Technically, Kentucky won tonight, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Before we get into →
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On the KSR post-game show, Matt pondered whether or not alternative remedies exist for helping with cramps beyond eating bananas. Most people are aware of bananas as a potential solution, but apparently there’s another popular (well, maybe…) solution out there: PICKLE JUICE. As showcased by the picture above, pickle juice provides the body with the essential electrolytes to help avoid painful cramps and prevent dehydration. Why are we talking about pickle juice? Well, because honestly we are all growing a little tired of seeing Julius Randle make his way to the locker room between halftime and the end of the game.
In 2008, nearly a quarter of all athletic trainers interviewed for BYU study said that they regularly administer pickle juice as a way to relieve cramps once they’ve struck an athlete. Many trainers reported that not only does pickle juice work, but it works quickly. In the study conducted by BYU, pickle juice apparently “relieved a cramp 45 percent faster” than drinking no fluids and 37 percent faster than water. So, people are using pickle juice and not just bananas.
And now on to the news and views from the day…
Kentucky passes its first SEC road test
Vanderbilt is certainly not going to be Kentucky’s toughest SEC opponent this season. Vandy is a team on the ropes, as we heard all week. Not only did Vandy lose their leading scorer, but the Commodores are working with only 7 scholarship players right now. With that said, Vandy is never the easiest place to play and teams tend to play their best game against Kentucky. This young Kentucky team faced its first SEC road test today, and regardless of how the outcome came about– Kentucky got the win on the road. A win on the road in conference play will not always be pretty, but it’s more important to obtain the result.
For those who are whining that we didn’t beat this Vandy team by 20+… this was Kentucky’s biggest win AT Vanderbilt since 2003. Let’s keep things in perspective (and yes, I know Vandy was bad, but still). The Cats move to 2-0 in SEC play.
Kentucky didn’t start quite as slow…
Well, Kentucky didn’t find itself down 10 points in the first few minutes of the game– much like the starts against Louisville and Mississippi State. Kentucky didn’t come out of the gates swinging, but they didn’t whimper either, or dig themselves a huge hole. Even with a somewhat slow start, Kentucky managed to avoid putting themselves in a deficit. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Cal thinks that Kentucky has the most “upside” of any team in the country.
Kentucky has been taking steps in each of the games as of late. John Calipari sees it, too. Even though the game wasn’t perfect, Calipari thinks his team is moving in the right direction and has a very high ceiling. In fact, Cal said in his post game comments that Kentucky has “the most upside of any team in the country.”
And even though Kentucky isn’t quite there yet, Calipari sees the struggles across the board in college basketball this year. “We’re still not there, but I look around the country and I don’t see anybody there. So this is all good.”
Someone needs to give Julius Randle some
bananas Pickle Juice
“Opponents are playing him like he’s Shaq. They’ve got nine guys on him,” Calipari joked after the game. This is the 3rd game now in which Julius Randle has struggled with cramps either in the second half or after the game. This is becoming a bit of a problem. Kentucky has managed to do quite well even without Randle late in these games, but there will almost certainly be an instance down the line in which the Cats will need to count on Randle in a late game situation. Imagine the second half against Michigan State if Randle hadn’t been on the court for most of the minutes? Get the guy some bananas.
Cal compares Andrew Harrison’s growth to that of Tyreke Evans
Andrew Harrison had a very good game today for Kentucky. Today was the first game in which Harrison didn’t register a single turnover. Harrison ran the offense well, got his teammates involved and took care of the basketball. Harrison finished with 10 points, 4 assists and 8 rebounds in 34 minutes. Harrison not only dished the ball well, but he was often the role of the guy passing the ball to the man who picked up the assist. Harrison was solid from start to finish and his coach took notice. “I thought he was terrific today, and we need him to be terrific for our team to elevate.”
Calipari compared Harrison’s growth to Tyreke Evans, his former Memphis point guard. “Well, he reminds me of the progress and process with Tyreke Evans. It’s really similar. Both of them had habits that you had to crack. Both of them had a mentality of how to play the game that was kind of the opposite of the way it needed to be. And now when you begin to seem him thinking differently and playing a little different, you’re seeing a guy with that kind of size, can make shots, can make free throws, is a good passer and handler, has great speed.”
Stallings labels Kentucky’s team accurately, “very physical”
Kevin Stallings didn’t have much to whine about tonight. Stallings described Kentucky as a team that is “very physical,” and in fact more physical than athletic. Kentucky tends to exhaust teams with the level of physical play and size they bring at every position.
