SEC Morning Five: 03.16.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on March 16th, 2012

  1. Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury announced his retirement after 14 years in Starkville. Stansbury will continue to work at MSU in a yet-to-be-determined position, said athletic director Scott Stricklin. Accoring to the Clarion-Ledger report, Stricklin “didn’t rule out interviewing current MSU assistants for the job. ‘We’ll see; we’re wide open. I wouldn’t dismiss that idea.’” In that same piece, Dee Bost, the Bulldogs’ departing senior point guard, tweeted out an endorsement for long-time assistant coach Phil Cunningham. “Coach Stans retired,” tweeted Bost. “I think all alumni and fans should try to get Coach Cunningham as coach.”
  2. Vanderbilt won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 2007. In a Tennesseean article by Michael Cass, he writes of a “banner year” for the Commodores and of some of the possible ramifications this year’s SEC title could bring. One Nashville native said, “For high school players, I don’t see how you can watch that (SEC championship game) and see the collection of talent Coach Stallings has put together and not want to be a part of it.” Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said, “On such a big national stage, to have Vanderbilt, obviously one of the greatest academic institutions in the world, beat the No. 1 team, win a championship in the greatest athletic conference in the country, it brings a lot of benefit to the university.”
  3. Alabama‘s Friday opponent, Creighton, utilized a popular practice technique to help prepare for the Crimson’s Tides press defense.  “There’s times when we’ve had seven defenders out there guarding five,” said Doug McDermott, the Bluejays’ All-America sophomore forward. “Our scout team guys probably aren’t as athletic and don’t have as much length as their guys do.”
  4. Like Dwight Howard announced today, another big man from the Sunshine State announced he would be staying for additional year when Florida sophomore center Patric Young said in the locker room Thursday that he intends to come back for his junior season. “That’s the first that I heard of that,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “So that’s always great news. I think Patric has learned a lot this year. I don’t think this year was as easy for him as he thought it was going to be.”
  5. Western Kentucky head coach Ray Harper pointed out a facet of the game where the Kentucky Wildcats will have to improve if it hopes to win an eighth national title. “If they want to advance and win a national championship, they’re going to have to shoot the ball better from the perimeter,” Harper said. “They’re going to have to find somebody else that can make a shot from the perimeter.” The Wildcats have shot just 23.8% from the three-point arc going back to the start of the SEC Tournament and have not shot better than 30% in any of those four games. Doron Lamb is 4-for-15 in that stretch; Darius Miller is 2-for-12; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague are a combined 0-6.
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SEC Morning Five: 03.07.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on March 7th, 2012

