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UK Fans of the Night Want Ten Takeaways from the Weekend

I see you cheering at Zeke’s Bar in San Fran, Cats fans.

After a big win in Auburn, I am settling in to my temporary home in Birmingham. While I try to figure out what’s happening in my brother’s movie of choice this evening, “Taken 2,” here are my ten takeaways from the weekend that was:

1. Cats “outplay” Auburn

Heading into last night’s game at Auburn, I’ll admit it: I was nervous. The Cats were without Willie Cauley-Stein in a hostile environment primed for an upset. Turns out all those nerves were for nothing. After an excruciating first half for both squads, the Cats put the pieces together and started clicking in the second. For the past month, Kentucky’s bread and butter–or rather, ketchup and mustard–was the Twin Towers lineup, and without Cauley-Stein, they were forced to shake things up. Thanks in part to an inspired performance by Kyle Wiltjer and an atrocious shooting night for the Tigers, the Cats were able to penetrate the lane and have their way with Auburn. Every player made a contribution, maybe the first time we’ve seen a true team effort from this group. Afterwards, Tony Barbee said he was surprised that his players were so intimidated by the Cats, who he said simply “outplayed” his squad. When was the last time we’ve said that about this Kentucky team?

2. Kyle Wiltjer steps up

As mentioned, Kyle Wiltjer’s contributions last night were downright crucial. It was Wiltjer’s second straight game in double figures, and more importantly, the second straight game he looked like the veteran leader the Cats need. Against Tennessee, Kyle asked Cal to draw up plays for him; against Auburn, he created plays for others. Kyle had five assists, two of which led to back-to-back dunks for Alex Poythress, who continues to baby step back to beast mode. Up until recently, Kyle was complacent in relying on his jumpshot, and if it wasn’t falling, he became a liability due to his lapses on defense. Calipari went as far to blast Kyle not once, but twice to the media for his lack of effort. Against Tennessee, Kyle “bought in” to the fact that to stay in the game, he had to diversify his offense. Now, in addition to an outside threat, the Cats have another weapon inside to not only score, but create plays.

3. Nerlens Noel’s tea is steeped

We’ve shown this to you a lot, but it never gets old. Can we please keep Nerlens? Please??

4. Jarrod Polson is not a joke

Jarrod Polson used to be the subject of Beiber jokes and “SHOOOOOOOT” chants. Now, he’s a valuable contributor on Kentucky’s bench. Last night, Polson scored six points, grabbed three rebounds, and proved white men can jump with a sky-high tip-in and an absolutely ridiculous block on Auburn’s Josh Wallace. Calipari has praised Polson’s hard work in practice, and said that his progression is one of his favorite things about this squad. The longer Willie is out, the more the Cats will look to Polson and Hood for productive minutes.

5. Willie may play on Tuesday

The timeline for Willie Cauley-Stein’s return remains indefinite. Cauley-Stein stayed in Lexington over the weekend to receive a double dose of treatment on an old knee injury that flared up after the Tennessee game. As a precautionary measure, the staff decided to go ahead and get it cleaned up and on Saturday, Calipari said that they haven’t ruled Willie out for Tuesday’s game against Alabama. Even in his absence, it was good to see the team come together and “whomp” up on an opponent on the road.

6. Auburn is beautiful

I’ll cover this more in “Behind Enemy Lines” tomorrow, but Auburn and its new arena are beautiful. The town of Auburn is an oasis in the middle of Nowhere, Alabama with a downtown right out of a Rockwell painting. Toomer’s Corner is somewhat depressing now that the infamous oak trees have been both poisoned and set on fire, but strips of toilet paper still cling to the tree like hope in the Auburn football fan base. Regardless, the loveliness of the campus is eclipsed by its arena, which is the nicest college facility I’ve ever seen (I have yet to visit the Chicken Bucket). It’s so nice that DeWayne Peevy told me that he and the staff studied it when they were planning the new Rupp Arena locker room. Now, if only their student section could learn a chant other than “Airball,” they’ll be set.

7. Charles Barkley says none of the Cats are ready for the NBA

One of the big stories coming out of the Auburn game was Charles Barkley’s comment that none of the current Kentucky players were ready to go to the NBA. The latest mock drafts have Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein all projected to go in the first round, a puzzling scenario when you consider some of their overall performances this season. With the talent level in college basketball down, teams will favor potential over performance. Combine that with a loaded 2013 class waiting in the wings and we will likely be saying goodbye to at least three Cats. Cauley-Stein’s injury may have him sticking around ’til next season, but I have to say, with the exception of Noel, I agree with Sir Charles.

8. Stoops keeps Stooping

On the football side of things, the Cats are wrapping up another big recruiting weekend. One of the top recruits on campus was Franklin County star Ryan Timmons, who told his Twitter followers that his visit was “good.” Timmons received an offer from Florida on Sunday night, and will visit Gainesville on February 1st. This week, he will entertain the Gators, Kentucky, Ohio State, Illinois and Missouri during in-home visits. In addition, the Cats are lining up even more high-profile visits, including Marquez White, a four-star cornerback committed to Florida State; James Hearns, a four-star linebacker committed to Florida; and Hearns’ teammate, four-star wide receiver Taj Williams. On Friday, Matt shared this picture of what the recruits visiting Kentucky receive upon arrival…any guesses as to what’s inside those envelopes?

