Q&A with Mike DeCourcy

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News shared some thoughts on the Wildcats — and remember he has a national perspective of seeing many different teams play each week and from talking to various coaches and players across the country.

Mike DeCourcy is the college basketball analyst for The Sporting News and he was in Freedom Hall Sunday to watch the Kentucky-Louisville game. He shared some thoughts on the Wildcats — and remember he has a national perspective of seeing many different teams play each week and from talking to various coaches and players across the country.

1. What are your impressions of Kentucky now going into SEC play and did the Louisville game alter those impressions?

DeCourcy: "I think UK is doing an amazing job being competitive given its limitations at point guard. The players continue to play hard and defend with passion. There were about six different times when UK should have been blown out of the Louisville game, but the players wouldn't let it happen. I'm not sure if that's totally appreciated, but it should be."

2. When you are talking about the nation's elite players, should Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks be considered in that category? Why or why not?

DeCourcy: "Yes, and yes. Absolutely. Patterson is a fabulous big guy who would be an easy 20-point scorer if he were surrounded by slightly better scoring options at the forward spots and had a legit point guard feeding him in the post. I loved what I saw from him Sunday — the explosion that was missing when I saw him earlier in the year. He's tremendous. "Meeks is such a powerful athlete. I don't think there's anyone like him in college basketball — that combination of strength and quickness at the wing spot. There were times in the Louisville game when I thought it would be smart if those two shot on almost every trip."

3. Midway of his second season, has Billy Gillispie done about what you expected at Kentucky or not?

DeCourcy: "I'd say he's done more in some ways. I didn't think you could get Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford going like he did last year. He's done very well stitching together a successful team that can't seem to help itself from turning over the ball.

"The recruiting thing still needs to be picked up a little bit. It's not like it used to be, when you could get hired in April and start pulling in contributors for the next season. You can't always get players in the next class, because so many commit early now. But it's getting to the point where UK should be able to win on a few guys who are top-30 types in 2010 or 2011."

4. Does this Kentucky team have a chance to be even a big enough factor in March to make a Sweet 16 run?

DeCourcy: "That would take a heck of a draw. Making the Sweet 16 while you're turning it over 25 times? That's hard to imagine. Yes, I think they could win one game, but to do more than that would require maturation at the point guard spot that I'm not sure is possible inside two months. I liked that Porter didn't turn it over against Louisville. That young man fights really hard, but he isn't a gifted player. Liggins eventually will be a fine player, but perhaps not this year. I still think there are 11-13 SEC wins in this team. It'll probably deserve a 7 seed, but may be able to get higher depending on the league tournament and some other factors. Rebuilding can be a gradual process, even at Kentucky."


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