Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox may take home the most SEC weekly awards, but there’s →
Basketball Season Coverage
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi released his tenth Bracketology of the 2016-17 season today and it features Kentucky as one of the four No. 1 seeds for the first time since before the loss to UCLA in early December.
In this one, Lunardi has the Cats in the South region playing the CSU Northridge/New Orleans winner in Indianapolis to start the tournament. A rematch with Michigan State or ninth-seeded Dayton would wait in Round 2 for a spot to advance to the next weekend. After that, Oregon or Xavier would likely be the Sweet Sixteen matchup; then Baylor or North Carolina (as a No. 3 seed) would likely be the final hurdle before the Final Four.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 12th, 2017 @ 11:00am
After taking Wednesday off for rest and the first day of classes, your University of Kentucky men’s basketball team was up bright and early for a 7 am practice session in the Joe Craft Center.
The reason for the early morning run?
So John Calipari can get out to Springfield, Missouri for the 2017 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, where UK signee PJ Washington will play later today. Marvin Bagley, the top junior in America, is set to play in the game following Washington, so Cal will likely stick around for that one.
Yesterday Cal checked in on Mohamed Bamba, Quade Green and Cameron Reddish in Pennsylvania.
Hustle hard, Cal. Hustle hard.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Butter up your popcorn and grab a seat in the KSR Film Room for a review of a key sequence in Kentucky’s win against Vanderbilt on ESPN Super Tuesday.
We are highlighting Riley LaChance’s clutch three-pointer that sent Vandy fans into a frenzy and the ensuing response by Kentucky — the play of the game in my opinion — that silenced them.
It’s the breakdown you didn’t know you needed.
INSIDE THE PLAY
With Vanderbilt down four with the ball and under two minutes to play, Riley LaChance had the rock up top and looked to attack:
He drove right at the Kentucky defense but then backed it back out because he is not about that life:
After taking a breath and resetting the play, LaChance called for a screen from Luke Kornet, whose mother, Tracy, was a news anchor at Channel 18 in Lexington from 1994-2000. Tracy Kornet’s broadcasting career has nothing to do with this particular play, but some of you in the Lexington area may like to know that fact.
Kornet came up to set a screen on De’Aaron Fox and then rolled toward the paint, creating mismatches with Bam Adebayo on LaChance miles from the basket and Fox on Kornet down low because KENTUCKY ALWAYS SWITCHES.
Big Blue Nation was like…
With Adebayo’s inability to keep up with the speedier LaChance, the Kentucky big man played back on his heels, which gave LaChance, a 55 percent shooter, the space he needed to launch from outside and cut the Cats’ lead to one:
White people went crazy:
Now in desperate need of a bucket, Kentucky’s half-court offense had to come through in the clutch against Vanderbilt’s zone defense.
Fox gave up the ball after crossing mid-court and moved into the short right corner to play zone-buster:
Look at all that room to operate!
Fox went baseline as Kentucky reversed the ball around the perimeter; then Adebayo sealed off Kornet inside to clear the easy path for Fox to the rim:
The pass came in from Briscoe on the wing and Fox went up and finished the uncontested lay-in to extend the lead back out to three:
All made possible by Adebayo:
And that, my friends, is how Vanderbilt threatened but Kentucky responded in the final moments of a tight game.
Kentucky went on to win, 87-81.
— Tip-off has been set for Kentucky-South Carolina. UK’s biggest game in Rupp Arena before Kansas comes to town is a matchup with Frank Martin’s 13-3 Gamecocks. The game will get premier treatment, airing at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.
— Two Make Wooden Midseason Watch List. The nation’s two top National Player of the Year awards are named after John Wooden and James Naismith. Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox are still in the hunt for Mr. Wooden’s award, two of the 25 finalists on the midseason watch list. The only other schools with multiple players on the list are Kansas, UCLA, North Carolina and Wisconsin. See the full list here.
— Quade Green balled out in front of Coach Cal. After struggling to find his shot on Saturday, Kentucky’s next point guard brought his A-game when Coach Cal and Tony Barbee came to town. Green flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, 13 assists and 7 rebounds.
