Big Blue Links for Wednesday:
Kim Anderson has cut down on Missouri’s rotation, reports Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune. “Probably an ideal number for me would be eight — eight or nine,” he said Monday. “But that doesn’t mean Tramaine and D.A., that doesn’t mean they won’t play Wednesday” at Kentucky. “It just depends on the matchups and the game and how practice goes the next couple of days.”
The zone defense has proved effective for Mizzou, reports Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star. Head coach Kim Anderson prefers playing man-to-man at the defensive end, but the Tigers shortcomings have made the Tigers change their approach.
Missouri’s newcomers working to break through, reports Ryan Williamson of the Missourian. “In Missouri men's basketball coach Kim Anderson's 32 years of coaching, he has often seen his freshmen players hit a point where they begin to struggle keeping up early season performances. Anderson saw it in himself as a freshmen, and he is seeing it in his four newcomers with the Tigers (8-11, 1-5 Southeastern Conference). The lull usually comes during the early to mid-parts of conference play.”
Never miss a local story.
Missouri faces a tall task at Kentucky, reports Brandon Foster of the Jefferson City Tribune. “Did we go there?” Missouri coach Kim Anderson joked Monday about last year’s 49-point loss in Lexington. “Did we play at Kentucky last year? You sure? You better check that out.”
Kentucky doesn’t want to check into Overlook Hotel, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Freshman-dependent team. Opponent tied for last place in the Southeastern Conference. Three days from facing a ranked opponent on a nationally televised stage. That is the setup for Kentucky’s game against Missouri on Wednesday night in Rupp Arena. A game Saturday at No. 4 Kansas casts a shadow that’s impossible to ignore.”
More on the “overlook” theme from Jeff Bartls of STATS. “Kentucky doesn't need to be reminded that each of its losses have come to unranked foes on days when it couldn't match its opponent's intensity. The 20th-ranked Wildcats are determined not to let seemingly inferior teams push them around again.”
Derek Willis has become a force for Kentucky, reports Tipton. “Derek deserves the opportunity to play because of his mental approach,” UK assistant Tony Barbee said Tuesday. “He’d admit he’s had a little laissez-faire attitude in his approach to practice. . . . For some reason it (changed) about a month ago.”
My notes column hits on Southern Miss’ football coaching change, UK basketball notes, some NFL title game leftovers, etc. “In the games he’s played this year, Tyler Ulis has been on the floor 91 percent of the time. Take out the South Florida game when Ulis played just 14 minutes before hyperextending his elbow and the point guard has been on the floor 93.8 percent of the time.”
Renewed focus on defense has helped UK, reports Keith Taylor of KyForward. “They zeroed in on doing their own what their job was for our team,” UK assistant Tony Barbee said. “I think they took on responsibility, each player. Instead of trying to say, ‘Let one guy do everything,’ they took it on. And on top of it, for two games I think we really guarded full possessions for the first time. We had breakdowns now, but we were at least – the mentality was let’s guard an entire possession.”
Kentucky signee Killeya-Jones keeps Chapel Hill in his heart, reports Tom Shanahan of the Raleigh News and Observer. “Sacha Killeya-Jones still considers himself a Chapel Hill resident, even though his time in the area is limited to returning home to his family during school breaks from a Virginia boarding school. But beginning next year his homecomings will be as a Kentucky basketball player. He signed with the Wildcats as one of the top recruits in the nation during the early November period.”
Marcus Lee is working to fix foul problem, reports Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal. “Lee has fouled out four times in Kentucky’s last nine games and a team-high five times this season. He has been whistled for at least three fouls in eight of those nine games and has hit the four-foul plateau six times in that span. With fouls limiting his ability to stay on the court, Lee has seen his scoring average drop from 8.8 to 7.4 points per game and his rebounding average drop from 7.2 to 6.7 rebounds per game.”
Tuesday’s SEC scores LSU 89, Georgia 85 Vanderbilt 60, Florida 59 South Carolina 84, Miss State 74 Alabama 63, Tennessee 57
LSU survives foul festival to beat Georgia, reports Ron Higgins of NOLA.com. “In case you didn't attend or watch the ESPN telecast of LSU's 89-85 SEC victory over Georgia Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, let's fast-forward to a recap of the second half: LSU fouls, Georgia shoots free throws, Georgia fouls, LSU shoots free throws. Repeat that sequence a ridiculous amount of times.”
Vanderbilt gets quality win over Florida, reports Adam Sparks of the Tennessean. “Vanderbilt’s best win of the season came on the backs of big man Damian Jones and point guard Wade Baldwin, who combined to score 44 points to beat Florida 60-59 Tuesday at Memorial Gym. Jones, a 7-foot junior, had 20 points and 12 rebounds on a night when the Commodores needed his best performance.”
Florida loses its offensive momentum, reports Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “Florida finished the game shooting 32.9 percent from the field and 31.8 percent (7-22) from 3-point range. Florida missed its first 11 3-point attempts. Florida trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half before going on 12-2 run, cutting Vanderbilt's lead to 44-40 on a Hill 3-pointer with 9:49 left.”
Michael Carrera helps South Carolina beat Mississippi State, reports David Cloninger of The State. Carrera scored 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs 84-74. South Carolina is now 5-2 in the SEC.
Tennessee collapses in final minutes and loses to Alabama, reports Wes Rucker of 247Sports. “A 15-point second-half lead turned into a 63-57 loss to the Crimson Tide in Coleman Coliseum, and the Vols were left searching for answers after letting another losing another game they had all but won. Tennessee (10-10, 3-5 SEC) trailed for barely more than three minutes and led for more than 31 minutes, but Alabama (11-8, 2-5) ended the game on a 16-2 run to commit highway robbery in front of a small but lively crowd of 11,429.”
Missouri men’s basketball 2015-16