Good morning, folks. It’s tournament season across the basketball community and the Kentucky Women’s Basketball Team is ready to scratch that March Madness itch. I arrived in Greenville, SC yesterday afternoon and woke up this morning ready to watch the ladies make a run. Kentucky takes on Florida in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament at approximately 1:30 p.m. EST on the SEC Network.
If you’ve been out of the loop, Rhyne Howard has been stockpiling awards and recognitions since the week began. She was named the SEC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and named a finalist for both the Naismith Player of the Year Award and the Cheryl Miller Award. Senior point guard Chasity Patterson was tabbed to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team, as well.
We’ll have plenty of gameday coverage on the site all day long–and hopefully throughout the weekend–so make sure to check in frequently. Until then, below is a quick preview of what will be the second matchup of the season between the ‘Cats and the Gators.
Here’s what else you need to know heading into a beautiful-looking Thursday. Let’s switch gears to some Men’s hoops talk.
Kentucky-Gonzaga could have happened
And thank goodness it didn’t… During his radio call-in show on Wednesday night, Kentucky Men’s Basketball head coach John Calipari spilled the beans that the mystery top-ranked, non-conference team he’d been teasing as a potential opponent (which would have happened, TONIGHT!) was none other than the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who is riding a perfect 24-0 record and owns the consensus No. 1 ranking in the nation.
“The game that I tried to get and we almost got done was Gonzaga,” Calipari said. “We were going to shove Gonzaga into the middle of our schedule. Mark Few [Gonzaga’s head coach] and I talked–I didn’t say I was going to do this publicly but I thought it would help them and help us. And our kids were absolutely ecstatic. They wanted to do it, we just couldn’t pull it off.”
While it surely would have been a thrilling matchup for everyone involved, especially if this Kentucky team was able to pull off the upset, a win likely wouldn’t have pushed Kentucky into a position to earn an at-large bid. The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker later reported that the game fell through because the SEC refused to push back Kentucky’s upcoming game against South Carolina from Saturday to Sunday to help squeeze Gonzaga into Thursday.
Surprise, surprise. Kentucky doesn’t take good shots
You don’t have to watch this version of the Wildcats to understand that they don’t take the most valuable shots–too many contested mid-range jumpers or tough shots at the rim with no chance of powering through the taller defender have resurfaced nearly every single game. After falling to Ole Miss on Tuesday, Calipari said Kentucky might be the “worst two-point shooting team in America”, which isn’t entirely true, but is damn close.
According to KenPom, Kentucky ranks last among Power 6 conferences in two-point percentage, coming in at No. 312 across the entire nation.
Not great, Bob!
Seven ‘Cats heading to the Combine
The University of Kentucky announced that seven former Wildcat football players have received invitations to participate in the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine. Typically, the event is held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, however, due to ongoing health and safety protocols related to COVID-19, everything is being done virtually this year and on the respective team’s campus. Kentucky is scheduled to hold its Pro Day on March 31 in Lexington, which will effectively act as the annual in-person Combine.
Among the seven ‘Cats set to compete are nose guard Quinton Bohanna, linebacker Jamin Davis, punter Max Duffy, defensive back Brandin Echols, center Drake Jackson, defensive back Kelvin Joseph and offensive tackle Landon Young. The total number of participants is just one short of the program record of eight, which was set during the 2019 Combine.
Skyy Clark moving high schools again?
The lone commit in the class of 2022 for John Calipari has been discussed as a potential reclassification prospect to 2021, however, a new report has come out indicating that Clark could be taking his talents to a “major high school program” for his senior season.
Jimmy Dykes on the state of the 2021-22 roster
Friend of John Calipari and ESPN commentator, Jimmy Dykes, had some interesting notes on next season’s Kentucky roster, saying he expects Cal to bring in a seven- or eight-man class. He spoke about it during Kentucky’s loss to Ole Miss on Tuesday.
“Everything will be evaluated, everything will be looked at, and there will be changes made to that roster. I expect Kentucky to bring in another seven- or eight-man class. He will not miss, I don’t think, going forward on, ‘Are you a fighter? Are you tough? Are you a worker? Do you have some dog in you?’ I think they missed some in this recruiting cycle, I know they did. Cal isn’t the only one that’s missed. Jalen Johnson at Duke, I think that was a miss. It didn’t work out like you thought it was going to work out. There’s no specific formula, but you’ve got to learn from it and be better because of it.”
Matt Jones and the crew coming up in an hour.