Monday, November 24, 2014

TX-Arlington vs. Kentucky Pre-View



Sunday night saw Kentucky hold an opponent to a record (Kentucky record) low points in the shot clock era when they allowed only 28 points from Montana State. It was a hard game to watch as Kentucky just dominated on the defensive end of things. If the Cats had shot the ball even remotely well, they would have won by a hundred with ease.

Now it's on to the next game which will be tomorrow night when UT-Arlington comes to town. The Mavericks come into the game with a 3-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of University of Buffalo (yes the same Buffalo Kentucky played last week) 74-68. UT-Arlington has played another familiar opponent in Grand Canyon which they beat by a score of 66-64.

Once again, I know absolutely nothing about UT-Arlington, so lets take a look at the vitals of the Mavericks...


                                                       SCHOOL HISTORY:

EST:  1895

ENROLLMENT:  34,249

LOCATION:  Arlington, Texas

COLORS: Blue/Orange/White

NICKNAME: Mavericks

MASCOT:  Blaze

CONFERENCE:  Sunbelt


Now, let's take a look at their roster...


Now, here's a look at their team and individual stats to give you an idea of what they bring to the table...



I'll be honest here, Kentucky should handle this team with ease. I'm not even going to pretend that I believe this game should even be close. Could the Mavericks upset Kentucky? Sure, anything is possible, but let's be honest, if that happens it's because the Cats played so horribly bad that they deserved to beat.


                                                             SERIES HISTORY:


The Cats and Mavericks have met only once in history and that was last season in the Keightley Classic where Kentucky won in convincing fashion 105-76.



Tip time is set for 7pm and will be aired on the SEC Network...


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pre-Boston Press Conference Quotes (FULL TRANSCRIPT)



Assistant coach John Robic
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On what he learned in the Kansas game ...
“That’s probably the biggest thing is how they were going to react to a high-level game against a very good top-ranked opponent. We obviously played really well and I thought everyone responded very, very well in that game. Even towards the end of the first half when Kansas made a little run at us to cut it at halftime, guys just grouped together at halftime and really answered the challenge coming out of halftime and scoring the first six points and bumping that lead back up.”

On freshmen having the returners ...
“Well, it’s nice for those freshmen that they have a bunch of guys that came that are sophomores and juniors that were able to help them get through it, but, again, some of those freshmen are showing everyone else that they deserve to be out there by the defensive intensity. I think it’s helping both groups, and we get that every day in practice, so it’s not abnormal for us to see that in a game situation.”

On the guys cheering on their teammates ...
“This group genuinely likes each other. I think we really, really benefited by our summer trip. For them to get six real games in, even though, you know, they didn’t count, it showed. They really came together. They’ve been that way every day in practice and we have great kids that, you’re right, they’ve given up some of their game but they’re just -- they want to win. I think they’re doing what it takes to win when they’re on the floor and when they’re not on the floor. It takes a special player and a special person when you’re not in the game to be actively involved and they are every time they, you know, go in and out.”

On the good defensive numbers ... “I think it’s a combination of the both. Part of this platoon system, you see as it goes – the numbers, as you go along. And we keep score. We have a scoring breakdown of each segment, if you want to call it that, and you can see where you do start to get in their legs. It’s something that the guys know we chart. It’s important, especially on the defensive end. With our length and our athletic ability, there’s no reason why we can’t be a really good defensive team because of our size. And size with athleticism equals, you know – it can be a problem for an opponent, and that’s what it was, so we can pressure the ball a little bit more. We’re doing a much better job of guarding the dribble. It’s a little bit easier for us with bigger teams. You get into the exhibition games and some of your other nonconference games where you have small lineups (and it can be tougher). It’s pretty tough for a 6-10, 7-footer to keep in front of a 5-11, 6 feet, but we still have a game plan, and the guys are doing really well with it.”

