I hope you all enjoyed all the effort that was put into National Signing Day this year. We still have a couple of profiles to go, but the vast majority went up yesterday. 90% of this work was done by Will Marshall and Hank Rippetoe, and it was a tremendous effort on their part. Never before has so much content gone up on SB Nation in one day. In fact, I'm not sure if we've had many weeks where 30 separate articles were published. My sincerest thanks goes out to both of them.
Tweet of the Morning:
Mark Stoops has signed more four star recruits in the past year than the previous two staffs did in 10 years.— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) February 6, 2014
Statistics sometimes make me happy. And sad.
It's just amazing to see Kentucky mentioned in a big-time football post like this.
"Barker to Baker?" I like the sound of that...
On the other hand, swatting the Wildcats seven spots down the rankings because they lost a road game to a team fighting for an NCAA bid was curious. And it was primarily the AP poll that was guilty; the coaches dropped UK from 11 to 14, matching Louisville’s fall. No other team in the coaches’ poll dropped more than two spots after losing a single game. Duke jumped five spots.
Honestly, I haven't paid any attention to the polls this year. The reason is that they seem abnormally reactionary and agenda-driven to me, and I focus primarily on the Ken Pomeroy rankings, which, to me, have real substance, although the BPI is growing on me. I originally thought little of the BPI, but since I found out Dean Oliver is behind it, it is a lot more interesting to me. Don't ask me why I didn't know that, but it probably has a lot to do with the low esteem in which I hold ESPN and their hype machine.
I have watched a lot of basketball this season, and Kenpom and the BPI both tend to validate, within a range, what I'm seeing on the floor. The national polling does not to a large degree, although the AP preseason poll is a notable exception, and is always worth considering.
In the end, I agree a lot with Brad Stevens' comment to Reid Forgrave of Fox Sports last season:
"Ken’s site is so helpful in analyzing data and trying to figure what teams’ trends are and how they perform usually," Stevens told FOXSports.com. "But one of the things that’s scary about basketball is you just look at the numbers, and you don’t figure out what a team is capable of. You’re figuring out trends — the usual performance, but not what they’re capable of. You have to balance that with film."
You cannot "see" a basketball team on paper — that's what Stevens is saying here. You can't see the defensive rotation, the missed assignments, what part of the defense is breaking down, what kind of looks you are getting at the basket. You use the numbers to validate, or question, your hypothesis drawn from observation. These things are tools to help us refine our perceptions, not perceptions in themselves. They are too blunt an instrument.
Here's a trailer for a new documentary that's being done about the Kentucky vs. Louisville basketball rivalry. It looks pretty interesting, although there seems to be no end of Kentucky vs. Louisville-centric movies and stories these days.
"It was a big matchup for me, personally," said Aaron Harrison, who took primary responsibility for stopping Henderson. "It was a challenge. He’s a great scorer. It was a lot of communication. I was supposed to chase him and if I got caught up, just talk to my teammates. That’s really why we (were able to) contain him." [my emphasis]
We've been waiting for this all year, and if it continues, this team could really improve defensively. And it needs to.
Despite the fact that UK won the game on Tuesday, the defense was not what I would call "good." UK allowed over 1 point per possession on defense, and that is not the kind of defense you need to win the NCAA tournament championship. In fact, Kentucky's defensive efficiency for the SEC season so far is over 99 points/100 possions. Compare that to Arizona's 87 or Florida's 88 points/100 possessions.
This team still has a long way to go. Now, to be fair, Kentucky is the best offensive team in the SEC by a mile at over 115 points/100 possessions. So there's that.
Other Kentucky sports
Check out this interactive SEC map of where every SEC teams recruits came from. It's very cool.
The Zooker to Louisville? Why do I find that funny?
Ohhh, shiny. This is way beyond my HTML ability, folks, so don't even ask.
This disclaimer made me laugh out loud:
Disclaimer: Before you proceed, just remember that none of the links are vetted and you may be reading something written by a 13-year-old, a so-called sports journalist or Clay Travis (is there really any difference between those options?). Read at your own peril.
Clay Travis. If you look up "moron" in my dictionary, there's a picture of him staring back. Okay, he's probably pretty smart, but his sportswriting is tragically moronic.
Other sports news
Is Tim Tebow bigger than the NFL? Mike Bianchi says so, but then again, well... Mike Bianchi.
Shaun White pulls out of the slopestyle snowboard competition fearing injury on the extraordinarily difficult (dare we call it dangerous?) course. Hey, if Shaun White says it's dangerous, I'm buying.
- Kentucky Wildcats 80, Ole Miss Rebels 64: Postmortem
- Kentucky Football: National Signing Day 2014 - Previewing the Defensive Line Signees
- Kentucky Football: National Signing Day Previewing the Offensive Line Signees
- Kentucky Football: National Signing Day Preview of Running Back Signees
- Get To Know Your 2014 Kentucky Football Signees - Adrian Middleton