I’ve seen a lot of Kentucky football in my life, but tonight’s collapse might be →
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By Drew Franklin on ©April 07th, 2014 @ 11:53pm
Before the game, Rex Chapman stirred the pot when he said that win or lose, Calipari will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. For the next two hours, that talk dominated the BBN, and was a major distraction. Cal was asked about the rumor after the game and shot it down:
“The Lakers have a basketball coach. Kentucky has a basketball coach. I’ve got the best job in the country. I’m not gonna even dignify that.”
Be quiet, Rex.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 07th, 2014 @ 11:35pm
Young and Randle join Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels on the All-Final Four team. Young scored a team-high 20 points in the loss. Randle contributed 10 and 6.
So there’s that.
It was a good run, Cats fans, but it fell short in the title game tonight in North Texas. UConn defeated our Kentucky Wildcats, 60-54, to win the 2014 national championship. Only two Wildcats scored in double figures, while the Connecticut backcourt of Napier and Boatright combined for 36 points.
We’ll have more throughout the night after we shed a few tears.
What a ride.
Even though he’s also a Louisville fan, boxing legend Muhammad Ali is cheering for Kentucky tonight, according to TMZ Sports. Two-time boxing champ Andre Berto spent time with Ali this past weekend, and told the gossip outlet that Ali will be cheering “left and right” for the Cats tonight:
Berto says Ali and his family are BIG TIME college basketball fans and were “cheering left and right” for Kentucky. For the record, Ali hails from the Bluegrass State … and Berto says he’s certainly rooting for UK in tonight’s championship game.
Can’t hurt to have The Greatest on your side, right?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 07th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
For the last time this season, it’s time to see who the national media’s picking in tonight’s game. To the roundup!
Jay Bilas: Kentucky 67, UConn 66
Eamonn Brennan: Kentucky 74, UConn 70
C.L. Brown: Kentucky 67, UConn 62
Sean Farnham: Kentucky 68, UConn 64
Fran Fraschilla: UConn 68, Kentucky 65 (Boo!)
John Gasaway: UConn 64, Kentucky 63 (Hiss!)
Jeff Goodman: Kentucky 68, UConn 67
Seth Greenberg: Kentucky 67, UConn 63
Andy Katz: UConn 68, Kentucky 66 (Lame!)
Myron Medcalf: Kentucky 76, UConn 72
Dana O’Neil: UConn 68, Kentucky 63 (Of course!)
Miles Simon: Kentucky 69, UConn 65
Dick Vitale: Kentucky 70, UConn 67
Seth Greenberg: Kentucky
Jay Williams: Kentucky (UPDATE: Switched the pick to UConn…super lame)
Jalen Rose: Kentucky 77, UConn 71 (UPDATE: Switched the pick to UConn…according to Drew Franklin, he “sucks”)
Digger Phelps: Kentucky 72 UConn 68
Dan Dakich: Kentucky 73, UConn 68
Gary Parrish: Kentucky
Doug Gottlieb: UConn (please)
Matt Norlander: Kentucky
Jeff Borzello: UConn (come on, bro)
Cats. Nine. Sharpie.
- Experienced team led by senior 1st Team All-American Shabazz Napier.
- Great 3-point shooting team, 38.9%. 3 players shoot over 40%.
- Small guards, but they do have some size down low. 4 guys over 6’9’’.
- Ball-screen offense, pressure man-to-man defense.
#13 G Shabazz Napier: 6’1’’ 180 SR
There isn’t much that Shabazz won’t do for the Huskies. The 1st Team All-American guard averages 17.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He is a very good 3-point shooter, 40.3% (83/206), can create his own shot going to the basket, and does a great job of getting to the foul line where he shoots 86.9%. Will apply a lot of pressure on his man defensively.
#11 G Ryan Boatright: 6’0’’ 168 JR
Boatright is an extremely talented, quick guard capable of going off for a big game. He averages 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Boatright is also a good on-ball defender who does a good job of keeping his man in front of him. He is a good penetrator and can create his own shot, but his size makes it difficult for him to finish inside.
#5 G/F Niels Giffey: 6’7’’ 205 SR
Giffey is a long wing player who is simply a lights out 3-point shooter. The senior from Germany is shooting 48.3% (56/116) from beyond the arc and averages 8.4 points per game.
#2 F DeAndre Daniels: 6’9’’ 195 JR
Shabazz gets a lot of the headlines and accolades, and rightfully so, but DeAndre Daniels is an extremely important piece to this Connecticut team. He is very long, athletic, versatile player; he can pull you out to the perimeter or use his size and athleticism to finish inside. Daniels is scoring 13.2 points per game to go along with 6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He is a very good 3-point shooter, connecting on 43.1% (50/116) of his 3’s.
#0 F Phillip Nolan: 6’10’’ 212 SO
He will get the start for the Huskies, but averages just over 14 minutes per game. Nolan isn’t very offensive minded, but does a good job of finishing around the rim and will grab some offensive rebounds. He scores 3.4 points and gets 2.4 rebounds per game.
