefferey (South Carolina), Robert Woods (USC), Malcolm Floyd (Notre Dame), Justin Blackmon (Okla. St.) and Russell Shephard (LSU). With this group of talent, some of these guys will be great players at the next level and making an impact for whatever team they play for. With that being said, let me give you “My Top 5 Heisman Candidates” as we head into week 9 of the season.

  1. Andrew Luck (QB) – Maybe two weeks ago, he was not #1 but whether he is #1 or #5, he is one of the best QBs, if not the best in the nation. Even though he lost his coach for the past two seasons (Jim Harbaugh) to the NFL, Luck has continued to do exactly what he did last season, carve up opposing defenses with his arm mainly, and occasionally his feet. He has his team once again in the National Title hunt and after his Cardinal crushed Washington last week, they have their sights set firmly on USC this weekend. Luck is projected as the “next great” pro QB and he seems ready to fit that bill. Of course only time will tell but for a guy whose TD to INT ratio is somewhere around 4 or 5 to 1, I wouldn’t bet against this guy because he has been doing for three seasons now.
  2. Kellen Moore (QB) – To Boise St.’s opponents it probably seems as if Moore has been playing for close to 10 years in college but the reality is you are looking at a guy that has been knifing up opposing defenses for 4 seasons now. Like Luck, Moore has a lot of attributes that go into the making of a “star” QB on the next level. Unlike, Luck, Moore (5’11) lacks the actual physical status often associated with the prototypical NFL QB. But if nothing else, Moore reminds some of a “new age” Doug Flutie that just knows how to play the position and get his team in the position to win games. Some will say Moore’s Broncos didn’t play the greatest of competition week in and week out but when he has played the “big boys”, he has acquitted himself very well….just ask the Georgia Bulldogs (2011) and Virginia Tech Hokies (2010).
  3. Trent Richardson (RB) – Richardson split a lot of time / carries in the backfield with Mark Ingram for the Tide last season and they were a force to be reckoned with. But you always wondered how good would Richardson be once Ingram left…I think he silenced any doubters, if he had any. Richardson has the size to run between the tackles and the speed to get to the corner. He is bigger and faster than his former backfield mate and like Ingram, would like to hoist the Heisman Trophy above his head on the way to a possible National Title. Richardson reminds some of former Penn St. RB, Curtis Enis (hopefully his NFL career will not mirror Enis’s) but then others say he looks more like a faster version of former Michigan RB, Anthony Thomas. Regardless of who Richardson reminds you of, one thing is clear, he is a versatile back that can make opposing defenses game plan just for him.
  4. Russell Wilson (QB) – Some thought Wilson’s collegiate football career would end largely unfulfilled (played / started at N.C. State for a couple of seasons) as new head coach, Tom O’Brien just did not seem comfortable with Wilson at the helm of the team he took over. So as early as March of this year, the versatile Wilson appeared to be ready to embark on the pro baseball career that he had been holding off on. Fast forward 7 months and up to just last week, Wilson and his new team, the Wisconsin Badgers looked like the best team in the Big Ten and were a threat to run the gauntlet and possibly finish undefeated. Now with a loss to Michigan St. last week, the Badgers must re-focus as a team. But for Wilson, he is still a contender for the Heisman; obviously he needs to bounce back with a stellar game this week but Wilson has been the best “game changer” in the nation thus far and his play has definitely been the reason the Badgers have been successful this season.
  5. Tyrann Mathieu (DB / PR) – Not since the days of Charles Woodson (former Michigan DB / PR – Heisman Winner) has a defensive back been able to impact games the way Mathieu does. He is only a sophomore and he already is LSU’s career leader in turnovers (forced / recovered) and he also returns punts. The one thing to note is even in the year Woodson won the Heisman, he also played WR a bit and that helped him in his campaign for the Heisman. So while the chances of Mathieu lining up on the offensive side of the ball are not likely, his ability to make plays and score TDs for the defense and special teams make him a legitimate candidate at this point in the season. He has scored TDs this season against Oregon, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Oct 25

Cal Happy With What He Sees

Posted by: Ryan at 3:56 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Basketball

Oct 25

Miller and Jones On Blue/White Scrimmage

Posted by: Ryan at 3:14 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Basketball

(videos courtesy CoachCalVideos)

Oct 25

SEC Round-up Week 8

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 8:59 am | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: SEC

