Thursday, March 31, 2011

DeAndre Liggins: 'I'm one of the best defenders in the nation'


Two days before what figures to be an epic mano a mano with Connecticut star Kemba Walker, Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins put his defensive cards on the table.
"I'm a defender," he said Thursday at a Final Four interview session with reporters. "I'm one of the best defenders in the nation."

You got that right, DeAndre. Read the rest of the article at KentuckySports.com.

Read my February article about Liggins here.

Go here to see why this was the right choice to enter the NBA draft.

Kentucky: The Harrellson Hub

Sports Illustrated has a nice breakdown of some of the screens that UK runs using Josh Harrellson. Check it out.

Joey Votto named one of the Joe Posnanski's 32 Best Players in Baseball for 2011



Joe Posnanski put together a list of the 32 Best Players in Baseball for 2011. Joey Votto is #5. 

Here is his entry:

5. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
It’s early in his career, but I think Joey Votto has a chance to become the best player ever to come out of Canada. If I had to rank the five best players born in Canada, I’d probably rank them like so:
1. Ferguson Jenkins
2. Larry Walker
3. Justin Morneau
4. John Hiller
5. Jeff Heath
And I’d give special mention to Terry Puhl, Jason Bay, Russell Martin, Eric Gagne and especially Matt Stairs.
Votto’s skill set — as a high-average hitter with patience and power — makes him one of the best players in the game right now, and you get the sense that he’s not finished getting better. He was very good in 2008, markedly better in 2009, markedly better again in 2010. He also seems like a good guy, and a motivated one, which I think comes across in this story by the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s John Fay. Votto thinks he can get better.

Go here for the rest.

Cincinnati Reds opening day lineup


Here it is:

Stubbs CF
Phillips 2B
Votto 1B
Rolen 3B
Bruce RF
Gomes LF
Hernandez C
Janish SS
Volquez P

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kentucky Basketball history: Freshmen 20-point games


Brandon Knight has more 20-point games than any freshman in UK history.

Here is the list:

1. Brandon Knight (2010-11) - 14
2. Patrick Patterson (2007-08) - 9
3. Rex Chapman (1986-87) - 9
4. Terrence Jones (2010-11) - 8
5. John Wall (2009-10) - 8
6. Sam Bowie (1979-80) - 6
7. Doron Lamb (2010-11) - 5
8. Keith Bogans (1999-00) - 5
9. Dwight Anderson (1978-79) - 5

Jay-Z investigation

Jay-Z's trip to the Kentucky locker room may get him into some trouble since he is a part owner of the New Jersey Nets.

Go here for more of this story.

It’s Darius Miller time



Kentucky's Darius Miller is from Kentucky and won the coveted Mr. Kentucky Basketball award back in 2008. A picture of a young Darius Miller and Tony Delk has recently been circulating the internet. This guy has bled blue his whole life.


Go here for more.

Is Darius Miller the Best Sixth Man in the Country?

Elite Eight teams since the Wildcats last went to the Final Four



The Kentucky Wildcats are in the Final Four for the first time in 13 years. That is the biggest Final Four gap in Kentucky history. The next biggest is nine years.

Here are the Elite Eight teams since their last trip to the Final Four.

Miller and Delk

Check out this picture of a young Darius Miller and Tony Delk.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kentucky's Josh Harrellson: Is He This Year's Version of Duke's Brian Zoubek?



The University of Kentucky's Josh Harrellson has come a long way this season. Here's what the team was supposed to look like as the year began:

Starting five:

Terrence Jones
Brandon Knight
Doron Lamb
DeAndre Liggins
Darius Miller

Key reserve:


Eloy Vargas

When John Calipari took over in Harrellson's junior season, he wasn't a big fan of Jorts, and it showed in his playing time. Jorts only played in 19 games, averaging 4.3 minutes per.

Now, he is a possible late first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

Is Harrellson simply a new version of Duke's Brian Zoubek?


Rebounding

Brian Zoubek was known for his rebounding, but he wasn't as good Josh Harrellson has been this season. However, Zoubek did emerge at the end of his final season.

Here is how they compare as seniors:

Zoubek: 5.6 rebounds per game

Harrellson: 8.8

Here are their offensive rebounding numbers:

Zoubek: 3.5

Harrellson: 3.7

Harrellson is clearly better.


Scoring

Zoubek was not known as a scorer. He put up double-digit scoring in eight games, but they were mostly blowouts. A Zoubek bucket was a nice-to-have for Duke.

