Posted November 28, 2013, 12:37 am
The Cats took down Eastern Michigan 81-63 in the final game of the Keightly Classic tonight. The win was the 500th win for Kentucky in Rupp Arena.
It was another ho-hum first half for Kentucky, who went into the break only leading by 3 points. Julius Randle only played seven minutes in the first half after picking up 2 early fouls, and he had 0 points and 1 rebound at half-time. It looked as though his double-double streak was over for sure. But as Lee Corso would say, "NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND!" Julius played a monstrous second half and ended up with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
At half-time Ashley Judd sang Happy Birthday to Joe B. Hall as he celebrated his 85th birthday. Perhaps that inspired the team as they came out in the second half and pulled away. Aaron Harrison led the way with 22 points and 7 rebounds, but it was Willie Cauley-Stein who was the star for the Wildcats. Willie scored 15 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and tallied a career high 7 blocks in only 25 minutes of action. He was doing everything on both ends of the floor. At one point he swatted an Eastern Michigan shot and then beat everybody down the floor to throw down a two hand jam from a lob. It was by far the best performance of WCS's career. Had he played an additional 10 minutes a triple-double may have been in the cards. Dakari Johnson also played a very efficient game, getting 10 points and 7 rebounds in only ten minutes of playing time.
Coach Cal had a lot of praise for this Cats after the win. He said, "This is the greatest group of kids I've ever coached."
Next up for the Cats is Providence on December 1st at 8:30 ET.
Posted November 23, 2013, 3:57 am
KBF just surpassed 11,000 LIKES on Facebook. Thank You to everyone who has Liked our site!
Posted November 21, 2013, 6:31 pm
Congratulations to Kyblueis1 in winning two tickets for Monday night's game versus Cleveland State!
In perhaps the easiest contest for tickets ever, Kyblueis1 participated on the KBF message board and his name was drawn. Now, Mr. Kyblueis1 and perhaps Mrs. Kyblueis1 or another friendly associate will be cheering on the Cats instead of watching the game at home.
In case you are new to KBF, we do have a new message board where you can comment on all things UK related. Simply click on "Forum" above and it will direct you to the message board. Register for an account, give yourself a snazzy username and post away.
KBF will continue to do giveaways throughout the season to promote our website. Don't forget to check the website, Facebook page, Twitter or the KBF forum for promotions.
Posted November 20, 2013, 12:41 pm
Last January I posted an article about how the eRUPPtion Zone is on the wrong end of the court. I will paste it below in case you missed it. It was written back when we were riding the nation's longest home court winning streak. The gist of it was that we should have our rowdiest fans on the other end of the court to shake up the other team's free-throw shooters in the second half. Last night there was a shirtless guy with a wrecking ball in the student section. There was also a referee/Beatlejuice outfit beside him.
The idea for the wrecking ball probably came from a Belmont Fan who was shouting Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball lyrics while James McAdoo of North Carolina was shooting a free-throw in the UNC vs Belmont game. By the way, he missed the free-throw... and Belmont ended up winning the game. Who knows how much that miss caused a butterfly effect for the rest of the game. In 2003, 2005, and 2008 a Duke fan skinned down to only his Speedos and danced around during important free-throws from North Carolina. In 2003 jackie Manuel missed both shots. In 2005 Marvin Williams missed both shots. In 2008, Deon Thompson missed one and hit one. The point is, rowdy distracting fans can play a role in breaking concentration and adding extra pressure on the other team's free-throw shooters.
So I ask this question again... let's say we're in a one point game with two seconds left against Loserville, and Russ Smith is stepping to the line for two free-throws. Would you rather him be shooting into a backdrop of our senior citizen fans or into a backdrop of shirtless guy swinging his wrecking ball? This needs to change.
