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February 8th, 2016

Ulis and Murray challenge UK fans to a game of HORSE

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Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray have challenged Big Blue Nation to a game of HORSE. Simply tweet a video of your best shot to @KentuckyMBB with the hashtag #HorseWithTheCats, then sit back to see if Ulis and Murray can match your bucket.

Kentucky’s two All-American candidates kicked the game off by hitting two deep three-pointers on their first take of the Horse With The Cats video:


More Isaac Humphries in the Georgia game?

Joel Auerbach | Getty Images

Isaac Humphries was terrific in his unexpected role in Kentucky’s win over Florida. The freshman big man played 15 minutes and matched his career-high in rebounds and blocks while helping make up for the loss of Alex Poythress prior to tip-off.

Afterward, John Calipari said, “He earned his space, and I’m so happy for him because he has worked so hard and hasn’t had the opportunity, and what he did was he took advantage, and we all look and say, he needs to play. Let him play. And then you’ve got to stop waiting on some other guys, you’ve got to say, hey, he deserves it.”

Now we ask, will Humphries see an increase in minutes moving forward?

The opportunity is there with Georgia up next on the schedule, and Alex Poythress possibly out for that game and more. John Robic said it will depend on the flow of the game, but the Bulldogs present a challenge in the frontcourt that may require Humphries to do more of what he did against the Gators.

“This would be a good game for Isaac because of post players,” Robic said today. “They actually have size in the post. If it was an undersized, say a Tennessee, where they really don’t have a true post, that would be a tough game for Isaac. This is a matchup-type game that benefits all of our bigger players.”

Robic couldn’t put a number on how many minutes Humphries will play, saying, “It just depends on the flow and how he’s actually playing.”


John Robic expects Alex Poythress to play

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Alex Poythress’ status for tomorrow night’s game is undetermined, but assistant coach John Robic thinks he will be able to go.

While filling in for John Calipari at today’s press conference, Robic said of his senior forward, “He is doing okay. Right now he is day-to-day, expecting him to play tomorrow. Just one of those things, he just felt sore and he’s getting treatment on it right now.”

When asked once more if he thinks Poythress will play, Robic said, “I do, yeah.”

Me, I’m not so convinced. I’ve heard it will be a little longer before Poythress makes his return. Hoping I’m wrong, but Robic’s optimism may be more of a strategic move to make Georgia plan for Poythress inside.

Either way, Kentucky needs him back. And soon.


Kentucky ranked No. 22 in the AP poll

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Mark Zerof | USA Today

Kentucky is still alive in both polls this week despite suffering a crushing loss at Tennessee.

The Cats dropped two spots to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and fell to No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.

The entire Top 25…

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Watch John Robic preview the Georgia game

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John Robic is filling in for John Calipari at today’s pre-Georgia press conference outside Kentucky’s Monday afternoon practice in the Joe Craft Center.

Watch/hear what he has to say in the live stream below:


Kentucky is an 11-point favorite against Georgia

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Kentucky opened up as an 11-point favorite against the visiting Bulldogs in tomorrow night’s game.

UK covered the spread in its last three home games, while Georgia covered in its last four road games. The teams are 11-13 and 12-9 against the spread on the year.

As always, never get sucked into betting teasers and never wage more than you are willing and able to lose. Sports gambling is fun, but it is addicting and can ruin your life and the lives of the people closest to you.

If you think you may have a gambling problem, seek help by calling the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700.

And consider taking Georgia to cover.


Kentucky dropped two places in USA Today rankings

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Kentucky dropped from No. 19 to No. 21 in the new USA Today Coaches Poll, following last week’s loss to Tennessee and victory over Florida.

Villanova overtook the top spot, climbing up from No. 3 to replace North Carolina, which took back-to-back losses last week. Oklahoma fell from second to third.

Texas A&M and South Carolina are the SEC’s other two top-25 teams, coming in at No. 13 and 20.

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Courier-Journal: Stoops reached out to Ed Reed about coaching vacancy

Jon Hale of The Courier-Journal is reporting Ed Reed was indeed an option to replace Derrick Ansley, as many fans hoped and speculated.