LYNN BOWDEN WILL ANNOUNCE HIS COLLEGE DECISION SATURDAY
The four-star athlete from Youngstown originally planned to decide on January 25, but tonight he announced on Twitter that he’s shut down his recruitment and will make his announcement this Saturday. The Cats are the 74% favorite over Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State, according to the 247 Crystal Ball. Ohio’s Mr. Football Runner-Up told Rivals he’s down to Kentucky, Penn State and West Virginia.
If Bowden chooses Kentucky, he’ll be the highest-ranked recruit in the class, likely the highest-ranked recruit in the Stoops Era. If you couldn’t tell by the flashing red lights and the large font, this is a big damn deal.
Look who Retweeted Mr. Bowden.
If that isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is.
Kentucky’s currently ranked sixth in both the AP and Coaches Polls, but if you ask ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, they’re among the nation’s top three teams. Bilas boosted the Cats to number three in his latest “Bilas Index,” behind Villanova and UCLA.
“The Wildcats have scored at least 100 points five times this season. That’s more than they recorded in the previous four seasons combined (four). Kentucky is averaging 94.2 points per game, second in the nation (Citadel leads at 97.2). That would be the third-highest scoring average in program history (96.8 in 1969-70 and 95.4 in 1970-71).”
Here’s his complete top ten:
4. North Carolina
6. West Virginia
10. Florida State
Where’s Duke, Bilas’ alma mater? Twelfth, right behind Louisville. Bilas has been all about the Blue Devils for most of the season, but even he can’t ignore their embarrassing 16-point loss to Florida State.
By Nick Roush on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 7:00pm
1. On the Road
John Calipari was only available to talk for two segments of tonight’s call-in show because he’s on the road recruiting. There might be a few new guys in the mix, but his main goal over the next month is to see guys that are already signed.
“I want to show some love.”
Last week he saw Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and tonight he’ll see Quade Green. He has plans to see every signee play, and some guy in Houston (a.k.a. verbal commit Jarred Vanderbilt).
2. A Win is a Win at Memorial Gym
It wasn’t the prettiest game, but Kentucky left Nashville with a victory. Calipari is always pleased after an SEC road win, but I think it means more walking away from Memorial Gym victorious.
“It’s a hard place to play. They play well in that building. They played a whale of a game,” Cal said. “To be able to go on the road and win like that is big for us.”
Calipari thought they could extend the lead to ten or twelve to put Vandy away but, “we were never able to get that next basket.”
3. What Cal Takes Away from the Vandy Game
For Coach Cal, there’s two things to you look at after every game. “You learn what you did well that worked, and you learn some things you better not repeat.”
Calipari liked some of the things he saw down the stretch, especially their offensive aggressiveness, but he elaborated more on what they did incorrectly throughout the game, including, but not limited to:
- Defensive breakdowns
- Allowed straight-line drives
- Unnecessary fouls away from the basket
- Took bad shots within 5-8 seconds of the shot clock
- Instead of chasing three-point shooters off screens, they ran gaps and left shooters open.
In general, Calipari’s theme has not changed, requesting discipline and focus from his players on each and every possession.
By Nick Roush on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 6:20pm
Kentucky’s newest Wildcat, shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, told Evan Daniels earlier today there’s a chance he could play this spring. “Right now we’re just playing it by ear.” John Calipari isn’t quite as optimistic.
“I don’t believe he’ll play,” Coach Cal said during the opening segment of tonight’s call-in show. “He wants to come in and get prepared for next year and I think it’s a great plan. Now his job will be, get better and focus on getting this team better.”
Calipari has told Diallo to focus on improving himself in practice by defending and playing aggressive offensively. In the process, he’ll be making this team better.
“I think it’s good for him and I think it’s good for us.” Calipari said it will help him become a leader right away for next year’s team.
“You’re going to have to let these new guys (next year’s freshmen) know what’s in store for them,” Cal said. “He’s really excited about it.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 3:36pm
It’s officially official, folks; Hamidou Diallo is a Kentucky Wildcat. UK just sent out a press release announcing the news, noting that the current plan is for the five-star shooting guard to sit out this spring and practice, then play the 2017-2018 season.
“I’m blessed and excited to be here at the University of Kentucky,” Diallo said. “I can’t wait to hit the floor and get rolling and get better each and every day. I chose the University of Kentucky because the plan Coach Cal had for me was just phenomenal and I felt like this was the best place for me to achieve my goals. I felt like this was the best choice for me and my family.”
