Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
May 22nd, 2015

There’s a lot of blue going in to the new Commonwealth Stadium

The UK Ticket Office uploaded this picture on Twitter today of more blue bench backs in the lower level (North side).

Only 105 days ’til kick-off…


UNC confirms they have received the Notice of Allegations

This morning, it leaked out that UNC had received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. UNC just confirmed the news and released a statement on their website:

“We take these allegations very seriously, and we will carefully evaluate them to respond within the NCAA’s 90-day deadline,” the statement said. “The University will publicly release the NCAA’s notice as soon as possible. The notice is lengthy and must be prepared for public dissemination to ensure we protect privacy rights as required by federal and state law. When that review for redactions is complete, the University will post the notice on the Carolina Commitment website and notify the news media. When we respond to the NCAA’s allegations, we will follow this same release process.

“Consistent with NCAA protocols, the University cannot comment on details of the investigation until it is completed.”

We now go live to Chapel Hill…


ESPN says Ryan Flannigan can be UK’s “sleeper”

ESPN’s SEC Blog is rolling out previews for each team in the league, and Sam Khan Jr. is naming a “sleeper” for each program. Kentucky’s? Linebacker Ryan Flannigan.

In 2014, Flannigan’s impact wasn’t quite to the level the Kentucky coaching staff hoped for when it signed him, but toward the end of the season Flannigan came on strong. He started three of the final four games, and his last two games were his best, when he recorded 12 tackles against Tennessee and a team-high 11 tackles, plus a pass breakup, against Louisville in the season finale. Of his 57 tackles last season, 23 came in those last two games. This spring, head coach Mark Stoops remarked that Flannigan made a big improvement and the Blinn College prospect will benefit from actually participating in spring football — last year, Flannigan didn’t arrive on campus until August, just before preseason training camp. A full offseason in the program will benefit the 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior immensely. Linebackers coach D.J. Eliot said Flannigan’s progress is evidence of why there is”nothing like a live rep.” Look for Flannigan’s role to grow and for his production to increase significantly in 2015.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chris Low has a full breakdown of the Cats. Here’s how he thinks Kentucky can beat teams on offense:

Shannon Dawson, a disciple of Hal Mumme’s Air Raid offense, takes over as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator after four years at West Virginia. Dawson’s aim for this team? Be as physical as it is fast. That charge will be led by Kentucky’s versatile stable of running backs, particularly Stanley “Boom” Williams and Jojo Kemp, and what the Wildcats hope will be an improved line with four starters returning. Patrick Towles has to hold off redshirt freshman Drew Barker for the starting QB job, but Towles was a pleasant surprise last fall and should be able to handle a heavier load in his second full season as the starter.

Read Low’s thoughts on UK’s defense over at the Worldwide leader.


UNC receives Notice of Allegations from the NCAA

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It’s about to go down in Chapel Hill, y’all. According to Inside Carolina, UNC has received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. No further details are available right now.

Almost a year ago, the NCAA had reopened its 2011 investigation into academic irregularities after additional people agreed to cooperate. In October, the Wainstein Report was released, revealing nearly two decades worth of academic fraud involving over 3,100 students, 1,852 of which were student-athletes.

Happy Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, Tarheel fans!

[Inside Carolina]


UK Football Women’s Clinic scheduled for Saturday, July 25

Ladies, get out your calendars: a little birdie tells us the UK Football Women’s Clinic is scheduled for Saturday, July 25. The details are still being finalized and registration isn’t open yet, but if I were you, I’d go ahead and make plans to spend that day with Stoops, the staff, the players, and yours truly. I wasn’t able to go last year, but there’s no way I’m missing it this go around.

Maybe we’ll even get a glimpse of the new stadium…


It’s official: UK promotes Tony Barbee to assistant coach

We told you it was coming earlier this week and now it’s official: UK just announced Tony Barbee has been promoted to assistant coach.

“I’m excited for Tony, who has been a part of my basketball family for more than 20 years,” Calipari said in a release. “Tony has proven himself to be one of the top coaches in the country. The knowledge and experience he brought to our staff last season was invaluable. To have him be a part of our staff is a blessing for all of us.”

“I really enjoyed my first season in Lexington and I’m looking forward to returning to the bench as a coach,” Barbee said. “I’m grateful to Coach Cal for giving me the opportunity to represent this prestigious program and university in this capacity.”

