Friday, January 31, 2014

Kentucky vs. Missouri

Kentucky is back in action Saturday afternoon and after the debacle that took place at LSU, this is a MUST win for this team. I'm not going to talk about the loss to LSU, I'd like to pretend that didn't happen. I never thought I'd say this about this team, but a loss at Missouri and another trip to the NIT is NOT out of the question.

The Cats have only ONE quality win (over Louisville) and that came at Rupp, so to say they need to win Saturday goes without saying. Kentucky will have to play a near perfect game to pull of this win on the road, it will NOT be easy. Instead of boring you by saying how much they need this win (and they need it in the worst way) I'm just going to move things along quickly here....

For those of you that are not familiar with the Tigers, here's some info to get you a little better prepared for Saturday...


EST:  1839


LOCATION: Columbia, Missouri

COLORS:  Black/M U Gold


MASCOT:  Truman the Tiger


                           NOTABLE ALUMNI:

Tom Berenger - Actor

Sheryl Crow - Musician 

Jon Hamm - Actor

Brad Pitt - Actor; One credit short of graduating with a degree in journalism 

Tennessee Williams - Playwright (Cat On a Hot Tin Roof)

Evan Bourne - WWE

Carl Edwards - NASCAR

Pat Forde - Every Kentucky fan knows who this guy is and no doubt he'll be there Saturday

Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash - WMD scientist for Saddam Hussein; one of the 50 most wanted Iraqis post-coalition invasion

This is usually the part where I continue to tell you how badly Kentucky needs this win, but I'm gonna skip it because you already know. Instead, we are going to jump straight to how these two teams stack up to one another...

                                           THE GAME BY THE NUMBERS:

                    MU           CATS

PPG:            75                80

RPG:            39                42

APG:            11                12

SPG:              5                  5

BPG:              4                  7

TPG:             13                13

FG%:            46                47

FT%:             72                67

3P%:             36                32

I've taken the liberty of highlighting potential problem areas for the Cats Saturday. They simply CANNOT turn the ball over at the rate (13 turnovers) they did against LSU and expect to win. They have got to a better job of rebounding the ball and not give up multiple offensive rebounds. Free-throws is something that has plagued this team all season long and something they'll have to do a better job at on Saturday. Finally, GUARD THE THREE. Sure 36% from deep isn't a staggering number, but Missouri has a couple of guys who can flat fill it up from deep. The Cats will have to close out on shooters quick with hands up, otherwise things could get ugly in a hurry.

                                                   PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Jabari Brown - 20ppg, FG% 50, FT% 77, 3P% 47

Jordan Clarkson - 18ppg, 1.4 spg, FG% 46, FT% 80

Earnest Ross - 14.5 ppg, FG% 43, FT% 79, 3P% 30.5

The Cats will have to contain these three to have a chance in Columbia. If one or more of these guys have their way, then look out.

Missouri is one SEC foe that Kentucky doesn't have a very long history with, mostly due to the fact that the Tigers are newcomers to the conference. But, here is the series history anyway...

                                                        SERIES HISTORY:

Like I said, there's not a very big history between these two schools. The first game between the two took place in 1960 with the Cats winning 81-69. The Cats and Tigers have played a total of five times with Kentucky winning all five meetings. The last meeting was last season in Rupp Arena with Kentucky winning in overtime 90-83.

                                                         FINAL THOUGHTS:

At the beginning of the season hopes and expectations were high, maybe too high. But I never thought that this particular team would be struggling so late in the season. Sure I thought that early in the season they would have some kinks to work out, but I never dreamed that they would be needing a win at Missouri to save their post season hopes because that's exactly what is happening. Does a loss in Columbia spell NIT? NO. But a loss makes it more difficult than it should be going forward. A loss would mean that Kentucky may possibly have to win out to avoid a very low seed or possibly missing the tournament all together. All you have to do is look at the remaining schedule.

Dates with Florida (twice), Ole Miss (twice) and a return game with LSU in Rupp. That is NOT an easy schedule if you're struggling like this team is. On the up side, Missouri also lost to LSU on the road 77-71, so maybe that's a good sign. At this point, I'll take any good omen we can get.

See you Saturday after what is hopefully a win...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

John Wall is an NBA ALL-STAR

Congratulations to former Cat John Wall on being selected as a reserve for the eastern team in the 2014 NBA All-Str Game. 

Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins missed out on the All-Star Game this year. No doubt they'll both earn the honor many times in the future. 