Harrellson has 13 double-digit scoring games, and now has done it in six of their last seven. UK counts on Harrellson to score.

Here are the numbers:

Zoubek: 7.6

Harrellson: 5.6

Another Harrellson advantage.


Defense

Zoubek was not very good on the defensive end; he could be overpowered by stronger centers. His main strength was rebounding.

Harrellson is becoming a force under the glass. He gave up some points to Ohio State's Jared Sullinger but made key stops when they were needed.

Now to the numbers:

Zoubek:

Defensive rebounds: 4.1
Steals: .68
Blocks: .78

Harrellson:

Defensive rebounds: 5.9
Steals: .9
Blocks: 1.5

Harrellson has the edge again.


Emergence

Both Zoubek and Harrellson were not projected to be starters for their teams at the beginning of their senior seasons. They both came a long way to make a difference for their teams.

Here are the minutes each received in their final three seasons:

Zoubek:

Sophomore: 10.5
Junior: 11.9
Senior: 18.7

Harrellson:

Sophomore: 9.3
Junior: 4.0
Senior: 28.5

So we see that Zoubek never really became part of the rotation, while Harrellson has emerged as a big man that other teams need to game plan against.

Zoubek played more than 30 minutes only once, which was in the title game. Harrellson has played over 30 minutes 18 times.

Harrellson wins this one.


Leadership

Both Zoubek and Harrellson have become leaders of their teams.

Zoubek just didn't play enough to be a leader on the floor, though. That team was led by Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.

Harrellson, DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller are the key veterans on the Wildcat squad.

The freshmen get the glory, but these three have provided the leadership that will take the team to the title.


NBA

On the surface, Brian Zoubek and Josh Harrellson have a lot in common, but a closer look reveals that Harrellson is the much better player.

Zoubek was undrafted. His next NBA game will be his first.

Harrellson will be drafted, possibly in the first round. He will play in the NBA for five years.


Answer? No, Jorts is not another Brian Zoubek.

Defending Kemba Walker



Way back in November, the UConn Huskies dominated the Wildcats at the Maui Classic. The final score was 84-67. Kentucky is completely different now, though. In that game Terrence Jones was the teams' leading scorer and Eloy Vargas was the leading rebounder. For the Huskies, Kemba Walker was and is their go-to player. He hung 29 points on the Cats in that game.

What will Coach Cal do to stop Walker in their Final Four matchup? Here are three options:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Three Wildcat questions and answers

While Kentucky is preparing to take on Connecticut in the Final Four, here are the answers to some common questions being asked about the Wildcats.

Go here for more.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Harrellson has a tough matchup with Sullinger

The Kentucky Wildcats are set to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on March 25, 2010. OSU is regarded by most as the best team in the country. One of the reasons they are so good is freshman forward Jared Sullinger. Sullinger can be unstoppable in the post. He is averaging 17.1 points and 10 rebounds a game.

What does Josh Harrellson need to do to contain Sullinger?

Brandon Knight in elite company

On Saturday, March 19, Brandon Knight lit up West Virginia for a career-high 30 points which carried the Wildcats into the Sweet Sixteen. How did Knight's stellar performance rank among the greatest NCAA tournament scoring games in Kentucky history? Knight is now tied with others for 14th on the list.

Here is a quick summary of who is ahead of him.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kentucky takes on West Virginia in round three of NCAA tournament

Kentucky knocked off Princeton in their first tournament game and now will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Read more here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Memories of the Cardiac Cats against Princeton

Kentucky won their first game in the NCAA Tournament in a nail biter. The final was 59-57. A layup by Brandon Knight with two seconds remaining sealed the deal.

Here is what I saw.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Terrence Jones declining

Terrence Jones' scoring and rebounding stats are on the decline.

I’m not trying to rip on Terrence Jones. He has been a major factor for the Wildcats this season. However, he is clearly in a slump. Against Princeton, Jones had two rebounds – his lowest total of the season. He is no longer the team’s leading rebounder. He did come up with a couple blocks (one huge block near the end), a three pointer, and 10 points but it was a game he would like to forget.
When Jones hits the NBA, he will have a tough time scoring but if he works on defense, blocking shots, and rebounding, he will make a lot of coin.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Princeton takes on Kentucky in the NCAA tournament

The Princeton Tigers will take on the Kentucky Wildcats in Tampa, FL on Thursday at 2:30. Once again, the Wildcats are loaded with potential NBA draft picks that have their sights on a title. Meanwhile, the Tigers would be happy to get past this game and play another on Saturday. The Tigers are the 13th-seed with a 25-6 record. The Wildcats are the 4th-seed and are 25-8.

