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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Virginia Tech Week Edition

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The AP voters are not impressed with UK so far, but that will change with Virginia Tech on Saturday one way or the other.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Florida v Marquette

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

That Lynn Bowden — so shy and retiring. How does a snowflake like him stand in there with all those gargantuans?

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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 basketball

“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.

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