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Doug Harrellson’s Monday News and Views

Good morning, my friends.  I hope you made it home safely after spending this past weekend in the town in which I make my home, but will never call my hometown.  It was a fun stretch of basketball for the city of Tampa and our beloved Cats and one that saw Josh Harrellson continue to emerge as a consistent star for Kentucky.  It was also a two-game stretch that turned his father, Doug Harrellson, into a fan favorite.  Just as his son used passion, determination and making the most of opportunities that were thrown his way, Mr. Harrellson did the same, capturing the hearts of America with his brand of cheering and Big Blue support.  When the victory against West Virginia was final, the elder Harrellson’s weekend work was done and he left the St. Pete Times Forum to cheers from fans and interviews with the local news.  The big-time support shown over the weekend, along with the interesting story Darrell Bird told about his Home Alone-like struggle to get to Tampa and meet up with his son, made him a star.  No matter what happens from here on out, you can be sure that Dough Harrellson and his son will be ready to make  every day a Jorts Day, Jorts Day!  For that, we celebrate him this morning.  May more parents be just like you.

Now onto a few UK notes…

 – Quick programming note:  Kentucky and Ohio State will play at 9:45pm Friday.  The game will air on CBS and will be called by Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg.  Tracy Wolfson will be the sideline reporter.  Apologies to those of you who wanted Jaime Maggio.

 – We’ve nearly beat this into the ground at this point, but the victory over West Virginia again signified significant growth made by John Calipari’s team.  For a team that relies heavily on freshmen and some inexperienced players, the whole season has been about development and growth and the Cats again progressed in key areas and, most importantly, putting together some of that “demonstrated performance” that Coach Cal talks about so frequently and lovingly.  Kentucky again beat a physical team.  They closed out a close game with free throws.  They used an incredible defensive performance in the second half to overcome a deficit.  And again, they did it largely without Terrence Jones, who scored only eight points before hitting some free throws at the end.  Whether talking about his team collectively or individually, Coach Cal has impelled this group to gain their confidence through that demonstrated performance and Saturday was the eighth consecutive contest where they’ve done so.  They’ll now face the tournament’s top overall team, but appear to be riding as high and playing as confidently as they have at any point all year.  This team believes it will win every game and can confidently do so because they’ve done it in the last eight games in a variety of ways.  The WVU contest wasn’t particularly pretty for the most part, but it was beautiful in terms of what they were able to achieve and how they were able to do it.

 – With their victory and an absolute assault of George Mason by the Buckeyes, the Cats will now face Ohio State Friday for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive year.  There are a number of things that the Buckeyes do that will require Kentucky’s full attention defensively, but the most notable and most likely to be discussed is Ohio State’s ability to shoot the three.  The Buckeyes have a seven-man rotation and five of those players shoot at least 33% from downtown, with John Diebler and his 50% on 212 attempts (267 total field goals) being the most imposing.  Under Calipari, the Cats haven’t appeared to always defend the trifecta consistently and didn’t appear to do so against West Virginia, who found themselves consistently open from downtown Saturday.  Part of that was likely gameplan, since the Mountaineers are not a very good three-point shooting team, but the Cats will need to step their game up against a Buckeyes team that knocked down 16-26 shots from deep against George Mason.  Kentucky has guys who are long enough to make the Buckeyes work for their looks and contest them when they take them, but it’s not going to be like playing against a team like Vanderbilt, who only had one sniper.  The Buckeyes have several.  And they have what might be the best post player in the nation to offset them.  It’s going to take another total team effort defensively if they want to advance for a shot at the Final Four.

