It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to look back and →
By Stuart Hammer on ©4:00 pm
Today is Friday and that means it’s time for Friday Roland Ratings Review, a semi-weekly post that will recap and breakdown the Kentucky Wildcats basketball players by examining the +/- stat. If you’re not familiar with the plus-minus, it’s pretty simple: the number represents the team’s net point differential when the player is on the floor compared to when he is not. If a player has a positive value, it means the team scored more points when he was the floor, and a negative value means the opposite. If you want to read more about the stats, take a look at the original post from early in the season.
Last time it was Julius Randle taking the crown for top Roland Rating average through Kentucky’s first four games (+18), but Aaron Harrison was a close second (+15), and Andrew Harrison was third (+13). In total, four different players were the Roland Rating leaders in each of the first four games, meaning the team is spreading the wealth. That’s a good sign.
It was close at the start, and that’s about all this game was good for. James Young led the scoring with 26 points, but it was Andrew Harrison and his 15 points and 6 assists that took the +/- lead. They both logged 29 minutes but in the time Harrison was off the floor, the Cats struggled much more than they did without Young, hence the significant gap. Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins each contributed solid minutes, so ignore their low scores. One downfall of this statistic is that it is overly critical of role players.
Once again the leading scorer isn’t the top contributor to the team. Julius Randle paced the offensive output with a staggering 15 points and 15 rebounds, however Willie Cauley-Stein was the +/- leader thanks to his 11 points to go along with 4 blocks. There is a 20-point differential in points allowed between Randle’s time on the floor and Cauley-Stein’s, signaling that defense was the key factor in separating the two. Cauley-Stein’s 30-minute contribution helped the Cats pull away from the Vikings in the 2nd half and in turn, ease the nerves of Big Blue Nation.
Aaron Harrison scored 22 points and added 7 rebounds and 2 assists, but finished fifth-best on the team in terms of Roland Rating. Are we sensing a trend? Right now it’s all about defense. That is the difference. And James Young played much better defensively despite being silenced on the offensive end. This UK squad has talent all over the floor and more than half-a-dozen players could be the leading scorer on any given night. But it’s the D that is key to victory.
For the second set of games no one player dominated across the board. Andrew Harrison, Cauley-Stein, and Young each finished atop the charts, and while this example does have an arbitrary endpoint, the idea that this team is distributing the load across the entire team and not relying solely on one or two players remains true.
We’ll hold the Providence data for next time and group it together with more of the games against similar competition. Until then, watch the development of this team when they don’t have the ball. We’ve seen they can score points and as a team stay out of foul trouble, and that gets them more than halfway to the Promised Land. But once the defense kicks it up a notch it’ll truly be lights out.
By Dustin Rumbaugh on ©3:42 pm
Coach O’s old crew would’ve just put on a helmet and some skates and tipped off.
Marshall County High School Athletic Director Jeff Stokes sent an email out to media just moments ago cancelling tonight’s Marshall County Hoop Fest games. Tomorrow’s games are up in the air pending whatever mother nature drops on the Bluegrass tonight.
The cancellations shouldn’t create too much of a problem for UK fans wanting to see future players and prospects, especially considering most would have stayed home for the UK-Baylor game anyways. If the show goes on tomorrow, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Montaque Gill-Caesar, Miles Bridges, Dallas Prime Prep, Christ Presbyterian and Ballard all have games later in the afternoon on Saturday. Fingers crossed.
At least I’ll be traveling away from the storm as I head back to my nice warm house (sorry Benton Inn, rain check). Braving ice storms in the name of UK basketball? I’m reminded of Calipari’s famous words: “[Covering] Kentucky basketball isn’t for everyone.” I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.
*900 hundred mile ice cold fist bump to the boys in Dallas*
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
The celebration from 2012 is long gone but it can live on forever inside your home or office with this 2012 Final Four print from Stadium Frame. The 34×24 framed photo is matted with coins and features a shot of the Superdome court just after the final buzzer sounded to end Kentucky’s magical 2011-12 season. Go to www.Final4Prints.com to purchase the print you see here OR get one that includes a piece of the Final Four floor, signed by John Calipari. The finished framed size is approximately 13″ x 16″ with a 6″ x 8″ photo of the celebration and 2″ x 4″ piece of the floor.
