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Its Marquette Time!!!


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I am starting to feel the nervousness as the Cats are about to tip off in the most prolific series in NCAA Tournament history with the Marquette Golden Eagles Thursday at 2:30 pm. The Cats have flown across the country to go to Anaheim to play against the boys from Wisconsin and now have in front of them a mission…continue the amazing 16 year run of First Round victories by the Kentucky program. In many ways, this game and this tournament are much different than the tournaments in previous years as the mere entry by the Wildcats seems like quite an accomplishment. Whereas the first round games in years past was almost a “hold your breath” type game that the Cats simply had to get out of in order to reach their goals, today’s game is much more. This is a game for Kentucky to show how far they have come and to provide a reward for two Seniors who have given their all to a program. Over the last year Smooth and Joe C have become loved by the Kentucky fanbase and a win today would be something that would be special for both of them.

As for the game itself, it is more than winnable. Marquette comes to the table with strengths in the exact areas that Kentucky also finds its strengths. Marquette is a great penetrating team from the perimeter…their guards like to take it to the basket, draw contact or dish out for a three pointer. Kentucky has shown an ability to stop guards from getting to the rim, especially since Ramon Harris has emerged as such a defensive threat. On offense, Kentucky (like Marquette) loves to put the ball in their guards’ hands and let them create off the dribble as well. In many ways these two teams are mirror images of each other on offense, with Marquette showing a little better ability to get points from secondary players, while Kentucky has two star scorers to Marquette’s one.

On the interior, both teams struggle quite a bit. Marquette has three big men that rotate in and out, but only provide points sporadically. Thus it may be the case that the ability of Perry Stevenson to score becomes crucial as the game goes along. Marquette has shown itself vulnerable to points in the paint, as showcased by their two bad defeats to Louisville this year. If Perry can come up with ten points and get some offensive rebounds, Kentucky will be in great shape. But even more important than scoring, Stevenson MUST stay out of foul trouble. Kentucky needs big minutes from him and must use AJ Stewart in spot duty, not for significant periods throughout the game. Marquette plays smart, hard-nosed basketball and the Cats need to have their players with the highest basketball IQ in as much as possible.

I see this game as being as close to a toss-up as any in the First Round. I think Marquette is slightly overrated, thanks in part to their relatively weak non-conference schedule and their ability to steal a couple of games towards the end of the year. Similarly, I think the Cats are a bit underseeded and are a #11 primarily because of losses that happened so long ago that they were almost taken by a different team. This strikes me as more of an 8-9 matchup, where either team can win and you just go with your gut feeling in making a prediction. I will predict the score on the game thread, but what is KEY for the Cats is to capitalize on their chances when they come. I dont think they can afford another 8 point hole early in the game, because unlike Tennessee, Florida and Georgia, Marquette plays smart at ALL times and may not let you back in the game. The Cats must come out swinging from the get go and use their runs to put a cushion on the Golden Eagles.

This will be a war in Anaheim and likely will be an ugly game. Once again, the Cats need 65 points to win. Ramel and Joe likely need to combine for 45-50, with Jasper and Stevenson combining for 12-15, Harris getting 5-6 and Coury/Stewart/Porter giving 2-5. Make that happen and the Cats move on. Either way, I hope you are off work and can enjoy the festivities today….it will be fun.

We will have game threads through the day and post-game coverage after the game. Until then, a quick tidbit from Larry Vaught who has been posting great tidbits on Kentucky Sports Report. As you may remember, a bunch of the players went and saw Darius Miller play in his regional championship game early last week. Vaught spoke to Ramon Harris, who said that the idea to go to the game came from Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford and that he and the other players wanted to support Darius because he was now “part of our family” as a UK player. Great story from Larry, sentiment from Ramon and example of why this team has come so far this season. Until later…

Article written by Matt Jones

49 responses to “Its Marquette Time!!!”

  1. tronuno

    GO CATS!!!! We can do it!

  2. maxima99

    Harris is becoming one of my favorite players.

    Harris understands his strenth (defense) and takes a lot of pride in it and works hard on it every game.

  3. truBLU

    We have a game on the west coast and its right in the middle of the work day. We have to win because I have to watch them on Sat. C’mon BLUE!!!!!

  4. truBLU

    I mean, we couldn’t have played at like 5:30?