  1. When you scroll down the star-studded roster of the top ranked Kentucky Wildcats, it is easy to locate a number of future NBA players. However, Darius Miller is not usually at the top of that list. The 6’7″ senior forward has been the glue guy for the Cats for four seasons, and nowA Sea of Blue makes the case that Miller is a legitimate NBA player. “Miller has above average hops, legit NBA 3-pt. range, and the ability to score in the post against smaller players,” said ASOB writer Alex Scutchfield. “He has lateral quickness and can score in traffic. His combination of size, athletic ability and shooting skill are hard to match in college basketball.” But will NBA scouts see it that way? One way to instantaneously grab their attention is to shine in the “One Shining Moment” that awaits Miller and his Kentucky Wildcats.
  2. The 2012 SEC Men’s Basketball Awards were announced, with no big surprises. Kentucky swept the major awards as Anthony Davis was named SEC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year. The super freshman averaged 14.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks per game. Kentucky senior Darius Miller earned the Sixth Man of the Year award. Finally, Wildcats coach John Calipari grabbed his first SEC Coach of the Year honor. Reigning SEC Player of the Year, John Jenkins, was again a First Team-All SEC selection along with teammate Jeffrey Taylor. Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Florida each had two selections on the First Team.
  3. Kentucky’s Anthony Davis  is accumulating some national attention as well with The Sporting News annual postseason awards. Davis was named the National Player of the Year,  National Freshman of the Year and National Defensive Player of the Year honors. The 6’11” center was a defensive force all season long, but his development on the offensive end throughout the season was the biggest surprise. “I was always comfortable; I was just kind of nervous to shoot the ball, afraid I’d make mistakes,” Davis said. “There was no actual point in the season where I was like, OK, I’ll shoot it now. My teammates are giving me the ball in great opportunities, great spots on the floor. Not that they weren’t doing it at first, but I wasn’t making shots.” The only question now is just how many additional awards Davis will accumulate this postseason. And the guess here is there are many more to come.
  4. How will Mississippi State handle the possibility of having to play several days in a row at the SEC Tournament considering the endurance issues the Bulldogs have dealt with regarding forward Renardo Sidney? “I think we’ll prepare like normal,” said Mississippi State assistant coach Phil Cunningham. “I think we’re just going to prepare for the Georgia game and not worry about after that because, obviously, it is an issue with Renardo but he has done OK. You look at it, we had a situation in new York in November and I know that was a long time ago, but we played on back-to-back nights and played pretty well up there.” The Bulldogs need to win to build their confidence going into the NCAA Tournament, and in reality, they need more than one victory to erase the negativity surrounding a recent five game losing streak. As he has all season, Sidney remains one of the keys to whether or not Mississippi State can be a good team or a great team, and his mental state over the next several weeks could be the difference between the Bulldogs making an early round exit or advancing into the second weekend of the Big Dance.
  5. How safe should the Ole Miss Rebels feel on Selection Sunday? Right now, the Rebels still have work to be done according to the experts. “I think that Mississippi ought to take the attitude that they probably need to just win the whole thing,” said Jerry Palm of “Maybe pick up a couple of quality wins without winning the whole thing, you might be able to get in anyways. … I think it’s going to be hard for them to be at-larges.” First, Ole Miss has to get past Auburn, but one of the more interesting second round matchups could be the Rebels against another team on the outside of the proverbial bubble — the Tennessee Volunteers. The Rebels currently sit at number 51 in the RPI rankings with two top 50 RPI wins.
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How Historically Great is This Year’s Kentucky Team?

Posted by EJacoby on February 27th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. 

Last week included much debate about some of the all-time great teams in college basketball. First, we released our RTC Mount Rushmore of the most significant people in NCAA basketball history, which featured discussion about the leaders of several great programs. Then, released their ballots ranking the 16 greatest teams in college history, followed by our own Joshua Weill highlighting Rodrick Rhodes and his (lack of) impact on the 1996 Kentucky ‘Untouchables,’ the team ranked third all-time by CBS. Meanwhile, this year’s Kentucky Wildcats won another impressive conference road game over Mississippi State and outlasted Vanderbilt on Saturday to improve its record to 28-1 overall and 14-0 in SEC play. All of this got us to thinking: How historically great is this year’s Kentucky squad compared to some of its contemporaries? Let’s take a look at how John Calipari’s team matches up to some dominant modern teams.

How Strong is this Year's Kentucky Team, Historically? (AP Photo/ J. Crisp)

If it weren’t for Christian Watford’s buzzer-beating three on December 10, Kentucky would be 28-0 right now and in the discussion to go undefeated. Instead, Indiana got the win that day and quieted the Wildcats’ buzz for an extended period. Forward Terrence Jones had just four points, one rebound, and six turnovers in that game, concerning many fans that the team could not reach its potential without its go-to offensive guy playing at his highest level. But since that game, UK has cruised in its 14 conference games and Jones has been just fine, averaging 12.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in SEC play. Those numbers are way down from last season and far from the dominance we all expected, but with five other stars on the team this hasn’t been an issue. Shooting 49.6% with just 1.8 turnovers per game, Jones has been quite alright.

