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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. 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.

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Kentucky at South Carolina Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 26, 2010

The Wildcats will travel east to face the always-dangerous South Carolina Gamecocks tonight on the road (9 P.M. ET, ESPN).

The ‘Cocks are led by senior guard Devan Downey, who comes into the game averaging 21.9 points, inculding 31.6 ppg in conference play.

USCjr’s second-leading scorer, Dominique Archey, is out with an injury he suffered in the first month of the season and Carolina only has one other double-digit scorer, Brandis Raley-Ross.

Projected Starters

G — John Wall vs. Devan Downey

This is sure to be Wall’s toughest individual matchup so far this season. He has not played against a guard with the speed, quickness, or scorers mentality that Downey has. Wall does have a large height advantage over the Cincinnati transfer—5-foot9 vs. 6-foot-4—which would allow him to see over the head of Downey and would limit his great ability to steal the ball—nearly 3.0 spg.

Advantage: Wall, UK

G — Eric Bledsoe vs. Brandis Raley-Ross

This is a matchup between Robins to Wall and Downey’s Batman. Both Bledsoe and Raley-Ross get severely overshadowed by their all-league backcourt mates, and for valid reasons.

Neither Bledsoe nor Raley-Ross have the scoring ability that their partner-in-crime has but they are both very important to the success of their team. I give Bledsoe the advantage simply because he is better in just about every single statistical category and seems to be on the same page as Wall at this point in the season.

Advantage: Bledsoe, UK

F — Darius Miller vs. Lakeem Jackson

This matchup is a no-brainer any way you look at it. Miller is superior shooting the ball, defensively, athletically, and is a much better passer than people realize. Not to mention that his confidence should be sky-high after a career day against Arkansas. Easy.

Advantage: Miller, UK

F – Patrick Patterson vs. Evaldas Baniulis

‘Mr. Consistency’, as I call him, should handle Baniulus pretty easily down in the post. In three career games against South Carolina Patterson has posted 22-9, 28-7, and 28-12 but only has a 1-2 record in those games.

Patterson has dominated other big men for the GameCOCKS and is going against a dreadful defender in Baniulis.

Advantage: Patterson, UK

F — DeMarcus Cousins vs. Sam Muldrow

Ok, this is BY FAR the easiest pick of the five matchups. Cousins has a full two inches on Muldrow and outweighs him by FIFTY-FIVE POUNDS! YIKES! Cousins has been dominating players that are AT LEAST his height and now he should have another double-double and could have his first career 20-20 game IF he stays out of foul trouble (a BIG if).

Advantage: Cousins, UK

Prediction

The Cats SHOULD come out with a lot of energy as they play their first game ranked as #1 since the 2002-2003 season. I think DeMarcus Cousins will come out and simply dominate from the get-go. Cousins should be able to stay out of foul trouble because South Carolina is predominately a perimeter scoring team and does not attack 6’11” guys too frequently.

81-69 Cats

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Kentucky vs. Auburn Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 17, 2010

Kentucky had a less-than-stellar outing tonight vs. Auburn in their second SEC road game of the season, pulling out a 72-67 victory over the 9-9 Tigers at Beard-Eaves-Memoiral Coliseum.

Leading the Cats was DeMarcus Cousins who recorded his ninth double-double of the season—16 points and 11 rebounds.

I was very surprised with the activity inside the paint tonight by the Wildcats. Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins combined to only shoot 12 shots while John Wall and Eric Bledsoe shot 16. UK had a serious advantage in the paint and did NOT take advantage of it as I would have hoped. The rebounding margin was only +5 for the Cats and should’ve been at least +15.

Notes

– Kentucky attempted 35 free throws against Auburn, tying the season-high set earlier this year against Cleveland State in Cancun.
– The Cats shot over 50% from the field for the 11th time this season
–  UK had four players—Wall, Bledsoe, Patterson, and Cousins—play 30+ minutes for the first time since November 25th against Stanford
– In their last 26 games against the Tigers, Kentucky is now 25-1
– The 9 offensive rebounds that Kentucky had tonight were the fewest of the season, marking the first time UK has posted single-diget offensive boards all season

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Kentucky vs. Auburn Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 16, 2010

On Saturday afternoon UK hosts an Auburn Tigers team that is coming off an embarassing 81-55 loss at Tennessee thursday night but looks to rebound with an upset of the undefeated Cats tomorrow.

