Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
A few words about the football team: While I was a bit disappointed we got shuffled out of the Gator Bowl by the SEC, a moment’s reflection revealed that we have absolutely no right to complain. We had Tennessee beaten, and we let that game slip away. This is just the price we all pay when the team fails to close out a game in hand. We can make the exact same complaint about Florida, and observe that if we had closed both those games correctly, we might be partying at our second New Years Six bowl in a row.
So I’m over that. Tennessee deserved the option, and the SEC was right to let them have the call. The Belk Bowl looks like a good destination for Kentucky and the opponent is hardly a slouch with no tradition — next to Clemson, Florida State and Miami, Virginia Tech may have the richest football tradition in the ACC.
Finally, I can’t help but continue to be impressed with Mark Stoops. He isn’t flashy, he’s not building the program overnight, and he’s far from the sexy first choice of any major team looking for a new coach. But he’s building the program from the foundation up, and we see the results. A weak foundation has been the major reason Kentucky has been hit-or-miss, and mostly miss, when it comes to football success.
He may not be Urban Meyer or Nick Saban, but he is setting Kentucky up for future victories by focusing on the important work of keeping our foundation strong and developing the kind of traditions and consistency many SEC programs should envy and all should respect. Recent recruiting successes are a testament to how consistency and fundamentals are as important to building a program as they are to team success on the field.
We’ve waited a long time for this, and it sure feels good.
And now, your word for the day for the basketball Wildcats: effort.
Kentucky’s recent effort has been both excellent and hit-or-miss. We see a consistent effort on offense, and the result has been improved efficiency and execution.
But the defense, despite some gaudy stats, has suffered from a lack of consistent effort. The biggest culprit, in my mind, seems to be in the back court, where defensive effort has been the most inconsistent, going from outstanding to meh several times within games.
That effort doesn’t matter as much against markedly inferior foes, but the days of feasting on lesser opponents is about to come to an abrupt, and potentially painful halt. We need more consistent defensive effort, especially from the back court.
Tweet of the Morning
Two words: The man.
- The remaining 2020 targets for UK are big time, and could set the stage for a historic class.
- Lynn Bowden declares for the NFL Draft, but will play in one last game for Kentucky.
- Guide to the Belk Bowl and a worrisome stat — Kentucky football has never won in the state of North Carolina (0-7).
- Joey Gatewood, the Kentucky football signee who transferred from Auburn, could make the Wildcats a feared opponent.
- Kentucky OT Landon Young named the captain of the Allstate Good Works team. Congratulations!
- Four Wildcats named AP All-SEC First Team.
- Could take a while...
UK recruiting visitor Kai Sotto scrolling through the Cats in the NBA ... https://t.co/snqNvtyzep— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) December 9, 2019
Other Kentucky sports
- Volleyballer Leah Meyer named CoSIdA First Team Academic All-American. Congratulations!
- Three quarterbacks and a defensive end are the finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
- Former Tennessee coach Butch Jones may be headed to Colorado State as his next gig.
- Appalachian State coach Eliah Drinkwitz will be Mizzou’s new head coach.
- One AP voter has eight teams ranked ahead of Ohio State, and that makes no sense. Indeed, it does not.
- Preview of the future of this season:
Just finished watching Georgia and potential No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards practice. Edwards has an impressive blend of shot making ability, skill level and physical tools. pic.twitter.com/NFNLYhSD0E— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) December 9, 2019
- Western Kentucky loses center Charles Bassey for the season due to a knee injury.
- North Carolina hits a rough patch.
Other sports news
- How Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro developed a close relationship, and how it’s helping Herro.
- Anthony Davis drops 50 on Minnesota. That Davis guy’s not bad, where did he play college ball again ...?
- Everything Devin Booker wants is on the other side of hard.
- Mysterious “Particle X17” could carry a newfound Fifth Force of Nature, but most experts are skeptical.
- NASA unveils “the most powerful rocket ever built.”
- Health alert: US flu season starts early. Me, I got my vax the other day. Hope it works...