(click to enlarge) It’s been a rough few weeks in the Big Blue Nation, so →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:30 am
Over the weekend, we told you about Patrick Patterson’s sprained elbow, which will sideline him for the next week or so. Injury aside, Patterson has found a home in Toronto, flourishing with the Raptors and becoming a beloved figure in the community. Raptors Cage’s Victoria Nguyen wrote a nice profile of Patterson, whom she calls “the unsung hero Toronto deserves”:
Patterson has been playing the best basketball of his career. He has been averaging 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds since he was traded to Toronto from Sacramento last December. The power forward takes more shots and shoots at a significantly higher percentage as a Raptor than he did as a King. He is shooting 49.2 per cent from the field and a career-high 43.9 per cent from beyond the arc. His true shooting percentage is 57.3 per cent, up from the 45.7 per cent he posted in 17 games in Sacramento this season.
As Kentucky fans, we know all about Patterson’s great sense of humor, and he told Nguyen that he wrote the league a “very, extremely convincing” letter to get them to let him wear the “Batman” mask after he displaced his nose, which has led to his new nickname, “Patman.” In fact, Patrick has embraced his new moniker so much that he’s getting his teammate Nando De Colo to wear a mask and be his Robin: “De Colo is going to be my Robin. He’s got a crazy mask I’m about to bust out for everybody.”
He’s even posted this logo on Instagram:
Get well soon, Patman.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:55 am
Good morning, friends. Today, Matt and Drew are in Asheville, North Carolina, where they watched the Wofford Terriers beat Western Carolina in the SoCon conference finals last night on the last stop of the Fox Sports road trip. Now, it’s time to turn our sights to Atlanta for the SEC Tournament and see whether or not this “tweak” Calipari mentioned last night will make a difference.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
– The tweak
– Practice in football pads and helmets
– Much more…
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By Bryan the Intern on ©9:00 am
There is no doubt that John Calipari changed the entire mentality of the Kentucky basketball program when he was hired in 2009. And rightfully so. The program had grown incredibly stale at the end of the Tubby Smith tenure and then became a stale embarrassment under Billy Gillispie. Calipari made the program cool again. Started with John Wall and went for 3 amazing seasons. But the last 2 years have shown us the negative side of that mentality. And I am sure that John Calipari would admit that now. When his style of recruiting doesn’t work out, it’s about as difficult to watch as any kind of Tubby-ball. We have no connection to these players because they haven’t been here long enough. So when they lose, and do so in an ugly way, it become extra difficult.
But hey, that is the program we’ve accepted. We take the Final Four and national championship. We’ve got to take the negative sides as well. There is no playing both sides. Let’s be honest: Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie were NEVER going to win another national title at Kentucky. Never. John Calipari did that. And I know I have accepted that. I’d rather take the risk of the last 2 seasons to have a chance to win the national title again. John Calipari did that.
But yesterday’s comments about pushing kids to the NBA draft really confuses me. It is becoming clear to me that the succes of the Kentucky basketball program, and by success I mean wins and losses, is not John Calipari’s top concern. He said so yesterday. He has said many times that his top goal is to improve kid’s lives. They are his top priority. And if wins come with it, then great. And if they don’t but kids still get to the NBA, then so be it. But I also think after yesterday, John Calipari showed a little hypocrisy that needs to be questioned. So, if I could ask Coach Cal just 1 question, it would be this:
If your top concern as UK basketball coach is to “do what is in the kid’s best interest”, how is pushing/accepting/approving of a kid who wants to go in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft in that kid’s best interest?
I truly do not understand that mentality that was vocalized by Calipari yesterday, and has been generally said over the last 5 years. I would imagine that a 50-something grown man with 30 years basketball experience, at both the college and pro level, would have a better idea of what it takes to make it in the NBA than an 18-year old kid with 1 year of college experience. So how can our coach justify that telling a kid who wants to be drafted in the 2nd round that it is OK to leave AND actually have his approval? Wouldn’t a truly responsible coach tell that kid what a GUARANTEED contract is all about and convince that kid that if he came back 1 more season he could improve his game and earn that guaranteed money?