Led by senior DeWayne Reed (16.1 ppg), the Tigers are already 0-2 in the SEC and have the same record against ranked opponents this season. Auburn not only will come into the game with only one full day’s rest but is extremely undersized, starting only one player taller than 6’6 where as UK starts three.

Kentucky has been playing great as of late, winning at Florida handily earlier this week and recent victories over Louisville and Georgia at home. One key for the Cats has been the increased level of play by UK “role players” like Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton, who each had great games against Florida.

When Kentucky can have players other than Wall, Patterson, and Cousins step up, especially underclassmen, it makes them 10x more dangerous because it makes them impossible to guard defensively because you simply can not stop 4-5 guys all at once for an extended period of time. It has been great to watch Eric Bledsoe take over games when the defenses are geared to stop John Wall because ironically it opens things up on the court for Wall.

Projected Starting Lineups

G — DeWayne Reed vs. John Wall
Advantage: John Wall, UK
Why: Wall will have the advantage in every matchup he plays this season because he has simply been the best player in the nation. His combination of speed, athleticsm, and diversity offensively have NBA scouts salivating and college basketball fans shaking their heads in amazement.

G — Tay Waller vs. Eric Bledsoe
Advantage: Eric Bledsoe, UK
Why: In a matchup of #24’s Bledsoe gets the advantage largely because of his supporting cast. Bledsoe can allow the game to come to him without rushing his game because his team is far superior skill-wise. Bledsoe is coming off a career-high 25 points as opposed to Waller’s 7 point outing against Tennessee

G — Frankie Sullivan vs. F — Darius Miller
Advantage: Darius Miller, UK
Why:
Miller at 6’7 as a gigantic height advantage over the 6’2 Sullivan and I’m sure Coach Cal will have several ways to implement this mismatch into the gameplan. I would be surprised if you don’t see a breakout game by Miller against an opponent that he can shoot without worry against and can drive the lane at will.

F — Lucas Hargrove vs. Patrick Patterson
Advantage: Patrick Patterson, UK
Why: Pattrson has been the premiere big man in the SEC for the past season now and he will have a severe advantage at the upsettingly undersized Hargrove. Patterson has about two inches and thiry pounds on Hargrove and should be fed in the post several times early to expose Auburn’s lack of size.
F — Johnnie Lett vs. C — DeMarcus Cousins
Advantage: DeMarcus Cousins
Why: Big Cuz too will have a size advantage because he stands nearly seven-feet tall and two-hundred sixty pounds. Cousins has dominated every single game this season when he stays out of foul trouble and against a player who is four inches shorter than himself he should be able to avoid foul trouble by simply standing tall.

Notable Facts

– Kentucky is 83-17 all-time against Auburn
– Kentucky has won 10 straight meetings and is 24-1 in the last 25 meetings
– The most single-game points Kentucky has scored against Auburn is 119 (119-76 win) in 1975
– Kentucky is 169-24 all-time when ranked #2 in the country with the last loss coming in the NCAA Tournament to UAB in 2004
– The last game Kentucky played against Auburn while ranked was an 81-73 win in 2005

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Cats In The League: 1/14/10

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 15, 2010

G, Rajon Rondo — (96-83 loss vs. Chicago Bulls)
41 minutes
15 Pts (6-14 FG, 0-1 3P, 3-7 FT)
3 Reb (2 Off)
7 Ast
3 Stl
5 TO

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Cats In The League: 1/13/10

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 14, 2010

G, Keith Bogans — (109-108 OT win vs. Oklahoma City Thunder)

28 minutes
4 Pts (1-8 FG, 1-3 3P, 1-2 FT)
3 Reb (1 Off)
1 Ast
1 Stl

F, Chuck Hayes — (120-114 3 OT win vs. Minnesota Timberwolves)

50 minutes
10 Pts (5-6 FG)
17 Reb (4 Off)
6 Ast
4 Stl
2 Blk
4 TO

G, Jodie Meeks — (120-108 loss vs. Portland Trail Blazers)
31 minutes
21 pts (9-17 FG, 3-7 3P)
4 Reb (2 Off)
2 Ast
1 Stl
1 TO

G, Rajon Rondo — (111-87 win vs. New Jersey Nets)
29 minutes
11 pts (5-7 FG, 0-1 3P, 1-2 FT)
1 Reb
14 Ast
1 Stl
3 TO

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2009-2010 College Basketball Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on April 7, 2009

Well the 2008-2009 season is over and I dont want to talk about who won the national championship so I feel like it’s a good time to release our preseason top 10 for next season. This is considering some players will be leaving that most likely will and I will state that in the write up of that team.

