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Kentucky vs. Alabama Notes

Gerald Fitch was the star in the second half of the last game with Auburn, scoring 15 second-half points

Gerald Fitch was the star in the second half of the last game with Auburn, scoring 15 second-half points

Jan. 24, 2003

No. 8/10 Kentucky Wildcats (14-3, 4-0 SEC)
vs.
No. 15/13 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-4, 2-3 SEC)

The Alabama Game
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Coleman Coliseum (15,316) January 25, 2003
8 p.m. ET

Press Conference Quotes

RADIO
UK Radio Network (80+ stations): Tom Leach, Mike Pratt, Dave Baker.

Listen Live

Gametracker Live Stats

TELEVISION
ESPN: Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale.

vs. Alabama

  • Nickname: Crimson Tide
  • Web site: rolltide.com
  • Series Record: UK leads 91-33
  • In Tuscaloosa: UK leads 24-20
  • Last Meeting: Jan. 26, 2002 - UA 64, UK 61

    Coaching Comparison
    Tubby Smith (High Point '73)

  • Overall: 270-108 (.714) (12th)
  • at UK: 146-46 (.760) (6th)
  • vs. Alabama: 5-3

    Mark Gottfried (Alabama '87)

  • Overall: 162-78 (.675) (8th)
  • at UA: 94-53 (.639) (5th)
  • vs. Kentucky: 3-1

    Did you know that Kentucky and Alabama are the two winningest programs in the SEC? The two squads have combined to win 1,432 SEC regular-season games (UK - 784, UA - 648), 48 SEC Championships and 29 tournament titles.

    Team Comparison

                    cats    tide
    Record          14-3    12-4
    SEC Record       4-0     2-3
    Scoring Offense 78.7    69.4
    Scoring Defense 68.2    62.1
    Scoring Margin +10.5    +7.3
    FG %            48.8    42.1
    FG % Defense    42.4    39.9
    3FG %           35.5    32.3
    3FG % Defense   36.1    31.1
    Free Throw %    70.6    69.8
    Rebound Average 36.0    38.7
    Opp. Reb. Avg.  32.3    34.4
    Rebound Margin  +3.7    +4.3
    TO Average      14.8    13.8
    Opponent TO     17.6    14.8
    TO Margin       +2.8    +1.0
    Blocks Average   5.2     4.3
    Steals Average   8.1     7.4 

    Probable Starters

    Kentucky 
    No. Name            Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl.  Ppg  Rpg Hometown         '03 Note
    44  Chuck Hayes      F   6-6 247 So.  8.8  6.2 Modesto, Calif.  Leads team in rebouding
    14  Erik Daniels     F   6-8 214 Jr.  9.8  5.7 Cincinnati, Ohio Season-low 2 pts vs. AU
    50  Marquis Estill   C   6-9 236 Sr. 11.1  5.5 Richmond, Ky.    Just topped 700 career pts
    10  Keith Bogans     G   6-5 213 Sr. 17.1  3.2 Alexandria, Va.  Double-figure pts in 16 games
    4   Gerald Fitch     G   6-3 188 Jr. 12.1  2.7 Macon, Ga.       Scored 15 of 16 in 2nd half vs. AU
    

    Alabama 2 Emmett Thomas F 6-4 205 Jr. 6.8 2.3 Birmingham, Ala. 20 pts. vs. AU 35 Erwin Dudley F 6-8 240 Sr. 14.1 10.2 Uniontown, Ala. '02 SEC Player of the Year 42 Kenny Walker C 6-9 220 Sr. 11.6 5.6 Jacksonville, Fla. Averages 2.1 bpg 5 Ernest Shelton G 6-3 190 So. 4.4 3.1 Memphis, Tenn. Has started seven games 25 Maurice Williams G 6-1 183 So. 15.4 4.0 Jackson, Miss. '02 SEC Frosh of the Year

    Wildcats Carry Unbeaten League Record Into Tuscaloosa
    Kentucky will look to extend its win streak to nine games and remain undefeated in Southeastern Conference play when it travels to Tuscaloosa to face the nation's 15th-ranked team, Alabama. The defending SEC champs have struggled to gain their footing in league play thus far, falling to 2-3 after a loss at Ole Miss Tuesday, but still defend a 28-game home win streak in Coleman Coliseum.

