Daily Archives: January 14, 2013
Deandre Liggins got the start yesterday against Portland when Sefolosha was out due to a sore neck. This was Liggins first start in the NBA and he did not disappoint, with 11 points on 4-6 shooting, making 3-3 from behind the arc. He also added 9 rebounds along with 2 assists and a steal in 40 minutes of action. Pretty impressive.
Oklahoma City play again tonight in the second half of a back to back against the suns and with Sefolosha being a game time decision we could see Liggins get another start with a lot of minutes. OKC and the Phoenix Suns square off at 9PM EST tonight!
Go get’em Liggins! Represent for #BBN!
That look about sums it up.
Coming in to the season, it seemed almost unfathomable.
After 15 games the Cats are currently looking to be falling on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble.
After another #1 ranked recruiting class, incoming transfer Julius Mays, and returning Kyle Wiltjer, nobody would have imagined that UK would only be 10-5 and on the verge of an NIT birth.
But that is squarely where the Cats find themselves on 1/14.
Some may say the Cats are still safe, but looking at their resume, you’d have to argue they are not. Currently, the only win of any note was over Maryland, who lost to Miami last night and in the process failed to break 40 points. The only game that really points to maybe the Cats deserving a tournament win are two close losses to Duke and Louisville, one on a neutral floor and the other on the road at Louisville.
That’s right, UK’s most impressive outings of the year, were in losses.
Add that to two bad home losses to Baylor and Texas A&M, and the case to be made right now that Kentucky is a tournament team is really weak.
With that said though, there’s a lot of time to make up some ground.
UK still has games against Missouri, at Texas A&M, at Ole Miss, and a pair of games against Florida, to find a few good wins to swing in their favor before the end of the season. Take care of your home court, steal a few on the road, and you should be looking good.
The problem is that this current team can not take anything for granted. The hole they have dug themselves in means that the margin for error is virtually 0. There simply are not enough quality teams remaining on the schedule to drop a game at Auburn, or to lose a home game against really anybody.
The fact is, 11-7 in conference this year looks decent, but that would only take UK to 20-11 on the season. The fact that the SEC has such a poor perception around the country also really hampers the possibility of an 11-7 Kentucky team getting in to the tournament without a run in the SEC Tournament. Heck, it’s possible that a 12-6 Kentucky team that drops the first game in the SEC Tournament might not make it in to the NCAA Tournament.
So with that in mind, you see the urgency that is starting to creep in to the season. This team you’d have to say though, is too talented to be in this situation, and has too good of a coach for it to really happen. Eventually, this team will figure it out, but like Coach Cal said after the loss Saturday, you hope the light comes on in time for the end of the season.
Of course, they could win the SEC Tournament also and all of this worrying is null and void then.
There’s still time, but it’s running out.
Go Big Blue!
On Tuesday night, the Cats will be back in action, taking on the Volunteers of Tennessee., reigniting a 103 year rivalry.
The Cats lead the all-time series 148-66, and if they want any chance at making the NCAA Tournament this year, they’re going to need to make that 149-66.
Out of all those games though, I would have to say my favorite was the 54 point game that Jodie Meeks dropped his final year at UK down in Knoxville. To this day, I’ve never seen anything like it. That includes Elston Turner’s performance in Rupp on Saturday.
The Cats come in to the game following two back-to-back disappointing performances against Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. They were able to hold off Vanderbilt in the end, but Texas A&M, powered by 40 points scored by Elston Turner, was able to come in to Rupp and pull off the upset, 83-71.
Tennessee doesn’t enter the game playing much better. Tennessee comes in to Rupp riding a 3 game losing streak, including 2 SEC losses to Ole Miss and Alabama.
Despite Kentucky’s recent struggles, they still check in at #17 according to kenpom.com, which takes a look at Adjusted Offensive statistical categories as well as Adjusted Defensive statistical categories, adjusted for things like opponent, strength of schedule, and tempo. The Cats check in with the #32 Adjusted Offense and the #22 Adjusted Defense.
Conversely, the Volunteers come in ranked #92, #110 in Adjusted Offense and #101 in Adjusted Defense.
A similar ratings index done by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today, has the Cats checking in at #51, and the Tennessee Volunteers checking in at #80.
While Kentucky struggles to find an identity on Offense and Defense, Tennessee knows where it’s bread is buttered. Tennessee is a good defensive team, though they have struggled against some of the better teams they have played against. They primarily play man-to-man, and when effective, can be very effective. Earlier this season against Georgetown, they held the Hoyas to only 37 points, for the entire game! The bad thing is though, they lost the game. That’s not good.
Continuing the trend of not being very good offensively, the Volunteers enter the game only shooting 29% from beyond the 3-point line, and only average 65 points a game. It’s not a good thing to only have 3 players average double figures, and your leading scorer only averaged 13 a game.
It is worth nothing though that one of Tennessee’s best players, Jeronne Maymon, suffered an injury in the off-season that has sidelined him the entire year. This may be a very different UT team if he were able to play.
If you only looked at Kentucky through statistical categories, you’d think they were head and shoulders better than most of the SEC. They enter the game with 5 players averaging double figures, with Archie Goodwin leading the way with 15 a game. Kentucky is ranked in the top 40 in the nation in rebounds per game, field goal percentage, points per game, and assists per game. UK also shoots 35.5% from beyond the 3-point line. All that said, they’re still only 10-5 and have really been struggling lately on putting away teams.
Both teams feature exceptional big men as well. Both Jarnell Stokes and Nerlens Noel are projected First Round picks. The match up will certainly be one to watch as you have the strength of Stokes going against the shot-blocking ability of Nerlens Noel. Should be fun.
The game starts at 7:00 EST, and will be broadcast on ESPN.