Good evening, dear friends from Big Blue Nation and those of you trolling us from other fan bases. Welcome to a late Friday night post here on KSR before I take off to see what this Anchorman 2 is all about. I’ve heard good things from a friend with a friend in the movie, so I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint. But there are high expectations to live up to, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to see how it stacks up to the original.
Tonight, as we patiently await Kentucky’s return to Rupp Arena, the Cats’ first home game in what feels like a month, we’ll run over some of the newsworthy tidbits from Friday and then look ahead to those Bruins from Nashville. It’s the same team that beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill earlier this year, or is it?
Belmont shoots A LOT of threes.
Oh great, another team that launches from deep. Belmont is ranked top ten nationally in both three-pointers attempted and three-pointers made this season. However, the Bruins’ three-point field goal shooting percentage ranks much lower, 57th nationally, at 38.3 percent. Belmont is making almost nine long balls per game on 23 attempts.
Translation: Belmont is going to shoot a lot from beyond the arc, and they’ll probably miss a lot. If they’re not missing a lot, we have problems. Hopefully we see a lot of bricks, and if that’s the case, UK cruises to victory.
Is it Derek Willis Time?
We mentioned it a couple times throughout the week and nothing has changed; we expect Derek Willis to get some clock tomorrow. Coach Cal said in his pre-Belmont press conference Thursday that Willis has been playing great in practice this week and they need to find out whether or not he can play the “stretch-four,” where he can step out and hit the three ball. “We’ve got some things here we’ve got to try,” Cal said, responding to a question about Willis.
It’s Willis Time and I know many of you have waited a long time for it, too.
Ignore Belmont’s win over North Carolina. Fuhget about it.
I’m not calling that game a fluke, but I find it hard to believe lightning will strike twice in one season for the Bruins. Looking back on that game, Belmont connected on 20 of 22 free throws and hit 15 three-pointers — remember, they’re averaging eight per game — and still needed three three-pointers in the final 1:03 to get the win. That kind of night ain’t happening twice, folks. You can hold me to that.
Kentucky’s length will disrupt Belmont’s shooting, much like we saw against Boise State, and Julius Randle is poised for a big game after his no-show in Chapel Hill one week ago.
The spread opened at 16.5 points.
I think UK covers. The John Short spread is TBD.
Dave Neal and LaPhonso Ellis are on the mics tomorrow.
The game will be televised on ESPNU at noon.
LaPhonso may or may not be wearing this.
Belmont’s Drew Windler looks familiar.
Windler, one of four Bruins averaging double figures this season, had the pleasure of guarding Anthony Davis in 2011 when Windler was a member of the Samford basketball team.
Windler led Samford in scoring with 11 points in the 82-50 loss.
Last time Belmont played, this happened…
Expect more just like it tomorrow.
Coach Cal checked out Luke Kennard tonight.
Cal will have to catch Anchorman 2 some other time, because tonight he was in Franklin, Ohio to watch Luke Kennard ball. Duke’s Mike Kryzewskswsskksiwski was also in the building with Wojo by his side to see the No. 2 shooting guard in the 2015 class.
247Sports’ Crystal Ball lists UK as the favorite for Kennard at 78% with Duke being the not-so-close second at 12%. Kennard visited Kentucky at least six times since July.
Louisville freshman Akoy Agau is suspended indefinitely.
The timing of the suspension likely means one of two things:
(1) Bad grades in his first semester
(2) He’s having a little too much fun on UofL’s trip to Miami right now
Regardless of the offense, it’s another distraction for the Louisville basketball team and further proof that Rick Pitino can’t keep his boys in check. Keep your boys in check, Rick. See you in a week.
P.J. Hairston’s college basketball career is over.
He is now free to smoke all the weed and drive all the rental cars his little heart desires. Next summer he’ll enter the NBA draft, where DraftExpress.com projects him to go 28th overall. If that doesn’t work out, he’ll have that make-believe University of North Carolina education to fall back on.
In case you missed it…
Sean Vinsel of CardsAndCatsStats.com gave us an excellent look UK’s most effective lineups this season. It’s some of the most in depth analysis we’ve ever had on this site and it’s worthy of your time, although Chester thinks Vinsel should do less math and attend more games. Check it out.
Saturday’s game day lineup:
9:30 a.m. – The Kentucky Sports Radio pre-game show, 630 WLAP or online (98.1 The Bull will carry the second half-hour)
10:30 a.m. – Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Tip-off with Oscar Combs and Matt Jones
11:50 a.m. – KSR Live Blog
12:00 p.m. – UK vs. Belmont, ESPNU