Barbee played under Calipari at UMass and later coached with him on the staff. After a stint as an assistant at Wyoming, he rejoined Cal as an assistant at Memphis before accepting the head coaching job at UTEP and later Auburn. Last season, he served as a special assistant to John Calipari, and will now fill the seat vacated by Slice Rohrssen, who recently accepted a job at St. John’s.

Glad to have you on board, sir.


Ask Anything Fridays are back! (Friday Show Thread)

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Friday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and with it comes summertime traditions, including “Ask Anything Fridays.” That’s right, you can call in to KSR this morning and ask Matt, Ryan, and Shannon anything. Really, anything. And they have to answer. Come to think of it, this is a recipe for disaster.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

KSR Affiliate List

WCBL (1290am): Benton
WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WTCO (1450am): Campbellsville
WAIN (1270am): Columbia
WCYN (102.3fm) Cynthiana
WHIR (1230am): Danville
WCLU (1490am): Glasgow
WGOH (1370am): Grayson
WTUK (105.1fm): Harlan
WHOP (95.3fm): Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060am): Jamestown
WLAP (630am): Lexington
WFTG (1400am): London
WKJK (1080am): Louisville
WFMW (730am): Madisonville
WWXL (1450am): Manchester
WFTM (1240am): Maysville
WKYM (101.7fm): Monticello
WMSK (1550am): Morganfield
WLME (102.7fm):Owensboro
WPAD (1560am): Paducah
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
WTCW (920am): Whitesburg
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City
WBTH (1400am): Williamson

On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…

WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WWTF (1580am): Lexington, 4-6pm


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Where do the 7 NBA Guys Rank on All-Time UK Position List?

 

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

You might remember last summer I did a comprehensive breakdown of the best players at every position at UK since the first national title in 1948.  It was developed on a mixture of both the actual career and the talent of the player.  Meaning Anthony Davis was ranked 4th all-time at centers despite likely being the most talented player in UK history.  But his talent also helped him leap into the Top 4 despite just 1 year.  So just where do the 7 guys headed to the NBA Draft land though?  I’ve updated the list with those 7 guys and have not adjusted any of the other players.  So is both WCS and Towns better than Nerlens Noel?  Andrew Harrison better than Anthony Epps?  Take a look at my rankings and tell me what you think.

(You can look at the entire list from last summer by clicking on the link on the positions)

CENTERS
1. Dan Issel (67-70): 2 time All-American, 2,138 points, 1,078 rebounds
2. Alex Groza (44-45, 46-49): 3 time All-American, 1,744 points
3. Cotton Nash (61-64): 3 time All-American, 1,770 points, 962 rebounds
4. Anthony Davis (11-12): 1 time All-American, 567 points, 415 rebounds, 186 blocks
5. Cliff Hagen (50-52, 53-54): 2 time All-American, 1,475 points, 1,035 rebounds
6. Melvin Turpin (80-84): 2 time All-American, 1,509 points, 730 rebounds
7. Rick Robey (74-78): 2 time All-American, 1,395 points, 838 rebounds
8. Bill Spivey (49-52): 2 time All-American, 1,213 points
9. Sam Bowie (79-81, 83-84): 1 time All-American, 1,285 points, 843 rebounds
10. Demarcus Cousins (09-10): 1 time All-American, 575 points, 375 rebounds
11. Karl Anthony-Towns (14-15): 1 time All-American, 401 points, 261 rebounds
12. Bob Burrow (54-56): 2 time All-American, 1,023 points, 823 rebounds
13. Willie Cauley-Stein (12-15): 1 time All-American, 843 points, 655 rebounds
14. Mike Phillips (74-78): 3 time All-SEC, 1,367 points, 755 rebounds
15. Nerlens Noel (12-13): 1 time All-SEC, 251 points, 227 rebounds
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22. Bob Guyette (72-75): 758 points, 541 rebounds
23. Don Mills (57-60): 1 time All-SEC, 664 points, 669 rebounds
24. Dakari Johnson (13-15): 450 points, 334 rebounds
25. Mark Pope (93-96): 546 points, 458 rebounds
26. Andre Riddick (91-95): 625 points, 460 rebounds