Because here is the fact if you are a fan of UK: When Calipari approves of a kid leaving who is just a 2nd round prospect, he is hurting the next team’s success. We didn’t see it when Deandre Liggins or Daniel Orton left because the next group was so talented. If either of the Harrisons go to the draft, it is unlikely they will be 1st round picks. So they will have no guaranteed money and Kentucky will be worse next year without them. But Cal just said that if the Harrisons came and said they were fine with being 2nd round picks, he would be fine with accepting their departure. I don’t get that.
I am nowhere close to giving up support for John Calipari. He might be the most perfect fit for this program we have ever seen and completely saved the program in 2009. But at some point the question must be asked if the wins and losses this program sustains are his main concern. I have no doubt that losing 9 games (and more) has completely strssed him this year and it shows in his behavior and in his face. But will that angst go away if UK has 3 guys drafted in the 1st round and 2 more in the 2nd round? I hope not but I am no longer sure.
It’s time again for KSR’s Top Tweets of the day–”boring Monday before the SEC Tournament edition.” You can participate in our top-10 countdown by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTopTen or by simply tweeting @KySportsRadio. We will focus most of our attention on Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as per usual, there are no limits to our madness.
#10 Boring Jabari Parker
The orange I've just eaten was really easy to peel. I hope all the other oranges in the bag are just as easy to peel.
— Boring Jabari Parker (@BoringJabari) March 10, 2014
Think I’ve found my new favorite parody account.
#9 Ashley Judd
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) March 10, 2014
Nail, meet hammer.
#8 Jason Oaks
— Jason Oaks (@Blood_runs_blue) March 10, 2014
#7 Davey Rudolph
— Davey Rudolph (@DaveyRudolphKSR) March 11, 2014
That explains it–Rondo has lived and died on the same cheat code for years.
#6 CeCe Jefferson
— Just Call Me Carl.. (@cecejeferson7) March 10, 2014
Why not get 5 star guys?
#5 Jennifer Hale
— Jennifer Hale (@JenHale504) March 11, 2014
This young stud was destined for GQ
#4 Milwaukee Bucks
BRANDON KNIGHT JUST THREW DOWN SOMETHING NASTY!!! #MILvORL
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 11, 2014
Gonna be honest–have a hard time believing any Buck just threw down something nasty.
And apparently it’s the 1 year anniversary of the DeAndre Jordan throwdown on Knight–whodathunkit?
#3 Devin Booker
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) March 10, 2014
#2 Colton Covington
— Colton Covington (@C_Cov) March 11, 2014
Get Bugs on the phone.
#1 John Robic’s Hair
OK Big Blue Nation: I told you that I did the team's hair – here is a sneak peak! Great looking guys huh?! pic.twitter.com/zZPBAawLXZ
— John Robic's Hair (@JohnRobicsHair) March 10, 2014
A Robic tweak perhaps?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:00 pm
Let’s end the day on a good note: happy birthday to Anthony Davis, who turns the ripe old age of 21 on Tuesday. In his second year in the NBA, Davis has blossomed into a bonafide star, leading the league in blocked shots (2.9 per game), placing 10th in rebounding (10.1), and 16th in scoring (20.1). We all knew Davis was a special player during his time at Kentucky, but I’m not sure any of anticipated he would rise so high so quickly. On Sunday night, Davis tallied a career-high 32 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 blocks in the Pelicans’ win over the Denver Nuggets, and in the last three games, he’s averaging 29.6 points, 15.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 3 blocks, a blistering pace for a player who is just now able to legally order a drink in a bar. He’s surpassed 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game 22 times this season, and has 30 double-doubles. I mean, just look at this dunk from Friday night:
It’s almost painful to think that Davis would just be a junior at UK this season, and leading up to the All-Star game a few weeks ago, he admitted to Bill Simmons that he sometimes wishes he had come back a second year. As this season goes on, it’s becoming more and more apparently just how special Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were as freshmen, with maturity, competitiveness, and skill beyond their years. Just writing this has me reaching for the remote to watch the 2012 Championship game all over again.
Happy 21st, Anthony. Turn off the cartoons and go party.
