Sorry I have been absent the past few days life has been a little busy. Coming tomorrow I will give a full and long update on my opinion of the state of UK basketball and how that I think it is at a low point, but how also I feel that all hope is not lost. The loss to SC was very very very bad, but this thing can be turned around and all that can start tomorrow with a huge win over LSU. This will easily be the biggest game of the year for the Cats as a win could propel them to a tournament. I have no idea what team will show up tomorrow and will not even dare take a guess as I thought the Cats would play their best game of the year in Columbia. The only thing I can say is do not give hope and keep cheering for these kids and the coach.
Darius Miller went for a career high 17 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting from the floor, his effort plus the return of Patrick Patterson led Kentucky to a 77-58 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.
In the previous meeting Jodie Meeks went for a school record 54 points in a 18 point rout of Tennessee, but this time was held to just 14 points. While Tennessee did a great job from keeping Jodie from scoring he still played very well as they continually put pressure on Jodie often times leaving someone else wide open for the shot. Even when he is not scoring 40+ points he proves how valuable of a player he really is. He demands so much attention that if Porter, Miller, Harris, and Stevenson can continue hitting open shots than this team can be go from average to very good.
This game was won the minute Patrick Patterson walked onto the floor. He had a team high 19 points and along with Jodie Meeks commanded so much attention from the UT defense that it often left wide open shots for everyone else. He played not only well on the offensive end of the floor, but the defensive end as well by altering shots and not allowing points in the paint. For Kentucky to be able to win and make a run in the tournament Patterson must stay healthy and out of foul trouble as without him Kentucky will struggle to win games.
The main story however has to be the emergence of Darius Miller. He had a career high 17 points and was perfect from the field while also dishing out 6 assists and playing solid defense. This is the player everyone had been waiting all year to see and on Saturday he delivered. Earlier in the year he looked very timid and would often pass up open shots, but that was not the case on Saturday, he played with confidence and looked like the new third scorer that the Cats have been so desperately looking for and needing.
Michael Porter had a very solid game hitting 3 three balls. Perry Stevenson early on hit some open shots which forced UT to pay attention to him all game instead of backing off and using his man to shadow Patterson. When UK can get the likes of Harris, Stevenson, Liggins, Porter, and Galloway to hit open shots they become a much different and much better team that is very hard to defend. Hitting the open shots forces the defense to key in on these players and therefore allows Jodie and Patterson to get better looks throughout the game.
It was a great game by the Cats with only one negative that I saw in the game. Kentucky allowed way to many offensive rebounds and second chance points. If Kentucky had boxed out and cut their offensive rebounds in half it would have been a 30 point win. While it did not harm the Cats on Saturday 5-6 extra offensive boards and 10-12 extra second chance points in the tournament could be the difference between advancing to the next round and going home early.
UK heads to South Carolina on Wednesday and I will have a full update on the game coming Thursday with a couple posts coming before that.
Just dropping by for a quick update and will have a full post up either later tonight or tomorrow.
I will update on the big win over Tennessee, how Jodie Meeks only scored 14 points yesterday, but how the team is better when he doesn’t have to score 40 points, the coming out party for Darius Miller, and Patrick Patterson the most important player on the team.
For the fourth straight year Kentucky has traveled to Nashville at a crucial point in the season and lost. Last year they suffered one of the worst losses in school history and while last nights game was not as bad it hurts just as much. This loss firmly places UK on the bubble for the tournament with home games against Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia and road contests at South Carolina and Florida. 4 of those 5 games will be basically come down to who wants the game more and who comes in better prepared.
Playing without Patrick Patterson for the second straight game Vanderbilt continually went inside to their big man A.J. Ogilvy and was seemingly fouled every time he touched the ball. There were many reasons as to why UK lost and one of them definitely has to be the foul situation. While I really never believe in calling out the refs for deciding a game last night’s game was as poorly officiated a game as I have seen in a long time. Vanderbilt shot 40 free throws to our 23 which is just absurd. My main problem with the refs last night came with the amount of off ball fouls that were called and all seemed to go against UK. I can remember quite a few situations when there was a foul called and it was basically a ghost foul. Vandy for the most part was allowed to do what they want whereas Kentucky could not do anything for fear of a foul called. To Vandy’s credit they made the most of their opportunities hitting 32 of 40 free throws and playing their game completely to our weaknesses without Patterson in the middle.
Jodie Meeks had a less than spectacular 26 point night as Vandy did an excellent job of face guarding him and not letting him get many good looks at the bucket. They also did an excellent job of recognizing when a screen was being set for him and either fighting through it or switching men to not allow him an open shot.
A.J. Stewart played great on one end of the floor and awful on the other. He had 11 points and 3 rebounds, but played pretty bad defense and picked up 5 fouls in just 12 minutes of playing time. Most of the fouls can be attributed to the fact that he was out of place on defense quite a few times down the floor.