It's not panic time for this Kentucky team.... YET

                                  ( Yes, I know I've already used this pic, but it speaks volumes)

This recruiting class came in with more hype than any other class than I can remember in recent memory. I mean, fans were talking about a possible 40-0 season and the fact that this team would be leaps and bounds better than the 'Fab Five'. Well, we are close to February and I'm not seeing anything close to that thus far. The fact of the matter is that TOO much has been expected out of this team. Now, before you crucify me, let me explain.

We can only go by what the 'experts' say about these kids in high school and how they rank them coming out. Was this crop of freshman overrated by the ones who do the rankings? To put it simply, NO. The truth is, the 2012 championship team has destroyed our perception of what a freshman actually is and how they play and I'm afraid Cal may have been fooled as well.

Not too many freshman come in and play the way Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did. The minute those guys slipped the Kentucky jersey over their heads, they played like sophomores and by seasons end, they were playing like juniors and that doesn't happen very often. I hear people say that the reason for the success of the 2012 National Championship team was the fact that they had veteran leadership in Darius Miller. Now, I'm not taking ANYTHING away from what Darius brought to the team (because he brought a lot) or any other contributions he made, but let's get real, that was Davis' and Gilchrist's team and Darius just added an upper-classman flavor to the whole thing. 

When teams prepared to play Kentucky during their run to the championship in 2012, they prepared for Davis, Gilchrist, Jones and Lamb. Their scouting report MAY have had very little, if anything to do with Darius Miller (enough can't be said here about how I'm NOT trying to diminish his contribution to the team, just trying to make a point) as he was unpredictable at times during the season. It was the FRESHMAN who carried the load on that team despite what some might have you believe and therein lies the problem we have with this years crop of freshman. 

It's not everyday that you get freshman that play the way Davis and Gilchrist did so it's unfair to hold these freshman to the same standards, standards set by us, the FANS. These guys are FRESHMAN, freshman that have been chewed up by the AAU machine where no basic fundamentals are taught. Instead, they're taught that whoever can score the most points by the final buzzer wins the game and win by any means necessary; even if it means NOT playing as a team which has produced the product you see today and not just at Kentucky.

The only prep school that comes close to teaching "the basics" that I'VE personally seen is Huntington Prep and coach Rob Fulford. It's evident in the way Andrew Wiggins began his season at Kansas. He wasn't looking for his shot (something you know he can do if you've seen him in person), instead he would make the extra pass to get his teammates involved. That's just the way coach Fulford teaches his guys and something other high school coaches should pay close attention to. This is the reason Coach Cal is having to coach these guys so hard, the lack of fundamentals. 

Sure, it would be nice if these guys would stick around two or three years, but that's up to the NBA and that's another story for another time. Instead we are stuck with guys who stick around for one year with fans and coaches hoping that they can grasp what the coach is trying to teach them in a very short amount of time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but Cal has proven that it CAN be done, just getting the players to buy in is the trick.

I asked Rex Chapman on Twitter what he thought of this team after the loss in Baton Rouge and he said...

@rexchapman:  The team has some huge hurdles to climb. We're not getting any smaller though. Big squad. still have a shot. Not panic-time.

I agree with Rex, step away from the panic button BBN, it's not time to panic.... YET

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


(Cal shoving Andrew Harrison in the right direction)

Well, that was just embarrassing for lack of a better word that doesn't contain four letters. When Coach Cal has to push a player (in the picture above) in the right direction, there is A LOT of problems.

If you are the type of Kentucky fan that wants a positive spin on a loss, this is where you should look for another site to read because we are going to give it to you straight, just like we always do.

There was absolutely NOTHING to like about this game instead, there was PLENTY to be concerned about going forward. When Dakari Johnson gives more effort than ANYONE (congrats to Dakari by the way, that was nice to see) on the team, then there is cause for panic. 

There was absolutely no hustle, heart, effort or energy shown from anyone not named Dakari. Then you add in the fact that the cameras caught Cal having to shove Andrew Harrison in the right direction during play and Willie Cauley-Stein mouthing off to Kenny Payne on the bench, then you finally begin to understand the problem with this team.

This performance is best summed up by some of the comments in garnered on Twitter....

Rich Brooks- Talent alone will not win. Cats need to become a better team and play with more passion. Hope coach Cal gets through to them.

Matt Jones - Getting beat by LSU is one thing... getting run off the court and dominated is another. Pitiful

Larry Vaught - That might have been as bad a defense as a team can play. Just no excuse for getting beat like that.

Hoops News - Kentucky it appears is a team full of guys that don't want to be coached. Something that has to change if the want to make a FF run.