Pleasant surprise quality minutes off the bench: Jarrod Polson and Derek Willis
The Kentucky bench has been really important over the past couple of games. Jarrod Polson and Derek Willis both came in today’s game and contributed some surprise quality minutes. Neither player has played a significant role, and won’t likely play a significant role in every game moving forward… BUT for today, both stepped up. Polson came off the bench to hit two three pointers, giving Kentucky a spark at critical points in the first half. Calipari also applauded Polson for his effort on the defensive end.
Willis also earned some praise from Calipari, which was displayed best when Cal walked over to Willis as he exited the game and gave him a huge high 5 on the bench. Willis fed the post well, although he missed on open 3-point opportunities. Willis held his own though, and proved that he might be a viable option when a team plays zone against Kentucky– especially if he can gain some confidence in hitting the deep ball. “Derek Willis did well,” Calipari said. “What a post feeder he is.” Indeed.
Tuesday night will be a BIG road test for these young Cats against Arkansas
Kentucky passed its first road test, but the next one will be a much more difficult task. Arkansas was undefeated at home until they lost in OT to Florida earlier today. The Razorbacks almost got the win against a 10th ranked Florida team, but narrowly missed on the opportunity. Arkansas is always tough at home, and Kentucky ran into a buzz saw in Fayetteville last season. Today was a good warm up game for Tuesday night.
Tyler Ulis’ Dad has some shopping to do while in the Bluegrass
Time to shop! pic.twitter.com/8IAP3doW40
— James Ulis (@ulis5620) January 11, 2014
Tyler Ulis is playing in Kentucky this weekend, and according to Larry Vaught, he is anxious to show “Kentucky fans what I’m all about.”
Duke lost, again.
Duke lost to Clemson. Is that really relevant? Not so much. But don’t act like it didn’t make you feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.
And last but not least, Vegas is good.
Seriously though. Vegas gets it so close, so often. That game was a tough one to predict. Kentucky was obviously way more talented, but Vandy can be a tricky place to play. Many people had a hard time knowing whether or not Kentucky would pull off the blowout or whether or not it would be close. Vegas basically nailed it with the 8 point spread.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 10:30pm
Tyler Ulis’ Marion Catholic is playing Lausanne Collegiate (Tenn.) tonight at the Mustang Madness National Invitational in Paducah. Thanks to iHigh.com, we’re able to bring you a live stream of the game, so get a mini ice cream sandwich and enjoy.
By Ally Tucker on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 9:15pm
(h/t Brian Prater)
Coach Rumph To Texas !!! 👀👀😳😳😳😳
— Matt Elam™6⃣9⃣ (@FballIsLife69) January 12, 2014
Ever since Matt Elam decided to postpone his college decision last weekend, Kentucky fans have been searching for any kind of positive vibe or tea leave reading to suggest that the decision wasn’t all bad for Kentucky. Drew Barker admitted that he wasn’t sure what Elam was going to do now, and many believed that the tide was beginning to turn back in favor of Alabama. Elam still has an upcoming official visit to Alabama, but a coaching staff change at Alabama could throw another factor into play. Elam, a defensive lineman, will no longer be coached by the same guy at Alabama if he does decide to go to Tuscaloosa. According to a report, Alabama’s defensive line coach Chris Rumph will be joining Charlie Strong at Texas. Perhaps Kentucky can capitalize on this change in the recruiting process.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 8:30pm
Trey Lyles’ Arsenal Tech is playing Villa Angela-St. Joseph tonight at the Mustang Madness National Invitational in Paducah. Thanks to iHigh.com, we’re able to bring you a live stream of the game, so get some popcorn and enjoy.
Tyler Ulis plays at 9 p.m. CT.
The CBS stat maker guy (that’s his official title) made an ‘uh oh’ during today’s game. As you can see above, CBS showed the world that Malone had 11 points on 5/7 FGs in the second half. Something was clearly wrong, so Malone cleared things up for us after the game on Twitter:
“I think CBS made a mistake…I’m almost positive I was 5-5.”
OK, so Malone may not have been the unsung hero of tonight’s win, but you might be surprised to hear that Jarrod Polson’s play propelled the Cats to a win. The pride of Wilmore (Kevin Harlan made sure to mention Wilmore on more than one occasion), Polson entered early in the first half, knocking two 3-pointers down to give the Cats a boost of energy. The pair of treys could not have come at a better time, maintaining a comfortable lead going into the half. Polson’s play was consistent throughout earning 14 minutes, his most this season.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 7:30pm
With only seven scholarship players on its roster, Vanderbilt needed a bad game from Kentucky if the Commodores were going to have any chance at all. Kentucky wasn’t at its best on Saturday, but still good enough to escape the haunted hallows of Memorial Gym with a 71-62 victory.
Let’s discuss it and then put it behind us before Kevin Stallings says something dumb. He’s the worst.
