Believe it or not, there are only eight games left in the regular season. Kentucky →
By Nick Roush on ©February 09th, 2016 @ 9:55am
Katina Powell will be join Matt and Ryan at a Double Super Secret location for the second hour of today’s show. I really don’t know what more I could say to make you listen to what might be the biggest show in the history of Kentucky Sports Radio.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
KSR Affiliate List
WCBL (1290am): Benton
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PRTC TV Channels 209 & 409: Jackson & Owlsey Counties (Replayed at 1 and 6)
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
By Nick Roush on ©February 09th, 2016 @ 9:20am
In a situation where most are advised to keep quiet, Rick Pitino can’t stop talking. This morning he took it to a national stage on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning, addressing his future and calling the NCAA a “broken system” multiple times.
Instead of penalizing these innocent players (“I’d work for free if we could get into the Tournament for my players”) Pitino wants a President to step up, and make change. What’s his suggested change? Have schools pay fines for cheating, because that wouldn’t make it easy for wealthy programs to get away with cheating, not at all.
Pitino reiterated what went behind the decision on a postseason ban — Jurich made the decision with the President’s OK. “The only thing you have to do is you have to trust people, and there’s nobody I trust more in life than Tom Jurich with handling a crisis.” He’s glad Tom made the decision, but he still insists that Jurich should be included in the investigation process, calling it “the biggest mistake Louisville ever made.” “You don’t keep the smartest man in the room, who knows the most about NCAA procedure out of the workings,” Pitino said.
It was hard to take some of his comments seriously. Pitino said Andre McGee initially “misled” him in a phone call, saying that Powell was a “party planner” that she would “bring girls over to listen to music.” I guess you could call her a “party planner,” just like how you could call Billy Minardi Hall a “sanctuary,” which is exactly what he did. “If someone broke a chair in that dormitory, I would immediately go over there and get that chair fixed. That’s how much this dormitory meant to me it. It was a sanctuary.”
For the first time, Pitino gave telling statements on his future at UofL. “The future is going to be bright for Louisville. They’ve got a great leader in Tom Jurich.”
If that doesn’t sound like he’s trying to wash his hands on the situation…
“My future is really irrelevant and unimportant. It’s the University of Louisville I care about,” Pitino said. “When that day comes, I’ll make that decision, but it won’t be because of this incident.” He added, “In the end, I’ll be totally vindicated, and people will understand how it happened.”
By Nick Roush on ©February 09th, 2016 @ 9:00am
Tonight at 9:00, the Kentucky Wildcats will try to stand alone in second place in the SEC with a win over the Georgia Bulldogs in Rupp Arena. Normally, that would be today’s primary talking point, but today is not a normal day.
Just four days after UofL prescribed a postseason ban for the men’s basketball team for the sex scandal first alleged in “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” the woman at the center of scandal will join Matt Jones for a live interview on Kentucky Sports Radio at 11:05. Powell has said few words publicly since the scandal became front page news. Today’s interview drew so much early attention that it has been moved to a Top Secret location.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to watch it all unfold. Who knows what we’ll learn from today’s talk with Katina Powell.
There is a Basketball Game Tonight
Tonight’s matchup vs. Georgia at home isn’t the most appealing, but the Bulldogs have started to figure things out. They’ve won two in a row, a streak that started with a dominating 13-point win over South Carolina. Calipari is 9-2 against Georgia, but don’t forget that the Dogs almost ended Kentucky’s perfect season late last year in Athens.
However, it’s hard to worry when the Cats are at Rupp Arena. You can sit at home for the call from Brad Nessler and Sean Farnham, or you can get upper level tickets for only $25. All you have to do is use the offer code SNOW on Ticketmaster for sections 234-244, and you’re in the stands for less than face value. Hurry, before they’re all gone.
