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Apr 3

Getting 8 Feels Gr8t!

Posted by: Ryan at 10:36 am | Leave a Comment (62)
Category: Basketball

Feb 10

Kentucky vs. Vandy Preview

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 11:42 am | Leave a Comment (133)
Category: Basketball


Tomorrow the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats (24-1) will head down to Nashville to do battle with the Vanderbilt Commodores (17-7) in a key game in the hunt for the SEC Title. The Cats will enter this game on a roll as they come off a pasting of the #8 Florida Gators on Tuesday night while Vandy is fresh off of a victory over the sliding LSU Tigers. The Cats appear to have rounded into form over the last 2 weeks and they will not easily be derailed as they prepare to head down the home stretch of this college basketball season. Freshman Anthony Davis (14.0 ppg, 10 reb., 4.8 blk & 1.5 stls) continues to be the centerpiece behind a defense that is just downright frightening at times. The Cats are still looking for a total effort on offense but there is no denying the way they play defense. Davis is literally the front-runner for not only “Defensive Player of the Year” but also “Freshman of the Year” as well the possible “Player of the Year”; no player has ever won all three awards in his first year of playing college ball. But Davis will need help from Terence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller if the Cats are to come away from Nashville with a “W” tomorrow night. Marquise Teague will also have to have an excellent floor-game to allow those guys to be able to produce.

For the Commodores, the season has been a combination of ups and downs, injury filled and sometimes a lack of passion and intensity. This is a veteran team that some thought could win the SEC and at times they have looked very good (i.e. a 17 point victory over a then “hot” Marquette squad in late Dec.); however the ‘Dores have inexplicable losses (home losses to Cleveland St. and Indiana St.). So it is hard to get a read on a team that had high expectations coming into this season. John Jenkins leads Vandy averaging 19.7 ppg but he will need help from Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor if they hope to topple the Cats. Coach Kevin Stallings knows this is a chance for his team to build some momentum as they head toward March, something they sorely need after being bounce in the 1st round of the big dance each of the last two years. Vandy still has at the very least “Elite 8” talent but they will need to at least try and add another marquee victim to their list (Marquette is the only ranked team they have beaten).

My thoughts for this game are simple, the Cats routinely have problems playing in down in Vandy and that is usually atypical of any visiting opponent to Nashville. However, the friendly confines have not been all that friendly as mentioned previously. The Commodores need this victory badly, if for nothing else, to pad their resume. #1 going on the road for a tough conference game usually smells of upset but I am not so sure the Commodores believe in themselves the way UK does; give me UK 72 – Vandy 68.

Jan 11

UK Visits Auburn

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 12:33 pm | Leave a Comment (82)
Category: Basketball

Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats (15-1) will pay a visit to the state of Alabama to play the Auburn Tiger (10-5). The Cats are fresh off of a good victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday while Auburn was thoroughly beaten by Vanderbilt (65-35) in its SEC opener over the weekend.  Kenny Grabiel (6’8’’ forward) leads the Tigers in just about every important offensive & defensive category (11.9 pts per game, 7.8 reb. per game, 1.5 steals per game and 2.7 blocks per game. While Auburn had a pretty good start to the season with their non-conference record of 10-4, they really didn’t beat anybody worth speaking of. Their best win on paper appears to be against South Florida, but only because the Bulls are in the Big East Conference. Auburn had bad losses to Seton Hall (81-59), Long Beach St. (64-43) and Florida St. (85-56). The Tigers really have trouble putting the ball in the basket, even more than UK’s last opponent, the Gamecocks. Usually home-court advantage means something for a team (worth between 5-10 points possibly) but for the Tigers, it just means there will be no long bus ride after this “mercy killing”.

For the Cats, this game will be about focus and not letting up on the road against an inferior opponent. Terrence Jones finally re-emerged as he had maybe his best game of the season against South Carolina. Anthony Davis continues to give opposing players fit when they attack the rim. The Cats cannot come out sluggish and uninterested because much like the Commodores did, you want to take the heart and breath away from a team like Auburn early because that will lead to them hanging their heads and being frustrated.

This one should not be a challenge except if you are betting whether or not the Tigers score more than 40……….I’m betting they will, but barely; UK 70 – 45.

Jan 10

Cousins Gets A Mention On SNL

Posted by: Ryan at 9:49 am | Leave a Comment (24)
Category: Basketball

Dec 27

Coach Cal and the Cats Get Ready for ___________

Posted by: Ryan at 3:02 pm | Leave a Comment (29)
Category: Basketball

 

Dec 20

Rumblings With Ralph

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 2:21 pm | Leave a Comment (13)
Category: Basketball

Well we are about 1/3 of the way through the College Basketball season and we have seen a lot of different things up to this point. We saw a mammoth clash between UNC and UK that went right down to the wire before the Cats pulled out a victory. We seen a great group of teams assembled for the Maui Classic, including Duke, Kansas, Michigan, Memphis and Georgetown but when it was all said and done, the “Dukies” continued their mastery of the islands and brought home the championship. We have already had 3 teams stand atop the polls at #1; we started with North Carolina, then we had Kentucky and now we have Syracuse. We have been surprised by some teams while disappointed by others but thru it all, we are prepared to witness even more great things as each team quickly approaches conference play. So with that being said, let me hand out a few honors as well as a few “head-smacks” for what has transpired thus far.