#10 F Tyler Olander: 6’10’’ 230 SR
He hasn’t played many minutes this season, but is capable of providing some defense and size off of the bench. Olander is a strong, experienced player but averages just 1.8 points 1.2 rebounds per game.
#20 G/F Lasan Kromah: 6’6’’ 201 GS
Kromah is the Huskies primary substitute, averaging over 22 minutes per game. Prior to coming to UCONN he had a very good career at George Washington. Kromah provides a little size on the wing and knows how to score in a variety of ways. He isn’t a big threat from the perimeter, but can hit an open 3. He averages 6.1 points per game.
#35 C Amida Brimah: 7’0’’ 217 FR
A big body with a ton of length off the bench; Brimah is an excellent shot blocker, swatting 2.3 per game in just about 16 minutes. He has pretty good footwork for a young player and is very good at finishing at the rim. Brimah averages 4.2 points and 3 rebounds per game.
- They are a very guard-oriented offense that will run a lot of ball-screens. Obviously Shabazz Napier will be called upon to make plays with the ball and he is very good at creating scoring opportunities for himself and others. Off of the ball screens, beyond Shabazz just creating, they will pick-and-pop with DeAndre Daniels and Niels Giffey who are both great perimeter shooters.
- The Huskies will look to push the ball in transition, but I wouldn’t say that they are a great fast-break team. When they have the opportunity to run they will run, but they are at their best when running their ball-screen offense in the half-court.
- They are a very good 3-point shooting team. They are connecting on 38.9% of their 3’s this season and have 3 guys shooting over 40%, plus Boatright at 37.9%.
- In terms of a weakness, they don’t have a great low-post threat and also their spacing isn’t always great. In order for Shabazz to be effective the driving lanes need to be there for him to get into the paint, where he as good as anyone in the country. If their spacing isn’t good then it can be much harder for him to penetrate.
- UCONN will get out and pressure ball handlers as much as possible. They won’t pick up full-court, but in the half-court they are going to try and be very disruptive on the ball. They will close out hard on shooters and try and push you inside to Daniels and Brimah who are both pretty good rim protectors.
- They are a veteran, disciplined team who know their defensive principles and will stick to them. They do a pretty good job of guarding ball screens, but they will give up some drives to the basket because of the amount of pressure they apply on the perimeter.
- They are not a very good transition defensive team. Also, they really help off on the weak side, so they can be susceptible to quick ball reversals. I think that with their small guards especially, you need to really attack in transition and try to get to the rim.
Keys to the Game
- Attack the basket. Connecticut’s guards apply a lot of ball pressure on the perimeter and their guards are very small. The Harrison twins and James Young should be able to get to the rim quite a bit tonight.
- Contest 3-point shots. I really think we have to make sure that nobody besides Shabazz goes crazy on us. Boatright, Daniels, and Giffey are all excellent 3-point shooters. We will need to make sure we do a good job of guarding their ball-screens so that we don’t have to pull off of a shooter to provide extra help.
- Dominate the paint/boards. This is almost always a key for UK because of the size advantage that we typically have. UCONN actually can matchup a little better down low than some with the size of Brimah, Nolan, and Olander, plus the athleticism of Daniels. However, the Huskie big men are prone to foul trouble and simply aren’t as talented as our big men.
- Guard ball-screens well. They are going to run a bunch of them, and Shabazz is as good as anyone at creating off of the ball-screens. I think we need to mix in some traps off of the ball screens to force the ball out of Napier’s hands. However we guard the screens, we just have to corral Shabazz the best we can and not let him go crazy.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 07th, 2014 @ 5:30pm
Just when you thought Eli Capilouto was the biggest spoil sport in the world, here comes Derek the UConn residential advisor. This email from Derek the RA circulated around UConn over the weekend, and made its way onto the internet today.
Fortunately for Derek, there will be no celebrations tonight since the Huskies are going down.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 07th, 2014 @ 4:55pm
While Matt, Drew, and I head to the stadium, Ryan Lemond is holding down the fort in Lexington. He and Cameron Mills are in the Clear Channel studios this afternoon to bring you a super sized 2.5 hour Pregame Show, which you can hear on 630 WLAP in Lexington, or WLAP.com.
Stick around for the Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Tip-Off Pregame Show on the IMG Network with Dave Baker and Oscar Combs. A list of affiliates around the state can be found here or you can listen online here.
Feel free to comment below.
I think it’s safe to say that John Calipari and Jim Calhoun are never going to be best friends.So, it’s no surprise that Calhoun went on a radio show this morning and said that Calipari is “a bullshitter,” but said that their relationship is better than it’s been in the past, even if “most institutions are not going to allow what Kentucky does”:
“The one thing about John, John can become, you know, a bullshitter. … The good thing about John … that’s why I actually have a better relationship with John than I used to many years ago, John kind of knows that. At least I think he knows that. He’s actually kind of a tolerable guy to be around. He’s actually a pretty good guy to be around. I don’t do business the way he does. But he’s done a good job coaching. His way, one-and-done, most institutions are not going to allow to do what Kentucky does. But that’s okay. That’s a lot of kids to leave early. But he can coach. He gets his kids to play. He’s done a good job certainly getting talent.”
Stay crabby, Jim. Listen to his comments below: