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November 27th, 2014

The First Thanksgiving

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first-thanksgiving

(Ed. Note: It’s very easy, at this hectic time of year, to get caught up in our own lives and forget the things which really matter. So if I may share a family tradition of my own today, I’d like to suggest you take the time at your family’s table this holiday, share the following story of The First Thanksgiving and make it a family tradition in your own home. -Cheers, CMT)

In the year 1621, a group of 101 passengers fleeing the religious persecution of the Church England boarded a ship called the Mayflower and set sail to find their own new land in which to settle and reside. The wooden ship sailed, scholars believe, for sixty-six days before landing on the coast of a new and “undiscovered” country, which the Englishmen and women — who called themselves “pilgrims” — would decide to call home.

As the seasons passed and the air grew colder and brisker signaling autumn was on the way, these pilgrims began to secure the supplies they would need to survive to harsh winter to come. They worked hard to grow corn on the vast land and pull fish from the ocean; they chopped wood they would need for fires and cured meat to be used when food sources would soon become scarce.

One crisp autumn day the pilgrims were delighting themselves in their chores when a group of visitors arrived at their settlement. These visitors were the Kentucky Wildcats, led by head coach John Calipari and his coaching staff, and they could see the pilgrims were unprepared for what was to come. “Let us help you,” said John Calipari, and the pilgrims were grateful for the assistance.

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The Kentucky Wildcats then took the pilgrims to an open field near the settlement and began to throw a rounded gourd back and forth to one another. “Come, try to take this from us,” Alex Poythress said, and a pilgrim man ran to him and tried to take his gourd from him. But Alex Poythress was too fast, and quickly threw the gourd to Aaron Harrison, who tossed the gourd into a hole in a tree, even though there was a very tall pilgrim right in front of him.

The settlers did their best to contain the Kentucky Wildcats but a dual-platoon system with extra substitutes proved too much for them to handle. The pilgrims tried hard but, being new to this country, had no recourse for a solid NBA-style pick-and-roll and strong shooting from the perimeter. Height was also a major problem, as evidenced by the following journal entry by a settler named Edward Fuller:
     These giants both surprised us and frightened us with their swift movements. 
     My beloved wife Mary was thrilled although fearful when Karl-Anthony Towns swatted a

     butternut squash directly into my face, causing me and
     my family sadness and great humility.
The pilgrims would lose The First Thanksgiving 87-19, held to only 7 points in the second half, and ultimately feel grateful that the competition would strengthen them in the days to come. The initial shock on the faces of the children would turn to delight as everyone watching in attendance scored a free taco and the dance team displayed exquisite movements to the day’s hottest rap hits.

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“We must repay you for what you have shown and taught us here today,” the pilgrims told John Calipari. “Someday we will initiate a three-tiered system of competition with scholarships, though not too many scholarships, which will culminate in a tournament rewarding the strongest with an opportunity to be the greatest in all the land.” And John Calipari thought that sounded like a great idea, and then the Kentucky Wildcats were like “Also, here’s some food for you guys” and gave them some corn and roasted meat and sweet fruits for the children. Then a group of energetic young people with jump ropes arrived to put on a show of entertainment as everyone ate their food and Dorothy Bradford, wife of William Bradford of Cambridgeshire, got to be the “Y.” A good time was had by all and Seth Davis said he didn’t know if any Thanksgiving would be better than the First Thanksgiving that year, to which Clark Kellogg was all “you’re right about that” and he doesn’t even like the Kentucky Wildcats.

Afterward, John Calipari would tell everyone that the pilgrims deserved credit for getting out there and playing hard and that he was really impressed with their level of play, even though he probably was just saying it to be nice. The post-First-Thanksgiving epistle-writing show had very high ratings and the pilgrims would go to sleep that night with their hats unbuckled and their bellies full of kindness and food. As the abbreviated, choked howls of the Kentucky Wildcats dunking on wolves peppered the crisp night wind outside, the safe pilgrims vowed to recall this day every autumn and appreciate the blessings bestowed upon them. And that’s what we, today, call Thanksgiving.

 


Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re taking the day off — we have families too, ya know — to enjoy the holiday but we’ll still keep an eye on the newswire throughout the day in case anything unexpected pops up. I hope you all have a wonderful day and eats lots and lots of food and spend quality time with distant relatives and feel terrible all night long with bloated stomachs and gas from that mystery casserole no one claimed to make, while I do the same. I may get bored and post a few things later, maybe.