“What excited me was that Hamidou wanted more than anything else to train with our guys and to practice and wasn’t worried about playing games this year,” John Calipari said. “It gives him an unbelievable head start on next year, and as I told him, he’s being put in a position to lead next season because he’s going to have that head start on everyone else.”
Diallo will be considered a member of Kentucky’s 2017 class, which also includes five-star signees Quade Green, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington; four-star signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander; and five-star commit Jarred Vanderbilt. As Calipari notes, Diallo’s biggest contribution this season will be in practice, where he can challenge Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Mychal Mulder, and Dominique Hawkins.
“As far as what Hamidou can do, he’s a 6-5, 6-6 wing who is an unbelievable defender, athletic, has great ball skills and is a terrific finisher. He’s going to challenge Malik (Monk), De’Aaron (Fox), Isaiah (Briscoe), Mychal (Mulder) and Dominique (Hawkins) every day, which is great for our team, as well as what they’ll challenge him to do. This wasn’t expected, but I’m so happy for him that it’s played out this way where he can come in and focus on getting better and getting ready to chase his dreams.”
UK also sent out this awesome video welcoming Diallo into “the family”:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 11, 2017
Welcome to the family, Hamidou.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 11:51am
It’s Wednesday morning after a road trip, so of course John Calipari put out a video that’s sure to go viral. Cal just posted this video encouraging his followers to vote for DeMarcus Cousins for the NBA All-Star game, and well, words don’t do it justice:
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 11, 2017
Of course, Calipari only learned what YOLO meant earlier this week, which was probably reason alone for this post. And the dabbing? Well, every child in America’s doing it these days, which means it’s about time Cal started it too. Last year, Calipari put out a similarly embarrassing video encouraging fans to vote for the Cats for the All-Star Game:
It’s cheesy as hell, but Cal brings up a good point: stop what you’re doing and go vote for your favorite Cats to make the All-Star game. Here’s how:
- Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
- Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
- Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
- Do the same thing on Facebook
- You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.
It also doesn’t hurt that this video comes out as Cal is hitting the recruiting trail to visit 2017 target Mo Bamba and 2018 star Cameron Reddish. No way that’s a coincidence.
The question everyone’s asking this week is, when will Hamidou Diallo arrive on campus? Well, we have the answer. In a true sign of our times, Diallo let his Instagram followers know he was on campus with a simple geotag (which is determined by your phone’s location):
If you missed it earlier, Diallo did an interview with Evan Daniels in which he didn’t rule out playing this semester or going to the NBA draft this summer.
“I would say, right now we’re just playing it by ear,” Diallo said. “We just don’t want to rush into things. I just don’t want to go over there and put on a Kentucky jersey and just play. Just trying to protect me as much as possible. First, I’m going to have to get used to things. I mean, me just getting used to things, me just getting used to the college game. That’s pretty much the biggest thing of why I would sit out this year but right now, we’re just playing it by ear. We’re trying to see what happens within these next four months.”
Diallo will be on the sideline Saturday vs. Auburn. Stay tuned…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 10:30am
Lost in the shuffle of horrible officiating, Isaiah Briscoe’s heroics, and Malik Monk sealing the win with four clutch free throws in the final seconds was De’Aaron Fox’s markedly improved shooting last night. Fox was 11-17 from the floor last night for 22 points, and those numbers don’t really do justice to how much better his jumper looked, a result of mandatory extra time in the gym.
“It’s just things that I’ve been working on the last few weeks,” Fox said afterwards. “It’s a lot of shots that teams are giving me and I just have to knock them down. Nothing more, nothing less I can say about that.”
John Calipari was very impressed with his freshman point guard.
“Yeah, he’s really spending time in the gym right now. He’s really mastering his craft. He made a 3, he made his free throws. He played well. He’s 11 out of 17.”
Isaiah Briscoe — whose own jumper has improved — said he and Fox are staying in the gym together to work on their shots, and it shows.
“He’s fine. We’re actually—we stay after practice, shoot every day. He’s in there before practice working on his shot. When you work hard, you don’t really worry about missing shots or anything like that. He knows how hard he works and, like he said, he’s been working hard. He was due for a good game. He deserved it.”
Check out Fox’s improved jumper for yourself in these highlights:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 9:21am
This morning, recruiting guru Evan Daniels released a new episode of his podcast in which he interviewed the newest Wildcat, Hamidou Diallo. The five-star shooting guard announced this past weekend he will enroll at Kentucky this semester and is expected on campus in the coming days, and although the plan has been for him to sit out this year to develop and practice against Kentucky’s guards, he hinted to Daniels that may not be set in stone yet.
