UKmadness

Cats Prepare To Host Hilltoppers

Posted by Alec McAfee on September 10, 2010

It’s always hard for a football team to open their season with arguably the biggest game on their schedule, especially for a team as young as the Wildcats.

It would almost be expected for many of the players to lose focus after playing in a game as emotionally and mentally draining as the UK-UofL game is, but the Cats aren’t buying it.

“It is not really a time to take it easy or take a day off,” said junior linebacker Danny Trevathan. “The season is a long road. We have eleven games left, so we need to take care of these eleven games.”

Not only will the Cats be approaching their game against Western Kentucky with the intent of simply winning, Head Coach Joker Phillips is expecting sixty full minutes of solid football.

“We just got to finish what we’re doing,” Phillps said about their second-half performance last weekend. “We just have to understand how to finish games.”

Although the Wildcats will be heavy favorites entering the game Saturday, they still have a tough task ahead of them.

The Hilltoppers star offensive player, Bobby Rainey, tourched one of the nation’s top run defenses last week when he ran for a career-high 155 yards at Nebraska.

“He’s shifty. He’s a strong guy,” Phillips said of the 5-foot-8 back. “But we just got to wrap him up. We can’t let him get started because he’s got that type of speed.”

Despite the problems that Western poses offensively, the Cats have their own little dynamo blossoming in their own backfield.

“Another thing I like is Moncel Allen,” Coach Phillips said of the junior out of New Orleans. “He did a really good job for us… he’s now convincing himself that he’s a fullback now.”

But the transition from halfback to fullback was not an easy one for Allen.

“(Coach Phillips) said my chances of playing this year were better if I played at fullback and that they could do different things with me,” Allen said of the switch. “…one of the hardest adjustments I have been trying to make, is all the angles and trying to block somebody.””

“Early on, he didn’t buy into it,” said Coach Phillips of his initial conversation with Allen regarding the position switch. “Once we started practicing, he did.”

With all the gameplanning that WKU will have to do for Randall Cobb and the complex passing attack the Cats implement, one thing is for certain—they won’t have to worry about Moncel Allen shrinking.

“I don’t worry about him getting shorter,” said Coach Phillps. “Usually fullbacks worry about hitting their head, going into the shoulder. He’s already there.”

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Turkish Star Has Amatuerism Questioned

Posted by Alec McAfee on September 7, 2010

From the moment that Enes Kanter arrived in the United States he has been followed.

Followed by NBA scouts trying to gauge his basketball potential, and by journalist trying to uncover his remarkable story.

Kanter came to the United States via Istanbul, Turkey, where he played for a professional basketball club. If you ask Kanter, and those that surround him, you will be told that he never accepted any payment for the professional games that he played in, aside from the usual payments such as room and board, similar to that of an American prep school. Others say that Kanter was payed like any other professional overseas.

“We are renting them a house and giving him pocket money.” Nedim Karakas, General Manager of the Turkish club that Kanter played for, told the New York Times.

The Times states that Kanter was payed anywhere from $100,000-$150,000 over a three-year span, beginning when he was fourteen.

These conflicting reports, coupled with the fact that no official evidence has been provided to the N.C.A.A. send mixed signals to both Kanter and his potential coach John Calipari, who in April told The Sporting News that “We know that, as in any other club, he received apparel. But there was no money, from what we’re seeing.”

Calipari later added that there is “a lot of misinformation out there. You’ve got people talking about it that don’t know, just heard a rumor.”

One reason that Kanter’s situation may differ from that of other European stars who have tried their luck at college athletics in America, such as Deniz Kilicli at West Virginia last year, is that Kanter’s father is a nationally-known doctor and is considered to be very wealthy.

Kanter also has expressed interest in the American way of life as opposed to turning to professionally playing basketball out of high school.

“I know in basketball I can play anywhere,” he said. “I couldn’t get the culture and the language where I was.”

To go along with the amount of financial stability and the will to learn that Kanter has is his desire to experience American college life.