Before I go I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for being awesome and following KSR. Without you, there is no KSR, and without KSR, there is no BTI and no Kentucky Joe. Never forget that.

Now let’s eat!


November 26th, 2014

Season Never Ends’ Pre-Order News and Views

KSR Post. Week of 11.3

The Kentucky Basketball 2015 Wall calendar is here. That’s right — we said “Wall calendar!”

Rest assured we’ve still got the best moments in UK basketball history on the days they happened – including games from UK’s 2014 NCAA championship game run – along with Top Ten lists, player birthdays, Follow Fridays and a ton of really cool things you’ll be sure to love.

Use the coupon code “KSR” to take $3 off the retail price of $14.95. Buy three calendars and the shipping is on us!

You can find the calendar at Kentucky Korner, Kennedy’s and more retailers will be added soon. You can also reserve your copy now at seasonneverends.com

Created by four UK grads who love the program and the school as much as you. Go Big Blue!

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Good evening, friends. After a day of travel, errands, and that inevitable last trip to Kroger the night before Thanksgiving, I am finally settled in my parents’ den in Danville. As we married people do, I’m heading to the first of two Thanksgivings in the morning, so let’s go through the day’s news before my mom realizes I forgot something at Kroger and have to go back.

Neal Brown is a finalist for the Troy job

Tonight’s headline news is maybe the most upsetting to me. Today, FootballScoop.com reported that our own Neal Brown is a finalist for the head coaching job at Troy, where he was an assistant from 2006-2009. Brown and LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson are reportedly the leading contenders, and the announcement will be made on Monday. Mark Stoops was mum on the subject when asked after practice:

“We have good coaches, so you know, I’d hate to lose any of the guys. I think we have a good staff that work extremely hard. But with that, you’d rather have people coming after them for moving on then any other reason. So we’ll see what happens.”

It won’t be the end of the world if Neal goes to Troy, but I know I will personally be a little disappointed not to have a homegrown Air Raid disciple on the sideline, not to mention a fellow Danvillian. Maybe a dozen Burke’s Bakery doughnuts will persuade him to stay?

Saturday’s showdown creeps closer

Although I don’t think many UK fans expect an upset on Saturday, it was still good to see plenty of UK blue as I made my rounds in Lexington and Danville today. Stoops told reporters that the staff is doing some special things this week to remind the team of the rivalry, including showing them old clips from years past and inviting former Cats to come speak to them about the history of the UK/UofL series. I would hope at this point that the team wouldn’t need any extra motivation headed into their last chance for bowl eligibility, but stoking the fire can’t hurt.

Dakari’s got a new hairstyle. Thoughts?

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Jury’s still out, but I do like that cell phone case.

The mystery home and home series is revealed: UCLA

We’ve been teasing a mystery home-and-home basketball with an esteemed program for a few days, and today, it was finally announced. Starting next season, UK will travel to Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles for the front end of a two-year home-and-home series with the UCLA, one of several marquee games in 2016:

Duke (in Chicago)
Ohio State (in Brooklyn)
at UCLA
Louisville in Rupp
South Florida (in Miami)
Big 12 True Road Game (most likely Kansas)

Speaking of the Bruins…

UCLA and UNC both lost today

It was not a good day for UK’s future opponents in the Battle 4 Atlantis. UCLA lost to Oklahoma 75-65 and UNC lost to Butler 72-66. Add in the news that two of Providence’s guards, including starting point guard Kris Dunn, are doubtful for Sunday’s game with ankle injuries and UK’s heavyweight non-conference schedule is suddenly looking ten pounds lighter. Plus, Cleveland State gave Louisville all they wanted and more tonight, holding the Cards to only 45 points. Before we get on the braggy horse, let’s remember that Cleveland State also gave Kentucky fits last season, with the Cats only winning 68-61; however, they also lost to Savannah State, a team Louisville just beat by 60 points, earlier this season. So, who knows.

Who wears short shorts?

@SportsCenter

St. John’s Chris Obekpa wears short shorts!

