Monday, February 14, 2022

Kentucky Moves Up to Number 4

UK has moved to number 4 in this week's AP Poll.  The last time the Cats were number 4 was on March 16, 2019, when they lost 82-78 to Tennessee in the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament.  UK led that game 72-64 with 2:58 left, which means that UT scored 18 points in the last 3 minutes.  That was a hard luck team.

Anyway, UK's best performance as a number 4 was probably at the 1993 SEC Tournament.  That was the last time the SEC Tournament was played at Rupp.  Here were UK's scores:

Kentucky 101 - 40 Tennessee
Kentucky 92 - 81 Arkansas
Kentucky 82 - 65 Louisiana St.

In three games, the Cats went 39 of 91 from three-point range -- 39.6 percent.  They just annihilated teams.  This was the beginning of UK's run to its first Final Four since 1984, and those seven games -- the three games in the SEC Tournament and the four games where UK won the Southeast Region -- are probably the most fun I've ever had watching UK.

By the way, Murray State has moved up to Number 21 in the AP poll.  We should probably be paying more attention to them.

33 comments:

  1. Don't even get me started on the officiating at the end of that 2019 semi-final between UK and UT. It was unbelievable, even by the standards of the SEC and UT. I honestly think that the officials assumed that the game was over, and just wanted to give UT a few breaks so that the final margin wouldn't be so bad. But then UT started hitting three-pointers from all over the floor, and they ended up winning the game. And that's why officials should call the game as it is, instead of trying to help the team that's behind.

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  2. Oh, and the officials should never help UT.

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  3. By the way, here's the latest from the Metro-7, which is not having a banner year:

    29. Virginia Tech: 15-10
    39. Memphis: 14-8
    56. Saint Louis: 17-7
    81. Cincinnati: 16-8
    100. Florida St. 13-11
    106. Tulane: 11-11
    128. Louisville: 11-13

    Louisville's plan of abandoning Memphis and Cincinnati to play in the ACC doesn't seem to be working out so far. Cincinnati now has Louisville's football program, and Houston (20-4) has its basketball program.

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  4. Rick Pitino just sent out a tweet stating that "This is the best Kentucky team I've watched in years." I'd feel better about that if I weren't pretty confident that UK will be playing Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

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  5. Western beats Southern Mississippi 87-77 for the Tops' fifth win in a row. Western's record is now 15-11 overall, 7-6 in Conference USA.

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    1. The AD came out strong in support of Stansdawg at the season's nadir, and it seems to have really pepped up the team.

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  6. UK's all-time record is 2,348-732. UK's all-time record against Tennessee is 158-75. So UT accounts for more than 10 percent of UK's losses.

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  7. I lived through 10 basketball seasons in Paducah -- 1975 through 1984. In those ten years, UK played UT in basketball 21 times. Here's how the Cats did:

    In Lexington: 7-3
    In Knoxville: 1-9
    In Birmingham: 0-1 (1979 SEC Tournament Final)

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    1. Three of those games went to OT, including the 1979 SEC Tournament Final. UK lost all three.

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    2. No one, including the Tennessee athletic director, was happier than I was when UT moved out of the Stokely Athletics Center. UK played UT at Stokely in every season from 1967 through 1987, and went 5-16. They also lost to U of L there in the 1983 Elite Eight.

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    3. Demolition of the Stokely Athletic Center began in January 2014. A few months later, UK went to the National Championship game. Demolition was completed in the summer of 2014. The next year, UK went 38-0 and reached the Final Four.

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    4. The Cats beat Florida State at Stokely in the first round of the 1978 Tournament -- the last game Joe Hall ever won there. But of course he had to pull all of his starters at halftime to win that game.

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  8. Kentucky has a record of 18-15 against UT in Thompson-Boling Arena.

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  9. Ken Pom gives today's UT/UK game a "Thrill Score" of 84.8, which is one of the highest "Thrill Scores" of any game this year. To put this figure in perspective, UK's game at Kansas -- which you might think was a bigger game -- had a thrill score of 83.9. Ken Pom thinks UK is going to win 71-70, and I have to say that I would be thrilled with that outcome.

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  10. Doug Shows is the crew chief for tonight's game, which means at least one technical on Cal.

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    1. Cats have a record of 90-35 with Shows on the whistle. The last time we saw him was on January 25, when Mississippi State took us to overtime.

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  11. Well, that was hugely disappointing.

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  12. To be fair to Joe Hall, he mostly lost close heartbreakers down in Knoxville -- his teams rarely got blown out.

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  13. Kentucky will now have to go home and play very tough games against Alabama and LSU, and they probably won't have Washington for either game.

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  14. Also, I don't think we should be too hopeful about that road game at Arkansas.

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  15. Also, they're going to get pummeled on Ken Pom.

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  16. This is exactly what happened in 2019. UK had a big win over UT in Lexington, then Reid Travis got hurt against Missouri, and then a banged-up UK team went to Knoxville and got drilled, 71-52. That team ended up going to the Elite Eight, where it lost to Auburn in overtime. Tennessee went to the Sweet 16, where Purdue beat them 99-94 in overtime. One of the best tournament games I ever saw.

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  17. Cats outscore UT 31-30 in the second half; lose 76-63. The roof fell in on them about halfway through the first half, and they really didn't do much after that.

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  18. Washington was hurt and probably shouldn't have tried to play. Without him, it was pretty easy for UT to smother Kentucky's guards and prevent them from doing much. Wheeler had 8 points on 4-10 shooting. Grady had 6 points on 2-9 shooting. Mintz had 11 points on 4-12 shooting.

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  19. Tshiebwe had 13 points on 5-15 shooting, but he was pretty much fouled on every shot. And of course he spent eight minutes on the bench in the first half due to foul trouble. He still got 15 rebounds. Brooks was 1-6 from the field. Toppin was the only guy who looked like he knew what he was doing: he went 5-9 from the field.

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  20. And Calipari did get a technical foul with 16:14 left in the first half.

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  21. The main reason for the margin was that UT shot extremely well from 3-point range. The Vols went 8-17 from three-point range, compared to only 5-16 for UK.

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  22. I knew that UK would shoot poorly -- Jodie Meeks and Johnny Juzang are the only Kentucky players I can remember shooting well in Knoxville. But I had hoped that UT stick close to its 3-point shooting average of 34.8 percent. They did not -- they went 6-11 in the first half. And that's the main reason they led 46-32 at the half.

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  23. Calipari says that he should have trusted his gut and not played Washington. Also says that UT wanted it more. My guess is neither of those statements will provide comfort for UK fans.

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  24. No Kentucky team has ever won the National Championship without winning at UT, and that's because unless you're willing to play harder than UT at UT, you probably won't go all the way.

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  25. Kentucky is still number 3 on Ken Pom. Auburn is number 5. Tennessee is number 9. I can't remember another season where the SEC had three teams in the top ten. Also LSU is number 16 and Alabama is number 20, so the SEC has five teams in the top 20.

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