Here is what you can watch for:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Five reasons Kentucky will win it all

My fearless prediction is that Kentucky will win the NCAA Championship this season. Here are five reasons why.

Why were the Wildcats seeded lower than Florida?

Kentucky beat Florida twice in 15 days. The first of those was at Rupp Arena. The second was in the SEC Tournament championship game. Kentucky has proven on the court that they are the better team. Yet, when the NCAA Tournament selection committee seeded them, somehow Florida ended up with a number two seed while Kentucky got a number four seed.

Click here for four reasons why this could have happened.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Which starter should coach Cal leave in?

The Kentucky Wildcats have five players averaging over 29 minutes per game. Most teams have two players who average more than 29 minutes a game. No NCAA champion in recent memory has relied so heavily on six players. Coach Cal sticks with his six players regardless of the score. For example, in the 31 point blowout against South Carolina, the other four guys on the team barely played. However, depth won't be the reason if Kentucky doesn't win it all.

Read the rest of this gem here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Remembering painful losses in Wildcats history

Here is quick summary of some of the most painful losses in the Wildcat's long history. All the big ones are listed.

Is Tiger Woods Better Than Jack Nicklaus?



Tiger Woods fan: Yes, Jack Nicklaus has more major championships than Tiger Woods simply because he played longer.

Jack Nicklaus fan: I say no.  Nicklaus played against Hall Of Fame golfers like Gary Player, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer.  Who can top that today?

TWF: I hear that all the time.  Had Woods not so thoroughly dominated his era, guys like Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els would have equaled the guys you named.

JNF: You aren't seriously arguing that you would take your foursome over mine?

TWF: All day.  Also, tournaments today have much deeper fields to beat.

JNF: I'm not sure the 50th best golfer of either generation makes a difference.

TWF: Of course they do.

Please click here for the rest of this discussion.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cincinnati Bengals: 6 Reasons Why They Should Not Keep Cedric Benson



Cedric Benson was the feature back for the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals.

He came to the Bengals back on Sept. 30, 2008 when the Bengals signed Benson to a one-year, $520,000 contract. He ended that season playing in 12 games picking up 747 yards on the ground and 185 yards receiving.

On March 3, 2009, Benson signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Bengals. Benson had a big season in 2009. He had 1,251 yards rushing even though he only played 13 games.

In 2010, Benson could not duplicate his 2009 success. He did grind out 1,111 yards rushing, but it took him 321 carries to get it done.

Here is why 2010 should be Benson's last season with the Bengals.

1. Benson Just Isn't Good

In 2010, Benson averaged 3.5 yards per carry. That total matched his 2008 number which was similar to his 2007 number (3.4).

According to footballoutsider.com, Benson was one of the worst running backs in the league in 2010.

Benson had three big games in 2010. The three teams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns) that he torched for those games rank 28th, 32nd (dead last) and 27th in the league in rushing defense respectively. In Benson's other 13 games, he averaged 2.1 yards per carry. Ouch!

One could make the argument that Benson's successful 2009 season was a product of the power running game. That year, they used an unbalanced line, two tight end formations and a fullback.

2. Fumbles

Benson has not been a fumble machine throughout his career. In his first five seasons, Benson only fumbled seven times.

In 2010, he matched his career total with seven fumbles which is second in the league. When the feature running back puts up less than three yards a carry in most games, he should at least be able to secure the ball.

3. Carson Palmer Needs Help

Teams that can't run the ball well put a lot of pressure on the passing game. In nine out of 16 games, the "bell cow" running back couldn't even pick up more than three yards per carry.

The Bengals usually handed off to Benson waiting for him to get his legs under him, struggling to get 2-3 yards per carry while the offense went nowhere and the team fell behind. Obviously, that won't work.

This kind of performance is what led Carson Palmer to chuck the ball more times than ever in franchise history.

4. Cedric Benson Is One-Dimensional

Cedric Benson caught 28 balls in 2010. That total ranks 30th in the league among running backs. Opposing defenses know that when Benson is in the game, if he doesn't get the handoff, they don't need to worry about him because Carson Palmer will rarely throw it to him.

The Bengals would be better served trying to find a dual-threat running back.