Happy Friday, folks. We are approximately seven hours from the tip of Kentucky/Baylor in Cowboys Stadium, and the roads are still a mess here in Dallas. Before I try to figure out how to get there, let’s go over some notes from this cold, cold gameday.
The game will go on
Despite the dangerous weather, the game operations staff at Cowboys Stadium says that because all four teams and the game officials are in town, both the men’s and women’s games will be played tonight as scheduled. Hooray!
Baylor will also wear fancy new uniforms tonight
You’ve already seen Kentucky’s unis for tonight. Here are the ones Baylor will wear:
Cal watched Myles Turner last night
An ice storm wasn’t enough to stop John Calipari from doing a little recruiting while in Dallas. Cal and Orlando Antigua watched Myles Turner put up 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 blocks, alongside Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy and assistants from Texas and Duke. 247Sports Composite’s 4th best player in the 2014 class confirmed that his list is down to Texas, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Ohio State. The 6’11″ 225 lbs. Turner plans to decide this spring, and could be one of the two players Calipari was referring to when he said he wanted to sign two more players in the 2014 class.
The ice storm is starting to hit Lexington
Winter Storm Cleon is about to hit Lexington, and in preparation, UK has canceled classes from 3 p.m. on. In addition, the NCAA Volleyball Tournament First and Second Rounds, hosted by UK at Memorial Coliseum, have been rescheduled for tomorrow and Sunday. Here’s the revised schedule:
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2:30 p.m. ET: Ohio vs. Michigan State
Saturday, Dec. 7, 5 p.m. ET: Duquesne vs. Kentucky
Sunday, Dec. 8, 4 p.m. ET: Second-Round TBD
If that’s not bad enough, Friday’s games at the Marshall County Hoops Fest have also been canceled. We’ll let you know more about tomorrow’s schedule as we know it.
Luckily, there’s plenty of UK sports on the radio and TV to keep you entertained while you wait out the storm. Here’s the schedule for today’s events (all times Eastern):
7:30 p.m.: UK Hoops vs. Baylor (TV: none; Internet: ESPN3; Radio: WLAP)
9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: The KSR Pregame show featuring Ryan Lemond (Radio: WLAP)
10:00 p.m.: Kentucky vs. Baylor (TV: ESPN)
Take a nap or stock up on some Diet Coke, because it’s gonna be a long day.
Finally, on today’s show, Matt and Drew talked about their trek to Dallas, the ice storm, and previewed tonight’s game. It was so fun that Drew took his clothes off.
By Drew Franklin on ©2:15 pm
Posted in Main
Listen here, folks. I’ve been really excited about this since playing (and losing) my first DraftStreet contest early in the college football season. It’s KSR’s first COLLEGE BASKETBALL fantasy free roll with Draft Street, meaning we can all pick Julius Randle and hope our other players have big games to help him out. It’s going to be a lot of fun and someone, hopefully me, will win money and bragging rights over everyone else.
Here’s how it works…
Head over to DraftStreet.com and create an account (if you haven’t already) and join our league. (You can do that by clicking here.) The one-night competition starts Friday night at 7:00 p.m. EST, so get to it. Once you’re in, you will draft an eight-man team from a pool of 74 players participating in games that night. The price of each player varies based on projections, with Randle being the most expensive player available because of course he is.
The top 50 fantasy players in the KSR league will split a $500 prize pool, paid in vouchers to dominate other cash-paying leagues. The first place winner (again, hopefully me) will receive a $109 voucher, followed by $22 to second through 10th place and $5 to the remaining players ranked 50th or better.