I don’t recognize the UK campus anymore

I spent part of my day in Lexington, and used my favorite shortcut from Nicholasville Road to Euclid Avenue through UK’s campus and barely recognized it anymore. From the stadium to the village-like clusters of new dorms, UK looks like a totally different place these days.

Both teams will get plenty of turkey tomorrow

Both the Stoops and the Caliparis are hosting Thanksgiving dinners for their teams tomorrow, which history tells us means they should have a plumber on standby. The football team will start their day with practice in the morning, Thanksgiving dinner together at the Nutter Training Center in the afternoon, and the evening off to spend with friends, nearby family, or the Stoops family at their house. How many players is Stoops expecting for a post-turkey hang?

“I don’t know. That’s the problem with these guys. We’re going to have a dinner right afterwards here for the whole group and then I told them my house was open. So I may get anywhere from two to 100, who knows? I don’t know.”

Something tells me Chantel would liked to know. Come on, guys. RSVP.

Meanwhile, Enes Kanter is ready for Christmas

And with that, I will say goodnight. Things will be a bit slower tomorrow as we take some time off to be with our families, but don’t worry, we’ll be back on Friday to hate all things Louisville and get you ready for Saturday.

Gobbles up.


20 Things We’re Thankful For This Year

thanksgiving

Ahh, Thanksgiving. That wonderful time of year when it’s socially acceptable to go back to the buffet for thirds–and oh yeah, reflect on the things in life for which we are truly thankful. In the Big Blue Nation, you’ve got the five standards: basketball, Calipari, bourbon, a sober ride home from Keeneland, and Kentucky Sports Radio, but this year, I’ve come up with a few more…

Aaron Harrison game-winner vs. Michigan

1. Aaron Harrison

…and his cajones. Without Harrison’s heroics, it’s hard to imagine what this season would be like. Would the Twins still be here? Would Willie? Thank God we don’t have to know.

2. Seriously’s GIFs on the live blog

The KSR live blogs are always entertaining, but Seriously took things up a notch when he started posting random and hilarious GIFs. The secret to Seriously’s talent is his timing, and he’s become such a staple of the live blog that when he’s not able to participate, we all do this:

3. UNC hypocrisy exposed

Although the NCAA has yet to hand out their punishment, the UNC academic scandal was finally exposed this fall, leaving entitled Tarheels everywhere grasping for straws. As I’m sure Fake Barney will tell you, there is no greater joy than seeing a North Carolina fan attempt to justify 18 years of academic fraud by saying “everyone does it, we just got caught.” Seriously? Hush.

4. Our Funkhouser friends

Our friends on the Funkhouser pop culture blog are doing work, and if you don’t already have it bookmarked, you should. Tomlin’s article on “cutting the cord” on cable TV still makes me consider doing it every now and again.

UKNBA

5. The NBA Cats

All 19 of them. Not only are former UK players taking over the league in numbers, they’re dominating every major statistical category.

Photo by Aaron Borton | UK Athletics

Photo by Aaron Borton | UK Athletics

6. Dancing Guy

Darren Moscoe, aka “Dancing Guy,” has been a staple at UK games for years, and when Rupp slips into a coma as it often does, nothing gets it stirring more than “Mony Mony.” Even if his rail slides make us slightly uncomfortable, there’s no denying that Dancing Guy makes Rupp Arena a more entertaining place.

CalDroppingMic

7. Swaggy Cal

Because this season, there isn’t any other kind.

creanwhaa

8. Tom Crean

Please keep ruining Indiana.

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

9. Hope

In retrospect, the win over South Carolina isn’t as impressive as we thought at the time, but beating Spurrier and the Gamecocks under the lights at Commonwealth was a special moment for the football program. We may have a long ways to go, but we’re just getting started, bro.

10. The SEC Network

Sure, they still struggle to keep the camera on the ball sometimes, but thanks to them, we get to see the Cats on a legitimate TV network a lot more often. Bonus points for putting a mic on Cal during basketball games.

11. Ryan Lemond

We’ve loved Ryan Lemond for years, but he truly came into his own in 2014. Body Shapes Medical helped Ryan become Skinny Ryan and now, he’s truly flourishing in his role as the lovable, goofy sidekick/hype man. UK even trusted Ryan to emcee the halftime festivities at Rupp, and so far, he’s tackled the UK mascot and broken his glasses, all while damning the man by wearing his KSR gear. What will Ryan do next?

