Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies. Let’s take a quick look at the biggest stories for the week:
Football and the advent of Terry Wilson
When I saw Kentucky was recruiting Terry Wilson, the former Oregon quarterback commit, I scoffed. Thankfully, Mark Stoops & Company proved that skepticism wrong. Sometimes being wrong is much better than being right, and this is one of them.
After just having lost Jarren Williams to the recruiting wars, UK was desperately in need of new blood at the critical QB slot, and Terry Wilson is all that we could want, and more — in my view, even better than Jarren Williams because of his JUCO experience.
The big question now is whether or not Drew Barker is good enough to keep Wilson from taking the starting job to which he was the heir-apparent after two fine years from Stephen Johnson, who will graduate after this season. We’ll see. So far, it’s fair to say that Barker hasn’t lived up to expectations, but to be fair, he’s been injured a lot.
Is basketball improving measurably?
After the game against Monmouth at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, I asked myself if I thought, in all honesty, that this team was getting better, or treading water. Unfortunately, I simply couldn’t decide.
There are positive trends: Against Monmouth, Kentucky’s offensive efficiency was good at 1.19 points/possession, DE was solid at 0.98 P/P, and shooting, offensive rebounding and shot blocking were good. Not so good were turnovers (24%) defensive rebounding (64.5% against a smallish team) and the number of mental mistakes that don’t seem to be diminishing.
I suppose Virginia Tech will give us a better read. The Hokies have lost only one game all season, a close one to St. Louis on a neutral floor where they shot a meager 45.5% from two against St. Louis’ 59% from the same range and got whipped badly on the glass.
The Hokies will be a very tough out for Kentucky, but one thing that gives me hope is that the Fighting Buzz Williamses are a poor rebounding team. Kentucky has at times been dominant on the glass, and because it’s unlikely that UK can outshoot the Hokies, they need to do a good job with second chances and free throws. Pay special attention to Kentucky’s defensive efficiency in this one — it will give us a really good indication of how good or bad they really are, as Virginia Tech is a very good offensive team.
Tweet of the Morning
When it’s all said and done and all over y’all a remember my name— Lynn Bowden (@H_Huncho) December 12, 2017
That Lynn Bowden — so shy and retiring. How does a snowflake like him stand in there with all those gargantuans?
- Mark Story is wondering the same thing I am about the upcoming Terry Wilson/Drew Barker cage match for 2018 quarterback. I shouldn’t ignore Gunnar Hoak, Danny Clark and Walker Wood, but for simplicity’s sake, I am.
- The “extra practice time” meme strikes again. I wonder if there the actual benefit of this is anywhere near the benefits many ascribe to it?
- Kentucky football makes the top ten best games of 2017 list, not once but FOUR times.
- Five UK redshirts to watch in Music City Bowl practices. Naasir Watkins is my #1 pick to watch.
- Scouting report on Terry Wilson. A bit of hype is always welcome:
Make no mistake about it: This is a huge get for UK, and Wilson could end up being the most important recruit UK gets in the 2018 class. While Wilson won’t be assured of the starting quarterback spot, he has a world of potential to not only win it, but also thrive in UK’s offense.
- Kentucky offers a scholarship to Emmitt Smith’s son.
- The book on Terry Wilson by Justin Rowland. Always worth a read.
- Hamidou Diallo’s hot streak, according to Coach Cal, is why you come to UK:
“You come to Kentucky to get better,” Wildcats coach John Calipari said afterward. “You come here to be challenged. You come here like, ‘I want to be in a practice where everybody can play.’ Hami did it for that reason, and he’s getting better.”
Diallo is playing better, and shooting the ball reasonably well from distance. He still needs to learn when to attack and when to pull up, but he’s making progress.
- Kentucky’s exploits fail to impress AP Top 25 voters. I don’t blame them a bit, but a win against Va. Tech on Saturday certainly will move the needle a bit.
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky women’s basketball has lost two in a row after their defeat by Miami on Sunday.
- Five SEC basketball teams are in the top 25 of the RPI. UK isn’t one of them. That’s fine by me, I put very little stake in the RPI.
- 5-star Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson will transfer to Michigan. Ole Miss is going to be on its backside for a while.
- LaVar Ball’s sons LaMello and LiAngelo sign to play in Lithuania. It may be the last time we hear from them, as history shows they will have a tough time.
- Hmm. If Rick Pitino wins his lawsuit, insurance may not protect the University of Louisville. It would be incredibly droll if Pitino were to bankrupt the university that has been pilfering money from Louisville taxpayers with their sweetheart Yum! center deal for years now.
- Tennessee Lady Vols return to top 10 for the first time since 2015. That’s a long absence for a program of their reputation.
Other sports news
- The Indianapolis Colts sent non-players on the field to clear snow for a PAT attempt, violating NFL policy.
- Tom Brady, the Ageless One.
- No more calling in golf rules violations from your easy chair to bust professional golfers. About damn time.
- Ever get the impression “grammar Nazis” are jerks? Science agrees.
- Potential “master switch” could help immune system fight cancer. This new therapy is very exciting. Now, cue the tinfoil hat brigade in 3…2…1…
- Will we be seeing supersonic commercial air flight again soon? It was such a big deal in the 1970’s and 1980’s.