The rest of this Kentucky lineup is filled with pros at every position. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller all average double-figure scoring on the season, while freshman point guard Marquis Teague is at 9.6 points and 4.7 assists per game on the year. The three freshmen — Davis, Gilchrist, and Teague — are all projected NBA lottery picks according to, while sophomores Jones and Lamb are expected to be selected in the first round as well whenever they declare. The senior leader Miller may very well find his way onto an NBA roster too, as he is currently a top 25 available senior as ranked by DraftExpress.

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SEC Morning Five: 02.24.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on February 24th, 2012

  1. Florida received bad news with the report that forward Will Yeguete is likely out for the remainder of the season with a broken foot. Yeguete was sidelined twice already this season, both for concussions. Billy Donovan confirmed the news that the foot is indeed broken and that Yeguete will miss a minimum of four to six weeks. Yeguete was averaging 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 points so far this season. Donovan will likely attempt to replace the defensive stopper with a committee of younger players. Freshman Cody Larson will probably see increased minutes, and Donovan has the option of playing additional guards in that forward slot to go with a smaller lineup.
  2. Florida failed to impress Donovan with Yeguete out of the lineup. In Tuesday’s matchup with Auburn, the Gators trailed 30-27 at halftime. Donovan had a spirited address in the locker room to spark an eventual 63-47 win. What did Donovan say? “My thing to them was, if Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem and Matt Bonner and Kenyan Weeks and Brett Nelson and Joakim Noah and Al Horford are watching right now, what’s their feeling like,” Donovan asked. ” Those guys gave their heart and soul to this program and that’s the way you’re representing our program right now with your effort, your focus and everything else? Beyond that, what do your families think right now?” The players obviously responded, and some even felt it was needed. “He needed to get on us, and I think it helped us,” guard Kenny Boynton said. One can only hope for the players sake that Donovan doesn’t have to get on them again.
  3. Coaches always preach the importance of free throws, but the discrepancy in Thursday night’s matchup between South Carolina and Vanderbilt definitely made the difference in the game. Vanderbilt made 25 of 28 free throws while the Gamecocks went four for four. “You’re not winning any games when the other team shoots 28 free throws and you shoot four,” South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. “It’s just not going to happen.” The other reason for Vanderbilt’s win was its team defense. The Gamecocks were the third SEC opponent that the Commodores held under 50 points.
  4. A big question surrounding the SEC right now pertains to the number of teams that will end up making it into the NCAA Tournament. Florida coach Billy Donovan thinks more thanjust Kentucky, Florida, and Vanderbilt should make it in.”The league is definitely stronger, and you can tell that from the fact that there aren’t a lot of games separating us,” said Donovan. “Other than Kentucky, which is undefeated, all of us are within a game or two of each other. So, certainly there are more than three teams that deserve to be in this tournament.” However, while Alabama and Mississippi State continue on a downward spiral, it will be difficult to make the case that more than four or five should make it in comfortably. Not everyone agrees though.”Look at Tennessee; look at Arkansas. Those are teams that could get on a tear and win our tournament,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “At that point, we’ve got six teams in. And it’s six teams that can advance. It’s not like having seven teams in and only two advance past the first round. We have six teams that could win some games.”
  5. Kentucky senior Darius Miller took a major leadership role in the final minutes of a close game against Mississippi State. Miller didn’t make a single shot in the first 32 minutes of play, but scored 12 points in the final eight minutes with a slight nudge from his coach. “I’m saying, ‘You’re out, next guy, I’m not going to play you,'” coach John Calipari said of the Miller benching. “Then he went back in, and he’s bombing balls. That’s what I said, ‘You’re that senior. You’re that glue to this team. They count on you to make those shots.'” Miller was key down the stretch last year in the Wildcats run to an SEC tournament title and NCAA Final Four run.
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SEC Morning Five: 02.09.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on February 9th, 2012

