There is so much action packed news today I thought we could let Richie take the day off and get straight to work.
Last night was a great night for Kentucky Basketball and they weren’t even on the court. Three former Wildcats took the hardwood last night for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and man did they put on a show. John Wall and Demarcus Cousins was the stars of the night it’s like it was 2010 all over again. Big Cuz put up 33 points and 14 rebounds while Wall set a new record for the rookie challenge with 22 assist while taking down the MVP of the night award. Wall had the assist record set as a goal for the night it looks like:
“I was keeping count through the whole game,” Wall said. “I asked before the game what the assist record was and throughout the game my teammates were telling me, ‘it’s four away’ or ‘it’s five away’. After I got it, we were just trying to get the win.”
This was night full of amazing dunks most all fuled by Mr. Wall himself who set Blake Griffin up some amazing dunks. It looked like he was getting his practice in for tonight’s dunk contest early. The best dunk of the night was a bounce pass dunk from Wall to Griffin.
Now the Cats take the court today at 4 against the Gamecocks at Rupp. If I were a betting man I would be taking the Wildcats for tonight’s game as they are picked as the 16 point favorites in the game. But the Cats still have to come ready to play and ready to defend the three-point shot that you know South Carolina will shoot. No team in the SEC has attempted more threes than them. Knowing this you have to figure out how to make them shoot bad shots and not give up as many points.
“If you look at it, they’re making tough shots,” Calipari said of South Carolina’s shooting lately. “They’re going to shoot 30. If they make 20 of them with us hanging on them, then you go to the next game. … If a guy’s making hard, contested threes, you have to live with that.”
The Cats have had trouble in the past three games giving up the three-point basket as they have combined for 32 made shots in 58 attempts. This is something the Cats have been working on and feel they will be ready for as they bring home the win to continue the home streak.
But if they want to win they have to work on one thing that they have struggled with and that is closing out games in the final five minutes of a game. You would think this year’s squad only thinks there is 35 minutes to a game instead of 40. All season long the Wildcats have blown big leads going into the finals minutes of the game. It looks like Coach Cal is pissed about it.
“We’re worried about the last five minutes (of games), now,” Calipari said on Friday. “We’re not worried about anything else. If we get that straight, the other stuff will take care of itself.”
This goes back to the first time Kentucky played the Gamecocks on the road when they had a comfortable lead after the half and only won 67-58. The star players are shutting it down near the ends of games and missing shots that are easy baskets. Like for example in the Mississippi State game Terrence Jones air ball shot with plenty of time left on the shot clock. He could have passed it could have waited for a better shot but did nothing. This may be a mindset that they are currently in but they need to do something to get out of that and finish games.
It looks as if Coach Cal loves the officials in the SEC, I didn’t see that one coming. These are the same guys who tossed from a game once this season but he feels that these are the “best”.
“By far the best officiating I’ve been associated with,” he said. And when it comes down to close loses he doesn’t blame them. “Officials don’t have anything to do with where we are,”.
It looks like fans need to take a page from Calipari’s book and stop trying to put loses on the refs back as well.
Can the Cats say goodbye to the ‘bye’ this year? As of right now the Wildcats are seating in a third place tie in the east and out of range of the bye. The only way the Cats can get a bye is in two situations one is Vandy loses three of their five next games and the Cats run the table or the Gators lose all of their next five games and the Cats run the table. I don’t really see this happening as both the Gators and Vanderbilt have a cake schedule down the stretch with the exception of playing Kentucky and themselves. Wildcat fans don’t go jumping off the bridge yet, two of the last four SEC tournament winners played the extra game without a bye and still won it all.
ESPN is late to the party but they have finally handed out the SEC football report cards and Kentucky fail into the average category with a “C-”. This grade was based on the preseason picks mixed with the outcome of the year. Plus losing to a coachless Pitt didn’t help their case.
Yesterday was opening day for the Bat Cats who came up short against College of Charleston 11-6. Brandon Kapteyn had a big game for the Cats with a three-run homer in the third inning. Jordan Cooper made his ninth career start for the Cats and lasted three innings and handed the game over to Louisville native Corey Litterell who pitched a solid two innings but was award the loss with 2.1 innings pitched. Then UK senior Nick Kennedy came in to finish the game including one inning of shutout ball but it was too little too late. The Bat Cats continue play in Charleston today against Marshall as Taylor Rogers takes the mound against lefty Mike Mason.
The UK Hoops team looks to have had another bad night as they fail short to Georgia, 69-51. The ladies was outhustled by the Lady Bulldogs as that was the theme for the night. This was the biggest loss of their SEC season and they have Vandy coming in to play tomorrow.
Last for today it looks like Rick Pitino’s mistress Karen Sypher is going to prison for 87 months for her attempts to extort the Louisville coach for his 15 seconds of fame. This has been a fun thing to make fun of as a Kentucky fan for the last year. In her final day in court her lawyer made 107 objections and called several witnesses to the stand but in the end she was found guilty. I guess she will learn next time she gets knocked up by a 15 second man not to try and get money out of him because now she gets to spend time behind bars. I find this a funny way to end the Pitino joke chapter for a while.