 – Along that same line, Kentucky’s chances could again be impacted significantly by the play of Eloy Vargas.  I know, I can’t believe I said it either.  The junior big man played only three minutes again for the Cats, but played decently enough in getting a bucket and a rebound, but committed two fouls. His importance against the Buckeyes will be measured by more than just giving a few minutes and possibly a couple very hard fouls in defense of Sullinger and Dallas Lauderdale.  He could be a significant help in defending the three.  In order for Kentucky’s perimeter players to defend the three-point bombs of the Buckeyes, they’ll have to extend more than they’ve sometimes shown themselves comfortable in doing and Vargas, who is the closest thing to a protector of the rim the Cats have (think about that), will need to be ready to stop penetration and alter shots.  Terrence Jones and Josh Harrellson are decent enough at it and, admittedly, probably better than Eloy.  But to beat this Ohio State team, the Cats are going to need some players to give them more than they have this year in most games.  Eloy could be one of those players.  If there was ever a time for him to take a major step forward and earn 10 quality minutes, this is it.  Kentucky doesn’t have the luxury of a shot-blocker inside.  They need Vargas and the other bigs to at least be shot and drive alterers to allow the perimeter players to continue to contest the deep shots.  If that makes sense.

 – Vegas released the opening line for Friday’s game and the Cats opened as a four-point underdog to the nation’s top team.  The line already moved to Kentucky being a 5.5 point underdog and could conceivably move even more.  It marks only the third time all season that Kentucky has entered a game as the underdog.  In those previous two contests (Washington and Louisville), the Cats are 2-0.  You can believe that John Calipari, who has made a career out of inspiring teams to overcome being disrespected or treated like the underdog, will be playing this up big time to his kids. 

 – With Notre Dame falling at the hands of a Florida State team that lost to Auburn earlier this season (*jinx alert, game still being played), the round of 32 ended with only two Big East schools advancing to the Sweet 16.  This, of course, sparked a lot of debate on Twitter regarding whether or not the conference is the powerhouse that so many pundits have made it out to be all year long.  It’s hard to argue the merits of the 11 teams that were given bids from the conference, but there’s no doubt that their performance has been abysmal.  The two teams that made the Sweet 16, UConn and Marquette, beat fellow Big East schools to advance.  Collectively, the conference dropped tournament games to the OVC, Colonial, Horizon and West Coast conferences and beat only one single-digit seed.  Based on that alone, it’s hard to argue that the conference’s strengths weren’t a bit over-inflated.  In fact, if their reputation were any more unnecessarily bloated, they would call it Christina Aguilera.  Weak effort, Big East.  Weak effort.

 – Here’s a fun note for you:  Brandon Knight needs only eight more points to pass John Wall for UK’s single season freshman scoring record.  Wall had 616 points in 37 games.  Knight has 609 in 35.  I’ll say it again.  The guy doesn’t get nearly the national recognition he deserves.

 – Here’s another fun note for you:  UK is the only D-1 school to have three different true freshmen score 30 points in a game.  Brandon Knight had 30 Saturday, Doron Lamb had 32 in December against Winthrop and Terrence Jones had 35 in January against Auburn. 

 – If you missed the note earlier, Billy Gillispie has accepted the Texas Tech head coaching job.  It seems like a great fit for Clyde, who has tons of Texas recruiting connections and can now return to a conference where he’s had success and a program that will allow him to work under far less of a spotlight than he did at Kentucky.  His tenure in Lexington was a disaster, but he seems to be back on the right path in his personal life and ready to tackle a new job.  Hopefully, this gig will work out for him and he can find success in doing what he loves again.  I wish nothing but the best for Clyde.

 – Don’t look now, but Patrick Patterson has three consecutive double-doubles for the Rockets.  The former Cat has been on the upswing this month and has helped the Rockets earn four straight wins, pushing them to three games over .500 and on the cusp of a playoff berth.  With his latest surge, Patterson has nudged his way past the double-digits season average in points (10.4) and is getting a lot more significant minutes.  Couldn’t happen to a better guy. 

That’s it for now.  Make sure you stick around throughout the day as we get things going for the next set of NCAA Tournament action in Newark and close the book on a weekend in Tampa.  As usual, the fun gets going on Kentucky Sports Radio at 10am on Talk Radio 1080.  Make sure you check it out.  In the meantime, soak in the neverending image of Ben Hansbrough taking a sneaker to his inflated head (via @bubbaprog).