12. A renovated Commonwealth Stadium

A stadium with actual character and amenities coming to you soon in Fall 2015.

13. Snapchat

A KSR insider tip: if Drew Franklin’s Snapchat story is longer than 80 seconds, it’s 90% likely I’ll have the morning shift the next day.

Photo by Clay Jackson

Photo by Clay Jackson

14. Kentucky’s chrome helmets

When Kentucky football finally became cool.

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15. Matt Elam carrying the American flag

Or the Kentucky state flag. Is there a more beautiful sight?

© Mark Zerof | Getty

© Mark Zerof | Getty

16. Leadership

The evolution of Andrew Harrison has been one of the underrated storylines this season. After struggling last year, Andrew finally found his way during the postseason and is the clear leader of this team, despite having a different point guard being on the floor half of the game. Andrew hasn’t always enjoyed his experience at UK, which makes his smile even sweeter this season.

Darrell Bird | CatsPause.com

Darrell Bird | CatsPause.com

17. Resilience

Senior defensive end Bud Durpee could have left for the NFL after last season, but decided to come back to help Mark Stoops rebuild the Kentucky program. Dupree spent the summer in the weight room with Erik Korem, and as a result, became even more of a freak athlete. Throughout the Cats’ slide this season, I couldn’t help but think of Dupree’s wish for at least one celebratory plane ride home before his college career ends. If Kentucky does beat Louisville on Saturday, Joe Craft better charter his private jet for Dupree’s victory tour.

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

18. Teamwork

Five players working together towards one goal is enough for most teams. Six players is great, seven ideal. But ten, twelve if you count the platoons’ sixth men? The ’96 team played ten players, but how Cal’s doing it, giving each player roughly 20 minutes of playing time each? That’s unheard of.

celebrate1brothers3

19. Celebrations

Because chances are if the team looks like they’re having fun, they’re having fun.

20. Unfinished business

See you soon, Indy.


“We Ask You Wednesdays” Vol. 24

(EHarmony.UK.com)

 

The off-season is technically over, but the folks here at KSR love getting your input on things… relevant and bizarre. We have to get a little creative around here sometimes.Earlier this summer I started a weekly series called “We Ask You Wednesdays,” that brought in some great responses from many readers via Twitter. Most of you all, All of you all, Everyone but my Mom and Dad,Some of you all probably hate it, but it’s either this or I’ll post another Trey Lyles mix tape.

Each week, the question will change and we will hit on a variety of topics, mostly UK-related… but you never know. Each week the best responses will make it on to the website.  This week’s ninth volume of the “We Ask You Wednesday” allowed Kentucky fans to answer the following question via Twitter in 140 characters or less: WHAT KENTUCKY-RELATED THING/PERSON ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR THIS THANKSGIVING?

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Amen to that.

 

I think we are all grateful for the coaches in pretty much every sport here at Kentucky these days. 

 

Hey, whatever it takes.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving spirit….

A sweeter version of the Thanksgiving spirit…

Spinning in rolly chairs, dancing on the sidelines, talking about 100 pound coats….

 Speaking of 100 pound coats. Did you get yours at the Burlington Coat Factory?

That was awfully nice of him. I hope you weren’t wearing orange.

Suck up….

I think this goes for basketball and football.

Bobby Knight does not approve this message.

That’s good “keep things in perspective” advice. Also, beat Louisville.

As long as someone else was behind the wheel.

#NeverForget

Retweet.

 

Having a consistent outside shooting threat is certainly always a blessing after the West Virginia calamity of 2010. 

Eat D. Lamb? How about Tweet D. Lamb.

BEST ANSWER OF THE WEEK:

 

I hate that song. So much. It makes me very much the opposite of happy.


10 Signs Cal is Swaggy

cal-dealwithit

John Calipari’s always had some swagger, but with his most talented squad ever holding teams like Kansas to 40 points, at times, it feels like Swaggy Cal has completely taken over. How can you spot a Swaggy Cal? Here are ten telltale signs:

1. He talks in his “whiny media voice”

This season, Calipari has a campaign against the “clutter” heaped on his players by the media. Everyone is buzzing about the Cats right now and Cal is distinctly “anti-clutter,” even if he talks about it so often that he creates a lot of it himself. On Sunday night, Calipari mimicked the clutter in his special “whiny media voice”:

“Wait a minute. What about the media? 45 straight. They got to win ‐‐ can they beat the 76ers? Let’s take a vote. What?”

