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March 4th, 2015

Wisconsin moves back to the Midwest in the new Bracketology

The dream bracket from two days ago didn’t last long as Wisconsin moves back to the Midwest in today’s update, replacing Gonzaga as Kentucky’s 2 seed.

Ohio State also returned to the region in today’s projections, setting up a potential matchup with Kentucky in the Round of 32. While I don’t believe UK will have any problems with the Buckeyes, I’d prefer to avoid DeAngelo Russell playing in his hometown. If there’s a Dwyane Wade performance in this field, that could be it. (Unlikely against Kentucky though.)

North Carolina, Wichita State and Notre Dame are also good teams in the Midwest. LSU is a dangerous 10 seed for Wisconsin.


What it was like to be a Georgia fan last night


Not sure where this originated but I’ve seen it floating around Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my text messages today.

Kevin Hart’s facial expressions perfectly sum up what it must’ve been like to be a Georgia fan last night during Kentucky’s second half comeback.

Nailed it.

Coach Cal said Kentucky will play the SEC Tournament for the fans


John Calipari will give his players two or three days off after they clinch a perfect regular season Saturday, and then it’s on to the SEC Tournament in Nashville, where the Wildcats will play for you, Big Blue Nation.

After last night’s win in Athens, Coach Cal pushed aside his own negative thoughts on conference tournaments to say it’s a “different deal” when the SEC is in the Music City.

“Our fans take their rent money, their vacation money, mortgage money, car payments and go to Nashville,” he told reporters. “We’ve got to go up there with a sense of urgency and play for them, more than play. Because whatever happens up there, we’ve learned for six years it has no bearing on a seed, getting in, not getting in — it has no bearing. So we’ll go and do this for the fans.

The SEC tourney begins a week from today.


Catch a replay of the game today at 1:30 on the SEC Network


The SEC Network will re-air last night’s game for fans who didn’t see it or fans who would like to see it again. Tip-off is set for 1:30 pm on the SEC Network after Auburn’s Pro Day.

If you don’t want to wait until 1:30, you can watch the replay on WatchESPN whenever your little heart desires.


Karl Towns walking to class in the rain this morning is ruining college basketball

Karl Towns scored 17 second half points with Kentucky on his back last night in the comeback win at Georgia, furthering the argument that he should be selected over Jahlil Okafor in the NBA draft. It was a huge game for Towns, a freshman playing on the road in front of an electric Bulldog crowd on Super Tuesday.

So how did Karl celebrate his big night, you ask?

By walking to his 9:00 am class this morning. On very little sleep. In the rain.

Jay Bilas had fun with Evan Crane’s tweet that’s being shared around the internet:

Towns shouldn’t be rewarded for attending class, after all, that’s why kids go to college. Of course he goes to class. But sometimes it’s easy for us, the fans, to forget just what these kids go through as Kentucky basketball players. It’s a grind. There is so much on their plate. One minute you’re playing in front of the entire nation on ESPN, few hours later, you’re up walking across campus with an umbrella that covers half of a shoulder to hand in a paper in the pouring rain.

Hell, you wouldn’t find me at a rainy 9:00 am class after 14 hours of sleep, let alone after the night Karl had. I know plenty of you would’ve sat this one out, too. I’m tired just thinking about the lives these guys live.

Anyway, I’m going to take a quick nap now. That game was a late one and I’ve been up since 9:15.

Mark Fox: “They’re so dang good that you almost have to play perfect”

Georgia head coach Mark Fox will watch film from last night’s game today and he expects to see that his team should’ve won the game. And maybe he’s right. But that’s not how it played out. Kentucky won because Kentucky is Kentucky and Georgia just wasn’t quite perfect enough to pull off the upset.

“We played hard. We played very well. But we didn’t play perfect,” Fox said last night, in his postgame comments. “And they are so dang good that you almost have to play perfect.”

“We played our tails off,” Fox continued. “It just wasn’t quite good enough. They’ve got a great team, give them credit, they’re just terrific.”

He added, “There’s no shame in losing to a team like that.”

Watch his proud comments below:

30 down, one to go (Wednesday Show Thread)


Kentucky is 30-0 on the season after a hard-fought win last night in Athens, Jo’Ja. It looked as if the Cats’ winning streak were coming to an end, but just as they’ve done in the past, Kentucky kept its composure and did what it needed to do to remain unbeaten.

