By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 6:00pm
Tony Barbee met with reporters today to discuss Kentucky’s win at Auburn and tomorrow’s tangle with No. 22 Mississippi State. Here are the five things you need to know.
Kentucky’s “resolve” bodes well for March
What was Barbee’s biggest takeaway from the Auburn game? The fact that Kentucky was able to hang on when the Tigers couldn’t miss and the arena was rocking.
“Responded. That’s a tough environment. It was really loud in there. They are a very experienced team. You knew they weren’t going to be rattled, and then when they put pressure on us down the stretch – our team is so young, I think we showed our resolve, our toughness playing on the road in that kind of environment that we were able to respond when they responded. That’s a trait of a championship team when you can do that in that kind of environment.”
Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro ahead of the typical Calipari freshman track
It’s a tale as old as John Calipari’s tenure in Lexington: star freshmen arrive, star freshmen show flashes of brilliance, star freshmen struggle, star freshmen turn the corner and become great. Barbee said Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro’s big performances on the road at Auburn suggest they’re ahead of most Calipari freshmen at this stage of the season.
“Those guys are no different than any of the freshmen we’ve had here over the years. It’s a rollercoaster ride. They’re typical freshman until we get into late January, early mid-February, then you see those guys – they know they’ve been through so many games at this level, they’ve seen all the different defenses and how people play them, how physical it is in league play. But those are two guys, Keldon and Tyler, specifically that they are getting a little quicker than some of the freshman we have had. They’ve got a toughness about them, especially on the offensive floor.”
This quote about Reid Travis is great
A 6’8″ 240 lbs., Reid Travis is a solid dude, and Barbee said his ability to set screens is second to none on this squad. This quote seems particularly apt.
“You don’t want to run into Reid because you’re going to stop dead in your tracks.”
He thought Jared Harper’s shot was going in, too
When Jared Harper drove the lane and floated the ball towards the basket with six seconds left on Saturday, I’m pretty sure my heart stopped. At first, it looked like the ball was going in, but it mercifully bounced out. Barbee said the coaching staff thought it was in, too.
“It looked down. For us sitting on the bench it looked like it was in, but we defended it the way we wanted to defend that shot…Fortunate for us he missed because he had a clean look.”
Time to slow down and concentrate
When it wasn’t slowed to a crawl by fouls, Saturday’s game vs. Auburn was fast and furious. Get ready for Mississippi State to slow things down tomorrow night.
“I think, watching Auburn, they’re going to take a shot within the first eight seconds of the shot clock the majority of the time. Mississippi State is the opposite. They’re going to take a shot in the last eight seconds of the shot clock the majority of the time. So, we’re going to have to be more disciplined. We’re going to have to communicate for a longer period of time. That’s more of a challenge with so many young guys that we play.”
Read all of Barbee’s comments after the jump. Also, if you can decipher what song is playing through the headphones around his neck, I’ll give you free KSR for life. It’s been driving me nuts all afternoon.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 5:30pm
It’s finally here. Kentucky’s big win over Auburn gets the KyWildcatsTV treatment in the latest installment of “The Journey.”
UK tried to sneak the video on Twitter by sending it directly to followers who liked a preview yesterday afternoon, but nothing gets past these watchful eyes:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 21, 2019
If you need me, I’ll be watching that on loop until tomorrow.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Tomorrow’s game vs. No. 22 Mississippi State at Rupp is a big one. Good thing for you Kentucky is offering discounted tickets. For a limited time, you can purchase upper level seats for $50 each.
To access this offer, you must go through the ReplyBuy service. To do so, sign up for ReplyBuy by clicking here or texting “KENTUCKY” to 20123. New users will receive a $10 credit upon registering, which is nice. Once you’re all set up, ReplyBuy will text you with the deal and you’ll respond with ‘BUY KENTUCKY’ + the quantity of tickets you wish to purchase (Example: BUY KENTUCKY 2). A direct link to the offer can be found here.
For this game, the best seats available will be automatically pulled from sections 234 and 240. To view a seating chart, click here.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 4:30pm
After rising to No. 8 in the AP Poll, Kentucky is back in the Top 10 of the Coaches Poll as well. The Cats jumped five spots to No. 9, just ahead of Saturday’s opponent, Kansas.