Now if he would just complain about transcribing and free food in that voice, he’d totally nail the impersonation.

2. When asked a question, he talks about a completely different topic

Calipari is the master of controlling a conversation. When asked a question, he’ll only really answer it if that’s what he wants to talk about. If not, he’ll change the topic to whatever’s on his mind. On Sunday, a question about Devin Booker’s shot selection quickly morphed into an answer about his players dealing with the pressure and expectations of being a UK basketball player, which Cal called “wearing a hundred-pound coat.” Speaking of…

3. He breaks out the catchphrases

The coat, the tweak, the platoons, reinforcements, tanks on a hill, hum ditty-ditty! Pooping ice cream, fifth-most shots, fourth-most shots, brother’s keeper. If Cal really likes something, he’ll turn it into a catchphrase…

…and then run it into the ground.

4. He talks to fans about autographing basketballs during the postgame show

After he’s done with his postgame press conference, Calipari goes back out on the court to do radio with Tom Leach. In a growing tradition, fans stick around to listen and get autographs from Cal while he’s on the radio, and this season, he’s so swaggy that he’s telling fans what kind of basketballs he’ll sign while on the air.

“Now, guys, I’ll only sign the ones without the pebbles because the pebbles tear up my pen.”

“Walk down. There you go. You were going to hit someone on the head.”

“I love you all, but I’m not signing those pebble balls.”

Captain #TeamNF reporting.

5. He sends out “pump the brakes” tweets to fans

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.19.01 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.19.24 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.19.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.19.58 PM

Odds he was doing this when he wrote that?

swaggycal2[1]

6. He brings a balloon to his press conference

@UKAthletics

After his birthday tweet heard round the world, Cal tried to make things right with his daughter, Megan, by bringing a birthday balloon to his press conference Sunday night. The gesture was sweet, but it was also Cal thumbing his nose a bit at the national media for pouncing on an innocent mistake.

“Why does that go all over the world, by the way? The whole world, yeah, but it was like they invited me to Good Morning America to talk about it. What? It is my daughter’s birthday. Man I got platoons and…”

To clarify, “Good Morning America” didn’t really invite him on, but Cal said he would accept if they did, because of course.

7. He does his press conferences in “call and response” style

Ain’t no press conference like a Calipari press conference. What other coach flips the script and makes reporters answer questions? Swaggy Cal dangles statements and stats out there for reporters to finish, and if they don’t, he chastises them for not being “basketball Bennies.” You know Cal’s REALLY feeling great when he spars with Jerry Tipton.

cal-wizard

8. He calls himself the magician

Cal, or rather “John in Kentucky,” famously called into the Mike Francesa show this summer to defend himself when Francesa said he’s not a great X’s and O’s coach. “Are you saying I can’t coach? Why didn’t you say that while I was sitting next to you? You said ‘he’s not great at X’s and O’s.’ That’s basically saying I can’t coach. You know what they call me? A magician. ‘Cal the magician.’”

Definitely not “The humble magician.”

9. He pauses after statements and gives everyone “that look”

calsmirk

Yeah, that’s the one.

10. He calls out his enemies

We all remember Pat Forde’s article after the loss to South Carolina telling Calipari to lie in the bed he made. Turns out that bed was pretty comfortable; however, with expectations ratcheting up and the media just waiting for the platoon system to fail, Cal couldn’t help but get in another shot at Forde:

“You’ve got people right now on radio silence because there’s not enough to write that story. The problem is they’ve written those stories and gotten burned because we turned it around and they look like fools, so there’s radio silence right now because they’re not going to do it yet.”

Swaggy Calipari never forgets.


This week’s USA Today Campus Report


The Only Stat that Matters in the Governor’s Cup

With the Governor’s Cup moved to the season finale, there’s approximately eleventy-thousand ways to analyze the Cats and Cards’ previous 11 games.  No matter how much people talk about the importance Louisville’s win at Notre Dame or UK’s 5-game losing streak, there’s only one thing that matters: the rushing game.

For 18 consecutive years, whoever has tallied the most rush yards has won the game.