On today’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio radio, Ryan returns to the show to discuss the win with Matt. So let your hair down and tune in to hear what they have to say.

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

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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: We’ve already had the Senior Day Conversation on KSR, Changed Minds?

On May 14th, 2014, I put this post on the website (only key points included):

There is no doubt that Senior Day in basketball has become more and more of a non-factor since Calipari took over.  In fact, it is likely that on Senior Day 2016, the roster will not have a senior.  But next season, there will be 3 seniors on roster: Brian Long, Tod Lanter, and Sam Malone.  Combined those 3 guys have played just 52 minutes in their UK careers and scored 8 points.  And there is no shame in that.  They’ve got to experience 2 or 3 years of some amazing basketball already and practice that I have no doubt made them very good basketball players.  But, they are on the roster for being extra bodies in practice.  I am sure they would admit that.

But at Kentucky, seniors almost always start on Senior Day.  Hood and Polson started last season, with Polson playing 19 minutes and Hood 6 minutes.  And each had an impact on the game hitting 3-pointers.  Lanter, Malone, and Long are 0-3 combined from behind the arc in their careers.  And hey, this year Alabama was senior day and the conference title was well out of reach with Florida coasting to the title.  

So what is Calipari to do?  ….should he start Long, Lanter, and Malone?  And if you think he should start those guys (which I do), how long do you keep them in the game?  Here is Calipari’s history of playing seniors:

2010: Krebs, Stevenson, and Harris all started and played 5:22 of game action AGAINST FLORIDA.  They left the game leading 7-3.  Harris would play 1 minute more and Stevenson 3 minutes more later in the game.

2011: Harrellson was the only senior that year and played 36 minutes against Vanderbilt on senior day.

2012: Darius Miller played 34 minutes against Georgia.  Eloy Vargas started the game and played the first 4:19, leaving the game with UK winning 7-2.  He would go on to play 16 minutes.

2013: Julius Mays was a regular starter.  Twany Beckham was available as a senior but did not start or play AGAINST FLORIDA.

2014: Both Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson started against Alabama and played the first 4:22 of the game, leaving with UK up 6-4.

Like I said, I think Calipari should start all 3 guys on Senior Day in 2015.  Long and Malone will have been in the program for 4 years and Lanter for 3 years.  I think they’ve earned the right to play for the first segment of the game, until the first TV timeout.  With that said, I am not sure if Cal will be able to pull the trigger and play them.  He did play Krebs in 2010, but that was the only walk-on he had to start, although Harris and Stevenson were not seeing the floor much either.  But then in 2013, Twany Beckham did not get the start or get to play against Florida.  And Calipari warned that may happen before that game.  So, we have seen mixed decisions from the coach in the past.

For the most part, I still stand by what I said.  While I am not sure I would allow all 3 guys to get to the 1st TV timeout, I still hold that all 3 deserve the right to get the start on Senior Day.  Just because those guys didn’t contribute on the floor doesn’t mean they are not valuable.  They are certainly valuable in the classroom but also being good teammates.  They are the most enthusiastic on the bench, the first off the bench to congratulate their teammates, and provide a morale that is often needed.  They have earned the right to be honored before the game and given the customary start, no matter what kind of history is being set.

Secondarily, what is the real risk in starting them?  Oh no, Florida might score the first basket of the game!!!!  Many of the “traditional” things about college basketball have fallen by the wayside over the last 5 years, and Calipari has been a leader in that.  And it’s cool.  I am happy we have a coach that is so far ahead of the curve.  But this is one tradition that isn’t worth throwing away.  Not allowing those guys to start is not transformational or ahead of the curve.  It’s just silliness.  Give the guys their 2 or 3 minutes of joy and then win the game for the other 37 minutes.

What I really find interesting is when I posted this article above in May of 2014 there were 38 comments.  Of those 38 comments, a total of 29 showed support to starting those 3 guys on Saturday.  I wonder if the general opinion has changed now that the Cats are 30-0 and going for some real history…..

Wendy’s KSR Top Ten Tweets of the Day


Our premium sandwich is made using only wild-caught North Pacific Cod, hand-cut from a whole fillet so it’s tender and deliciously flakey. It’s then lightly coated in a crispy, panko breading and topped with a creamy, dill tartar sauce and crunchy dill pickles. Pair it with Natural Cut fries and a drink of your choice for a meal that’s definitely the catch of the day.

