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Sunday Quickies: Back on Track (?) Edition

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Recapping UK/Vandy, checking in on the NFL, and manufactured controversy erupts over hardhats.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Big Blue Nation!

It wasn’t the prettiest of performances but the result was definitely a good one. The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 56-47 in a forty minute slugfest. The Dores were determined to try to slow down the game and knock Kentucky off balance with physicality.

To their credit, the Wildcats battled through the physicality and overcame it. But their zone offense left a lot to be desired and the big men were once again invisible on offense but they did their part on the boards, particularly Reid Travis and PJ Washington, who combined for 20 rebounds.

This was one of those January SEC games in which you wanted the game to end as quickly as possible without a UK player being injured. Things got that rough and the officials didn’t help the cause with a terribly officiated game.

The next four games stretch is crucial to the Cats as they play two on the road, two at home, and three of those games against ranked opponents.

Saddle up.

Tweets of the Day

This belongs in the Matt Jones alarmist manufactured controversy hall of fame. Get over it, dude. Stop trying to start class warfare within the UK fan base/administration. Ugh.

This kid is getting SOOOOO good.

Absolutely agree. And Immanuel Quickley is coming into his own as well. He had 12 points and hit three big three pointers last night. He’s replaced Quade Green as Kentucky’s off-the bench three point threat. He’s also a better defender and he’s more careful with the ball when it’s in his hands.

Kenny Walker got a hard hat??!!!??!?!?!?! Did all the media members get one too? I want a formal inquiry from the Governor on Hardhat-gate.

Quickies

Calipari laments slow starts | Lexington-Herald Leader- John Calipari understands the frustration of Kentucky continuing to start games down big to their opponents. Other teams are starting off with energy and Kentucky has to build it when they’re down. This strategy isn’t going to work in the next four game stretch.

Kentucky digs out of another hole to beat Vandy | WDRB- Calipari suggests the Cats come out with a sense of urgency and desperation. It’s lacking big time.

Multiple Cats named to All-Bowl teams | Cats Pause- Lynn Bowden, Bunchy Stallings, and Josh Allen were all three named to postseason All Bowl honor teams. Somehow Benny Snell’s history making dominant performance wasn’t good enough.

Hagans, Johnson lead the Cats in win | UK Athletics- Each player had 15 points in the win. Quickley had 12 off of the bench and Nick Richards, while not scoring, also had a nice game defensively for the Cats.

Freshmen push UK vs. Vandy | CoachCal.com- One of the themes going into this season was the veteran leadership and play will make a difference. So far it really hasn’t. One “veteran” transferred, the two sophomores are struggling to find their place, and the grad transfer is in a slump.

Kentucky, Duke, and Gonzaga rally to victory | CBS- Kentucky wasn’t the only favorite to struggle yesterday. A number of them either had to rally to win or lost at home. Calipari noted that four SEC home teams lost yesterday, including Mississippi State, and was happy that UK wasn’t one of them.

#16 UK Hoops welcomes in Ole Miss | UK Athletics- The women welcome in the Ole Miss Rebels after their big win at Tennessee earlier in the week. The ladies are looking for yet another SEC win.

ESPN Power Rankings | ESPN- After pumping up a suspect North Carolina Tar Heels team for weeks after they lost to UK, the ESPN Power Rankings finally knock them out after an embarrassing home loss to Louisville. The Cards went into Chapel Hill and dealy UNC a 21 point whooping, the worst of Roy Williams’ career at UNC.

The Cats are moving up:

14. Kentucky Wildcats (12-3)

Previous ranking: 16

This week: Beat Texas A&M 85-74 on Tuesday, beat Vanderbilt 56-47 on Saturday

Ashton Hagans was on his way to making a claim as the best point guard in the 2019 class before reclassifying and enrolling at Kentucky. Seven months later, he has arguably been the catalyst for the Wildcats’ improvement of late. He has now scored in double figures in four straight games while dishing out 18 assists and racking up 14 steals during that span.

Chiefs in AFC title game | CBS- After years of promising regular seasons and disappointing playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs are in the AFC title game after they crushed the Colts.

Rams run into playoffs | Sporting News- Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson had a big night as the Rams dispatched of the Cowboys 30-15. They await the winner of Saints vs. Eagles.