Andrew Harrison is your Wildcat Player of the Game.
It’s no surprise Andrew Harrison was named “Wildcat Player of the Game” after word got out he had an outstanding practice in Nashville on Friday. Kentucky’s freshman point guard said he made a point to go harder and be a leader in the pre-Vandy practice at Lipscomb University, which Calipari called his team’s best practice of the season, and that mentality carried over to the game.
Harrison finished with 10 points and four assists while tying a career-high in rebounds with eight. And maybe his most impressive stat: zero turnovers.
Coach Cal said, “Andrew did it all today.”
Alex Poythress roared again.
Poythress had another great game off the bench as that newfound confidence showed up in Nashville on Saturday, just down the road from his hometown. He was a huge factor in the second half, scoring all nine of his points in the final 12 minutes, and he made the effort plays we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him this season.
The big dunk — ROAR! — with five minutes left in the game stretched the UK lead to 13 and should’ve been the dagger, but he was called for a technical foul (delay of game) for bouncing the ball toward the defender after the flush. Vandy scored five points on its next possession with the extra free throws to negate Poythress’ big play.
After the game Andrew Harrison spoke very highly of his teammate. He said, “Alex doesn’t know how good he is. Once he figures it out, he can be one of the best players in the country.”
“Alex Poythress, today? THAT’S the guy I recruited,” said Calipari.
Willie Cauley-Stein showed the NBA some things today.
Calipari also had great things to say about Willie Cauley-Stein, who helped his draft stock quite a bit in Memorial Gym on Saturday. Willie’s steal and fast break dunk will almost certainly make his NBA draft highlight video next summer — what a play from the big man.
It’s clear Willie has put in a lot of work on his offensive game since last season. That jump hook, almost unbearable to watch a year ago, is now a legitimate scoring option. He used it a couple times against Vandy to go 7-of-9 from the field for a team-high 15 points.
Derek Willis and Jarrod Polson got some clock thanks to Vanderbilt’s zone defense.
Willis played six meaningful minutes, a career-high, and got off a couple three-point tries while he was in. Calipari said he went with Willis when Vanderbilt showed zone because he needed another shooter out there, and Willis wasn’t hesitant to let ‘er rip.
That zone is also why we saw only five minutes out of Dominique Hawkins and more time from Jarrod Polson. It worked, too, because Polson knocked down two big threes in the first half. He played 14 minutes, scored six points, and earned Wilmore a shout-out on the television broadcast.
Julius Randle needs to get over these “cramps.”
Randle had another quiet game by his standards and spent time in the locker room, again, for those damn cramps. I don’t leave my couch so it’s tough for me to speak on the issue, but can’t we get the man some bananas and Gatorade? John Wall had the same problem during SEC play in 2010 so maybe those two should go out for dinner to talk about it. Maybe to a banana restaurant with unlimited Gatorade.
Julius did, however, dominate the boards in the first half, finishing with 11 in the game but three points shy of a double-double. He had 10 rebounds to Vanderbilt’s nine with four minutes left in the first half.
I’m not ready to discuss how good Kentucky looks without Randle in the game — not yet, at least.
You don’t have to shoot that every time, James.
Young, man, he likes to fire. His confidence beyond the arc is admirable, something all good shooters have, but sometimes it’s OK to keep the finger off the trigger. Young was 1-for-7 from downtown, many of those contested, and 2-for-10 from the field overall for six points.
He’s doing that falling-away thing again, too.
Greg Anthony didn’t study his game notes.
Dakari Jones? Willie McCauley-Stein?
The oddsmakers in Vegas are incredible.
Kentucky opened as an 8-point favorite in Vegas and won the game, 71-62. John Short’s spread was 10 bigguns, just missing out on back-to-back covers.
Coach Cal called out Jerry Tipton for a dumb question.
In the postgame press conference, Tipton asked Jarrod Polson why he entered the game and Coach Cal interrupted, saying, “That is a pretty dumb question. That may be one of those ones, Jerry, that’s a Hall of Fame question out of you.”
Tipton responded, “They’re all Hall of Famers to me.”
“We have the biggest upside of any team in the country.”
Cal said, “I like my team, I like our progress. We have the biggest upside of any team in the country. We do. We’re the youngest team in the country. That’s what we are. And I just got to try to be patient, when I have none, but do what I can to try to keep these guys — and there’s a line between what you accept and building them up. You can’t start building them up if they’re doing things that are unacceptable. And that was about a month ago. It was all unacceptable. But everybody saw it. Now, they’re playing, they’re doing things that we want them to do, but every once and awhile they’ll break down. You know, you can deal with that.”
