Tonight, the Wildcats challenge the Missouri Tigers in Columbia. This is an important game for both teams.
Tweet of the Morning:
Athletics Committee chair says Mark Stoops "under the weather" but called "to personally thank us for the support we're giving him."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) January 31, 2014
Get better, coach.
With Matt Elam, Kentucky has its best recruiting class ever. That would have been true without Elam as well.
Have shuffled through an old stash of UK media guides dating back to 1988. Have determined this '14 class is tops overall & best since '99— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 31, 2014
There's a more complete post from Jeff over here at Scout.com about how he got to this conclusion. I don't think anyone will be surprised.
More detail about the thinking behind Matt Elam's decision, and some of the behind the scenes stuff. Worth reading. Via Hank.
UK's pre-signing day video. Via Hank.
NOLA.com: Kentucky builds a foundation.
Is Mark Stoops an "irresistible force?" Perhaps.
Since Mark Stoops became Kentucky head man, he has been winning far more than his share of off-the-field battles. Fans of a program that is 7-27 in its last 34 contests will hope the UK coach soon proves just as adept at winning some games.
No idea if this is true, so take it with a grain of salt. There is a lot of season left, and with due respect to the author, I have no idea if he/she, or their source for this, is the least bit credible. There - fully disclaimed. But it does appeal to logic. Via Hank and this KSR link.
John Calipari is telling NBA teams that the Harrison Twins will return to Kentucky.— Big-Blue Nation™ (@NationBlueBig) January 30, 2014
Then again, this article at The Sporting News validates that tweet.
Mike DeCourcy talks to Larry Vaught about the Wildcats. Consider:
Perhaps the most puzzling player, though, has been Willie Cauley-Stein. Once on pace to challenge the blocked shots exploits of Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel, Cauley-Stein has become a non-factor in recent games. He was manhandled by LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant much like he was by Tennessee’s inside player. He has blocked one shot or none in four of the last five game and played less than 20 minutes in all four games — and without him UK has not had a rim protector.
"I don’t know why he is not competing. I don’t understand why he has become less competitive," DeCourcy said. "When you see something like that, there is usually a reason behind it. Maybe he has a pain he’s hiding and playing through. It could be something personal. It just doesn’t make sense and is not typical for someone who has been competitive like he has."
I think we're all struggling with this one. Sometimes, there are things that players, like the rest of us, go through in our lives, and Calipari is one who makes darn sure it doesn't get shared with the world. So if there is something personal happening with WCS, we may never know, and I think that's okay. Let's just all keep rooting for him and hope he gets his mind right, and keep in mind that we are not talking about paid professionals, but young amateur players trying to learn how to live life well.
UK is one of seven schools to wear the Nike throwback uniforms. I like the look of those, but I'm old, so...
Is Kentucky's ceiling a moving target? Via Aaron's Blog.
Missouri's guards will challenge the Wildcats. Yes, but they are big guards. Kentucky has played well against big guards this year, and struggled against smaller ones.
The Tigers Welcome Kentucky, plan a "Gold Rush." Well, we should all be used to that by now. Take it as the compliment it is.
Other Kentucky sports
- Dawgs upset 'Cats. Kentucky is really struggling to shoot the ball, and it has been a season-long affair. I consider them in a downward spiral at the moment.
- Arkansas refuses to honor the commitments of two players. This didn't end well.
Louisville goes down to Cincinnati at the Yum! Center. The Bearcats play ugly basketball, but they win.
Oregon suddenly struggling in the Pac-12. I thought they would be better, as well. Maybe it's that floor they play on ...
Team Speed Kills tries to put the SEC's basketball struggles in context.
It's not like the programs are doing nothing about their recent struggles. Eight of the 14 SEC head coaches are either in their second or third year on the job. Some are showing some real progress too.
I think this is right.
Other sports news
John Wall makes the NBA All-Star team! Good for him.
Are the Lakers willing to overpay to get Eric Bledsoe?