1. Villanova

Villanova loses only three players off of their Final Four team this season and adds perhaps the best recruiting class in the nation. Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson will be big losses but they add a 5-star power forward in Mouphtao Yarou and his high school teammate, a 4-star power forward in Isaiah Armwood. Not to mention signing one of the best shooting guards in the nation in 5-star swingman Dominic Cheek and not to mention also landing one of the top five point guards in the nation in Maalik Wayns, yet another 5-star player.

Junior guard Scottie Reynolds looks to be coming back for his senior season and if he does it looks like Nova will have perhaps the best backcourt in the country. Jay Wright knows how to coach guards and he will have plenty of them next season.

2. North Carolina

You kn0w what they say, they don’t rebuild, they reload. It looks like the Heels will lost perhaps their four best players but they simply fill those voids with underclassmen stepping up and by bringing in elite recruits each year. Next season the Tar Heels will replace Tyler Hansbrough with the emergence of Ed Davis and by signing 5-star big man John Henson, and 4-star twin bigs Travis and David Wear. 5-star point guard Dexter Strickland will help Larry Drew run point when Lawson leaves for the NBA and Leslie McDonald will try to fill the void of Danny Green and Wayne Ellington.

3. Syracuse

Syracuse, unlike the two teams above, returns all five starters to a team that made it to the Sweet 16 this season, as long as sophomore point guard Jonny Flynn returns for his junior season. Syracuse already has size, length, athleticism and will add even more of these things with the three players coming in next season.

Next season the Orange will have much more experience after going to the Big East championship game this season and making it through the first weekend in the NCAA Tournament.

4. Purdue

Purdue, like Syracuse, returns all five starters from a Sweet 16 team this past season. They already play very smart basketball and have as unselfish a team as you will find. Robbie Hummel, Chris Kramer, and E’Twaun Moore provide much needed quickness and versatility while JaJaun Johnson gives them perhaps the most athletic big man in the Big Ten.

Purdue is expected to build upon their Sweet 16 berth next season, maybe even to the Final Four.

5. Kansas

Many people have Kansas projected as the preseason #1 team in America for next season. Kansas, in my opinion, lacks a consistent perimeter scorer aside from Sherron Collins and that is what keeps them out of the top spot. If Collins returns, Kansas will also return all five starters. In fact, they will only lose a TOTAL of 8 points off their current roster, or 0.3% of their scoring from this season.

Kansas also has a 5-star point guard and a 5-star power forward coming in to add even more depth to a remarkably deep team. Kansas will be the Big 12 favorite hands down to begin next season.

6. Duke

Duke returns all five starters from the end of the season and will add two McDonald’s All-American big men to help Second Team All-ACC performer Kyle Singler down low. Duke will have experience around the perimeter with Jon Scheyer and perhaps Gerald Henderson if he returns for his senior season.

7. Washington

Although they lose two of their top three scorers from this season Washington will be a top 10 team. They bring in the #2 point guard in the country in Abdul Gaddy to go along with First Team Freshman All-American Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt, Quincy Pondexter on the wing, and freshman Clarence Trent and junior-to-be Matthew Bryan-Amaning in the post.

8. Kentucky

Although many people believe Kentucky will struggle next season I think they will do very well. Their current roster actually seems to be more well suited for Coach Cal’s system than with the former coach. Kentucky returns all five starters to a 19 win team and will add at least two of the top 50 players in the nation, and may add as many as three more 5-star players.

Realistically it looks like at least 1 of the top 3 players in the nation will be wearing a UK jersey and it will most likely be #1 power forward DeMarcus Cousins. Kentucky has as much length as anyone in the nation and will be able to run with teams and play their traditional tough defense to smother opponents.

