Archive for February, 2010

Florida loses, officially gives Kentucky 1st round bye

February 28, 2010 3:00 pm

With Florida’s loss last night in Athens, Kentucky has officially locked up a first round bye in the SEC Tournament in Nashville starting next Thursday. With one more win or one more Vanderbilt loss, Kentucky will clinch the 1 seed out of the Eastern Division.

#2 Kentucky-65 #19 Tennessee-74

February 27, 2010 5:04 pm

In a game filled with big runs, Tennesse had the last one, scoring the games final 9 points to pull away from Kentucky handing the Cats their 2nd loss on the season. The first half of this game featured a Kentucky defense that hasn’t looked this bad since the Sam Houston State game earlier this season. Tennessee used back door and low post screens at ease in the first half, and combined with some atrocious Kentucky shooting pulled out to a big lead. This team has shown these characteristics in the past. But they haven’t shot bad on a night where they didn’t defend well and vice versa. But the perfect storm hit today in Knoxville against a quality opponent and for the 2nd time this season Kentucky puts another check in the loss column. A few notes.

– John Wall was a man today. He struggled shooting in the 1st half  and ended up with 5 turnovers, but when he wants to, he can take over a game. There is no way anyone can convince me that John Wall is not the best player in the country. When Kentucky fell behind by 19, he willed this team back into the game by getting to the rim in both the transition and half court games.

– DeMarcus Cousins had a decent game. 15 points and 14 boards is his 18th double-double this season. He passed Rex Chapman to become the leading scorer for a freshman at UK. The one thing I noticed is that this was the first game that Cousins matched up against someone who may be a bit bigger than him. Brian Williams did a good job slowing the big man down for much of the first half.  If these teams meet again, Cousins needs to do a better job getting postion against Williams for Kentucky to have more success.

I liked the fight I saw in this team to come back from 19 points down and have a shot at the win. In the end it wasn’t enough as they dug to big of a hole to climb out of. Kentucky is still in good position for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will have to wait till Wednesday for their next shot to clinch a share of the SEC Regular Season Championship. GO CATS!!!

And one final note. We have been very fortuante to win as many games as we have this season. With that said, I’m glad to report that when Kentucky wins, we don’t celebrate like J.P. Prince and Brian Williams did in the picture above.

The Tennessee Volunteers 12:00 EST CBS

February 26, 2010 12:00 pm

 

Kentucky heads to Knoxville tomorrow with a lot to play for. Forget the fact that this is the hated Vols, Kentucky can clinch a share of the SEC Championship for the 44th time and the first time since 2005. Not only that but a win will also lock the Cats into the #1 seed of the SEC Tournament. The Vols have struggled as of recent and continue their slide. They still are a lock for the NCAA Tournament but if they continue to play like they did Tuesday night in Gainesville they won’t be to happy with their seeding. Florida rocked Tennessee by 13 Tuesday, but it wasn’t even that close. The one advantage Tennessee will have though is rest. Tennessee hasn’t played since Tuesday while Kentucky will be taking the floor less than 36 hours after playing South Carolina. A look at the Vols to keep an eye on.

#4 Wayne Chism- The 6′9 senior from Jackson, TN is playing in what seems like his 15th season in Knoxville. Chism has been the glue that has held this team together through a very difficult season. Tied for the team lead in points a game at 13.1, Chism can beat you with his back to the basket, putting the ball on the floor, or knocking down the big 3. He seems to make his 3’s at the pivotal moments of games. Finding Chism in transition will also be important for whomever draws the defensive assignment tomorrow night. If its DeMarcus Cousins, its going to be out of his comfort zone to defend the perimeter but it must be done against Chism. The injuries seem to mounting for Chism, as he fouled out Tuesday in Gainesville, he seemed to collapse in pain in the tunnel heading into the locker room. His availability will be in question and Tennessee needs Chism if they want to pick up the W.

#32 Scotty Hopson- Considered by many to be a one-and-done type player coming out of high school, Hopson has proved the scouts wrong by returning for his sophomore season. Hopson does have NBA talent and will find himself playing at the next level one day, but it was not going to be after his freshman season, and if he’s smart, it won’t be after his sophomore season either. Hopson is a great scorer with many different ways in which he can score. He is a great penatrator and a great shooter. Constant pressure on and off the ball will be needed to slow him down. I anticipate John Wall getting the defensive call against Hopson.

