Wednesday, January 19, 2022

FInal AP NFL Poll

We'll see what happens in the NFL playoffs, but the Packers have finished first in the AP's final poll of the regular season.  Here's the final top 10:

1.  Green Bay:  13-4
2.  Tampa Bay:  13-4
3.  Kansas City:  12-5
4.  Tennessee:  12-5
5.  Dallas:  12-5
6.  Los Angeles:  12-5
7.  Cincinnati:  10-7
8.  Buffalo:  11-6
9.  Arizona:  11-6
10.  San Francisco:  10-7

Miami finished in 18th.  Washington finished in 25th.

Here's a list of the Number 1 teams since the AP started its poll before the 2012 season.  Only two of the number-one teams won the Super Bowl:

2012:  Denver (13-3)
2013:  Seattle (13-3) (WON SUPER BOWL)
2014:  Seattle (12-4) (lost Super Bowl)
2015:  Carolina (15-1) (lost Super Bowl)
2016:  New England (14-2) (WON SUPER BOWL)
2017:  New England (13-3) (lost Super Bowl)
2018:  New Orleans (13-3)
2019:  Baltimore (14-2)
2020:  Kansas City (14-2) (lost Super Bowl)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

KHSAA Boys' Basketball Poll

Here's the latest top 10 from the AP, the week after Male won the Louisville Invitational Tournament:

1.  George Rogers Clark:  15-1
2.  Cov. Catholic:  14-2
3.  Lou. Male: 14-3
4.  Lou. Ballard:  14-5
5.  Pulaski Co:  18-0
6.  Warren Cent:  10-3
7.  N. Laurel:  12-4
8.  Ashland Blazer:  13-4
9.  Woodford Co:  16-2
10.  Lex. Catholic:  16-4

The MaxPreps rankings have basically caught up with reality.  Here's what they show:

1.  George Rogers Clark:  15-1
2.  Cov. Catholic:  14-2
3.  Lou. Ballard:  14-5
4.  Warren Cent:  10-3
5.  Lou. Male:  14-3
6.  N. Laurel:  12-4
7.  Cooper:  14-2
8.  Pikeville:  13-1
9.  Pulaski Co:  18-0
10.  Woodford Co:  16-2

Here are the top teams in the First and Second Regions, according to MaxPreps:

16.  McCracken Co:  12-1
24.  Murray:  14-2
34.  Lyon Co:  10-4
51.  Paducah Tilghman:  10-4
60.  Madisonville-North Hopkins:  13-5

If the NCAA Were 16 Regions

 Here's the latest breakdown on the highest-ranked men's basketball team in each of 16 regions, according to Ken Pom:

1st:  Connecticut (20)
2d:  St. Bonaventure (62)
3d:  Villanova (3)
4th:  Virginia Tech (31)
5th:  Duke (10)
6th:  Auburn (9)
7th:  Louisiana St. (11)
8th:  Kentucky (5)
9th:  Xavier (18)
10th:  Purdue (4)
11th:  Illinois (12)
12th:  Kansas (8)
13th:  Baylor (2)
14th:  Arizona (7)
15th:  Gonzaga (1)
16th:  UCLA (13)

Meanwhile, things are getting interesting in the 8th Region.  Here are the favorites in each district:

29th District: (5) Kentucky, (136) Morehead St.
30th District:  (45) Murray St., (100) Louisville
31st District:  (14) Tennessee, (81) Chattanooga
32d District:  (42) Memphis, (56) Belmont

Which would set up the following quarter-finals:

Murray St. v. Morehead St.
Tennessee v. Belmont
Memphis v. Chattanooga
Kentucky v. Louisville

Monday, January 17, 2022

Cats Move to Number 12 in the AP Poll

Last week was a very big deal for UK basketball fans.  On Tuesday, the Cats went to Memorial Gym and crushed Vandy -- they were up 78-50 before taking the foot off the gas, and ended with a 78-66 win.  Then on Saturday morning we learned that Joe B. Hall had died at the age of 93.  On a very emotional day, in front of a packed house at Rupp Arena (and with Jay Bilas and the whole ESPN crew in the house), the Cats played an almost perfect game, pounding Tennessee 107-79.  It was the most points UK has ever scored in 111 years of basketball against Tennessee, and the most points they'd scored in an SEC game since February 21, 2015, when they beat Auburn 110-75.  Sahvir Wheeler was back from the neck injury he had suffered in the LSU game, and the UK offense -- which had looked pretty good with TyTy Washington at the point -- went to a whole other level.  I've complained a lot about bad shooting nights from Kentucky, so look at these numbers:

2-point shooting:  27-38 (71.1 percent)
3-point shooting:  11-18 (61.1 percent)
free throws:  20-21 (95.2 percent)

It was a very happy result for John Calipari, who took a lot of grief for continuing to run his usual offense while schools like Alabama are shooting dozens of three-point shots per game.  On Saturday the Cats took only 18 three-point shots, but put up 107 points, as they buried UT under a barrage of little jump shots from all over the floor.  Tennessee has a great defense, but no one defends 15-foot jump shots any more, and the Cats took advantage of that fact.

Still, I think UK is benefiting greatly from improved long distance shooting.  The Cats as a team are now shooting 36.1 percent from three-point range, their best mark from the outside since 2016.  For now they seem to have three real outside threats:

Kellan Grady:  48-104 (46.2 percent)
TyTy Washington:  23-56 (41.1 percent)
Davion Mintz:  23-60 (38.3 percent)

If this keeps up, the Cats will be very tough to beat in March.

But it's not March yet, and the Cats have a bunch of tough games left.  There are two teams that haven't yet lost a game in the SEC -- Texas A & M (4-0) and Auburn (5-0).  This week, UK will play both of those teams on the road.

Ken Pom is convinced -- he has UK up to Number 4 on his rankings, the highest they've been this late in the year since 2017.  But the AP voters are more skeptical, and they are probably assuming that UK will take at least one loss this week at either College Station or Auburn.  So they have UK at number 12 -- eight spots below its Ken Pom ranking.  The Cats are 34-9 as the number-12 team.  Their greatest victory as number 12 came on March 24, 1983, when UK upset number-5 Indiana 64-59 in the Mideast Regional Semifinals in Knoxville, Tennessee.  That set up a Mideast Regional Final against the University of Louisville, and I think we all remember what happened then.  Louisville was number 2, and UK was number 12, which underscores the good job that Joe Hall did by taking that game to overtime.  That 1983 Tournament was unbelievable.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

KHSAA Basketball AP Poll

With college football out of the way, it's time to get serious about basketball.  Here's the latest AP poll of KHSAA boys' basketball:

1.  George Rogers Clark:  13-1
2.  Cov. Catholic:  13-2
3.  Lou. Ballard:  12-4
4.  Lou. Male:  9-3
5.  Pulaski Co:  16-0
6.  Warren Cent:  10-1
T7.  N. Laurel:  11-4
T7.  Ashland Blazer:  11-4
9.  Lex. Catholic:  12-4
10.  Woodford Co:  14-2