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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Big UK Sports Weekend Edition

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Kentucky just completed a great weekend of sports, breathing new life into their bowl hopes and new hopes into their hoop dreams.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

What a great weekend of Kentucky sports we just finished. I really was impressed with how well the football team played, and how indomitable Lynn Bowden Jr. has become as an all-around football player. He really is a kind of reincarnation of Randall Cobb in the best possible way — different, but the same.

What I’m wondering is just how good can he be at the QB position. You can see his growth week by week, and his throws are getting better on time and target with every rep he takes. He gets rid of the ball so quickly (no doubt somewhat due to a simplification of the offense), and woe be unto you if he gets any green grass between him and the goal line.

But while I’m praising Bowden, I really should take the time to consider just how good Kentucky’s defense has been this season. Kentucky is 31st nationally in scoring defense, 81st in rushing defense, 16th in passing defense, and 42nd in total defense, according to CFBStats.com. All this from a squad that lost four starters to the NFL Draft last season and lost almost its entire secondary.

How good has this young secondary (a pre-season sure-thing weakness) been this season? Just... wow.

Moving on to basketball, we saw the Wildcats in their first game action of the season this past Sunday in an exhibition against Georgetown College. Here are a few observations:

  • Kentucky is a different team with and without Nick Richards.
  • Immanuel Quickley’s offense has really, really improved, but his defense still needs work.
  • Hard to complain about what Ashton Hagans did. I think maybe he took one or two too many threes, but otherwise, he looked great.
  • Am I the only one who thinks Keion Brooks Jr. plays like a more skilled Wenyan Gabriel?
  • EJ Montgomery has got to play better. Only five rebounds, and many missed point-blank shots. I was expecting much more from the sophomore version than I have seen so far in any appearance.
  • Nate Sestina is really good at a lot of things. How good can he be defensively is the only question in my mind.
  • Kahlil Whitney does not look ready right now. He can fly and run, but lacks a role as of now. It is early, of course.
  • Tyrese Maxey did a really smart thing — he wasn’t shooting well, so he took the ball to the hole and snatched some rebounds. I love that.
  • Johnny Juzang is gong to get better, but he is a defensive liability right now.

Overall, I was pretty happy with what I saw considering how early it is and the injury to Richards. Lots of “tweaking” to come, I’m sure.

Tweet of the Morning

I thought the small-ball lineup was just okay. I think it will get a whole lot better.

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