Kevin Galloway and Darius Miller both had good games on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Adding 16 points between them and playing solid defense. Josh Harrelson started the game and scored a quick bucket on a nice assist from Galloway only to never really see the floor again. He played only 7 minutes in a game that one really would have expected him to have played a lot as a counter to the physical Ogilvy, but never really got the chance to play much.
Ashley Judd UK’s superfan was as the game last night and again UK losses with her in attendance, maybe it is just me, but the last 3 games I can remember her being at we have lost so Ashley maybe it is better that you just watch the game from the comfort of your living room.
There is no time to dwell as the hated Pumpkins from Tennessee invade Rupp on Saturday. I will have more on the upcoming game this week. And remember one thing no matter how bad things can be it could be worse, you could be a Tennessee fan
ESPN.com has posted their new bracketology and they have given the Cats what seems to me a very favorable draw. They have the Cats as a 10 seed playing Butler in the first round, a victory gets a match-up with 2 seed Michigan St, with Gonzaga, Miami, and Kansas waiting if the Cats could somehow get to the second weekend. Obviously this is just speculation as anything could happen in the next 3-4 weeks, but if the tournament started this week and we were able to have a draw like this I would feel very good about our chances to reach the sweet sixteen and even the elite 8. I also like the draw of being able to play the first round in Dayton as UK fans would come in droves as Dayton would only be a 2 hour drive from Lexington.
Jodie Meeks was named SEC player of the week after 2 monster performances against Florida and Arkansas. Kentucky will need another big week out of Jodie as they travel to Vanderbilt on Tuesday and come home to play Tennessee on Saturday both of which will have huge implications in the SEC East race.
Also coming this week I will begin my countdown to spring practices with breakdowns of all 12 SEC teams, beginning with Alabama.
That is all for now, have a great President’s day and I will talk to you all later
Playing without Patrick Patterson one had to wonder how the Wildcats would respond without one of their star players, well question answered. Jodie Meeks had another huge game surpassing the 40 point mark for the third time this year with a 45 point game as he had his way with the Arkansas defense all day leading the Wildcats to a 79-63 win over the Razorbacks.
The Cats were again helped out with good games from Michael Porter, Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, and Darius Miller who had 8 points and looked very good throughout the game and even played good defense today which had been a key reason probably to why he had not seen the floor much this year. Porter hit some shots early on which is not only huge for his confidence, but also very important as this will force teams to respect his shot and can lead to much easier looks for Meeks and Patterson. Harris played one of his better games of the year pouring in 7 points, 6 assists, and 9 rebounds, but most importantly continued to play spectacular defense.
One has to wonder about Gillispie’s decision to almost completely keep Kevin Galloway off the floor after his great game against Florida. In no way am I questioning the coach, but one has to wonder why this kid is not seeing the floor, it could be something happening in practice something that no one but the coaches and players see.
In what could have been a major trap game today the Cats came out and played a very good game as they look to bolster their seeding come March. A big game comes Tuesday night as Kentucky heads to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. I am sure all the players and fans remember the beatdown that occurred in Nashville last year and definitely believe that will serve as motivation come Tuesday night.
Hope everyone had a great Valentines Day and I will talk to you all tomorrow
Not only is tomorrow Valentine’s Day and a day to celebrate with the ones you love, but tomorrow is also a day that makes me smile from ear to ear. Tomorrow pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. This always gives me hope that maybe just maybe this is the year for my beloved Cincinnati Reds, maybe the youngsters will play like veterans, maybe our bullpen will not blow leads, and maybe just maybe the Reds can get back to the playoffs for the first time since 1995 when I was only 8.
The Reds to me seem like a team that will be under the radar all year long. 4 quality starting pitchers in Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Edison Volquez, and Johnny Cueto. Young starts in Joey Votto and Jay Bruce leaves me with a sense of hope for the year to come.
For the Reds to be competitors this year they needed to add a left handed pitcher, and a powerful right handed bat neither of which have happened. The addition of Willy Tavares is a questionable one at that as he brings speed and defense to the outfield, but no power whatsoever. His base stealing ability also might have been a flash in the pan last year as his career high 68 stolen bases were more than double his previous career high. His stolen bases might have gone way up last year, but he hit a career worse .251 and had an obp of only .308 which is the exact opposite of what is needed from a leadoff hitter.
Throughout the off season we heard GM Walt Jocketty talk about the need to trade for a right handed bat, but as we sit here the day before Spring Training begins nothing has happened. There were plenty that would have been available including Xavier Nady, Jermaine Dye, and Nick Swisher all with the right package could have been in a Reds uniform, but Jocketty never pulled the trigger and instead left a void in the Reds lineup.
No matter what happens this year nothing beats sitting at a Major League park on a perfect summer night watching America’s past time.
I will have another post tomorrow after the UK/Arkansas game breaking down what I saw. Until than have a great Friday night