9. UK Hoops rolls on

The most dominant basketball team in the state right now? UK Hoops, which laid a 97-53 beatdown on Auburn Sunday afternoon. Afterwards, Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy accused Matthew Mitchell’s squad of pressing late in the game despite the lopsided score, something which Mitchell took a bit of offense to:

“Yeah, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on that. Listen, we work really hard to get ourselves into a position to play the way that we play. These kids are up at 5:30 in the morning, four days a week during the summer and lay it on the line. I am not going to really spend any time with that kind of comment. If anybody is unfamiliar with how we play and what our goals are, then that is their problem. That is not mine. I am really proud of our players and I thought they conducted themselves with tremendous poise today and followed the scouting report and beat a team that can give you a lot of trouble if you didn’t play well. I am really proud of our team.”

10. New road uniforms?

We’ll finish with what may be the Cats’ new road uniforms, which will debut at Florida on February 12th. Gonzaga’s version is pictured above. According to Nike, the uniforms will have a logo “inspired by each team’s home court” on the center of the jersey…does this mean the Cats will wear Dancing Guy across their chest? Or Rupp Arena soft serve? Big Bertha? (Please God, no…)

We’ve got a big week coming up. Get some rest.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

35 Comments for UK Fans of the Night Want Ten Takeaways from the Weekend

  1. Tim
    10:39 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    I was at Zeke’s last year for the UNC and IU game. Awesome environment, great people and very friendly. If you ever are in the San Fran area while UK is playing, Zeke’s is the place to be!

  2. Bob Loblaw
    10:43 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with Barkley 100%, none of the players should be going to the NBA. It’s time to fix this broken system.

  3. Isaac in Long Beach
    10:44 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Whaddup Zeke’s?!

  4. Mike
    10:56 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Cal still seems to have Hood on too short of a leash…he needs more PT to get some momentum and confidence working for him…Cal doesn’t seem to be treating him with same fairness he is giving to others.

  5. Take All Of Their Guns, Leave Them A Musket
    10:57 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Are we losing ground with Timmons as well? That damn Florida offer worries me. Joker is finally trying to recruit……..for someone else.

  6. Ridge Runner
    10:58 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    The one thing that jumps out at me when seeing that gif time and time again (other than the obvious we all have commented on)…is the fact that coupled with the flat top fellers length and his neverending swarm of the lil tiger, is the ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF BLUE which covers the orange and just pours all over the mini-player. Nerlens long blue socks makes it like a sea of blue (no pun intended) that won’t go away during that jam. Good stuff.

  7. joking ?
    11:10 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Please don’t say that Polson and Hood are a positive to this team…

  8. Ash Mason
    11:11 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Whatup Issac! Tim, glad to have you. As you know, we have a strong pocket of the BBN here in Northern CA. Y’all come and join us one of these days at Zeke’s!

  9. Mike
    11:13 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Be nice to have some takeaways that we signed a couple of stud recruits.

  10. ciggy
    11:40 pm January 20, 2013 Permalink

    Taken 2 is a good flick, until the last 15 minutes. The last 15 of it makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs with a melon baller >.<

  11. Dirk
    12:07 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    How long until IU fans start claiming this Super Bowl as if they (or Tom Crean) had something to do with it?

  12. bluebiscuit
    1:18 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Glad to see Tina Fey has become a Cats fan…that’s her in that wonky scarf at Zeke’s bar, I think. Well, it should be.

  13. VinDatuk
    1:23 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Timmons escaping without a commitment and then a UF offer to boot is a little unsettling. D1 football is a serious business, but can we all please stop with the Joker loyalty business. That man ran this program into the ground, refused to wear UK gear during his final days, refered to UK as them while still the head coach, and now is targeting his former recruits (that only gave him the time of day because of Mr. Football). I don’t blame him for the latter, but I am tired of the Joker Phillips loyalty brigade. He’s as loyal as a two peckered billy goat. I hope we kick his ass for recruits in KY (and UL, too, for that matter), I hope we beat Florida with said recruits, and I hope he is out of a job in the near future. If he truly cared about “his” team and “his” Commonwealth he should give back every penny he took when he was fired…for cause. He’s the biggest fraud leading an athletic program outside BCG this university has ever seen.

  14. Rae
    1:30 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    9. I’m not sure if I’d go that far. I think they would do very well somewhere like Butler. Butler doesn’t have crazy talent, but they play hard and are very well coached. Polson and Hood aren’t flashy, but Polson especially plays with effort and has improved tons. He would be a mid-major star under the right coach since the best of the lower tier teams tend to have the one guy who can light the place up.