FORWARDS
1. Jack Givens (74-78): 3 time All-American, 2,038 points, 793 rebounds, 270 assists
2. Kenny Walker (82-86): 2 time All-American, 2,080 points, 942 rebounds
3. Jamal Mashburn (90-93): 2 time All-American, 1,843 points, 760 rebounds
4. Kevin Grevey (72-75): 2 time All-American, 1,801 points, 547 rebounds
5. Wah Wah Jones (45-49): 3 time All-American, 1,151 points
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18. Scott Padgett (94-95, 96-99): 2 time All-SEC, 1,252 points, 651 rebounds
19. Antoine Walker (94-96): 1 time All-SEC, 806 points, 450 rebounds
20. Trey Lyles (14-15): 313 points, 188 rebounds
21. Darius Miller (08-12): 1,248 points, 487 rebounds
22. James Lee (74-78): 1 time All-SEC, 996 points, 589 rebounds

GUARDS
1. Ralph Beard (45-49): 3 time All-American, 1,517 points
2. Louie Dampier (64-67): 2 time All-American, 1,575 points, 409 rebounds, 134 assists
3. Kyle Macy (77-80):  3 time All-American, 1,411 points, 243 rebounds, 470 assists
4. Frank Ramsey (50-52, 53-54): 3 time All-American, 1,344 points
5. Tony Delk (92-96): 1 time All-American, 1,890 points, 470 rebounds, 210 assists, 283 3-pointers
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17. Rajon Rondo (04-06): 1 time All-SEC, 654 points, 306 rebounds, 285 assists, 156 steals
18. Devin Booker (14-15): 1 time All-SEC, 381 points, 58 3-pointers
19. Doron Lamb (10-12): 1 time All-SEC, 1,018 points, 144 3-pointers
20. Gerald Fitch (00-04): 1 time All-SEC, 1,391 points, 528 rebounds, 199 3-pointers
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24. Jeff Sheppard (93-98): Final Four MOP, 1,091 points, 320 rebounds, 288 assists
25. Andrew Harrison (13-15): 798 points, 298 assists
26. Anthony Epps (93-97): 1 time All-SEC, 881 points, 544 assists, 155 3-pointers
27. Eric Bledsoe (09-10): 419 points, 106 assists
28. Aaron Harrison (13-15): 979 points, 121 3-pointers
26. Ken Rollins (42-43, 46-48): 2 time All-SEC, 684 points
27. Ramel Bradley (04-08): 1 time All-SEC, 1,326 points, 177 3-pointers, 316 assists
28. Derrick Miller (86-90): 1 time All-SEC, 1,156 points, 191 3-pointers
29. Joe Crawford (04-08): 1 time All-SEC, 1,438 points, 186 3-pointers
30. Travis Ford (91-94): 951 points, 428 assists, 190 3-pointers


Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets of the Day

Salads_500x500
We’re kicking up the heat with 5 layers of spice on our new Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken sandwich. It’s our classic spicy chicken breast topped with fresh, diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce, Colby pepper jack cheese all on a red jalapeno bun. It’s too hot to last, so try one today!

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You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtopten. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

 

 

#10 John Calipari

I would kill to be one of Cal’s “daughters”.

 

 

 

 

#9 Ian

Couldn’t pass up a tweet with a cute dog named after Kentucky’s favorites: Devin Booker and Bourbon.

 

 

 

 

#8 Corey Rogers

Hospital stays are always better with a nice view.

 

 

 

 

#7 Misha 38-0 Hall

I totally agree. Everyone needs to listen to Misha.

 

 

 

 

#6 ukcatfan88

The people in Kentucky didn’t want it, so he had to take it to West Virginia. I’m sure they probably won’t want it either.

 

 

 

 

#5  Dr. SicilianoCalipari

A lot, Erin. A lot.

 

 

 

 

#4 Josh L

This is might compete with winning a national championship for best things to happen in Doron’s life.

 

 

 

 

#3 John Wall

This guy is going to be a NBA champion real soon.

 

 

 

 

#2 Drunk Coach Cal

Does it say ‘However, lost to Kentucky when it mattered in the tournament before they won their 8th national championship’ anywhere?

 

 

 

 

#1 J Mac

Even if I cant’t dunk, I can still take this class right?

 

 

@kbernhardKSR


May 21st, 2015

Thursday Night News and Views

I just got back from vacation, but it was so good I’m ready to go back on it. Maybe to the Turks and Caicos, where this fan is not only repping the Cats, he’s repping his favorite website. Cheers, sir. Enjoy that soft white sand and cool ocean breeze.