    The Cats have opened SEC play 4-0 for the first time since the 1998 season, when it went 8-0 to start the league slate and eventually captured the SEC regular-season and tournament titles as well as the NCAA Championship. Overall, the 14-3 start matches UK's best since the 1999 season.

    Alabama, however, has controlled the series the last two seasons, winning its first game in Rupp Arena in 13 years, 64-61, last January. The Crimson Tide, which earned a No. 1 national ranking in December, has lost three of its last four games with the lone win coming in overtime against Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa.

    With the Alabama game, Kentucky begins a run of three road games in its next four outings. The Cats are 2-0 on the road in league play and 4-1 on the road overall. The game also marks the seventh ranked opponent that the Cats have played this season, the third straight. UK is one of two unbeaten teams in SEC play, joining East brethren Florida.

    Following the Alabama game, UK will have an "open date" next week before resuming play at South Carolina next Saturday, Feb. 1.

    Series Information

  • This is the 125th meeeting between Kentucky and Alabama and the 45th meeting in Tuscaloosa, where UK owns a slim 24-20 lead. Alabama has won three of the last four meetings in the series, including the last two in Coleman Coliseum. Kentucky's last win over the Tide was a 66-54 victory in Lexington on Feb. 6, 1999. UK's last win in Tuscaloosa came on Feb. 19, 1997, a 75-61 decision.
  • Mark Gottfried is 3-1 against Kentucky as a coach. He's the only SEC coach to own a winning record against the Cats. As a student-athlete for the Crimson Tide in the mid-'80's, his Alabama teams were 2-6 against the Wildcats. Tubby Smith is 5-3 against Bama, including a 2-3 mark at UK.
  • Gottfried spent three years as the head coach of Murray (Ky.) State. Gottfried was highly successful at Murray, guiding the Racers to a 68-24 record and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances from 1996-97. The Racers claimed the Ohio Valley Conference Championship every year under Gottfried's leadership.
  • Now in his fifth season at his alma mater, Gottfried is 94-53 (63.9%). He's had two teams advance to the NIT, including the 2001 runners-up, and his 2002 squad claimed the SEC regular-season crown and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

    Common Opponents
    Kentucky and Alabama have had two common opponents this season, Vanderbilt and Auburn. UK is 2-0 in those games, while UA is 0-2.

       Opponent       UK       UA
       Vanderbilt  W, 74-52  L, 69-70
       Auburn      W, 67-51  L, 68-77 

    Kentucky/Alabama Connections

  • UK assistant David Hobbs coached Alabama from 1993-98, totaling a 110-76 record (59.1%) in six seasons. His first four seasons were his strongest at Bama, guiding the Tide to two NCAA Tournament berths and two NIT appearances, while rolling up a 78-46 (62.9%) mark.
  • Alabama's director of basketball operations, Darron Boatright, hails from Benton, Ky., and served as a student assistant on Gottfried's last two squads at Murray State.
  • UA trainer John Morr served as an assistant athletic trainer at UK from 1994-96 while pursuing his master's degree.
  • Former UK letterman/athletics director and Alabama basketball coach C.M. Newton has moved back to the deep South and now resides in Tuscaloosa.

    Vs. SEC West
    Kentucky is 1-0 against SEC Western Division teams this season. The Cats are currently riding a three-game win streak against the West, dating back to last season. UK's last loss against a team from the West came against Alabama last year.

    Overall, UK is 50-17 (.746) against SEC Western Division teams since the league split in 1992.

    Another SkyWalker?
    One name on the Alabama roster will be familiar to Kentucky fans - Kenny Walker. Alabama's big man has the same name as UK's two-time All-American who graduated in 1986. UK's Walker, who finished as the No. 2 all-time leading scorer at Kentucky, played in the NBA from 1986-95 and had his jersey retired to the rafters of Rupp Arena in 2001.

    Cats' Stretch
    The Wildcats have won eight straight games, their longest win streak of the season and the secondlongest in the Tubby Smith era. In 2001, Smith's squad ran off eight straight wins during conference play. Smith's 1998 champs won 13 straight en route to the title. UK then won the first four of the 1999 season to extend that streak to 17 games.

