John Clay: Cats need to get some shots up during break between games

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistDecember 31, 2013 

Kentucky's James Young (1) scored a three point shot as Louisville's Russ Smith (2) tried to block in the first half of the Louisville at Kentucky men's basketball game in Lexington, Ky., on Dec. 28, 2013. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

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Random notes to ring in the new year:

■ Kentucky did get a marquee win that should propel the Cats into conference play, starting Jan. 8, but there are still plenty of areas that need plenty of work.

Start with free-throw shooting. When UK made just 16 of 30 free throws against Louisville, it was the third time this year the Cats have made less than 60 percent and the eighth time in 13 games they've hit less than 70 percent.

And over the last four games, the Cats have made just 14 of 57 three-point shots for 24.6 percent.

■ Further proof that if you can schedule worthy opponents, fans will come to watch you play: A sellout crowd of 7,523 packed Diddle Arena in Bowling Green on Monday night. Ole Miss beat host Western Kentucky 79-74, but I think everyone got their money's worth.

■ With Chane Behanan out, Montrezl Harrell has to turn on the turbo jets if Louisville has any chance of making noise come March.

■ How many athletic directors do you think called Champion Baptist on Tuesday morning hoping to schedule a basketball game for next season? The tiny school in Hot Springs, Ark., was on the receiving end of a 116-12 blowout against Southern University.

■ Remember when the Cincinnati Bengals were the butt of every NFL joke?

The Bengals hired Marvin Lewis in 2003. Since then, the Cleveland Browns have fired five head coaches, including Rob Chudzinski on Sunday night after just one season.

Sunday, the Bengals will be making their fifth playoff appearance under Lewis. The Browns haven't been to the playoffs since 2002.

■ Speaking of the Bengals, the six NFL teams with head coaching openings could do a lot worse than hire either Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden or defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

■ That said, I think the Bengals will have their hands full Sunday with San Diego. No one expected the Chargers to make the playoffs. They have nothing to lose.

■ By last report, there are 10,000 unsold tickets for the Cincinnati playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium.

■ If I'm the Houston Texans with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, I'm taking Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

■ Tennessee made eight of 11 three-pointers in the first half and went 11-for-18 for the game in dumptrucking Virginia 87-52 on Monday night. "When you make shots, that's what you look like," Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin said.

■ Mike Rutherford of the Louisville fan site Card Chronicle on UK's Willie Cauley-Stein: "There were multiple times where one of Louisville's guards got in a one-on-one situation with WCS and felt the need to try and take advantage of it, and not once did it work out well for the Cards.

"He's also a seriously funny dude who would be adored if he suited up for the good guys."

■ Talk all you want about Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Kansas' Joel Embiid will be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

■ Last Sunday was further proof that when Randall Cobb is on the field, good things happen.

■ People will either love Tim Tebow as an analyst on the SEC Network next fall, or they will hate him. No middle ground. You know, like it is with Tebow now.

■ Saw where the top story in terms of page views on Coachcal.com for 2013 was the coach's five rules for dodgeball.

■ The three officials (Tony Greene, Doug Sirmons and Mark Whitehead) who worked the UK-U of L game last Saturday all worked the Final Four last year. It was Greene's seventh Final Four.

And to hear some of the fans complain — and one losing coach — you'd think the trio had never blown a whistle before.

■ True story: An Alabama couple named their newborn baby boy Krimson Tyde.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com.

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