  5. BIGBLUEDAVE

    #2 – You gotta love the RAZOR!
    Boys, I really feel confident about our first round game. If we win that one, I feel like we could catch Stanford off guard and make the Sweet 16.
    But that’s why March Madness is so great, because you never know!
    GO CATS!

  6. 00tonydelk00

    I’m taking one of my 7 remaining vacation days to watch this game. Let’s do this CATS.

  7. PatPattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor

    it’s the most wonderful time of the year…

  8. Al Purnell here

    I’m getting as nervous as JaJuan Smith on a elevator with John Pelphrey!!!!

  9. goukcatsgo

    Not trying to be a jerk here… But this post by jones is similar to those on other sites who are trying to set us up to look bad if we get beat… We aren’t a 5 point dog for no reason. We made the majority of our run with patterson in the lineup. We are 2-2 without him beating two non tourney teams…

    Guys, I think we win, but in reality, we deserve to be an underdog…

  10. CAnTuckeeBoi

    Alright guys I am a recent graduate from UK and I used to go to the JC to play ball sometimes, and one of my fondest memories was watching rafael little, some guy named torey?, and Eric Allen have psuedo dunk contests. Eric Allen (EA as they call him) was a former walk-on for tubby who many people have never seen play, but just from my eye you could tell that he could put up some points even if the competition was bad. Evidently the kid transferred to juco where he averaged 22.5 ppg and has now signed with Middle Tenn. to play. From what I can remember he was a real good shooter, and he said on ESPN that is why MTSU wanted him. I kind of wish guys like him and lemaster and other walk-ons with potential were around for the BCG era where maybe they could have gotten more of a chance to display talent.

  11. CHunter

    Predictions for tomorrow’s game?

  12. CHunter

    I am saying we go down 73-64. I hope I am wrong

  13. bleedbluetillidie

    wow 12 way to have some faith i hope you’re wrong too

  14. PatPattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor

    72-68 Cats

    Crawford with 22 and Purrry with 16/11

  15. Rajay333

    No way UK loses by 5. I’m calling my bookie.

  16. houshow

    I’ll be heading down to Anaheim to see the mighty University of Kentucky Wildcats engage in a basketball contest with the Golden Eagles of Marquette (or, as Phil the Show Killer’s mom says, “Mar-kwet”). completely stoked…first time I’ve seen the Cats live in about five years or so.

  17. Headlines: Let the Madness begin! | Go Big Blue Cats - Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

    […] It’s Marquette Time!!! […]

  18. ruppcrazy

    68-63 CATS!!! Come on baby! We can get this one! Step up and play like the Big Blue heros all of you are!

  19. gorbe ye abi

    GO CATS!

    I’m thinking 56 – 50 Cats advance.

  20. boots45

    We have a hard time with James. We go down with a fight, 74-63. move on to next year.

  21. SeoulCat

    This game comes on at 3:30 here…3:30 AM… I’m supposed to go to work at 9am, but there’s no way in hell I’m gonna do them both…hmmm…work..cats..work..cats…work…cats….work…

    Cats.

    Sometimes in life you’ve just gotta prioritize.

    Cats win 68-66.

  22. jay t.

    uk 57 marq. 53

  23. BigJHagan

    I hate to break the pattern but I really hope Billy G doesn’t start Mark “8 point head start” Curry for the tourney.. I agree we can’t afford to get down early…

  24. PatPattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor

    (21) That’s what I like to hear

  25. JKW1974

    I think they will have trouble scoring, like we do sometimes. Stevenson holds his own, and we go on, 60-53.

  26. Roggensak

    Coury starts, Doesn’t get the tip, misses a short jump shot or Layup, gets
    dunked on and then leaves the game.

    Win or lose today, We should be proud of what our players have
    overcome throughout the season!!!

    GO CATS!!!

    Oh, and did I mention we have the best coach in College Basketball?

  27. golfnuts43

    Win or lose this has been a great season compared to where we were back in November and December. I want a win bad. The CATS have been the guttiest team I have every seen and I’ve been a fan for 50+ years. Go Cats……

  28. golfnuts43

    Cats 63 Marq. 59

  29. GoCats

    Hey Seoul Cat, I’m not really sure what took you so long to decide between work and the Cats but of course you made the right decision. I get off work at 3 but taking an hour vacation was a very easy decision. I just hope I get the UK game where I am at instead of freakin Kent State! I can’t believe that is an even an option for CBS except maybe inside the dorm rooms at Kent State!
    I’m going with the Cats in a close one since we don’t know how to play any other kind. CATS 64 Marquette 59. Joe gets 20, Stevenson gets 12 and 10, and the key is 14 big points from Jasper. Mark it down!!
    GO CATS!!!!