More “Cal to the NBA Rumors” are Coming
Yesterday Derek Fisher was let go by the Knicks, and now Marc Stein is reporting that the Kings are going to fire George Karl. Don’t worry too much, Cal already has a Tweet ready in his Drafts.
Buddy Hield is Icy
Game tied with less than 10 seconds left? No problem. A cold-blooded killer.
MKG is Making Threes
Hard to believe but it’s true. Since returning from injury, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a new facet to his game — a jump shot. Tonight he made his third 3-pointer of the year. Before this season he had only hit three three’s in three years (say that five times fast). He finished the game with a season-high 20 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
If you’re wondering how the other NBA Cats are doing, they’re still really, really, really, really good at basketball. Julius Randle had 15 points and tied a career-high in rebounds with 19, his 21st double-double of the year. Karl Towns had his 29th double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes, but Anthony Davis got the win, thanks to his 27 points and 8 rebounds.
Stoops is Interviewing a New Defensive Backs Coach
Former South Carolina defensive backs coach Grady Brown will reportedly be interviewing for Derrick Ansley’s old job this week. Ed Reed was in the picture for only a moment, and there will likely be more names that surface in the coming weeks. If you’d like your name to be in the mix, you can apply for the position here.
There’s Somebody Crazier than Rick Pitino on UofL’s Bench
It isn’t the first time long-time strength coach Ray Ganong has provided us with a candid emotional moment. It also happened last year at the Yum! Center, and during UofL’s first win this Summer in Puerto Rico. Bless his (rapidly beating) heart.
Tonight is the New Hampshire Primary
I know we have plenty of people out there that love when we discuss politics on the site. Don’t worry, this political science major is going to stay away from the subject and let Ryan Lemond give an informed report on the radio tomorrow.
Sacha Killeya-Jones Received his McDonald’s All-American Jersey
Before the Kentucky signee received his All-American jersey, he played a double-header in Pulaski County. I’ll break down his game later today.
Basketball on TV Tonight
- #8 Michigan State at #18 Purdue, 7:00 on ESPN
- #10 West Virginia at #6 Kansas, 7:00 on ESPN2
- Pitt at #12 Miami, 7:00 on ESPNU
- Auburn at Tennessee, 7:00 on SEC Network
- Arkansas at Miss. State, 9:00 on SEC Network
- Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 on ESPNU
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 11:00pm
Believe it or not, there are only eight games left in the regular season. Kentucky is currently 17-6 overall and 7-3 in conference play, which is good enough for a 4-seed in the SEC Tournament; however, there’s a LOT of basketball still to play, and with trips to South Carolina and Texas A&M on the horizon, the Cats are still in control of their own destiny.
With that in mind, I spent the day ranking the last eight games in terms of difficulty. In addition to my own gut feelings and analysis, I factored in the Sagarin ratings for probability. Without getting too geeky, that means taking each team’s current Sagarin rating (Kentucky’s is 87.28, 21st in the country) and comparing it to their upcoming opponents using the “home edge” variable. Sometimes, I agreed with Sagarain’s predictions, other times I didn’t.
Here’s the rest of Kentucky’s schedule, ranked easiest to hardest…
7 p.m., Rupp Arena, ESPN/ESPNU/SEC Network
Kentucky handled Alabama easily in Tuscaloosa, and, although Avery Johnson’s squad rebounded from that loss with a win over South Carolina, they’ve lost four of their last seven. We’ll know more about the Crimson Tide after they host Texas A&M on Wednesday, but for now, I feel very confident about Kentucky’s chances against them in Rupp.
Sagarin says… KENTUCKY by 13 points
7 p.m., Rupp Arena, ESPN
Yes, Tennessee beat Kentucky less than a week ago, but as we’ve discussed ad nauseam, the Cats’ collapse was due more to their own demons than the Volunteers’ strong play. No offense to Rick Barnes’ group, but before said collapse, Kentucky was up 21 points, and after seeing UK dismantle Florida, I’m willing to allow myself to believe the loss in Knoxville was just a fluke. Not only is the rematch in Rupp, something tells me the Cats will be out to avenge their most humiliating loss of the season.
