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Tag:Kentucky
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Your SEC/Big East Challenge guide



By Matt Norlander


What do you want in a preview? I've been self-assigned (is that even possible?) to give you the rundown on all of the SEC and Big East games coming up over the next 72 hours, and I wasn't quite sure where to go with this. After all, these are early-December games, half of them are afterthoughts, and preview material is usually come-and-go outside of preseason and NCAA tournament talk.

So I looked at the games and decided I'll just give you whatever random thought comes off the top of my head. A conversational tone works best here, since there are no real true tilts of consequence involved outside of the fantastic ones going on Friday night Louisville and Syracuse. (I'll be at the latter.) If there's a stat sited, I do not have it memorized. Those I looked up. I'm not huge on predictions, so you won't find those here.

All this said, I do expect these 12 games to be better than what the ACC and Big Ten gave us Tuesday and Wednesday night, by the way. If you have any other curiosities that go beyond this post, check our SEC/Big East Challenge page, which has the history of this event and stats that go along with it.

Thursday

Providence at South Carolina (7 ET): Oh this is just bad. Providence is a few years away from true relevancy, and Darrin Horn is already coaching for his job at South Carolina. NEXT.

St. John's at Kentucky (7:30 ET): Wildcats get the Johnnies tonight, less than 48 hours before Carolina comes in. I'd say St. John's would have a chance, except they're playing Kentucky. Kind of a problem. SJU doesn't have one senior on its roster and head coach Steve Lavin will not be making the trip. Kentucky will be looking ahead to UNC, but the 'Cats should win by a minimum of 23.4 points.

Ole Miss at DePaul (9 ET): Have a sick interest in this game if for no other reason than I want to know how many people show up to watch it. Have to say, the fact these teams are a combined 9-2 is a welcomed surprise.

Georgetown at Alabama (9:30 ET): Best game of the night, period. Are you sure what Georgetown is yet? We do know the Hoyas take care of the ball very well. That early trend could be bucked in Tuscaloosa, though, because Alabama is on its way to being a top-five defensive team in the country. Teams are shooting a 35.7 effective field goal percentage against the Tide. Second-worst in the country.

Friday

Florida at Syracuse (7 ET): I'll keep this strictly to basketball, because I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do that one I get there to cover the game. Basically, I'm intrigued as hell. I love Bradley Beal's (right, with Billy Donovan) game. I'm still not sold on Florida's four-guard look, even if Patric Young gets his chances to play janitor when that happens. No Erik Murphy for the Gators means they're less dynamic. I like Syracuse is a really fun one. With the Orange, you're just never sure who's going to be the player that has the big game. Looks like someone's going to need to decidedly have a huge night to beat a team a lot of people like to make the Final Four.

Cincinnati at Georgia (7 ET): Car-wreck factor has be interested. When will Cinci start playing at a level that's indicative of the talent it has on this team? Georgia's in a third-gear year, I think.

Vanderbilt at Louisville (9 ET): What do you think about this one? Vanderbilt certainly not expected to win it (I haven't checked, but I'd put the Cards at about -4.5 here). Louisville's still not at full strength, nor is Vandy. Goodman's going to be at this game. I think this one adds up to little, even if it's nice in the moment. Because come late February, both these teams will have personnel on the floor that didn't play in this game. If Vandy/'Ville are vying for the 3-seed line and you want to give the winner of this the bid, by all means, but beyond that there won't be much long-term effect from this game. I think John Jenkins struggles in this one, too.

Auburn at Seton Hall (9 ET): Oh, get it out of my face, please.

Saturday

Arkansas at UConn (3:15 ET): The Hogs are without Marshon Powell and so I don't see how Mike Anderson's new team keeps this within 20. UConn's due for a really impressive, really big win. I want to see how Alex Oriakhi plays in front of the home crowd in Hartford. Oriakhi's been public with this playing-time situation. UConn will grow and stumble a little more in December, but I'm betting we're putting this team in the highest echelon by New Year's Day.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee (5:15 ET): I'd call this game the biggest true toss-up of any listed here. I'm down on Pitt this year in regard to most others. A win here would be very uplifting for Jamie Dixon's team. Same can be said for Cuonzo Martin at Tennessee, who's probably still punching the pillow after his Vols couldn't steal that game against Memphis in Maui.

LSU at Rutgers (7 ET): Just a couple of truly nondescript, non-enthralling 4-3 BCS conference teams. I think I'd rather put away my summer clothes into storage.