  15. Jaybird
    3:14 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Agreed that Hood sucks. Waste of money for UK to even feed that guy. He’s a good practice player at least, if you believe what the coaches say. Polson on the other hand can play some. He won the Maryland game for us this year.

  16. John Ellis
    3:17 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Without Jarrod UK would have NO significant wins this season, he was the difference against Maryland. Cal has not used him as well as he should, and this isn’t a white guy thing (I still battle with the Tubby bashers, too many of whom were and are racist, suck it up). He’s proven to be tough, smart and able to score though he’s been told he’s the last option. If he’s playing against a top taller guard, he might be, but against most of UK’s schedule he’s a weapon. He, Mays and Wiltjer do have experience and they need to bring it and Cal needs to encourage listening to them. They may not be NBA draft picks this year (or ever) but UK’s got plenty of those, their maturity is a premium for this team. I’m sick of hearing that there’s ‘no one’ to lead. They are not no one.

  17. Tyler
    3:21 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    As an Auburn graduate and Lexington native I’m glad to hear people think its a beautiful place. It’s not called the loveliest village on the plains for nothing but I hate what has happened to Toomer’s corner. War Eagle and go Cats!

  18. Holler Baller
    3:24 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Barkley is 100% right, but won’t keep them from moving on.

    UK uniform should have a picture of a tired, crabby blue hair on it. Rupp should be greatest areana in basketball but it’s not thanks to our blue haired friends.

  19. WDE
    4:11 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    #23- war eagle go cats as well.. do you live in auburn?

  20. Culver
    4:40 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Funny, and kinda sad at the same time, is the fact that ALL you haters of Hood or Polson couldn’t ball with them now, or in your prime. Jealousy can be a bitch!

  21. UK Freshmen
    6:23 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    #22. UK has NOT had any significant wins. Maryland’s RPI is lower than UK at #65. And that’s the issue. They don’t have anyone other than Florida on their schedule to elevate their miserable RPI. Hello NIT.

  22. Bravo 5
    8:30 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    25- uh, yeah. Probably not. But we aren’t on scholarship to UK. Hood is. He could absolutely out ball anyone here, but what’s that really saying?

  23. UK Freshmen
    8:37 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    It’s a sad day. My Tards lose their #1 ranking today. What a week it was! Maybe in another 10 years we will be there again. I know, probably not.

  24. Catlanta
    8:42 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Wake me up when we play a legit SEC team.

  25. dr love
    8:43 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    sad day indeed. you now have to pay to read jerry tipturd online. just thought everyone would like to know

  26. red headed step child
    8:48 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    This is the beginning of the end for Mr. Tipton. Enjoy the ride sir

  27. you know
    8:59 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Jarrod Polson is a good player who would start at Auburn. He sacrificed to come to UK. He had D1 offers and he’s been on scholarship since day 1 here at UK. He earned it. I can’t believe some of you idiots still think he’s a walk on. Any comments on this site that says different are uneducated, know nothing comments. He should be playing more.

  28. Timmons heading south
    9:19 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    If Timmons were heading to UK, he would have chosen UK already. You don’t wait until the last minute picking up offers from the “big” boys (as currently perceived), only to announce you are “staying home.” Big time recruits from KY who go to UK almost always announce their intent early and stick with it because the only reason they are coming to UK is because they love the school, their state, and they want to be home. Kids who are looking for the most exposure, ego gratification, or other “value” are not going to go through the process and conclude that they should stay home. I’d like to have Timmons but it looks like he is heading south for palm trees, sunshine, and an (un)healthy dose of Joker’s coaching.

  29. Freddie Cowan
    9:19 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Is that Willie or Nerlens on the table?

  30. Truth.Com
    9:21 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    People who still do 3 goggles should be executed.

  31. Jack Nicklaus
    9:37 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    On the Noel dunk…funny how the Auburn team mate backs away after he sees the posterization occurring…like, I don’t want to be anywhere near that.

    Polson is a good player…smart and athletic.

    Dude at Zeke’s…either tell the owner to turn the heat down or where a little more Right Guard.

  32. Jack Nicklaus
    9:37 am January 21, 2013 Permalink


  33. Randy Marsh
    9:41 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Hahaha Mrs. TT, “Nerlens’ tea is steeped.” That is hilarious and brilliant!

  34. Amaze Pants
    9:59 am January 21, 2013 Permalink

    Who here thinks new uniforms designs, in general, are absolutely atrocious? The Nike Platinums were a good idea last year, with them only going to Nike schools with past championships.

    If anything I would love to see throwback unis. These zany new designs do nothing for me.

  35. Polson Ice
    2:52 pm January 21, 2013 Permalink

    7 – have you been watching the same Polson I have? Man makes the most of his minutes, takes care of the ball, and isn’t a one-dimensional player, almost always coming away with a valuable stat or two additional to his scoring, which is right on track for his minutes played. Plus just having guys around who already played a year under Cal’s system to help with the freshmen, even and especially the ones with far more talent than Polson himself.