Daily Archives: January 11, 2013
Tommy Mainord, Wide Receiver’s coach for Texas Tech last year, has been added as the final assistant coach at Kentucky.
Mainord coached Wide Receivers for the last 3 years under Neal Brown, putting up some huge numbers in the process.
Mainord also coached at Lamar, Sam Houston State, and Tarleton State (his alma mater).
Welcome Coach Mainord to the staff!
Go Big Blue!
Lovell is a 3* Defensive Tackle out of Ohio who held offers from Ohio and West Virginia. He can actually play both offensive and defensive tackles.
He’s the first commit out of this band of players that are on campus this week.
More to come!
Tomorrow afternoon, the 11-3 Texas A&M Aggies travel from College Station up to the Bluegrass State to take on our beloved Wildcats. Both teams enter the game 1-0 in conference, A&M having picked up a win at home over Arkansas on Wednesday night, while the Cats eeked out a road win against Vanderbilt last night.
Historically, the teams have only met 3 times over the history of both programs, with UK holding a 2-1 edge. The last time the two teams played in Rupp Arena was the year after UK had won the national championship in 1978. That year, the Aggies (who were ranked #17 at the time), came in to Rupp and beat the Cats, 73-69. The Cats were led in scoring by Kyle Macy who had 15.
The teams also have a common bond in that both were coached by Billy Gillispie. What’s that? Oh right, moving on…
Texas A&M has no real wins of significance other than their win over Arkansas. The Aggies lost to Oklahoma at home, who lost to Gonzaga by 25 points. Not a good look, Aggies.
Still, Kentucky hasn’t done much more, losing every significant game it has played outside of the season opener against Maryland. The Cats current tournament resume features that win, a road win at Vanderbilt, and close losses to Duke and Louisville. Not exactly the best paper resume.
So, what to expect tomorrow afternoon?
Texas A&M enters the game with an RPI of 51, while Kentucky sits at 67. That said, perhaps some better indicators of how the match up should go. According to Jeff Sagarin’s ratings, Kentucky sits as the #30 team in the country, while Texas A&M comes in at 78. Ken Pomeroy’s rankings currently have Kentucky sitting at #11 in the country, with an Adjusted Offensive score of 35th, and an Adjusted Defensive score of 4th. Texas A&M on the other hand, comes in at 108th in the country, with an Adjusted Offensive score of 106th, and Adjusted Defensive score of 131st.
All of that information combined should point to a UK victory on Saturday. Texas A&M also struggles in the rebounding department, ranking 198th in total rebounding. UK actually ranks 34th in the nation, but if you were watching the game yesterday, you wouldn’t know it.
Elston Turner is by far the best player that Texas A&M has, and UK has consistently struggled with guards this year. Turner is the complete package at guard. He can pass, he can shoot, he can drive by you, and he can defend. Expect Alex to have to guard him, but expect a lot of helping out on Defense, with Elston enjoying a quickness advantage over Poythress. Outside of Turner however, Texas A&M has two other players who shoot better than 35% from the 3-point line, Fabyon Harris (43%) and J’Mychal Reese (37%). Kentucky will most likely try and force those guys to beat UK. Turner comes in to the game averaging 15.5 ppg.
Kentucky will enjoy a pretty sizable height advantage at nearly every position on the floor. The Aggies start 2 players who are 6’9, but both of them will be playing against Willie Cauley-Stein and Nerlens Noel, who both stand 6’11 or taller. Elston essentially plays the Small Forward position at 6’5.
The key emphasis tomorrow will be what does Kentucky do tomorrow to try and hide Kyle Wiltjer when he’s on defense? One thing I think you’ll see tomorrow that was different then last night will be Kyle not switching on ball screens. I think you’ll see him hedge a lot more, that is, to try and force the defender to go back around the screen, or to have to come further out to get around Kyle. This way, he can stay connected to his man, and allow the defender a chance to get back to his man from around the screen. I think that’s the only way around it, you can’t let Turner take it to the hoop with just Wiltjer guarding him, or it will be a long day for Kentucky.
Expect UK to win by about 10-12 points, possibly more if 3′s are dropping. Final score prediction: UK 76, Texas A&M 65.
Go Big Blue!
This season has been weird. After losing to Louisville by 3, everyone was positive. After beating Vandy by 2 last night, everyone is negative. That has to be a first.
One positive from the game though, was the impressive stat line once again from Ryan Harrow. Harrow had 16 points, 4 assist, and 4 rebounds. He played very well once again and showed that he is here to stay.
A negative stat line from the game, was Kyle Wiltjers stat line. Kyle was awful; he had 2 points (1-7), 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 turnover in 14 minutes of play. When Kyle isn’t hitting shots, it is nearly imposable to play him because of his lack defensive abilities.
The bottom line is, Kentucky let a awful Vanderbilt team come back and gave them an opportunity to win the game.
As Cal would say this team doesn’t have a “will to win” yet. Hopefully they can develop it before it is too late.
We are 25 days (apparently we were a day off before) away from national football signing day, and our Cats are playing host to maybe the most impressive groups of recruits ever on campus; for football of course.
Here’s a list of visitors we know for sure are on campus today:
4* QB, Asiantii Woulard, Winter Park, Florida. Currently uncommitted. (Commitment Watch)
4* WR, Ra’Shaad Samples, Skyline High, Texas. Committed to Oklahoma State.