See you in a few…

Article written by Thomas Beisner

64 Comments for Doug Harrellson’s Monday News and Views

  1. StillACatFan
    11:45 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    Lets go Dough!

  2. Bleedblue
    11:51 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    Has anything in the history of mankind been more overrated than the Big East?

  3. Kemba
    11:55 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    Cincy won?

  4. Barkly
    11:57 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    2. No

  5. NKYCatFan
    11:57 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    I could watch that GIF for hours…..I hate that pr%*k more than his brother.

  6. CatIntheHat
    11:59 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    Uconn, not Cincinnatti, is in the sweet 16

  7. MrFurious
    11:59 pm March 20, 2011 Permalink

    Did that kick even hit him in the head? What a d-bag.

  8. YardCat
    12:02 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Since they are out of the tourney, he can now spend more time working on his acting career!

  9. rockatao
    12:02 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Seriously underperforming seeds
    #1 Pitt loses to an 8-seed
    #2 Notre Dame loses to a 10-seed
    #3 Syracuse loses to n 11-seed
    #4 Louisville loses to a 13-seed
    #6 St Johns loses to an 11-seed
    #6 Georgetown loses to a First Four 11-seed

    The Big Least … what a joke. The only two Big Leasts to make the Sweet Sixteen got there by beating another Big Least team.

  10. EW
    12:02 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve been saying for over month that if ND and UL can finish 2&3 in that league that it’s completely overrated. Now I take it back. The Big East just completely sucks.

  11. Sweet Wm
    12:03 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    These young CATS have been impressive. The entire state of Kentucky is proud of this team.

  12. Lucaine
    12:04 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Beisner, can you extend the clip a couple more seconds so we can see Hansbrough writhe in agony a little longer? Even better, could you add the picture of Rick Pitino and the Cardinal mascot holding their heads down in shame right below it?

  13. Lucaine
    12:05 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    F*[email protected] the Little East.

  14. MrFurious
    12:05 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Next year, the selection committee will forego the 68 team bracket and simply stage a championship game between the Big East Tournament champ and Duke.

  15. Computer Blue
    12:07 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Big East sucks!!

  16. The reason Knight doesn’t get as much ink as Wall is simple IMO: he just doesn’t make the circus plays that Wall made, and that’s what makes the highlight reel.

  17. Josh
    12:09 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    wow, Kansas has any easy road to the final four. It’s just them and the 10, 11, and 12 seed left in their region. Ohio St. and Duke both have a pretty tough road left.

  18. fingacotton
    12:14 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    I saw the line at 5 on vegas insider, if it stays under 6 that is awesome. I would assume that the public would pound OSU at that low a number, public usually wrong.

    Hope it stays under 6

  19. WLHNG
    12:15 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    12:16 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Yo… The Big East… we the best. We gots the flat bills and the line beards… no question we the best!

  21. Going48
    12:18 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Doug Harrelson has an uncanny resemblance to Mark Maguire.

  22. Willie's Waylons
    12:23 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    ESPN just showed KY playing at 9:45 p.m. Friday.

  23. LansingCat
    12:30 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Hi there BBN. I just moved to Chicago. Where do UK fans go to watch games here? Specifically, bars.

  24. Rondo Rules
    12:54 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Couldn’t have happened to a better PUNK ASS BITCH!

  25. Cats!
    1:06 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    GO BLUE!

  26. blazer85
    1:18 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    When Hansbrough was mocking Cats fans in our beat down of the Irish I wanted to do the exact same thing.

  27. The Fake Gimel Martinez
    2:04 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    It’s Jorts Day, Jorts Day
    Offensive rebound on Jorts Day
    Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the putbacks, putbacks
    Jorts Day, Jorts Day
    Taking charges on Jorts Day
    Everybody’s wanting him to shoot the three

  28. jake
    2:30 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    23) The Pony

  29. Jon Hadley
    2:34 am March 21, 2011 Permalink if you recognize whats funny about this say something but it is kinda funny

  30. Snoop
    4:05 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    That’s just how good I am

  31. KevinC
    4:06 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Is it wrong that I envy the guy that kicked Hansbrough in the head?

