Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Tonight, the Wildcats begin a two-game road swing. The road begins in Athens, Georgia, where the Wildcats will be taking on an inconsistent but still dangerous Georgia team led by first-year head coach Tom Crean, late of the Indiana Hoosiers.
Crean’s team has struggled at times this season, and seems to have difficulty finishing games. The Dawgs challenged the Auburn Tigers early in Auburn Arena, but were gradually buried under a slow-building wave of points. In the end it was a combination of turnovers and offensive rebounds that doomed the Dawgs.
Tonight, Georgia welcomes an even better offensive rebounding team, Kentucky, into Stegeman Coliseum. The Wildcats were not impressive in either of their recent home victories vs. Texas A&M and, most recently, Vanderbilt. Both games saw the Wildcats get behind big early, then work their way back to victory.
It’s one thing to get behind early at home, but doing so on the road is a recipe for disaster. No doubt John Calipari knows this, but for some reason, this team is very much like last year’s team — prone to early deficits. Hopefully they will start to overcome this tendency soon, because it cost the Wildcats some games (South Carolina, Tennessee in Knoxville come to mind) last season that they may otherwise have won.
Right now, the Wildcats have yet to put together a good defensive effort along with decent shooting in the SEC. In the three games UK has played, not once have they shot better than 33% from three. Also, after two solid low-turnover games, the Vandy game was a reversion to earlier form.
Kentucky will need all that tonight in only their third true road game of the season. Georgia is coming off a loss, so they are going to be ready to get a meaningful win off the Wildcats. Coming off two victories in a row, this young Wildcats team could come out flat yet again.
After Georgia, the Wildcats get their first top-25 test of the SEC season at Auburn. Getting out of this tough road trip with at least one victory is important to Kentucky’s season, because the road doesn’t get any easier.
Tweets of the Morning
This UCLA gymnastics routine is frankly awesome. Check out the music!
Hat tip: SBNation
Happy birthday . 127 years ago, James Naismith published the original rules of the game! pic.twitter.com/ZEXwjxYdTr— Will Prewitt (@GAC_Commish) January 15, 2019
- Young Kentucky fan brings his own version of “SnellYeah” to Benny Snell’s autograph tour.
- Former UK commitment (now committed to Nebraska) Wandale Robinson wins Kentucky’s Mr. Football.
- Life with a target on your chest: Georgia gets another shot at a signature win vs. Kentucky
- Jack Pilgrim at KSR has a UK basketball recruiting update.
- After losing Udoka Azubuike for the season, Kansas is trying to get Silvio De Sousa back, and willing to acknowledge an NCAA violation to do so.
- WWJD: What will Jalen Do? Paul Finebaum shares his thoughts about where Jalen Hurts will land.
- Will Tee Martin be returning home to help coach the Vols? Looks like it.
- Rick Barnes was not a fan of Tennessee players doing the “Gator Chomp” after defeating Florida in Gainesville.
My take: Typical prank of young athletes, poor sportsmanship. Barnes is right to correct them, and use it as a teaching opportunity.
- The UCLA Bruins are still looking for a coach. Bruins Nation has the latest hot board, and it is… interesting. Kevin Keatts of UNC Wilmington is an unexpected but certainly worthy addition. He seems to lack the panache a UCLA coach would need, but there’s no disputing his ability.
- Tre Jones’ shoulder sprain contributes mightily to Duke’s loss to Syracuse in Cameron last night. He could miss extended time, too, which casts a whole new perspective on Duke’s season.
- More on Tre Jones:
Official from Duke: Tre Jones suffered an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation Monday night against Syracuse. He will be sidelined “indefinitely."— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) January 15, 2019
Really sad for the young man.
- Is Duke the only team good enough to stop Tennessee from winning it all? Nope. There, saved you a click.
- Murray State’s Ja Morant on the front page of the New York Post today.
Other sports news
- Russia’s only space telescope has stopped responding to commands.
- Is there anybody out there? Scientists receive a second repeating radio burst from spaces.
- Faster, please: Is fusion power finally within our grasp?