Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Tonight, the Wildcats take the short trip down I-65 to Nashville for their annual unlubricated rectal exam down at Memorial Gymnasium versus Vanderbilt. If the previous sentence gives you the impression I hate to go down there to play basketball, then you read it correctly.
The fact is, Kentucky is way overdue for a loss to Vandy judging by 21st century standards, and the seven-game winning streak against the Commodores is the longest since an 18-game streak between 1993 and 2002, and the longest in this century to date.
That makes me nervous. It shouldn’t of course, given that Vandy’s best player is out for the season, but somehow long winning streaks in gyms with a strong home-court advantage just don’t give me the warm-and-fuzzys.
It also concerns me that Vandy has been playing better. They played us tough in Rupp Arena, played Florida tough at home, beat LSU (the league leader at the time, by the way) in Memorial and staged a strong comeback only to run out of steam at Mississipi State.
Stat-wise, Kentucky looks good in this one, especially since the Commodores are shooting so abysmally from three, only 25% in league. But they bombed LSU out of the gym making 12-30 just a week ago, so this may be coming around, and if it does it will happen at home. They still have to figure out how to defend Nick Richards in the post and keep our guards out of the paint, but if they can get Richards in foul trouble, we have seen how UK struggles to go inside.
After winning two impressive victories in a row, this is the perfect opportunity for a young team to take their foot of the gas and try to coast a little. That would be a mistake. Vandy is dying to give their fans something to cheer about, and nothing will fill that bill better than sending the Wildcats home with their heads hanging.
This may not be a “trap game” in the classic sense, but it has that feel and my senses on red alert.
Tweet of the Morning
Best thing that could have happened for UK is that Vandy knock off LSU. It shows UK how lethal Vandy really is ahead of their visit, and gives credence to what Cal is telling them. This is a dangerous team. This Tennessee game is going to be a big report card for UK.— Kentucky Wildcat (@TheUKWildcat) February 6, 2020
Sounds right to me.
- Kash Daniel talks about his time at Kentucky, and what the future holds.
- Our buddy Pete Thamel thinks Michigan State will try to lure Mark Stoops to East Lansing. I think there are two chances of that happening — no way and no how. Would that even be an upgrade? I don’t think so...
- Revenge isn’t on Vanderbilt’s mind. Yeah, that’s another thing that makes me nervous.
- UK basketball currently a 5-seed according to Jerry Palm. I can’t really disagree.
- Kentucky is capable of a 2019 Texas Tech-type run to the NCAA Tournament finals. Yes, I do believe that.
- Is it too early for a Coach Cal to the NBA rumor? Apparently not.
- Keion Brooks feels like he is coming on. I think so, too.
- Johnny be good.
- Wildcats know they can’t fall asleep against improving Vandy. Word.
- Here’s what Kentucky talked about most yesterday regarding the Commodores.
Other Kentucky sports
- Two UK rifle athletes make Team USA. We shoot straight here in the Bluegrass.
- SEC coaches will earn over $75 million in 2020.
- Vanderbilt among the SEC teams that could start a true freshman at QB next season.
- Bob Knight’s return to Indiana was a very satisfying closure to one of the more unforgettable coach-college relationships in history.
- The turning point that reaffirmed Travis Ford’s coaching career.
- Those Pac-12 Wildcats fell out of the top 25 after losing to... UCLA. That’ll do it. I remember when that would’ve been expected. How times have changed.
Other sports news
- South Carolina beat UConn in women’s basketball for the first time in program history. Congrats!
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist agrees to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. He was bought out by the Hornets.
- Tyrannosaurus species named “Reaper of Death” found in Canada. Yikes! Let’s not “Jurassic Park” this thing.
- SpaceX set to launch NASA astronauts first after Boeing suffers Starliner setback.
- Red supergiant star Betelgeuse has been dimming rapidly, and may be in the process of collapse. That would result in a cosmic event known as a “supernova.” But other explanations are also possible.