A game that has featured Tim Couch, Jared Lorenzen, Chris Redman, Brian Brohm, Andre Woodson and Teddy Bridgewater is not defined by the play of quarterbacks.  It’s all on the ground.  It doesn’t matter where they play or the conditions, if you can play smashmouth football and control the ball in the run game, you will win.

During the losing streak, the BBN does what every fan base does when the offense sucks: blame the play-caller (the defense has been worse, but people don’t question Stoops/Eliot’s decisions).  Patrick Towles has been good, not great, but good enough for people to dream of “Tim Couch 2.”  There are times when I agree – the trap play up the middle for a yard can gray the hairs on the head – but to completely abandon the run game would be to completely abandon any hopes at beating Louisville.

Before looking at the numbers, it’s safe to assume the Louisville’s rush offense and defense is MUCH better than Kentucky’s.  The Cards have had four rushers with 100+ yard games and their defense is third in the nation at stopping the run.  Michael Dyer is as large as most Mack trucks, and he’s just one of three power-backs.

If you recall, Kentucky hasn’t done very well against power backs: Florida’s Matt Jones, South Carolina’s Mike Davis, LSU’s Terrance Magee, MSU’s Josh Robinson and Georgia’s Nick Chubb combined for 9 touchdowns and 834 yards (averaging 166.8 yards per game and almost 2 TDs).  A Bye Week can help you get healthy and improve on fundamentals, but completely flipping the switch to stop Dyer, Brown and Co. seems out of the question.

But I’m still saying there’s a chance.  The facade of Louisville’s rushing attack appears fierce, but they only average two more yards per game than the Cats.  That’s right BBN, Neal Brown’s stubbornness has paid off, averaging 153.4 yards a game compared to the Cards’ 155.5.

The greatest concern for the Cats’ run game is in Patrick Towles’ ankle.  Boom Williams is ‘banged up’ but you can still expect a big BOOM or two from the playmaker in the traditional run game.  However, Louisville’s defense works best against that style of play.  Needing versatility in the run game, Towles’ feet are the best option – IF his ankle is good to go.

Even though many expect the Cards to run away with it, Kentucky can too if they get it done on the ground.


Thanksgiving Eve’s Practice Notes

(James Crisp/AP)

Jason Hatcher knows a thing or two about the rivalry. (James Crisp/AP)

–  The Kentucky-Louisville rivalry brings out the best and worst of both schools and their fan bases.  The heart of the rivalry lies in Louisville, where Jason Hatcher grew up on the other side.  A former fan of “the other school,” Hatcher originally planned on donning the disgusting red and white for the rest of his life, but was smart enough to be persuaded to UK by Stoops and Co.

The decision to switch allegiances wasn’t easy: he had to convince his mother, a Louisville fan, that UK was the place to be.  Not only did he sell her that UK was the place to be, she’s completely abandoned ship on the Cards, “[I] Can’t get her out of a UK jersey now.  She wears it to church and everything.” 

–  To contain the Cards’ offense, the Cats must make Reggie Bonnafon beat them.  It’s easy to lose in this series without a run game.  They can’t afford to give up any more yards to the Quarterback.  DJ Eliot said today that the key against Bonnafon is to keep him in the pocket, forcing him to make decisions to throw the ball down the field.

–  Stoops showed the team some more footage of the rivalry today.  I doubt getting the team hyped will be a problem this week, “It’s pretty self-explanatory: if we win, we’re going to play another game.  I’ve told them they deserve it, they’ve worked hard.”

–  Plumbers might make some more money off the Stoops’.  The team will be spending the holiday morning together, with practice followed by a Thanksgiving feast.  The players will have the evening off to spend the time as they please, but he’s leaving his door open for players to celebrate at their house.  The last time they had the team over, the toilets took a beating.  Maybe their open-door policy shouldn’t apply to the bathrooms.


On this day in 1988…

John Calipari made his head coaching debut at the University of Massachusetts. A babyfaced Coach Cal led the Minutemen to a 84-61 win over Southern Connecticut in his college basketball debut. Four year later he would win 1992 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honors, then again in 1993 and 1996, the year he also won National Coach of the Year and took UMass to its first Final Four.

Now, 602 wins later, he is the head coach at the University of Kentucky with what could end up being one of the best teams in history.