5. Benson Is Easily Replaceable

If the Bengals decide that they want a running back that fumbles a lot, won't get four yards per carry, requires 15 carries to "get it going" and doesn't catch the ball well, there should be a long list of candidates.

They don't need to look past their own roster to find guys that can give them what Benson does. Cedric Peerman and Bernard Scott are more than capable of being one of the worst running backs in the league.

6. Benson Is Old (for a Running Back)

Cedric Benson will turn 29 at the end of 2011. Historically, the drop-off for running backs is at age 30. Benson may be decent in 2011, but the end is certainly near.

Signing Benson to anything more than a two-year deal would be crazy. Even then, expecting a better season than the 2010 season Benson just put up will only lead to disappointment.

Carson Palmer: 5 Reasons Why He's a Good Fit for the Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer has asked the Cincinnati Bengals to trade him. The Arizona Cardinals would be wise to make an offer for Palmer.

The Bengals' owner, Mike Brown, has said he won't trade the unhappy quarterback. However, saying that is the only way that he can maintain any leverage in trade talks. Palmer would be let go if the price was right and may be traded even if it isn't.

Click here for an idea of what it would take to get Palmer.

Here is why Palmer is a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals.

1. Carson Palmer Can Still Play at a High Level

Carson Palmer played in the AFC North. The Steelers and Ravens are top defenses year after year.

Bill Barnwell at footballoutsiders.com says here that Carson Palmer had the second toughest "schedule for a quarterback who played all season."

Despite this, Palmer had a decent season. Here are his stats:

Quarterback rating: 82.4

Completion percentage: 61.8

Yards: 3,970 (sixth best)

Touchdowns: 26 (ninth)

Interceptions: 20

Palmer may not have the arm that he had in 2005, but he can still perform at a high level. The Bengals of 2010 were a mess offensively. They had a predictable offense with a poor running game (3.5 YPC), which forced Palmer to throw more than normal. Palmer would perform well in a better situation.

2. With Palmer, You Know What You'll Get

The Cardinals could draft a quarterback and groom him for the future.

However, even if they can get a quarterback, like Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet, or (gasp) Cam Newton, it will be a long road to the playoffs. All draft picks are a gamble. If an NFL team turns over the keys of the franchise to a rookie quarterback and he doesn't pan out, it sets them back years.

Everybody knows what Carson Palmer brings to the table. He is an average quarterback on some days, but an elite quarterback on other days.

3. The Cardinals Need a Quarterback Badly

Derek Anderson can still throw it, but he doesn't know where it is going. The Cardinals can stick with Anderson or roll with John Skelton but that seems unlikely.

According to this article Marc Bulger could be the Cardinals starting quarterback. Really? Bulger hasn't had a good year since 2006, but he is well rested at least.

What about Richard Bartel or Max Hall? Either of those obviously won't happen.

Well, they could try to get a free agent quarterback. There isn't anybody close to Palmer available, but Matt Moore, Marc Bulger, or Matt Hasslebeck are out there. Those aren't appealing.

Carson Palmer is the best quarterback the Cardinals could acquire that could get them back to the playoffs.

4. The Price Is Right

The Cardinals could work out a deal for Donovan McNabb. McNabb may be good for one or two more decent years but he is a little older than Palmer. The Redskins will probably want pick for McNabb but it may not need to be a first day pick. Also, the Cardinals would have to pay his $10 million option bonus. McNabb may end up getting cut.

The Cardinals could acquire Kevin Kolb. The asking price for Kolb is steep. The Eagles want a top pick and another high pick to go with it.

Well, what about Vince Young? Young has maturity issues and is a huge risk. He also will require a first round pick.

Palmer could likely be had for a second, or even third round pick.

5. Ken Whisenhunt Is on the Hot Seat

Arizona is probably not thinking of drafting a quarterback. Ken Whisenhunt is on the hot seat. Coaches in that position rarely want to mess around with a rookie quarterback. Instead, they go after veteran quarterbacks who are reliable and can deliver wins.

Carson Palmer fits the bill.

Kentucky Basketball: 5 Things UK Fans Hate About Billy Gillispie

Billy Gillispie has been back in the news lately as a possible candidate at Texas Tech, where he could replace the outgoing Pat Knight.

Gillispie's University of Kentucky years are not remembered fondly. He was fired and given almost $3 million to go away.

Here are five things that Wildcat fans dislike about Billy Gillispie.

