Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
My, my, what a difference a month makes. Kentucky, after being doubted and to a lesser extent shamed by some in the sports media after getting drubbed by Duke and playing a lackluster November slate, found themselves being counted out early after an early December last-second loss to Seton Hall in New York.
But something strange happened on the way to the metaphorical guillotine. With their backs against the wall, the Wildcats defeated North Carolina in Chicago and Louisville at the YUM center, demonstrating they had not quite decided to pack in all the early-season expectations. Dropping a last-second game at Alabama generated a few see-I-told-you-so’s, but a six-game winning streak including victories over three straight top-25 teams has silenced that criticism for now.
Somewhat surprisingly to me, the pendulum is starting to swing the other way, even though more than half the conference season remains. The Wildcats have worked their way gradually back into the top ten at #7 in the AP Poll (#10 on KenPom) and now have some buzz about them. So much so that Sports Illustrated sees them pushing for a #1 seed, although not quite there yet.
Tweet of the Morning
Defense& Rebounding travels let’s see if it goes to Nville tonight.Cats will see plenty of zone tonight,book it!! Go Cats ✌️— Mike Pratt (@MikePratt22) January 29, 2019
Kentucky needs some offense to go with that. Defense and rebounding can win (Michigan St. has proven that over and over) but this Kentucky team should be much better offensively than it is.
- With about a week until national signing day, the Wildcats still have a few heavy hitters on its radar for 2019.
- UK cornerback Lonnie Johnson says he’s the best corner in the draft. He may be.
- Although they are currently winless in the SEC, Vanderbilt has been much more competitive at home. Tennessee would agree with you.
I hate to say this, but Kentucky is ripe for an upset in this one. It won’t happen if they come to play, but I’ve seen a lot of Kentucky teams over the years fall in the state of Tennessee after a nice streak: 2017, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2004 just to name some recents. Near misses also in 2018, 2012, 2010.
- Where UK recruits land in the new recruiting rankings.
- Tyler Herro — not just a shooter. That’s for sure, he locked up Lagerald Vick for 90% of the Kansas game. Vick got a couple of late baskets, but Herro kept him to non-factor level when it counted.
Plus, Herro’s shooting so poorly right now, I’m not sure you could even call him a shooter and be accurate except in terms of potential. But he’s finding ways to impact the game, and that’s what players who want to be great do.
- Kentucky may not be the best, but they are one of the hottest teams in the nation.
- Check out this headline: Reid Travis buoyed sinking Kentucky in win over Kansas. Did you know that Kentucky was “sinking” prior to the Kansas game after two consecutive top-25 wins, including one on the road?
Sometimes writers just look way too hard for catchy headlines.
- Second look: Kentucky at Vanderbilt.
- That’s what scares me: After six straight wins, Kentucky is feeling confident.
- Keldon Johnson named SEC Freshman of the Week. This is his third FoW award.
- Well, knock me down with a feather. The Boston Herald writes something nice about Kentucky. I thought Boston writers were constitutionally incapable of such a thing.
Other Kentucky sports
- Penny Hardaway doesn’t care what other coaches think about him. That’s fine, but frankly, he’s getting on my nerves and in my opinion, not exactly distinguishing himself with his behavior. He needs to gain a little more bearing and prove his coaching chops before acting like he deserves to be considered something special, despite his recruiting success — stellar NBA career notwithstanding.
- Miami junior forward Dewan Hernandez must sit out for improper benefits for the rest of the season, and 40% of next season. The rules violation was said to be less than $500. Seems overly harsh to me.
Source told me that the benefits that Dewan Hernandez received were less than $500. https://t.co/1HNdGUXLjw— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) January 28, 2019
Other sports news
- Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans. I have been expecting this a long time.
- NBA TV ratings on TNT have fallen 22% in the last year. LeBron’s move to the West Cast is being blamed.
- Bill Belichick’s competition for the best coach ever.
- Israeli scientists think they may have found a cure for cancer. Not just a treatment, but an complete cure. Faster, please.
- Neuroengineers at Columbia develop a system that translates thought into recognizable speech. Yikes. Think about what that could do for interrogations. What a Fifth Amendment case that would make!
- Astronomers have detected a curious, mile-wide object at the edge of our solar system. I’m not saying it’s aliens, but…