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Basketball Season Coverage

Kentucky vs. Seton Hall Point Spread Released

Vegas has spoken and Kentucky opened as a seven-point favorite vs. Seton Hall in tomorrow’s game at Madison Square Garden. The line has already moved to six.

Kentucky’s on a bit of a hot streak when it comes to spreads, covering the last two in a row. Speaking of the Cats, they arrived in New York earlier this afternoon, practicing at Baruch College. (Madison Square Garden is hosting the Z100 Jingle Ball tonight.)


I don’t mind the NCAA’s new Bracketology one bit

I don’t mind the NCAA’s new Bracketology one bit

It’s too early for Bracketology, but it’s also a Friday, so what’s the harm in having a little hypothetical fun? Andy Katz just released his new projections for the NCAA Tournament, and I’ll be honest, I don’t mind Kentucky’s draw one bit.

Katz has the Cats as the three-seed in the South Region, with Michigan as the one-seed and Texas Tech as the two-seed:

Michigan is good, but put Kentucky in Louisville and I like their chances, even against 2018 West Region MVP and former Cat Charles Matthews.

Katz’s four one-seeds: Gonzaga, Duke, Virginia, Michigan. Tennessee is a two-seed and Auburn is a three-seed. Check out the entire thing at NCAA.com.

[NCAA.com]


TRANSCRIPT: Everything John Calipari said from today’s press conference, presented by More Than A Bakery

TRANSCRIPT: Everything John Calipari said from today’s press conference, presented by More Than A Bakery

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On other players alluding to Ashton Hagans’ defense kick starting the defensive effort for the other players …
“Yeah, and Tyler Herro who anticipates better than anybody on the team and is playing with more defensive confidence. And what’s it doing to him offensively? It’s building his confidence and now he’s become a confident player. How was he for the first couple of weeks of the season? He wasn’t real confident because he was getting killed on defense. Ashton is being more confident because of how he’s playing on defense. It’s just going to be a step at a time. Immanuel (Quickley), we just need him to be more aggressive, to react more and process and just react to stuff versus the processing because it slows him down.”

On getting the team to buy into the mindset of defensive intensity …
“Well, we’re going every day. I’ve got the treadmill revved up. If anybody goes half speed, get on the treadmill. I’m not going to fight you. Just get over there. If it becomes we’re in the middle of a drill and practice went from two hours to two hours and 10 minutes because we’ve had to wait on you, if it keeps happening I’m going to go to two and a half hours because we’re going to wait. You’re going to do it and then you’ll come back over and work. That should be short-term stuff for us as a program. This is acceptable. This is not. Now make it part of who you are and then you move on. I just have to raise the bar on what and how we’re going to have to play. At the end of the day, if we’re a defensive-driven team we’re going to be pretty good. If we’re not, we’re not going to be very good. When will you start working on turnovers, Coach? After we get the defense right we’ll start thinking about turning it over too much. Right now we just can’t throw too much at these guys. We’re doing drills that are really basic, fundamental. Should have been learned a long time ago, but that’s fine. That’s where we are.”

On Nick Richards’ practices this week …
“Better. He had blocks yesterday. He did some good stuff yesterday. Really, really good. I was happy for him.”

On playing only three post players …
“They’ll know in practice how they’re playing. I’m going to talk to all four of them and explain why I’m doing what I’m doing and what led me to this. You can’t have two guys not play well on the floor. Like, two not playing and competing. Now, they’re getting minutes. But, when you only have three and that one guy doesn’t bring it and you only play him 15 minutes, you’re okay. That’s been the issue. You can’t have two of the four not absolutely diving on the floor for every ball, and that’s why I went with three. My chances of having two out there were better, and you see it. If they all four play and we start playing four and they’re competing, I’m good with that. But, I’m not doing it right now. (I’ve) got to coach to win. I’ll deal with the egos later. Again, I like the fact that they’ve got to compete for their time.”

(more…)


Calipari details how Ashton Hagans can stay on the floor and other tidbits from his Thursday presser

John Calipari met with the media on Thursday to discuss UK’s road trip to New York City. The Cats will take a seven game winning streak into its Saturday matchup against Seton Hall for a noon tip.

Calipari spent time discussing how he wants more out of his players, praising some and criticizing other. We’ll post the entire transcript soon, but here are some of the tidbits from Thursday.

