Even if the Kentucky Wildcats Basketball team beat the Tennessee Volunteers by 30 points on Saturday, it will not matter to some pollsters. Kentucky will drop 4-6 spots simply due to the “lose them, drop them” mentality of poll voters. It’s a shame that most pollsters are that way, but I get the feeling that their duty to fill out the polls is more of a mundane task rather than a chance to be insightful.
Such is not the case with Grantland’s Mark Titus who still has Kentucky at #12 in his power rankings and manages to blast the refs in the Arkansas game at the same time.
What wasn’t one of my favorite games of the season was Tuesday’s showdown between Kentucky and Arkansas. As great as the end of regulation and all of overtime was, the first 38 minutes were unbearable, primarily because it might have been the worst-officiated game I’ve ever seen. Sixty fouls were called on the night, there were a handful of reviews that took forever to resolve, and the refs blew several other calls (particularly awful were the over-and-back call on Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle getting away with hitting a defender in the face with both elbows). I’m not sure how anyone who’s not a Kentucky or Arkansas fan could sit through the nearly three hours of that game.
A simplistic approach would be to bump Kentucky out of the most powerful power rankings in college basketball because it lost to an unranked team. But the correct approach is to acknowledge that Arkansas was desperate for a win, Bud Walton Arena is a tough place to play, and the officiating travesty resulted in a game that resembled sarcastaball more than it did basketball. I don’t want to take anything away from the Hogs, and Kentucky certainly needs to improve (getting the whole team mentally engaged would be a great start), but Tuesday was the kind of game for which John Calipari should just throw the film away and move on to the next one. Despite the loss, Kentucky is playing pretty well right now, and if the NCAA tournament started tomorrow, you’d be out of your mind to think that 12 teams would have a better shot at winning it all than the Cats.
I know I posted a lot of Titus’s spiel but you should still check out the link and read the rest of the column. His spiel on how Dick Vitale goes from talking about Syracuse basketball to Nancy Lieberman. Hilarious.
Talking about NBA Draft selections on January 17th is about as realistic as buying suntan lotion in the Northeast today. Yet, it has become part of the “Will they stay or will they go” culture that has become prevalent at Kentucky. And it seems that Chad Ford thinks that the Harrison twins should stay.
On Wednesday, Ford released his new “Big Board” for this year’s NBA Draft. It showed Andrew Harrison at No. 30 — the last pick of the first round — and Aaron Harrison was not listed at all. Andrew and Aaron were No. 30 and 40, respectively, in Ford’s updated Top 100 player rankings also released Wednesday.
In his online chat later in the day, Ford was asked, “Where do you see the Harrison twins going?”
His response got right to the point.
“Hopefully back to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons,” he said. “Neither looks ready to play in the NBA right now. If they declared for the draft? Probably late first round to early second.”
Neither Harrison was listed in the latest 2014 mock draft from DraftExpress.com, which was released earlier this week. Both players were considered top-20 picks in the 2015 draft by that website.
There’s still plenty of time for the Harrisons to turn to corner and meet the one-and-done expectations they had coming out of high school. If they were to return for their sophomore seasons, the twins would join Dominique Hawkins and incoming freshmen Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker to form what would have to be one of the best backcourts in the country.
As Ben Roberts says, there is plenty of time to turn the corner for this team. Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague got similar reviews in January of their one year in Lexington. However, I do not get how it is perceived as a negative by some that players are not ready for the NBA after one year in Lexington.
I extend a hearty invitation for all the 2013 class to stay in Lexington a while. Kick your shoes off, ya hear?
Nerlens Noel played a little over a half season for John Calipari and yet he continues to give back to the BBN and Lexington. And this is more evidence that even though his stay in Lexington was brief, the ties to the Bluegrass are strong.
It’s been a tough road for a Henry Clay High School student. Braxton Upthegrove, 16, who manages the school basketball team, is waiting on his second kidney transplant.
The stakes were high during Tuesday night’s game at Bryan Station. But there was more attention off the court. During halftime of the game, Upthegrove received a special video message from a former UK player.
“Braxton, why don’t you and your mom come join me in just a few days to watch my team play the Miami Heat,” said Philadelphia 76er’s Nerlens Noel. “Be my guest.”
Minutes later, the trip to Philadelphia to spend time with Noel and see the game finally sunk in for Upthegrove, and he was no longer at a loss for words.