If you’re like me, fantasy college basketball sounds too good to be true; but it really exists thanks to our friends at DraftStreet.com and I think it is going to be a lot of fun. I look forward to flaunting my winnings in your face on Saturday.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:00 pm
Whoops…sorry, old habits…
That’s more like it. Happy birthday to Sam Malone! The UK walk-on will celebrate his big day with a big game in Cowboys Stadium tonight. Last night, the team visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library, and Sam had a pretty great tweet about it:
Bush library was great. Confirmed that W is the man. Solid handshake, great breath, 3 or 4 genuinely funny jokes, and swag through the roof
— Sam Malone (@SamMaloneuk13) December 6, 2013
If having great breath makes you cool, consider me Miles Davis.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:00 pm
Tonight, the Cats take on Baylor for the third time in three seasons, with the Bears taking last year’s game in Rupp, 64-55. But, it’s a new year, so let’s get to the guys the Cats will face off against in Jerry’s World later today:
#34 Cory Jefferson
Forward, Junior, 6-9 / 220
PPG 13.5, RPG 8.8, BPG 1.4
On the court: Jefferson leads the team in points and rebounds, and will likely face off against Julius Randle down low. This, along with Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Isaiah Austin, will be the crucial matchup in the game. Randle likes challenges, and it’s his homecoming, so I look for a big game from him tonight.
Off the court:
Ring Mee!! The first ring I actually can say that I at least earned.. pic.twitter.com/swrMMcxRrx
— Cory Jefferson (@CoryJay34) September 18, 2013
Sports his NIT Championship ring proudly.
#21 Isaiah Austin
Center, Sophomore, 7-1 / 225
PPG 10.5, RPG 4.9, BPG 3.3
On the court: The 7-footer with the wacky rec specs leads the team in blocks, and still isn’t fully recovered from the shoulder surgery he had in the offseason. Regardless, Willie Cauley-Stein will have his hands full in the post, and will need to continue to play well to give the Cats an inside presence.
Off the court: Austin chose Baylor over Kentucky, and likes to talk smack: Kentucky is not better than us in any way, shape or form.”
Also likes to diss his girlfriend’s driving skills:
#1 Kenny Chery
Point Guard, Junior, 5-11 / 180
PPG 10.8, RPG 2.3, APG 4.9
On the court: The JUCO transfer will have the task of guarding Andrew Harrison. Harrison will have the upper hand if Baylor goes man-to-man, but how Kentucky does against Chery and the zone will depend on whether or not they hit their shots from the outside. Chery hits 90% of his free throw shots, so watch those hands, Andrew.
Off the court: Doesn’t need an alarm clock.
No alarm clock needed, my passion wakes me up!
— Kenny Chery (@KChery1) October 18, 2013
#4 Gary Franklin
Guard, Senior, 6-2 / 190
PPG 8.1, RPG 2.1, APG 2.9
On the court: Franklin is another veteran guard who can hit it from the outside, shooting 47.1% from the outside.
Off the court: Took this picture with former Baylor star Brittney Griner at her going away party:
Also thinks he’s playing Kansas tonight:
Good Morning everyone tune in today to see us take on KU
— Gary Franklin (@G4orceFranklin) December 6, 2013
#00 Royce O’Neale
Forward, Junior, 6-6 / 220
PPG 7.8, RPG 3.5, APG 3.4
On the court: O’Neale is 72.7% from the outside. Good grief.
Off the court: Owns more American flag gear than Aaron Flener and Kristin Geil combined.
OFF THE BENCH:
Brady Heslip will come off the bench for Baylor. I don’t know about you, but to me, it feels like he’s been at Baylor for about a hundred years. Heslip is the best 3-point shooter in Baylor history, hitting 52% from behind the arc this season. In fact, 26 of his 31 made field goals this year are 3-pointers. Kentucky’s perimeter defense has been suspect this season, and shutting down Heslip will be crucial.
What matchup are you looking most forward to tonight?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©12:30 pm
Last night I heard that only 10,000-11,000 tickets have been sold to tonight’s game, and because of the weather, the crowd will be even more sparse. However, if you’re a Baylor student, you apparently can get a free ticket to the game from the Baylor ticket office.
Free tickets to a double-header in Cowboys Stadium? Wow.