West Virginia at Mississippi State (9 ET): The final game of the Challenge, it's the kind of game MSU should win without controversy if it wants to be top-20 caliber. WVU is down, considerably down, this season. The Bulldogs have twice as much talent on this team -- and a lot more size, even if Denis Kilicli will bruise it up down low with Renardo Sidney and/or Arnett Moultrie. The flip side: Huggins has been known to get his team to steal wins in these kind of spots.

Photos: AP
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 11:35 pm
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Posted on: November 20, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Even Kentucky has its limitations right now



By Matt Norlander

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — There wasn’t one minute that went by Sunday afternoon when I didn’t think about just how freakily athletic Anthony Davis was. Or how staunch Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played. Or how yoked Terrence Jones became in the offseason.

It was my first time seeing UK since last year’s Final Four lost to Connecticut. Team looked good. Looked physical, intimidating and about the closest thing to an NBA collection of talent we’ll be seeing this season.

But despite all that skill, Kentucky merely managed an ugly, 62-52 win over Old Dominion. The game was in doubt until the final five minutes. There’s already talk — planted proudly and publicly by John Calipari — that ODU provided the blueprint for how to handle Kentucky. Ah, that mystical documentation that decodes Big Blue. Each season, it’s the Holy Grail.

Hogwash, largely. Teams are going to beat Kentucky this year be either A ) Shooting incredibly efficiently, B) Having at least two NBA players on their roster, C) Food poisoning. Old Dominion used its system and had its guys up for the biggest or second-biggest game it will play this season. Kentucky was playing in front of 3,000 people, for the second straight day, in a far-away arena in the middle of Nowhere, Connecticut.

“Kansas, we were really pumped up because we were playing at the Garden. We were just amped,” Davis said. “Here, you know, we were amped, but we weren’t ready to go.”

I can’t take much from this kind of win. I just came here to watch a team that’s quickly becoming college basketball’s version of The Beatles. The amount of Kentucky fans here was truly reprehensible — Connecticut isn’t worth a trip, folks — and you can already see how possible (and easy?) it could eventually be for Kentucky to get to back-to-back Final Fours. Right now, the team’s following a pattern that’s existed the past two years, Darius Miller said.

“It’s kind of the same. The last two years we’ve struggled early on to figure out what we were going to do,” Miller said. “Eventually we’re going to find out exactly how we want to play, everybody’ s going to have their role and know what they need to do.”

What I learned: Kentucky can’t always dictate the terms by which it will win this year. And when a team has five or six future pros, that’s pretty amazing. But the youth and all that, you know? You get that young, you don’t deserve the right to say how and why you will win or lose. UK couldn’t push it, no matter how hard they tried. I can’t help but think of North Carolina played Old Dominion on a neutral court in three days that the Tar Heels would put up 75 with ease.

UNC has a point guard with experience and savvy. Kentucky has Marquis Teague, a flashy player who played god-awful Sunday. Teague had a stat correlation no one ever wants: as many points as turnovers (six).

For more than an hour, Old Dominion made it a fun game. An ugly one, but still fun.

“The only thing I regret is those last five minutes could have been an awful lot of fun,” Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor said. “We worked pretty hard the first 35 to get to the last five, and then we didn’t get to have fun down the stretch.”

Taylor’s team shook UK’s mental toughness. Jones and Davis were genuinely challenged and rattled at times. It’s what Calipari want to see right now—a team threaten his team without really threatening them. Kentucky does no good to itself by rolling fools to the tune of 96-63 each night.

Kentucky pasted Penn State Saturday, and what can we take from that? Nothing, really. Penn State's young and rebuilding. Old Dominion has some experience, an idea of what it can do.

“When you’re winning by 50 you can kind of put cotton in your ears sometimes,” Taylor said. “Not very many people had zoned them. So, one they hadn’t seen it … I thought we were kind of catching them at a point where we didn’t know what they were going to do or react. And they’re used to having their way, and the zone didn’t let them have their way, or give them immediate gratification, which they’re used to.”

“I think it’s just chemistry, to tell you the truth,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “It’s the chemistry on the court. We’re still figuring stuff out and we’re very young. But we’re very and we’re going to be very good. I’m not worrying about anything.”

Posted on: November 18, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:32 pm
 

No debate: NBA execs agree Davis likely top pick

By Jeff Goodman

There will be no debate about No. 1.

No, I'm not talking about whether it's North Carolina or Kentucky for the top overall spot in the poll.

I'm talking about the discussion of who will be the top overall pick in the NBA Draft - as long as there is such a thing as the NBA Draft this June.

