UK Football

John Clay’s notes: Kentucky meshes quickly; Duke will eventually

Kentucky Wildcats forward Marcus Lee (0) put in two of his 10 points as Kentucky played Duke on Tuesday November 16, 2015 in Chicago.
Kentucky Wildcats forward Marcus Lee (0) put in two of his 10 points as Kentucky played Duke on Tuesday November 16, 2015 in Chicago. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

    Random notes:

    ▪ We are used to John Calipari fielding freshmen-dominated teams. The current edition certainly has its elite freshmen, but Tuesday night’s win over Duke showed there is potential for a good mix. Veterans Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress and, of course, Tyler Ulis all made significant contributions. The 5-foot-9 Ulis may have been the biggest player on the floor in terms of impact.

    ▪ The play of Kentucky’s guards overshadowed Lee’s play. The junior turned in a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first of his career.

    ▪ To think that the Cats took the measure of Duke with only five points from freshman Skal Labissiere, who could well be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Not sure I saw that coming.

    ▪ Duke will get if figured out. Coach K will get it figured out. The Blue Devils are clearly not as good as last year’s national championship team, but they have some valuable pieces. Would not shock me to see Duke make it to the Final Four in Houston. Long way between now and then.

    ▪ Here’s a bit of trivia: Kentucky’s last three football coaches — Rich Brooks, Joker Phillips and Mark Stoops — were 4-20 in the SEC after their first three seasons at UK.

    ▪ Since 2012, Kentucky football has experienced four separate losing streaks of at least five games, which is the current number. Before that, you had to go back to 2004 when Rich Brooks’ team lost seven straight games before beating Vanderbilt 14-13.

    ▪ In his last two games, Patrick Towles has completed 18 of 47 passes for 163 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns. He has gone back-to-back games of 20-or-more attempts with less than 100 yards in each game. No surprise then that Drew Barker will be UK’s starting quarterback on Saturday.

    ▪ Moving Aroldis Chapman would be a smart decision by the Reds. Seemed new GM Dick Williams nearly had the “Cuban Missile” dealt to the Boston last weekend before the Red Sox acquired Craig Kimbrel from San Diego. Chapman is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.

    At No. 193, Charlotte is the lowest-ranked FBS team in Jeff Sagarin’s college football computer rankings.

    ▪ Xavier (Missouri), Dayton (Alabama), Colorado (Auburn), Southern (Mississippi State), Georgia Tech (Tennessee) and Chattanooga (Georgia) comprise the list of college basketball teams that have beaten SEC teams. So far.

    ▪ Could LSU really fire Les Miles, who has a 110-31 career record at the school that includes a national championship? Yes, it could. The Tigers have been fairly stable under Miles, but the school has a history of rash decisions and not much tolerance for losing, even a few games.

    ▪ Who knows why Andy Dalton reacted the way he did to J.J. Watt’s comment the Texans wanted to turn the “Red Rifle into the Red Ryder B.B. Gun.” Would have been better for Dalton to turn the other cheek, especially after a loss.

    ▪ Good to know there’s no hard feelings from Arkansas fans about Malik Monk picking Kentucky.

    ▪ Hey, Bret Bielema, I’m with you. The Arkansas coach is pitching the idea of an SEC/Big Ten Football Challenge, similar to the conference challenges during college basketball. I’ll take Kentucky-Illinois or Kentucky-Iowa or Kentucky-Michigan over most of UK’s future non-conference opponents.

    ▪ Kentucky’s 2016 non-conference opponents: Southern Miss, New Mexico State, Austin Peay and Louisville.

    ▪ Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings have Charlotte, UK’s opponent on Saturday, at No. 193, the lowest-rated team in all of FCS. Sagarin has Kentucky at No. 80. Sagarin has Western Kentucky at No. 53 and Louisville at No. 35.

    ▪ Like so many things in hype and sports, Ronda Rousey was invincible until she wasn’t.

    ▪ Speaking of invincible, can Golden State win 70 games? It’s certainly possible. After all, the Warriors are off to a 12-0 start.

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