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October 21st, 2014

Will SEC basketball have to get worse before it gets better

sec-basketball-2

It’s been a very long time since SEC basketball was constantly competitive. What Coach Cal has done at Kentucky is not something any other coach could do. Coach Cal took a weak program and turned it into the powerhouse it once was in years past. Cal has turned the program into something which is above the level of basketball other teams play in the conference. Obviously because of this Mitch Barnhart has had to make our out of conference competition to help Kentucky when it comes to seeding in the NCAA Tournament. I know I am stating the obvious there.

As far as football goes, I have always had the idea that one should give a football coach three full seasons to get a good analysis of what he has done with the program and where it will be headed in the future. It takes time to get talented recruits to a school and to develop that talent to play at a NCAA level. While I am confident with my ‘coach timeline’ when it comes to football, Cal has really screwed me up with this in basketball. Part of me says, ‘well Cal turned Kentucky around in less than a year, so any other coach should be able to do it’, but I know that’s not true. It’s more impossible than that.

That is why I have been so patient with SEC Basketball. Kevin Stallings, Billy Donovan and Andy Kennedy all have longer tenures with their teams. However, after this season, eleven coaches have been with their programs for six seasons or less. Three of those coaches are new this season. As for the other eight programs, only three coaches have taken their teams to the NCAA tournament (Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia).

So what about the other programs? How long can it go before enough is enough? I don’t expect a coach to take a program to the tournament after one year, but how many years will it take before the window for success closes?

It is easier in college basketball to bring in talent to start as a true freshman than it is in football, but that talent also is quicker to to turn pro than it would in football. It takes time to find chemistry among a team, to find something that works.

If one year is to fast (when you aren’t Kentucky) and three years is the deadline for football, what is it for basketball? After typing out my thoughts and thinking about it, I would say three or four years is plenty of time to try to revive a program.

With that said, It looks this season is a make or break year for five programs in the SEC (Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Texas A&M). If these programs don’t do well, we could be looking at a conference with half of the coaches in their second year or newer. No one wants to start from the beginning and not knowing what the future holds for SEC basketball is scary. If these programs don’t step it up this year, the schools will have to start over and SEC basketball will only get worse before it gets better.

I am sure Kentucky and Florida would love to have more SEC representation at the NCAA tournament than just three or four teams that find themselves in it somehow. Every year when it comes time for post season, media always points to Kentucky’s weak conference schedule, something they can’t help. Will there ever come a point when SEC basketball will become ‘the’ basketball powerhouse? Do you see it happening in the near future?

@sealey_KSR


Oh look, another reason to be really excited about basketball

Kentucky Wildcats TV dropped a new hype video today. It’s coming…


Reminder: Kengera Daniel to announce tomorrow

Kengera Daniel, a three-star defensive end out of North Carolina, will go public with his college decision on Wednesday. Ranked as the 23rd best weakside defensive end in the country by the 247Sports Composite, Daniel has offers from big time programs like Alabama, Miami, Michigan and Tennessee. However, it will likely come down to either Kentucky or NC State in the end.

UK currently leads his Crystal Ball predictions with 91 percent of the vote, followed by Florida State and Wake Forest with one outdated vote apiece. Daniel took his official visit to Lexington on October 4th for the South Carolina game.

Yahtzee on the way?


Kentucky H.S. wrestler to be profiled on ESPN’s “E:60″ tonight

Former Fairdale High School wrestler Willie Burton will be the subject of a story on E:60 tonight on ESPN. Burton was born with cerebral palsy but wrestled for four years at Fairdale, earning him Most Outstanding Wrestler honors in the region. After making the team as a freshman, he had one request: “Treat me like anyone else.”

Burton’s story will air tonight at 8:00 pm. It’s narrated by wrestling legend Dan Gable.


Check out this photo of Adolph Rupp tucking in Alex Groza

@PatMcdonogh

Pat McDonogh of the Courier-Journal tweeted out an amazing photo of Adolph Rupp tucking Alex Groza into bed. Groza was listed at 6-foot-7 in his playing days; that bed, however, was not. It looks more like an even six.

Nowadays the Lodge has beds and showers and bathroom countertops custom made for tall basketball players. And I doubt Calipari is tucking any of his guys in before night-night. If he is, we need photos.


Two new KSR shirts available!