According to Hale, Stoops placed a call to Reed, who just accepted a job as the Buffalo Bills’ assistant defensive backs coach, but Reed will remain in the NFL.

The former Baltimore Ravens great played under Stoops at the University of Miami when Stoops was the Hurricanes’ defensive backs coach. They won the 2001 national championship together, and that history is why many believed Reed would become a candidate after Ansley’s departure.

The speculation was fueled with this tweet from Drake Jackson yesterday:

It’s too bad Reed decided to stay in Buffalo because, not only is he one of the best safeties of all-time, he and Lamar Thomas would’ve torn up the recruiting trail in the Miami area.

[Courier Journal | SOURCE: Ed Reed turns down chance to join UK]


If the SEC Tournament began today…

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If the Southeastern Conference were today, we’d all be on Broadway pre-gaming for Auburn and Mississippi State in the Wednesday night opener. Kentucky would be the No. 4 seed with a Thursday bye, playing in the second Friday afternoon game against Florida or the Wednesday night winner. Top-seeded LSU would likely await in the semifinals in the noon Saturday game, with a potential championship matchup with South Carolina or Texas A&M.

Have a look at the entire bracket:

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Of course, with eight games remaining, this will look completely different in March. But it’s never too early to start look ahead toward Nashville.


Calipari to the Knicks rumors in 3… 2…

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There’s a new coaching vacancy in the NBA after the New York Knicks fired Derek Fisher today. Phil Jackson made the decision to fire Fisher, who he hand-picked, amidst a four-game losing streak and nine losses in the franchise’s last ten games. Kurt Rambis will handle the head coaching duties in the interim.

ESPN is reporting two of Jackson’s former players, Luke Walton and Brian Shaw, are in the running to replace Fisher full-time. But don’t think for one second John Calipari’s name won’t get throw into the mix by someone, as it always does.

Here we go again!

 


Rick Pitino talked to SI.com and lied a lot, probably

Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated recently chatted with Rick Pitino to discuss Louisville’s self-imposed ban and his opinion of the decision to do it.

Pitino told Davis he played no role in imposing the ban and he was left in the dark until Tom Jurich notified him of it on Thursday, the day before the press conference. He was not given any details because he hasn’t been interviewed, so he says, and he asked Jurich to take some time to think it over before going public.

Pitino also said he hasn’t read the book — yeah, okay — but, “I know that Eric Crawford found out a lot of inaccuracies.” You will never convince me Pitino didn’t read the book that cost him the NCAA tournament and will likely end his time at Louisville. He read the book.

Then, maybe the most telling part of the interview, Davis asked Pitino if he will be the coach of the Cardinals next season.

Pitino did not say he will be back:

You know, I do the same thing every year. I take some time and ask, Did you have fun? Is it something you want to continue doing? And every year for 15 years, I’ve said I want to come back. Now these circumstances are different than most, but I’m more passionate today than I’ve ever been. I think I enjoy teaching as much as I’ve ever enjoyed it. If there was a time where if I believe in my heart that Louisville is better off without me, I would leave yesterday.

Some other great Pitino quotes from the interview:

— “The mistake they made was they didn’t have (Tom Jurich) on the committee.”

— “​The second thing is, this took place in a dormitory that I built in my brother-in-law’s name in honor of his legacy after 9/11. I wouldn’t let anybody break a chair in that place without coming down hard on them.”

— “She’s saying this happened maybe 20 times over four years, so that’s four or five times a year behind closed doors. How the hell are we gonna know about that?”

— “Andre McGee was one of the cheapest individuals around. If it was his turn to buy a round in a tavern, he would go to the restroom.”

— (On skipping Kentucky press conference) “It’s an environment that’s very emotional for me and I didn’t want to deal with it. Normally, I like going to press conferences. I like dealing with the media.”

— “People at Louisville know that I am telling the truth.”

Read the whole thing here.