    Other highlights of the current streak include:

  • UK has held its last four opponents below 40.0% shooting and has beat its last three opponents by an average of 17.7 ppg.
  • Three of the Cats' last four opponents have scored 55 points or less.
  • Four different Wildcats have led the team in scoring in the last five games.
  • During the eight-game stretch, opponents have averaged 20.8 turnovers per game and topped 40% shooting twice.
  • In the four SEC games, UK has made 69 FTs while opponents have attempted 70.

    Fitch in the Final 20
    In several games now, Gerald Fitch has become a second-half scoring machine. Fitch's 2003 scoring totals 62 points in the first half, but 144 in the second.

    Fitch has totaled 16 points or more six times this season. Against North Carolina, Fitch had a career high 25 points, including 16 in the second half. At Vanderbilt, he scored 16 of his 18 points after the break. Then against Auburn on Wednesday, he had 15 of his 16 points in the final 20 minutes, after shooting 0-6 in the first half against the Tigers.

    Bogans Breaks Top 10
    Keith Bogans' 13 points against Auburn moved him past Ed Davender into UK's top-10 on the all-time scoring list. He now has 1,649 points and needs 95 more to reach Alex Groza in ninth place.

    Bogans becomes the second Wildcat in two years to crack the school's top 10 and the fourth since 1993. He also ranks first among active SEC players.

    Inside the Numbers
    The Wildcats are 14-3 overall and 4-0 in SEC play including a 6-1 record at home... 10 Wildcats average nine minutes or more per game and Keith Bogans leads all Cats with 30.4 mpg... Marquis Estill has won the opening tip in all 17 games for UK... The Wildcats' 48.8% FG shooting is the highest since the 1988 season... UK has topped 50% shooting nine times this season, after achieving the mark only six times all of last season... UK is 9-0 when shooting 50% or better... The Cats have won all 13 games when leading inside the last five minutes... UK has used four starting lineups.

    Road Warriors
    UK has opened the season with a 4-1 record on the road with wins over North Carolina, Tulane, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The only loss on an opponent's court this year came to Louisville on Dec. 28. UK has won eight straight games since that loss.

    National Exposure
    This marks UK's 11th appearance on national television this season. UK is 7-3 on either ESPN or CBS. The Cats will appear on national TV 16 times during the 2002-03 regular season, including 10 ESPN appearances and six games on CBS.

    Power Rankings
    Jeff Sagarin ranks the Wildcats seventh in his latest power poll. UK's schedule rates 14th nationally.
    Sagarin Rankings
    Kentucky - 7th(14th)
    Alabama - 32nd (26th)

    Better Attempts
    The Wildcats are shooting 48.8% from the field this season, the best mark by a UK team since the 1988 season.

    The Cats have topped 50.0% shooting in nine games this season, including five of the last eight. Last year, UK topped the mark just six times.

    Delivering on Defense
    Tubby Smith made it clear entering league play that he wasn't happy with his team's defense this season.

    Since then, the Cats have held their last four opponents under 40.0% shooting, including a season-low 34.4% mark by No. 10 Notre Dame.

    Only two teams have topped 50.0% shooting against the Cats this season, Tennessee State and UT. UK still managed to win both outings.

    Vs. Ranked Opponents
    UK owns a 5-1 record this season against ranked opponents with wins over two top-10 teams. (AP ranking at time of game)

    Opponent Date Result Score #20 Gonzaga 11/27 W 80-72 #12 North Carolina 12/7 W 98-81 #21 Michigan St. 12/14 L 67-71 #6 Indiana 12/21 W 70-64 #10 Notre Dame 1/18 W 88-73 #24 Auburn 1/22 W 67-51

    The Cats also lost at Louisville, a team unranked at the time that currently has moved into the top 10.

    The SEC is loaded, with three other ranked opponents in this week's polls -- Florida, Georgia and Mississippi State.

    Go Figure
    In all games, Kentucky ranks second in the SEC in scoring and third in FG percentage... On the flip side, the Cats rank 11th in scoring defense, ninth in FG percentage defense and 12th in 3FG defense... In four league games, UK ranks fourth in scoring offense and third in FG percentage, yet, it's improved to first in scoring defense and third in both FG percentage defense and 3FG defense... In all games, three Eastern Division teams lead the SEC in scoring -- Georgia, UK and Florida... The six Western Division teams, however, lead the league in scoring defense.