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 CoachMarrowUK

You and your son look a lot alike.





#9 Jackie Watson

I’ve already set up my daily appointments to get my blood pressure checked every day this month.




#8 Chad Mangan

Dear Lord. I can’t look away.





#7 Jamie Tulenko

That’s the only explanation.





#6 R. Collie King, III

He’s pretty good at Creaning!





#5 Peter Brackney






#4 Zack Huber

Ha. I see what you did there.





#3 Nick Ramos

It looks like what Liam would look like as a Beatle.





#2 Stephanie Jones

I can’t even get past the presentation of this and the ‘drop shadow’ font to even begin to come up with a one liner for this.





#1 John Newton





Cal quotes Young Jeezy: “Scared money don’t make no money”


John Calipari has said for months that he wanted his team to be tested. Well, they were tonight. When Georgia led by as many as nine in the second half, Cal said he hoped it would go to ten:

“I hope we go down 10! I hope we go down 10! That’s what I said to them. We need to find out who’s who. Who’s going to make a play, who’s going to do stuff? I kept saying ‘scared money don’t make no money.’ That’s what I kept saying in the huddle.”

Cal breaking out Young Jeezy lyrics. Swag.

Five Late Night Takeaways From Win No. 30


Dale Zanine | US Presswire

What a game. What. A. Game.

Remember when you thought Kentucky was going to lose? You did. Don’t lie to me. You thought to yourself, “It was fun while it lasted.” You thought that. I know you did.

Well, you were wrong because Kentucky doesn’t know what losing means. Tonight they stared Loss No. 1 in the eyes and shoved it aside to leave Athens with a 72-64 victory over a very good Georgia team.

To summarize things briefly: the shooting wasn’t pretty; the defense wasn’t up to par; they were out-rebounded and outplayed through most of the game; but all that matters is the final score and that final score shows the Wildcats on top.

Let’s hit five key takeaways before we call it a night and pick back up in the morning…


This team finds a way to win.

Down nine with nine to play and Georgia riding a monstrous wave of momentum, Kentucky kept its cool and clawed back to get the job done, when many teams would’ve crumbled. Andrew Harrison responded to the Dawgs’ biggest lead of the game with an off-balanced three from the corner, sparking a 7-0 run for the Cats. Georgia would get it back out to six, only to see Kentucky tie it up with a 6-0 run in less than a minute, late in the game.

As Karl Towns said in his postgame interview with ESPN, “We can fight through anything.”

Allow me to dial back the clock for a moment, way back to the Bahamas. Kentucky fell behind early against one of the professional teams — I believe Champagne Chalons-Reims — but the Cats responded and won the game in the end. Afterwards, Slice talked about how impressed he was that the team kept its composure after getting hit in the mouth, not only remaining cool, but punching back to take the lead and control of the game.

Yes, that was a preseason exhibition game in August, but there was some foreshadowing in Atlantis as Kentucky has done the same in a few SEC contests this season. UK got hit in the mouth tonight in a hostile environment in Athens, but just like they showed us in one of their first times playing together, they remained calm and battled back to victory. Simply put, they don’t lose. Backs against the wall, they still find a way to win.

Karl Towns was unstoppable.

All that stuff I just wrote, you can thank Karl Towns for it. Towns was the go-to guy in that run when Kentucky trailed by nine and he could not be stopped. Towns scored 17 second half points — SEVENTEEN — and he made it look easy. The kid who couldn’t make that baby hook earlier in the season, now he can’t miss it and defenders have no way of stopping it. He has become a player you feed in the paint and stay out of his way as he goes to work. Confidence couldn’t be higher in himself, and it couldn’t be higher from those of us watching him from the couch. Let Karl eat when UK needs a basket. He’s becoming an offensive force, just in time for the postseason.

Jahlil Okafor, you can remain seated when Adam Silver calls that No. 1 pick next summer.

The Harrison twins also balled.

Not to be lost in the love for Towns’ offensive dominance was an outstanding night from the Harrisons. Aaron scored the first 13 points of the second half and Andrew was equally important, if not more important, in keeping Kentucky in the game. The twins combined for 28 on the night and made big time shots when others (*cough* Devin Booker *cough*) couldn’t get one to fall.