As we roll towards Memorial Day weekend, I hope all of you guys have the chance to get out of town to clear your minds, or simply enjoy some time with your friends and family. I’m headed up to my old stomping grounds of Danville tomorrow afternoon, so shoutout to my old homies. You know who you are.

Just a few more hours and then we’re there. Going over the news of the day will help pass the time.

The non-conference schedule is out

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We knew of most of these games already, but it’s nice to finally have a date for the annual Louisville romp. I went over the non-conference schedule in depth a little bit earlier, so for more, scroll on down.

John Calipari’s players-first comments are still making waves

Yesterday, Calipari said that last season’s goal was to get eight players drafted, not win the national championship, and although he’s made that goal clear throughout his career at Kentucky, it’s still headline news because…well, he’s John Calipari. Cal’s comments were on PTI today, all the national blogs, and my friend who’s an Ohio State fan even emailed me about it. Calipari took to the Twitter this morning to defend his stance:

I hate to drive you traditionalists crazy, but I will say it again: our goal at the beginning of the season was to have eight players drafted. I’ll be honest with you, at the time I may have said nine. My point when I said that was to have them all eat. When they asked how we do it, I told them to do this you will have to be a selfless team, share and do historic things on the court. They did. If Alex doesn’t get hurt, eight are drafted. We fell short of a national title but this season was not disappointing to me. Have a great day!

(I don’t think it was a coincidence that UK released the non-conference schedule a few hours later.)

I get why some people are upset about Cal’s philosophy, but it’s not like this is anything new. Since Day 1, Cal has made his mission clear: help as many kids achieve their dream of playing professionally as possible. Succeeding in that quest rarely comes at the team’s expense, as Erin Calipari pointed out on Twitter:

People getting mad because @UKCoachCalipari says his goal is to get players drafted are hilarious. How many times has he gone to the Final Four? You are getting the best players, winning the most games, and are making headlines even in the off season. Chill out and enjoy it.

Slow down there with that logic, Erin. You’re making too much sense.

This bridge in Japan is going to give me nightmares

Normally, the @Earth_Pics account tweets soothing shots of beautiful beaches or Santorini, but this bridge in Japan is downright terrifying. So much for sleep tonight.

Jamal Murray spoke, but didn’t tell us much

The five-star Canadian shooting guard has been on an official visit to UK all this week, but we haven’t heard anything about it. Until now. Kind of. Murray sent out only his third tweet ever this evening:

I hope that blushing smiley face means he’s enjoying Lexington. He started following Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins on Twitter today, so there’s that.

Looking for a summer football camp with a good cause?

Look no further than C.H.A.M.P. Camp, a two-day, non-contact football camp put on by Heart Power, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to supporting youth and their families who are in search of positive, encouraging influences in their lives. The camp is in Lexington June 19-20 and several former Kentucky players will participate, including Anthony “Champ” Kelly, Dougie Allen, and more. Kids 10-18 are eligible, and speakers and coaches also educate campers on important core values for a successful life off the field, striving to instill the values of Character, Heart, Attitude, Motivation, and Pride (C-H-A-M-P…get it?). For more information, visit their website.

Want to drink beer and fight cancer?

UK and KSR fan Aaron Oppegard is hosting a fundraiser at Ethereal Brewery on Sunday from 4-7 p.m. to raise money for 4K for Cancer, a nonprofit that helps navigate young adults with cancer through their illness by offering emotional and financial support. As further incentive, Aaron is raffling off a commemorative Adolph Rupp Maker’s Mark bottle. For more information, check out this Facebook post.

Matt and Ryan are starting up “Ask Anything Fridays” again

On tomorrow’s show, you can call in and ask Matt, Ryan, or Shannon ANYTHING you’d like. All topics are on the table. I’m setting the over/under on how long it takes Ryan to get in trouble at 20 minutes. Actually, that’s way too generous. Under.

I just started watching “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and it’s taken over my life

I’ve heard good things about the Netflix series for a while, but haven’t had a chance to tune in until now. I’m hooked. It’s not for everyone, but give it a shot this weekend if you’re bored.

On that note, “Troll the respawn, Jeremy.”


Kentucky Proud: Willie Cauley-Stein helped me get over it

Willie-Sidewalk

It was Saturday when I could finally say I’d gotten over it – May 16, 9:30 a.m., to be exact.

I realized it as I was driving to pick up some breakfast for my family. It was a beautiful morning, the kind where you like to roll the windows down and breathe in life and be thankful for all you have.

