Good morning,ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
First off, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you prefer to celebrate during the season. Unfortunately, we Kentucky fans had to carry around the burden of a loss to UCLA down in New Orleans.
As we will probably see all too often this season, this loss was due to an inability to defend the pick and roll and straight-line drives to the basket. As we all know, the pick and roll is tough to defend even at the professional level, but Kentucky has to figure out how to defend it some of the time, at least. Straight-line drives are merely a matter of picking your poison, but the case of allowing players into the paint is almost always worse than a jump shot. As of now, however, these young guys don’t seem to understand that.
You have to give credit to UCLA — they really made shots, both open and challenged. Kris Wilkes in particular made some tough looks from three, and that really took the starch out of Kentucky and put them on their heels. The Wildcats shot poorly from just about everywhere and while some of that was due to game pressure and a typical loss of poise, too much was also due to poor shot selection, impatience, and frankly, blowing point-blank layups.
Friday will offer a chance for redemption against a suddenly hot Louisville team that has now reeled off six victories in a row, albeit against mostly lesser foes.
If you happen to be off on Friday, you’ll get to watch the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game as well as the Music City Bowl where UK football faces off against Northwestern, where it will be Wildcat on Wildcat crime. The basketball game tips at 1:00 and the football game begins at 4:30. For those of you unfortunate enough to have to work a full schedule on Friday, at least you’ll have the chance to see the second half of the football game. Cold comfort, I know, but alas, the gods of scheduling have decided to stick it to you this season.
Tweet of the Morning
We hit the jackpot this year with our Christmas present from Coach Cal and Ellen Calipari. Love this 4-flavor cheesecake from @JuniorsCheeseck. The carrot cake is my favorite, but it also has red velvet, toasted coconut and golden chocolate chip. pic.twitter.com/Gc7cplkIob— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) December 26, 2017
I gained 3 pounds just looking at this thing.
- From the opposing side: Northwestern vs. Kentucky preview.
- Christmas was just another practice day for Kentucky.
- The curious case of Kentucky in the college power rankings. Not much to say here. Until Kentucky actually beats someone, especially on the road, there will be lots and lots of naysaying, and justifiably so.
- Kentucky belongs at #16, according to Wildcat Blue Nation, which is where they fell to in the AP rankings after the loss to UCLA. I think they are still too high. UK might not even belong in the top 25 right now.
- Coach Cal’s comments after Kentucky’s loss. Consider:
We just kept — we screwed up on the pick and roll assignments like 10 times and he [Aaron Holiday] either got a layup or threw the ball for a 3. We were trying some different things and the lesson for me as a coach is when you got really young players, like do one or two things, that’s it. Don’t try to invent stuff that should work, because they just — they’re not ready for that. They could play it one way or two ways and if it doesn’t work, then stop, you ain’t winning the game, move on. But they, he was really good [Saturday].
- Kentucky signee Keldon Johnson can jump a little. He was also good enough to win the MVP of the Chick-fil-A classic as well as the dunk contest.
- The gift that saved the life of an ex-UK basketball player.
- Kentucky and North Carolina to renew their rivalry in 2018.
- Coach Cal to join West Virginia charity fish fry with Bob Huggins.
Other Kentucky sports
- Is it wrong for potential NFL draft picks to skip bowl games? Wrong or right, it happens a lot.
- Ranking bowls from easiest to toughest for the SEC.
- Will the NCAA block legal betting on college sports in Indiana? The Supreme Court will have a say in general, but the NCAA’s HQ is in Indiana, and has moved to restrict championship events in Nevada and New Jersey, two states that allow college sports betting.
- Injured Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. says the back injury that currently has him sidelined occurred years ago.
Other sports news
- Draymond Green denies his custom Nike sneakers were designed to troll LeBron James.
- NBC Sports says the non-foul call by Kevin Durant on LeBron James was not why the Cavaliers lost. I think he’s right.
- Amazing footage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch. This had some people in California freaking out.
- Astronomers chase the fastest star ever detected.
- Why that New Years resolution you’re planning is likely to fail.