#3 Bobby Maze- In his second and final season in Knoxville after transfering from Hutchinson Community College. Maze was heavily recruited by Billy Gillispie while at Kentucky before eventually choosing the Vols over the Cats. He does a great job managing the pace of the game for Tennessee. When they need to push he does and when they need to back it down and play a half court game he can do that effectivly too. Maze is very athletic and his matchup against either Eric Bledsoe or Wall will be one to keep an eye on.

Many considered this to be a loss before the season started, but on paper this game shouldn’t be to close. This is a rivalry game however, and I expect Tennessee to bring the best of whatever injuries and arrests have left them to play with. The Thompson Boling Arena will be amped up and Kentucky will have yet another hostile enviornment to play in.

Prediction: Kentucky by 6

LOSS AVENGED!!!

February 26, 2010 7:18 am

Kentucky put it on South Carolina tonight 31 days after the Gamecocks handed the Cats their only loss on the season. Once again, Kentucky allowed an inferior opponent to hang around, but this time a 15-2 run to end the game allowed Kentucky to cruise comfortably to win number 27. A few quick notes.

– John Wall passed Dwight Anderson for the freshman free throw recording converting on his 133rd free throw this season. It was another solid, not great performance out of Wall. He struggled shooting tonight and turned it over 6 times, but had the Kentucky offense operating efficiently. We’re going to need a little more from #11 on Saturday.

– Patrick Patterson, man has this guy played big as of late. Maybe Pat was just saving himself for the end of February and March, but whatever it is Patterson is back. Pat was 10-12 from the floor as well as 1-1 from the 3-point line and converted on his only freethrow giving him 23 points to go with 8 boards. Coach Calipari hinted on his post game show that if Patrick plays like this, it’s going to be tough to beat this team. I agree. Patterson also passed Joe Crawford tonight to move to #19 on the all-time scoring list at UK.

– Another double-double tonight for the big man. DeMarcus Cousins recorded his 17th double-double with 19 points and 11 boards. Boogie was playing sick tonight, Coach Cal mentioned it might be a flu bug or something. Hopefully Cousins can get to feeling better for Saturday’s slugfest.

– Daniel Orton and DeAndre Liggins both gave solid minutes off the bench for Kentucky. Play like that is going to be needed for this team to reach their post season goals.

Kentucky got the revenge on South Carolina that they had been wanting. Now all attention turns to Knoxville as a lot will be on the line Saturday in terms of SEC Tournament seeding as well as a share of SEC Championship. Check back later today and we’ll get you set for Saturday’s high noon tip.

#2 Kentucky-82 South Carolina-61

February 25, 2010 10:58 pm

Kentucky improves to 27-1 (12-1) on the season and in the process finally beat South Carolina. I’m pretty tired so I’ll have a full recap tomorrow. GO BIG BLUE!!!

The South Carolina Gamecocks 9:00 EST ESPN2

February 24, 2010 2:39 pm

When the schedule comes out each season there are certain games that draw your attention. This year, those games included 12/5 vs UNC, 12/9 vs UConn, 1/2 vs Louisville, and 2/13 vs Tennessee. But when Kentucky went down to Columbia earlier in the season, they returned home with a new game to circle on the calender. Darrin Horn brings his South Carolina Gamecocks to Lexington for the second time during his tenure in Columbia. Last season the Gamecocks walked out of Rupp Arena with a 78-77 win. Add in another loss to South Carolina late last season and it was time for some revenge. Fast foward to January 26, 2010 and for the first time since 2003, Kentucky had returned to the top of the college basketball mountain. But just like he did in the previous 2 meetings, Devan Downey came up with an amazing performance and sent Kentucky home with their 1st loss of the  year. Since that game, South Carolina has been in a bit of a tailspin, losers of 4 of  6 including their last 3 in a row. Carolina will enter Rupp with a 14-12 (5-7) record. The Gamecocks have struggled mightily on the road this season only picking up 1 win and that was at a struggling Auburn. Here are a few Cocks to watch out for.

#2 Devan Downey- Yes South Carolina has other players, but it seems like every time the Cats lace it up against the Gamecocks as of late, Devan Downey does something ridiculous to give the Gamecocks a win. My focus all night Thursday will be on Downey to see who Coach Calipari uses to defend him, and will his crazy shots that he shoots from Nicholasville bank off the video screen in Rupp Arena go in. Even though his play against Kentucky has been spectacular, Downey is a great player even when he’s not playing UK. He leads his team in scoring and assists at 22.7 and 3.5 per contest. He’s also not shy about getting his shots up as evident by the 19 shots per game this season that he has attempted. Slowing down Downey will be imperative to a Kentucky win, and if they do they should cruise to an easy victory. Downey can score though and is capable of big games as he has shown 6 times this year with 30+ point performances.