1. Head Games

Gillispie always messed with his players.

He ran full practices on the day of a game, made Josh Harrellson sit in a bathroom stall for a meeting and told Jodie Meeks to quit at halftime in an NIT game.

2. Abuse

There are rumblings that Gillispie abused his injured players.

A lot of people blame Gillispie for ruining Derrick Jasper's knee. Jasper was coerced back on the court just a few months after having micro-fracture surgery on his knee.

One time, Darius Miller suffered a concussion in practice. Gillispie was so mad that he was going to make Miller walk to the team hotel instead of riding the team bus.

Gillispie made Jodie Meeks continue to play with a serious injury for over a year. Meeks eventually had to shut it down due to the pain.

3. Media

Gillispie was not good with the media. He routinely ignored their questions. He was awkward and uncomfortable when approached.

His run-ins with ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards were an embarrassment. Being a jerk to a female reporter on national TV is just dumb. It later came out that he had asked Edwards out and was turned down.

The Kentucky job requires the coach to open himself to the public and not be timid in the spotlight.

4. Embarrassment

Gillispie seemed to have personal problems. He didn't make sense in press conferences and looked stressed.

There were rumors that he had a drinking problem and that he was partying with sorority girls. It also seemed strange to many that he bought a mansion even though he was a single man.

5. He Didn't Win

Kentucky coaches are required to get into the tournament and make a deep run year after year. Gillispie just couldn't get it done. The Wildcats were bounced from the NCAA tournament in his first year and didn't make it at all in his second.

With 27 losses in two seasons, the decision for him to go was easy.

Cincinnati Bengals Draft: Should the Bengals Take Cam Newton?



Cam Newton was the quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, was clearly the best player in the country, won the Heisman Trophy, and led his team to a national championship.

Now, he will enter the 2011 NFL Draft.

Though at the moment the Bengals have Carson Palmer, there are still reasons they should take a reasonable look at Newton.

The following are 10 reasons I believe the Bengals should—or shouldn't—consider drafting Cam Newton.

No, the Bengals Sorta Have a Franchise Quarterback

Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, but he is stuck.

Owner Mike Brown loves Palmer and is doing whatever it takes to keep him. He got rid of Bob Bratkowski, per Palmer's request. Trading Chad Ochocinco is probably next.

Carson Palmer has been an average quarterback since 2007.

He had a decent 82.4 quarterback rating and was sixth in the league in yards in 2010. He threw 20 interceptions and was 24th in the league in interception percentage. Palmer suffered because he was asked to do too much. He needs to be more of a caretaker.

If the Bengals can find their 2009 running game and maintain their strong defense, Palmer is the guy you want running the team.

Yes, Newton Is a Play Maker

Just look at what Newton accomplished in his final year at Auburn.

He had 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air with only seven picks. He also put up 1,284 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. He even had one receiving touchdown.

This guy can do it all.

The Bengals can't have a statue like Palmer standing there waiting for something to happen and expect to win.

They need a play maker.

No, He Has Only Started One Year

Newton did play a year at Blinn College in Texas, but he has had only one year of Division I football as a starter. Bengal fans have not yet forgotten Akili Smith. Like Newton, Smith was a one year starter at Oregon.

Smith had big stats in college too. In his senior season at Oregon, Smith threw for 3,763 yards with 30 touchdowns and only seven picks.

Unfortunately, smith came to the NFL unprepared and was a bust.

Taking a first round quarterback can't be a risk. Choosing Smith set the franchise back five years. Newton could do the same thing. He is a very raw passer who needs a lot of work.

Yes, He Could Be Another Mike Vick

Mike Vick has shown everyone that a running quarterback can have success in the right offense.

The Eagles are running a spread offense that fits Vick perfectly. The Bengals could do the same thing. Many of the top programs in college football are switching to a spread type of attack.The spread offense will become more and more prevalent in the league. Getting a quarterback who can excel in that system makes sense. Newton also could run the wildcat offense.

Way back in 1992, the Bengals drafted David Klingler with the seventh pick in the draft. The Bengals made the mistake of not changing their offense to suit Klingler's skill set. If they avoid that with Newton, all will be well in Cincinnati.

No, Newton Would Take a Beating

Running quarterbacks aren't elusive or fast enough to stay healthy in the NFL.

Michael Vick has ridiculous skills, but even he takes shots and misses games. Cam Newton doesn't compare to Vick. He likes to lower his shoulder, but that will be difficult in the NFL.

