Kentucky Basketball Must Hit A Home Run

Less than two years after Billy Gillispie became the head coach of the University of Kentucky Billy is out and UK once again finds itself looking for a head coach of the program.

Things must play out very differently this time around as Mitch Barnhart was very quick to pull the trigger on Billy Gillispe after Billy Donovan turned down the Wildcats. It almost seems as if Mitch did not know what he was really getting with Billy when he hired him, which was a guy who wanted to coach basketball and recruit and nothing else.

To many people Mitch Barnhart shares just as much of the blame as Gillispie does and I can somewhat see this. He brought in a guy who really wanted nothing to do with the other parts of the job and here at Kentucky you cannot thrive as the coach if you are not willing to embrace the fans and media. It seems to me that Mitch did not look in every direction that he should and that makes this search so important.

Mitch must take his time, he must make sure that he has the man ready to bring Kentucky back to the top. He must have a man ready to embrace the job and everything that it entails, not just the coaching and recruiting part. The Kentucky fans are going to be very impatient, but Mitch cannot rush this to appease them as that is what he did last time and just two years later we are already for Gillispie’s replacement.

When Mitch makes this hire he must be 100 percent confident that he has found the right man for the job, if there is just 1 percent of doubt than Mitch should not pull the trigger, there can be no doubt in this hire.

Mitch, Lee Todd, and Mike Pratt make up the known members of the search committee and they must find their man and they really must not take no for an answer. Having Mike Pratt a former player who loves UK on the search committee is really important as he knows and understands what it takes to be a Wildcat and will make sure we hire the right man for the job.

Who is the home run? To me the man we must go after until he either accepts or 100 percent says no is John Calipari. He has everything that is needed to be the coach here, he can coach, recruit, and would love the spotlight of being the coach at UK. He would relish the opportunity to take down Rick Pitino every year and the opportunity that comes with being the head coach of Kentucky.

I know Calipari has been accused of recruiting violations, but those accusations were nothing more than rumors. I know with Kentucky’s past problems of probation that we would like to shy away from anyone associated with recruiting violations, but nothing has ever been found on this man and he is the home run Kentucky must hit.

Calipari is the type of coach who would return Kentucky back to it’s normal self of playing for final fours and national championships. If he would come next year you could expect Meeks and Patterson to return and I think he would be able to reel Daniel Orton and Jon Hood back with him. At Memphis he has also secured commitments from from top three players in Xavier Henry and Demarcus Cousins both of who likely might follow him to Kentucky. Plus he is high up on the number one recruit in the county point guard John Wall who could follow Calipari to Kentucky who previously was on Wall’s list.

Calipari could have Kentucky playing for championships as soon as next year. Kentucky needs to go after him with reckless abandon and must do anything in its power to get Calipari.

There are other coaches who if hired would be very successful at UK, but I do not see anyone being as successful as Calipari would be here at Kentucky.

Kentucky Gets Big Win, Take On Notre Dame Tomorrow

The big story the past week has been about Billy Gillispie and whether he will return next year, but last night the Kentucky basketball team gave the fans something much better to talk about, a comeback win on the road against a very talented Creighton team. Kentucky never led the game by more than one point until Jodie Meeks drove to the basket with 10 seconds and converted on an old fashioned three point play. The Blue Jays missed a game winning three at the buzzer.

Jodie Meeks did not have one of his best games this year, but he hit big shots down the stretch for the Cats and poured in 13 of his 16 points in the second half.

Patrick Patterson got into foul trouble early in the first half and barely saw the floor in the first half. He played an excellent defensive second half as the Blue Jays were able to get nothing going offensively in the paint. Also a big congrats to the big man as he joined elite company as 1,000 point club, way to go Patrick

Perry Stevenson had a very good game as he posted 13 points and 10 rebounds for the double double. He missed some shots, but continued to fight and fight and help will this team to a victory.

A very big win for the Cats in what was a difficult environment as the Creighton fans were loud and rowdy throughout the entire game.

The win extends the Cats season as they are rewarded with a trip to South Bend, Indiana to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame for the chance to advance to New York City.

Hopefully with this win maybe the rumors will die down about, but I doubt it. I just wish that the fans could focus in on this team and how hard they gutting it out. I listened to some call in shows today and no one wanted to talk about the great win last night, but instead talked almost exclusively on Billy and while it is an important topic I just wish the fans could put their attention to the kids for the rest of the season

Once this season ends let the speculation begin and feel free to talk about it continuously, but until then I say lets focus on Notre Dame and the chance to possibly meet the Florida Gators in New York. There are still potentially three more chances to watch this team play and grow towards next year and I say lets at beating Notre Dame and anyone else we might play instead of having straw polls on who we want to be the next coach.

I will have a new post up tomorrow at some point so look for that, hope everyone has a great night, and go Cats and lets beat the Irish

Great Win For The Cats

It was not pretty and the Cats never led by more than two points all game, but the Cats held onto win, thanks to a three point play by Jodie Meeks to propel the Cats to victory.

