No. 2 Wildcats Host Canisius on Sunday Night
After opening the season with an 87-64 win over Stephen F. Austin, the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats return to action on Sunday evening, facing Canisius at Rupp Arena. The game will be Kentucky’s second of three games in a five-day stretch to open the season.
|Canisius at Kentucky|
|UK||2016-17 Team Stats||CC|
|.263||Opp 3PT FG%||.422|
Kentucky was paced in scoring in Friday’s victory by a pair of veterans. Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe led the Cats with 17 points, while senior forward Derek Willis added 15. The Wildcats also got a big outing from freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox, who had 12 points and 12 assists in his Kentucky debut.
Two other freshmen were also in double figures for Kentucky, as Wenyen Gabriel and Malik Monk each had 10 points in the win.
Sophomore center Isaac Humphries came off the bench to score nine points and grab a team-high eight rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Senior Mychal Mulder made the most of his six minutes of action, hitting a pair of three-pointers and scoring eight points.
The Wildcats hit exactly half of their field goals (31-of-62) in the game, while holding the Lumberjacks to a 44.2 percent shooting clip. Stephen F. Austin won the battle of the boards, grabbing 36 rebounds compared to just 28 for Kentucky.
Sunday’s game will be the season opener for Canisius, which returns three of its top four scorers from last season’s team that finished 14-19 overall and 8-12 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The Golden Griffins rallied to beat Ryerson 99-95 in their only exhibition game this season. Kassius Robertson had 32 points for Canisius in that game, while Phil Valenti added 25. Canisius hit 14-of-28 from three-point range in that contest.
Sunday’s game is set for a 6 p.m. ET start, and the game can be seen on ESPN2.
UK Leads the Nation with 24 Players on NBA Opening-Day Rosters
The Kentucky men’s basketball team, the nation’s most prolific NBA player-producing program, once again leads the country with 24 players on an opening-day NBA roster. Duke came in second with 19.
Of the 449 players in the NBA to start the 2016-17 season, approximately 5.35 percent played college basketball at UK. Kentucky’s NBA dominance is best represented in Phoenix and Sacramento, where a combined seven Wildcats now play at the highest level of the game.
Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Brandon Knight and Tyler Ulis are all part of the 2016-17 Phoenix Suns roster, while former UK stars Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins and Skal Labissiere call Sacramento their home. Two other franchises – the Charlotte Hornets (Aaron Harrison, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) and the New Orleans Pelicans (Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones) – opened the season with two Wildcats apiece.
Using figures compiled by spotrac.com, Kentucky players’ current contracts alone are valued at more than $659 million. Caliparicoached players only (which includes Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans but not Jodie Meeks or Rajon Rondo) have nearly $751 million in current contracts. In just the 2016-17 season alone, UK players are slated to make more than $172 million. Calipari-coached players only will make more than $183 million. Over the course of their careers, Calipari players have generated approximately $1.2 billion in total NBA contracts.
Kentucky Picked to Win 48th SEC Title
The Kentucky men’s basketball program finds itself in familiar territory under the direction of eighth-year head coach John Calipari. UK is faced with replacing more than 75 percent of its scoring and 70 percent of its rebounding, yet a select panel of media voted the Wildcats to repeat as Southeastern Conference champions. Should Kentucky achieve that standard, it would mark the fifth regular- season title under Calipari and the program’s 48th overall.
It’s the 12th time since the 1998-99 season the Wildcats are the overall preseason favorite. UK was picked to win the title a season ago and did not disappoint, sharing the crown with Texas A&M. Calipari has directed his teams to regular-season SEC crowns in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Each school selected media members that cover their team and additional media from across the nation were selected by the conference office to comprise the voting panel. Points were compiled on a 14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Each media member also voted for two All-SEC teams.
UK Starts Season at No. 2 in AP Top 25
Despite losing 75.8 percent of its scoring production, 70.0 percent of its rebounding and seven players from last season’s roster, Kentucky is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 to begin the 2016-17 season.
The Wildcats picked up two of the 65 first-place votes in the preseason poll. Duke was ranked the No. 1 team in the country with 1,612 points, followed by UK (1,479), Kansas (1,476), Villanova (1,465) and Oregon (1,343).
It’s the sixth straight season the Wildcats have been ranked in the top three of the AP Top 25 to begin the year. Kentucky has been ranked in the preseason top five in seven of John Calipari’s eight seasons in Lexington.
Five preseason AP Top 25 teams are on the Wildcats’ 2016-17 schedule (No. 3 Kansas, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 12 Michigan State, No. 13 Louisville and No. 16 UCLA), including two top-10 teams.
Earlier this month, the Wildcats checked in at No. 4 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. The Wildcats also picked up two first-place votes in that poll.