Sagarin says… KENTUCKY by 13 points
9 p.m., Rupp Arena, ESPN
Georgia beat South Carolina, but they also lost to Texas A&M by 34 points. At home. Yikes. Mark Fox’s team is led by veteran guards JJ Frazier and Kenny Gaines and they’ll use a zone against the Cats, but Kentucky’s guards are pretty decent themselves. With Isaac Humphries expected to play more, I have a feeling UK will build on a big win over Florida tomorrow night.
Sagarin says… KENTUCKY by 10 points
7 p.m., O’Connell Center, ESPN
Here’s where I start to disagree with the Sagarin ratings, which say Florida will win this game by two. While I’ve witnessed first-hand that the O-Dome is nuts, it’s hard to look past Kentucky’s 19-point shellacking of the Gators in Rupp. Yes, Kentucky is notoriously terrible on the road, but, as we saw on Saturday, the matchups are in the Cats’ favor. In my mind, it really is a toss-up as to which game is tougher between this and LSU.
Sagarin says… FLORIDA by 2 points
2 p.m., Rupp Arena, CBS
The Cats fell hard in Baton Rouge, and even then, Ben Simmons only scored 14 points. Since then, LSU’s lost at Florida, at Texas A&M, and to Oklahoma after leading the #1 Sooners by as many as 14 points. If this game was in Baton Rouge, I’d give the Tigers the nod again, but in the friendly confines of Rupp on Alex Poythress’ Senior Day, I have to go with the Cats. Nine points seems like a pretty big margin right now, but we’ll see what happens over the next month.
Sagarin says… KENTUCKY by 9 points
Noon, Colonial Life Arena, ESPN
The Gamecocks are out of the AP poll, but ranked one spot higher than Kentucky in the Coaches’ Poll. Similarly to Kentucky, South Carolina’s either looked great or atrocious this year, beating Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday a few days after losing at Georgia by 13. Another head-scratcher: their 23-point loss to Alabama back in January. If you follow of Kentucky’s (loose) pattern of great game, great game, dud, the Cats could be due for a clunker in Columbia, especially when you consider Drew Franklin will be in the house. In fact, that could make this the hardest game left.
Sagarin says… KENTUCKY by 1
4 p.m., Memorial Gymnasium, CBS
Yes, Kentucky beat Vandy by almost 20 points at home a few weeks back, but you have to take their stupid gym into consideration. As UK has learned over the years, they don’t call it “Memorial Magic” for nothing, and if there’s an environment in which this Jekyll/Hyde team could fall apart, it’s the opera-house-come-gym on West End.
Sagarin says… VANDY by 2 points
6:30 p.m., Reed Arena, ESPN
Texas A&M is the only team ranked higher than Kentucky (in the AP poll) left on the schedule, and as recently as two weeks ago, they were considered a top-five team. The Aggies have lost three of their last four games, the most puzzling being Saturday’s loss at home to South Carolina; however, Kentucky being Kentucky, you know the atmosphere at Reed Arena will be insane when the Cats come to town. Given Texas A&M’s talent and depth, I consider this Kentucky’s biggest challenge left in the regular season.
Sagarin says…TEXAS A&M by 3 points
Agree? Disagree? Rank UK’s remaining games from easiest to hardest yourself below:
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 10:40pm
We’ve partnered with Wendy’s for the Pic & Roll at Rupp Sweepstake! Visit a participating Wendy’s in the Lexington, KY area, take a pic with the in-store Pic & Roll At Rupp sign, and post to Instagram or Twitter using #WendysRuppVIP for your chance to win!