Kentucky now will travel to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, a win will advance the Cats to the semi-finals in New York City.

To me this was hands down the best win we have had all year, this Creighton team could have easily been in the NCAAT and their crowd was rocking. Patterson barely played in the first half and Meeks was not his normal self and we still managed to pick up the victory. I am very proud of this team. This was a great win for Gillispie and his team

I will have a full update tomorrow on the win.

Memorial Magic Helps Cats To NIT Victory

A raucous sellout crowd of over 8,000 people help lead the Cats to a 70-60 victory over UNLV last night in the opening round of the NIT. Jodie Meeks led the way in scoring with 19 and Patrick Patterson pitched in 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Kentucky got scoring help from everyone who played last night and it looked as if they were playing very relaxed and just overall having a good time.

Perry Stevenson had an excellent game including one of the best dunks of the year when he took off from just inside the free throw line and dunked over a UNLV player and set off the crowd unlike anything we have grown accustomed to in Rupp Arena, the crowd from all accounts was deafening after this play.

Jodie Meeks got back into his rhythm after being held to single digits against LSU for the first time all season. Jodie was 3-9 from behind the arc and looked very comfortable shooting the ball. He looked much more like the Jodie we have seen all season than the Jodie of the past couple of games.

Darius Miller continues to show me that he will without a doubt be a star, he had nine points in 23 minutes, he plays with confidence and overall just looks like he has a great feel for the offense, he makes the smart play time and time again and rarely makes unforced errors.

Ramon Harris again looked like a much improved player he had 6 points, but more importantly he had 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and only one turnover in 25 minutes of play. Ramon had a couple of big dunks in the first half that really got the crowd going.

Patrick Patterson was once again his usual self as he went for another double double last night. Every night he shows me that he plays just as hard or harder than anyone in the nation last night, countless times he was on the floor diving after balls and doing anything he could to help his team to the victory.

A big shout out goes to the crowd last night, everyone was disappointed with being in the NIT and after the horrid first five minutes in which we feel behind 9-2 and were seemingly turning the ball over time up the floor this crowd could have easily checked out and said he we go again, but they didn’t. Everything I have read points to all indications that Memorial was rocking like Rupp has not in a long time, and it was definitely exciting to see this fan base going nuts like they did… for an NIT game.

Look for another post later tonight or tomorrow and don’t forget to drop by and chat with me here during the first rounds of the tournament tomorrow.

Have a great day

Great Second Half Propels Cats

In the first half Ole Miss shot the lights out en route to a 2 point lead, but the second half was a different story as the Rebels only scored 20 points in the second half as the defense looked great. Patrick Patterson was a monster down low as he cleaned the glass all afternoon, Meeks had a game high 25 points and looked very solid in the second half. Darius Miller and Perry Stevenson had great games and will be very crucial if this team is to win 3 more games. The second half was one of the better halves I have seen this team play this year. Now you look at LSU looming large in the second round at the same time tomorrow. I will have a new post up later tonight looking at tomorrows game against the Bayou Bengals.

Go Big Blue!

First Half Thoughts

Ole Miss leads 38-36 at half. Here is what I saw in the half

– UK is doing a great job on getting offensive rebounds and taking advantage of the extra possessions.
– We have kept the turnovers very low which is something we have have problems with all year
– Ole Miss has came out and shot the lights out, the defense has not been that bad, but to win the game Ole Miss cannot shot 54% again in the second half
– Patterson, Miller, and Stevenson all looked very good in the first half especially Patterson on the boards.
– Meeks has got to get some of his open threes to start falling, without him hitting open shots it becomes very tough for this team to win.
– Porter struggled mightily in the first half making only one shot and overall just making some very bad decisions.

I feel very good about our chances in the second half. Just play better defense, keep pounding the glass, continually get Meeks open looks and this team will win.

I will have another update after the second half. Go Cats!

A Look Ahead At Ole Miss

The SEC tournament tips off tomorrow and the first game on the slate is Kentucky and Ole Miss, the Rebels handed UK their first SEC loss of the season in their only matchup this season back in January. Jodie Meeks came into the game as the hottest player in the country just two weeks after his 54 point outburst, but the Rebels became the first team really all season that game planned around Meeks and not Patterson. This defense was key as they held Meeks to just 4-15 shooting and limited him to just 21 points half of which came from the charity stripe. Ole Miss is sure to show much of the same in tomorrow’s matchup against the Cats. To win the Cats have to find a way to get some open looks for Meeks and when he gets open he needs to hit the shot. This is a team that knows they have to win out to make the field of 65 so I look for a hungry team to ready to play as they do not want play in the NIT.

One other thing I encourage is relax and just enjoy the game tomorrow, give your kid a half day from school bring him home and just enjoy the game. Have fun watching two of the best players in the nation play for out school, this season in no way has gone the way any of us wanted and we all know that, but I just have this feeling that these next 4 days could be very special for this basketball program. 4 straight wins and the last 2 weeks could be erased from all our memories as we would be dancing for the 18th straight year. And in order to do that it all starts with giving a little payback to the Rebels.