“I would say, right now we’re just playing it by ear,” Diallo said when asked if he will sit out this semester. “We just don’t want to rush into things. I just don’t want to go over there and put on a Kentucky jersey and just play. Just trying to protect me as much as possible. First, I’m going to have to get used to things. I mean, me just getting used to things, me just getting used to the college game. That’s pretty much the biggest thing of why I would sit out this year but right now, we’re just playing it by ear. We’re trying to see what happens within these next four months.”
Diallo will be eligible for this summer’s NBA Draft, and although John Calipari sold him on staying at Kentucky for a year and a half, he said he hasn’t ruled coming out in this year’s draft out either.
“I mean, right now, I’m just playing everything by ear. I haven’t completely ruled anything out. Right now, I’m just worried about getting up on Kentucky’s campus and just getting ready to put that work in and that’s pretty much it. I haven’t ruled anything out though, if that’s what you mean. I’m just happy to be a Wildcat right now. That’s pretty much it.”
Regardless, Diallo said he chose Kentucky because of the opportunity to train against the best guards in the country.
“Those are great guards right there,” Diallo said of Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk, and De’Aaron Fox. “Me just playing against them right there, that’s going to help me and help them because they’ll have a better defender to guard them of course and that could prepare them for the next level and prepare them for games as well. For me, just getting used to guarding the best of the best guards in the country.”
While UConn recruited him the longest, Diallo said he “fell in love” with Kentucky on his visit a few weeks back.
“I would say I picked the Wildcats because, I mean, when I went up there, I just fell in love with them. I felt like it was the best decision for me and I just felt the level of basketball was just very different and everything — they had the best plan for me to make it to the next level.”
Specifically, Diallo said he was impressed by what Kentucky’s players had to say about assistant coach Kenny Payne, and how he can help him develop for the pros.
“I would say the training part,” Diallo said when asked what appealed to him most about Kentucky. “Coach KP [Kenny Payne], a couple of the guys telling me Coach KP is always in the gym. He’s in the gym with you at night, he’s in the gym with you in the morning. He always wants to put in work and he wants you to get better to see your dreams come true.”
Diallo said he made the decision to enroll in college this semester about a month and a half ago, and when he met with Calipari, Cal thought it was a win-win situation for both sides.
“He just thought it would be a great idea. Just coming in there, getting a couple of months under my belt early, he thought it would be a great idea and he thought it would be a good situation for the both of us.”
Who knows what will happen with Diallo, but one thing is certain: whether or not he plays this semester will be the hot topic on every pre- and postgame show this season.
Lots of good stuff in this interview, so give it a listen before this morning’s radio show by clicking this link or listening in the player below:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Last night, Kentucky’s freshmen learned that no matter how ugly it is, a win is a win, especially on the road in the SEC. After a long night in Memorial Gymnasium and a good night’s sleep, here are my takeaways from the Cats’ 87-81 victory over Vanderbilt.
1. Calipari’s still worried about who’s backing up Bam
In the first half last night, Bam Adebayo was excellent; the big man built on a string of impressive performances with a perfect 3-3 from the floor and 7-8 from the free throw line. Unfortunately, Bam got into foul trouble in the second half and also drew an earful from John Calipari after missing a gimme when he should have dunked it (a “Pebbles” moment, if you will). Regardless, Bam is improving and when he’s not in, Kentucky is extremely vulnerable in the post. Based on last night’s postgame press conference, this may be the number one issue bothering Calipari.
“I gotta get Isaac (Humphries) – I gotta figure out what we’re going to do when Bam (Adebayo’s) not in. We’ll keep trying Isaac, but if it can’t be Isaac, it can’t be Isaac. You saw that I went small. I kind of liked that. You’re still 6-(foot)-10 and 6-9. What do I think we’re the Lakers? We gotta have two 7-footers out there? I mean, we’re 6-10 and 6-9 and that’s with Wenyen (Gabriel) and Derek (Willis). But, a good win for us.”
Simply put: work in progress.