Go Cats, everybody.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 7:15pm
Andrew Harrison had a pretty good game today, finishing with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and four assists, and no turnovers. In fact, it was his first game this season without a turnover. Afterwards, Cal said Andrew’s performance was a sign that he “is finally starting to get it,” and compared his progress to that made by Tyreke Evans at Memphis:
“He reminds me of the progress and process with Tyreke Evans. It’s really similar. Both of them had habits you have to crack. Both of them had a mentality of how to play the game that was opposite of what it needed to to be. And now when you begin to see them thinking differently, and playing a little different, you’re seeing a guy with that kind of size, can make shots, can make free throws, is a good passer and handler, has great speed.”
Cal told a story about how Tyreke Evans finally started running at full strength at Memphis, and how it shocked his grandmother, who had never seen him run that fast: “Andrew is the same way. He is really fast. I mean, he’s fast, he just doesn’t run it that way all the time.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
Julius Randle had to come out of the game with cramps again today against Vanderbilt. When asked if the cramps could be a result of tension or pressure, Cal said that’s possible:
“Could be. I don’t know. All I told him was if I don’t see you running right, I’m playing Alex. So either run right, or you’re coming out. And again, you have to understand, he’s in a dog fight. I think right now, he’s the only college player that when he catches the ball, he’s got three players on him. I don’t know if there’s another college player, you’d have to tell me who that would be. He has three guys on him when he catches it. And they’re being physical. So, he’s not just running up and down the court, he’s like in a a football game. So yeah, he’s exerting it physically, cardiovascularly, and there’s some anxiety, so that could play into it. But he’s fine.”
However, Cal does want him to dunk more: “Why didn’t you dunk them, why are you trying to lay them?”
More bananas, Julius.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 6:41pm
After the game, Calipari raved about the growth of Alex Poythress, who finished the game with 9 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes.
“I was so proud of Alex, and he started the game shaky. He still doesn’t believe in himself as much as we do. We talked about it as a team. And everybody’s like ‘you were unbelievable today,’ that’s who he is. He came to the middle, he shot that shot we want. He missed a jumper, so what? We just want him to play and go. He can do it now because he can breathe, he’s in shape. He now can think because he’s not trying to ‘ugh’.”
Cal said that this was Alex’s best game defensively, and that his progress is what his program is all about:
“I told him yesterday walking off, I am so proud of him because that’s what we’re about. That’s what I hope my staff and you guys understand. It’s about guys like Alex making that climb and becoming the player they can become and knowing that we’re pushing you, but we’re giving you room to go do your thing.”\
The “Memorial Magic” wasn’t anything too crazy, but for many it was too close for comfort. Are you pleased with the performance on the road, or do you need to see more from the young Cats? Let us know by calling in to the KSR postgame show at 1-800-444-8484 or 502-571-8484.
You can catch all of the action by tuning in to 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP, or stream online to hear Matt and KSR nation review the Cats and the Dores.
Discuss the show below.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2014 @ 6:20pm
After the game, Willie Cauley-Stein and Jarrod Polson met with the media to share their thoughts on UK’s 71-62 win over Vanderbilt. Willie said that he thought today’s win was a sign that they’re coming together as a team after a week of good practice:
“I think we played really good as a team. That’s been one of the biggest things this year, the word is we’re not good as a team and we’ve got selfish guys, but the last couple days in practice, we’ve been getting closer basketball-wise as a team and in the game, it showed that we really do got each other’s back and we really do got good guys.”
When asked for specific signs that the Cats are playing as a team, Willie mentioned “hustle points,” something Cal’s keeping track:
“We’ve got these things called hustle points, and I think they were like both the hgih 50’s, and that’s really good. When they’re like low 30’s, we’re probably down at halftime or something or it’s a one-point game. But when it’s the high 50’s, that when you really start getting after it.”
The funniest part of the presser was when Jerry Tipton asked Jarrod if he came into the game for “defensive purposes, or hustle purposes, or not three point purposes” and Calipari interrupted:
Cal: “That is a pretty dumb question, but go ahead and answer it. That may be one of those, that’s a hall of fame question.”
Jerry: “They’re all hall of famers to me.”
After the laughter died down, Jarrod said that all of the players come in to hustle and play defense.
When the presser was over, Jerry muttered, “It was a good question” as Cal left.
It’s never easy winning at Memorial Gymnasium, and today was no exception. Despite only playing with 7 scholarship players, Vanderbilt fought through foul trouble and bad shooting to keep it close until the end.
Willie Cauley-Stein was outstanding from the field (7-9), capping off his 15 point 6 rebound performance with 2 dunks late that assured the W. Julius Randle was a rebounding monster in the first half, racking in 10 before the 4:00 media timeout.
Stay close for plenty of postgame coverage.