    Foul Shooting?
    Kentucky has significantly improved its free throw shooting this season, hitting 70.6%, the best since the 1996 championship season.

    Each Cat began shooting 100 free throws prior to practice over the holiday break. In seven of the last nine games, UK has topped 70.0%.

    Chuck Hayes has been Kentucky's most consistent shooter from the charity stripe, hitting 79.7% of his shots this season to rank fourth in the SEC. He's hit 34 of his last 39 attempts.

    New Year's Cats
    UK is 7-0 to start the month in 2003. Last year, the Cats were 6-3 in January with all three losses coming at the hands of ranked SEC teams.

    Throughout the 100-season history of the basketball program, Kentucky has enjoyed success in the month of January. UK owns a 517-176 overall record in the year's first month for a .746 winning percentage.

    The Cats' last undefeated January was 1998.

    Milestones

  • Keith Bogans has 216 career threes and sits in second place on UK's all-time list of made threes. Tony Delk is the school leader with 283. Bogans also ranks second in career three-point attempts.
  • After recording three blocks against Auburn, Jules Camara advanced to fifth place on the Wildcats' all-time blocked-shots list. Camara now has 144 career blocks and needs 68 to reach fourth place.

    Swat Team
    Marquis Estill and Jules Camara, the Wildcats' tandem at center, have totaled 57 blocked shots this season. Against Auburn on Jan. 22, Estill had two rejections while Camara added three. Estill is fourth and Camara ranks seventh in the SEC in blocked shots.

    SEC Domination

  • UK is a charter member of the SEC and since the league's inception in 1932-33, the Cats have been the most dominant team, recording a 784-212 mark (78.7%) during regular-season SEC play. No other team has won more than 648 regular-season SEC games (Alabama) and no other team has a better winning percentage. UK has averaged 11.3 wins and 3.1 losses per season during its SEC tenure.
  • The Wildcats have won 41 SEC titles and 23 SEC Tournament Championships, more titles than the other teams combined.
  • Kentucky has won eight of the last 11 SEC Tournament titles.
  • Tubby Smith is in his eighth season in the SEC, his sixth at Kentucky. In SEC regular-season play, he's 82-34 (70.7%). He's captured three SEC Championships and four SEC Eastern Division crowns in five seasons in the Bluegrass. He also owns a 13-4 record in seven SEC Tournament appearances, winning three titles.

    Rupp Arena

  • Kentucky is in its 27th season at Rupp Arena, where the Wildcats own a 346-40 (89.6%) record.
  • The Cats have won the national attendance title the past seven seasons. Overall, the Wildcats have won 15 national attendance titles in the building.

    Estill Holds Record Mark
    Senior Marquis Estill owns the school record for FG percentage. So far this year, he's 78-of-131 from the field (59.5%), and for his career, he's shooting 60.9%.

    Estill ranks ahead of the school's previous record holder, Charles Hurt (1980-83), who shot 59.3 percent. Estill will own the school record should he maintain the pace throughout the season. He captured the record once he surpassed the minimum 200 made during the Maui Invitational. The 6-9 center can earn a fourth year of eligibility should he graduate by the start of the fall semester of 2003.

    Career FG Percentage (Min. 200 made)
    60.9 Marquis Estill (274-450) - 2001-03
    59.3 Charles Hurt (303-511) - 1980-83
    59.1 M. Turpin (626-1059) - 1981-84
    58.1 Rick Robey (533-917) - 1975-78
    57.1 Kenny Walker (765-1339) - 1983-86

    Double-Doubles
    Kentucky got its fourth double-double performance of the season after a 17-point, 16-rebound performance, both career bests, by Chuck Hayes against Notre Dame. It was his third career double-double and second of the season after an 11-point, 12-rebound performance in the win over Ohio.

    On Dec. 30, Marquis Estill had a 15-point, 11-rebound effort against Tennessee State. It also was Estill's second career double-double.

    Earlier this year, Jules Camara totaled 12 points and 10 rebounds in relief against Virginia, his fifth career double-double.