Dan Wolken - Ok, now it's over. so the context: Everyone good has beat LSU... but UK. Everyone good has beaten Arkansas... but UK.

Matt Jones - Well at least Dakari cares

Kentucky Recruiting - Start Polson, Hawkins, Young, Willis and Johnson next game. Only guys that give a damn about playing. Make the most out of their minutes.

Matt Jones - Pretty terrible performance... season will be on the line Saturday at Missouri

I agree with EVERYTHING that was written by the folks above. This was beyond SAD...

Kentucky vs. LSU Pre-View

(How could I NOT put this picture?)

The Cats are coming off of a somewhat impressive 79-54 win over Georgia in Rupp Arena on Saturday. Sure, it's not impressive that they beat Georgia, but it's the fact that they finally put the hammer down on a much less inferior opponent, something that they have not done all season long. It seems that this young and very talented team are finally starting to put two and two together and are finally ALL starting to get on the same page. 

However, the true test will be a very tough road game and that's exactly what they will face tonight, that is if LSU don't cancel the game due to inclement weather. Considering the fact that Kentucky went ahead with their game against Georgia with about four inches of snow and ice on the ground, it would be embarrassing for LSU to cancel the game due to a "WINTERY MIX"!!!

Going into Baton Rouge and walking out with a win is not something that comes easily. The Cats will have to play beyond the potential that they have shown thus far for that to be possible.

The match-up of Kentucky and LSU is one that goes all the way back to 1933 when the first game was played and ended in a Kentucky victory, so it's safe to say that if you're a Cat fan, you know LSU pretty well. But, just in case, here's a look at the history of the LSU Tigers....


EST:  1860


LOCATION:  Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

COLORS:  Royal Purple/Old Gold

NICKNAME:  Fighting Tiger, Tigers, Bayou Bengals (Unofficially)

***The Tigers have only one mens basketball championship and it came all the way back in 1935.

LSU plays in the Pete Maravich Assemble Center. The building was built in 1972 and seat 13,215. The name was changed to the 'Pete Maravich Assembly Center' in honor of former mens basketball player, Peter Maravich shortly after his death in 1988.

Dick Vitale refers to the 'Maravich Center' as  'The Deaf Dome' due to how loud the fans can be when a quality opponent is on the floor.

During the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the Maravich Center was turned into the largest triage/acute care field hospital ever in United States history.***


The only alumni worth mentioning is 'Pistol' Pete Maravich. If you don't know who he is, then you really need to find something else to read, or at least Google the name.

Coming into this game, the Tigers have a record of 12-6 (3-3 SEC) while coming off of a loss to the Crimson Tide of Alabama 82-80 on the road. So, you just know that they'll be looking for redemption and what better way to garner that than in front of a home crowd over the Cats. Considering this game is being played in Baton Rouge you just know that there will be a white out or a purple out or gold out or some kind (insert your color here) out to try and intimidate the Cats. 

These next two games (on the road at LSU and on the road at Missouri) will be a good look at what Kentucky's post season chance will be. In my personnel opinion if they have a split, then it's a toss up on how this teams season will end. If they win both, the talk about a championship is not as absurd as it seemed about a month ago. If they loose both, then I'll just be happy if they make the Sweet Sixteen. The sad part is any of these scenarios is possible as of right now, so to say that tonight is a big game is an understatement...

To get you prepared for the game, here's a look at how these two teams stack up against one another.....


               LSU        CATS

PPG:        76             80

RPG:        41             42

APG:        14             13

SPG:           9               5

BPG:           7               7

TPG:         15             13

FG%:         44            47

FT%:          66            67

3P%:          33            31 

There are a few LSU players to pay attention too tonight...

Andre Stinger - 3P% 39, FT% 84, SPG 2

Johnny O'Bryant - 15ppg, 7.3 RPG, FG% 51

Jarell Martin - 9ppg, FT% 75, 3pt% 37

Jordan Mickey - 13ppg, 7rpg, 4bpg, FG% 56, FT% 73

It's safe to say that the Tigers have more than a few players who can fill it up from deep. Don't think about sending them to the free-throw line as they have a few guys who 70% or better form there. This will be the first team who can match Kentucky's defense in the paint as they average the same amount of block (7) per game. This will be a very interesting game to say the least...

As I said before, these two teams go way back... Here's a look at the history between these to SEC foes...


The Cats lead the all-time series with a record of 83-24. The first game was played in 1933 ending in a Kentucky victory.