The Five Most Disappointing Teams:

  • UCLA Bruins (5-5) – Began the year as a Top 15 Team; they have won 3 in a row just to get to .500. Howland’s seat in Westwood is starting to get warm.
  • Vanderbilt Commodores (7-4) – Began the year as a Top 15 Team; the Commodores are struggling with injuries in the post and they have been abysmal at times on both ends of the court.
  • Villanova Wildcats (7-5) – While most people knew Jay Wright’s program would be rebuilding most could not have thought it would be this painful.
  • Memphis Tigers (6-4) – Began the year as a Top10 Team; now to their credit, Memphis has lost to some good teams but they better get it turned around quickly.
  • Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish (8-5) – Much like ‘Nova, fans in South Bend knew this team was not as good as the last couple of seasons but the loss of Tim Abromaitius may be more than this team can withstand.

The Five Most Surprising Teams:

  • Missouri Tigers (11-0) – Currently #9 ;Despite the changing of coaches over the off-season, some wondered if the Tigers were getting the worse end of the deal with former Miami coach, Frank Haith………..I think the record says it all
  • Indiana Hoosiers (10-0) – Currently #17; Tom Cream finally looks to have what he wanted in Bloomington, a team that is solid on both ends of the floor.
  • Georgetown Hoyas (9-1) – Currently #16; many thought the Hoyas would be scuffling just to get wins but they have beaten Alabama and Memphis already.
  • Virginia Cavaliers (9-1) – Currently #24; The Cavs are one of those “under the radar” teams with no big-name player to speak of, but they have already beaten Michigan.
  • Harvard Crimson (9-1) – Currently #25 (USA Today) – Tommy Amaker has a solid ball club whose only loss thus far was on the road at Connecticut.

The Best Conference: The Big 10 – After the Big 10 destroyed the ACC in their annual conference clash, there is no reason not to believe that this conference can put 8 or 9 teams in the “Big Dance” in March.

The Most Scrutinized Team: The Louisville Cardinals (10-0) – Some people are saying the Cardinals are the worst Top 5 team they have seen but the numbers show different. The have beaten Vanderbilt, Memphis and Butler but they have only played 1 game outside of the friendly confines of the YUM Center….that game was right up the road in Indianapolis.

The Most Scrutinized Conference: The PAC-12 – This conference does not boast ONE single team in the Top 25 in any poll at this point and that quite frankly is reason for concern. Stanford (10-1) and California (10-2) have the best records but when they have played a team of caliber, both have lost. The third best team at the moment is Oregon State………., yes I said Oregon State (9-2).

The Most Improved Player: Dion Waiters (Syracuse) – Waiters has gone from a guy that barely saw action last year to a star in the making. Waiters came out of high school highly acclaimed but then struggled to understand the offensive and defensive philosophies that Jim Boeheim teaches. Waiters even considered transferring this summer. But he seems to have a renewed spirit and dedication and he is one of the reasons the ‘Cuse are #1 right now.

The Conference Most Likely to Turn MMA: The Big East – Between the Georgetown Hoya’s brawl with the Chinese National team over the summer and the fight the Cincinnati Bearcats had with Xavier, the Big East referees must be fully prepared for anything once conference play begins. Factor in other physical teams like UCONN, PITT, Syracuse and Seton Hall, some of the conference games could resemble a match in the caged “Octagon”.

Conference With the Most to Prove: The SEC – Because John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have ruled the recruiting and the conference for two consecutive seasons, it has overshadowed nearly every other team. This season, Alabama, Florida, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are considered to be contenders to the throne but more importance will be placed on what they do in March.

The Best 5 Teams I Have Seen Up to This Point:

  • Syracuse Orangemen – This may be Boeheim’s best team since Carmelo Anthony was in the Orange.
  • Kentucky Wildcats – The Cats have tremendous talent at every position but one, at the point. While Teague is quick and explosive, he is not in the Caliber of former PGs, Wall and Knight so he will have some growing pains along the way.
  • North Carolina Tar Heels – The Heels are similar to UK in that they have talent all over the floor but Marshall must become a factor offensively if UNC wants to be a complete team.
  • Missouri Tigers – The Tigers are truly “high octane” at the highest level. They push the ball on offense and will even press you 94 ft. on defense.
  • Duke Blue Devils – The Blue-Devils have a good inside / outside combination that makes it hard to key on anyone facet of their game.
Dec 19

The Cats On the Chattanooga Win

Posted by: Ryan at 9:30 am | Leave a Comment (98)
Category: Basketball

 

Dec 10

Coach Cal “Proud of My Team” Following Heartbreaking Loss to IU

Posted by: Ryan at 10:37 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Basketball

Dec 4

Coach Cal After the Big Win Over UNC

Posted by: Ryan at 1:38 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Basketball

 

Dec 2

Darius Punching It Home

Posted by: Ryan at 9:09 am | Leave a Comment (16)
Category: Basketball