If you hand $50+ million to a quarterback that gets hit a lot, it could be trouble.

Yes, the Bengals Don't Care About

Cam Newton has his share of baggage.

Aside from the pay for play issues, he also has had legal concerns. Only two years ago, he was charged with burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice. These days, he seems to be more focused on becoming "an entertainer and icon".

However, Newton has matured a lot. He's not a slacker like JaMarcus Russell. Newton is in great shape and is a hard worker.

No, Take the Proven Quarterback

If the Bengals trade or lose Carson Palmer to retirement, they should take Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett.

These guys are a lot closer to playing in the NFL. Newton is a high dollar project who will need two or three years to be a starter.

Yes, Cam Newton Is a Winner

Cam Newton does what it takes to win games. He is the reason the Auburn Tigers were 14-0 and won the national title. If the team needed him to run, pass, or even catch, he did it.

He has a rocket arm and great athleticism, but his ability to perform when his team needs him the most sets him apart.

No, the Bengals Have Other Needs

The Bengals have too many other needs.

They would be better off using the pick to add a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman, a running back, or a cornerback.

Yes, Newton Will Put Butts in the Seats

The Bengals are an organization that needs some new life. A guy like Newton will bring some fresh energy to the team.

They have a young, hungry offensive coordinator. Adding a dynamic talent like Newton would bring people to Paul Brown Stadium to watch him play.

Billy Gillispie’s Kentucky years



The Billy Gillispie era is not one that is highly thought of in the minds of Kentucky fans.

Here is a quick summary:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

10 things that would help the Kentucky Wildcats win it all

The University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team has struggled on the road.

On the other hand, aside from the Ole Miss game, their losses have come against quality opponents. In fact, they were in every game this season except for the game against Connecticut—they have had the 9th-toughest schedule.

Here are some things that would help them get a title.

John Calipari, recruiting machine and great head coach


John Calipari (Coach Cal) has been the head coach of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team since April, 2009.

Find more about Coach Cal here.

Top Kentucky Wildcat pro players of all time

I created a list devoted to the top professional basketball players from the University of Kentucky. There have been 71 players who have gone from Kentucky to the NBA/ABA. This does not include guys like Chris Mills, Rodrick Rhodes, and Michael Bradley who transferred to other schools before going pro. Don't feel bad for them, though. They wouldn't have made the list anyway.

To come up with this list, I used a formula I found here. It is called TRU. The formula looks like this:

fg + 3g*.5 + (fga - fg)*.7 + ft*.85 - fta*.35 + orb*.7 + drb*.3 + ast*.8 + stl + blk*.8 - to

I took that formula and plugged in career per game stats instead of cumulative so longevity was not a factor.

Click here to find the top 11 ABA/NBA players who came from the University of Kentucky.

What can the Kentucky Wildcats do to improve?

Kentucky has really been surging of late. They wrapped up their season with a win at Tennessee. The Cats have won four in a row and six of their previous seven. One thing that could hurt the Wildcats is the lack of depth, but the first round bye helps.

Read the rest of this killer stuff here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Isn’t it time for the SEC to disband the division format?

Click here to read all about the SEC Tournament format and what is wrong with it.

Who is the Kentucky Wildcats’ go-to player?

Kentucky has lost more than its share of close games this season. This is particularly true on the road. Part of the issue is that they don't have a clutch player who can deliver a bucket when they need it at the end of a game.

Effective field goal percentage (eFG%) can help us find the go to guy. It is a shooting stat that combines both three-point shooting and two-point shooting.

Read the rest of this spectacular article here.

Keith Richards – Life Review



Keith (Keef) Richards is the riff master. His 547-page memoir (written with James Fox) reads like a series of guitar riffs with thoughts meandering from one to the next.

The first third of the book is the best part. Keith Richards revisits his childhood and the formation of the Rolling Stones with lots of detail. I really couldn't put the book down. Here are the highlights:

Childhood

His mother, Doris, was very important to him. He spends a lot of time in the book on his childhood. He worships his mother, Doris, who bought him his first guitar. She ends up helping raise his first daughter. He didn't do well in school but managed to get into an art school where he could spend time focusing on the guitar.

Mick Jagger, who lives a few blocks away and is prosperous enough to actually buy a few records, and Keith love the blues. The two form a bond: "We both knew we were in a process of learning, and it was something you wanted to learn and it was ten times better than school."