The Cats own the longest win streak of the series at 19 dating from 1933 until 1960. The longest win streak LSU has had is three and they have accomplished that feat three different times.

Kentucky has won the last five match-ups with the last loss coming inside Rupp Arena in 2009 67-58.

This game will be a war as it always is in Baton Rouge. This will be a very important game for that Cats going forward in the SEC as this will be another tough test on the road. I firmly believe that the Cats' season rides solely on these next two road games (@ LSU, @ Missouri). The will be the so called measuring stick to the remainder of the season.

We will find out tonight at 9pm if the Georgia game was a sign of things to come or if this team still has some soul searching to do...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kentucky vs. Georgia Pre-View

The Cats extended their SEC record to 4-1 with their 68-51 win over Texas A&M Tuesday night in Rupp. Saturday, Georgia comes into Rupp with an identical SEC record as Kentucky, but with a couple of impressive wins. 

The Bulldogs have wins over then #21 Missouri in overtime on the road and beat Arkansas 66-61 in overtime as well. So, needless to say, this Georgia team should not be overlooked.

Here's some information on the Bulldogs to get you a little bit prepared for the game Saturday afternoon...


EST:  1785


LOCATION:  Athens, Georgia

COLORS: Red/Black

NICKNAME:  Bulldogs

MASCOT:  Uga (Live), Hairy Dawg (Costumed)


Kim Basinger-  Actress

Bill Goldberg-  NFL (Falcons), WCW/WWE 

Josh Holloway-  Actor (TV show LOST)

The B-52's-  Music Group

Colonel Charles A. Beckwith-  Credited with the creation of the special forces unit 'Delta Force'.

The Bulldogs come into the game with a record of10-7 (4-1) and they are on a two game winning streak beating Arkansas and South Carolina. This should be a battle between two longtime SEC teams.

Here's how the Dawgs and Cats stack up against each other...

             BY THE NUMBERS:

               UGA          CATS

PPG:         71              80

RPG:         38              43

APG:         10              12

SPG:           5                4

BPG:           5                7

TPG:          13              13

FG%:         45              47

FT%:          65              67

3P%:          33              31

Just by looking at the stats, this should be a fairly easy game for the Cats...SHOULD BE. But, as we have seen over and over this season, Kentucky seems to struggle against teams that they should handle very easily there's no reason to expect anything different on Saturday as they have given us no reason to believe otherwise, YET. Could this be the game where Kentucky finally flexes it's muscles against an opponent that it should dominate? Or will it be like every other game this season?

A couple things Kentucky can do to make it easier on themselves is HIT FREE-THROWS, LIMIT TURNOVERS and rebound the ball on the offensive end. Also, the Cats will have to guard the three as Georgia has a tendency to get hot from deep and I would expect no less when they come to Rupp.

I said earlier that Kentucky and Georgia were long time SEC foes, here's a look at the history between the two programs...


Kentucky leads the all-time series with a record of 115-26. The last meeting in March of last year in Athens with the Bulldogs coming out on top by a score of 72-62. 

The first ever meeting between the Cats and Dawgs came way back in 1921 with the Cats winning 20-19. The longest win streak of the series belongs to Kentucky at 20 starting in 1950 and finally coming to an end when the Bulldogs won 49-40 in Athens in 1967.


Kentucky needs this win to stay within reach of Florida who leads the conference with a record of 5-0 with their win over Alabama last night. Georgia needs this win to try and build a resume for March. Who wants it the most? We will find out, Saturday...

Coach K RAVES about Anthony Davis

Former Cats Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins have been named to the Team USA's Olympic team's initial roster, so let's start this post off with a huge congratulations to the both of them. It's well deserved.

Now to the point of this post....

First off let me start by saying that I never thought in my life that I would have a picture of this man on my site, it physically hurt to post it.

Upon the announcement that Anthony Davis had been named to the Olympic team's initial roster, Coach K, who will once again be Team USA's head coach had some very nice things to say about the former Cat...

"Anthony's trajectory as far as improvement keeps going higher and higher and higher. He's not your normal big guy, because he's very, very fluid. He can guard probably every position, but what I love most about him is his athleticism and his ability to block shots and finish. I'm excited about the (American) post (players), because we have more guys there than we've had before. Davis is really one of the emerging stars of the NBA. For this group, he can be a great rim protector for us, and an amazing ball-screen defense guy, because of his mobility. He can step in and if necessary, even switch and guard a number of players.

His offensive game continues to improve. We're going to run, and he can really run the court well and finish. He's just a terrific young man. He also is only 20 years old. He'll be 21 in March. He's a star and he's going to be a great, great player."

