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November 25th, 2014

Nine notes from something that’s becoming unbelievable

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

I mean, what can you say? For the sixth game in a row, Kentucky steamrolled their opponent and looked pretty much invincible. Behind strong defense, guard play, and a couple of hot-handed freshmen, the Cats took care of business before Thanksgiving break, rolling UT-Arlington 92-44. Let’s break down every beautiful second.

Once again, it was a balanced affair

Platoons promote balance, and so far this season, it’s worked. Tonight, six Cats scored in double figures, and no Cats played more than 21 minutes. To Cal, that says it all. “The story is you have ten guys sharing minutes. That’s the whole story,” Cal said. “Why is that happening? Because they’re allowing it to happen. Is anybody being hurt by this? No.”

There were some tweaks with the platoons, but Calipari said that’s because he told the players to sub out their teammates if they weren’t playing with energy. “Now, they must respect the minutes they’re getting,” Cal said. “If not, they’re going to get less because the guy on the bench is just going to go in for him, say I’m not giving you minutes if you’re not going to play. Compete. Quit being tentative. Play hard, or I’m going back in.”

© Mark Zerof

© Mark Zerof

Karl Towns finally had the complete game he’s been looking for

Karl Towns has been impressive on defense so far this season, but we’ve yet to see him show off his skills on offense like he did in the Bahamas. Towns recorded his first career double-double tonight, with 13 points off perfect 5-5 shooting from the floor and 11 rebounds. He also had four assists, three blocks, and a steal. Maybe the most impressive part? He did that all in 17 minutes. “Karl really played better today,” Cal said. “But now he’s missing free throws.” Something tells me you’ll see KAT in the gym late tonight.

“We don’t see each other as a basketball team,” Karl said on the radio after the game. “We look at each other as a family. Willie, Dakari, they are my brothers.”

Devin Booker’s hands are still red hot

After going 1-for-11 from behind the arc in the first three games, Devin Booker has been on fire, shooting 12-of-17 from three-point land in the past three games. Booker led all scorers for the second game in a row, with 19 points, including five threes. In the first half, he had just as many points as the entire UT-Arlington team. Even more, Calipari said that Devin’s buying in on defense, which has changed his game completely.

Most surprising stat of the night: Dakari’s free throw shooting

Coming into the game, Dakari was 12-25 from the free throw line. Tonight, he was 12-14. What was the difference? Maybe it was the Yip Lady, or maybe it was some cold hard truth from Cal. “I’m happy for him, he does want to play and he knows I’m not playing him at the end of the game if he can’t make free throws,” Cal said. Whatever it was, it worked. Keep it up, Dakari.

Josh Hopkins was the Y, and it was great

A dream fulfilled.

Even sick, Alex found a way to help

Tonight was Alex Poythress’ first game back from illness, but you could tell he was still under the weather. “Alex was sick today, you knew he was going to struggle,” Cal said after the game. Even so, Poythress pulled down nine rebounds and had four blocks and four points, and seemed to come to life a little bit in the second half. The three spot is really the only one still in flux on both platoons, but at least that gives us something to nitpick.

UT Arlington’s coach is like the voice inside our head

After the game, UT-Arlington’s head coach Scott Cross joked that, for his squad, at least it was “all downhill from here.” Cross said it was impossible to prepare for UK’s size, even if he made his guys stand on chairs. Then, he said the little thing we’re all thinking but still too scared to say.

“I think it is very possible for them to go undefeated,” Cross said. “The way they’re playing right now, I find it hard to believe that anybody could beat them right now.”

I think that calls for some dunks.

How can you not root for this?

As I said earlier, I’m not sure there are words for what we’re seeing this team do right now. Defensively, this is something special, and tonight, Calipari said they can still be better. “This team has a chance to be one of those teams you talk about defensively – like of all-time, if they choose to be,” Cal told reporters. Let’s take a minute to sit and appreciate that.

The best part is the stuff you won’t hear from many national writers: this perfect storm is happening because the players want it to. “In this day and age, every one of these kids has pro aspirations and pro potential, and they’re draftable players, and they’re doing this for each other. This is crazy,” Cal said. “In our society, where everybody talks about the me and mine and narcissism and all that, why wouldn’t you root for this to happen and be good?”

No really, how can you not root for this?


Watch the highlights from the W

Well that was fun.


