The Big Blue Lowdown

Insight, Analysis and Expertise on All Things Kentucky Basketball

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Envy Our Past, Fear Our Future

The John Calipari era kicked off in grand style this weekend with UK’s Big Blue Madness, which attracted thousands of crazed fans to Rupp Arena for a night of pomp, pageantry and a little bit of basketball.

The ceremonial event, which represents the first official practice of the new college hoops season, featured celebrity cameos (rapper Drake), former UK standouts (Tayshaun Prince, Kenny “Sky” Walker) and a team scrimmage. Festitivies kicked off with this highlight video.

No part of the...

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The Phoenix Has Risen

For UK basketball fans, the day of October 16th, 2009, represents a new lease on life.

With Big Blue Madness kicking off tonight, the ceremonial start of the college basketball season has arrived and there is a feeling of excitement and joy in Lexington unlike anything seen in 10 years.

Goodbye Recent History
UK hoops has struggled to remain relevant for a decade. After reaching dynasty status in the mid and late 90s, the program meandered off course. Gone were the household names, top five...

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Loaded Up Front

This season is shaping up to be another blockbuster year for beasts in the paint.  Here’s our list of 10 best post units.

1. UNC
It’s entirely possible that this year’s Tarheels could eventually be remembered as the first (and only) team in college basketball history to feature 6 future NBA players in the same frontcourt. Deon Thompson, Ed Davis, John Henson, David and Travis Wear, and Tyler Zeller would all start on any lineup in America. Finding them all minutes will be, um, interesting.

2....

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Preseason Magazines at a Glance

The BBL is good at saving you time. That’s kind of the whole point. Read this email every day, which should take you 5 minutes or less, and you’ll feel completely on top of UK basketball.

In that spirit, we give you a quick snapshot of each of the three main preseason basketball magazines.

Athlon Sports
#1 Overall: Kansas
UK Ranking: #6

Highlights: Regional features (including a Calipari cover story), prediction of the full NCAA tourney field of 65, 10 Things to Watch feature
Why you...

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Opponent Sneak Peek: UNC

We present the BBL’s first look at defending natty champion North Carolina.

Backcourt
The big question mark is at point guard. Larry Drew appears to be the man now that Ty Lawson is gone. After Drew, they have wing guards in Marcus Ginyard and incoming frosh Dexter Strickland. UNC is very inexperienced in the backcourt and Drew is a substantial fall off from Lawson.

Frontcourt
UNC is loaded down low. They are so skilled, in fact, they might be forced to play three bigs at all times. Deon...

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10 Sick John Wall Highlights

With the season tipoff getting closer, reality is beginning to set in around Kentucky basketball. Sure, this has the potential to be one of the best Wildcat teams of the past 10 years. But truthfully, there are still a lot of question marks.

As deep and talented as the roster is, the Cats will rely on several players with absolutely zero college playing experience. In a rugged SEC, it’s fair to say that UK’s youth will lead to some disappointing moments.

But until then, there is still time to...

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America’s Got Guard Play

There is an old college hoops aphorism that says the national title is won by the team with the best backcourt. It would be tough to argue that this wasn’t the case the past two seasons (UNC and Kansas in 2009 and 2008, respectively) or that it won’t be again this year.

We take our first crack at NCAA basketball unit rankings with our preseason top 10 backcourts.

1. Kansas
The Jayhawks combination of national title winning PG Sherron Collins, athletic scorer Tyshawn Taylor, 3-point specialist...

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Opponent Sneak Peek: Miss. State

As part of our series of snapshot previews of UK opponents, the BBL takes a first look at Rick Stansbury’s Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Backcourt
This might be the most underrated backcourt in all of college hoops. Last year MSU won the SEC tourney with freshmen and sophomores playing significant minutes. Now this group is a year older and battle tested. PG Dee Bost was a revelation as a frosh averaging 11 points and 5 dimes. Barry Stewart is a 3-year starter and a deadly three-point shooter...