Look no further than Towns and the Harrisons as your heroes tonight. Kentucky doesn’t win without their relentless play.

Nemanja Djurisic played the game of his life.

When did he become LeBron James? Djurisic played the game of his 7-year career tonight on Senior Night, in front of his father and his father’s mullet and his father’s used car salesman outfit. The bearded one went 7-for-11 from the field for 18 points and played like an SEC Player of the Year in the first half. Luckily he cooled off, because the basketballs gods won’t grant him 40 full minutes, but he gave his best effort to try and crush Kentucky’s dreams of regular season perfection.

Jokes aside, it was a pretty cool night for Djurisic and his family. It was his parents’ first trip to Athens to see him play, in his 10-year career, and he gave them all he had. Kudos to Djurisic on a great night and a fun 16-year career at Georgia.

That hair though.

Kentucky is going 31-0.

I was hesitant to say it before, but with Georgia and Arkansas out of the way, it’s happening. Florida wants no part of Kentucky in Lexington on Saturday and the Cats can taste perfection at this point. Rupp Arena will be rocking in the regular season finale, our last time seeing these guys on UK’s home floor, and every media outlet will be in town to capture it all.

This is really happening, BBN. We’re one win away from the unthinkable.


Highlights! Take some Tums and watch these highlights!

Karl said he was fighting for his brothers, not the undefeated record


When Georgia pulled ahead by nine with 9:12 left in the game, the BBN officially entered panic mode. The Cats looked lost on offense and defense, but finally, reestablished their post game via Karl Towns. Towns scored eleven points in the final nine minutes of the game before fouling out. He had 19 points total, and may have saved UK’s undefeated record.

John Calipari said that at the end of the game, he had enough confidence to go to Karl despite the fact he’s a freshman. “I’ve got enough confidence in him to go to him to shoot free throws. That’s how much I think of him. I know he has the courage, the skill, and the ability, so we went to him late.”

Karl’s late game surge is even more impressive when you take into account he played the final 5:50 with four fouls. How did he stay effective for over five minutes before fouling out? “We had to do some stuff other than him just playing mush mouth and move people to give him a better space,” Cal said. “Again, he’s a freshman. He’s just trying to do what he can do. So we started moving them, swinging, and posting from there, and that’s when they couldn’t really guard them.”

Because Karl is Karl, he said tonight’s win was for his brothers. “We fight for each other, we never care about the record or the streak or what records are going to be broken. We don’t worry about that. We just fight for each other, every time we step on the court, we’re not thinking about ourselves, we’re thinking about our brothers, each other. And that really is the key ingredient to why we’re doing so well right now, because we’re so selfless.

I know people will say, well we were fighting to be undefeated, but that’s absolutely not the case. When we go on the floor, we’re thinking of each other and when I’m on the court, I’m thinking about Andrew, I’m thinking about Willie, I’m thinking about every single person on the court and on the bench. That’s what makes us so special.”

That’s also what makes you so special, Karl.

Watch John Calipari and Aaron Harrison talk about the game

Watch me struggle in the background to record it.

And Aaron’s comments:

Andrew took the team on his back tonight

Photo by UK Athletics

Andrew Harrison took the team on his back tonight, scoring twelve points, seven during a crucial stretch at the end of the first half. Afterwards, Karl Towns said Andrew’s leadership kept the rest of the team confident even when the going got rough.

“It’s amazing. When you have a person like that on your team, it’s hard to ever feel down on yourself. That’s what he gives us: not only his amazing talent, but his leadership is key to what this machine is working with.”

Karl said that during a timeout, someone said “let’s get three stops,” to which Andrew responded, “no, let’s get five.” Why five? “I was looking at my jersey number,” Andrew quipped. “We just wanted to get as many stops as we could.”

John Calipari said that’s proof this team is becoming empowered, and no one was happier than he was when the group remained huddled during a timeout even after Cal went back to the bench. “Did you notice they huddled when I let them out of a huddle and they went to midcourt and they stood there for a minute and a half? I want more of that. That’s what I want to see.”

The players mentioned this huddle as well and said Andrew took over. What did he tell them? “I told them we’re not losing. I told them what we had to do to win and we did that.”

That’s a leader, folks.