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Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of Kentucky, 18 years of age & older. Sweepstakes begins at 9:00:00 am EST on February 5, 2016, and ends at 11:59:59 pm EST on March 7, 2016. Void where prohibited. For full prize details, go to http://bit.ly/WendysRupp
You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:
#10 Alec Stout
— Alec Stout (@theAlecStout_10) February 6, 2016
#9 Trey Minton
— Trey Minton (@tr3yuk) February 6, 2016
That boy reeeaaallll good.
#8 Zachary Mockbee
— Zachary Mockbee (@zachary_mockbee) February 8, 2016
Woman: Yes hair dresser, I’d like the UK secondary logo.
#7 Ken Gatton
— Ken Gatton (@UKenG76) February 7, 2016
Seems about right.
#6 Julia Ritchie
I'm not saying Tyler Ulis is Superman, but I've never seen Tyler and Superman in the same place at the same time. #BBN
— Julia Ritchie (@juliamarie82) February 6, 2016
I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
#5 James Martin
— James Martin (@TheConverseBlog) February 6, 2016
Adidas to announce new Louisville logo on Friday.
#4 Zachary Mockbee
— Zachary Mockbee (@zachary_mockbee) February 8, 2016
The official Valentine’s Day card of UK Athletics.
#3 Trevor Stine
— Trevor Stine (@phinstotheleft) February 8, 2016
KSR being sneaky having the interview at the last place Louisville fans would think.
#2 Hayley Minogue
Bottom line- Louisville needs an Olivia Pope to come in and just take over.
— Hayley Minogue (@hayley_minogue) February 6, 2016
Louisville doesn’t need another Scandal. *slaps knee*
#1 Stewart Mandel
If Rick Pitino got pulled over for speeding, he'd blame it on the car.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 6, 2016
Or he’d blame the speed limit signs for being hard to read.
By Nick Roush on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 10:20pm
Even though we want to move forward into 2016 and “Finish,” it’s interesting to see how Kentucky’s 2015 performance looked through the lens of an outsider. The guys at ESPN’s SEC Blog spent the last few weeks ranking each position group in the SEC.
It’s no surprise that none of them are ranked that high, but some of the rankings might surprise you.
Quarterback – #11
The quarterback position was supposed to be a strength for the Wildcats, but returning starter Patrick Towles struggled with turnovers, throwing an SEC-worst 14 interceptions, and eventually gave way to redshirt freshman Drew Barker. The former ESPN 300 recruit showed flashes, but he too was inconsistent.
Running Back – #7
The Wildcats’ passing game might have been inconsistent, but they were typically effective on the ground. Leading rusher Stanley “Boom” Williams (855 yards) averaged 7.1 yards per carry and Jojo Kemp (555 yards) nearly averaged 6 yards per attempt. Mikel Horton complemented those two shiftier backs, adding a between-the-tackles element to a rushing attack that averaged 162.7 ypg.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends – #8
Even with consistency issues on offense, the Wildcats still had two receivers — Garrett Johnson and Dorian Baker — who ranked inside the top 20 of the SEC in receiving. Johnson led Kentucky with 694 yards, while Baker had 608. They combined for five touchdowns. Fellow sophomore Jeff Badet caught another 29 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman tight end C.J. Conrad could blossom into a solid player.
Offensive Line – #10
The Wildcats were right around the middle of the pack statistically running the ball in conference play: 151.5 rushing yards per game (eighth in the SEC), 4.4 yards per rush (seventh) and 2.3 yards per rush before contact (seventh). Quarterbacks were pressured 25.7 percent of the time (seventh) in SEC games, and Kentucky was seventh in total sacks allowed in SEC games (18).
Defensive Backs – #12
Despite starting a pair of true freshmen at cornerback (Chris Westry and Derrick Baity), the Wildcats got better against the pass. They surrendered 14 passing touchdowns (14th nationally) and 198.1 ypg (28th) although opponents generally passed the ball effectively against Kentucky.