And now, on with the news…
Kentucky falls out of both polls
Even though we knew it was coming, seeing Kentucky fall out of both the AP and Coaches’ Poll was not fun on Monday. It’s the fourth time a preseason number one has fallen out of the AP Top 25, the previous team being Indiana in 1979-1980. Over on his blog, John Clay did some research Monday afternoon and discovered that Kentucky has been unranked six of the last nine years at the end of the regular season, a sobering statistic when you consider the highs (and lows) of the last five years.
Cal hints at the tweak that “changed everything”
Morale is pretty low in the Big Blue Nation, but Calipari did his best to boost it during his call-in show Monday night. Cal told Tom Leach that his team had their best practice since November in part because he made a small tweak to the offense that “just changed everything”:
“Sometimes it’s pride that steps in the way when you’re coaching, sometimes you just get blinded. We tweaked the offense a little bit, and it was a small tweak, something that I should have done a month ago, and the energy in our building, I’m jacked. Like, I am ready for us now to take the next step. I’m not really gonna tell you what it is or what I did, but the players left like bouncy and talking, and it was something I should have known better to do, and I apologized to the team. I’ve done this twenty some years, what in the world was I thinking? It just changed everything.”
I know, I know, call me when the “light goes on” and we “turn the corner,” but Cal seemed confident that this tweak will change things, and said he’s beating himself up for not doing it earlier. What was the change? Cal said that we’ll be able to spot it immediately: “When you watch our team, you’ll know what I did. When you see it, you’ll say I know exactly what he did. I’m sick to my stomach that I didn’t see it a month ago.” What’s the tweak? Maybe Andrew Harrison was really Aaron all along and they’ve been “Parent Trapping” us. Here are some of the funnier responses I’ve seen on Twitter:
@SeasonNeverEnds: “Cal tweak: Alex was in demo mode, not beast mode. Toggled it back.”
@TBSavage: “Told them to open their eyes when they shoot.”
@Jugg40: “Are u sure he didn’t mean that he taught them to twerk on offense instead of tweaking it?”
@DanStewartJr: “Randle at point. WCS starting QB next year.”
@Mengus22: “Cal tweaked the offense to where UK will play on a rim the size of a hula hoop.”
Leave your best guesses (serious and not) in the comments section.
Let’s get physical
In addition to “the tweak,” Cal had the players practice in football pads and helmets for two and a half hours (an hour longer than their usual postseason practice) to amp up the physical play “so we can foul and take the fouls.” Cal took the blame for his team not being as physical, and said he was pissed off at himself for most of the practice because of it: “We’re not as physical as we should be because of me, because of how I taught them.” Cal went after them Monday to get physical, because if they don’t, LSU or Alabama will send them home Friday night: ”You’re gonna have to play through this, this is how they’re playing now and you’ve gotta play this way. Put your hands up and whack the dude!”
Check in with the guys over on the Fox Sports Road Trip
Matt and Drew are wrapping up their college basketball road trip for Fox Sports in Asheville with the Wofford/Western Carolina game for the SoCon title. Over the weekend, they picked up C.M. Tomlin and watched Ohio State play Michigan State in Columbus. For those of you who’ve only read Tomlin’s awesomely ridiculous work on the site, click on over to see him tackle more conventional sportswriting with this recap of the game.
While you’re at it…
Check in with our man Tom Jomby to see how the UK Tennis team is doing. They’re still undefeated in the SEC, and on Friday, beat #8 Texas A&M. (Spoiler alert: Jomby rushes the court)
Now, we turn our sights to Atlanta. Matt and Drew will be live from Asheville in the morning to get you ready for what is still one of the best weeks to be a Kentucky fan. No more moping. We’re going to have fun this week, if for no other reason than it’s too dang depressing not to.
By Andrew Cassady on ©10:00 pm
Saturday, what has been an unquestionably disappointing season came to an end. While it has been a frustrating season there have certainly been plenty of fun moments infused throughout. As we head into tournament play perhaps it’s time to look back on those good times instead of focusing on lackluster results. Here are my top 5 picks for great moments during this past year:
5. Julius Randle Debuts
While our heralded freshman class may have arrived a little bit under expectations there has been one player who has delivered from the get-go. Julius Randle has been a star since the day he arrived on campus and it was never more obvious than against Michigan State. Randle went for 27 and 13 as he found a way to finish despite drawing double and triple teams while going up against the first team that was able to combat his high school spin move. Julius adapted his game and showcased why he will be an early pick this summer. Randle has been one guy you could call dependable during this tumultuous year.
