Afternoon Links: Hypothetical history

What we're reading while we try to avoid being subsumed by an encroaching obsession with Dragon Age: Inquisition. Submit links via Twitter.

  • The "Should Tyler Ulis Take Andrew Harrison's Minutes?!" discussion is the wrong one to have about this Kentucky team, because, to summarize Monday's rant, Kentucky is much better than everyone else and its exact lineup choices don't even matter. That said, there's no doubt Ulis is a hugely important player for the Wildcats, in that he is an excellent pressure defender and pass-first point guard with clear leadership skills. Which brings us to the counter-factual Gary Parrish highlighted after Saturday's win against Louisville: If Emmanuel Mudiay hadn't chosen SMU over Kentucky (before eventually leaving for China under NCAA scrutiny) Ulis wouldn't have been a Wildcat: "And even if [John] Calipari would've still theoretically offered Ulis with Mudiay committed, is it reasonable to think Ulis would've pledged to the Wildcats had Mudiay been set to enroll in the same class? 'No,' answered Evan Daniels, Scout.com's director of basketball recruiting. 'Ulis would not be at Kentucky if Mudiay had committed to Kentucky instead of SMU.' In other words, what looked like a recruiting-loss then is a recruiting-win now. Rather than secure a commitment from a five-star prospect who would ultimately face eligibility concerns and skip college in favor of a professional career in China, UK missed on Mudiay and instead got a commitment from Ulis just 20 days later."

  • Welcome to the Big Ten, Maryland. With a trip to Michigan State, the Terps officially touch down in their new conference Tuesday night, and the introduction should be a fun one. Testudo Times has a preview of the game itself, while The Only Colors distracts itself with some Big Ten projections.

  • Eight days after a thrashing at the hands of Temple, Kansas has two games to get right before jumping in the grindhouse that is the 2014-15 Big 12. The first comes Tuesday night, against Kent State. After a week, Bill Self emerged from the film room with some conclusions about his team, namely that the Jayhawks have to play with far greater energy: “What are we, No. 2 in the RPI? And we've played a great schedule,” Self said Monday. “So it's not like it's totally busted, but the last game was broke, without question, and I think that it isn't as much what we do as having the passion and the energy. I don't know if you know this … Jim Harbaugh, his name has been in the press the last couple days, but he spoke to our team last year, and he gave a great statement: ‘Energy always finds the ball.' Energy finds a way to cover up mistakes, and that's what we didn't do against Temple. Now, we are talking about one game. You can go back to Florida, Michigan State, Utah, Georgetown (KU victories), you don't play well, but energy can make up for some things, and that's what I think that we didn't have the other day. We played like a bunch of duds, and then they were really good.”

  • Michael Porter Jr. won't be gracing your college-oriented TV set for a couple of years; he's merely a high school sophomore. But he's already drawing plenty of attention, and not because he's a top-five player in the class of 2015. It's because he dunked on a dude from a foot inside the free throw line. Yeesh.

  • Over at Insider, ESPN hoops broadcast mage Dan Dakich made his second foray into the written word last week. We missed it at the time (we may or may not have spent all of Friday's break closing fade rifts in the Hinterlands) but Dakich is just as good in print as he is on the tellyInsider. His detailed, concise analysis of Virginia's incredible defense is the real gem on offer here.