Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. Today’s main topic of conversation will be about the only thing on the minds of Kentucky fans for the next 18 hours or so — tonight’s game in Chicago against the Kansas Jayhawks.
First, a quick recap of Kentucky’s most recent two performances:
- Kentucky is averaging 1.06 points/possession on offense. That’s pretty anemic for such a talented group, and the main culprit is shot selection.
- Kentucky is allowing 0.96 points per possession against modest competition. That’s because their defense is as loathsome as any I have seen in years, and this number must drop very soon.
- Turnover percentage has been pretty poor at 20% and 15% respectively in its first two games against opponents who did not pressure the ball.
- Some people are concerned about the 3-point shooting, and the percentage has been about as pedestrian as possible. Still, this team has capable shooters, and I don’t worry much about this.
- Kentucky has been fairly weak on the offensive glass, but has been fairly good on the defensive rebounding side.
- Assist percentage has been over 50% both games, a very promising sign. This team is willing to share the ball.
I don’t need to go into too much detail at this point — we all know what’s wrong and why. Kentucky is just painfully young and inexperienced, and it shows a lot more than it has in the past, because we’ve never been quite this young before. That’s going to hurt us early, and probably tonight as well.
The biggest point of concern in tonight’s contest is perimeter defense. Kansas is a perimeter team, and shot lights-out from the arc in their first game. They also have some serious interior beef that Kentucky can’t match — another reason for concern.
What Kentucky has going for it are two things — they can only get better from where they are now, and some of their better shooters have yet to get untracked. Their length at every position poses problems for everybody, but their lack of defensive positioning is going to lead to a bunch of layups and open threes off straight-line drives unless they tighten it up very quickly.
The betting line has Kansas -4.5, and I’d personally take Kansas if I were a betting man. They are more experienced, very competitive talent-wise, and are playing essentially a high-school all-star team right now. But Kansas can’t take the Wildcats lightly. Kentucky has better length, athleticism, and more high-skill players. As the old saying goes, quantity has a quality all its own.
Tweet of the Morning
NCAATs 2010-17:— Nick - UK 7-3 (@plainwildcatfan) November 13, 2017
Kentucky: 1, 4, 1, X, 8, 1, 4, 2
Kansas: 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1
Losses to teams more than 1 seed line below:
But... Kentucky are somehow the underachievers?
- Who will replace Jarren Williams as UK’s QB recruit for 2018? Ben Roberts gives us some possible answers.
- How about this one: Mark Stoops is the granddaddy of SEC East coaches. If you had told me this would be the case in 2012, I never would’ve believed you.
- Kentucky still faces two big-time foes in football. I can’t imagine UK beating Georgia between the hedges, but then again, sometimes one bad loss can lead to another.
The Louisville game is shaping up to look a lot like last year — first team to 40 points wins.
- Kentucky’s most recent commit, Keldon Johnson, came to UK against the better judgment of his father:
“I was more for Maryland and N.C. State because they were local and he would have been the man from day one,” Chris Johnson said. “We went back and forth but he was sold on Kentucky. That was where he really, really wanted to go. He just wanted to be part of that tradition.”
You hear a lot of people say that Kentucky tradition does not matter to young players anymore. I guess that’s not always the case. But the elder Johnson is fine with his son’s decision:
“Oh yeah, 100 percent. I’m all in,” Johnson said. “That’s my guy and I’ll support him to the utmost because as an 18-year-old he knew where he wanted to be. I told him it was all hands on deck so we’ll definitely be wearing that blue.”
- Is Kentucky’s ranking in the Top 25 too high? My opinion is yes, as of now.
- Worried about tonight’s game? This guy has a possible solution:
I sat & looked at this donut for a while hoping it'd make me feel better about tonight's UK/KU game. Never made me feel better SO I ATE IT .... still not confident but I'm happier. GO CATS! ☕️ pic.twitter.com/1dx8uguTdl— Bradley Stevenson (@bss1974) November 14, 2017
- Five things to know about Kansas basketball for tonight’s Champion’s Classic.
- What we learned about Kentucky in their close wins over two mid-majors.
- KU vs. Kentucky: Will youth or experience win out?
- Vermont deserved praise for their effort against Kentucky. I knew they were good, and I honestly was worried about losing that game long before the tip.
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky hoops enters the AP poll at #25.
- 2018 softball schedule released.
- Volleyball once again dominates SEC Player of the Week awards.
- Could Chip Kelly be coming to Gainesville? Somehow, with all the drama that’s always surrounded him, it seems like the perfect fit.
- Butch Jones stars as The Unforgiven.
- Vanderbilt lands a five-star recruit from Nashville.
- Former UK player Allen Edwards coaches Wyoming to a 75-66 win over Oregon State.
- OVC! Wait, wut…
OVC looking solid tonight: Belmont beats Vanderbilt, Jacksonville State beats Richmond; Murray State comes up just short vs. MTSU; EKU loses by 10 at Ole Miss— Anthony Wireman (@awireman) November 14, 2017
Other sports news
Darius Miller w/ a career-high 21 points, E’Twaun Moore w/ a career-high-tying 24 points, Anthony Davis w/ a career-high-tying 7 assists.— Pelicans PR (@PelicansPR) November 14, 2017
- Enes Kanter and LeBron James have a bit of a feud going on:
Enes Kanter on LeBron James: “I don’t care what you call yourself - King, Queen, Princess - we’re gonna fight.”— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 14, 2017
- Tour of the USS Kentucky, an Ohio-class Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine. In case some of you old-timers had forgotten, I served on the Los Angeles-class fast attack sub USS Olympia (SSN 717), named after the capitol of Washington state, back in the 1980’s.
Some further submarine trivia for those interested: The USS Louisville (SSN 724) is a squadron mate of the Olympia in SubRon 7, Pacific Fleet, stationed in Pearl Harbor.
- This video from NASA will give you chills.
- Stable plasma ring created in open air for the first time. More a novelty than anything else at this point, but it was thought to be impossible.