The top three are the same as the AP Poll: Tennessee, Duke, and Virginia. The Vols received 30 of the 32 first-place votes. After losing to Kentucky, Auburn fell three spots to No. 15. Here are both polls side by side for comparison:
|AP Top 25||Coaches Poll|
|1||Tennessee (48)||16-1||1575||1||Tennessee (30)||16-1||798|
|2||Duke (11)||15-2||1520||2||Duke (2)||15-2||746|
|6||Michigan State (2)||16-2||1355||6||Michigan||17-1||666|
|20||Ole Miss||14-3||291||20||Ole Miss||14-3||189|
|22||Mississippi State||14-3||266||22||Mississippi State||14-3||147|
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 3:30pm
ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf, like all college basketball fans with eyeballs and a brain, did not agree with the officials’ decision to hand PJ Washington a Flagrant 1 foul in the closing minutes of Kentucky’s game at Auburn last week. He too saw that Washington was only making a play on the ball, and though it was unfortunate that Horace Spencer’s head was split open on the play, it wasn’t anything more than a hard foul followed by a bad fall.
Medcalf wrote about the play on Monday in his “What’s real, what’s fake, and who should really be No. 1?” column on ESPN’s college basketball page.
It was “one of those calls that they can’t miss,” he says:
Real: Kentucky-Auburn finish altered by questionable flagrant call
With 1:53 remaining in a five-point game, Kentucky’s PJ Washington tried to block a dunk attempt by Auburn’s Horace Spencer. Washington was going for the ball but he got still hit with a flagrant 1, largely because Spencer landed awkwardly, cut himself and got up with blood pouring from his face. It was a call that did not fit the NCAA rulebook’s description of a flagrant 1. “A flagrant 1 personal foul is a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but is not based solely on the severity of the act.” Nothing about Washington’s play was excessive.
A minute after the call, Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer to give Auburn a one-point lead with 32 seconds to play. The flagrant 1 call had shifted the momentum. Kentucky held on to win, but plays like that shouldn’t affect outcomes.
Officials have difficult jobs. They won’t get every call right. But that’s one of those calls that they can’t miss. [ESPN.com]
At least it wasn’t as bad as the no-call in the NFC Championship. I can’t imagine the pain Saints fans feel today.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 2:58pm
Vegas has spoken and Kentucky opened as an eight-point favorite in tomorrow night’s game vs. No. 22 Mississippi State in Rupp Arena. The total is currently 148.5.
The Cats are on a bit of a hot streak in the basketball and gambling worlds, covering the spread in their last two games. They’re now 8-9 against the spread this season. In the words of Helmet Guy, Mississippi State’s pretty good, so I’m staying away from this one.
As always, gamble responsibly.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 2:34pm
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 1:10pm
One of the top high school basketball targets in America will begin his official visit to the University of Kentucky on Monday.
Anthony Edwards, the top-ranked shooting guard in the Class of 2019, will land at Blue Grass Airport this afternoon to spend the next couple of days on UK’s campus. He is ranked fourth in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, but 247Sports considers him the No. 1 overall player in the country, regardless of position.
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 215 lbs.
Atlanta, GA | Holy Spirit Preparatory School
|ESPN||No. 4 | 1 SG||Top247||No. 1 | 1 SG|
|Rivals||No. 3 | 1 SG||247 Comp.||No. 4 | 1 SG|
Edwards took over 247Sports’s top spot from former UK target James Wiseman when he reclassified from the 2020 class back in November. Kentucky’s main competition for his commitment is Florida State, but the next couple of days could change that if things go well. (It’d be nice if Lexington wasn’t covered in snow.)
Edwards will of course take in the sights and sounds of Rupp Arena tomorrow night when UK hosts No. 22 Mississippi State.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 12:53pm
Former Temple head coach John Chaney turned 87 today and his old friend John Calipari wished him a happy birthday on Twitter, like good friends do. But there was a time when the two Hall of Famers weren’t so cordial with one another, back when Chaney interrupted one of Calipari’s press conferences at UMass to say, “I’ll kill you!”
Cal’s birthday tweet to Chaney said, “I know everyone still remembers when I tried to choke him — or wait, did he try to choke me? I can’t remember. LOL.”
My friend John Chaney turned 87 today. I know everyone still remembers when I tried to choke him — or wait, did he try to choke me? I can’t remember. LOL. A true Hall of Fame basketball coach but even better at developing young men. I miss our battles. Happy birthday, Coach!
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 21, 2019
We should celebrate by watching the clip. It’s a classic.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 12:17pm
With road wins over Georgia and Auburn, Kentucky is back among the top ten in the Associated Press college basketball poll. The AP ranked Kentucky eighth overall this week, up four spots from No. 12.