  • Calipari isn’t afraid to shorten the rotation. Against Greensboro Nick Richards played a season low one minute, where he picked up a foul and committed a turnover. Calipari will use a short rotation moving forward if need be. “I like the fact they have to compete for their time.” After all, this isn’t communism. (Cal surprisingly didn’t say that today)
  • “Reid’s not even the same player he was back int he Bahamas. he’s so different and so much better.” This wouldn’t be the last time that Calipari would praise Reid Travis.
  • Calipari said the team is working everyday on their off-the-ball defense. Cal even went on to say they are having to take time to teach his players were they need to look when they’re playing defense. Yikes. “(This is) stuff they should have had before they came here.” Not to criticize Cal, and I know it was probably a hyperbolic statement, but why did it take until December for him to realize some of his guys didn’t know where to look on defense?
  • Cal wasn’t finished ripping some of his players’ defensive abilities. He said UK may as well be playing four-on-five when Keldon is defending off the ball. I do agree that Keldon has been somewhat disappointing defensively.
  • When convincing himself not to panic, Calipari remembers the ups-and-downs from last season. He mentioned how UK should have been in the Final Four and admitted every year that he moves too fast but it ends up where he needs to slow down and go back to the grind, referring to thinking his team is ready to take off, but realizes they’re not where he thought they were. “And it’s a grind, but I’m in a good frame of mind to help my team and help these guys.”
  • Calipari said that Ashton can be UK’s defensive stopper and if he does that he’s going to play. “If you want to play then play this way,” Calipari said. Interesting, answering the same question Calipari said that if Hagans wants to “joke around” then he’s not going to play and he can cheer on UK from the bench. I believe it’s the first time that he’s mentioned guys goofing around. Regardless, it’s clear that if Hagans locks in defensively he will be on the floor.
  • Cal joked that a few of his players are in the conversation as the worst passers he’s ever coached. He said no one is the worst on the team, but a couple are in the conversation. Someone asked about Tyler Herro jokingly calling himself the best passer Calipari has coached and Cal laughed “Have you seen some of the passes he’s thrown?” Hey, Herro is only averaging 1.5 turnovers per game. Five players have more turnovers on the season.
  • But he did praise Herro. he said that’s come a long way defensively and that his “anticipation” is the best on the team and it’s translated into his offense.
  • Finally some Seton Hall talk. Calipari said it will be a 40 minute game on Saturday and if a player can’t stay disciplined for 40 minutes he will be benched. He’s still trying to figure out a roster and rotation that leads to 40 minutes of success.
  • Calipari complimented the IQ of UK basketball fans. He said fans in this state want teams that compete, play hard, are unselfish and obviously they want winners. He said fans know what good basketball and bad basketball look like. He believes his team is getting there. “They’re starting to accept it.”
  • Other coaches (not sure the level) visited UK’s practice this week and one coach came up to Calipari after a practice to praise Travis. He told Calipari that Travis never takes his eyes off him when Calipari stops a practice to teach, “he’s on a mission.” Cal wants his teammates to do the same, but then complimented his entire team. “We have really good players. Don’t think we don’t.” Then he went into a spiel about how they constantly need to compete and if they don’t fight to win they won’t play.


LIVE: John Calipari previews Seton Hall

John Calipari previews Saturday’s game against Seton Hall.

 


10 Things We’ve Learned One Month Into the College Basketball Season

10 Things We’ve Learned One Month Into the College Basketball Season

Today is Thursday, December 6th, which means that – as hard as it is to believe – we have reached the one-month point since the start of college hoops season. It really is incredible to think about how much has changed since that first night of the season in Indianapolis, when Kansas beat Michigan State and… well, actually, as best I can remember that happened in Indy that night.

Like Urban Meyer, I must be suffering a bit of memory loss.

Regardless, it’s incredible to sit here one month into the season and think about how much things have changed in the weeks since that opening night. Contenders that weren’t contenders a month ago have emerged, other teams have fallen, and Duke has gone from “print up the undefeated t-shirts” good, to just another really solid college hoops team at the top of the sport.

So one month into the season, what have we learned? Here are 10 things:

There are no great teams, but a whole lot of good ones

It’s pretty clear that five weeks into the season, there is no team like the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats, a club that is overwhelmingly better than everyone else in the sport. But in their place however are a lot of really good teams, and a couple that more closely resemble Villanova last year, a 30-4 club in the regular season that rode upperclassmen and a handful of good-but-not-elite NBA Draft prospects to the national title. There really are about seven or eight teams that feel a cut above the rest to me.

Right now Gonzaga is No. 1, and with good reason. To me, they most closely resemble the Villanova team from last year. If you’ll remember, Villanova had a bunch of pros masquerading as college players and Gonzaga does too, with four veterans on their roster (Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, Killian Tillie and Zach Norvell) who could all hear their names called on draft night. They also have the wins to back it up. That victory over Duke in Maui will likely only get better as the season wears on, and they also have wins over Arizona, Creighton and a last-second victory over Washington on their resume as well. The crazy part is, the Zags aren’t even at full-strength yet with Tillie and Geno Crandall currently sidelined with injuries.