By Not Jerry Tipton on ©12:00 pm
The 2013-14 season is here, and Kentucky will spend the entirety of it trying to atone for the disaster was the 2012-13 season. John Calipari’s team is trying to do something that no team in the history of college basketball has ever done: Win a national championship relying primarily on 6 freshmen who were McDonald’s All Americans. With a disappointing loss to Michigan State, the team will fail to reach its ultimate goal of perfect season, and will instead try to console itself with a national title. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Sabotage: On Monday, John Calipari announced on Twitter that he had a long telephone conversation with former president Bill Clinton. Bad move, coach. The conservative sector of Big Blue Nation was incensed, confused and betrayed, wondering why Coach Cal would want to consort with a Democrat like Clinton. Then, apparently not content with angering just half the UK fanbase, he alienated the other half later that day by announcing that the Kentucky team would be visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas on Friday prior to the team’s game against Baylor that night. This raised the ire of the liberal UK fans, who were furious that their coach would choose to patronize an institution dedicated to a Republican like Bush. You can question Calipari’s judgment, but you can’t question his efficiency. In just a few short hours, he forced every Cat fan on the planet to hate him. Conspiracy theorists will wonder if this was intentional. With the annual “Cal to the NBA” rumors surfacing, is the wily coach just greasing the skids for his inevitable exit to the Knicks? Well played, Coach Cal.
*Make Some Noise: Last week, UK sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds and 8 blocks per game. However, he failed to win SEC Player of the Week. Instead, the honor was shared by Florida’s Casey Prather (23 points and 5 rebounds per game) and Mississippi State’s Craig Sword (18 points and 1 assist per game). Obviously, in order for UK to reach its goals, WCS has to play to his full potential. However, as long as his career best efforts (such as the 15 points, 8 rebounds and 9 blocks he posted vs. Providence) don’t even garner consideration as the SEC’s best, this team is a long way from realizing its dreams. When Cauley-Stein is overshadowed by a little-known guard who scored 12 points in one game and had 0 assists in the other game, things must change for the Cats. Quite simply, if he can’t post better numbers than 15/8/8, then title #9 will remain a pipe dream.
*So What’cha Want: Last week, Aaron Harrison was named SEC Freshman of the Week. This does not bode well for Kentucky. Basketball, of course, is a team game. But as long one player is collecting accolades like this at the expense of his fellow Wildcats, UK will not reach its goals. This Kentucky team has a roster full of highly touted freshmen, all of whom were more than likely perturbed when they learned that one of their teammates was hogging all the headlines. Maybe this is why Julius Randle’s streak of double-doubles finally came to an end against Providence Sunday. Not convinced yet? Consider the evidence. NONE of the players who won SEC Freshman of the Week last year has ever played in a Final Four. Good luck reversing that historical trend, Kentucky.
* On this date: On this date in 2011, Kentucky had just come off a last second win over North Carolina and was preparing to travel to Bloomington to face Indiana. It was IU’s biggest game in a decade and UK’s biggest game in a week.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:30 am
Ready to hear the most Kentucky giveaway ever? UK Hoops will give one lucky fan who attends their game against #2 Duke on December 22nd at Rupp Arena a stake in a racehorse. The winning fan will have the chance to be a part owner of a 3-year-old filly named Patinka, receive 10% of her winnings, and be able to travel to at least two of her races.
Fans who attend the game will receive one numbered card per person as their ticket is scanned upon entry. The winning card will be randomly drawn in the second half of the game. The winner must be present with his or her card to win a chance to be a part owner of a 3-year-old filly named Patinka. The winner will receive 10 percent of the owner’s winnings from any of Patinka’s races from Jan. 1, 2014 until Dec. 31, 2014 and also will receive travel expenses for two to at least one of Patinka’s races. The lucky winner will also be able to meet Patinka this winter before the 2014 race season at Dr. Brown’s farm in Versailles, Ky. Brown’s late wife, Christine, was Patinka’s breeder and cared for the filly through a difficult birth.
Sounds like a great deal to me. Tickets are still available at the Joe Craft Center ticket office, UKathletics.com, via the UK ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS, or www.ticketmaster.com (1-800-745-3000).