Tennessee is the No. 1 overall team for the first time in 11 years after collecting 48 of the 64 first-place votes. Kentucky’s next two challengers, Mississippi State and Kansas, are ranked No. 22 and No. 9, respectively.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 11:45am
Good afternoon, folks, and happy MLK Day. Karl-Anthony Towns got the better of Devin Booker thanks to a Derrick Rose game-winner. Let’s talk NBA.
Since today is MLK Day, the NBA celebrates by featuring games all day long, starting at 12:30 p.m. and running through 10:30 p.m. So if you have nothing to do today (and we all know you don’t), you might as well turn on the TV and check out some former Wildcats. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to watch at least one of them.
[11-37] Suns – 114 @ [22-24] Timberwolves – 116
- In a matchup between former college teammates, Karl-Anthony Towns and his Minnesota Timberwolves got the best of Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.
- Towns scored 30 points on only eight made shots but was a perfect 13-13 mark from the free throw line, although only two of his points came after halftime thanks to constant double teams from the Suns. He pulled down 12 rebounds for this 29th double-double of the season while also dishing out four assists and tieing a career-high with four steals.
- Derrick Rose scored 29 of his 31 points in the second half and also hit the game-winning shot for the Wolves.
- Devin Booker shot 7-15 from the field for 18 points in addition to his six rebounds and six assists (and five turnovers).
- The Charlotte Hornets were smacked by the Indiana Pacers by a score of 120-95. Malik Monk contributed 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added seven points and two rebounds.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had one of his worst shooting performances of his young career, missing 12 of his 15 shot attempts for only seven points. However, the recently struggling Clippers stuck with SGA despite his shooting woes, playing him 37 minutes and as he helped lead his team to a massive win over a hot San Antonio Spurs squad. The Clippers had dropped five straight games before their win on Sunday.
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||116-114 W vs. PHX||30||8-22 (1-5)||12||4||4||1||4||+1||39|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||114-116 L @ MIN||18||7-15 (1-6)||6||6||0||0||5||-11||32|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||95-120 L @ IND||11||4-9 (2-3)||3||2||2||0||3||-10||15|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||95-120 L @ IND||7||2-4 (1-2)||2||0||0||0||1||-9||18|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||103-95 W @ SAS||7||3-15 (1-2)||4||3||0||0||3||-4||37|
TODAY IN THE NBA
12:30 (NBATV): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox)
1:00: Bulls @ Cavaliers
2:00: Pistons @ Wizards (Wall-out)
2:00: Mavericks @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
3:00 (NBATV): Magic (Briscoe) @ Hawks (Poythress)
3:30: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox, Labissiere) @ Nets
5:30 (TNT): Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Grizzlies
6:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Celtics
8:00 (TNT): Rockets (Knight-questionable) @ 76eres
9:00: Trail Blazers @ Jazz
10:30 (TNT): Warriors (Cousins) @ Lakers (Rondo-out)
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By KSR on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 11:15am
Get the podcast delivered directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. Don’t forget to follow the show on Instagram too.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 10:59am
The SEC Freshman of the Week award is coming to Kentucky for the fifth time in six weeks.
This time it is Tyler Herro who earned the conference’s Freshman of the Week award, following Kentucky’s wins at Georgia and at Auburn. Herro averaged a team-high 16 points, five rebounds and four assists per game in the two victories. He’s also made 17 consecutive free throws and leads the team in scoring in the last 11 games.
It’s the second Freshman of the Week trophy for Herro this season, tying him with teammates Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson, who also have two apiece.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 21st, 2019 @ 10:15am
Kentucky’s spot in the NCAA tournament field is more important this year than in most years, considering the Cats could potentially play in Louisville for a spot in the Final Four. So we’re keeping a closer eye on any and all tournament projections throughout the season, like the one over at CBSSports.com.
The website’s bracketology expert, Jerry Palm, updated his projected bracket late Sunday night and it has Kentucky playing in the East as the region’s No. 2 seed. Washington DC, not Louisville, is the host site for the East’s semifinal and final games.
In Palm’s scenario, Kentucky would open with Bucknell and then meet the winner of Purdue/TCU to advance to DC. Those first two games would be played in lovely Des Moines, Iowa.
Michigan is the East’s No. 1 seed in Palm’s projection, followed by (2) Kentucky, (3) Virginia Tech, (4) Buffalo and (5) Louisville. Give me that competition for the Final Four all damn day.
Duke, Tennessee and Virginia are the other No. 1 seeds.