4. 5th Gear @ Ole Miss
Without question the game where the Cats have looked the most complete was the one against Ole Miss in Oxford. For 36 minutes they played like the team we all expected them to be and showcased the high gear needed to be dominate in March. The Cats went on an early 23-7 run which saw the Cats score on 10 straight possessions. Here’s how they went down:
1. Julius Randle jumper.
2. Aaron Harrison steal and dunk.
3. Aaron Harrison missed three, Julius Randle offensive rebound, Jarrod Polson three.
4. Julius Randle dunk.
5. Aaron Harrison layup off lob from James Young.
6. Julius Randle dunk.
7. James Young dunk off lob from Jarrod Polson.
8. James Young dunk off lob from Andrew Harrison.
9. Andrew Harrison three-pointer.
10. Alex Poythress three-pointer.
It was great.
3. Willie Hosts A Block Party
Looking back it’s hard to recall when Willie Cauley-Stein was playing like a defensive player of the year candidate but he was on fire to start the year. The game where the new and improved WCS was showcased most prominently was against Providence when Willie blocked himself into the record books. WCS got so close to the elusive triple-double as he finished with 15, 9 blocks, and 8 boards. It was a dominating performance and one that showcased how far Willie had come since arriving in Lexington.
2. Cats Down The Birds
The year of the Cardinal was tough to endure. Louisville beat Kentucky for the first time in the Cal era and then went on to win the national championship. This season it was time for revenge. Andrew Harrison made sure we got it. Andrew had struggled all season until this game when he stepped up to score 18, a mark that has been his second highest this year. UK picked up their signature win and restored order to the Commonwealth. A win over the dirty birds is always a great moment.
1. LSU Elation
The game against LSU may not have been great but the finish sure was. Not because of the buzzer-beating put back but because of all the smiles. “The team without joy” looked like they were finally having fun and playing for each other. They looked like they finally had the signature moment that would carry them the rest of the year. Now we can see the game didn’t mean much as they dropped the next two games in the most disappointing games of the season. Still, for that one night there was so much optimism for what the rest of the year could bring.
Saturday night after the loss to Florida Cal said “We have all the stuff you need … now just do it. It’s time. Let’s do it.”. At various points this season the Cats have showcased all that stuff. Julius has been a grown man, the team is capable of big runs on anybody (See: 15-0, Florida), Willie can be a defensive force, and the Harrisons can each take a game over. Now it’s now or never to get it all to click at once. Do you think they can? What were your favorite moments from this year gone by?
By Matt Jones on ©9:23 pm
UK fans have long had a strange relationship with former walk-on Steve Masiello. He was at UK for four years, graduated and was on a national title team…as a walk-on that usually puts you in beloved status in the Big Blue Nation. But Masiello was at times hard to love (even he admits that) and went to coach for Rick Pitino at Louisville after his time here. He has been a long-time butt of jokes on KSR and at times was one of the people I least liked to have ever played at Kentucky.
But time heals all wounds and as part of the KSR Road Trip, we went and watched Masiello’s Manhattan team beat Iona on its home court. Now just a week later, Masiello has defeated Iona again and will be headed to the NCAA Tournament with the Jaspers. Steve is a great young coach, a very good recruiter (he was Pitino’s best at UL) and is a rising star in the college coaching world…plus he loves Kentucky. Congrats to Steve and with all the connections to the Cats in the Jasper program over the years (Masiello, Scott Padgett was an Assistant, Heshimu Evans came from there, Shagari Alleyne transferred there), Manhattan should be a good secondary team for UK fans in the NCAA…and oh yeah, they can beat someone if people aren’t careful. Don’t believe me? Ask Masiello himself who had this to say after the game:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©8:00 pm
(click to enlarge)
It’s been a rough few weeks in the Big Blue Nation, so much so that the happiest time of the year for Kentucky fans once again feels like a cruel joke. I spent some time this afternoon thinking about this roller coaster of a season, and how it’s affected the fan base’s psyche. I charted the biggest moments of the year (not including all the games because of space), and how I, as a fan, felt after each one.