Derrick Ansley’s Departure, Danny Trevathan’s Super Bowl, and #FINISH

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Been quite the week in the land of Big Blue Football. Co-Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley accepted a position as the defensive back coach at the University of Alabama. Ansley is from Tallassee, Alabama and spent his first seven coaching years in his home state. The first five were at Huntingdon College as his next two were spent in Tuscaloosa. While a graduate assistant and under the tutelage of Nick Saban, Alabama won a National Championship.

Derrick Ansley was the best teacher on Mark Stoops’ staff. Progressing from inherited talent to what today is considered a SEC top-five secondary based on youth and ability; Ansley’s tenure at UK can only be described as impactful and successful. By intention, I’ve praised his worth, recruiting, and coaching prowess. This opinion was formed by his group’s steady performance climb over the course of three seasons, positional evaluation and recruiting, but was solidified while filming a coaching show segment focusing on the Wildcat secondary.  Said it before and will do so again now, Derrick Ansley will eventually become a defensive coordinator and head coach. With all the assistant coach departures during the Stoops’ era, this one stings the most. But, just as expected by players, Next Man Up.

Mark Stoops is defensive back subject matter expert. From playing DB at Iowa to coaching the position at the U, Florida State, Arizona, and Kentucky; Stoops knows and understands what it takes to lead his position of choice. Thus, of all the assistant coaches that have departed, I’m most confident in this Stoops’ replacement decision. Selling the position to potential candidates will not be a difficult. The secondary cupboard is filled with youthful talent. An up and comer, youthful coach will see the talented secondary as an instant resume builder. An experienced coach will recognize the situation as a turn-key meeting room. 

Danny Trevathan is the most distinguished “La Familia” member.

From a Rivals 2-star prospect to 188th NFL draft selection, Danny Trevathan’s performance on America’s biggest athletic stage will forever be remembered in Wildcat lore. For the second consecutive year, a UK alumnus starred in the NFL title game. Danny tied a Super Bowl record with two fumble recoveries and led the Bronco’s with eight tackles. The World Champion and MVP candidate did not play out of character. His 109 regular season tackles led Denver as Trevathan cemented himself as the University of Kentucky’s most distinguished 2016 professional athlete.

#FINISH and the Super Bowl commercial.

In a busy week for Kentucky’s Athletic Department, its #FINISH Super Bowl commercial was well produced and applicable. Interpreted as a thank you and stick with us message to a loyal but tiring fan base, the production was spot on. From the Signing Day marathon to the Nike uniform and logo unveiling, Wildcat staffers have definitely burned the midnight oil. Regardless of your logo/uniform opinion, all three products were of high quality. This shows me that the ALL IN mantra is more than mere words. I find that incredibly refreshing. Now, it’s time to win games.


Eli Manning is excited for today’s KSR (Monday Show Thread)

Wake up, Eli! It’s time for KSR!

On today’s show, Matt and Ryan will look back on Jamal Murray’s career-high in Kentucky’s win over Florida and Denver’s win over Carolina in last night’s Super Bowl.

They’ll also do a little show prep for tomorrow, when Katina Powell will be in studio.

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

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Danny Trevathan’s Monday Morning Wakeup

For a second consecutive year, a former Kentucky Wildcat made game-changing plays in the Super Bowl. Last year, Chris Matthews’ flirted with MVP honors in a breakout game at wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. This year, it was linebacker Danny Trevathan, who recovered two fumbles and recorded a team-high eight tackles in Denver’s complete dominance of Cam Newtown and the high-powered Carolina Panthers offense. He and Mike Singletary of the ’85 Chicago Bears are the only two players to recover two fumbles in a Super Bowl.

But before Trevathan was a Super Bowl champion and one of the stars of the NFL’s best defense, he was an unheralded recruit out of Leesburg, Florida. He signed with the University of Kentucky as an unranked, two-star linebacker; one of the lowest ranked signees in Kentucky’s 57th-ranked class:

Trevathan went on to become the first linebacker in Kentucky history to earn first-team All-American honors. He was picked up by Denver in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and now has two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl ring in his four seasons as a pro. He is a free agent his offseason, and he is about to get PAID.

So, congrats to Danny!

 

John Robic will talk to the media today.