    Cats in the Polls
    Kentucky bounced back into the nation's top 10 after beating No. 10 Notre Dame last Saturday. It's the eighth-ranked Cats' first top-10 appearance in the AP poll since last February. UK is ranked 10th in the coaches poll.

    The Wildcats were ranked 17th in both preseason polls.

    Next Opponent
    The Cats enjoy a rare mid-week break before traveling to Columbia, S.C., to face the Gamecocks for the second time this season. The Cats earned a 62-55 win over USC in Lexington on Jan. 11.

    Last Time Out
    Kentucky forced 26 Auburn turnovers and held its opponent under 40.0% shooting for the fourth time in a row en route to a 67-51 win.

    Gerald Fitch led the Wildcats with 16 points, 15 of which came in the second half. UK held the SEC's No. 2 scorer, Marquis Daniels, to 11 points, eight below his average.

    Three Mania
    Kentucky ranks third nationally in consecutive games with a made three-pointer. The Wildcats have hit a three-pointer in 490 consecutive games, which trails UNLV and Vanderbilt.

    The Wildcats' last game without a three-pointer came 14 seasons ago against Seton Hall on Nov. 26, 1988, a "three-point" loss in the Great Alaska Shootout.

    SEASON NOTES

    100th Season
    The Cats are playing their 100th season of basketball this year. The Cats have a number of events planned throughout the season, including fan balloting, which concluded at the end of December, for the program's greatest players, games and moments. The celebration includes replays of the top 10 games on radio, a 25-year reunion of the 1978 NCAA Champs and four special-edition bobble-head dolls that fans can collect. The celebration concludes with an all-letterman reunion on Feb. 23 at the MSU game.

    Kentucky celebrates unparalleled tradition, including seven NCAA titles, the most wins in college basketball, the best winning percentage in college hoops, the most consensus All-Americans, the most AP top-10 finishes, the most SEC Championships and tournament crowns and 15 national attendance titles.

    Its first bobble-head promotion was held at the home opener when 500 lucky students received a Kyle Macy bobble-head. The second bobble-head was Adolph Rupp, which debuted against Michigan State. A third made its way out of the bag before the Indiana game -- Tubby Smith. The last of the series, Cawood Ledford, was unveiled for the Notre Dame game, Jan. 18.

    Hayes Fever
    Chuck Hayes has been a consistent threat for the Wildcats over the past two seasons, but on Jan. 18 against Notre Dame, Hayes had his best game at Kentucky.

    The Modesto, Calif., native recorded 17 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks and five assists, all career bests.

    Hayes collected three blocks within the first six minutes of the game and dominated the glass, pulling down 13 defensive rebounds in the win.

    Hayden Dies
    Basil Hayden, the Wildcats' first All-American in 1921, passed away on Jan. 9, in Paris, Ky. He was 103.

    Hayden lettered for the Wildcats from 1919-22, leading the Cats to the 1921 Southern Intercollegiate Tournament Championship. The four-game event, played in Atlanta, was the first basketball tournament held in the South, and many believe, the first played in the nation. The Cats beat Tulane, Mercer, Mississippi A& M and Georgia to capture the trophy and finish the season with a 13-1 record.

    Hayden injured his knee in the high jump prior to his senior season and while he played, was less effective. He later returned as coach of the Wildcats, but after leading UK to a 3-13 record, decided coaching was not in his blood.

    Tale of Two Halves
    Kentucky battled back from a 14-point first-half deficit against Vanderbilt on Jan. 14 to win the game, 74-52.

    Down 36-28 at the half, UK used a 25-3 run to start the second half, virtually shutting the Commodores down in the final period. The Cats outscored VU 46-16 in the half. Prior to the game, UK was outscoring its opponents by 7.0 ppg in the first half, but just 1.9 ppg in the second stanza.

    The Wildcats tallied 12 second-half steals, converting to 17 points off turnovers in the final period. UK limited Vandy to just one offensive rebound in the second half and the 'Dores had more turnovers (13) than FGs (4) in the second half.

    SEC Openers
    With the win over Tennessee on Jan. 8, Kentucky is 54-16 all-time in SEC openers and has won 15 of its last 16 league debuts. Its only loss during the stretch came last year at Mississippi State, a 74-69 decision in overtime.