Suddenly, it came over me like a giant wave of relief. As I drove I thought back to a recent chance meeting I’d had with Willie Cauley-Stein and I remembered how he still looked a bit pained by all of it. But as I thought of him and his teammates, I realized that for the first time in a long while I didn’t think anything about losing to Wisconsin. Yes, I thought about 38 straight wins. I thought about SEC conference and tourney titles. I thought about making another Final Four. I did not think about the loss that ended it all.

I realized that the only thing I really focused on was how proud I was of this group and what they’d accomplished. I realized how proud I was that they all seemed like genuinely good kids, that they stayed out of trouble and sacrificed for one another, that they won like no other team we’ve ever seen.

I realized right then, at that moment, I was over it. Do I wish UK had won the title? Of course. Don’t be silly. But the pain of one loss had subsided, and I realized I could smile and be proud of how much these latest Cats had done.

Simply, I was over it. And I was happy.

Just Want to Say Thanks

I realize not everyone will feel this way, not yet. It’s different for every fan. Hell, it’s different for the players and coaches. Willie Cauley said recently he still hasn’t gotten over the Wisconsin loss while Karl Anthony said he may never get over the loss.

But I want to let you know – as a fan, getting here is a good thing. It feels so much better to appreciate accomplishment than to dwell on what might have been. And this year’s squad accomplished so much, things we probably will never see again. We should remember these feats – and we should remember them fondly, without regret.

As an aside, the Notre Dame game alone should go down in history as one of the all-time clutch UK performances in a big moment. With a Final Four on the line, Karl Anthony Towns became Wilt Chamberlain, Aaron Harrison hit a trademark three and his brother Andrew won it with two big-time free throws. Put that one in the vault, folks. It’s one we’ll remember for a long, long time.

That is, do so when you’re able to.

I was walking on UK’s campus the other day when I met up with Willie Cauley-Stein. (Full disclosure: I’m a student in a graduate program at the university, so it’s not uncommon for me to run into Kentucky athletes walking across campus. Most of the time, I let them be, let them enjoy some peace and quiet if they’re not surrounded by fans). But when I saw Willie – he was sitting by himself outside the Wildcat Coal Lodge – I wanted to tell him something. Just then he was approached by a mother and a young child who wanted an autograph. I hung back and watched.

Of course Willie was great to the young family. He signed the autograph and went back to sitting by himself. I got the impression he was waiting for a ride to go somewhere. I approached cautiously. I’d covered the team, off an on in some capacity, for a few years, but I was certain he didn’t know who I was.

“Hi Willie,” I said, offering my hand, and he shook it. “I just wanted to say hello – I go to graduate school here.”

He nodded. “Hey, man.”

I didn’t want to hold back. I just wanted to relay a message.

“I just wanted to tell you, ‘Thanks’,” I said. He looked at me, and I could tell he was a bit confused. I went on to explain.

“Thanks just for being you, man,” I said. “Thanks so much for representing me and my school so well. Yeah, you won a lot of games. Yeah you made it to the Final Four again – you guys did awesome. But thanks so much for doing it with class. You all never got in trouble. You never made headlines for the wrong reasons. All we ever heard was how you loved your brothers and you wanted to win for them. You were great in every way – and I just want you to know that I appreciate it, and the fans appreciate it.”

He smiled a bit. “It’s what we do,” he said. “It’s true not everybody can come play here.”

I nodded, and we chatted for a few moments more about where WCS may want to go in the draft (just between us, I think he may be happiest in a smaller town. Sacramento at No. 6 perhaps?). I told him we the fans would be rooting for him wherever he landed. But I could still see it, even as we chatted about the future, that he was hurting about that Wisconsin loss. I could tell. He hadn’t gotten over it yet. It may still be a while.

What he didn’t know was that our brief conversation, and my thanking him, led me to finally getting over the Wisconsin loss. It would take a couple of weeks, but that was the moment that set it all in motion.

After a bit of a lull in the talk, Cauley-Stein looked at me. “Did you want a pic or something?”

Well sure, I thought, getting out my camera phone. Don’t mind if I do.

willie and me

‘It’s About Being a Wildcat’

I’ve got to thank Willie for helping to get my head straight. Now when I think of this past season, the first thing I think of is how proud I am – not how disappointed.

It took a bit of time to come to the realization, but it’s something I hope I can pass on to everyone, though I know it’s difficult. Plus, some fans just don’t get it at all – they think it’s silly that we mourn for a team. That’s fine. They just don’t understand. They never will.