  30. GoCats

    Heard some interesting info on ESPN radio this morning about national titles leading to NBA titles:
    There are only 3 active players on NBA rosters that have an NCAA title and an NBA title:
    Nazr Mohammed, Richard Hamilton, and Antoine Walker. Love that 2 out of 3 are Cats, I guess Derek Anderson is not an active NBA player anymore? He would have been the 3rd Cat.

  31. King Nate

    # 30 I am pretty sure that DA wasn’t on any of the championship Spurs teams.

  32. GoCats

    #31 He was on the 2005 Heat championship with Antoine

  33. GoCats

    Good news: Ashley is on the front page of ESPN.com this morning
    Bad news: don’t read the worst case scenario for UK, it will make you sick to your stomach

  34. Wildcat Girl 11

    I’m stuck at work, having to listen to it on the radio, boo!

  35. pji

    Jasper will excel in this game. He is going to create matchup problems, and PS will be the beneficiary. Cats by 5 in a nailbiter!

  36. macon_volfan

    #34 use March Madness online! go to ncaasports.com

  37. drmarc

    #30, Anderson is a current player with the Bobcats and he did win a title with the heat in “05-06”, ESPN needs to check their facts.

  38. Shaffer42

    As a teacher and coach I decided that I would include Math in the Health/PE curriculum. We filled out brackets to talk about percentages. We’re going to look at scoring averages, point differentials, assist/turnover ratios, rebounding, and of course I’ve arranged to watch the UK game during school 🙂

  39. GoCats

    #38 absolutely brilliant. Where were you when I was in school?
    Thanks #37 I thought he still played
    #36 Good to not see you macon-I much prefer your posts to your pictures

  40. ruppcrazy

    #28 are you in Cincinnati? If so WKRC, the Cincinnati CBS affiliate is showing the Cats. I called them just to make sure. I was going to have to drive south if they weren’t.

    #38 My mom is a teacher and she would be quite appauled at your ability to slack off on the future of those kids. I, though, think it’s brilliant. GO CATS!!!

  41. GoCats

    #40 Yeah I talked to WKRC, I asked them how many calls they had received asking about the UK game and they said it was in the hundreds! I should have asked them how many people called to make sure they were showing the Kent State game but I am sure the answer was ZERO!

  42. wildcatmatt
  43. macon_volfan

    #39–no problem. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t get to have a contest with the UK dance team. That would have been one I would have gladly lost!

  44. Wildcat Girl 11

    #36 My work blocked it! They finally caught on!

  45. Irwin R. Fletcher

    I agree BCG is a great coach, have alot of faith in him. However, I disagree w/ Coury starting (as do alot of folks). If he wasn’t a blatant liability, I would be for it, as I love the “you earn it, you get it” attitude. But, if we lose by less than 8 (every point matters), then it all comes back to Coury.

    I hope we win & it’s not an issue. I just don’t think we can afford it today – our margin for error is practically nil.

  46. CAnTuckeeBoi

    I really think he starts Coury to keep stevenson out of foul trouble, I think that he does not want AJ Stewart to feel like he has earned a atart yet, and that is why he picks Coury, but either way it has cost us some valuable points this year.

  47. dmw8067

    Matt, love that pix of the enemy and those Chuck Taylor’s the players are wearing! My, how times have changed.

  48. matt s

    Not bashing your thoughts on this but it does not make any sense to start Coury to keep Stevenson out of foul trouble. Coury is out after 2:00 minutes and Stevenson is in the rest of the game. Coury never sees anymore action the rest of the game. I love our coach and have been one of the few (it seems) to support him during the roughest parts of the season. But it makes no sense to start Coury and then not have him see the floor the rest of the game. Either don’t start him or play him more during the game (I prefer not starting him and not playing him during the game). For all of his great coaching moves, that is a bone-head thing to do.

  49. matt s

    “bone-head” may be harsh, but Coury truly sucks.