The world would be a pretty boring place if we all thought the same thing, so I’m sure you may disagree on some, and if so, please share your opinions in the comments section (like you need the encouragement).
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©7:30 pm
Congrats to Jon Hood, who was named to the 16th annual Southeastern Conference Community Service Team, the league announced this afternoon. Here’s the release from UK:
Hood Named to the SEC Community Service Team
Senior earned honor for continuing efforts in the community
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Senior Jon Hood was selected to the 16th annual Southeastern Conference Community Service Team it was announced by the league office on Monday. It is the first such honor of the Madisonville, Ky., native’s career.
In a continuing effort to recognize the accomplishments of student-athletes beyond the field of competition, the SEC once again highlighted a Community Service Team for men’s basketball for the 2013-14 season.
Hood has given countless hours for the community since his arrival at Kentucky. He constantly spends spare time visiting children at the UK Children’s Hospital and befriends children in need or who have terminal illnesses.
The senior guard has volunteered for God’s Pantry multiple times, volunteered for Hoops for Haiti. He’s spent time with Samaritan’s Feet and as a Campton Elementary school volunteer. During his time in Lexington, he has helped work clothing drives and the Hurricane Sandy Telethon with other teammates. Furthermore, he’s a mainstay at UK men’s basketball camps serving as a counselor and mentor to young players.
This marks the 16th year for the SEC Community Service Team for men’s basketball as well as for women’s basketball. All 21 league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004.
Hood is a 2013 graduate of the University of Kentucky and is on track to complete a second degree this May. He’s appeared in more than 60 games in his career and was a member of the 2012 National Championship squad.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday, in the quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament in Atlanta. UK will face the winner of the LSU-Alabama game at 7 p.m. ET. The game will air on SEC TV.
By Kory Henry on ©7:00 pm
Jodie Meeks went insane during the Lakers-Thunder game yesterday. Scoring an NBA career-high 42 points, Meeks helped his Lakers defeat the Thunder 114-110. I’ll quickly give you his stats from yesterday’s game; 11-18 from inside the arc (61.1%), 6-11 from downtown (54.5%), and a perfect 14-14 on free throw attempts. In honor of his high-scoring performance, it’s time to relive his historic 54-point game at Kentucky.
Now let’s watch the evolution of Jodie Meeks, as he scores the majority of his 42 points during yesterday’s game(free throws not included).
Wow. How awesome was that? Great game, Jodie!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©6:19 pm
John Calipari is currently talking to Tom Leach on his weekly call-in show, and started the show off by telling Tom and listeners about a small change he made in practice today that he thinks has “changed everything”:
“Sometimes it’s pride that steps in the way when you’re coaching, sometimes you just get blinded. We tweaked the offense a little bit, and it was a small tweak, something that I should have done a month ago, but the energy in our building, I’m jacked. Like, I am ready for us now to take the next step.”
Cal refused to go in specifics, but said that “the players left like bouncy and talking, and it was something I should have known better to do, and I apologized to the team. I’ve done this twenty some years, what in the world was I thinking? It just changed everything.”
The Cats practiced two and a half hours this afternoon, with football pads and helmets on to amp up the physical play “so we can foul and take the fouls.” He’s not putting up with fatigue either, telling players “If you can’t make it through the whole practice, you will not start.” For the record, everyone made it through the whole practice, and they’re gearing up to do the same thing tomorrow.
Hey, I’ll take it.
I know I’m not alone when I say I’m feeling a little deja vu from last March. While this group will make the NCAA Tournament, you could argue that given the high expectations and talent, it’s been an even more disappointing season than last.
Right now, last year’s team and this year’s team suffer from some of the same problems–poor guard play, no offensive flow, no leader, and one excuse to lean on (last year, Nerlens’ injury; this year, youth). At a similar crossroads, will this team change their fate?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
It’s been over a year since Nerlens Noel played in a game, but yesterday, the rookie sent out this cryptic tweet hinting at his NBA debut:
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) March 9, 2014
Sources confirmed to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey that April 4th is indeed Nerlens’ target date for his first game back from injury. The 76ers play Boston that night. Nerlens has been increasing his contact in practice, but has yet to participate in five-on-five scrimmages. So far, the 76ers had planned on him missing the entire season.
