It’s been a while since we have done one of these and if the pundits are right, John Calipari should be smiling in a few hours. Charles Matthews, a shooting guard from Chicago and the 11th ranked player in his class (per Rivals) is set to become the first member of John Calipari’s 2015 class today. Calipari paid a well publicized visit the other day and that seems to have turned the tide towards Kentucky.
Chicago basketball star Charles Matthews will reveal his college choice at 9:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday. His finalists are UK, Kansas, Michigan State, Illinois and Marquette.Matthews — a 6-foot-5 shooting guard — was one of the first players in his class to receive a scholarship offer from Kentucky, which came last June.
Calipari traveled to Chicago on Monday to visit with the recruit at his school. Shortly after the UK coach left, Matthews announced that he was ready to end his recruitment.The timing looks good for the Wildcats.
“I think all signs point to Charles Matthews picking Kentucky,” Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “John Calipari was in his school (Monday). I think they’ve been the leader for quite some time. It makes sense.”Some of the other schools that people are saying are involved — I don’t think that they believe they’re involved.”
Matthews has plenty of ties to the UK program.His head coach at St. Rita High School — Gary DeCesare — was the longtime coach at St. Raymond’s (N.Y.), where one of his star players was UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua.
Matthews is a friend of fellow Chicago star Tyler Ulis, who was also his teammate with the Chicago Meanstreets AAU program. That same squad produced top NBA Draft picks Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose, who both played one season for Calipari between their high school and professional careers.
When Kentucky lost to Florida at Rupp, the common thought was that Kentucky shot at a #1 or even a #2 seed was out the window. Being the eternal optimist, John Calipari is keeping hope alive that his Cats can still get that elusive #1 seed, even though the odds seem against that.
Careful not to sound delusional, Calipari attributed the possibility of a No. 1 seed to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index. It rated Kentucky No. 4 in the nation this week.
“And said we were the fourth No. 1 seed,” Calipari said on a Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference. “I’m not sure we’re quite there.
“But you’ve got other teams with the same (21-6) record as us in other places being rated that high. I’m not saying we’re to that point, but we are getting better.”
In updates this week, ESPN’s resident bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, USA Today and CBSSports.com all projected Kentucky as a No. 5 seed. The NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index had Kentucky at No. 10.
Jerry Palm, the numbers cruncher for CBSSports.com, said mock brackets and various ratings are fluid at this stage.
“Three weeks to go, so there is a lot of wiggle room,” he wrote in an email message. “Not sure if they can get to a 1, but there’s still a lot of room to move. Up and down.”
There is a large disconbect between how the computers and humans see the Wildcats and to a certain degree, the Louisville Cardinals. The computers seem to really like UK and the humans not so much. John Clay has more.
The computers love the Cats.Or two computers love the Cats, at least.ESPN’s BPI, the Basketball Power Index, places Kentucky as the fourth-best team in the country, right behind Arizona, SEC leader Florida and Kansas, in that order. (Louisville checks in at No. 5, if you’re interested.)
The RPI, data the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee studies leading up to Selection Sunday, puts the Cats at No. 10, saying that John Calipari’s club has played the sixth-strongest schedule in all the land.A couple of other computers are slightly less enthralled. Ken Pomeroy’s tempo-driven analytics believe UK to be the nation’s 17th-best team. Jeff Sagarin’s data-driven numbers, published by USA Today, have Kentucky at No. 18.And yet humans don’t seem so sold on this young Kentucky team.
Despite a 14-point road win at Ole Miss and a home “revenge” win over LSU, the Cats inched up just one spot in Monday’s AP Poll, going from No. 18 to No. 17.Kentucky receives a bit more love from the coaches, who have UK 15th in the USA Today poll.But Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, who publishes a daily top 25, had Julius Randle and company at No. 20 heading into Tuesday night’s play. Before Saturday’s game with LSU, Luke Winn of SI.com had the Cats at No. 19, four spots behind a Louisville team it beat in December.