Is it the worst play on words in Quickies title history? Yeah, it's pretty dumb. But containing Justin Coleman in all aspects of his game in Coleman Coliseum is my (admittedly reductive) key to a 'Cats victory over Alabama tomorrow evening.
Count me as one of those who thought that the Tide was sunk when former Mr. Alabama Dazon Ingram, the team's prized starting 4* freshman PG, was declared out for the season with a broken foot. Quality depth is hard to come by for any squad, much less a traditionally mediocre one like Alabama. Also, it's difficult to replace a capable starter averaging 7.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 3.3 APG, especially one whose performance was vital in the upset victory over then-#20 Wichita State and capable of lines like this one, in a season-opening victory over Kennesaw State.
However, Coleman, a sophomore who is not much taller than Tyler Ulis, has stepped in and proven to be a general improvement over Ingram at the starting PG spot. Coleman had previously been a dependable and serviceable sixth man, playing both guard positions when needed.
Coleman is not often a major presence in the box score like G Retin Obasohan usually is (in fact, his FG% numbers are abysmal, though he's somehow a 92% FT shooter), especially in the points column, but in watching a pair of Alabama games since mid-December -- a win over Winthrop and a narrow loss to Oregon, which would have been an abject blowout had Coleman not been carrying the Tide on his back -- it's apparent to me that much of what Alabama does runs through him. If there is one individual player that Kentucky needs to plan around on Saturday evening, it's Justin Coleman.
By the way, the game is at 6 p.m. EST on the SEC Network tomorrow evening.
*Speaking of Alabama, they lost to Ole Miss 75-66 last night as the Rebels christened their new building in Oxford. Therefore, UK will defeat Alabama due to the transitive property of college basketball, right?
By the way, here's a little bit of information on the new venue, named The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
*UCLA continued its upset tour, as it toppled #7 Arizona at Pauley Pavilion last night. The Bruins now own wins over two top 10 teams (UK and Arizona), as well as a top 20 team (Gonzaga), this season. Here is video of Bryce Alford's triple that sealed the victory.
*Rob Goldberg at Bleacher Report poses the biggest questions facing UK starters in 2016. Oftentimes national writers/bloggers have only a cursory knowledge base when it comes to specific players and their individual performance. Not in this case; these are legitimate and important questions.
*Goldberg also examines the five things that the 'Cats must prove in SEC play. This piece was published prior to Tuesday's loss in Baton Rouge. I am solidly on #TeamChill with James, and the SEC season just commenced, but the 'Cats did very little to prove any of these things in the loss against LSU.
*Rob Dauster unveiled his midseason awards and All-Americans on CBT. As an objective watcher of college basketball, I can't really argue with any of them, though my blue blood makes me want to fight about SMU PG Nic Moore making the A-A Third Team at that spot over Tyler Ulis.
*IU suffered a serious blow earlier in the week when it announced James Blackmon, Jr., a 5* SG from the 2014 class whose father played at Kentucky in the 1980s, would be undergoing another knee surgery that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season.
Blackmon, Jr. was long considered a Kentucky lean prior to pledging to IU, as he visited Lexington multiple times and had the family connection. Blackmon was a major contributor for the Hoosiers this season, averaging 15.8-4.2-1.7-1.2.
*#15 SMU also lost a major contributor this week, but the loss of former 5* Keith Frazier is permanent. Frazier is apparently leaving the program because he feels as though he's being blamed for the team's postseason ban.
If you didn't know, SMU is still unbeaten this year, having won all fourteen of its games, including impressive wins over Stanford, Michigan, and Cincinnati last night. Due to Sterling Brown's early ejection last night, SMU coach Larry Brown played a six man rotation for the majority of the contest. That's impressive.
SMU should win the AAC this year, so it's definitely a bad year to be subject to a postseason ban.
*Longtime UK fans will love this series of "This Week in Kentucky Basketball." 71 years ago today, UK beat Arkansas State 75-6.
*Jeff Scott, Clemson's co-offensive coordinator, recently compared Alabama's depth on the defensive line to the depth of UK's '14-'15 men's basketball squad.
*Usually, coordinators only leave successful programs if it's to become a head coach somewhere. That wasn't the case in Knoxville as Tennessee head coach Butch Jones relieved DC John Jancek of his duties earlier this week. As the article indicates, UT had a fairly solid defense this past season.
Also, regarding Penn State DC Bob Shoop as a candidate for the job, this would not be the first time Shoop has turned down a SEC program. Per Rational PSU Fan Buddy Jordan, Shoop turned down an offer from LSU in early 2015 and declined the Auburn DC position just last month. Further, Shoop is beloved in Happy Valley, and is now making around $1 million per year there. According to the Knoxville Sentinel, Jancek was making about half that at UT.
*#10 UK Hoops clobbered Alabama last night in Memorial, 73-48. C Evelyn Akhator stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks.
*Julius Randle's game is obviously at a NBA level, but his maturity may not be, according to Lakers coach Byron Scott.
*Oh, Boogie. Demarcus Cousins had a fun time with some Oklahoma City hecklers early this week, including telling one that he was "too old to yell." I have been critical of Cousins in the very recent past, but this is a reminder of why he's ultimately one of my favorite 'Cats ever and why I named my dog after him.
*Former 'Cat Bud Dupree won the Steelers' Joe Greene Great Performance Award for being the team's top rookie this season.
To be honest, Dupree didn't have much competition from other rookies on the roster, but it's still a well-earned award. As a diehard Steeler fan, I expected him to contribute, but not to wrest the starting LOLB spot from incumbent starter Arthur Moats.
*Randall Cobb is the other UK alum in action this weekend as his Packers take on Washington on Sunday afternoon at 4:40 p.m. EST on FOX. It's been a disappointing season for Cobb, as he recorded fewer than 50 yards 10 times this season and finished with 79 catches for 829 yards and 6 touchdowns. Hey, at least he got paid.
*ECW icon Tommy Dreamer (the Innovator of Violence!) recently critiqued the wrestling moves performed by dumb Bills fans during tailgate festivities this past season. Man, I loved ECW. You can keep your WWF/WWE and WCW. Give me Heat Wave '98 again and again and again.