Stats & Info: Kyle Wiltjer

Numbers To Know: Weekend recap

December, 3, 2012
Player of the Weekend – Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech is 7-0 for the first time in 30 years, as the Hokies handed Oklahoma State its first loss of the season on Saturday. Green scored a career-high 28 points, including the first 10 of the second half.

He’s the first Hokies player to score 20 in seven straight games to start the season since Bimbo Coles did it in nine straight in 1989-90. Green currently ranks third in the nation at 24.9 points per game.

Stat Sheet Stuffer – Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Williams did his best Michael Olowokandi impersonation, posting career highs with 29 points and 17 rebounds, as the Gauchos upset Santa Clara 83-80 in overtime on the road.

He’s the first Big West player to reach those totals since Olowokandi in 1998. Williams’ 17 rebounds are the most by a UCSB player since Josh Merrill’s 18 in 1996.

Freshman of the Weekend – Semaj Christon, Xavier Musketeers
Playing in his sixth career game, Christon walked into Mackey Arena and scored a career-high 25 points, as Xavier beat Purdue 63-57. It’s the most points for a Xavier freshman since Stanley Burrell in 2004-05.

Bench Star – Desmond Simmons, Washington Huskies
Simmons came off the bench to score 14 points and haul in 18 rebounds (both career highs), as Washington eked by Cal State Fullerton 74-72. It was the most rebounds for a Husky since Jon Brockman in 2009, and the most off the bench for any Pac-12 player in at least the past 15 years.

Ignoring Senior Nights where starters briefly sat, the last major-conference player with at least 14 points and 18 rebounds off the bench was South Carolina’s Tony Kitchings in 2001.

Ugly Stat Line of the Weekend – Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky shot just 29.6 percent in its 64-55 loss to Baylor on Saturday. That’s the Wildcats’ lowest field-goal percentage in over six years (2006 at Kansas). Kentucky’s 0.73 points per possession were its fewest since a 2008 game against Vanderbilt.

Kyle Wiltjer (1-for-11) had the worst shooting game by a Wildcat with at least 11 attempts since Gerald Fitch went 1-for-13 in 2004. Nerlens Noel (3-for-14) had more misses on Saturday than Anthony Davis had in his first six games combined last season.

Duke readies for reloaded Wildcats

November, 13, 2012
(The No. 9 Duke Blue Devils face the defending national champion No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday at 9:30 ET on ESPN.)

Kentucky had six players -- including all five starters -- drafted in the first two rounds of the 2012 NBA draft. That’s the most for any school in the first two rounds of a draft in the common draft era.

So how are the Wildcats ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll?

That lofty ranking reflects head coach John Calipari's ability to recruit wave after wave of the nation's most highly regarded high school talent to Lexington. He had the No. 2 recruiting class of 2012, according to ESPN 100, and that might have been a "down" year because Kentucky had the No. 1 ranked class in 2009, 2010, 2011 and currently has the top-ranked class for 2013. This year’s class is the fourth straight year that Calipari has at least four of the top 100 recruits in the country.

That recruiting success is paying off on the the court. Calipari has won 103 games in three-plus seasons at Kentucky. The Wildcats’ 103 wins are the most in Division I since Calipari took over in Lexington. (The only other school with at least 100 wins is Kansas.) Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have the third-most wins over that span with 95.

Kyle Wiltjer is the only returning player for Kentucky who averaged more than five minutes per game last season. Wiltjer shot 45.8 percent on catch-and-shoot plays last season, good for fifth in the SEC.

Largely because of the talent around him, Wiltjer excelled on unguarded catch-and-shoot plays, attempting 45 of his 71 catch-and-shoot field goals while unguarded. When he was unguarded last season, Wiltjer shot better than 50 percent from the floor and 50 percent behind the 3-point line. When guarded, Wiltjer’s shooting percentage dropped to 34.6 and made only 36 percent of his 3s.

While Kentucky lost all five starters from last season, Duke lost just one -- Austin Rivers.

Senior Mason Plumlee had three offensive rebounds in Duke’s season-opening win against Georgia State. Last season he ranked fifth in the ACC averaging 2.9 offensive rebounds per game. The question this season will be can he convert those offensive boards into points?

According to, Plumlee shot 41.7 percent on put-back plays in 2011-12, which ranked 57th out of 66 ACC players with at least 10 such plays.

On the perimeter for Duke, Seth Curry is one of the league’s best deep threats. Since joining the Blue Devils in the 2010-11 season, Curry has made 128 3-point field goals, which ranks fifth among ACC players.

This is the earliest the Blue Devils have faced a team ranked in the top three since Nov. 12, 1999, when they lost to No. 1 Connecticut. Duke has lost four straight games against AP Top 3 teams and does not have a nonconference win over a top-three opponent since a 97-66 win over No. 2 Texas in December of 2005.

The Wildcats have won a Division I record 2,091 games. They are one of three Division I teams with at least 2,000 wins and Duke could be the fourth member of that club if it can win 28 more games this season.

Kentucky leads the all-time series 11-8, but Duke has won six of the past seven, including four of five with Krzyzewski as Duke’s head coach.) Three of the past four meetings were decided by three points or fewer.