Tomorrow, the Cats will take on fellow blue blood UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago. Maybe it’s because there’s been a lot of football news this week or just that UCLA is so terrible, but there hasn’t been a ton of hype around this game. We’ll leave the serious scouting report to Brandon Ramsey tomorrow morning, but until then, here are 10 things to get you ready for the Bruins.
1. John Calipari once called Alford “the best human being I’ve ever been around”
When Alford was hired at New Mexico in 2007, Calipari had nothing but praise for Alford.
“The University of New Mexico just created its first upset before ever playing a game. What a great hire for the Lobos-this guy can really coach. The University, the state, the team and the fans just got someone special. Steve Alford is the best human being I’ve ever been around.”
More proof of their friendship? Calipari agreed to do a home-and-home with UCLA starting next year. He doesn’t do that for just anyone.
2. Two of Steve Alford’s sons play for him
That’s Kory on the left and Bryce on the right. Kory’s older and transferred to UCLA from New Mexico. He doesn’t play often. Bryce is the starting point guard and averages 18 points per game and 6.7 assists.
3. He’s also really good at trick shots
He may need that to score against Kentucky.
4. That North Carolina team we just beat? UCLA lost to them by 22
That’s one of three losses for the Bruins this season. In the Battle 4 Atlantis, they lost to the Tar Heels and Oklahoma, but rallied to beat UAB by 12. Last Saturday, Gonzaga beat them 87-74 in Pauly Pavilion, with Kyle Wiltjer scoring 24 points.
5. Tony Parker is tight with Alex Poythress
Drew told you this earlier in the week, but Parker and Poythress played on the same AAU team growing up. The two are so close that Alex tried to recruit Tony to Kentucky, calling him everyday to talk about the Cats and make sure Tony was watching UK’s games. Even though Parker had an offer from Kentucky, it didn’t work, but the two are still close, and Parker reached out to Alex after his injury last week:
My brother @AlexTheGreat22 you in my prayers bro minor setback for a major comeback keep your head up bruh !!!!!!
— tony parker (@tonyparker32) December 12, 2014
6. Kevon Looney is the only freshman in the country averaging a double-double
Right now, the freshman forward is averaging 13.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Looney is the centerpiece of UCLA’s offense, which is averaging 80.8 points per game. Right now, Matt Norlander says Looney is the third best freshman in the country behind Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Indiana’s James Blackmon, Jr. In turn, his NBA stock is rising and one scout told Adam Zagoria that Looney is “the most dominant rebounder in college basketball.”
Hmm. I bet our bigs will have something to say about that.
7. June 10 is Kevon Looney Day in Milwaukee
Looney grew up in Milwaukee and chose UCLA over Duke, which shocked just about everyone. He was a consensus five-star, top 15 recruit. Kentucky never offered.
8. This is the 11th meeting between the two blue bloods
UK leads the series 6-4. The last time we played the Bruins? November 2006 in the Maui Classic. At the time, UCLA was ranked #5 and Kentucky #20, and the Bruins won. That UCLA team had Russell Westbrook on it and went on to lose to Florida in the Final Four. Get ready to see a lot more of the pale blue and gold; the Cats just agreed to a two-game home-and-home series with UCLA starting next season at Pauley Pavilion.
9. Several UCLA players will be taking finals today
Yesterday, Steve Alford said that because it’s finals week, several of his players will be doing proctored exams in the hotel today. “That part doesn’t make it any easier when you’re prepping for the best team in the country,” Alford said. So, if you’re staying in the same hotel as the Bruins, please be quiet and courteous. Just kidding. Be loud.
10. Former Bruin Kris Johnson has the best quote ever about Kentucky fans
Johnson played for UCLA from 1994-1998 and after the Cats beat the Bruins in the 1998 Tournament on their way to the title, he couldn’t help but long to be a part of the Big Blue Nation:
“When you see Kentucky’s fans, you just wonder. You think how wonderful it would be to go to their school. You wish you could trade places for a day, just so you could experience that feeling.”
It’s pretty great, isn’t it?