No one has ever loved being the ‘Y’ more than Josh Hopkins

@ukphotogs

Hey Josh… Best moment ever or BEST MOMENT EVER????


Listen to the KSR postgame show

It was an all-around great performance tonight from the boys in white as the Cats coasted past the UT Arlington Mavericks to close out the Cawood Classic and pre-Thanksgiving basketball. Now all that’s left to do is talk about it, and I have just the place for you.

Tune in to the KSR postgame show on 630 WLAP in Lexington or 840 WHAS in Louisville.  You can also tune in via the iHeartRadio app right here.

It should get started soon. Discuss below.


Devin Booker is on fire in his last three games

devin-booker

It’s safe to say Devin Booker found his stroke from outside. After beginning the season 1-for-11 through his first three games, Booker settled in, got his feet right and has hit 12-of-17 from downtown.

That’s quite a turnaround:

First three games: .090%
Last three games: .706%

So all you fans out there who worried Booker couldn’t shoot when he was colder than a polar bear’s balls, feel free to apologize in the comments section.

booker-stats2


UK’s halftime lead was its largest since the LSU beatdown of ’96

Kentucky’s 55-12 halftime lead over the Mavericks was its largest halftime lead since 1996 and the second-largest in UK history. That ’96 team took an unbelievable 86-42 lead into the break on the road against LSU in Baton Rouge in the 13th-highest scoring half of college basketball ever.

Remember that? It was wild:


UT Arlington’s Coach Cross on UK and the possibility of 40-0

scott-cross

“Obviously that was a tough one for us,” UT Arlington head coach Scott Cross said after the game. “They play the game the right way. That’s what’s really impressive. All of those McDonald’s All-Americans playing together, it’s really impressive what Coach Cal gets them to do.”

Cross joked about his team’s inability to simulate playing against a team like the Wildcats. He said he could’ve had his players stand on chairs in practice and still not replicate the size they saw tonight in Kentucky.

It is very possible they could go undefeated,” said Cross, when asked about UK potentially going 40-0. “If they play the way they did, together, they’re not going to lose.”

He believes it would take a really poor shooting night from Kentucky, and even then it would have to be a powerhouse opponent to knock them off.

“I find it hard for them to be beat if they playing the way they’re playing right now.”


Watch the postgame press conference


Kentucky 92, UT Arlington 44

arlington-box


Cats roll UT-Arlington 92-44

Another day, another blowout win. The Cats rolled UT-Arlington 92-44 tonight behind strong performances from Karl Towns, Devin Booker, and Dakari Johnson. Devin Booker led all scorers with 19 points, including five threes, and the Cats held the Mavericks to 27% shooting, another strong defensive showing.

And yes, Yip Lady was there and she yipped. A lot.

More coming all night. Until then, enjoy Calipari dancing.


UK vs. UT-Arlington LIVE BLOG

Live Blog UK vs. UT-Arlington
 


Look who’s also in the building…

@cutler18

Rex Champan. Hopefully this means he’s doing better these days.


Patrick Towles says no red jerseys at the facility this week

@JohnWDRB

A short football note before we get back to basketball: Patrick Towles just finished up his comments to the media at the Nutter Field House, and came in wearing his blue #14 jersey rather than the traditional red non-contact jersey he sports during practice.

Why? Towles said the quarterbacks decided to ban red jerseys from the facility leading up to Saturday’s showdown with the dirty birds. “No red in the building this week,” Towles said.

Just another reason to love this kid. Get ‘em, Patrick.


Doug Shows is in the house

shows_doug

Tonight’s officials are Doug Shows, Lamar Simpson, and Sean Casey. In the Calipari era, the Cats are 25-8 in games Shows has officiated. Shows is notorious for calling technicals on Calipari, although I doubt tonight’s game will get that contentious.


These Harrison Twins earrings want tonight’s over/unders

BBN, what will you think of next? Tonight’s game will probably be another blowout, so let’s entertain ourselves by setting some over/unders:

1. Points scored by Kentucky: 85.5

2. Points scored by UT-Arlington: 38.5

3. Yips by Yip Lady: 6.5

4. Derek Willis minutes: 5.5

5. Blocks: 9.5

6. Number of times Matt says “you’re exactly right” on the pregame show: 2.5

7. Dunks: 11.5

8. Blue Platoon points: 33.5

9. Missed free throws: 10.5

10. Brian Long points: 0.5

Let’s hear it.