On what is the most entertaining matchup in practice ...
“There’s a lot of them. I’ll answer it, but I think at each position they’re challenging one another. It’s making each of them better in different ways. I like to see the big guys go at each other and different
combinations because you can go from quick to a Willie to a strength force with Dakari. Marcus Lee is active. I mean, and Karl, so we’ve intertwined matchups. Right now we’re sticking with what we have until we think it needs to be changed, but the other thing about it is that each group feels really comfortable with playing one another. And why change it?”

On more defensive pressure on 3-point shooters this season ...
“I mean, we are so big, that if we can keep them off the foul line and keep them off the 3-point line it is going to be tough to score. Teams are going to come in with a theory that we have to beat them from the 3-point line. If we can do a good job of that and make them drive into our bigs, we like what our bigs do defensively. And it is an important stat. We just can’t give away free points away from the 3-point line.”

On if he was surprised Kansas kept driving without having any success ...
“I think probably what their game plan was, was to drive the ball. They didn’t differ from that. You would have to ask Bill (Self) that question. Each game we have gotten better of defending straight line drives and that was the best we have done in three games. So from the first game with Grand Canyon until the Kansas game we have gotten better each and every game.”

On coaching players that have not played that much this year... “Dominique went through it last year and came through in the NCAA Tournament and played really well. And I think any player can look at what Marcus Lee did last year and was patient, patient, patient and really stepped up for us. And that has just carried over into this year for him. His confidence has grown immensely. And foul trouble, they’ve got to be ready. That is one luxury we have with having 12 guys that can really play. And those guys know that whatever group, if we need a guard sub or we need a forward sub, it would be one of those guys.”

On preparing for the next three games ...
“We were off yesterday. We are getting ready to head to practice right now. I think you have to keep building on what we did. I thought our communication was really, really good in the Kansas game. They followed the game plan perfectly and they paid attention to detail in a quick turnaround time. That is like a NCAA Tournament time turnaround so I was pleased with that. And I just think getting better. The score might not be indicative of getting better, but we can see it as coaches. But the first step to that is today’s practice and just carrying on the things we think we need improvement in.”

On the challenge of reaching higher after a 32 point win over the No. 5 team ...
“We’re not expecting to be perfect right now. We don’t expect to be at our peak right now. Obviously we’re happy where we are, but we want to peak in February. We’re striving for that. It’s a thing where these kinds got to understand where we are now and what they have to do individually and what we have to do as a team to keep coming together as a unit to perform.”

On if there is anything he tells them to make that point with them ...
“The score was the score. Very happy with our defense. We made them take a lot of tough shots. We blocked 11 shots. We need to get better offensively for sure. We have to get out in transition a little bit more. The message for these guys is just, each and every day we have to get better at what we need to do as a team, whether it’s defensively or offensively. And if we do that, we know that we’re going to give our best effort when we go out there, and hopefully tomorrow it shows improvement for us. And
that’s why I said earlier the score may not be indicative of did we get better. But in our eyes, did we see it. We’ll see tomorrow.”


Sophomore guard Aaron Harrison

On the opposing teams getting worn down because of the platoons switching ...
“Definitely. It’s definitely to our advantage having 10 guys that can all play. And we take pride in defense and wearing people down, so I think it’s working.”

On what the team reviewed after the game against Kansas ...
“He said he wanted me to be more aggressive on offense. And he said we were just sloppy offensively at the beginning of the game, which we definitely were. I think we were all just catching our breath and things like that. But other than that, I think we played a really good game defensively.”

On how hard it is to be aggressive offensively when there’s so many good scorers on the team ...
“I don’t think they need an individual (to be the lead scorer). I just think Coach wants to keep it going and just for the team’s sake. But other than that, I think we won the game on the defensive end, and I think that’s what’s important.”

On Coach Cal trying to find more plays for him ...
“I don’t know. He just said he wanted me to get more touches and things like that. So I mean, we won pretty handily, so I’m not worried about it that much.”

On if he could tell the Kansas players were getting frustrated not being able to get a shot ...
“I mean, I know how they feel. I practice with these guys every day and it’s really hard to get a shot off in the lane. So I just think you have to hit a lot of 3’s to be able to beat us and they had a rough shooting night. But they’re a good team. I can tell they’ll be OK down the road.”