2. Freshmen are freshmen, but these freshmen are fun
Kentucky’s youth was on display at times last night, but De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk showed poise at the end, with Fox slashing to the lane and Monk draining four crucial free throws in the final twenty seconds of the game. You can tell the freshmen’s occasional lack of discipline irritates the crap out of Cal (like Monk’s showboaty dunk attempt in the second half), but even he admitted that this group is fun to watch.
“Look, I got good players. I’m sitting here, it’s not about me coaching. I’ve got really good players. My job is to get them more disciplined, more focused, playing when another team’s playing a certain way. But we got talented kids now. Watching this team play, you’ve got to have fun. Like, wow, this is fun watching them. The stuff they do, as fast as they’re playing, some unbelievable plays that they make.”
3. Calipari stole Jerry Tipton’s chair at the postgame press conference
Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox spoke to reporters before John Calipari came out and left the two chairs at the podium covered in sweat. Cal’s presser got off to a hilarious start when he came in, saw the sweaty chairs, and made Jerry Tipton give up his seat so he didn’t have to sit in them:
4. Briscoe gave Calipari one high layup and that’s it
Calipari’s been trying to get Isaiah Briscoe to shoot his layups higher, and Briscoe did that at least once last night before returning to his usual form.
“I shot one high layup and it went in,” Briscoe said. “The rest of them were just my regular layups.”
Calipari was not surprised.
“No. He’s hard-headed. There’s no way. He hates the fact—I’d rather get five blocked and make one than miss four and make one.”
5. Both Briscoe and Fox were proud of how the team played in a half-court setting
Kentucky’s known for burning teams in transition, but both De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe said they were proud of how the team handled Vandy forcing them to play a half-court offense.
“It was extremely important, just being able to show people even if we’re not out and running that we can execute in the half-court,” Fox said. “I think that’s what we did in the second half.”
“I think today we showed people that not only are we a transition team, but we can play in the half-court also.”
(Yes…but please get the ball to Bam more often!)
6. Blue got in
Thank goodness Kentucky fans came to last night’s game, or it would have been a really embarrassing showing for Vandy. Blue got in all over the place, specifically the end zones:
— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) January 11, 2017
There were several brave Kentucky fans in the Vanderbilt student section:
Well done. Also, as Townsend Miller pointed out on Twitter, is that Patrick Towles’ twin on the right?
Even Bryce Drew commented on the number of Kentucky fans in the crowd last night.
“Crowd was great, but in the future, we’ve got to get a little more black and gold in there.”
Oh, Bryce. Good luck with that.
7. Calipari found a silver lining in Kentucky’s poor outside shooting
Kentucky was 1-9 from three-point land but still won, which Calipari saw as a blessing in disguise.
“I told them after the game, we were 1 for 9 from the 3 and I ecstatic, because when you’re 1 for 9 and you still win you prove to your team you do not need to make 3s to win. Many teams in this country if they’re not making 3s they got no chance of winning. We’re not one of them. This was a prime example. They played well.”
8. A Vanderbilt student won a three-year lease on a new car with this half-court shot
I hate Vandy’s weird ass gym more than anyone, but this was a really cool moment at halftime:
— VandyMBB (@VandyMBB) January 11, 2017
You go, Andre. Not even mad about that.
9. Karl Towns called in to ESPN’s broadcast
I was at the game, so I didn’t see this, but Karl Towns called in to ESPN’s broadcast to talk about the game because of course he did. Once I get some breakfast and wake up a bit, I’m going to hunt down the video to share it with you in case you also missed it. Karl is the best.
10. Baylor, Duke, and Indiana lost last night
Which makes this morning even more awesome. Not only did Duke lose, they got blown out by Florida State 88-72, and it shouldn’t surprise you, but Grayson Allen shoved a Florida State assistant coach, further cementing his legacy as the most unlikeable player in college basketball:
— Caleb Smith (@calebt_smith) January 11, 2017
Death, taxes, and Grayson Allen being a punk.
Radio in an hour…
By Drew Franklin on ©January 10th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
After winning its first three conference games by an average of 30 points, Kentucky had to fight for 40 minutes to hold off Vanderbilt in a close one Tuesday night. A 12-point favorite at tip-off, the Cats went down the wire with the Commodores in Memorial Gym and escaped with a very tough, hard-fought road victory, 87-81.