Head coach John Calipari will pass today’s media responsibilities off to assistant coach John Robic when it comes time to answer questions about tomorrow’s game. Robic will fill in for Calipari in the pre-Georgia press conference, set for 2 pm later today in the Joe Craft Center. A couple of players will be available as well, and we will have the full rundown here on KSR.

Look for a shakeup in the rankings this week.

The new college basketball rankings will look completely different when they are released to the world later this afternoon. Kentucky will likely drop following last week’s loss to Tennessee, and your new No. 1 team will be… Iowa?

Kentucky unranked in CBSSports.com’s Top 25 (and one). 

Gary Parrish’s weekly rankings were updated yesterday and Kentucky was not one of the top 26 teams on his list. The Cats were ranked No. 24 in last week’s CBS rankings from Parrish.

KSR will have Katina Powell on tomorrow’s show.

Tuesday’s show may be one of the best in KSR’s long history of doing real radio. Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond will have Katina Powell in studio to discuss her book, Louisville’s postseason ban and all the naughty stuff that went on in Minardi Hall that led to both. You should always listen to the show, but tomorrow is a must-listen. No excuse for missing it.

The highlight of the Super Bowl:

That, or me taking the Broncos and everyone’s money because people thought too highly of the Panthers against Denver’s defense. I also hit the coin toss, the over on the national anthem, and won the squares game for a perfect gambling night. All money will go toward Kentucky’s trip to the Final Four.

Did you see Kentucky football’s new Super Bowl commercial?

The new motto for the program is: FINISH.

UK even got our own Freddie Maggard in on the movement:

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Kentucky landed a HUGE transfer from Michigan yesterday.

Michigan’s Brian Cole was granted his release from the Wolverines last month after playing one season as a wide receiver. A former top-100, four-star prospect, Cole will now take his talents to Lexington, where he will sit out the coming season and then suit up for the Wildcats as a sophomore in 2017. Cole can play either wide receiver or defensive back, but the staff has plenty of time to figure that out. For now, celebrate the highly-touted player becoming the newest member of the UK football program. Big get after National Signing Day.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Worst Set of Losses in UK History?

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This season has been so weird for John Calipari and the team.  They show these flashes of being a legitimate Final Four/Champion contender, especially considered it being such a down/balanced year in college basketball.  But they have truly thrown in some of the biggest duds in the Cal era.  The losses to Auburn and Tennessee, no matter the fact they were on the road, are 2 of his worst at UK.  UCLA and Ohio State are not really tournament contenders and likely will finish around .500 for the season.  LSU has recovered some over the last few weeks and Kansas is legit.  But overall, even more than the impressive stretches have been the horrible losses.

But just how bad has the losses as a group been?  I dug through the last 11 years of UK basketball, spanning Cal’s 7 season, Gillispie’s 2, and Tubby’s last 2 and compiled the record of all of UK’s losses in those seasons.  And unfortunately 2016 is shaping up to be the worst group of losses by a long shot.

2016 (81-57, 58.7%)
UCLA: 13-10
Ohio State: 14-10
LSU: 15-8
Auburn: 9-13
Kansas: 19-4
Tennessee: 11-12

Last 10 Years
Caliapri: 2013 (277-142, 66.1%)
Gillispie: 2009 (320-153, 67.7%)
Caliapri: 2010 (74-32, 69.8%)
Gillispie: 2008 (319-134, 70.4%)
Caliapri: 2011 (230-96, 70.6%)
Tubby: 2006 (312-124, 71.6%)
Caliapri: 2012 (52-20, 72.2%)
Caliapri: 2014 (297-106, 73.7%)
Tubby: 2007 (325-107, 75.2%)
Caliapri: 2015 (36-4, 90.0%)

Keep in mind that both of Billy’s year and Tubby’s last 2 years were filled with terrible losses.  Calipari’s year in 2013 was equally as bad.  And yet it is this year that, so far, could be the worst group yet.  A lot can happen over the next 9-15 games to change that, either UK losing to better teams or the teams they have already lost to picking up some wins.  But right now, you have to say this could be the biggest flop in Cal’s tenure when it comes to the UK losses.