On what the line of defense allows him to do ...
“It just gives me more confidence just to know that the big guys have my back and I can play aggressively.”

On how much the team has talked about 3-point defense ...
“Oh yeah, it’s been the biggest thing, I think, because we’re so big and so long that we know teams are going to have to hit a lot of 3’s to beat us. So we try to run teams off the 3-point line and make them take tough 2’s.”

On how that’s changed from last year ...
“I don’t know think we emphasized running them off the 3-point line as much last year, so that’s a big factor in our game plan and every game we play.”

On Boston being a good 3-point shooting team ...
“Yeah, they’re a pretty good team, a pretty good shooting team, and I think that’s going to be a big, big factor in the game.”
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On Coach Cal trying to diminish the hype around the team after Tuesday’s win ...
“He knows, we all know we have a long way to go. We didn’t play well offensively. We offensive rebounded really well, but I think we can execute on the offensive end a lot better.”

On what would have happened if the team was playing offense the way they want to ...
“I mean, I don’t know. I think we would just be more fluid in our half-court offense. I think we did settle down once the game got going and did get it more efficient, but I think we should start off like that. We just need to start off better on offense.”

On the game against Kansas showing how well the platoon system can work defensively ...
“Yeah, of course. I think the platoon system did help us, ‘cause last year in the same game we were a little worn down. And we weren’t used to that intensity and we needed a couple of breaks that we didn’t get.”

On how good it is to know that they’re going to get a break after three or four minutes ...
“It’s good. We’re all in great condition and put in a lot of work this summer. And I think it helps us because we can wear teams down and there’s a lot of guys coming at you, so it’s hard to handle.”

On the change in Andrew as a leader ...
“He’s just playing more loose and more relaxed. He’s just having more fun, and I think that’s the biggest thing.”

On Andrew being more comfortable to take charge on the court ...
“Yeah, I think it’s just all about being more comfortable and having the green light to do, to know that you can do what you need to do while he has to get us involved.”

On the team locking down defensively in the last two second halves ...
“I think we just, once we’ve focused on the defensive end we’re a really tough team to score on and we take pride in our defensive. We’re going to be a defensive team this year.

On how the freshmen handled their first big moment ...
“I mean, it was fun to see them in that atmosphere. I remember my first big game like that and I was real nervous. And I think they handled it really well.”

On how different it is this year with the freshman able to lean on him and the other veterans ...
“It’s really different. I mean, just going out, and not even starting a game, just knowing that the game’s on you and you have to play the whole game, and it’s on you to win or lose. But for them, I think it’s less stressful to be in their situation.”

Sophomore guard Andrew Harrison

On what it says that there’s room for improvement after blowing out Kansas ...
“We just have to keep working. We played really hard. A lot of their shots didn’t fall and stuff like that, so we know we still have a lot to improve on. It’s just the third game of the season. It really doesn’t mean anything.”
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On what the Kansas game showed them about the way they are playing ...
“You just have to play D and listen to what Coach is saying and be unselfish, and I think everybody on this team is like that. Everyone wants to win.”

On the reason for UK’s strong second-half defense ... “It’s just determination and practicing, practicing hard. It’s being a leader, making sure everyone is still practicing hard and don’t be satisfied with a win.”

On whether UK’s strong second-half defense is a result of depth ... “Yeah, I think so. Especially when you have so much talent on a team and there’s no drop-off, it’s great.”

On how the offense needs to improve ...
“It’s just better execution in the first half, and that’s on me. I think we were a little tired the first little segment the blue team had or whatever, but it started working out. You get your second wind and I just tried to make sure the freshmen weren’t that nervous and stuff like that.”

On whether they refer to the platoons as blue and white ...
“No, not really. Actually we just get it from seeing what everyone else says, to be honest. We just think of it as one team and we just take turns.”

On who wins in scrimmages ...
“Um, I don’t really want to say. Usually my team though.”