Front Seven – #13
The loss of Bud Dupree and ZaDarius Smith was greater than most people expected as the Wildcats struggled to generate any pressure on the quarterback, ranking lasts in the SEC in sacks (17).
By Nick Roush on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 10:00pm
By Andrew Cassady on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 9:30pm
One month from tomorrow the SEC tournament will be tipping off in Nashville. But before we can get down to Music City, 8 games still remain to decide who will be resting until Friday. LSU has made a charge to grab first place but you have 5+ teams still in contention. Who has a shot at the crown? Find out in this week’s edition of the SEC power rankings:
By Nick Roush on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 8:00pm
After being turned down by Ed Reed, Mark Stoops is now turning to a former SEC assistant. According to Justin Rowland, former South Carolina defensive backs and special teams coach, Grady Brown, is in Lexington to interview for Derrick Ansley’s old job.
Brown previously worked at LSU and was a cornerbacks coach for Southern Miss, before taking the South Carolina job in 2012. After spending two seasons coaching the DBs and special teams, he as demoted to quality control assistant when Spurrier re-organized the defensive staff by adding Jon Hoke as a defensive coordinator.
What could set Brown apart from other candidates? He has strong recruiting ties to South Florida. Arguably his best recruit is one you can’t forget from his matches with UK — All-SEC linebacker Skai Moore.
Even though Brown’s name has popped up quickly, don’t expect Stoops to have a quick trigger with this hire. We’ll keep you updated as more names surface throughout the process.
By Nick Roush on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 7:30pm
After UofL announced a self-imposed postseason ban for the men’s basketball team on what is now being dubbed as “Black Friday,” fans turned to Terry Meiners and Tony Vanetti to help them get through their difficult time. Now, they’re talking to Matt Jones about what led to the decision and what’s next for the basketball program. Some highlights:
— Did Rick know what was going on?
— Was Andre McGee a lone wolf, or did somebody else on the staff know?
— How Terry’s relationship with Pitino has affected his job.
— Ramsey, Jurich, Pitino: are they all still at UofL in 2017?
You can have every podcast delivered straight to your phone by searching for “The Matt Jones Podcast” on iTunes and clicking “subscribe.” It doesn’t get much easier than that. If you aren’t an iTunes person, you can also stream every podcast on Podbay.
By Nick Roush on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 7:00pm
— Isaac Humphries is helping himself, and the other Bigs. The play from Isaac Humphries was a pleasant surprise on Saturday, contributing solid minutes in the absence of Alex Poythress. “He didn’t know if he would have an opportunity, and when he got his chance he grabbed it by the throat,” Calipari said.
The best part for Cal: Isaac’s play forces Skal to either step up, or sit down.
“You know the great thing about Isaac playing that way, who’s he putting pressure on? Skal. ‘You better start my man.’ It now is, ‘(If) You don’t get it done Skal, I’m playing Isaac.’ He’s proved it. He got six rebounds and made a basket. I’m trying to win, I don’t play favorites.”
With that being said, Calipari described Skal’s performance over the last two days, “as good as I’ve ever seen him.” With Poythress’ status considered day-to-day, all of the post players must seize the moment.
— Cal used the Super Bowl as a teaching moment. Because of course he did.
The old “defense wins championships thing” rang true last night, with Denver’s DLine suffocating Cam Newton. Cal’s best teams have been great defensively. He believes this team is capable of playing great team defense, with an emphasis on “team.” After all, it worked for the Broncos.
“They counted on their line and their linebackers to really put pressure on the quarterback so he could not see the open guy. That’s team. You do your job, I’m gonna do my job,” Calipari said.
If he can get all five on the same page, the improvements will speak for themselves.
— Cal is pumped to watch his former Cats during All-Star Weekend. He is proud of the numerous accolades his players received, even though he doesn’t understand how some were left out of the Rising Stars Challenge. He was quick to brag on his three post players in the Skills Challenge, listing the competitors by name: ” Karl Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and someone else who’s not going to win. I don’t even know who the fourth guy is, nor do I care.”