“I wanted to come here and experience the NCAA,” Kanter told Evan Daniels of Scout.com. “My aim was to do this in America. I didn’t want to do this in Europe.”

Whether or not he ever steps foot on a collegiate basketball floor remains to be seen, but his skills will be in the NBA one day no matter the outcome.

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Cats Look To Continue Success Against Hilltoppers

Posted by Alec McAfee on September 7, 2010

Following an impressive win on the road against their most hated rival, the Wildcats are riding high.

In the first half of their nationally televised game, the Cats were clicking on all cylinders offensively, scoring on their second play from scrimmage, and reaching the end zone on three of their first four drives.

But a lackluster finish almost allowed the vastly outmatched Cardinals to claw their way back into the game.

The Cats were lucky enough to hold on for the 23-16 victory at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium, and left the River City feeling as though they had just finished an undefeated season. But as they prepare for another in-state foe, they must remain humble, especially after seeing Ole Miss blow a 21-point lead to Jacksonville State, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Although it may seem a bit cliche, the Wildcats need to put their impressive victory over their most vaunted rival behind them, and focus at the game this Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Against the Cards, Steve Brown and his defense were unable to stop the run, allowing nearly 200 yards on the ground to a Louisville team that ranked a mear 89th nationally running the football last season.

The Hilltoppers, on the other hand, ranked in the top 40 nationally and feature a running back, Bobby Rainey, that ran for 155 yards last week against Nebraska, a defense known for stopping the run.

Although Western poses some threats offensively, confidence has never been higher for the Wildcats.

Entering their opening game, there were many questions about how certain players, namely quarterback Mike Hartline, might perform. But after their resounding offensive performance, it looks as though the only team that can stop that Cats, is the team name on the chest of their jerseys.

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Gameday from Lexington

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 13, 2010

ESPN’s weekly ‘College Gameday’ is being hosted inside Rupp Arena today, leading up to tonight’s difficult matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers (9PM ET).

Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, Jay Bilas, and Erin Andrews (YES) join Rece Davis inside Rupp to break down the game among other things. The entire arena has been sold out in anticipation for the event, making it the largest Gameday ever.

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Wildcat recruits on TV

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 12, 2010

Starting at 9PM ET on ESPNU, UK recruits Michael Gilchrist (#1 in 2011) and Doron Lamb (#23 in 2010) will be dueling off when Oak Hill Academy meets St. Patrick’s tonight. These are two of the top programs in the nation and it will show the talents of some of the premiere players in the nation.

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Daily news and notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 9, 2010

- It looks like the Cats long-awaited new jerseys have been released, as they have been seen at local Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across Kentucky. Here are a couple pics:

- UK takes on Alabama tonight (9PM ET) in a matchup between two coaches who are in their first year with their respective teams. The biggest storyline though is DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe taking on their homestate school. Cousins personally has some bad blood with his home state so look for him to come out with a bag of chips on his shoulder.

- International big man Enes Kanter has been a hot commodity since coming to the United States, though his buzz went away for the most part after committing to Washington a couple months ago. Kanter has re-opened his recruitment and is considering the Cats. Kanter posted 50 points and 20 rebounds in his last game, so yeah he’s good.

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UK #3 in AP, #2 in ESPN

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 8, 2010

The Cats moved up to #3 in the Associated Press college basketball rankings today after previously #2 Villanova lost last week. The Cats, who were #3 last week in the ESPN/USA Today poll, moved up one spot in their poll as well.

College basketball polls

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Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 2, 2010

Kentucky got a more-than-impressive win tuesday night in front of over 24,000 fans in Rupp Arena.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Cats with 18 points and 13 rebounds—fourth consecutive double-double—in a 85-75 win over the Mississippi Rebels.

Sparked by an early 15-0 run, the Wildcats took a quick 18-point lead before once again letting the large advantage slip away, down to only a 9-point edge at the half.