My post from January 24, 2012:
I love Rupp Arena. I also love the eRUPPtion zone. I am all for putting your students and rowdiest fans down as close as possible to the court. However, for the life of me I cannot comprehend why the eRUPPtion zone is on the wrong end of the court! I’ve been complaining about this for the past few years and I’ve never heard anybody else mention it. Wouldn’t you rather have your fans going crazy and trying to make your opponents miss free throws AT THE END OF THE GAME instead of in the first half? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
Because of the location of the eRUPPtion zone the students go nuts during the first half, and then they sit on their hands quietly in the second half when Kentucky shoots free throws. Meanwhile, the visiting team shoots free throws into a back drop of senior citizens. That’s not the way it should be. If we’re in dog fight with a 50 game home court winning streak on the line and our opponent steps to the line for a critical one and one, I want to see a bearded lumberjack straight out of Lord of the Rings going crazy and swinging his ax handle toward the shooter. I want to see giant Fat Heads of PeeWee Herman and Alf bobbing up and down. I want to see hypnotizing spiral spinners and blue Spidermen throwing imaginary webs at the rim. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen this season. Instead, our opponents will calmly sink free throws while old season ticket holder great grandmothers sit there quietly and knit signs that say “I hope you miss it, Sonny”. Let’s start a movement! MOVE THE ERRUPTION ZONE TO THE OTHER END OF THE COURT! Who’s with me?
By Shooter Flatch
Posted November 20, 2013, 12:11 am
We've previously predicted that this was going to be Enes' breakout year. We knew that Cousins and Wall would continue to increase their production. And Eric Bledsoe averaging 20+ game in Phoenix seemed like more than we could ask for.
Well, tonight it is an embarassment of riches for Cats in the NBA. Terrence Jones broke out for Houston, going for 24 points to lead all scorers, plus 9 boards and one assist.
On top of that, with his fellow Phoenix Sun Bledsoe seeing no action tonight, Archie Goodwin stepped in and scored 16 points to go with 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
Demarcus went for 26 and 11 in the same game, but honesty by now a line like that for Cousins has gotten rather blasé.
Posted November 19, 2013, 4:21 pm
For the second game of the Keightly Classic, Kentucky will take on the Mavericks of UT-Arlington in Rupp Arena at 7:30 ET. Here's everything you need to know about the Mavericks:
Where are they from?
Umm... Arlington, Texas of course.
What conference are they in?
The Sun Belt Conference.
Are they any good?
Not really. They're 2-2 with wins over Howard Payne and Samford but they got blown out at Boise State and they lost to Cleveland State by 10. However, they do put up a lot of points, averaging nearly 90 points per game (25th nationally).
Do they have any good players?
Yes, their point guard, Reger Dowell, is averaging 26 points per game and makes nearly half of his shots. He played at Oklahoma State for three years before transferring to UT-Arlington.
What matchups should we keep an eye on?
Keep an eye on Dowell against Andrew Harrison. Andrew hasn't played particularly well yet and it will be interesting to see how he handles Dowell, who has scored at least 20 points in every game this season.
Will there be any surprises with UK's lineup?
Coach Cal started Marcus Lee against Robert Morris to send a wake up call to Willie Cauley-Stein because WCS hadn't been winning the tip. No word yet as to who will start tonight. You can expect Dominique Hawkins to get more playing time tonight. Coach Cal has been singing his praises all week. If Andrew Harrison doesn't get off to a good start Coach Cal may send another message early by inserting Hawkins.
What's all the buzz about Kevin Ware getting a speeding ticket for going 95 mph in a car that belongs to a UL booster and then missing his court date? And then Ricky Three Stacks downplaying it? And then UL saying case closed even though it looks like a potential NCAA violation?
Hey, we're supposed to be talking about the mighty Mavericks of UT-Arlington. We can speculate and dawg on U of Smell later.
Will Julius Randle continue his double-double streak?
Yes, no problem.
How much is Kentucky favored by?
The Cats are 26.5 point favorites.
How much will they really win by?
35 Big-Uns. 92-57. GBB!
Posted November 14, 2013, 6:11 pm
It never gets old spending time with your childhood hero. As a young Wildcat fan, I used to emulate Kenny "Sky" Walker. From pulling my socks up to my knees to throwing elbows on rebounds I ripped down from the Nerf goal on my bedroom door-- Sky has always been my all-time favorite Cat and always will. If anyone had ever told me as a 9 year old that I'd one day be on a first name basis with Kenny Walker and eventually consider him a friend, then I would have told them, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"
For the last several years Sky has stopped by my office around the beginning of basketball season to raise money for his reading project. This project puts books covering the previous Wildcat season in each public school library in the Commonwealth. It's a good program and we are happy to participate.
In our hour together today Sky and I covered lots of topics:
On the Michigan State loss.... Sky was impressed that the guys didn't give up and fought back into the game. He was disappointed that we got down early and thought the body language wasn't the best in the first half. He couldn't believe we outrebounded Izzo's team who is known for playing hard-nosed ball. Like me, he was encouraged with where we are now versus where we will be at the end of the season.
