By – Ira D. Combs
Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.
First off don’t ever try to figure out why teams and players play to the extreme one way or the other within the same season , there is no rational explanation .
With that being established I still don’t know if it was the annual January slump or just overlooking an opponent week before last when UK struggled to two OT wins against Ole Miss and Texas A & M but it appears after last weeks two games against Mizzou and Bama when UK bombarded both with a total of over 70 points worth of beat downs that Cal’s Boys are back hitting on all eight cylinders .
Next up this week is Vandy (Tues. 9:00 est. / SEC Network) and South Carolina (Sat. Noon est. / ESPN) . If the Cats are truly back on track both should be wins but the South Carolina game could be troublesome for a half or so . However , if this team has a pay back game on this years schedule it would be the “Gamecocks” , why , remember last year . UK suffered it’s most embarrassing loss of the season in Columbia , SC. and Cal was boosted by the officials in the process .
Devin Booker seems to be the hottest of the Wildcats at the present time averaging 10.6 ppg while knocking down 20 of his last 28 (3) point attempts . UK has (7) players averaging between 11.4 – 7.8 ppg with Tyler Ulius just behind those (7) players averaging 5.7 ppg. Yet , Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Anthony-Towns continue to get the bulk of the love from the media and especially the NBA scouts and GM’s .
Time will tell once the NBA draft rolls around but I still think Devin Booker will be highly valued by NBA folks once it’s all said and done . Booker has perfect skills both offensively and defensively for an NBA two guard and his 6’ 6” frame is spot on for that position .
Undefeated Match-ups Dwindling For March Madness
Now that Duke , Wisconsin , Louisville , and Arizona have all hit a wall and lost at least (2) games the only team left that could be undefeated and matched – up against UK is Virginia . With the ACC being as strong as ever I doubt Virginia can work their way thru that regular season schedule without at least a couple losses if not more . So don’t expect (2) undefeated teams to make it to Indianapolis for a championship showdown .
It would have been interesting to compare TV ratings of (2) undefeated mens basketball teams playing for the NCAA championship to the Oregon – Ohio State football championship TV ratings .
Special Day Of Hoops In Honor Of Joe B. Hall
Normally this column is devoted exclusively to UK sports in season but this week we honor an old warhorse who is finally getting the love he deserved years ago . This coming Saturday Jan. 24th over at the MCHS Events Center in Mt. Sterling adjacent to the MCHS high school the 25th annual Joe B. Hall Prep Classic will take place showcasing several of the Commonwealth’s top 25 high school teams and all (4) of the Mr. Basketball candidates ( Ray Spalding – Trinity , Cam Justice – KCC , “Beetle” Bolden – Holmes and Jacqualis Matlock – Hopkinsville ) . The 1st game tips-off at 1:30 and the fifth and final game tips-off at 8:30 . Those worried about missing part of the 2nd half of the UK – South Carolina game which tips-off at Noon don’t worry there will be a big screen TV in the lobby for the fans to not miss a minute of the game which should end about halftime of the first game .
You can go online to www.combsbrothersonkysports.com for more coverage of UK basketball and football as well as KHSAA basketball and football . Also , you can now follow us on twitter at @combsbrothers5 .
By – Ira D. Combs