    Bogans Off the Bench
    In his 113 career games at UK, Keith Bogans has played a reserve role just 13 times, but he's played the role well. The senior averages 10.8 ppg off the bench and has scored in double digits eight times.

    Bogans' most recent outing as a reserve came against Tennessee where he led the team with 20 points and nine rebounds. He's started 13 of 14 games this year and 100 games in his career.

    GOOD-bye 2002!
    Kentucky ended the 2002 calender year with a bang, earning a 115-87 win over Tennessee State on Dec. 30. The victory included many season highs, including: points (115), three-pointers (11), rebounds (52), rebounding margin (+31), steals (12) and margin of victory (+32).

    The Wildcats were 21-11 overall in 2002.

    December Embers
    The Wildcats completed a rugged December schedule, which included three road games and games against three ranked opponents, with a 5-2 record.

    All-time, UK holds a 431-103 mark (.807) in the month of December. Last season, the Cats went 5-1 in the year's final month with their only loss coming at the hands of then-No. 1 Duke in the Jimmy V Classic.

    The Hawk Returns
    Point guard Cliff Hawkins returned to the court against IU on Dec. 21 after missing the Cats' first seven games. The junior was ineligible for the fall semester after academic troubles.

    Hawkins showed he hadn't missed a beat when he entered the game mid-way through the first half. The Dumfries, Va., native totaled four points, five rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes.

    The highlight of his return came late in the game when he timed an alley-oop pass to Jules Camara for a dunk.

    Fitch Named SEC and TSN's POW
    Gerald Fitch recorded back-to-back career highs - 18 points against High Point, 25 against No. 12 North Carolina - in early December to lead the Wildcats to consecutive wins, earning SEC Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. He also was recognized nationally as The Sporting News' Player of the Week.

    Fitch shot 68.2% from the field for the week and 75.0% from three-point range against the two teams. Against High Point, he totaled a career-high six assists as well. Against UNC, he scored 16 of his 25 in the decisive second half as UK rallied from a 43-40 halftime deficit. Fitch, normally a two-guard, was playing at point guard in the absence of 2002 starter Cliff Hawkins. He averaged 21.5 ppg and 4.0 apg for the week.

    Triple Trouble
    Three Wildcats topped the 20-point mark in UK's win over UNC on Dec. 7, making it the first time in 13 seasons that three players scored 20 points in the same game. Gerald Fitch led the team with a career-high 25 points, while Keith Bogans and Marquis Estill each added 20. All of Estill's points came in the decisive second half.

    The last group to accomplish the feat included current UK assistant coach Reggie Hanson. With Tubby Smith on the sidelines as an assistant coach, Hanson combined his 20 points with 21 by Deron Feldhaus and a 40-point burst from Derrick Miller for a 100-73 win over Vanderbilt on Feb. 7, 1990.

    Long-Range Love
    UK was 10-of-16 from treyville against UNC, connecting on 62.5% of its shots, which would be a school record had the Cats made the minimum 20 threes needed.

    It was the highest three-point percentage since UK hit 63.6% of its shots against Wake Forest during its 1996 march to the national title. UK was 7-of-11 from outside in that game.

    Daniels' Solid Return
    Junior Erik Daniels, who was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating NCAA rules governing summer league play, had a stellar return against North Carolina on Dec. 7. Daniels shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, including 1-of-1 from three-point land, for nine points, while grabbing five rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.

    His productive start was reminiscent of his freshman season when the Cincinnati native missed the opener after having his knee scoped in the preseason. He returned against UCLA and over the course of the next three games was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field.

    Home Openers
    With the win over High Point, Kentucky is now 85-15 all-time in home openers. Nine of those losses occurred before Adolph Rupp began coaching in 1930. The Cats are 66-6 since 1930, losing the home opener in 1955 to Temple, 1962 to Va. Tech, 1972 to Iowa, 1988 to Northwestern State, 2000 to Penn State and last season to Western Kentucky.

    UK now stands at 24-3 in home openers at Rupp Arena.