  1. After witnessing his team getting dismantled in Lexington by the Kentucky Wildcats, Florida coach Billy Donovan had high praise for coach John Calipari’s squad. “The one thing I like about their team is I love their disposition on the floor,” he said. “There’s a certain disposition you have to have and I’m not talking about an arrogance or a cockiness, but there’s like a focus level in terms of what really goes into winning at that level. There’s a mentality there.” Donovan is a good source on this year’s championship. Not only did he lead the Gators to two straight national championships in 2006 and 2007, but Florida has played the top three teams in the country, all on the road. He even offered up a nice prediction for basketball fans in April. Billy the Kid says he would love to see Kentucky and Syracuse play in the title game. “It would be a heck of a game,” Donovan said. And after last year’s anti-climatic performance, it’s a game that would be great for the sport of college basketball as well.
  2. Anybody who watched Kentucky’s rout of the seventh-ranked Gators on Tuesday can attest that this could be a championship year for the Cats. Despite being loaded with talent throughout his college coaching career, including making a Final Four run last year, this is John Calipari’s best team. The different between this team, and say, Calipari’s 2009-10 club that had five first round NBA draft picks, is that Kentucky has players experienced in Cal’s system. Calipari is well-known for his utilization of freshmen players who bolt for the NBA after one season. He has a couple of likely 1-and-dones in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who happen to be two of the best players in the nation, but he adds a level of comfort and experience that his previous teams have not typically possessed. Three returning players (Doron Lamb, Darius Miller and Terrence Jones) give Calipari a complete team that knows his expectations and appears to be coming together at just the right time.
  3. Another key to the Wildcats’ latest successes has been the development of freshman point guard Marquis Teague. Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated charts how Teague’s shot and turnover percentages have declined over the course of the season. Against Florida on Tuesday, Teague finished with 12 points, 10 assists and five turnovers. His recent success, and thus the improvement of Kentucky’s offense, is attributed to him finding a comfortable role as a supporting player. “We enjoy winning, so if I’ve got to take less shots for us to win, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. And as long as he continues to find open teammates and improve his shot selection, Kentucky won’t just continue winning, but will continue winning big.
  4. Just when it appeared that Vanderbilt was hitting its stride after some early season struggles, the Commodores have lost three of their last four SEC games. And with a tough stretch ahead, including a College Gameday matchup with Kentucky on Saturday, there is at least some question as to whether or not the ‘Dores are a lock for the NCAA Tournament.“We’re not playing great right now, but I definitely think we’re a tournament team,” forward Jeffery Taylor said. Coach Kevin Stallings agreed. “If we stay healthy enough and we do what we’re supposed to do in our preparation, then we’ll be in the tournament,” he said. For the record, I think Vandy will make the Tournament, and I even think they will finally make it out of the first round. However, the fact that we are even having this conversation indicates just how far the Commodores have fallen from lofty preseason expectations that had them competing for an SEC title and contending for a Final Four in March.
  5. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin doesn’t necessarily need forward Jeronne Maymon to score points. Martin is looking for an increased toughness from his leader, and the numbers will follow. “I don’t think it’s so much being asked to score,” Maymon said. “I just think it’s about going out there and trying to lead, in a way. Play tough defense, talk and be vocal — that’s all Coach [Cuonzo] Martin really stresses. He really doesn’t stress point totals.” Maymon’s 19 rebounds against Auburn signify exactly the sort of toughness that his coach is looking for. “Coach Martin loves tough guys and guys that go out there and play their heart out,” he said. “That’s mainly what I’m about.”
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SEC Morning Five: 02.08.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on February 8th, 2012

