Wednesday, February 29, 2012
John Calipari and Anthony Davis was named ESPN's SEC Coach Of The Year and Player Of The Year. Somewhere, Kevin Stallings is crying. You have got to think this is just the beginning of the awards these guys will receive this year.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
After watching this team all season, one thing has become very clear. They are as close and like each other as well as any team I remember seeing. One hits the ground, four run to help him to his feet. One gets shoved from behind, four are there to defend him. Or like when Anthony Davis was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground at Ole Miss, one was there to take control. Calipari preaches "be your brothers keeper", and it seems this team has taken that to the next level. They have came in, put their egos aside, and have come together to form one of if not, the best teams in the country. That has to be credited to Calipari. I think no other coach in the country could have assembled this much talent on one team, got them to buy into defense the way this team has, and share the spotlight with everyone on the team. They have formed somewhat of a Band of Brothers.
What this team has done this season is special. Standing at 14-0 in the SEC is no easy feat, then you through in the mix wins over Kansas, UNC, and Louisville. That is impressive for a bunch of freshman, sophomores, and one senior. No matter how this team ends the season, first round exit, or a championship, they have given us one of the most fun seasons in recent memory.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
In the postgame press conference with the players, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sent the twitter world retweeting like crazy. During his turn at the mic, Gilchrist dropped some what of a bomb on the media in attendance.
MKG: "I'm graduating from here. I'm not going nowhere. I'm staying at Kentucky. I'm dead serious. I don't know why y'all laughing."
Now I'm not sure what prompted this statement from Gillie, but I think it is a bit of an overstatement. I'm not calling the kid a liar, but I find it hard to believe a player like MKG will stay four years. Those days are gone. But what I do believe is that Gilchrist will return next season. I have spoken with multiple people, and all say the same thing. They can see him returning for a second season. I have no reason not to believe what I am told. Out of the freshman, Gilchrist is the most likely to return along with Teague. But don't get me wrong, if he wants to stay four years, I'd be more than happy to see it.
Kentucky gets the hard earned victory over Vandy today 83-74 closing out a regular season sweep of the Commadores. Oh, and did I mention with the win today, Kentucky captured its 45th regular season SEC Championship? It couldn't have come against a more fun team to defeat than Vandy. It's not because Vanderbilt has unlikeable players, no, it's because of their arrogant for no reason coach.
During the preseason SEC media days, Kevin Stallings was asked what he thought about this years Kentucky team. Kevin being Kevin took a swipe at Kentucky and Calipari with his answer.
I'm paraphrasing here "They have a nice group of kids. Their mostly freshman so I don't know their names."
You see, at the preseason media days, Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt were somewhat of a darling because of the ridiculous amount of experience they had returning this season. Their starting lineup consisted of all juniors and seniors, a rarity in the days of "one and done" recruiting. Stallings made no secret about how he felt about the "one and done" rule, and Calipari's ability to capitalize on it better than anyone else in the country. With his above comment, he was making a point to point out that Kentucky had a lot of freshman, and he had mostly upper classman. Well, what did that do for him this season?
It got them a preseason top 10 ranking (which they quickly lost), and their first ever ESPN College Game Day (which Kentucky ruined). Then came today's game, where the Wildcats found themselves in a battle till the end, but a team of FRESHMAN pulled it out over a team of UPPERCLASSMEN. After Anthony Davis' dominating game of 28pts, 11rebs, 6blks, 2stls , and Teague's line of 16pts, 4rebs,6ast today I'm sure the names of Kentucky's FRESHMAN are burned in Stallings' mind. Because after all, it was a band of Kentucky freshman that defeated Vandy not once but twice this season.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Since I (finally) have some time on my hands, let's take a look at the Cats next opponent the Ole Miss Rebels, or Blackbears, no its a blackbear named rebel... Whatever.
Ole Miss is coming off a 26 point loss at home to Vanderbilt Thursday night (yes it's a Thursday/Saturday turnaround Mr. Stallings). Vandy looked good Thursday or the Ole Miss defense made them look that way. It seemed that Vandy was ALWAYS left open from beyond the three and took advantage by connecting on 12-19 threes. Looking at how easy Vandy was able to get the outside shot, Kentucky (if the 3's are falling) should have the same opportunity as well.
Ole Miss on the season hasn't been too efficient on offense averaging just 66ppg, and only hitting 29% from three and 42% from inside. If that's the case Saturday afternoon, Kentucky should have a field day with blocks on the inside. Ole Miss also has a tendency to turn the ball over during the game coughing it up 15 times per game so far this year. If Kentucky can force some turnovers, we will see the transition game that everyone tries to keep Kentucky out of.
