Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
With the upset of the then-#1 Tennessee Volunteers, Kentucky men’s basketball finds itself within shouting distance of where most people thought they would be at the beginning of the season – a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
There’s still a ways to go to get there, though, but the schedule from now until the end of the regular season provides plenty of opportunities for Kentucky to excel – or take a step back.
For example, take tonight’s game. Despite their lackluster 3-9 SEC record, the Missouri Tigers have beaten Arkansas and taken LSU to the wire at home. They are an inferior team this season to most of the SEC’s upper crust, but they have enough talent to upset anybody who doesn’t come correctly into Columbia. Adding to that, every team in the SEC gets up to play Kentucky, and Mizzou is no exception.
Missouri likes to play the game at a deliberate pace. They lack height inside but have some beef in sophomore center Jeremiah Tilmon. They are a decent 3-point shooting team and defend the three well.
But Missouri’s biggest problem is turnovers and 2-point defense, which is where Kentucky is likely to eat them alive. The Wildcats have been very good taking care of the ball in SEC play, and they force 21% turnovers per game. Shaky ballhandling and weak interior defense against Kentucky is not a recipe for success.
But Kentucky has proven, on more than one occasion, capable of bringing far less than its “A” game. That would be ill-advised tonight. Despite Mizzou’s weak season, KenPom has this as a “B” tier game, tougher than, say, Arkansas in Lexington, for example. Don’t sleep on the Tigers.
Tweets of the Morning
This is so worth the 5 minutes of your day:
“You’re prepared for this. What a great opportunity, literally for every guy in the room just to go play. This is a man-oh-man game. Let’s help each other.”— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 19, 2019
Without further ado, #TheJourney: Chapter 25 – The Statement Edition#DreamBIG pic.twitter.com/Bz01VnT9dw
It is cool.
This shot from the latest journey is easily my favorite.— Brent Wainscott (@BrentW_KSR) February 19, 2019
MKG looking on as Keldon Johnson celebrates is so cool. pic.twitter.com/gXHx8KzwSv
Funny back and forth there.
You’re literally the one AP voter not ranking Florida State. You don’t want this smoke. Hahaha. https://t.co/w0A2RizDq7— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) February 19, 2019
- Pardon me if I don’t hold my breath.
If Kentucky can get 2020 in-state recruits QB Beau Allen and OL John Young, it would be a HUGE centerpiece to a class that could be great— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 19, 2019
Both will have offers from everywhere and both really like UK
- Bill Bender of The Sporting News has Kentucky as a #1 seed.
- In case you missed it: Changing the goaltending rule is not as cut and dried as you might think.
This is an excellent discussion of the pros an cons, and it’s not nearly the slam dunk many people think it should be to review a goal-tending call at the end of a game. It will surely be discussed, and I can thing of a couple of different ways to handle it, but they all have unintended consequences that may be worse.
- Kenny Payne applauded John Calipari trying to tamp down the “overrated” chants Saturday. I agree 100%.
- Is PJ Washington the “most improved player in the country?” I don’t think I’d quite agree with that – Jordan Bone, for one, is a better example in my opinion – but Washington’s a much better pro prospect than Bone, so making the argument with that kind of qualifier might put one on more solid ground. Having said that, Ja Morant might have a thing or two to say in that revised discussion.
- A Dick Weiss sighting! And about Kentucky to boot.
- Great stuff.
During this game, Coach Cal spent a small amount of time talking to me, with my press row seat adjacent to the visitors bench. Three years later, UMass won 30 and played in Sweet 16. https://t.co/blGJdtbfij— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) February 19, 2019
PJ Washington has scored in double figures in 10 straight to become the first Kentucky player to achieve the feat since Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 10 in a row from Feb. 20 to March 22, 2018. Pretty nice streak by @PJWashington pic.twitter.com/e5gVp2yWy2— Vaughts' Views (@vaughtsviews) February 19, 2019
- What would Kentucky and LSU need to do to take Tennessee’s spot on the #1 line of the NCAA Tournament?
- The WaPo gets in on Kentucky’s thumping of Tennessee.
- Mizzou Rivals site looks at tonight’s matchup.
- Has it really been 25 years since the Mardi Gras Miracle? I remember it like it was yesterday, it’s one of the few UK games I still have on VHS.
Here’s a great synopsis. Also, in a bit of unimaginable serendipity at the time, the very next bit featured… John Calipari coaching the Minutemen.
Other Kentucky sports
- Lute Olson, legendary coach of Arizona, is recovering from a stroke. Get well soon, Lute.
- It never ends.
I have no idea if this is true or if this is a reliable person. I hope it happens. https://t.co/2AgsvmJKOV— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) February 19, 2019
Other sports news
- College lacrosse player unable to play because there are no helmets big enough for his head.
- Anthony Davis parties with LeBron James amid trade drama.