9. Butler

Butler is the suprise team in the top 10 because they are the only non-power conference program in the rankings. Butler returns literally every player from a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament this season. Butler plays as mature and consistent as any team in the nation year in, year out and they will be a year better and a year smarter next season. They have size in Matt Howard and Gordan Hayward, perimeter scoring in Shelvin Mack and Zach Hahn, and amazing leadership in Willie Veasley and Avery Jukes

10. Louisville

Louisville loses a few key pieces from this season’s Elite Eight team, but can realistically replace them with this season’s role players. Seniors Terrence Williams and Andre McGee depart as well as junior Earl Clark for the NBA. Sophomore-to-be Samardo Samuels will have to step up his play for the Cards to be a factor but that is well within reach, especially under a Hall of Fame caliber coach like Rick Pitino. Peyton Siva will run point with Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa on the wings and Terrance Jennings, Samuels, and Rakeem Buckles will solidify the paint.

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Kentucky @ Alabama: Wrap Up

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 24, 2009

Kentucky started off their game this afternoon at Alabama very slowly, trailing the Tide by six points at halftime after playing arguably their worst 20 minutes of basketball of the year. They seemed to play with no sense of urgency and needed a wake up call before playing the second half.

That wake up call came with a halftime scare from Ramon Harris  that seemed to bring the entire team together for the second half.

After being down 25-19 at the half, UK exploded for 42 in the second half and pulled away from Bama down the stretch by forcing turnovers and hitting free throws. With the game tied with 6:00 to play, UK began a 16-6 run that closed the game. It was all started when a foul-plagued Patrick Patterson re-entered the game to aid Kentucky’s suspect rebounding in the second half.

Jodie Meeks again led the scoring attack for the Cats with a cool 27 points on 10-18 from the floor, including 3-5 from behind the arc. Perry Stevenson paced the Cats as well with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while DeAndre Liggins scored an inconsistent 11 points.

One key for the Wildcat victory was the elevation of the play of some of the key role players. Darius Miller, although he did not score, stuffed the stat sheet with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals while DeAndre Liggins had 11 points and 3 assists.

Although the Cats played perhaps their worst game in conference play thus far, they were still able to win a game on the road by double digits, a sign that has to put a smile on Coach Gillispie’s face. Even with the vocal leader of the team in unknown medical condition, the Cats were able to band together and outscore Bama by 16 in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE

According to Catspause.com’s Matt May, Ramon Harris has been released from a Tuscaloosa area hospital and is in stable condition after collapsing in the locker room at halftime. More coming later on his situation.

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UK vs. Miami (FL): Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on December 6, 2008

miamihurricanes1

Today Kentucky gets their first shot at a team that has, at one point in the season, been ranked. Miami (FL) is no longer ranked because a loss at Ohio State but do not let that fool you, they played the majority of the game without their best player, Jack McClinton, after McClinton felt it was necessary to punch a guy in the face and get himself ejected. Had he been in the game odds are they would have won so UK should look at Miami as a ranked opponent.

Miami is led by McClinton, who returns for the game, and Dwayne Collins, who is averaging 12.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Miami comes in pretty balanced scoring wise, having eight players averaging 6 ppg or more on the season as they are averaging 76 ppg this season as a team. Miami also has a highly recruited freshman out of New York named DeQuan Jones who, although he is averaging just 3.5 ppg, can really jump and could explode in a game.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The biggest thing Kentucky needs to do is to cut down on their turnover numbers. UK comes into this game leading the nation in turnovers per game with 22 tpg where as Miami is only averaging 13.2 tpg. With Michael Porter hurt, but still playing, look for DeAndre Liggins to start at point guard. Liggins, although turnover prone himself, does not throw the ball away as much as Porter, who commits about 3 tpg in only 18 mpg. Liggins helped lead the Cats to victories in Las Vegas over Kansas State and West Virginia with his big plays in the second half of those ball games. If UK can stay around even with Miami in terms of turnovers then we will have a good shot to win.

Another key will be to keep Patrick Patterson out of foul trouble. It seems as though in every game Patterson picks up two quick first half fouls and then has to sit for a long time and then will come in the second half and pick one up. Patterson is averaging less than 30 mpg. which is not good. With Miami having many guys that can come down low and score it is crucial that Patterson is in there to match them and to help prevent them from scoring. Patterson is the best player in the SEC and he will need to have an All-SEC performance today to help propel the Cats.

Prediction

I think that Gillispie is a very good coach, especially at putting the right lineups on the court at the perfect time and I think he does it again for the Cats. I think Patterson has a monster game and Meeks has another 18-22 point performance in helping the Cats to a 72-65 win over the Hurricanes. One very important factor will be the point guard play. I assume Liggins and Galloway will again get major minutes and with them both being new players to the program it is crucial that they play smart.

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