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News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. 1996 Wildcats to get rings on Wednesday. Bat Cats' recent win makes SportsCenter highlights. Mark Stoops talks about his father. Alabama offers 8th grader. More.
The 1996 Wildcats will be getting rings to commemorate their victory in the NCAA Tournament. That's awesome, and there will be something like 15 of them on hand for the ceremony Wednesday at halftime.
Tweet of the Morning:
You have got to love this.
"The thing that comes to mind very quickly is for my Dad, he doesn’t have to say much but he would just look at me a certain way and say keep things in perspective. And that’s a big thing with him. Have some humility about what you do."
Good advice from Mark Stoops’ dad, Ron.
MKG is typically brief in his answers, but he lets his game do the talking, anyway.
Word is that his parents will be coming on the UK visit. I’m not sure about the others, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they went to Kansas and North Carolina.
I think Archie Goodwin’s biggest problem is between his ears. He lets too many things bother him. I have never believed him a selfish player, nor do I now, and neither does Coach Cal.
If Goodwin can learn to develop a short memory about mistakes, he will be ten times better right away. Just make the play that’s right in front of you, offensive or defensive. Forget the turnover or the missed shot.
While this was a great win for the résumé, the VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) tells me there is still a lot of basketball to be played. This victory does not lock up a bid to the Big Dance. I feel that key road games ahead against Arkansas and Georgia will be crucial
Heh. I think Vitale is right, and I really do worry about the Arkansas game. Georgia, a bit less so, but that is also one worthy of concern.
Kobe Bryant is not a bad player to model your game after, although Archie needs to really work on that shooting form if he’s ever going to play the way Bryant does.
For all the attention John Calipari and his penchant for putting lavishly hyped freshmen into the NBA after one season have gotten, there’s a case to be made that this is the third straight Kentucky season where the value of experience has also been on vivid display.
Experience is always valuable. Why do you think Calipari wanted Mays? It wasn’t for his athletic ability, that’s for sure.
Mays brought two valuable things to Kentucky – experience and the ability to hit open shots. That both are valuable was always part of the plan.
Like almost all freshmen, Goodwin must gain the maturity to shrug off mistakes or missed shots, Calipari said.
"It just doesn’t happen in two months," the UK coach said. "It’s a lot of trial and error. His, right now, is a little bit of trial and a lot of error. But that’s part of being a freshman."
Exactly right. Maturity comes only with experience. You can’t will it on a player, and he can’t will it on himself. Working hard and playing games will get Goodwin where he needs to be.
This will be the sixth time Wiggins and Huntington Prep have played in the state this season. The Express defeated United Leadership Academy 81-52 last week in Canada, the home country of Wiggins and several other players on Huntington’s roster.
"Just by John Calipari being in the gym looking at whoever, the Division I kids that we do have — their visibility just went up a couple of notches," he said. "He’s the man. He is absolutely the king of recruiters. So when he comes and looks at somebody, everybody else should take notice too."
Another example of the Kentucky Effect.
Wiggins will be accompanied by his parents, who are coming down from Canada for the visit and are expected to be by his side for the Kansas and North Carolina trips as well.
That answers my earlier questions.
Does this surprise you? I doubt it does.
"That team  was one of the greatest college basketball teams ever assembled," said Rick Pitino, who coached at Kentucky from 1989 until 1997. "That’s based on a number of factors: passing, cutting, defense, unselfishness, relentless full-court pressure, and a mixture of great players in the upper classes with the younger ones. They had total focus every night on putting their opponent in the ground defensively for 40 minutes. You don’t see that too often from any basketball team."
Other UK sports
- John Clay's SEC Links // John Clay's Sidelines
- John Clay's Big Blue Links // John Clay's Sidelines
- Tom Leach // Tuesday Links
- The Morning Mix // CollegeBasketballTalk
If these charges are true, I think Louisville would do well to be rid of him.
I thought that Billy Gillispie proved convincingly how unwise it was to recruit players this young. Maybe Nick Saban and Les Miles will have better results. Hat tip: Ira Combs
- Wrapping up the SEC player rankings // ESPN
- Top KenPom Movers: Princeton, Vanderbilt, Northwestern // Big Apple Buckets
"The biggest thing that is scariest about stats is that it doesn’t necessarily judge what a person’s capable of, it judges what they normally do," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "And I think that’s something that you have to weigh because we all know that in basketball, there are certain days when a guy that hasn’t made a shot for a month starts feeling better about himself. And he makes two or three in a row. You’ve got to be able to adjust on the fly. You have to have a good idea about what somebody’s capable of but also what they normally do from a trend standpoint."
Stephens is a smart cookie. Statistics, especially advanced statistics, are very useful tools. The are not, however, a panacea, as we have said on here many times, and as many other sites have pointed out as well.
You can’t remove the human element and replace it with a number. The numbers also don’t tell you a lot of things that they eye does.
But one thing the numbers always give you is the truth, within their limited scope. They don’t lie. Sometimes, our eyes do. We think we see things that just aren’t there, or maybe they are, but just for a moment, a half, or a game.
What I really like, though, is seeing the per-possession stats, like Kenpom.com, finally get their due. It was inevitable, but the inertia among the coaching community was considerable. That inertia is now being overcome, and gaining a momentum of its own.
At issue was a block or charge call that wasn’t made when Elijah Johnson drove inside as Kansas trailed 90-88 with five seconds remaining. Iowa State’s Georges Niang appeared to have his feet set, but no call was made as Johnson made contact with Niang.
To me, this looked like a charge. People questioning the validity of this win would seem to be justified, in my opinion.
This goes back to the accountability of officials. Why do we have to wait days to have some supervisor claim that it was a judgment call?
You can see successful hands-off coaching by looking at Duke’s system where they score 79 ppg or Indiana (No. 2 in ppg). Both programs allow players to make off-the-cuff decisions and flow with their play.
To me, this is somewhat hilarious. I do agree with the general premise that coaching can slow down a ball game and keep the scoring low. But mostly what causes low-scoring games is just plain bad basketball.
I think a lot of the low scoring these days goes back to two things – lack of midrange shooting (today’s players spend too much time on dunks and threes) and a much bigger emphasis on defense.
Andy Katz gets it right with respect to the officials. The fact that the are so insulated from criticism and public accountability for mistakes is inconsistent and wrong.