At this point, is it worth it for Nerlens to make a comeback even if it’s just for a few games?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
Stat guru Ken Pomeroy combined his ratings with Bill James’ log5 formulas to estimate each team’s chance to win their conference tournament. (What’s a log5 formula? Click here.) According to KenPom, at 18.3%, Kentucky has the third best chance to win the tournament behind Florida and Tennessee:
In fact, KenPom is downright fascinated by the Vols, who he believes should be the most analyzed team in the history of the game (sorry, Cal). After it looked like Cuonzo Martin would certainly get the boot, Tennessee has rallied, and as long as they don’t fall on their face in Atlanta, should make the NCAA Tournament. However, as KenPom points out, many Tennessee fans would welcome a face plant if it meant the administration would fire Martin and bring back Bruce Pearl. Go read more of KenPom’s thought on the Vols here.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:30 pm
The Cats may not be inspiring much confidence right now, but the SEC Tournament is only a few days away. So close I can smell the buffalo wings at STATS. If you’re coming to Catlanta to party with the BBN and KSR, here’s a rough schedule of events:
10 a.m. – noon: KSR live from STATS (300 Marietta Street NW)
10 a.m. – noon: KSR live from STATS
2 p.m.: Greater Atlanta UK Alumni Club Pep Rally at the Hawk Walk near Philips Arena (Cost $15/person, $10/UK Students, children 10 and under free; first 500 fans will receive a free t-shirt)
4:30 p.m.: KSR pregame show (potentially live from STATS)
7 p.m.: Kentucky vs. LSU/Alabama
Approximately 10:30 p.m.: KSR postgame show live from STATS. Win or lose, we will party.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY: If UK wins, pregame and postgame shows will be at STATS (pregame two and a half hours before tip, postgame approximately 75 minutes after the game ends)
Right now, the weather forecast looks pretty awesome:
The regular season has officially wrapped up, but the #BBN still doesn’t know what to do with their hands. To say this season wasn’t what we expected would be an understatement. With close games against Michigan State, North Carolina and a win against Louisville, everything was normal for the first half of the season (aside from the Baylor loss). Then the Arkansas game ended like a game of ’21′ with a tip-dunk, then the team was man-handled by Johnny O’Bryant and LSU, and before we knew it the Cats lost four of their final seven.
Objectively, that looks pretty bad. However I’m a college student that is taught to debunk stats and think ‘outside of the box.’ The problem with human nature is that we tend to focus on our problems without acknowledging the problems of others. If you look at the Cats compared to the best of the best in the country, Big Blue could be in much worse shape.
UK: 68.4% (t-223)
Florida: 67.3% (t-260)
Arizona: 65.9% (t-297) w/WKU and Virginia
UL: 65.4% (t-319)
Injuries (knock on wood)
UK: Julius Randle’s cramps during the Louisville game and WCS’ hand in the preseason.
Michigan State: Izzo’s three best players, Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Gary Harris, all missed multiple games.
Arizona: The team’s Achilles’ heel – the inability to score in the half court – became even more exposed when their most dynamic scorer, Brandon Ashley, broke his foot. The injury will keep him out for the season, one that was undefeated until Ashley’s injury against Cal.
Louisville: Even though the Cards have turned things around and it wasn’t an injury, losing Chane Behanan was a BIG deal.
‘Rush the Court’ Incidents
This could have happened…
Instead, this happened…
UK: Arkansas twice, at South Carolina, at LSU(?)
Syracuse: Georgia Tech, Boston College (4 of their final 6)
Duke: at Wake Forest, at Clemson, at Notre Dame
North Carolina: Belmont, UAB, at Wake Forest
Struggling in conference play isn’t unique to Kentucky: the Big 10 Champ (Michigan) has seven losses, the Big 12 Champ (Kansas) has eight losses, and the ACC Champ (Virginia) has six losses. If you want to blame the lack of success on Kentucky’s freshmen, they haven’t really been that bad either. While none of them have been Anthony Davis/MKG-like, outside of Wiggins, Parker and Embiid, Kentucky’s ‘Big 4′ freshmen have statistically performed better than any other freshmen in the country.
It’s difficult to paint a pretty picture of 2013-14 regular season, but it isn’t the finger-painting we witnessed last season.