Behind them are a bunch of other teams that feel capable of having what it takes to win the title in March. Kansas is deep and talented (insert your own Adidas/T.J. Gassanola joke here) but still a work in progress. Michigan picked up right where they left off last year (more on them coming), and as much as I’ve been critical of Virginia in the past, they’ve been phenomenal early on. Nevada is undefeated, and yes, good enough to win a title. Duke of course has the two most talented players in college basketball, even if they haven’t been the same since that opening night win against Kentucky.

I’d throw in a few more names behind those teams as well. Tennessee looked REALLY good against Kansas (they controlled that game for about 32 minutes) and although I was critical of them in the preseason, I could see them taking home a title. Auburn can get hot from behind the three-point arc which is all you need to make a deep tourney run. And I haven’t given up on Kentucky and their depth yet either (although obviously the defense needs to improve).

Point being, it’s a wide-open season, where it feels like there is no real separation between the top 8-10 teams in the sport. Which should make for a compelling regular season, and even better basketball once we get to tournament time.

(more…)


WATCH: Buzzer-beater creates Mountain Classic Miracle

WATCH: Buzzer-beater creates Mountain Classic Miracle

If you weren’t one of the fortunate souls at the WYMT Food City Mountain Classic in Hazard last night, you missed a miracle.

Down 46-44 to Harlan County, Perry Central’s Dylan Cornett threw up a 3/4-court prayer at the buzzer…and it went in.

If you’ve got some more time this morning, I recommend watching the entire 12-minute clip of the final moments of the game over at WYMT.com. It’s totally worth it.

[WYMT]


Updated Odds to Win the 2019 College Basketball National Championship

After another month of college basketball, Vegas has updated their National Championship odds.  As expected, Kentucky did not remain near the top.

Shortly after the Cats suffered a lopsided loss at the hands of Duke, the favorites fell to 7/1.  Even though they have not lost since, they’ve taken a backseat to the competition.  Kentucky is now seventh at 16/1 to win the 2019 National Championship.

11/12/12            Current Odds (12/4/18)

Duke                            2/1                    2/1

Gonzaga                       12/1                  7/1

Kansas                         8/1                    10/1

Virginia                         12/1                  12/1

Michigan                       60/1                  14/1

Nevada                         12/1                  14/1

Kentucky                      7/1                    16/1

North Carolina            12/1                  20/1

Tennessee                    30/1                  28/1

Auburn                         50/1                  30/1

Michigan State           40/1                  30/1

Villanova                      18/1                  30/1

Syracuse                      45/1                  40/1

Texas Tech                   125/1                50/1

Iowa                             Off the Board   55/1

Oregon                         35/1                  55/1

Purdue                          90/1                  55/1

Kansas State                100/1                60/1

Florida State                90/1                  65/1

Virginia Tech               90/1                 65/1

West Virginia               60/1                  65/1

Cincinnati                      90/1                  70/1

Wichita State                55/1                  70/1

Wisconsin                     100/1                70/1

UCLA                             45/1                  200/1

Louisville                      200/1                80/1

Maryland                      125/1                80/1

Ohio State                     125/1                80/1

Texas                              125/1                85/1

Mississippi State          100/1                85/1

Indiana                           45/1                  90/1

Clemson                          125/1                100/1

LSU                                  125/1                100/1

 

In the odds for National Player of the Year, Zion Williamson is the 9/2 favorite, ahead of R.J. Barrett and Carsen Edwards at 11/2.


Drew and Ryan explore the ESPN studios on Hey Kentucky!

Drew and Ryan explore the ESPN studios on Hey Kentucky!

While cruising up to New York City in the legendary Van Issel, the KSR and Hey Kentucky! crew took a pit stop in Bristol, Connecticut to explore the ESPN studios.

Drew Franklin is a regular on the television show, but while Matt Jones was co-hosting his weekly ESPN NFL radio show, Hey Kentucky! needed someone to fill his spot for the day.

Coming out of retirement from his broadcasting career at LEX18, Ryan Lemond came in to pinch hit for the day. During his appearance, Drew and Ryan roamed the ESPN halls to find Stephen A. Smith’s office, say hi to Randy Moss, and make fun of Louisville.

Watch Ryan pretend like it’s 1996 again:

You can watch the entire episode below:

Ryan Lemond back in the television studio for weekly spots on Hey Kentucky?

YAKKA!