Cat Scratches
Interactive Twitter Facebook

Video: Pre-SEC Tournament press conference

| No TrackBacks | 2 Comments
Performance of the Week

Anthony Davis | New Orleans Pelicans: 88, Detroit Pistons: 85
In Davis' first game back since reinjuring a sprained right shoulder on Feb. 21, last year's NBA leader in blocked shots made an immediately monstrous impact on both ends of the floor. Davis posted 39 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks and three steals in the Pels' win over the Pistons on March 4.

Cats in the Spotlight

Eric Bledsoe | #2 PG | Phoenix Suns (33-31)
Bledsoe averaged 14.8 points, 6.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds in four Suns games last week. Highlighted by the former first round draft pick's 19-point, 10-rebound, six-assist performance on March 6, Phoenix ended the week with two wins and two losses.

DeMarcus Cousins | #15 C | Sacramento Kings(21-40)
Cousins recorded three remarkable double-doubles in four games after returning from a sprained left ankle and bruised left hip last week. In a 124-86 win over the New York Knicks on March 3, the big man notched 22 points (and his second 3-pointer of the season) and 10 rebounds. However, his 29-point, 12-rebound showing on Friday and 27-point, 17-rebound performance on Saturday both came in five-point Kings losses.



Anthony Davis | #23 PF | New Orleans Pelicans (34-29)
In addition to his Performance of the Week effort on Wednesday, Davis continued his pattern of double-double outings in his second and third games back from injury. The Chicago native scored 29 points, grabbed 14 boards and blocked three shots in a 104-98 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday. The next day, NOLA bounced back with a 95-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, thanks to 23 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks from "The Brow."

Terrence Jones | #6 PF | Houston Rockets (43-20)
Jones began the week averaging 18.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest through his first four games, but cooled off on Friday with seven points (on 3-of-12 field goal attempts) and 11 rebounds in Houston's 114-100 win on the road over the Denver Nuggets.

Enes Kanter | #34 C | Oklahoma City Thunder (34-28)
Kanter anchored the Thunder with 16 points, 15 rebounds,and five assists in a 108-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on March 1. The Turkey native followed with two lackluster performances on Wednesday and Thursday, but OKC turned in a 2-1 record on the week.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist | #14 SF | Charlotte Hornets (27-33)
Charlotte's 21-year-old starting wingman averaged 10.8 rebounds and 10.3 points in four straight Hornet wins. Kidd-Gilchrist accentuated his week with 11 points and 13 rebounds on March 1 and 10 points and 13 rebounds on March 4. The Hornets beat the Lakers, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, and Toronto Raptors over the four-game span.

Brandon Knight | #3 PG | Phoenix Suns (33-31)
Knight dished out seven assists in all but one of Phoenix's games last week, complemented by double-digit scoring outings in all four contests. In the Suns' 105-100 victory over the Magic in Orlando, Knight recorded 28 points (on 10-of-12 free throw shooting), seven assists and three steals on March 4.

Jodie Meeks | #20 SG | Detroit Pistons (23-38)
Although Davis came out a winner on both the scoreboard and the stat sheet in Detroit's matchup with New Orleans, Meeks poured in 20 points of his own in the 88-85 Pistons loss. Two days later, in a 103-93 loss to the Houston Rockets, the sixth year veteran scored just seven points (4.5 below his season average), but recorded three assists, two rebounds and a steal in only 18 minutes.

Nerlens Noel | #4 C | Philadelphia 76ers (14-49)
In the midst of the most stellar rebounding performance of his young career, Noel made his presence known in every facet of the box score last week. The rookie big man posted three double-doubles, averaging 12.0 rebounds, 11.2 points, 3.6 steals and 2.0 blocks per game in the process.

Rajon Rondo | #9 PG | Dallas Mavericks (40-24)
Rondo's week was highlighted with 19 points and five rebounds in a 102-93 win over the Pelicans on March 2. The Louisville native finished the week averaging 14.3 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game over one win and two Mavs losses.