4* DE, Jason Hatcher, Trinity HS, Kentucky. Committed to USC.
4* CB Jaleel Hytchye, La Salle HS, Ohio. Committed to UK.
4* RB Mikel Horton, Lakota West High. Class of 2014. Uncommitted.
4* QB Drew Barker, Conner High School. Class of 2014. Uncommitted.
3* RB JoJo Kemp, Deland High School, Florida. Uncommitted.
3* RB Aregeros Turner, Copley High, Ohio. Uncommitted.
3* DE Alvonte Bell, Everglades High, Florida. Committed to UK.
3* CB Blake McClain, Winter Park, Florida. Committed to UK.
3* OT Kyle Meadows, Lakota West High, Ohio. Uncommitted.
3* DT Lovell Peterson, Huber Heights, Ohio. Uncommitted. (Commitment Watch)
3* DE Antoine Miles, McKinley High, Ohio. Uncommitted. (Commitment Watch)
3* DB Boaz Joseph, Cypress Bay High, Florida. Uncommited.
3* JUCO WR Javess Blue, Butler County CC. Uncommitted.
3* WR Alexander Montgomery, Cypress Bay High, Florida. Uncommitted.
NR ATH Jaranta Lewis, Cypress Bay High, Florida. Uncommitted
Don’t be surprised if a few people sneak in that we were not expecting. Some of these guys we are putting on Commitment Watch for the weekend, and will be following the news throughout the weekend.
Reportedly today, Keith Kelsey Jr. of Gainesville, Florida was offered a scholarship by UK today. Keith is a 3* MLB with offers from South Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Purdue and Iowa State, among others. It is unclear if he will visit any time soon, however.
We will have a follow up post on Monday following all of these player’s visits.
Go Big Blue!
It’s never easy….
There are two general rules at player here, that I think absolutely apply to the game that just happened.
1) My Dad has always told me that you never take a win over Vanderbilt in Memorial for granted. That place is just hard to play in and has been a house of horrors for UK over the years. Believe it or not, better UK teams have gone in to Nashville against potentially worse Vanderbilt teams, and lost. It just happens.
2) The start of conference play is always wacky. Teams who performed poorly out of conference all of a sudden see an opportunity to start anew, a fresh start if you will. It’s kind of like opening day in baseball, you’re going to see some surprising performances. In the ’07-’08 season, UK entered conference play 6-7, and their first game was against a top-15 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores. What happened? UK won, and started a run to a 12-4 conference slate that snuck them in to the NCAA Tournament. (Not to mention, North Carolina lost at home to Miami, who had suspended one of their starters for the game. Yep.) The beginning of conference play for bad teams is like starting over with a clean slate.
With those things all in mind, it was surprising to a degree to see the total domination that UK played with for 25 minutes, despite a slight lack in effort. For the first half and the beginning the second half, UK didn’t have much energy to match from Vanderbilt. Vandy missed open shots, left UK players open for easy shots, and generally didn’t make things difficult for UK.
So what happened?
UK got complacent. Vanderbilt switched defenses, got a few stops, and started making shots. Then panic set in for a bit for Kentucky and before you knew it, Kentucky found itself trailing in the game.
It’s certainly fair to point out just how bad Vanderbilt has been so far this year. 6-6 with some really bad losses to teams like Marist and a blowout loss to Oregon is certainly disappointing. Still, Vanderbilt entered the game going 4-2 over their last 6 games, and that includes a win over Xavier, a loss to a ranked Butler team, and a tough loss to Middle Tennessee State who is easily the best team in the Sun Belt, from the looks of it. Things aren’t all bad for Vanderbilt right now, and I predict they will win more SEC games than they won non-conference games, and will make today’s game look not as bad when everything is said and done. It’s also worth noting that Daj-Jon Parker, who was huge off the bench today, was suspended for most of their early games.
The major problem for Kentucky today was complacency. There was a point in the second half where you could tell UK had turned it off to a degree. Vanderbilt looked like they were on fumes and had no answers for UK. Then, a couple of shots went in for Vandy that weren’t falling in the first half and things changed. Vandy sunk in to a zone, and Kentucky forced some bad shots to try and end the run that Vandy was on, that actually helped Vandy get back in the game.
There were still positives to take from the game. Ryan Harrow continues to play well. He struggled a little down the stretch, but you have to wonder how much his injury played in to that. Willie Cauley-Stein continues to play well, though he looked out of place on defense a few times today. Of course Nerlens Noel continues to be his normal awesome self as well. It should be noted also that UK won despite only making 3-17 from the 3-point line.
There was a lot of fools gold out there for teams scouting UK. Yes, we struggled against the zone, but that doesn’t mean zoning UK is going to lead to success from you. Vandy played no zone in the first half and UK got used to playing against man-to-man. For most of the season, everyone has zoned us. You can’t expect UK to hit only 17% from beyond the arc every game, UK has too many decent shooters.
Ryan Harrow led the scoring today with 16. Nerlens Noel added 13 and Goodwin dropped 12. Willie Cauley-Stein led the team in rebounding with 8.
The good news for UK is that you have a game against a top 50 rpi team, Texas A&M, at home on Saturday. A quick turnaround for a quick opportunity to wipe that bad taste out of your mouth.
Ky Cat Stats player of the game is Ryan Harrow who had 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal.
The beat goes on…
Go Big Blue!