Kentucky 38 – Jacksonville St. 14: The Kentucky Wildcats (3-4) started slowly on offense again, but their defense jump-started the whole team as they literally ran away from the 8th ranked team in the FCS polls. The defense forced J’Ville State (5-2) QB Coty Blanchard to fumble and DB Martaveous Neloms scooped it up and took it to the house late in the 1st qtr. and that seemed to energize the rest of the squad, including the anemic offense. The Cats would rush for a season high of 250 + yds, led by 3rd string RB, Cozik Williams who ran for 148 on 22 carries. If not spectacular, QB Morgan Newton had probably his best all-around game as a Cat, throwing for 105 yds & 2 TDs as well as running for 1 himself. While the Cats offense still had some miscues they appeared to be just a step quicker Saturday and they looked a little more ready to play. The defense was back to the “D” that we saw the first two games of the year, although RB Wasaun Ealey did run for 120 yds on 16 carries; but the Cats managed to keep him out of the end zone. Joker Phillips had to be pleased but he also knows this game was just the beginning. The Cats will host Mississippi St. (3-4) this weekend and surely the loser of that game can all but forget about going to a bowl so there will be a lot on the line for both teams.

Arkansas 29 – Ole Miss 24: Well for a half it appeared that the Razorbacks were still on their bye week and it seemed as though Ole Miss would get the upset Houston Nutt may need to keep his job. Then the 2nd half came everything fell back into its rightful place as the Hogs (6-1) overcame a 17-7 halftime deficit by outscoring the Rebels 22-7 after intermission. The Rebels (2-5) had it clicking on both sides of the ball in the first 2 quarters as they dominated the #9 Team in the country. The Rebels used 3 different running backs, all with their own style to keep the Razorback defense off-balance; once they began to focus on the run, QB R. Mackey (219 passing yds 2 TDs) began to pick them apart in the air. In the 2nd, it was reversal of fortunes as Arkansas QB, Tyler Wilson (232 passing yds) began to heat up and the defense tightened up. D. Johnson had a 52 yd TD run and piled up a total of 160 on the ground and Arkansas held off a late Rebel drive.

LSU 45 – Auburn 10: Well, LSU entered this game short-handed as three players (all starters, 2 DBs) were suspended for drug-testing issues. Meanwhile, Auburn entered the game starting a new QB, Clint Moseley (1st career start) after benching the struggling Barrett Trotter. Well neither of these proved to make a bit difference as LSU (8-0) steam-rolled Auburn (5-3) in handing them their worst loss in close to 15 years. LSU is using the two QB “thing” a lot better this time around (Jarrett Lee – 165 passing yds and 2 TDs) & Jefferson passed for 1 TD as well) and together, Auburn could do nothing with them. LSU RB, Michael Ford ran for 82 yds on 12 carries (replaced the suspended Spencer Ware) and WR Rueben Randle had 5 grabs for 106 yds 2 TDs. LSU will have this weekend off before they have that huge showdown with #2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on 11/5. Auburn will play host to Ole Miss this weekend.

Vanderbilt 44 – Army 21: Vandy named QB Jordan Rodgers (little brother of Aaron Rodgers) the starter early last week and it paid dividends. He passed for 186 yds, 1 TD & 2 INTs but the team seemed to be more energetic with him under center. The Commodores (4-3) led Army 23 -6 at the half largely behind the gritty play of Rodgers and the feet of RB Zac Stacy (21 carries, 198 yds and 3 TDs). The Cadets largely rely on the triple-option attack and they just could not get a lot going against Vandy’s “D”. Army has struggled at times this year with their ground game and when that happens, they are going to be on the losing end just because they ate one of the worst passing teams in the nation. The Commodores would like to build off of this victory as they host Arkansas this Saturday in a game that could move them one-step closer to bowl eligibility.

Alabama 37 – Tennessee 6: For a half, UT played Alabama (8-0) to an even affair (6-6 at half-time). In the 2nd half, the Tide woke up and the defense clamped down on the Vol offense while their offense broke loose on the Vol defense. Even though Tennessee (3-4) was able to hold RB Trent Richardson to under 100 yds, he still managed 77 on the ground and 2 TDs; meanwhile QB A.J. McCarron passed for 284 yds. & 1 TD, most of it in the 2nd half. UT QB, Matt Sims had a second consecutive week of being held below 100 passing yds (just 58 this game) and as a team, the Vols failed to reach 200 offensive yds for a second consecutive week. All eyes and minds are set for 11/5 when the Tide and the LSU Tigers collide in what may be the game of the season. Like LSU, Alabama will be off this weekend so both teams will be rested and prepared. For Tennessee, they will host South Carolina this weekend, a game they have a good chance at winning.

Oct 23

The Cats On Jax St. Win

Posted by: Ryan at 11:52 am | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Football

(videos courtesy John Clay- Kentucky.com)