  1. In their first game without Tony Mitchell, Alabama handled Auburn, winning the first round of basketball version of the Iron Bowl. On, one writer praises the move by head coach Anthony Grant: “Mitchell is the Tide’s second leading scorer and second on the team in rebounds. But Mitchell leads the team and possibly the SEC in several other undesirable categories: Like pouting when something doesn’t go his way; Playing soft defense, if he plays it at all; Flailing around on the floor like a soccer player after receiving just a bump or scratch; And in making a jackass of himself in front of thousands of onlookers.”
  2. Shuan Smith’s recovery from major hip surgery at Mississippi State has head coach Rick Stansbury looking to give Smith more quality minutes over the final two months of the season. “There’s no reason he can’t (give five to eight minutes a game) against everybody,” Stansbury said Monday in the Commercial Dispatch. “If he hadn’t been hurt, I think we’d be way beyond that point, but just because of his situation that’s where we’re at right now.”
  3. Even before Kentucky throttled Florida on Tuesday, Mike Miller of wrote about the ever-improving Wildcats. He writes “the ‘Cats are outscoring opponents by an average of .28 points per possession, meaning they basically beat everyone by about 18 points…It starts with the defense. Kentucky has the game’s most intimidating shot-blocker (Anthony Davis, with apologies to Fab Melo), its most versatile defender (freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), a bruiser who does a little of everything (Terrence Jones) and guys who can fill roles as needed (everyone needs a Darius Miller).”
  4. Already moving on to Saturday’s showdown in Nashvillle, David Boclair writes about the contrasting philosophies between Kentucky and Vanderbilt. “Vanderbilt, after all, has put together its most promising team in decades with patience and persistence. Players have stayed in the program, so the current roster includes five scholarship seniors (one of them in his fifth year) and a junior…Kentucky, conversely, likes to rely on one-and-done superstars. Under current coach John Calipari, one of the sport’s legendary programs has made great use of players such as John Wall, Brandon Knight, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, who show up, play one season and promptly jump to the NBA.”
  5. A stories analyzes how turnovers have put the  Commodores in a difficult spot following back-to-back losses. “We didn’t do a very good job of attacking their press, and it was disruptive,” coach Kevin Stallings said of Vandy’s play against the Gators. “We did a poor job with our spacing and our ball-handling, and it caused problems.” Home games vs LSU, and of course Kentucky, could put Vanderbilt back on track to locking up a first-round bye in next month’s SEC Championship.
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Set Your TiVo: 02.07.12

Posted by bmulvihill on February 7th, 2012

Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Florida at Kentucky – 7:00PM EST on ESPN HD (*****)

The biggest SEC showdown of the season is upon us. Football is done and college hoops takes center stage until the end of March. Hold on to your hats folks, it’s going to be awesome!

How will Patric Young fair against the best shot blocker in the nation, Anthony Davis?

  • There has been a lot of chatter recently about whether or not Florida is overrated. Tonight will determine if that talk comes to an end, as they face the best team in the SEC and the number one ranked team in the country in Lexington. One area in which the Gators are not overrated is on offense. They are second in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, #4 in eFG%, and #9 in offensive turnover rate. If you can hit shots and limit turnovers, you can beat anybody. Interestingly, Florida’s four losses were also their four highest turnover games (based on turnover rate). Keep a close eye on Kentucky’s ability to turn the Gators over. As good as the Wildcat defense is, it does not frequently cause turnovers. Less turnovers will certainly mean more three-point attempts for the Gators, who are taking 44% of their shots from downtown. If the Gators can convert threes with those added opportunities, they have a chance to take down the top team in the nation.
  • Kentucky is #1 for a reason. They are third in adjusted offensive efficiency and seventh in adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation, and they have only gotten better in conference play. Their only loss on the season was a buzzer-beater on the road at Indiana. The match-up between Anthony Davis of Kentucky and Patric Young of Florida will get a great deal of attention, as it should. The battle down low will certainly be fun to watch. Keep an eye on the overall edge in size that Kentucky has on Florida. While Young is certainly a beast, Kentucky can throw size at the Gators all day with the likes of 6’9” Terrence Jones, 6’9” Kyle Wiltjer, 6’8” Darius Miller, and 6’7” Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
  • The difference in the game will be on the defensive end. Kentucky has one of the top defenses in the country and Florida does not. It will take a special performance from the Gator defense to stop Kentucky on offense. As long as the Wildcats can play strong half court defense as they have all season, they will remain undefeated in the SEC after tonight.