    Maui Invitational Results

  • Kentucky finished in third place at the 19th annual Maui Invitational. Kentucky beat Arizona State in the first round before getting upset by Virginia in the semifinals. The Wildcats then beat No. 20 Gonzaga in the consolation game. It was the third appearance for UK in the Maui Invitational. The Cats are now 7-2 all-time in the tournament, earning a championship in 1993 and a third-place finish in 1997 in their two previous appearances.
  • Keith Bogans averaged 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game to earn All-Tournament team honors. UK rival Indiana beat Virginia to claim the 2002 title.
  • Well more than 500 Kentucky fans made the trip to the Maui Invitational to cheer on the Wildcats. UK chartered an L1011, and along with an official traveling party of 55 team and school personnel, an additional 300 fans were aboard the plane. Also, another 150 fans purchased the trip through Commonwealth Travel in Lexington and flew commercially. Others made the trip via additional travel agencies or on their own to help give the Wildcats the largest cheering section among the eight participating teams.

    PRESEASON NOTES

    e-RUPP-tion Zone
    Once again this season, Rupp Arena debuts new upgrades, including all blue seats in the lower level, a new concourse, a standing-room only "eRUPP-tion Zone" for the student body and a media press box, all totaling $5.1 million. The new purple concourse is two levels, replacing the old one-level boxed concession stand. It features greater concession stand access and more restrooms. The "eRUPPtion Zone" moved 400 season ticket holders to other seats in lower arena and moves the band and nearly 700 students into the end zone nearest UK's bench. It also gives students access to floor-level seating, er, standing. A UK junior from Lincolnton, N.C., Andy Acker, named the area in a contest among the student body. His entry was picked from nearly 200 submissions.

    Returning Production
    UK lost just one starter off its 2002 Sweet 16 team (Tayshaun Prince), but returned just 67.1% of its scoring from a year ago. Here's the complete breakdown:
    Points 67.1%
    Rebounds - 76.6%
    Assists - 81.7%
    Blocks - 67.3%
    Steals - 77.4%

    SEC Preseason Poll
    The Wildcats were picked to finish third in the SEC Eastern Division in a preseason poll of media members. UK, which has not finished lower than second since the league split into divisions in 1992, also was predicted to finish fourth in the race for the SEC regular-season crown.

    Keith Bogans was the only Wildcat picked as either first- or second-team preseason All-SEC poll. The first team included Erwin Dudley (Alabama), Mario Austin (Miss. State), Jarvis Hayes (Georgia), Maurice Williams (Alabama), and Brett Nelson (Florida). The second team included Bogans, Ronald Dupree (LSU), Matt Bonner (Florida), Ezra Williams (Georgia) and Derrick Zimmerman (Miss. State).

    BIG BLUE MANIA

    Great Games Replayed
    Host Communications and the UK Radio Network are re-broadcasting the top-10 UK games as voted on by the fans this past fall.

    Last week, the Kentucky-Duke game from 1992 was replayed. Most recognize that East Region final as the "greatest college basketball game ever played." Most notably for Big Blue fans, it was Cawood Ledford's last call as Voice of the Wildcats. The game aired on the UK Radio Network, which includes WLAP in Lexington, WHAS in Louisville and WCKY in Cincinnati. The game ranks seventh in the fans' poll.

    Previous games already aired include, No. 10 -- UK -Louisville 1983, the original "Dream Game"; No. 9 -- UK-LSU in '90, when the outmanned Wildcats shot down Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Jackson; and No. 8 -- UK-Kansas in '78, when Dwight Anderson and Kyle Macy led the Cats to a 67-66 win after trailing by six with 30 seconds to play.

    There will be no game this Sunday due to the Super Bowl. No. 6 on the list, which has not been disclosed yet, will air Feb. 2.

    Cheerleaders' String Snapped
    The Kentucky cheerleaders had their string of eight consecutive national championships ended on Jan. 11 when UK finished second to Central Florida at the UCA Championships in Orlando.

    Kentucky has won the title 12 times, but not since 1994 has a team other than the Wildcats captured the crown until Central Florida.

    The UK pom squad finished ninth nationally and Scratch, one of two UK mascots, placed 11th in the mascot competition.