Say what you want about Coach K, but he definitely knows the game of basketball and to have him say those kind of things about you means something. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cats down Aggies 68-51

Well, there was no slow start tonight as Kentucky took the lead for good with 20 seconds into the game. However, during the first half it seemed that the Cats couldn't figure out how to stretch the lead out to double digits as the Aggies stayed within 8 or 9 the entire first half, then came the second half and Alex Poythress.

Thanks to 14 second half points from Poythress, Kentucky finally built a double digit lead and never looked back. Julius Randle (13pts, 11rebs) and James Young (15pts, 7rebs), were the other two Cats to reach double digits scoring.

The highlight of the game has got to be the continued improved play of Dakari Johnson. Johnson played 24 minutes scored 6 points while grabbing 7 boards. Dakari got the most playing time that he has had probably all season long thanks to another horrible game from Willie Cauley-Stein.

Caluey-Stein played a total of 9 minutes, scored 1 point, grabbed one rebound and racked up four fouls to boot. I'm not really sure what has been going on with Willie the last two or three games, but for the Cats to make a run in March he needs to get things lined out in a hurry. They desperately miss his presence on the defensive side of the floor.

Kentucky moves to 4-1 in SEC play with their 68-51 win over A&M tonight.

Notes and Quotes to follow shortly….

Kentucky vs. Texas A&M Pre-View

After loosing to Arkansas in heartbreaking fashion, the Cats came back and defeated a surprisingly tough Tennessee team 74-66 in a game where we witnessed Andrew Harrison hopefully turn the corner and become the point guard that Calipari and the rest of BBN had hoped to see when he arrived on campus. If Andrew can continue the level of play that we seen against the Vols, then it's only up from here for this team. 

Now it's game day once again and this time it's the Aggies of Texas A&M that await. Before conference play started, A&M hadn't really played a quality team (aside from Oklahoma) so to speak, so no one really considered them to be a so called "threat", then came conference play. All of a sudden, the Aggies are carrying an SEC record of 3-1 with wins over the likes of Arkansas 69-53 (at Texas A&M), Tennessee 57-56 (at Tennessee) and South Carolina 75-67 with their only loss being to Mississippi State 81-72 in overtime (at Mississippi State). This team shouldn't be taken lightly by the team or fans. 

To get you prepared for the game, here's some history on Texas A&M for those who aren't familiar with the Aggies.


EST: 1876

ENROLLMENT: 56,256       

LOCATION: College Station, Texas

FORMER NAMES: The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas 

COLORS: Maroon/White

NICKNAME: Aggies (short for an agricultural school)



Over A&M's history, they have reached the NCAA Tournament eleven times, the furthest they have ever advanced is the Sweet Sixteen which they have achieved three times.

                        NOTABLE ALUMNI:

*****As far as "Notable Alumni", these names are more important than any other*****







We would like to thank these men and their families for their service to our great country…

Now it's time to see how the Cats stack up against the competition…..

             BY THE NUMBERS:

               A&M          CATS

PPG:        69                80

RPG:        36                43

APG:        13                 12

SPG:           7                   4

BPG:           5                   7

TPG:         12                 13

FG%:         45                47

FT%:          65                67

3P%:          33                31

You'll notice that I've highlighted a couple of categories that should be paid attention to, first the steals and turnovers. The simple fact that the Aggies average seven steals to Kentucky's thirteen turnovers is something to be concerned about. The Cats will have to value each and every possession and not have careless turnovers if they expect to earn a W. If they have more than ten turnovers you can expect a very close game.

Next is free-throw shooting. Yes I see that the Aggies shoot 65% from the stripe and Kentucky shoots 67%, but you may as well figure that A&M will all of a sudden have a team full of Kyle Macy's Tuesday night (every team hits everything against the Cats).  The Cats will have to come close to the 23-24 performance they showed from the line against the Vols to win, anything less than 70% from the stripe could very well spell a loss. 

If Kentucky takes care of the ball and hit's it's free-throws at a fairly decent clip, they could win this one pretty easily. It should be noted that Vegas has the Cats favored by 14 1/2 points tonight.


The Cats lead the all-time series with a record of 3-2. Kentucky won the last meeting which took place in College Station back in February of 2013, (72-68) in overtime.

I give up on trying to predict what this team will do. This team has been the hardest to figure out in quite some time. But, if you have learned anything over the last couple of weeks it's, pay attention to what Vegas says just before tip-off, they're pretty damn accurate…

We'll find out at 9pm…..