The Stones

The Rolling Stones were the world's greatest rock band between 1966 and 1973. Keith says, "I used to set up the riffs and the titles and the hook, and Mick would fill in. We didn't think much or analyze....Take it away, Mick. Your job now. I've given you the riff, baby." He achieved the unique guitar sound of the Stones by removing his E string and playing in an open tuning. He spends a great deal of time discussing his musical influences and paying tribute to many of them. This is good stuff.

Keef should have spent more time talking about the music, though. One wonders if he doesn't remember a lot of it due to his drug usage. Some of the biggest Stones albums like Tattoo You are barely discussed. Great songs like "Shattered" and "Get off of my Cloud" aren't even mentioned.

When he does write about how songs come together, its great reading. It gets a bit better when he's writing about the albums late-80s/90s. He offers more details, presumably, because he was off heroin and remembered more.

Mick Jagger

Jagger and Richards obviously have a long history. Richards has high regard for Jagger's skills as a performer and song writer.

The best parts of the book deals with his slow estrangement from his longtime partner, Mick Jagger. Richards concedes that Jagger ran the business of the Rolling Stones from the late 60's while his focus was on heroin. When he finally kicked heroin, he was strangely indignant that Jagger continued to make decisions as he had all along. Why Jagger would suddenly think Keef was interested after not caring for so many years remains a question mark.

When Mick broke away from the Stones and makes a solo record: "It was like 'Mein Kampf.' Everybody had a copy but nobody listened to it."

Keef is quite bitter and whines about Mick's interest in Society, his egomania, his insecurity, his promiscuity, and even his small penis (was this necessary, Keef?). All of this pettiness and smallness makes Mick Jagger look like a saint for putting up with him for so long.

Drugs

In the South on their first trip to the U.S., a black musician told Richards how to cope with life on the road: "Smoke one of these, take one of these." Keith would move on beyond weed, Benzedrine, and cocaine to heroin. Heroin enabled Richards to work around the clock for days. He didn't take heroin for pleasure but it helped him cope with fame.

Keef did drugs with a number of people including John Lennon, his ex-wife Anita Pallenberg (who had sex with Mick, Keith, and Brian), and John Phillips who he regrettably shot up for the first time.

Contradictions

Richards felt betrayed that Mick recorded solo albums and wrote with other musicians but he did the same thing with Gram Parsons ("the only guy I ever slept with"). Later in the book, he speaks of how it helps him grow musically when he works with other musicians. Which is it Keef?

He also didn't like Jagger playing Rolling Stones songs on his solo tour. Yet, he played Rolling Stones song on his tour with the X Pensive Winos. Why is it ok for you, Keef?

He comes off as a crude and vulgar ruffian at times. For example, later in his career, he and a friend go into a bar with a DJ. When the DJ persists in playing Rolling Stones tunes, Richards flashes a knife at the DJ. Other times, like when smuggled a stray dog home from Russia, he is sweet.

He mercilessly rips Brian Jones and especially Mick Jagger but is willing to forgive anybody else for their flaws.

Tales

There are many myths revolving around Richards. He didn't have his blood transfused in Switzerland although he may have had some blood filtering done. He did snort his father's ashes.

Some tales are made up by Keef. For example, his trial in Toronto was completely fabricated.

In another part, he claims that he was confronted on a narrow ledge in the Atlas Mountains by a rocket-carrying truck and four police motorcyclists where he drove straight at the police escort and heard, a moment later, both truck and rocket exploding miles below.

I guess I'm saying that the reader should not believe everything written in the book.

Summary

People like Ronnie Spector, Jim Dickinson, Andrew Oldham, and Bobby Keys contribute with their versions but none of the Rolling Stones added anything.

But the final section just falls apart and can be skipped. He tells the reader of mundane stories about his various travels, how to make bangers, knife fight techniques, and such. I guess that is fine but I would have preferred more about Bill Wyman (who is barely mentioned), the death of Brian Jones, Altamont, the 1972 tour, Toronto, and how songs were made. Again, maybe he forgot all of this.

After wading through the 547 pages of Keith Richards' Life, I have to admit I have more questions than answers.


Go here for things learned from the book.

Will the lack of depth hurt the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament?


Many Kentucky fans have been concerned about the lack of depth on Kentucky's roster. Coach Cal plays three players over 30 minutes a game and six over 27 minutes per game. This isn't the 1996 squad which was so loaded it wasn't even fair.



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