On whether chemistry is even more important with the way UK is playing ...
“Oh, definitely. Coach knows that we’re sacrificing. We might not be getting the numbers that we planned on getting and stuff like that, but when we win and we’re playing like that together as a team and everyone is shining and everyone is seeing what we can do, it’s great.”

On whether playing fewer minutes is as satisfying when you’re winning ...
“When you’re winning like that, definitely. But Coach also (says) anybody can see how good you are in 20 minutes just like they can in 35 minutes. It’s not like you can’t see the talent or you can’t see how good you are.”

On being more comfortable being aggressive ...
“I’m just trying to be a leader and I’m just trying to get better every day. I have a long way to go.”
On what he’s doing to be a leader ...
“Just talking. Make sure everyone’s loose, make sure the pressure’s not on them and just trying to help out any way I can.”

On being more comfortable talking ...
“Yeah, I have the experience and I feel like we’ve been through a lot as a team and as an individual. I feel like I can help.”

On how the freshmen handled their first big game ...
“That was good. Like I said, it’s good because the pressure’s not really on them so they can just go out there relaxed and play. I’m sure they had fun and they played great.”

On whether trusting teammates more quickly is because they have experience playing together ...
“Yeah, I think so. Just because some of us have been through it and we know how hard it is to try to win on individual play. We’re just trying to play as a team.”

On what Willie Cauley-Stein was talking about when he said trust is what makes this work ...
“We just all believe that—you just have to trust in every player on the team that you’re going to stop your team or if you get beat Willie’s going to come help you or Karl’s going to help Willie. Just stuff like that.” 

Kentucky vs. Boston University Pre-View



Well, what is there to say about the Kansas game that hasn't already been said. It was one of the most dominate performances in college basketball in the last 20 years. To beat a top five team by 32 points is amazing, but when you add in the fact that Kentucky didn't play very well offensively, it becomes that much more impressive. Had the Cats hit open shots, they would have went into halftime with a 30 point lead and would have won the game by at least 50.  It was definitely a game that Kentucky fans will remember for a long time to say the least.

Now, it's time to put the Kansas beat-down and get ready for the next game which is tomorrow night. Kentucky will square off against Terriers of Boston University tomorrow night at 7pm.  I don't know a whole lot about Boston, so let's get to the rundown on the schools history....



                                                          SCHOOL HISTORY:

EST: 1839

ENROLLMENT:  30,009

LOCATION: Boston, Mass.

COLORS:  Scarlet/White

NICKNAME:  Terriers

MASCOT:  Rhett the Boston Terrier

CONFERENCE:  The Patriot League


Boston is 1-1 on the season opening up with a loss to Northeastern 71-65 and winning their last contest against Norfolk 71-63. They are ranked 197th in the country at ppg at 68, 277th overall in rebounding with 31 boards a game, 63rd in assists per game with 17 per contest and 159th in FG percentage shooting 44% from the floor.  

Here's a look at their team statistics per player so you know who Kentucky will need to keep in check...




Just by looking at the above numbers, Kentucky should have no problem whatsoever with this team. They are better in every major category and by a large margin. Now that you know what Boston is capable of, here's look at the size Kentucky will be facing tomorrow night...




As you can see, the Terriers have one seven-footer and one guy at 6'11", but after that, their tallest player is 6'8" so size won't be a problem as it won't be all season long. Kentucky should dominate the paint once again not to mention owning the rebounding department.


Now, let's take a look at the history between these two schools.....



                                                      SERIES HISTORY:

Tomorrow night will mark the fourth time these two programs have met. Kentucky owns the series with a record of 3-0.  The first game came in 1986 in the UKIT Championship with Kentucky winning 81-69. They met again in 1994 where Kentucky won in convincing fashion by a score of 90-49. Then in 2010, Kentucky beat the Terriers 91-57.



Kentucky should win this game tomorrow night with ease. I hate to say that about any team, but it's true. If the performance against Kansas has any carryover whatsoever, Boston is in for a world of pain.




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cats DESTROYS #% Kansas 72-40


Yes, this is your final score. Yes we beat the number 5 team in the country by 32. Think about that. More to come tomorrow.