Happy Coaching Birthday, Cal.


Two Providence guards are doubtful for the Kentucky game

Two of Providence’s contributors in the backcourt, one being the starting point guard, suffered ankle injuries Sunday that will likely keep them out of action against Kentucky. Kris Dunn and Jalen Lindsey underwent X-rays and MRIs yesterday to determine the extent of the injuries and head coach Ed Cooley expects them to be out of the next two games.

“They both have really bad sprains, tender to the touch,” Cooley said of his guards, who are both on crutches. “They’re very, very doubtful.”

Dunn is averaging nine points and over seven assists in 27 minutes per game as the team’s floor general. Lindsey, a freshman from Huntington Prep, has provided shooting relief off the bench, averaging over five points while shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Add these injuries to the loss of Texas’ starting point guard and UK is getting some unwanted help in two of its most difficult home games this season.


First North Carolina, now UCLA goes down…

UCLA took the Battle 4 Atlantis court immediately after North Carolina’s loss to Butler, and the Bruins didn’t do any better. Kentucky’s December 20th opponent in Chicago lost to Oklahoma, 75-65.

That Kevon Looney guy is pretty tough, though.

Bring it.


UK Fans of the Day Want Two Quick Afternoon Thoughts

BzPGQnUCYAAM0t8.jpg-large

It’s Thanksgiving so I am going to make this quick, but two big pieces of news came out this afternoon that have been lingering around KSR-ville for a while:

— First, FootballScoop.com reports that UK Offensive Coordinator Neal Brown is a finalist for the Troy head coaching job. This rumor has been making its way around Lexington for a few weeks and has been a story we have been chasing for the past few days. I couldn’t get confirmation that he is taking the job (apparently the new coach will be named next week) but I know there is interest there. Football Scoop is talking to folks on the Troy side and says a decision has nearly been made with an announcement next week. We shall see what happens but Brown has coached there before and they love him. If he is offered it, I would be shocked if he doesn’t take it. Brown is a head coach in waiting and Troy is a good starter job. If he gets its, I expect him to go. It would be a bump in the road, but not necessarily a crushing blow if UK can continue its progress. The key would be to find someone who can still do the Air Raid (or the version we run) so that one doesn’t have to completely re-tool with Towles, etc starting over. Watch for East Carolina Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley to be at least one of the candidates.

— Second, Andy Katz reports what we hinted at on radio last week, that UK and UCLA are likely to begin a 2 year home and home series next season. UK would first go to LA and then UCLA would come to Lexington in 2016. I am told that this series will replace the UNC series for two years (although UK will play UNC in 2016 as part of whatever that UNC/Ohio St/UCLA round robin thing is called) and give the Cats a marquee home and home for fans. It will also allow me (selfishly) to travel to the one great college basketball home court I have never been in, Pauley Pavilion.

With that announcement, UK’s non-conference schedule next year would look like this:

Duke (in Chicago)

Ohio State (in Brooklyn)

at UCLA

Louisville in Rupp

South Florida (in Miami)

Big 12 True Road Game

The final of those games is likely to be Kansas, which could put UK in Phog Allen Fieldhouse for the first time in a number of years. If that happens, the return game would be in 2016 in Rupp (UK would not agree to playing a true road game there without the same team playing in Rupp Arena). That would mean UCLA/Kansas in Rupp in the same year…get those tickets now.

For traveling UK fans, that means trips next year to New York, LA, Chicago and Miami…plus possibly Kansas. That is a heck of a road trip (Drew, I hope you are ready for lots of Conway Twitty).

With that, enjoy your holiday…we will be back on radio on Friday. I leave you with young Calipari and his daughters on an early Throwback Thursday:

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The KSR Secret Home-And-Home Series Revealed: UCLA!

UCLA head coach Steve Alford spilled the beans to ESPN.com on the top secret home-and-home series KSR teased you about on the radio last week. It’s a deal with UCLA that would send Big Blue Nation to California next season. UCLA would then come to Rupp Arena in 2016, making it three straight years we’ll see the Bruins.

Josh Hopkins, you live in Los Angeles, your thoughts?


And we thought Kentucky was blowing teams out…

@jamiestogs13

Virginia is up 1,817 points on Tennessee State with 13 minutes to go in the first half. That has to be a record.