John Wall | #2 PG | Washington Wizards (35-28)
Kick started by 21 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks on March 3, Wall averaged 12.7 points, 9.7 assists, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks over three contests last week. Despite his efforts, two Washington losses sandwiched just one Wizard win on March 6, by way of a 99-97 defeat of the Miami Heat.


The Kentucky football team held its second practice of the spring on Monday morning.

To follow up a solid day of work on Saturday, the Wildcats took another step forward.

"Guys had good energy for a Monday morning, came out and had a real good practice," Mark Stoops said. "Still obviously got a lot of work to do, but overall pleased, pleased with their attitude, their effort. Playing a little bit cleaner. There weren't as many footballs on the ground today and execution was a touch better. Just overall pleased with the effort. Continuing to get better and work hard."

Stoops is preparing for his third season as UK head coach and is already noticing growth from his first two springs with his team. The evolution continues.

"It's just another year in the program," Stoops said. "As we would expect, just more progress, more bodies, a little bit cleaner, more efficient in what we're doing. We're certainly further ahead than we were day two last spring, but we should be, and that's good to see."

Under Stoops, UK has been blessed with continuity on the coaching staff for the most part, but a new face has been added to the equation this spring. Shannon Dawson is replacing Neal Brown as offensive coordinator and though two coaches' scheme is similar, there's learning to be done.

That's especially true when it comes to communication.

"They're getting signals from me, and then they're communicating with the group," Dawson said of quarterbacks Patrick Towles and Drew Barker. "That's all like learning a new language. It's like if I told you to learn Spanish in two days. That'd be tough, right? I mean just communication is -- and you've got some miscommunication. You've got the quarterback flashing signals quickly to the receiver and the receiver not getting it, which is typical."



Kentucky Wildcats TV has been there every step of the way with pump-up and intro videos documenting a perfect regular season. On Monday, they combined them all. With four more days before the Wildcats are in action again, check it out.

UK capped off a 31-0 regular season with a 67-50 win over Florida on Saturday. (Barry Westerman, UK Athletics) UK capped off a 31-0 regular season with a 67-50 win over Florida on Saturday. (Barry Westerman, UK Athletics)
Thirty-one up, 31 down.

What started with a 40-point victory over Grand Canyon on Nov. 14 ended with a 67-50 victory over Florida on Saturday afternoon. With a roster filled with McDonald's All-Americans, future NBA lottery picks and millionaires, it was the team that shined brightest throughout the entirety of this historic regular season.

"I would tell you what these kids have accomplished, and as young as they are, it's not winning every game; it's that they shared," UK head coach John Calipari said. "... This is a great story for college athletics, for society. Instead of me, me, me, it's us, us, us."

Kentucky (31-0, 18-0 Southeastern Conference) completed the first undefeated regular season by a power-five conference team since 1975-76. In front of a sold-out Rupp Arena crowd that was buzzing well before the opening tip with anticipation of what was to come, UK shed all the pressure and attention and played the team ball that has allowed it to succeed

"The first thing I want to say is congratulations to John and his team," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "What they've done may not happen again for a long, long time. For people that have covered their team, I think it's really important that people at least reflect in a real positive way of what they've accomplished this season.

"When you look at a team, so much of the team is based on chemistry, how connected they are, how they play for each other, share the ball, all those kinds of things."

Prior to Saturday's game, the Wildcats said they were not focused on 31-0 or the "pursuit of perfection." Instead, they said they were simply focused on defeating Florida because Florida was the next game on their schedule. They've preached the cliche "one game at a time" throughout the 2014-15 season, but they've also practiced it.

On Senior Day, with all of the attention and pressure of the college basketball world weighing down on them, Coach Cal decided it was more important for UK to recognize its three seniors, all walk-ons, by starting them.