After speaking to a handful of NBA executives since Tuesday night, there's only one name that surfaces right now - and that's Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis.

True, he's only played a few games thus far - but it doesn't take a genius to see the potential.

He's a game-changer - on both ends of the floor.

He's got the length that NBA types drool over.

He plays hard - and has a feel for the game.

He's versatile.

The lone drawback with the 6-foot-10 Davis is that he's not ready to come in - from a physical standpoint - to the NBA.

However, it's all about potential - and his ceiling is higher than any of the other candidates (i.e. Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, Jared Sullinger).
Posted on: November 16, 2011 1:02 am
 

UK shows potential for greatness in win over KU

By Gary Parrish

NEW YORK -- They turned a game that was tied at halftime into a blowout, had five players score in double figures and introduced the nation to a freshman class that just might be gifted enough to win Kentucky an eighth national championship. And John Calipari was pissed.

"We're playing like it's an AAU game," Calipari said.

And he went on and on from there.

"I kind of expected what happened in the first half -- bunch of young guys out there doing their own thing," Calipari added, and he didn't sound like a man who had just watched his second-ranked Wildcats cruise to a 75-65 win over 12th-ranked Kansas. "I've got a bunch of young players."

Indeed he does.

Just like he usually does.

But here's betting Calipari wouldn't trade them for almost anybody.

Roy Williams might have a better roster at North Carolina, but that's probably where the conversation begins and ends. Yes, this country has more conventional teams and more experienced teams, but there aren't many teams more talented than Coach Cal's Wilidcats, and they showed that in spurts here at Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night that began with people celebrating Mike Krzyzewski's 903rd career victory and ended with folks spilling into these midtown Manhattan streets mumbling to themselves about whether Anthony Davis is human.

Because he didn't seem human against Kansas.

The 6-foot-10 freshman finished with 14 points, six rebounds and seven blocks.

He looked like a future top overall pick of the NBA Draft.

And yet Davis still showed his youth at times -- as did the Wildcats in general. They weren't perfect and they aren't perfect, but the potential for greatness is there. With every long jumper made and shot swatted into the stands, it was easy to see the potential for greatness is there.

"This team has a chance of being special if they choose," Calipari said. "But they’ve got to come together.”
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: November 16, 2011 12:30 am
 

Night Court: K and UK take Tuesday's headlines

By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court each night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBB on Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

Game of the day: Kentucky was a fun watch, but the night's best game was certainly Florida at Ohio State, which ended with an 81-74 win for the Buckeyes. Both teams looked nice. They played well and appeared in mid-season form. But OSU's just so good right now. No shame in the Gators falling the way they did; I'd love to see that rematch in the Sweet 16 or beyond come March. Jared Sullinger and Patric Young going against each other was the highlight of the 24-hour marathon for me.

Win to brag about: A man won his record-setting 903rd game Tuesday night. There is no more appropriate candidate for this category, ever, than that.

Loss to hide from: It was a road game, but still, Iowa State falling 74-65 to Drake doesn't mean good things for a Fred Hoiberg team that's trying to win with duct tape and specialty gadgets. Whatever ISU's trying to do, it backfired Tuesday night.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Let's just have a cop-out here and pick everyone on Kentucky's frontcourt. It's like going up against a bunch of helicopter blades when you play the Wildcats. Kansas was obviously outmatched going into that game -- but there were times when the Jayhawks looked like ignorant robbers running into a tripped bank job. They'd scurry into the paint and scurry right back out.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Parrish may give me grief for this, but for as good as Memphis looked, his boy, Tarik Black, only played 13 minutes and scored six points in the Tigers' swift win over Belmont. Black is believed to have potential that makes him the team's best player. Didn't see any of that Tuesday.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 37. That's what Butler shot from the field, yet still won over Chattanooga, 57-46. It's going to win a lot of games like that this season.
  • 18. Michigan State's Draymond Green is the team's best player, and he's already showing his value, snaring an average of 18 boards through two games against two really good teams in UNC and Duke.
  • 59. That's what Memphis shot from the field Tuesday against Belmont. Tigers surprised me and a lot of people with how well they played. It was so good, I feel bad for thinking they'll never have a game as complete as that again against an opponent as good as Belmont.

Three other notable results

  1. Darrin Horn may not hold on to his job at the end of the year if the administration looks back and sees losses similar to the 58-53 one that happened tonight against Elon. Yep, Elon.
  2. Pepperdine 66, Arizona State 60. Sun Devils are a bad team, no doubt, but are we going to do this miserable Pac-12 spectacle again this early in the season?
  3. Weber State 73, Utah State 63. Utah State's rebuilding this year, but they did defeat BYU over the weekend at home. No luck on the road against Weber State, which only need 12 points out if its best player, Damian Lillard. Scott Bamforth led the Wildcats with 17.