For all the rest of us, we know it’s about more than basketball. It’s about being the best in something. It’s about succeeding on a consistent basis. It’s about seeing our athletes represent our school, our area and our Commonwealth with class and confidence.

It’s about being a Wildcat.

Now, if only there was something I could do to make players like Willie feel a little better.

I suppose time will help – and getting drafted pretty high on June 25 won’t hurt, either.

Good luck to Willie and all the other Cats as they pursue their dreams. Thanks for making us so proud.

***

Do you have a memorable story about meeting a UK player? I once met LeRon Ellis at Jefferson Mall in Louisville when I was about 8. My aunt introduced us and told the player I was his biggest fan. He gave me an autograph, and – upon looking at it – I responded this way: “Who are you, again?”

Leave your stories below and let us know. Or email me at clarkr9@nku.edu or hit me up on Twitter: @rhinoKSR or my website: ForRyanOutLoud.com and maybe I’ll share them.


Jamal Murray speaks!

JamalMurray

We haven’t heard much from the Canadian shooting guard since he started his official visit to Kentucky, but this evening, he sent out his third tweet ever:

Something tells me this will be a rather long process.


Ranking Kentucky’s 13 non-conference games in order of sheer enjoyment

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Kentucky’s 2014-2015 non-conference schedule is out, which means two things: 1) You can finally plan your late fall/early winter social gatherings, and 2) We can finally turn the page and focus on next season. With that in mind, I spent the afternoon ranking UK’s 13 non-conference games not in terms of difficulty, but sheer enjoyment. Because that’s how we do things around here.

13. WRIGHT STATE (Rupp Arena, Friday, Nov. 20)

This will be the fourth meeting between Kentucky and Wright State, and, predictably, the Cats lead the series 3-0. According to last season’s KenPom and RPI, the Raiders are the second worst team on UK’s non-conference schedule behind South Florida, but because this game doesn’t take place in Miami and, I’m sorry, Wright State basketball doesn’t really get my toe a tappin’, it registers the lowest on my radar. It’s okay. Someone has to be last.

12. NJIT (Rupp Arena, Saturday, Nov. 14)

The only reason NJIT is ahead of Wright State in my rankings is because I can already tell we’re going to have fun with their nickname–the Highlanders. In fact, it’s really a shame the NJIT game is the day after the season-opener against Albany because it probably won’t get the attention it deserves. Except from me. There can only be one!

11. EASTERN KENTUCKY (Rupp Arena, Wednesday, Dec. 9)

It seems like most of the tension between the Cats and our neighbors down I-75 is on the football side, or this matchup would rank higher on my list. This is the second consecutive season UK will take on Eastern, who made it to the CollegeInsider.com quarterfinals last year because apparently that is a thing. Former UK men’s basketball manager Dan McHale is now the head coach at Eastern, giving the affair even more of a Bluegrass feel. I can already tell we’re going to like his postgame presser.

10. ALBANY (Rupp Arena, Friday, Nov. 13)

Nothing about Albany excites me, or probably anyone. Like our own state capital, they’re kind of the afterthought of their state, which is pretty sad; however, their mascot is a Great Dane and they’re the season-opening opponent, which boosts them up the list a bit. Ain’t no game like the first real game at Rupp, after all.

9. ILLINOIS STATE (Rupp Arena, Monday, Nov. 30)

Nothing says sexy like Monday night basketball. Illinois State was actually pretty decent last season, making it to the second round of the NIT. The Redbirds even upset Wichita State during in the MVC Tournament and have beaten at least one Top 25 team in each of its last four seasons. That last factoid made me move them two spots up in my rankings. Eek?

8. BOSTON (Rupp Arena, Tuesday, Nov. 24)

UK beat Boston 89-65 last season in a game that will always be remembered for Dominique Hawkins’ dunk. The only reason the Terriers are in my top ten is because I have an excuse to post this video again:

7. OHIO STATE (Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., Saturday, Dec. 19)

This game is part of the second annual CBS Sports Classic, aka “The Extra Neutral-Site Non-Conference Event Calipari Wanted.” Normally, a game against the Buckeyes would be higher on my list, but D’Angelo Russell and their second leading scorer–Googling..Googling–Sam Thompson are gone. Nevertheless, this is a weekend in New York, so let’s go.