#5 Brandis Raley-Ross- Even with everything that Downey brings to the table, he still needs a little help from some of his teammates. Brandis Raley-Ross is the most consistent Gamecock outside of Downey and they will need some offensive production from the 6’2 senior if they plan on another upset. Raley-Ross is a solid shooter, and with Downey’s dribble penetration, usually finds himself open on kick-outs from Downey. Whoever draws Raley-Ross must be sure to help on Downey’s penetration, and then immediately close out on Raley-Ross to prevent him from killing us with the long ball.

#44 Sam Muldrow- Leading the team in rebounds at 6.5 per game, Sam Muldrow is what South Carolina would consider their post pressence. He stands at only 6’9 and usually floats along the baseline sometimes finds himself out on the perimeter. Without having your typical post player, South Carolina is forced into running this hybrid offense and one that usually doesn’t give their bigs a chance to bang down low. Muldrow did however record 11 boards in the first meeting  between the Cats and the Cocks and they will need rebounding number like that out of him again if Carolina is going to escape with a win.

Kentucky has advantages all across the board in this one, but this is the only team all season that has figured out how to beat the Cats. DeMarcus Cousins was a force in round 1 between these two teams, and based on South Carolina’s frontcourt, I expect the same out of the one the call “Boogie”. Patrick Patterson has shown he’s still the same Pat these past 2 games and it will be interesting to see if he continues to take these positvie steps forward. I think this is where South Carolina’s 3 game winning streak over Kentucky ends.

Prediction- Cats by 23

I was apart of a one man wolfpack…

February 22, 2010 5:42 pm

But today that wolfpack doubles in size. Big Blue Sports Online is glad to have John Seravalli join as a contributor to the site. John is very insightful when dealing with basketball and football and will be nothing but an asset. This site has been fully devoted to University of Kentucy athletics and will remain that way, but with the addition of Mr. Seravalli we hope to branch out a little with a few other sports related tidbits. Later this evening John will bring you an update of all of our former Cats who find themselves on NBA rosters.

UK Recruiting-Part II

February 22, 2010 6:02 am

Kentucky will have a total of 3 guranteed, and up to 7 scholarships available this offseason to hand out, meaning there is still a long way to go in finishing this class. There have been people worried by the lack of commitments this late in the season but I am very confident that our 2010 class will end up in the top15 final rankings and that the possiblity is still there that this class could easliy end up a top 5 class. As of today, here are the top targets that the UK coaching staff is pursing. (The number associated with the player is where they are ranked nationally by rivals.com)

#14 C.J. Leslie/#4 Power Forward/6’7 205 lbs/Word of God Christian Academy/Raleigh, NC- In recruiting no one person can say they are 100% certain where a 17 year old kid will decide to play college ball. It is impossible to predict what will be the main factors that go into the decision. With that being said, if I had to bet which player I thought was most likely to end up in Lexington next season it would be C.J. Leslie. Leslie is a long athletic player who can play both down low and on the wing. His list of schools is a long one, but one has to assume that based on recent activities and comments it’s between Kentucky, North Carolina State, and Florida. Leslie has been in attendence at a number of NC State games over the past few weeks making many around the bluegrass nervous about his feelings towards UK. There is no doubt that Leslie is interested in NC State and also has a few friends on the current Wolfpack team, but with NC State’s recent struggles as well as a potential coaching change at the end of the season, committing to the Wolfpack is not the most likely of situations for Leslie. Florida has been involved with Leslie from the begining, and to be perfectly honest I know Leslie has an interest in the Gators, but it’s tough to guage exactly how strong that feeling is. With all that said, Leslie’s comments back in December where he reffered to already “feeling apart of the Big Blue Nation” has to make Kentucky the leader for his services. His friend John Wall has been in his ear telling him what a great time he is having playing for Coach Calipari and letting him know what life as a UK Basketball player is like. I would be shocked if Leslie didn’t end up at UK next season.

