UK Men's Basketball

John Clay's notes: All-for-one attitude key for Kentucky basketball

Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15), Dakari Johnson,44, and Karl-Anthony Towns, combined for 33 points as #1 Kentucky defeated Texas-Arlington 92-44  on Tuesday November 25, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff
Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15), Dakari Johnson,44, and Karl-Anthony Towns, combined for 33 points as #1 Kentucky defeated Texas-Arlington 92-44 on Tuesday November 25, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff Herald-Leader

Random notes:

■ A year ago, it was obvious the Kentucky basketball team was not a close-knit group. This year, it is obvious the bonds are much tighter. No doubt, John Calipari gives thanks for that.

■ Last Saturday, during his halftime interview, usually a blurb of meaningless pap, Bobby Petrino said his team would need to focus on running the football against Notre Dame.

So the Cardinals did. Petrino even used an unbalanced line, utilizing extra offensive tackles as tight ends to mash the Irish. For a Kentucky defense gashed in recent weeks, the video could not have been comforting.

■ Anyone upset over Rick Pitino's "We played four white guys and an Egyptian" line after the Cards slaughtered poor Savannah State on Monday has misplaced their sense of humor — if one existed.

■ Looking forward to Providence's LaDontae Henton visiting Rupp on Sunday. The 6-foot-5 senior scored 38 points in the Friars' win over Notre Dame last week.

■ Heralded freshman Myles Turner scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Texas whipped St. Francis 78-46 Tuesday night. Texas visits Rupp on Dec. 5.

■ So see, the schedule is picking up.

■ With the sudden resignations of assistant coach Adam Howard and staff member R.J. Rush, the waters are choppy for Tennessee's Donnie Tyndall. The former Morehead State coach is under NCAA watch for possible violations at his previous job, Southern Miss. Howard and Rush were with Tyndall in Hattiesburg.

■ Against the grain, let's stick up for beleaguered SEC basketball. Florida's Billy Donovan is dealing with multiple injuries. And LSU has a new point guard in Josh Gray, a transfer from Texas Tech. Both teams will be better.

Meanwhile, Anthony Grant appears to actually have some scorers at Alabama. That's something new. And Arkansas is 13th in the nation in scoring, averaging 89.3 points per game.

■ By the way, before Wednesday night's game at Southern Utah, Eastern Kentucky led the nation in scoring, averaging 102 points per game. The Colonels play at BYU on Saturday.

■ This summer, West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins held an impromptu news conference to assure fans that, despite a rash of transfers, the Mountaineers were going to be OK. What do you know, West Virginia was off to a 5-0 start entering Wednesday with wins over Boston College and Connecticut.

■ Monday night's home floor loss to Eastern Washington could not have helped Tom Crean's case at Indiana.

■ After shooting 19.6 percent against Kentucky in the Champions Classic, Kansas shot 59.6 percent next time out, Monday night's 87-60 win over visiting Rider.

■ Going into Wednesday night's late game against Georgia, Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer was averaging 13 points, 5.8 rebounds and 21 minutes per game. The former UK forward had made 18 of his 36 shots from the floor.

■ I would agree with Michigan Coach John Beilein, who at the end of his team's loss to Villanova in the Legends Classic on Tuesday night, complained about ESPN moving the tip of the game back 10 minutes because a MAC football game was running long on the network.

"Was anybody else bothered today by us moving back 10 minutes to accommodate ESPN," said Beilein, according to College Basketball Talk. "I mean, I love ESPN, guys. I love it. But when they told me that the game was being moved back 15 minutes, something is wrong.

"We have a whole bunch of guys with 8 and 9 a.m. classes tomorrow morning and we move that game to 10:15 so that a football game could be finished."

Beilein tweeted that the Michigan team plane didn't land until 4:22 a.m. "No college basketball game should start after 9 p.m.," he said.

Here's the thing: No one forced Michigan to play in the four-team Brooklyn tournament. Beilein knew full well Tuesday night's title game would have a late tip-off.

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

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