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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Improvement Edition

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As Kentucky shows improvement, some of Kentucky’s rivals forget the first law of holes.

Illinois-Chicago v Kentucky Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies. Let’s look at a few storylines that are developing today.

Kentucky’s performance against UIC

The young Wildcats really showed what their potential looks like Sunday night. Consider:

  • Offensive efficiency: 1.32 points/possession. DE: 0.90.
  • 2-point shooting: 74.5%.
  • Effective FG% 69.8% (a rare case of 3-point and free throw shooting dragging down eFG%).
  • Offensive rebound %: 35.7. This looks rather ordinary until you consider that when you shoot 75% from two and 33% from three, there won’t be many OR’s to be had.

Now consider the negatives that contain the frightening potential for improvement:

  • Turnover %: 18.5. That’s high, but below my 20% threshold for suckage.
  • Defensive rebounding %: 64.5. This is a pedestrian number that should’ve been better.
  • FT%: 68. Not good enough.
  • 3-point shooting: 33% on only 12 attempts. I think this should be a little better, but I can live with it.

This is what the team is capable of, and UIC was by no means a pushover. What hurt Illinois-Chicago is a plague of turnovers to the tune of 26%, which is more than one possession in four.

Schadenfreude

As you can see below with the Tennessee coaching hire, the Volunteer athletics department along with their fans are in a mad scramble to reach rock bottom where they set up a steam drill and try to dig to the center of the Earth. For those who have a deep loathing for all things Orange, this has to be fun to watch.

Taken together with the continuing meltdown at Louisville (despite their domination of UK’s football team Saturday), this has to be one of the all-time schadenfreude years for Kentucky fans in my memory.

Bowl game

KSR confirms exactly what I was thinking on Saturday as I sort-of watched the Governor’s Cup game:

I was at Churchill Downs, and they had it on the screens, but without audio. I didn’t need audio to know I was happy to have the racing distraction.

More here.

Tweet of the Morning

Amazing but dubious distinction.

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That’s because expectations were higher, and honestly, Kentucky underachieved significantly. Yes, the Louisville loss was ugly, but no uglier than the losses at Georgia and Mississippi State, two other uncompetitive games. It hurts more because Louisville, though.

Add to that late-game losses to Florida and Ole Miss, and what could have been a 9-win season with three ugly losses is now a 7-win season with two arguably avoidable heartbreakers.

That’s a lot of pain for just a minor bowl game.

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More here.

Still more from SB Nation:

Currie tried to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to fill the Volunteers’ vacant head coaching position. The two parties reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding and were set to announce Schiano’s hiring at a press conference Sunday night. Everything was supposed to be smooth.

It was not smooth. Tennessee fans — joined by former players and, incredibly, a handful of local elected officials and candidates — unleashed an unprecedented torrent of anger about Schiano’s hiring.

Does the term, “Peasants with pitchforks” come to anyone else’s mind?

Even more: David Cutcliffe not interested in Tennessee job. If you need something to take your mind off Kentucky’s disappointing end of the regular season, perhaps this is it. Does anyone remember when Tennessee was a “destination” job?

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