If the KSR comments section is an actual Big Blue thermometer, which it seems to be most of the time, the Nation is ready to close the book on Saturday’s loss and the stream of negativity resulting from it. So, in anticipation of the all-day ‘A Christmas Story’ marathon on December 25th, below is a celebration of all that is well with Kentucky basketball.
11. Doron Lamb’s 14.9 Points Per Game statistic is ranked #11 in the SEC. Lamb’s Three Point % is higher than all but one of the scorers in the Top Ten (Arnett Moultrie of MSU). Only Moultrie topped Doron’s 82% Free Throw Percentage as well.
10. Marquis Teague’s 10 Points Per Game, coupled with his 4 assists, are solid. Teague has been a lightning rod for criticism recently, but his second half performance in Bloomington showed what young Marquis is capable of when he is on. While it may be several games before he is 100% comfortable running the point, I think we can all agree that seeing Teague play to his potential will be worth any wait.
9. After 9 games, Kentucky posted a 8-1 record. RealTimeRPI.com lists UK’s Strength of Schedule for those 9 games at 43. Kentucky scored an average of 81 points in each contest, earning the Cats a top 15 ranking in that category. Kentucky is ranked 27th in Effective Field Goal percentage with 54.1%.
8. Eloy Vargas’ 8 minutes per game are huge for Cal’s Cats. Eloy has checked into each of Kentucky’s 9 contests and played an average of 8 minutes per game. Vargas is averaging nearly four rebounds and a basket per match. If Eloy can improve his free throw shooing (43%), he could prove to be valuable insurance for games where Anthony Davis gets into foul trouble.
7. MKG’s 7 Rebounds Per Game are oh-so-valuable. Kentucky’s Offensive Rebound percentage of 37% is good for #39 nationally. The Kidd’s rebound total is the 8th highest in the League. Taco and the rest of the guys are impressed.
6. If Anthony Davis is trying to hide the fact he is a machine, his shooting 67% from the field is hurting his cause. Most of Davis’ notoriety comes from his shot blocking, but his field goal percentage is astounding. His 67% puts him at the top of League rankings and #9 nationally. Davis is 42 for 59 from the floor, and according to KenPom.com, Kentucky is #1 in the country in blocking their opponents shots. The national average is 9%, the Cats’ average is 24%. In other words, 1 out of every 4 shots taken by the opposing team is blocked. That’s unreal.
5. Wearing the #5 jersey, Jarrod Polson received more letters from middle school girls this quarter than the Jonas Brothers. In fairness, the Jonas Brothers’ popularity has been waining markedly and consistently over the past 12 months. This should not take any credit from Polson. as there are three Brothers and they have previously embarked on a worldwide tour. Polson, of the White Boy Academy fame, draws inevitable comparisons to Justin Timberlake, who also got his start in a boy band.
4. KenPom.com ranks Kentucky’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency at #4. UK’s AOE is 117, while their Adjusted Tempo is a respectable 69 (#92). What’s more, the Cats are ranked #4 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency @ 83.8.
3. Terrence Jones is a beast. We need to go ahead and bury the hatchet on this one, BBN. First of all, you don’t need to carry this hatchet around when you’re angry, it makes people uncomfortable. Secondly, Terrence is still a kid. To put things in perspective, he was just nine years old on 9/11. What’s more, he’s a long way from home, culturally and geographically. I saw The Goonies; Kentucky is very different than Oregon. TJ will go back into beast mode soon. You”l want to be back on the bandwagon when he does.
2. The two minutes Sam Malone averages per game are the most exciting two minutes in sports. Well, in Kentucky sports. What’s that? The Derby? Oh right. Either way, it is pure magic when that kid hits the floor. He’s going to be a special player here.
1. #3 on the jersey, #1 in our hearts: the greatest blessing bestowed upon Kentucky fans this Christmas season has to be @RexChapman on Twitter. King Rex is a great follow, as he replies and interacts with his fans, plays jokes on his followers and is open minded and forthcoming with his views. Two things I especially appreciate about Rex: his interactions with Nicky and Roger Hayden of Owensboro (MotoGP Superstars) and his love of Showtime’s Homeland, a favorite show of Drew Franklin’s and mine.