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:00 am
The sleet/freezing rain/ice moved in overnight here in Dallas, leaving the city in an absolute panic. There’s about two inches of icy slush caked on the roads, and because the people in Texas don’t understand how to handle such things, they’ve dubbed the event “Ice-Maggedon.” 268,000 people in the Dallas area are without power, but fortunately, the power and the heat are on here at the Hilton Arlington, where I’m camped out for the next two days. According to NBC5′s Pat Doney, the conditions are even worse than they were for the ice storm during the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in 2011. The intrepid reporter that I am, I ventured out into the parking lot a little bit ago to bring you the latest:
Doesn’t seem like a huge deal, right? While our parking lot may not seem that bad, the majority of the interstates around the Dallas downtown area are elevated, and because there’s probably one snow plow in the entire region, the road crews are just leaving them as is, or scattering some sand on them.
Pat Doney shared this picture of 2″ of ice slush:
Luckily, I’m only three miles from the stadium, so I’ll be there tonight, even if I have to strap on a pair of ice skates. (I can’t ice skate.)
After a long day of travel in the air and on the roads, the KSR crew has safely arrived in Dallas for tonight’s game against Baylor. Tune in to hear Matt and Drew recount their adventures and get you ready for the big double-header. Judging by the snapchats I received yesterday, there are some pretty entertaining stories to share.
Join in the fun and give them a call at (502) 571-1080.
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By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:23 am
The team visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library last night in Dallas, and like proper guests, brought a gift. Check out the jersey the team brought for former President George W. Bush. It’s the second jersey the Cats have given to a President after Calipari gave President Obama a few years back.
How’s that for bipartisanship?
By Bryan the Intern on ©9:10 am
By now, you’ve likely heard Matt’s interview with Mark Stoops on yesterday’s show. Lots of great stuff from the head coach but I was particularly interested in 2 things: that Stoops says it is possible that Kentucky will hold 5 quarterbacks on roster next season and that it is possible Drew Barker could start Game 1 next year. Both of those little nuggets tell me 1 thing: Kentucky has a shaky QB situation, likely not much better than we saw this year. Which doesn’t mean it can’t work. Plenty of teams have had “game managing” QB’s able to lead their team to victories. But you have to have very good players around you. And Kentucky just didn’t this season.
What it makes me wonder is what will the offense look like next season? Because the QB situation will be similar, and Kentucky seems to be bringing in some very good running backs, giving that position maybe the most depth on the team. Just for a perspective, here is what the RB position could look like:
BRAYLON HEARD (JR-Transfer): 5-star transfer from Nebraska
DYSHAWN MOBLEY (JR): 300 yards in 2013, 143 yards against Tennessee
JO JO KEMP (SO): 482 yards in 2013, led team in rushing
BOOM WILLIAMS (FR): 4-star recruit
MIKEL HORTON (FR): 4-star recruit
That is 5 quality running backs. Who knows just how good the 2 new freshman will be, but it appears they could at least have as much impact as JoJo Kemp had this year. And that’s pretty good.
But of course we know that Neal Brown’s offense is generally a more pass happy offense. It is a misperception that the running game is ignored, but I think there is no doubt they ran the ball more often this season than normal in a Brown offense. But he did what he had to do to try and win games. And frankly, Kentucky had zero chance winning by throwing the ball often. Even less a chance than the way they actually called the game.
The problem is fans like passing. They loved Tim Couch and Andre Woodson and Jared Lorenzen slinging the ball around the field. They didn’t like Bill Curry running the option. And when Neal Brown came in, the thought would be the offense would become more exciting. The way I see it though, the roster might be more suited for a run-heavy game next season. Yes, maybe Drew Barker comes in and stars from the beginning, but that’s very unlikely. Even the top QB’s in the country struggle as freshman.
So what should the offense do next season? Assuming running back is the best position, should the offense be much like it was this year and more run heavy? And let’s hope UK just does it better. Or, should you go with the offense you want to run, throw the ball more and take your chances? I think coming into the 2014 season it will be the #1 question for that team. Who will play QB and what kind of offense will we see? As a fan, what do you want to see?