Sidelines with John Clay

Does this Tennessee basketball team compare to Kentucky’s 1996 champions?

John Calipari: EJ Montgomery was the difference against Florida

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari compliments the play of reserve forward EJ Montgomery in the Cats’ 65-54 win at Florida on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Montgomery grabbed key rebounds as UK won its eighth straight game.
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Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari compliments the play of reserve forward EJ Montgomery in the Cats’ 65-54 win at Florida on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Montgomery grabbed key rebounds as UK won its eighth straight game.

Some Monday notes:

Wes Rucker of GoVols247 stirred up a Saturday/Sunday Twitter controversy by comparing the current Tennessee basketball team to the 1995-96 Kentucky basketball team that won the national championship.

Wes tweeted a statistical comparison to back his point that there are similarities between the two teams. I’d beg to differ, but here’s the tweet:

Through Sunday’s games, Kentucky is now No. 6 in the NCAA NET rankings. Virginia is No. 1, followed by Gonzaga, Duke, Tennessee and Michigan.

Rick Bozich of WDRB thinks Kentucky can be a No. 1 seed come March. If Duke, Virginia and Tennessee are No. 1 seeds, why not UK for that fourth spot? After all, both Michigan and Michigan State lost over the weekend.

If the Cats could end up a top seed that would mean John Calipari’s club would surely be playing in the South Region, which finishes up at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville.

Jon Rothstein’s Top 25

Seth Davis’ Top 25

After the Kentucky men’s basketball team defeated Florida by 11 points (65-54) in Gainesville on Saturday, the Kentucky women’s basketball team defeated Florida by 11 points (62-51) in Lexington on Sunday.

And, oh yeah, the UK football team defeated Florida by 11 points (27-16) back in September. That didn’t stop Florida from honoring its football team for its Chick-fil-A Bowl win during halftime of Saturday’s basketball game against Kentucky at the O’Connell Center.

The UK women are now 18-5 overall and 5-4 in the SEC. The win snapped a two-game losing streak after losses to Texas A&M and South Carolina.

As for the UK men, Florida’s lack of depth hurt the Gators in its loss on Saturday, writes Graham Hall in the Gainesville Sun.

“It just seemed like we couldn’t score for a couple of days there,” said Florida coach Mike White after the game. “We couldn’t find a way. Tried a couple of different ways to generate it, and it didn’t work. I thought it affected our defensive energy a little bit. We have to be more accountable defensively when we are struggling offensively.”

I did individual progress reports on Kentucky’s basketball players, now on an eight-game win streak. Here is a Google spreadsheet of the individual game-by-game stats this season.

If you missed it, here’s the Kentucky football commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Kash Daniel has a starring role.

The OVC basketball race has turned into a logjam with four teams sharing the top spot in the league standings. Belmont, Murray State, Austin Peay and Jacksonville State are each 8-2 in conference play.

By the way, Morehead State is 5-5 in the OVC. Eastern Kentucky is 3-7. Morehead plays host to Tennessee State on Thursday and Belmont on Saturday. It’s the reverse for EKU. Belmont is in Richmond on Thursday. Tennessee State visits Saturday.

Sunday’s big college football news was Florida State’s dismissal of quarterback Deondre Francois.

Jim Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl, tweeted, “The breaking news that (FSU) dismissed QB Deondre Francois is not shocking to anyone that spent any amount of time around the program the past few years. Domestic assault charges aside, I cannot recall scouting a QB with more football character red flags than Francois.”

It has been tough year-and-a-half for former Western Kentucky quarterback and head coach Willie Taggart since he left Oregon to replace Jimbo Fisher at Florida State.

I didn’t think the Super Bowl was as boring as most of Twitter thought Sunday, but then I love football and I love the NFL. As predicted, Bill Belichick showed he can still teach the new geniuses (Sean McVay) a thing or two about the game.

Here’s my friend Mark Bradley on the Patriots’ victory in his hometown of Atlanta.

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