Other Games to Watch:

Do yourself a favor and focus on Florida and Kentucky.

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2014

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Kentucky’s Youth and Inexperience: Does It Matter?

Posted by KDoyle on January 25th, 2012

Kevin Doyle is an RTC correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @KLDoyle11. He filed this report from the Kentucky-Georgia game in Athens Tuesday night.

Shortly after the Top 25 poll was released for the week of January 23, Kentucky head coach John Calipari was no doubt a bit uneasy seeing his Wildcats perched atop of the rankings. In Kentucky’s first stint as the #1-ranked team in America back in December, they fell to an upstart Indiana team in what has been, without question, the game of the season to date. The Wildcats led in the final minute, but two late missed free throws allowed the Hoosiers to have one final shot to win it and the rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward a month and a half and 11 games — all UK victories, by the way — and Kentucky found themselves in a similar position. In an article released by The Louisville Courier-Journal recently, Calipari explains how experiencing adversity and knowing what it feels like to lose again may not be the worst thing in the world:

I did tell them the way this is going, we probably need a loss so that we’ll come together and say, ‘We’re not losing like this.’ In other words, getting manhandled. We’re getting manhandled and winning close games, so they think it’s OK. So my thing is, let’s take it on the chin. Now whatcha gonna do? You going to say it’s OK? I don’t think they’re going to say it’s OK.

In last night’s contest at Stegeman Coliseum before a sold-out crowd of Georgia fans (although Big Blue Nation certainly made their presence felt), Kentucky was the team that did, as Calipari would call it, “the manhandling.” It was not the most aesthetically pleasing basketball game to watch as the teams combined for a mere 101 points, but Kentucky powered their way to a comfortable 13-point victory, 57-44. Georgia hung around for much of the first half, but after the under-four media timeout Kentucky exerted their will and coasted. The Bulldogs never got within single digits in the second half.

The Unibrow Is a Dominant Defender Only Scratching the Surface of His Ability

Looking back at Cal’s remarks, it is easy to side with him and say that a tough loss may be good for team morale as it would ostensibly rally the squad together and force them to refocus. He can say that the target is even bigger on their backs now since they are riding a 12-game winning streak, undefeated in the SEC, one of only three 20+ game winners, and the #1 team in the country. But, let’s be honest, they are the University of Kentucky — Big Blue Nation — the target is always on their back and every time they step on the floor the spotlight is squarely on Cal & Co. Would a loss change Kentucky’s mindset as to how they approach a future game?

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SEC Morning Five: 01.23.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on January 23rd, 2012