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Latest Bluegrass Bumper Stickers

The BBL offers a little fun to start off your Monday. These bumper stickers have been spotted on cars around the state of Kentucky.

This season is sure to have its ups and downs like any other. And given the mystery surrounding some of Coach Cal’s past, there is no guarantee that dark days won’t return to UK’s program. But for now, it’s a welcome relief to be able to take some laughs at the former coach’s expense.

Operative word being “former.”

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Opponent Sneak Peek: UConn

On Dec. 9, for only the second time in history, the storied programs of Kentucky and Connecticut will meet on one of the sport’s grandest stages, Madison Square Garden in New York City. Though the Huskies lost some firepower from their 2008-09 Final Four team, Jim Calhoun’s club, as usual, should be loaded with marquee talent.

As part of a series of snapshot previews of upcoming UK opponents, the BBL takes an early look at the UConn Huskies.

Backcourt
UConn’s success will start and stop with...

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Super 6 Highlights

On October 16, 2009, Kentucky basketball will enter a new epoch, as the John Calipari regime kicks off in grand style at Big Blue Madness in Rupp Arena.

The excitement level has reached a deafening tone, with fans around the country and within the commonwealth wanting to know exactly how good this team can be, and in particular, what the “Super Six” freshman class will look like.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to do but wait, but this little video clip can help hype you up until then.

...
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Coach Cal Speaks

The BBL brings some choice quotes from Coach John Calipari, made at the KABC Basketball Clinic in Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 26.

Cal feels UK will be a good shot blocking team this year, saying that if a man hesitates on his drive to the bucket, the Cats will have 2 guys there to block the shot.

Kids wanting to play in the DDM system has helped with recruiting. He said there are a few imitators who claim to run the system but few that truly run it. It is either this or motion, you can’t...

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UK’s 1st 2010 Commit - Stacey Poole Jr.

The BBL looks forward fondly to the arrival of Jacksonville Florida’s own Stacey Poole to the Cat’s squad in 2010. Poole is a 6’5 scorer deluxe with the athleticism to finish above the rim and also stroke it from beyond the arc.

Check out Stacey’s hops in this rebound dunk with authority.

His form and release is eerily reminiscent of his father’s who was an absolute UK DESTROYER in the early ‘90s (‘89-‘93) when he played with Florida, finishing as the school’s 3rd all-time...

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We’re Almost There

We’re less than a month away from Midnight Madness and the BBL is starting to get antsy for the season to begin. We can’t remember a UK team with so much promise or expectations of success. The only thing that rivals it in the modern era was the ‘95-96 UK team that had an NBA starter at almost every position.

And why shouldn’t we feel this way? This team is absolutely LOADED!

Sitting around thinking about where UK is weak on paper, it’s hard to find any glaring issues. Maybe they lack a...

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The Lesser Known Blue Chip

The BBL is excited when discussing the arrival of Eric Bledsoe to UK this fall.

John Wall comes in much more ballyhooed due to his near legendary YouTube repertoire of dunks and astonishing feats of athleticism. But Bledsoe comes in with an all world HS background in Alabama. In fact, his high school coach believes he’ll have as big of an impact as any frosh in the country this coming season. Many Alabama AAU and high school observers have raved about Bledsoe single-handedly leading his...

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UK Twitter

Kentucky freshman Charles Matthews is transferring, the school announced. Former ESPN 100 prospect. - via @ESPN App espn.go.com/espn/now?nowId…
1. This loss means nothing. UK lost a game on the road in bizarre circumstances vs a very good team. If anything,... fb.me/4rtUJiRSK
Time to put Texas A&M to bed and get tuned up for a high seed in the big dance.
Epic collapse by UK tonight. Still something not right with this team.
Tough loss over the weekend, but the Cats showed heart...they'll be back. fb.me/7EWsEFppx

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