— Tyler Ulis is the Team’s Most Valuable Player. I think it’s pretty obvious too.
“If you’re comparing anybody to Tyler Ulis, you’re not giving anybody any justice here, because this guy is so unique,” Cal said. “He plays with that energy that entire time he’s out there, and a will to win, and a fight to win and an emotion to win that is just not normal.”
The energy he plays with is becoming more infectious. He sees Briscoe and Murray giving more fight, yet they’re still learning how to play without taking possessions off.
— How Jamal Murray can build off a career-game. Like every Wildcat fan, Calipari wants to see him play better defense, bringing energy to both ends of the floor. Offensively, he knows that hitting eight threes isn’t going to happen every time he hits the floor. To make up for that, he wants to see Murray be more aggressive by attacking the basket and drawing fouls. “He should be a guy that get’s to the line 8 to 10 times a game.”
By Bobby Reagan on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 6:30pm
So, taking a look at Kentucky’s stats this year and a couple things are jumping out. Most notably, Jamal Murray and Derek Willis are absolutely relying on the three and that’s not a bad thing. Murray is shooting a 3 on 50% of his shots while Willis is shooting a 3, 64% of the time.
This isn’t necessarily shocking with the value of the 3-point ball and the evolution of the game. This is especially true in both of their styles of play. Willis being a stretch four is made for this and he’s frankly not going to beat a ton of people off the dribble to the hoop. Murray’s number is a little shocking considering he can get to the hoop and is crafty at finishing around the elbow/in the paint.
Would you like to see those numbers go down? Not necessarily. Murray has upped his 3-point shooting to almost 40% – that tends to happen when you go 8-for-10 in a game – but, if he can continue to shoot around 40% the value is just too great.
The other stat that sticks out? Alex Poythress has just eight assists on the year. Tells me he’s looking for his shot, which is something fans have always wanted him to do.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 6:00pm
Which statistic are we looking at ahead of tomorrow night’s game?
Kentucky’s field goal percentage.
Georgia is one of the best teams in college basketball at making its opponent miss shots. Mark Fox’s squad leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally in field goal percentage defense. All but two of its 21 opponents shot beneath their season field goal percentage while facing the Bulldogs.
Kentucky, on the other hand, has been been on fire from the field lately. UK shot 53 percent in four of the last five games, well above its average of 46 percent entering that stretch. The Cats currently rank second in the conference in field goal percentage, trailing LSU by three-tenths of a percent.
Want more? Another stat to keep an eye on is rebounding. Georgia is undefeated this season when winning or tying its opponent on the glass. A perfect 11-0 on the year when not losing the rebounding battle.
By Bobby Reagan on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 5:15pm
I thought the Rocky Mountains would have been a little more rockier than this.
Get used to hearing a lot of Dumb and Dumber jokes if Joe Lunardi is right with his latest bracketology. He’s got Kentucky moving up a spot – and a team on the rise – to a No. 4 seed in the South Region.
Getting Arizona in Denver would be tough, but if Kentucky makes it to the second weekend on this bracket, getting Oklahoma in Louisville would be a complete home court advantage. Oh, isn’t that cute to have Indiana, Duke and Wichita State in the same bracket as Kentucky too?
By Drew Franklin on ©February 08th, 2016 @ 4:45pm
Katina Powell, author of Breaking Cardinal Rules and the thorn in Louisville basketball’s side, will be a special guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio tomorrow morning. It is our most anticipated show ever and it will be must-hear radio for fans on both sides of the rivalry.
The interview will be conducted in person at an undisclosed location due to security concerns. The suits at iHeart Media are taking the KSR show away from the studio and into a super-secret warehouse to avoid complete mayhem surrounding Powell’s appearance.
You can hear it all on tomorrow’s show in Matt Jones’ Super Bowl.
Get your popcorn ready.