Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
It’s back to SEC play for the Wildcats, and as we all saw on Saturday, there are no easy games in the SEC this season, especially on the road. A few items of interest from the tempo-free stats for the Alabama game:
- For the fourth time in the last five games, UK was under 20% turnovers. Interestingly and counter-intuitively, UK has been under 20% turnovers in every one of their losses.
- The flip side of the point just above is that UK has been under 30% shooting from three in every one of their losses, including at Alabama. Also in every one of those losses, their opponent was over 40% from three.
- UK had their worst offensive rebounding performance of the season, by far, at Alabama — 15.4%. Their previous low was 25% vs Winthrop.
Texas A&M at Kentucky
Now, to the game tonight where UK desperately needs a snap-back win against the Texas A&M Aggies. Kentucky is fortunate that the next two games are at home, and both are versus SEC teams near the bottom of Ken Pomeroy’s rankings for the SEC.
Notes about the matchup:
- The Aggies struggle to score. Their effective FG% is a very low 49.8%. This is a direct consequence of their very low 28.3% shooting percentage from three and their pedestrian 68% from the line.
- TAMU is not a great defensive squad this year, allowing almost 99 points per 100 possessions.
- The Aggies defend the three well, but occasionally allow teams to shoot backbreaking percentages inside the arc. Examples are UC Irvine (59%), Gonzaga (57%) and Texas Southern (huh?) (65%).
- Both teams are excellent offensive rebounding teams, much like the Alabama-Kentucky matchup. UK needs a better performance tonight.
TAMU lacks the freak athletes they’ve had for the past couple of years, and as SEC teams go is smallish on the front line as far as height is concerned, although they do have considerable bulk in Christian Mekowulu and Josh Nebo. Nebo is also second in the nation in blocked shot percentage.
Still, in Rupp Arena, the Aggies are at a considerable disadvantage. The Wildcats need this win badly enough that they could be feeling some pressure, because this is about the easiest game (on paper) they are going to see until February. UK’s schedule is positively brutal in the SEC, with every game but three ranked an A or B quality game by Ken Pomeroy. As a comparison, Duke’s opponent quality in the ACC is significantly lower on a night-by-night basis (five unranked games), as is Tennessee (five unranked games) in the SEC.
Tweets of the Morning
REMINDER— SHAKIN THE SECOND NATIONAL TITLE IN THREE YEARS (@STSouthland) January 8, 2019
Trevor Lawrence is a true freshman
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Damn shame what Clemson did to that dog.. pic.twitter.com/1SNFgdk2xM— Michael Eaves (@michaeleaves) January 8, 2019
Bwahaha. For those of you unschooled in 1980’s romcoms:
Oh, and I just can’t resist:
Lil Wayne dressed up for his halftime performance pic.twitter.com/1HnVRjO5bw— Collin Thomas (@Collin__Thomas) January 8, 2019
The CFB Playoff is Twitter gold.
- Cats Illustrated debates the question: Will UK football sustain its momentum into 2019?
I’ve been around Kentucky football too long for irrational optimism. I don’t think they can, because UK just doesn’t have the kind of depth that allows it. They are losing too many unusually skilled and effective players (Josh Allen and Benny Snell being exhibits 1 and 2) not to suffer for their lack.
- The Wildcats drop five spots to #18 in the AP Poll after dropping Saturday’s game on the road to Alabama.
Kentucky’s reputation is very fragile among AP voters this year. Hard to blame them.
- A&M has work cut out for it at Kentucky. Unpleasant reminder to follow:
The Aggies, losers of two straight at home against Texas Southern and Arkansas, have turned in a surprise special performance before at Rupp Arena in January. Six years ago this month, A&M dispatched Kentucky 83-71 at Lexington behind Elston Turner’s 40 points.
I hate facing teams on a losing streak.
- Perimeter shooting is critical if Aggies want to upset Kentucky. Substitute Kentucky for Aggies and delete “upset,” and the headline would work just as well for the Wildcats.
- Kentucky “…had some slippage…” versus Alabama. Ya think?
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky is naming an annual track and field invitational event after Jim Green, a teammate of one of our members. Congratulations!
Here’s the comments from A Sea of Blue member uksprinter about Green:
UK is naming the annual track invitational after my teammate, Jim Green. He deserves this and a lot more… maybe a shout out on ASOB.
He owned the world record in the 60 yard dash.
Won the NCAA 60 as a Freshman (!) and repeated as a Junior.
I ran the third leg on the sprint relays and passed the baton to Jim.
If we were anywhere close, he would cross the tape first.
We won the 400 relay at the SEC Championships in Gainesville going away my sophomore year.
He and I were true friends.
- Clemson annihilates Alabama in the CFB Playoff championship. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see that one coming.
Congratulations to Clemson. The best thing for Clemson fans (and we have at least one I know of on here) is that they look to be even better next year, and possibly the year after that. My cousin Pam is a Clemson fan, and I’ll bet she’s celebrating big time.
- Congratulations to former UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown for being named as West Virginia’s 35th head coach.
- Auburn feels like it’s flying under the national radar.
- A tragic error by USA basketball has resulted in and Alabama women’s high school star player being declared ineligible. It is a travesty and an abject injustice, and the person responsible, with full power to rescind the manifestly unjust action, refuses to do so citing the slippery slope objection. Unethical. Wrong. Borderline immoral. Jay Bilas spoke about this incident during the UK-Alabama game.
- Never count out Michigan State.
- Are the UCLA Bruins actually considering hiring Rick Pitino?
Other sports news
- NASA’s Kepler Mission K2 team announced the discovery of a new world yesterday. It is roughly twice the size of Earth located within its star’s habitable zone.
- China’s lunar probe sheds light on the dark side of the moon. Hey, that sounds like a musical reference of some sort…
The latter half of this video is kind of like being inside a lava lamp. Oh, did I lose some of you on that? Sorry — no, I’m not. After all, this is the age of Google.
- It’s come to this: Monogamy may have a telltale genetic signature.