  32. Steady
    5:19 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Stacey Wolfson is fine with me.

  33. For reals
    5:19 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Great stat about Knight about to break Wall’s freshman scoring record. He’s been asked to scored more than John, who had more talent around him, but the number alone says a lot about how tremendous Brandon’s been this year. LET’S BEAT THEM #UCKEYES!!!!!

  34. Chanden
    5:23 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    30… 420.. snoop? I get it!

  35. Indiana State Trooper
    6:18 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    There is a huge line of shopping carts stuck on I 64. Many of them have signs that say Denvuh or Bustises. They are near a KOA campground sign, and have decided to overnight on the side of the road. The needles and Colt 45 bottles are littering our roadways and the pigs and sheep are running scared. Can you guys get word to their families to come and pick them up?

  36. Kenny H
    6:40 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Can you put the Morehead shot up where Siva drops his drawers on the fake drive

  37. barn
    6:41 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    it’s Tracy wolfson–and she’s fine with me too. but kellogg? damn. the most irritating announcer on tv. gotta make sure my mute button works

  38. barn
    6:43 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    it’s Tracy Wolfson–and she’s fine with me 2. but kellogg? damn. the most irritating announcer on tv. gotta make sure my mute button works

  39. Playersfan
    7:10 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Barkley predicted the Big East slide from the beginning, although he didn’t think it would be this bad. He stated the big east did not have that many good players. Pitino frowned with that statement. However, I think it’s the Eastern media, which dominates the news by the way. They see the Big East more often and certain coaches have grown to be legends, thereby the Big East plays among itself and pulls itself up by its own petards. In other words, its a lot of hype.

  40. barn
    7:19 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    you said petards

  41. bung
    7:26 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Have I ever mentioned fast breaks are the key for this Kentucky team? Of course we have to rebound well for this to work. I hope coach will work on a quicker outlet pass and proper spacing on the break. It would help if all 5 guys ran down on every fast break and we understood the options available within the break. I dont think ol’ fat Sully will be able to stand that kind of pace and their 3 point shooters wont have their legs. We look great running, but have only done it a few minutes each game. We dont score enough points in the half court game to beat a really good team (or some bad ones).

  42. kentuckyjoe
    7:27 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Good post Beis.

  43. Tom Blevins
    7:33 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    I’m not a Notre dame fan, and I’m definately not a Ben Hansbrough fan, but he deserved better than that. I didn’t see the game itself, but watching the clip on here, it sure looked to me like the foot made contact to the head. I suspect that the kick was deliberate, and there’s no place for things like that in college sports. (Unless maybe you’re on the Karate team.) I know a lot of fans here will disagree with me, but think of this. If the NCAA tolerates such behavior, the next time it could happen to a Kentucky player. I still remember when Sam Bowie was undercut by a Vanderilt player. He sat out for two years and lost a year’s elgibility.

  44. oh napier jr.
    7:34 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    patterson averages 5.8 ppg for the season.
    he’s averaged 10.4 in the last 5 games.

  45. SexnNursinHomes
    7:34 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    21- good call, but it’s Mcgwire

    I hope the NCAA lets all 16 teams of the Big East in next year. They totally deserve it.

  46. bleedblueky
    8:01 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Just wish Knight would pass more and let his teammates involved earlier and frequently in the game, especially Miller and Lamb, to get confidence through the whole game to help us get the big W by beating Ohio State.

  47. paducahfan
    8:14 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Barkley was all over Pitino last night on TV, saying the Bis East was overrated (good coaches, average players), should have had no more than 8 in the tournament and that ND would lose.