    ESPN Classic Announces UK Day
    In honor of the Wildcats' 100 years of basketball, ESPN Classic has scheduled replays of five Kentucky basketball games back-to-back on the network on Sunday, Feb. 2. Cable or dish subscribers should check with their local cable companies to subscribe to ESPN Classic. The lineup includes:

  • 10 a.m. UK at LSU (2-15-94) - UK rallied from 31 points down with 15 minutes to play for the 99-95 victory.
  • Noon UK vs. Duke - '78 NCAA Final - UK captured its fifth NCAA crown behind Jack Givens' 41 points.
  • 2 p.m. UK vs. Arkansas - '95 SEC Tourn. - UK was down 19 in the first half, 12 in the second half, and nine in overtime before rallying for the 95-93 win.
  • 4 p.m. UK vs. Syracuse - '96 NCAA Final - The Cats captured their first title in 18 years, their sixth overall.
  • 6 p.m. UK vs. Utah - '98 NCAA Final - Down 10 points at the half, the "Comeback Cats" rallied for the 78-69 victory, their second in three years.

    Looking Good!
    Collegeinsider.com's Angela Lento annually tracks the nation's best dressed head and assistant coaches. In the latest Fashion Power Index, UK coach Tubby Smith ranks second among head coaches, while UK assistant coach Reggie Hanson is the top ranked assistant. Kentucky was named the best dressed staff of 2002 and looks to be making a run at a repeat performance in 2003.

    Lento's Runway to the Fashionable Four is in its sixth year.

    Keightley's Been a Part of Half of UK's Games
    Incredible.

    Bill Keightley is in his 42nd season as equipment manager of the UK basketball team. The beloved "Mr. Wildcat" began assisting in the equipment room during the 1961-62 season and since then, UK has played 1,281 games, owning a 980-301 (.765) record.

    The Wildcats, who are celebrating their 100th season of basketball, have played 2,403 games, meaning Keightley has played a role in 53.3% of the games.

    The Lawrenceburg, Ky., native, who has a jersey retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena, has worked under five different head coaches at UK -- Rupp, Hall, Sutton, Pitino and Smith. The current cats have a modern nickname for the 75-year-old Keightley -- "Smooth."

    Wiggins In 50th Season
    Big Blue fan Bob Wiggins continued his amazing streak of following the basketball Cats. He's starting his 50th season watching Kentucky play in person and through his own record-keeping, has attended 1,239 UK games.

    Wiggins, who is retired and lives in Falmouth, Ky., saw 615 consecutive games -- home and away -- from 1977 until he suffered a heart attack just before the 1996 Great Alaska Shootout. It's the second-longest streak on record at UK. The longest record is the late Steve Reardon's 626 games.

    The illness forced Wiggins to miss four games, but he has since returned to see every contest in person, a streak of 224 games.

    Meanwhile, his home court streak is still intact. Wiggins has not missed a home game in 42 years, a streak spanning 596 games. During that period, which dates back to 1960-61, UK has a home record of 529-67.

    UK's NBA Players
    To start the 2002-03 NBA season, the following Wildcats were active:
    Derek Anderson - Portland
    Tony Delk - Boston
    Jamaal Magloire - New Orleans
    Jamal Mashburn - New Orleans
    Walter McCarty - Boston
    Ron Mercer - Indiana
    Nazr Mohammed - Atlanta
    Scott Padgett - Utah
    Mark Pope - New York
    Tayshaun Prince - Detroit
    Antoine Walker - Boston

    In addition, former UK assistant coach Jim O'Brien is the head coach of the Boston Celtics while former UK All-American Pat Riley coaches the Miami Heat.

    Other Wildcats participating in professional basketball include Heshimu Evans, Jared Prickett, Andre Riddick and Wayne Turner, who are all playing overseas, and Saul Smith, who plays for Columbus of the NBDL.

    UKathletics com 100-Year Catalog and Online Store
    UK Athletics has released an official catalog and online store with products celebrating the 100 years of UK hoops. The product line includes memorabilia, Tubby Smith autographed items, 100-year videos and DVDs and a full-line of Nike apparel. The catalog is a special 100-year basketball that features UK's national champions, All-Americans, great coaches and 100-year logo. Fans may call 888-234-9350 or log on to ukauthentic.com to purchase items.

    -- Go Cats --


     

     

  • Kentucky Interactive CoachCal.com