"What would you have done if we would have lost this game?" Coach Cal said. "How many of you would have said, 'How could he do that, start these kids with this on the line?'

"Let's think about it. I keep telling you this is about these players, it's about them. What about those three?"

Junior Willie Cauley-Stein said their 31st win was for those seniors, Tod Lanter, Brian Long and Sam Malone.

"It wasn't even about the perfect season," Cauley-Stein said, who scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. "It was about everybody else, like the seniors. That's what it was about. We were playing for them so they could get in the game and have that moment for the rest of their life."

Following the win, the Wildcats donned blue T-shirts with "31-0" printed on the front in white, and "Not done yet" below that. Sophomore Andrew Harrison and junior Willie Cauley-Stein then took the mic and thanked the fans.

"We appreciate y'all coming out and supporting us and everything, but we're not done yet," Cauley-Stein said to a loud, approving roar from the crowd.

It's been a wild ride for the 7-footer from Olathe, Kan. As a freshman, Cauley-Stein and the Cats went to the NIT where they were ousted in the first round by Robert Morris. Then one year later, Cauley-Stein suffered an ankle injury in the Sweet 16 and missed out on playing in the Final Four with his teammates.

"The NIT thing was just bad," Cauley-Stein said. "It was just bad. I didn't really have any control over it. Last year was just - to see everybody else in the tournament was worse than losing.

"It hasn't really set in yet. It's just, everything happens for a reason. ... End up coming back and end up being part of history and end up doing stuff people didn't really think you could do."

The Cats did not have their best offensive performance against the Gators, scoring just 1.063 points per possession. But as they have shown all year, there are many ways for this team to earn a win, primarily through its defense.

Kentucky blocked eight shots against the Gators, including six by freshman phenom Karl-Anthony Towns - who also scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds - and held Florida to a season-low-tying 50 points.

Now, Kentucky will head to Nashville, Tenn., home of this year's SEC Tournament, where it says it will play for its passionate fan base that has shown its unrivaled support all season long. The Cats maintain, however, that whatever happens in the SEC Tournament, happens. They have much bigger goals on their mind.

"I feel like there's no pressure on the winning," Cauley-Stein said. "Everybody's like, 'Oh, they have to go 40-0.' That's not what we're playing for. If we lose, we lose. You're just going to learn from it and have a feeling in your gut that you're not trying to lose again. So, I mean, going a perfect season is great, but that's not what we're trying to do."

Karl-Anthony Towns had 13 points, nine rebounds, six blocks and three assists in UK's 67-50 win over Florida on Saturday. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Karl-Anthony Towns had 13 points, nine rebounds, six blocks and three assists in UK's 67-50 win over Florida on Saturday. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Karl-Anthony Towns had people buzzing again.

Kenny Payne, Kentucky's associate head coach, called him "one of the most complete players there is" after he helped lead the Wildcats past Florida and to the first unbeaten regular season for a power-conference team in 39 years.

Experts wondered aloud whether such performances could make him the No. 1 overall pick come June's NBA Draft.

Afterward, one reporter asked Towns whether he was "feeling it" after his latest big game, which caught the 6-foot-11 freshman off guard.

"Feeling it?" Towns said. "I was feeling the rim a lot. I struggled today."

Struggled, huh? His stat line begs to differ.

Towns posted 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists as top-ranked UK (31-0, 18-0 Southeastern Conference) pulled away from Florida (15-16, 8-10 SEC) for a 67-50 win. All Towns could think about, however, were the six shots he missed in 10 attempts, especially his 1-of-5 first-half effort.

"Every game I'm not going to be going 7 for 7, 10 for 10, 9 for 9," Towns said. "The only thing I can take out from this game is a lot of tape to improve my game and also just go back to the drawing board, see what I gotta do to get back."

Towns had set a high standard for himself over the last month, shooting an incredible 80 percent from the field in his previous six outings. That helps explain his seemingly harsh self-critique.