  48. cracka
    8:20 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    sure wall received more recognition because of the highlights, but he also put up more #’s than knight, put their stats side-by-side and look at them … wall avg more rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, etc. just having that higher avg isn’t that impressive, but go back and look at some of the games that bumped up those numbers. wall had 4+ rebounds 26 times, knight 19 times – wall had 5+ assists in 29 games, knight 13 games – wall had 3+ steals 12 times, knight just 2 times – wall also had more than twice the blocks, even though neither have a large number there

    wall simply filled the stat sheet more every night

    both shot around 51% on 2’s, knight puts up more 3’s and hits 38.4% to 32.5% (his only real statistical advantage). the only other stat would be turnovers, wall had more, but he also has a better assist to turnover ratio.

  49. Major
    8:24 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Is that “only team with three freshman with 30 or more points” thing just for this year, or are we the first team to ever have three freshman all score 30 in a season?

  50. Big Blue 66
    8:24 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    44. Yes we disagree with you, looked like the guy was going up hard for the rebound i dont really think at that point he thought to himself, uuummm, i can kick hansbrough. hansbrough is a prick, sometimes karma is a biotch.

  51. douggercats
    8:46 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Thanks to whomever gave Tracy Wolfson a quarter to take a bus down to the river and let a sewer rat gnaw that thing off her face.

  52. Kidnut
    8:49 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    When watching the gif of Hansbrough one thing comes to mind, “If done correctly, no can defend.”

  53. Tom Blevins
    8:53 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    51. The kick may have been accidental. I hope it was. But going for a rebound? Look where the ball was when his foot goes up. It’s too low at that point to even think of going for a rebound. In fact, it looks like Hansbrough is dribbling the ball when he is kicked. As I said before, I didn’t see the game itself so I don’t know what was going on before the clip. But if that guy was going for a rebound, he has to have the worst timing of any basketball player I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some pretty clumsy ones over the years.

  54. Kidnut
    9:07 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    ooops, “If do right, no can defense.”

  55. catcard202
    9:47 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    When I 1st saw Daddy Jorts in in the stands, during the UK/WVU game…All I could think of was…1) What in the hell is Steve Kragthorphe doing rooting for UK??? 2) Where did he get that sweet “Mossy Oak” UK hat!

  56. Waitin' on 8
    9:49 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Knight is also 6 FG’s away from breaking Demarcus Cousin’s frosh FG record. Cousins had 206 in 38 games. Knight has 201 in 35 games.

  57. road_warri0r
    10:05 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Comparing Knight to Wall is not fair to Knight, as Knight is a fantastic player in his own right. Wall is an anomally, a once in a lifetime player for the X factor which can not be simply measured on a stat sheet. The X factor consists of many things, excitement, heart, courage, leadership, poise, swaggar, fan recognition, charisma, these things dont show up in numbers, but will always put John Wall on his own level. Even if Knight were higher in every stat there still is ONLY one John Wall, and Ky was honored to have him as a Wildcat for a season. If BK stays ( which I believe he will, he will have his own unique heritage , a standard whiich other point gaurds may be measured by for years to come. BK will have his day of limelight.

  58. Robukpt
    10:46 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve said it all weekend with regard to the conferences: only 2 things are cwetain: SEC football is king and Uconn women are queen. The rest is up for grabs.

  59. Karate Kid
    11:36 am March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Hansbrough tried to sweep my leg

  60. Mark Coury
    12:21 pm March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Awwww….maybe next year little Benny. Maybe if you throw a bigger tantrum and throw a few more towels over there on the sideline the coach will give you a lollipop.

  61. rich
    2:51 pm March 21, 2011 Permalink

    just for the record Patterson is averaging 5.8 ppg on the season, not 10.4 as stated… but he is averaging 10.4 ppg this month.

  62. Inside Info
    3:55 pm March 21, 2011 Permalink

    I could watch him get kicked in the face for weeks.

  63. NDHater
    8:32 pm March 21, 2011 Permalink

    Just like the game went.