Notes

  • We're really piling on here with the bad losses -- all of these are losses to hide from -- but Trent Johnson and LSU have to get served as well. The Bayou Bengals fell 71-63 to Coastal freaking Carolina.
  • You likely missed it, but Villanova could have very easily lost to La Salle at home. The Wildcats got the game to overtime and won, 76-69.
  • Texas took out URI at home, 100-90, but ... I dunno. The Longhorns looked off. About as off as a team can look when it puts up a Benjamin. I don't know what to expect from that team this year. I do know it's not elite, and the defense is nothing like what it was last year.
  • Vanderbilt didn't have John Jenkins due to a bad ankle, but beat Bucknell at home, 80-68.
  • I don't care how bad you are: you cannot score less than 40 points in a game if you are a Division I college basketball team. Yet Monmouth couldn't crack deuce tonight against George Mason, falling 71-39.

On tap: Long Beach State plays at Pittsburgh (9 ET, ESPNU); my man Nate Wolters and South Dakota State travel down to Georgia; Indiana has a tricky one on the road at Evansville, which beat Butler last week.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: November 11, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: November 11, 2011 11:23 am
 

The SEC POY was out later than you last night

By Gary Parrish

John Calipari has long preached that "nothing good happens after midnight."

I disagree.

Because some of the very best things that ever happened to me happened well after midnight, and I wouldn't trade those memories for all the Final Fours in the world. That said, I do recognize the point the Kentucky coach is always trying to make, and I'll bet you five bucks Calipari repeats that motto at least 47 times between now and when the Wildcats open the season tonight against Marist.

Yes, UK opens tonight.

And yet Terrence Jones -- the preseason SEC Player of the Year -- was out and about in Lexington at 2:30 this morning, which is around the time he was, along with teammate Stacey Poole, involved in a traffic accident that sent both to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. To be clear, there's no indication Jones and Poole were at fault; they were apparently hit by an intoxicated driver operating on the wrong side of the road. Calipari posted on his website that no evidence of drugs or alcohol were found on Jones or Poole (or in their vehicle). So it appears this is simply a case of two people being at the wrong place at the wrong time -- although Jones needs to explain why he left the scene of the accident because the only public explanation given to date doesn't make much sense to the rational (and unbiased) mind.

Calipari said Jones left the scene out of "fear of an altercation with the driver of the oncoming vehicle," but who does that? Seriously, who has ever done that? Have you ever done that? I know I've never done that. I can't tell you I've never had friends or heard about people leaving the scene of an early morning accident, but they've always had a reason to do it, and their reasons are usually along the same lines. Never once heard about somebody leaving the scene -- and leaving a friend, much less a teammate -- out of fear of an altercation, especially when that somebody is 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. But I guess there's a first time for everything. Perhaps this is that first time. Perhaps.

Either way, what was Terrence Jones thinking?

Not about leaving the scene.

About being out so late the night before the season-opener.

When literally the only thing anybody questions about you as a basketball player is your ability to be mature and lead, it seems like you'd want to start eliminating those questions heading into your sophomore season, and being out in the middle of the night less than 24 hours before the opener doesn't do that. It only validates the questions and makes things worse. Jones, simply put, has to be smarter.

I still think he's a terrific talent.

I still think he'll be an All-American.

But popping around town at 2:30 a.m. the night before a game with a guy who is reportedly close to leaving the program can't possibly be a good sign, and it's a helluva way to start what could be a helluva season. Nothing good happens after midnight? Again, I disagree. But if I were a basketball coach, I'd probably say that a bunch, too.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: November 11, 2011 9:49 am
 

Kentucky's Jones, Poole involved in car accident

By Jeff Borzello

UPDATE: Terrence Jones was also involved in the car accident, John Calipari announced. He left the scene after the accident, but was later questioned by police.

According to reports, the accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. Calipari said the team will have a curfew for the rest of the season as a result.

Kentucky’s Stacey Poole was involved in a car accident along with another person, Lexington police said Friday morning.

Poole and the driver suffered minor injuries when another car swerved into the wrong lane and hit the car, knocking the SUV into a parked car.

Police charged the driver of the other car with DUI and insurance violations. The driver of Poole’s car has not been released.

A TV station reported that Poole tweeted, “Yoooo, im good!!!”

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com