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6. ARIZONA STATE (Rupp Arena, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015)

Bobby Hurley returned to Rupp last season as the head coach of Buffalo, and he’s back again with Arizona State. This game will get attention for more than just the boos he’ll receive; Hurley is a darling in the coaching world and many think he can make some noise at Arizona State. At the very least, he can be the star of some craptacular Photoshops.

5. SOUTH FLORIDA (American Airlines Arena, Miami, Friday, Nov. 27)

UK will head to Miami the day after Thanksgiving for a matchup with our old friend Orlando Antigua, the coolest man with the coolest Twitter profile pic ever. A lot of people are guffawing over the scheduling of this game–right after Turkey Day and right before the UK/Louisville football game–but a trip to Miami in late November has me volunteering to leave my family’s festivities early. (Sorry, family. Love you.)

4. UCLA (Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 3)

The next week, the Cats will cross the country to play UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, another warm weather showdown. This is the first game in a two-year home-and-home series with the Bruins, and the first time Kentucky has ever played in Pauley. Last year, the Cats embarrassed UCLA 83-44 in Chicago, but the Bruins rebounded to make the Sweet 16.

With palm trees, In-N-Out Burger, and Pauley, it’s a true testament to the greatness of this year’s non-conference schedule that this game doesn’t rank higher.

3. LOUISVILLE (Rupp Arena, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015)

Louisville will be terrible this year, but that may make this game even more fun. In fact, if it were the same team with any other name, this game would be much lower on my rankings, but Louisville is Louisville and beating them in late December has become a holiday tradition.

2. KANSAS (Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016)

I went back and forth between this game and Duke for the number one spot, but ultimately put UK’s trip to Allen Fieldhouse second on my list; I could even list them 1a and 1b. I’ve never been to The Phog, but I’ve heard great things, and hopefully I’ll draw this trip out of the KSR assignment hat. After the Cats wiped the floor with them last year, the Jayhawks will be out for revenge, and I hear that place can get quite loud. Bring it on.

1. DUKE (United Center, Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 17)

Even just typing those four letters gets me hyped. It also makes me gag a little bit, especially when I went through the Google search and saw all their Championship pictures. Duke had nothing to do with Kentucky not making the finals, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hate them for winning. (That was supposed to be us! That was supposed to be our blue and white confetti!)

Both teams are totally different now, but I still want Kentucky to beat them very, very badly. I bet Tyler Ulis does too.

Your turn.


John Calipari Continues to Sell Program

 

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

If you read our Drew Franklin earlier today he talked about John Calipari reiterating his statement about the goal being to get eight guys drafted and not the national championship yet again today. Well, that might not be a bad thing according to some national guys.

Rob Dauster at CollegeBasketballTalk says Calipari is just selling the program when he says things like that. It doesn’t mean top recruits or Calipari aren’t looking to win national titles, but the goal of every top recruit is to play in the NBA. Dauster says the following:

This is nothing but a recruiting tactic. Cal’s not stupid. He knows that the biggest reason he’s been to four Final Fours in his six seasons at Kentucky is that he’s turned it into a draft factory. He knows that his ability to convince elite recruits to spend their seven months of basketball purgatory in Lexington is the engine driving his Kentucky program. And he knows that one of the biggest reasons he’s able to continually land players like Karl Towns and DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Skal Labissiere is that he makes it very clear he’s going to shove them off to the NBA as quickly as possible.

You know what? He’s not wrong. Fans can be upset about the comment and not winning the title this past year, but the success under Cal has been the best in the country. It’s just his method of recruiting and coaching and if he wants to sell that to recruits going forward, I’ll continue to buy stock.


Marketing company robs state of Tennessee for $46,000

According to Nashville’s WSMV, Tennessee is getting a new state logo and the company that designed it should be charged with robbery. Like, all of the robbery. Infinity counts of robbery. Send everyone on the payroll to Rikers Island or San Quentin or Guantanamo Bay. They shouldn’t be allowed to breathe free air ever again.

The new logo, seen above, came with a $46,000 price tag, reports WSMV. It will eventually be on all official state letterheads and signage.

Better idea: I’ll sell them my design for $1.00 and they can put $45,999 toward meaningful projects. Clean up the state. Implode Neyland Stadium. Cut the cost of hotel rooms at the SEC Tournament. Fly in more bachelorette parties on weekends in Nashville. Do whatever, just don’t pay $46,000 for a red box.

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