Calipari has players getting exploited on defense

By LARRY VAUGHT

Several times during the preseason Kentucky coach John Calipari talked about how he thought this could be his best defensive team. He cited the team’s length, speed and athleticism for that belief and his players seemed to agree.

Instead, UK gave up 97 points in a loss to UCLA in Rupp Arena and then allowed 100 points in a win over North Carolina Saturday in Las Vegas.

Monk’s record-setting game enables Kentucky to beat North Carolina 103-100

By LARRY VAUGHT

Think about this. North Carolina shot 53 percent overall from the field, 53 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent at the foul line. North Carolina got 44 points in the paint, including 18 second chance points. It got 19 points from bench players. And it made just nine turnovers.

Yet one of the more memorable performances in Kentucky basketball history by Malik Monk enabled UK to beat the Tar Heels 103-100 Saturday in Las Vegas.

UK-North Carolina postgame notes, numbers

Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes

Kentucky vs. North Carolina, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Dec. 17, 2016
Attendance:
19,298

Final Score: No. 6/7 Kentucky 103, No. 7/6 North Carolina 100                                                      

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 10-1. North Carolina is 10-2
  • UNC leads the all-time series 23-15
  • UK has won four of the last five in the series
  • Kentucky is 4-0 in neutral-site games this season. All of UK’s games away from Rupp Arena have been at neutral sites thus far

Radford no pushover for Kentucky

Kentucky's defense will be tested by Radford. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kentucky’s defense will be tested by Radford. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Despite what some seem to believe, Radford will not be an easy opponent for Kentucky Sunday in Memorial Coliseum.

“We have a very difficult game coming up against Radford. They are on a real tear right now and have won seven in a row and are a very good team. We have struggled guarding people and Radford can really give us a lot of trouble. They have great post play and are really big and powerful,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said.

Cats need confidence to rebound

Bam Adebayo (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

Bam Adebayo (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

How important does Kentucky coach John Calipari think rebounding will be in today’s game against North Carolina in Las Vegas?

“We’ve been practicing putting six guys out there seeing if we can slide a sixth guy out there,” Calipari joked Thursday.

“I don’t know. Some of it’s fight. Some of it’s just put your best rebounders on the floor. Now you’re me. If a guy can’t keep a guy off the glass, can he play this game? You can put him in and then he gives up two rebounds and you hug him, you love him. I put Brad (Calipari) in. ‘Brad, I love you. You know this. I’m gonna have to deal with your mom, but you ain’t playing. Sit down.’

Stoops, Gran will “iron something out” on contract

Eddie Gran (Vicky Graff Photo)

Eddie Gran (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran remain “on the same page” about a new contract for Gran after what his offense did this season to help UK finish 7-5.

“We don’t have everything ironed out specifically at this point, but he and I were on a plane together, traveling a bunch so we’ve been in touch quite a bit. We don’t need to talk about it every day. We have a understanding that we’re going to iron something out here pretty quick.”

John Calipari: “It’s postseason. That’s what we play for.”

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky will play its fourth neutral site game of the season Saturday afternoon when it takes on North Carolina in Las Vegas.

Since John Calipari took over at Kentucky, he has liked neutral site games because of how those games help a team prepare for postseason play

“Obviously we’re going to end up with 10 road games. When I was at UMass we played 27 games away from home because I was nuts and I was 33 years old or 34 or whatever I was and didn’t care. Did you hear what I just said? Never in the history of the NCAA has any team played 27 games away from home. We did,” Calipari said.

Kentucky signee P.J. Washington will play two February games in western Kentucky

P.J. Washington

P.J. Washington

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky signee P.J. Washington will be playing two games in western Kentucky in about two months.

A source confirmed that Findlay Prep of Las Vegas will play in western Kentucky Feb. 17 and Feb. 18. It will be the only time this season that the 6-8 Washington plays in Kentucky.

Washington is considered one of the best, if not the best, rebounders in the 2016 recruiting class. He chose UK over North Carolina and Nevada-Las Vegas. He has a 7-3 wing span which helps make him such a dominant rebounder. Washington is a consensus top 20 player and five-star prospect.

‘Better execution team’ will win Saturday’s UK-North Carolina matchup

Bam Adebayo (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

Bam Adebayo (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Most teams playing Kentucky figure to try and slow John Calipari’s team down and keep De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and others from scoring in transition.

Not North Carolina when the teams play Saturday in Las Vegas.

“I think both of us will be trying to slow down the other team as far as ‘get back.’ You’ll hear him (Roy Williams say), ‘Get back!’ And you’ll hear me, ‘Get back!’ We’ll both be yelling that probably 100 times a half,” Calipari said Thursday.

Sacha Killeya-Jones knows plenty about North Carolina basketball

Sacha Killeya-Jones. (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

Sacha Killeya-Jones. (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

He grew up in North Carolina but now is in his freshman season playing for Kentucky. So how would freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones.

“I would say Kentucky fans are definitely more dedicated and everything, and loyal to their team. I think Carolina fans are great and everything, but Kentucky is just like nothing else in the world,” said Killeya-Jones Thursday before the Cats left for Las Vegas to play the Tar Heels Saturday.