Chances Leslie ends up in Lexington: 90%

#21 Doron Lamb/#3 Shooting Guard/6’4 175lbs/Oak Hill Academy/Laurelton, NY- One of the recruitments thats been hard to try and figure out has been Doron Lamb’s. He’s a good atheltic player with a silky smooth shot and would really force a defense to defend him past the 3-point line. He just cut his list of schools to four which include, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, and UConn. As I stated in my Brandon Knight report, I see a log jam in Kansas at the guard position next season, making a commitment to Kansas unlikely. At the same time, Kentucky, depending on what Eric Bledsoe, Josh Selby, and Knight decide to do may have a log jam themselves making UConn and Arizona the two best options for Lamb. Again, its tough to get a read out of the Lamb Camp, but I would put Arizona and UConn as the current leaders. Keep in mind though, Coach Cal wants Doron Lamb, and what Coach Cal wants, he usually gets.

Chances Lamb ends up in Lexington: 25%

#27 Stacey Poole, Jr/#4 Small Forward/6’5 200lbs/Providence School/Jacksonville, FL- Stacey Poole currently sits alone as the only player to have pulled the trigger and committed to Kentucky. He has a great basketball pedigree as his father, Stacey Poole, is the 4th leading scorer of all time at some school down in Gainesville. Coach Calipari had this to say about signing Poole, Jr. “Stacey Poole is in the line of players that we’ve signed in the past who have a skill set and the work ethic to play in our system. He’s a slasher who can play multiple positions and a defender that is capable of shutting down people. Stacey really wanted to play for us and we’re glad to have him as a part of the UK family.” Sounds good to me.

We’ll have a few more updates on recruiting targets next week, but it’s safe to say that all 6 of these players are option one for the UK Staff. As they decided where to go there will be new additions to the list but this is how it stands as of now. If you missed part one of the recruiting profiles, scroll down just a bit to get caught up. Check back tomorrow as we will check up on former Cats in the NBA, and on Wednesday we’ll get you set for the rematch with the Cocks. GO BIG BLUE!!!

#2 Kentucky-58 #17 Vanderbilt-56

February 21, 2010 1:33 am

Kentucky improved to 26-1 (11-1) on Saturday night in Nashville, but as anticipated, it wasn’t easy. In a game in where both teams struggled mightily to put the ball in the basket, John Wall and Patrick Patterson stepped up in the final minutes to carry Kentucky to yet another win. Both teams were getting after it on the defensive end resulting in a combined 5 of 36 shooting from behind the arc. At the end though, and for the second time this week, these young Cats were able to pick up a win on the road after trailing in the final minutes. A few notes…

-John Wall didn’t fill up the stat sheet like he normally does, but at the end of the season if Wall ends up winning player of the year award, this may be the game many people point to as the one that won it for him. After struggling all game, Wall took the ball to the rim with :40 seconds remaining and broke a tie game to give Kentucky the lead for good. He may disappear for stretches during games as teams focus on him, but when the game is on the line, #11 gets the ball in his hands and knows what to do.

-Patrick Patterson backed his performance Tuesday night with another double-double tonight. Pat had 13 points to go along with 13 boards as well as another critical baseline jumper, and tonight it was from behind the 3-point line. Its good to see Patterson getting involved on the offensive end and on the glass. He still is the same player he’s been the last few seasons, he is just getting adjusted to a little different role and has the aide of a much better supporting cast.

-DeMarcus Cousins solid night again on the offensive side of the ball, but foul trouble limited his minutes in the 2nd half. Cousins did manage to finsish the game without fouling out. One game after looking so well passing the ball out of the post, Cousins followed up with a 5 turnover outing. Most of his turnovers came on double downs that apperaed to surprise him resulting in a turnover.

Great win for the Cats tonight. I had picked against them for the 1st time this season and I’m glad they proved me wrong. Still plenty of room for Kentucky to get better, but had you told me at 6:00 Saturday that Kentucky would shoot 35% and 18% from the 3 point line to go along with a -8 rebound margin I would have thought we lost by double digits. But they scrapped and got the win. Kentucky is now 2 wins away from clinching the #1 seed from the Eastern Division for the SEC Tournament and at least a share of the SEC regular season championship. Tomorrow I will have part 2 of my recruiting update as the Cats will have a few days off untill we get our revenge on Thursday night.

Jordan Brand Classic Roster Announced

February 19, 2010 4:49 pm

The annual Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Game announced their roster yesterday and 4 Kentucky recruits found their way onto the 20 man roster. Those recruits include Brandon Knight, Josh Selby, Terrence Jones, and C.J. Leslie. You can find out where Kentucky stands with a few of those players below and next week we’ll update you on the others. The game is set to tip at 8:00 on April17th at Madison Square Garden.