From an entertainment standpoint, it was one of the worst basketball games you will ever see in your basketball-watching lives. We have the officials to thank for that — they called 43 fouls in the game, mostly of the ticky-tack variety. The game never found its flow because of the frequency of the whistles on both sides of the floor, which is why I don’t think it’s out of line or an overreaction to say all three officials should be fired and deported. They robbed us of a good basketball on ESPN Super Tuesday.
More from the action between the whistles…
MVP: ‘Zay Brisoe
Kentucky’s sophomore guard led all scorers with 23 points and a lot of those came when his team needed a bucket in the worst way. Briscoe repeatedly got to the rack through the Vanderbilt defense and he finished each and every time, as he always seems to do. Whenever Vandy tried to make move, he was there with an answer on the other end. (I call those “Shut the **** **” shots, and he had a lot of them.)
Briscoe’s attack was the Cats’ steady force offensively and proved to be the one thing that could not be stopped throughout the game. He was on the court for over 39 of the 40 long minutes and had five baskets in each half to go along with seven rebounds and five assists, while being the only Wildcat to not commit a foul, somehow.
He did miss every jump shot he took, but we’ll give him a pass on those for now because he did everything else to lead his team to the dub.
De’Aaron Fox was a monster in the second half.
Fox was one point shy of matching Briscoe’s 23 for the game as he finished with 22 on 11-of-17 shooting in the game, earning him MVP runner-up honors. 16 of Fox’s 22 came in the second half after he played only six minutes before halftime due to foul trouble. He then went 8-for-12 from the field when he returned to action out of the break, which, along with Briscoe’s drives, proved to be the difference-maker in the end.
However, like Briscoe, Fox still can’t knock down the jumper (although I think he did get one this time). If those two start hitting those consistently, RIP to the competition. Still, great showing by both guards with 45 combined points.
Malik Monk scored a quiet 18 points.
You know you’re talking about a special player when an 18-point night is just “Meh.” That’s where we are with Monk right now — he scored 18 and didn’t play anywhere near what he is capable of. In this one he was only 6-for-15 from the field with one assist and one rebound in 29 minutes.
Monk did hit the free throws that sealed it, though. With Vanderbilt trying to make some late magic, Monk went to the line and hit two free throws on two separate trips in the final 17 seconds. There was no chance he was going to miss those. Killers don’t miss the kill-switch free throws. Automatic every time.
And for those keeping score at home, it was 63 combined points for the Kentucky guards.
Early foul trouble saved Vanderbilt.
If not for the tight whistle, this game likely would’ve been a rout from the get-go. Kentucky pounced all over the ‘Dores out of the gate to a 9-0 lead in the first three minutes before Fox and Monk went to the bench very early in the game with two fouls apiece. Without that early foul trouble to UK’s two star freshman guards, we are likely telling a different story right now.
The officiating was terrible each way, but don’t let a Vanderbilt fan complain to you. The crap officiating is what made it a ball game.
Kentucky went 1-for-9 from outside.
Shout-out to Malik Monk for keeping that record streak alive. Monk’s three-pointer at the very beginning of the game was the only one Kentucky made all night.
The seniors played very poorly.
John Calipari didn’t get much from Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis or Mychal Mulder and this is a game when they were needed with all of the foul trouble. Willis finished with four points and four fouls; Mulder bricked a couple of three-point tries; and Hawkins didn’t do much of anything either in his nine minutes. You can throw Wenyen Gabriel in that group of no-shows, too.
Bam Adebayo was unstoppable in the first half, not so much in the second.
I spent most of the first half screaming “FEED BAM!” at my television because Vanderbilt had no answer for the big man. He was a perfect 3-for-3 in the first half on the rare occasion he didn’t draw a foul and he was 7-for-8 at the line when he did get the whistle.
The second half was a different story when his touches declined but it was still a pretty good night for Bam with 14 and seven rebounds.
56 free throws in the game.
Fifty. Six. Free throws.
We’ll take that win every time.
The blowout wins are fun and all but you take a win in Memorial Gym however you can get it. Vandy always brings it against Kentucky (Kornet, LaChance, Roberson and Fisher-Davis were all above their season averages) and that backwards-ass gym always affects the opponent.
If you were expecting the Cats to smash that 12-point spread and run away with another easy one, you should know Kentucky hasn’t won a game by double-digits in Nashville since 2005. It’s just a tough place to get it done.
And Kentucky got it done Tuesday night to move to 4-0 in SEC play.