Coach John Calipari must have said something about taking quality shots during his halftime speech because Kentucky got John Wall (17 points and 7 assists) and sharp-shooter Darnel Dodson (4-4 3PT) involved in the shooting early. Dodson nailed two threes in the first three minutes of the second half and it created a confusion on the defensive end for the Rebels.

The win over Ole Miss pushes Kentucky’s record to 21-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC. More importantly, the win puts the Cats at 6-0 vs. ranked opponents, a mark that is tops in the nation.

Notes

- With 13 rebounds against Ole Miss, DeMarcus Cousins now has 216 on the season, pushing him past Rick Robey for 3rd in rebounding by freshmen. He should pass Chris Mills (277) and Sam Bowie (276) by the end of the season.

- Darnell Dodson scored 14 points tuesday including 4-4 from behind the arc. Dodson has scored in double-figures and hit at least 4 three pointers in back-to-back games

- The 21 assists the Cats had ties their mark against Sam Houston State for the third-most this season

- By scoring 46 points in the first half, the Cats set a season-high for first-half points

- With the win, UK moves to 97-12 (.889) all-time vs. Ole Miss including winning 11 of the last 12 matchups

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Monday news and notes

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 1, 2010

There’s been a lot of buzz about UK the past few days in relation to their actions and words on and off the court.

- After an article by Alan Cutler was published quoting John Wall as saying he does not listen to Coach Calipari Wall cleared the air with this interview

- Coach Calipari did the same by responding to questions about his relationship with his star point guard

- The new “Bracketology” is out with UK being a #1 seed in the West Region, which would make it seem that they are the lowest of all the #1 seeds

- As with every Monday the new AP rankings were released today with the Cats moving from the top spot down to #4 and receiving one first-place vote

- Tonight on his call-in show, John Calipari confirmed that the Cats WILL be wearing new uniforms next week. It will most likely be next saturday when the ESPN College Gameday crew is in Lexington to call the Kentucky-Tennessee game. The jerseys, according to Coach Cal, are of the LeBron James brand, a branch of Nike

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Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 30, 2010

The Wildcats handled the Vanderbilt Commodores 85-72 in front of a surprisingly quiet crowd at Rupp Arena saturday afternoon.

It was once again freshman DeMarcus Cousins who set the tone for the Cats, leading the team in scoring (21) and rebounding (10) in the win against the Commodores.

He was helped by Patrick Patterson, who came up with some huge rebounds, and John Wall, who led the team in assists with nine.
Coming off a heart-breaking loss at South Carolina, it was crucial that UK came out with a vegence against Vanderbilt after returning to their home arena. Fortunately the Cats got hot early, knocking down many open jump shots in the opening minutes 0f the game.
Darnell Dodson got his first start of the season as Eric Bledsoe took a seat on the bench to start the game. Starting Dodson proved to be a very good move by John Calipari as the JUCO transfer went for 16 points and 7 rebounds in 18 minutes.
Bledsoe ended up playing better because of the move as well, scoring 13 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench. Darius Miller went scoreless for the second consecutive plays and ended up playing only 8 minutes, showing that he may be seeing his minutes dwindle right before his eyes.
The Wildcats, though they got in early foul trouble, proved that they could contain even the best big men in the SEC as Vandy center AJ Ogilvy did not make a field goal until there was 9 minutes left in the game.
Notes
- With the win over Vandy, Kentucky moved into a tie with the Commodores for the SEC lead at 5-1 in the league. Kentucky holds the tie-breaker because of the head-to-head win saturday.
- DeMarcus Cousins notched his twelfth double-double of the season, breaking the freshman record at UK that he previously shared with Chris Mills
- The 12 three-pointers that UK hit was the second most of the season (Hartford)
- LeBron James was at the game today, and receieved a huge ovation as he was the “Y” today. The team also wore LeBron’s newest shoe in a black colorway for the first time.
- 2010 5-star forward CJ Leslie was in the house today as well. Leslie is considering UK along with NC State, Florida, and Georgetown among others.

Posted in Basketball, Post Game, Statistics | Leave a Comment »

 
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