  1. Jarnell Stokes has already been a huge factor for the Tennessee Volunteers, just three games into his collegiate career. It was Stokes’ 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks that helped the Vols defeat the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies on Saturday. Teammates certainly see the benefit of having him around. “Oh, gosh,” said junior guard Skylar McBee. “It’s great having Jarnell. He’s such a big presence in there.” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin saw enough in Stokes’ first two games to grant him his first career start against UConn. “He had some breakdowns defensively,” said Martin, “which is expected because he’s learning as we go. But I thought his energy, his toughness, his will to receive the ball and desire to score the ball really helped us get over the hump.” The addition of Stokes could be too late to gain any traction for the NCAA Tournament this season. The Vols are 9-10 overall, and 1-3 in conference play. However can Martin and Tennessee talk Stokes into one more year in Knoxville with all the attention he is receiving for his positive play?
  2. Senior Darius Miller has proven to be a reliable free throw shooter in the clutch for John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats. Miller was 4-of-4 in the final minute of Kentucky’s 77-71 win over Alabama Saturday, making him a perfect 6-of-6 in the final three minutes on the season. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had nothing but praise for the veteran. “He is everything. He is [one of] the only seniors on this team, and he means a lot.” Miller picked a great game to step up at the charity stripe. Kentucky shot just 36.4% from the free throw line in the first half.
  3. Free throws were a big factor in another SEC game this weekend. Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury felt the number of free throw attempts by his Bulldogs were key in their overtime win against Vanderbilt. “They shoot nine free throws and make five and we shoot 21 free throws,” Stansbury said. “That tells you that ball is being drove to the paint and thrown to the paint. We’re playing without creating a bunch of silly fouls. You’ve got to do that on the road to have a chance.” The Bulldogs finished with 14 points from the foul line, which was nine more than Vanderbilt.
  4. While there was a large discrepancy in made free throws, Vanderbilt had an opportunity to beat Mississippi State in overtime. Actually, they had three opportunities. Point guard Brad Tinsley was forced into two ill-advised shots because of the Bulldogs’ ability to cover up offensive threats John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor. First, Tinsley took a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down, and then drove into the lane for a possession that the Commodores would love to have back. Tinsley shouldn’t receive all of the blame here though. The Vanderbilt blog, Anchor of Gold, says, “The ultimate failure here was pushing forward with a bad shot rather than resetting, regrouping, and using the team’s final timeout.” This isn’t the first time Kevin Stallings‘ management of late-game situations has been questioned. And for good reason. Vandy has lost its last six overtime games. Perhaps declaring the Commodores’ turnaround as an elite team was slightly premature.
  5. Arkansas‘ victory over Michigan was quite the statement for the Razorbacks, but the home court advantage provided by Bud Walton Arena makes the Razorbacks tough to beat at home. The atmosphere at Saturday’s game had to give Razorbacks fans visions of the mid-1990s. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson agrees that Bud Walton provides an automatic advantage. “That atmosphere, with our players it takes us up eight or 10 points,” Anderson said. Arkansas is 14-0 at home this season, with home games against Vanderbilt, Florida and Alabama coming up in the month of conference play.
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Where Does Darius Miller Rank on Kentucky’s Fan Favorite List?

Posted by Brian Joyce on January 4th, 2012

Darius Miller became the 58th player to join Kentucky’s 1,000 point club on Tuesday night. His 15 points against Arkansas-Little Rock pushed him up to #56 on the Wildcats’ all-time scoring list. As a Kentucky native and fourth year player, Miller should be higher than 56th on Kentucky fans’ all time favorite players list, right? However, the 6’7″ senior has drawn the ire of much of Big Blue Nation with his inconsistent and often frustrating play, earning him the nickname of “Disappearious Miller” with certain sections of the fanbase.

Darius Miller's numbers suggest he is a Wildcat legend... but will Wildcat fans revere him as such?

His rank, as far as scoring is concerned, is clearly defined amongst UK’s all time greats. What is less certain, is where does Miller stand as far as a UK fan favorite?

“It’s an honor to be a part of something like this, especially in the type of program that we are in,” Miller said after the game regarding his recent inclusion in the prestigious scoring club. “It feels good and I’m excited about it. I am just blessed be a part of something like this.” But Miller isn’t done moving up the ranks. If he continues his current average of 10.6 points per game as a senior, he would score 169 points throughout the remainder of the regular season. Let’s assume that the Wildcats advance to the SEC Tournament championship giving him three additional games and 31 more points. That would put Miller at 1,210 career points and land him at #40 all time on Kentucky’s career scoring list between UK fan favorite Chuck Hayes and the oft-maligned Rodrick Rhodes. Fittingly, somewhere between all-time great and cursed and forgotten may be Miller’s unfortunate place in Wildcat lore and fans’ hearts as well. If UK were to meet its expectations of competing for an eighth national title, Miller would play an additional six games giving him an additional 63 points. That would put Miller at #32 all-time. Not bad for a kid from Maysville, Kentucky, coming off the bench for teams with loads of future NBA players.

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