Kentucky, on paper, is better at every position than Ole Miss, and it's not even close. The one position we should see a major advantage for the Cats, is of course which ever poor soul is assigned to Anthony Davis. No one on this team can contain him, and no one will be able to score on him one on one. This could be the game that Anthony Davis finally quits flirting with that elusive tripple/double, and finally gets it.
This should be an entertaining game regardless of the outcome, but of course this is Kentucky playing in Rupp Arena. So look for a walk-on for Ole Miss to come in and hit 8 threes in the first half, and be dubbed a first team All-American by the end of the day.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Saturday night, Kentucky will makes its annual trip down to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. This is a trip that as a Kentucky fan I dread every year. I hate playing in Memorial Gym, hate it. They have a raised floor, benches under the goals, a very annoying coach, and just a hard atmosphere for a team to play in. Memorial hasn't been so kind to Kentucky through the years handing the Wildcats a 41-26 record all time, and 1-5 over the last six games.
Everyone talks about Cameron Indoor, Phog Allen, The Dean Dome, or even Rupp Arena being a tough place to play. They have never had their team play inside the cold walls of Memorial Gym. It is cold hearted, unforgiving, and just down right haunting for a top ten team to go in and try to get a victory. I challenge any top team in the country that has never played there, try to go in and run your normal game plan, and try to come out unscathed. Won't happen easily, or often.
So on Saturday, watch the game hope and pray the Cats can keep up the same intensity and domination they have had the first 10 games of SEC play. Is Kentucky better than Vandy? By a landslide! But inside Memorial? Well... That remains to be seen.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Damn... What we witnessed last night in Columbia S.C. was something special. Not just because Anthony Davis broke Shaq's freshman blocks record with a total of 116 on the season and counting. Nor was it because we saw Terrence Jones look like the player everyone expected him to be this season (just the first half).
It was the way Kentucky dominated a team on the road, and made it look insanely easy. South Carolina (who used to actually be good) could do nothing, but stand and observe the best team in the country. I say they are the best team in the country because, when Kentucky plays as well as they did last night, NO ONE will come close to beating this team. Sure every team stands a chance of getting beat, and Kentucky is no different in that aspect. Their first real threat of that comes Tuesday night, when an always dangerous Florida comes to Rupp Arena.
If you watched ESPN at all yesterday, you got to hear some of the silliest statements made on national TV. I heard some of the "talking heads" debating who the #1 team in the country was Ohio State or Missouri. If they would put their obvious hatred for everthing Kentucky and John Calipari aside, they would see who the best team is as of today. Even Doug Gottlieb said "earlier today I was thinking Syracuse was the best team, but after watching Kentucky tonight, I'm saying they are". Is Kentucky a great team? Without question. Is Syracuse a great team? Absolutely. But if I had to pick who would win on a neutral floor? I'd go with Kentucky if they play the way they did last night. On the other hand, it's not like I would be excited to see them in our region in the tournament.
All in all, last night was the best Kentucky has played all year. If they keep improving at this rate, and playing this type of defense, this could be an even more special year than it has been already. But first, let's just get past a very good and dangerous Florida team on Tuesday.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I'm not sure if there are a lot of WWE fans in BBN (like myself), but I saw something interesting on Twitter this evening.
Kevin Nash of the WWE/WCW (aka. Big Sexy, DIESEL, or Big Daddy Cool Diesel) posted the above picture on his Twitter account with the following statement.
@RealKevinNash: Memory Lane. Shooting a jumper over Sam Bowie of Kentucky , 1980. Sweet Shorts.
After seeing this, it got me to do a little research and I stumbled across this on wrestlingrevealed.com as well.
Kevin Nash was good enough to have a respectable career in basketball. He earned himself a spot as a center on the University of Tennessee men's basketball team. There, he played with a 6'7", 220 pound forward named Dale Ellis, who would end up becoming one of the best shooters to have ever played in the NBA. When an offer to play basketball professionally in Europe came calling, Kevin Nash found it hard not to pick up the phone. He played professional basketball in Germany for a little bit before a torn ACL would end his career.
Pretty interesting that Kevin Nash actually played for UT, not to mention played in Rupp Arena. Only instead of 'Power Bombing' someone through the mat, he was shooting a jumper over Sam Bowie.