Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Kentucky managed to defeat the Troy Trojans in Rupp Arena last night, but looked very vulnerable doing so. Calipari’s latest youth project continues to look very much like a high-school all-American team, although we are starting to see signs that the defense is improving.
Let me explain what I mean by that — Five games into the season, Kentucky has allowed only one opponent, Vermont, to score more than 1 point per possession. In fact, with that single exception, they have held every opponent under 0.9 points per possession.
What they have failed to do is run anything resembling an offense. Their offensive efficiency is roughly comparable to a 1978 AMC Pacer, when we’re all hoping for a 1978 Corvette official Indy pace car.
To date, Kentucky’s best offensive efficiency has been a shockingly anemic 1.09 PPP versus Vermont. The culprit has not really been bad shooting, it has been a combination of poor offensive rebounding and high turnovers. Kentucky is currently averaging well over 20% turnovers per game, which is to say one in five possessions are ended by giving the ball to the other team without attempting a shot.
One bit of good news is that Kentucky’s defensive rebounding is generally not horrible. In fact, last night it was outstanding — they yielded a meager 14% of available defensive rebounds to the Trojans. That’s good against anybody, and they had a similar effort against Vermont.
Another bit of good news is that despite giving up a huge number of threes so far this season (opponents are averaging way over 20 3-point shots per game), opposing teams have only once shot better than 30% from the arc. I don’t know whether that’s good defense or bad luck (probably both), but I’d like to see fewer shots from opponents out there just to be sure.
We all know Kentucky is young, and last night, I watched seemingly innumerable hero passes, soft passes, ill-advised cross-court passes, and enough bad decisions with the ball to last me a lifetime. However, we’re just getting started, and that’s what gives us all hope. UK has four more games against weaker competition before running into Virginia Tech at home, followed by UCLA and Louisville. How much better they can get between now and December 16th is anybody’s guess, but we are seeing some hopeful signs as well as troubling ones.
Tweet of the Morning
@SethDavisHoops “Please, TV producers, do not show us live-action boxes of coaches while the game is going on. Trust me, they’re not that interesting.” So true also get rid of the behind the backboard view that ESPN so loves for free throws very annoying— rives coleman (@rives33) November 21, 2017
To the annoyance of some, I can only say, “This!”
- Kentucky linebacker Courtney Love is a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, college football’s “premier award for community service.” Congratulations.
- Kentucky’s attention turns to Louisville after expected loss to Georgia. Georgia was a game UK could’ve been much more competitive on, but a couple of bad plays turned it into a rout.
- Stoops still wary of Louisville despite their challenging season. No doubt, any team with Lamar Jackson is a threat to just about anyone. This game will be all about offensive efficiency. Neither defense is going to be able to stop the other, but both offenses are fully capable of stopping themselves.
- Everything common sense tells you about the UK-U of L football game is wrong.
- Three takeaways from Kentucky basketball’s win over Troy.
- Second half struggles spoil night of positives for UK.
- Kentucky’s 2018 commit Tyler Herro will earn the Wildcats some Wisconsin love.
- Calipari says that he “had to battle” the Wildcats too much in the second half, and has “to teach them how to win.” Yep, and yep.
- Did anyone really think he was coming here? I never did.
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky volleyball continues to rack up SEC weekly honors at a breathtaking rate.
- Kentucky rifle is #5 in the nation with a bullet (please pardon the pun) as they sweep 3 top-ten opponents.
- Ten best college football rivalry games, ranked. Kentucky-Louisville is in there, and surprisingly high.
- Rick Pitino hasn’t ruled out coaching again. You mean, today? He sure did a short while back.
- This is usually a lament about the SEC…
Disappointing day for Pac-12 basketball. Cal had an 18-point 2H lead to No. 6 Wichita State and blew it. No. 23 UCLA lost by double digits to Creighton. Stanford getting utterly destroyed at home by No. 9 UNC. Rough start to non-conference play overall.— Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer) November 21, 2017
- So far, the SEC has only 1 team with two or more losses — Vandy. LSU had a big come-from-behind win last night against Michigan
Other sports news
- Is dark matter decay causing positrons to slam into the earth’s atmosphere?
- The first interstellar asteroid to enter our solar system looks… unusual.
- Scientists made a material that creates completely new states of light.