"The game's not always going to be as efficient as always," Towns said. "But like I said, if one aspect of the game's not working for you, you gotta go to the other aspect. I'm glad I was able to keep playing defense the way I was playing tonight."

He certainly had the defense covered. Towns blocked six Gator shots in his 27 minutes, helping hold Florida to 42.9-percent shooting and 0.82 points per possession.

"Just doing what I do," Towns said. "I mean, my sister always taught me when one aspect of the game doesn't work for you, make sure all the (other) aspects work. So I was just trying to be a defender out there, also. The offense was going to catch up and I'm glad it did, but it's a game where I definitely have to go back to my room and, I guess as we all say, have Karlito chew me out a little bit."

Karlito likely won't have much to say when UK's decisive run comes up on tape.

"When we needed him to play at the end, he played," Calipari said.

With 10:28 left, the Cats led by a slim 44-41 margin. Towns, however, spearheaded a 9-2 run that lifted the lead to double digits and began the celebration of a historic regular season in Rupp Arena. He scored four points, added two rebounds and a block, and started the spurt rifling a beautiful cross-court pass out of a double team to Devin Booker for a 3-pointer.

"He's got a great feel of how to play," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "And the thing I like about him more than anything is when he does get post trapped, he's got long arms, he's got good vision, he's a good passer for a big man, he seems to be willing to throw it out of the post."

As willing a passer as Towns may be, he still has moments, says Coach Cal, where his judgment falters and he tries to make "hero plays." His coach won't stop until those have all disappeared.

"Well, look, I keep trying to explain to Karl, 'You are so good, you don't have to do anything crazy,' " Calipari said. " 'So why do you keep trying to do crazy stuff?  You're too good a player.' "

Asked about his "crazy" plays, Towns smiled knowingly. He's still trying to strike the right balance between aggressiveness and recklessness.

"I guess I just play the game," Towns said. "I don't have (any) fear and if I have to do something that a lot of people say is very risky I'm kind of the guy that would be the guy who would try to do it. I guess, yeah, that makes me crazy."

Craziness aside, Towns has evolved into a go-to guy of sorts for a Kentucky team with unparalleled depth. There were times early in the season when he blended in, but no more.

"It took me some games," Towns said. "It's like I said, I went through the process naturally. I didn't make it artificial. I didn't try to rush everything. I just let it come to me and as time went on everything started to click."

He'll take the same approach to the next step Coach Cal is asking him to take.

"I'm on him because I want him to be the best," Calipari said. "I don't want him to be just a good big; I want him to be the best. He's working toward that."

Recent Comments

  • Linda Johnson: Willie Cauley-Stein, MY granddaughter is 13 years old and a wonderful basketball player. You are her Mentor. You are a read more
  • Phillip Dean: The Kentucky Wildcats are a favorite of mine and how no become an American Icon . read more
  • bluedome: GO CATS! BEAT NOTRE DAME! BE THE BEST TEAM FOR 40 MINUTES! C-A-T-S! CATS! CATS! CATS! #BBN read more
  • bluedome: GO CATS! BEAT NOTRE DAME! BE THE BEST TEAM FOR 40 MINUTES! C-A-T-S! CATS! CATS! CATS! #BBN read more
  • Jarrod Edelen : Baddest on the planet nuff said read more
  • Danny Napier: That move by Andrew reminds me of my older days! Except I had a quicker first step! Lol. Awesome way read more
  • Srinivas: After a long time I saw Andrew and Dakari smiling on the court, that means we are going to win read more
  • Debra H. May: Anybody who watches this game should view it as a cautionary tale against trash talking a superior team before the read more
  • Mary Clem: ALL I CAN SAY GO BIG BLUE BLUE IM FOR YOU ALL THE WAYS GOOD LUCK read more
  • brandon williams : I think that Kentucky is the best this year and i think that they can go all of the (40-0) read more