Tyler Ulis is “the little engine that makes us go”


Vicky Graff Photo


What do his Kentucky teammates think of point guard Tyler Ulis.

“On the court, he’s the little engine that makes us go. He’s like a little, mini coach out there,” said Alex Poythress after Ulis scored 21 points and  had five assists in a 76-57 win over Vanderbilt Saturday.

Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said Ulis, the smallest player on the court, was the game’s dominant player.

UK vs Vandy Photo Gallery (Photos by Vicky Graff)

Poythress not a bully, but he still helps UK dominate Vandy


Alex Poythress had 16 points in Saturday's win over Vanderbilt. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Alex Poythress had 16 points in Saturday’s win over Vanderbilt. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings didn’t have any trouble explaining what impact Alex Poythress’ play had on Saturday’s win over his team.

“Poythress was really good, really efficient and dominated the inside for them,” said Stallings.

How good? In 27 minutes, he was 8-for10 from the field for 16 points and had two rebounds. He didn’t have a steal, assist or blocked shot, but he also did not have a turnover and played solid inside defense.

Calipari’s choice was not to play Labissiere against Vanderbilt


John Calipari decided Vanderbilt was not a good opponent to play Skal Labissiere against. (Vicky Graff Photo)

John Calipari decided Vanderbilt was not a good opponent to play Skal Labissiere against. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Remember how well freshman Skal Labissiere played at Arkansas Thursday? He made shots. He rebounded. He blocked shots. He played with confidence.

Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt was going to be a chance for him to be on that success. Kentucky coach John Calipari said as much after the Arkansas win.

So what happened? He played all of four minutes, missed his only shot and did not have a rebound even though UK won by 19 points.

Kentucky-Vanderbilt postgame notes and numbers

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Kentucky Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
Vanderbilt at 23/19 Kentucky
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky., Jan. 23, 2016
Attendance: 22,975

Final Score: Kentucky 76, Vanderbilt 57

Team Records and Series Notes
• Kentucky is now 15-4 on the season, 5-2 in Southeastern Conference action. Vanderbilt is 11-8 overall, 3-4 in league play.
• Kentucky leads the all-time series 141-46 and has won three in a row.
• Next for the Wildcats: UK plays host to Missouri on Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Kentucky plays its best to throttle Vanderbilt 76-57


A week that figured to test Kentucky turned into a week filled with promise for the future.
Not only did Kentucky get an impressive road win at Arkansas Thursday, but the Wildcats demolished Vanderbilt 76-57 here Saturday.

And what made Saturday’s win so good was the way every player filled the role that coach John Calipari wanted. Tyler Ulis led Kentucky with 21 points, Jamal Murray 18 and Alex Poythress 16. On the boards, Derek Willis had nine and Murray seven. Ulis had five assists and Briscoe four. Murray had three steals.

Trying to pick top 10 UK basketball memories was no easy task


Recently former Kentucky basketball player Cameron Mills asked if I would consider writing a column about my 10 best memories from covering Kentucky basketball since 1975.

It turned out to be a much more difficult task than I envisioned because there were so many memories.

However, I finally got it down to 11 (no way I could have stopped at 10) and the story is now on his website if you would like to read it.

It may not be exactly what you expect but to me covering UK basketball has been more than scores and games. It’s been about the people I’ve had the privilege to meet along the way.

Russ Yeast: “I feel good about Kentucky, but I just want to look around.”


Junior receiver Russ Yeast has seen the social media uproar about him deciding to take an unofficial visit to Louisville a few months after he verbally committed to Kentucky.

He’s heard the speculation he might be ready to decommitt from UK over a lack of “love” from the UK coaching staff or UK not offering his father, former UK all-star receiver Craig Yeast, a spot on the coaching staff.

Calipari wants to see Labissiere “keep going” now


Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Freshman Skal Labissiere had 11 points, three rebounds and three blocked shots in Thursday’s win at Auburn and now Kentucky fans are hoping that is the start of his resurgence after six weeks of being basically a no-show to use coach John Calipari’s terminology.

So what about Labissiere’s confidence now going into today’s game with Vanderbilt?

“Well the first shot he took, I looked and I went, ‘What?’ And it went in and I said, ‘It better have gone in.’ But I think it built his own confidence and he’s gotta—he’s got work to do,” Calipari said Friday. “There’s no question. He’s gotta keep going, but he’s worked in practice.

Guest post: Numbers favor Kentucky by one point over Vanderbilt


Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

During the off season, much chatter focused on an anticipation that the 2015-16 Kentucky Wildcats would again compete in the final four. We recall all of the arguments. Coach Calipari has another #1 or #2 group of incoming players. Coach Calipari has led his youngsters to four final fours in six years, and won a championship. There will not be any dominant team or teams in the land in 2015-16 like there was in 2014-15. However, amidst all of this optimistic talk, early November did arrive, and in an Olympic manner, all proclaimed, “Let the games begin.”