On Julius Randle...Sky thinks Julius will go down as one of the most impressive players UK has ever had. He said he is one of the very few freshmen in the country that could play in the NBA right now. He has an NBA body that doesn't have to be tweaked like Wiggins who Sky thought could use a few pounds. Sky bragged on his spin move, but thought he needed to work on using his right hand more as teams learn which way he's going.
On the Sixth Man movie...Sky was on his way to Paducah for a primere of the Sixth Man movie on UK fans. He spoke about working with the guys over the past few years and that if you're expecting a video on UK basketball, then this isn't it. If you're looking for a video about the Big Blue Nation and what it means to be a UK fan, then the movie hits a home run.
On seeing pictures of my basement and the Kenny "Sky" Walker shrine... Sky just laughed and was impressed with my entire UK collection. He offered some suggestions on how to pick up a few new items (that I'll keep to myself.) I told him about a few new purchases like a scorecard from the 1989 NBA Slam Dunk competition.
We also talked quite a bit about my family and how things were going with work. My 3 year old is attending her first ever game at Rupp this Sunday. My wife and I are taking the three girls and planto meet up with Kenny for some pictures before the game. No, they don't exactly know who Kenny is, but all you have to do is look up in the rafters and see his name to know that he's a UK legend.
So that was my day. As far as UK fandom goes, I'm living the dream and I've got Kenny Walker's autographs all over my basement to prove it.
My Kenny "Sky" Walker collection.
Posted November 12, 2013, 10:22 pm
The pressure of going 40-0 is over just like that. As exciting as it was to see #1 and #2 go against one another this was the toughest type of team for a young Kentucky team to play this early in the season. Well coached, well experienced and very talented.
The game opened with a shell-shocked Kentucky team getting behind 0-10. Kentucky got behind by as much as 15 points two different times in the first half and it looked like we were in for a long night.
Coach Cal put the ball in the court of his guys at half time when he challenged them to either fight or lay down. The Cats showed they had some fight in them by tying the game 66-66 with just under five minutes remaining in the game. But, in the waning minutes of the game we let too many opportunities slip by and fell by 4 points.
As disheartening as this loss is there is one huge positive to the game: Kentucky played terrible ball for much of the game and still had an opportunity after opportunity to win against one of the best teams in the nation.
What did we do wrong?
- Free throws killed us. We were 20-36 at the charity stripe. WCS shot 1-3, Randle missed 6 FT's, Young missed 3 FT's and Dakari missed all 3 of his FT's. If we hit a handful of these, then its a different game.
- Turnovers killed us. You're not going to win many games by making 17 turnovers. Especially when the other team only has 7. Turnovers led to point huge point deficits for the Cats. Our point guard had 5 TO's and Randle had 7. Whether it was weak passes or doing too much with the ball down low, the Cats have to protect the ball better.
- Our Defense killed us. Michigan State seemed like they were always a step ahead of us. We didn't get back on transition. We couldn't stop Michigan State when they were making their runs in the first half.
- The officiating was terrible. The new hand check rule is awful and led to lots of calls where no one was even touched. On a couple of occasions State boot scooted all over the paint and we were called for a foul.
So if we played so terrible how did we almost win?
- Julius Randle is unbelievable. His game was decent and he stilled finished with a solid line of 27 points and 13 rebounds. It was his third straight game of 20+ points and double digit rebounds.
- The Cats did not back down. In the second half, they showed some emotion and fight. We could have easily lost this game by 50 points if they had sulked and gave in. You can't teach pride and Cal's trademarked "Will to Win". But, we have it and it's going to win us lots and lots of games this year.
- Talent is an equalizer. When Randle went to work down low Michigan didn't have an answer. As bad as we played our sheer talent and fight had us in a postion to win the game.
What positives can we take away from this game?
- Losses are humbling and can be one of the best teaching tools. Calipari will have no shortage of faults to point out when they hit the film. The good thing is that many of these are fixable. Defense can get better and the offense will be fine. This loss leaves a bad taste in your mouth because it was the little things that could have made all the difference. Taking off that one play mattered and Cal is the master at teaching his players from their mistakes.
- This team has more upside than anyone in the nation. We lost to a veteran team by 4 points when we played terrible. In one week we'll be better. In one month we'll be tremendously better. By March...look out.
Yes, 40-0 talk is dead, but #9 talk is very much alive and a very real possibility for this team. RIP Robert Morris!