Two Bigguns Our State

We have two new t-shirts available for purchase at ShopKSR.com today and your wardrobe is dying to have them. First is the classic “Two Bigguns” look, a phrase made popular by Johnny Short on the KSR radio show. It also made its way to MSNBC during Matt’s appearance on The Last Word.

We also have an “Our State” t-shirt for those of you who have to encounter Louisville fans. It serves as a reminder that Kentucky is a completely blue state.

To purchase these two or see our entire collection, go to ShopKSR.com. I think you’ll like what you see.

Cats.


The SEC Network will air the Blue-White game LIVE

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GOOD NEWS, CATS FANS! The SEC Network, likely trying to get back in your good graces, will televise next week’s Blue-White basketball scrimmage live in its entirety. The Wildcats are set to tip off against the Wildcats next Monday at 7:00 pm in Rupp Arena and now you will be able to see it on your television set from the friendly and comfortable confines of your own home.

The SEC Network will also air Kentucky’s first two exhibition games: Pikeville (11/2) and Georgetown (11/9).

Woohoo!


Mississippi State’s Season In Review

Some of this on Saturday please (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

At SEC media days this summer Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen stated the Bulldog’s season expectation was “to find a way to get to Atlanta.” With games on the schedule against LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, and Alabama a lot of people laughed. Nobody is laughing now. For the second time in three years Mississippi State has started the season with a record of 6-0. In 2012 their hot start was followed by the dawgs losing 5 of 6 to end the season 8-5. This year they will surely be looking to avoid a similar fate but in order to see where they may end up let’s see where they’ve been. This is the Mississippi State season in review:

Southern Miss, Current Record (3-4)

The Bulldogs opened the season with a beatdown of the in-state Golden Eagles.  Dak Prescott went 18/26 and threw four touchdowns as State won 49-0. Business as usual for a SEC school playing an C-USA school.

UAB, Current Record (4-3)

Mississippi State took care of business against UAB but the game gave plenty of reason to doubt the Bulldogs as a contender. Prescott once again threw four touchdowns en route to a 47-34 win. The biggest issue was the 435 passing yards given up to the Blazers which included big plays of 88, 81, and 75 yards. After the game Coach Mullen said the holes in the pass defense was something State would be getting fixed. If the Cats are going to find a way to pull the upset they will need to exploit the pass defense once again.

@ South Alabama, Current Record (4-2)

State crushed South Alabama on the road 35-3. Dak ran, threw, and caught a touchdown but besides that it was a run-of-the-mill game. The Bulldogs were on to their real test.

@ LSU, Current Record (6-2)

The Bulldogs did what we couldn’t. They went into Tiger Stadium and won a game at night. State hadn’t won in Baton Rouge since 1991 but Dak Prescott helped change that by racking up 268 yards and two TDs. Miss St. executed our gameplan to perfection as caught the Tigers offguard early with a 17-3 lead and then rode that to a 34-29 win. The dawgs got it done on the ground with Josh Robinson bruising his way to 197 yards.

Texas A&M, Current Record (5-3)

The Bulldogs then got to host sixth ranked TAMU after taming the Tigers on the road. The Aggies threw the ball a whopping 62 times which resulted in 3 game changing interceptions. Prescott was good once again as he went 20/26 for 268 yards , he added  77 more running on the ground and totaled 5 touchdowns. Running back Josh Robinson totaled 107 more and 2 TDs as State rolled to a 48-31 win.

Texas A&M proved that you’re not going to beat this team if you’re constantly turning the ball over.

Auburn, Current Record (5-1)

It was the biggest test of the season for the Bulldogs and one they passed with flying colors when they hosted the defending runners up for college gameday. Auburn hadn’t lost an SEC game in over a year but that didn’t stop the State defense from making Nick Marshall look average in a 38-23 win. Prescott picked up 121 yards on the ground and threw for for 246 more. After three straight top-10 wins the Bulldogs made the trek from unranked to first place the fastest in the history of the AP poll

What have we learned?

Lesson 1) It’s going to take a lot of points to beat the Bulldogs. State is 9th in the nation in points per game and they’ve done it against teams that don’t give up much in LSU and Auburn. Lesson 2) They’re a Dual Threat Team. Last year we held Dak to just 33 yards on the ground. It’s going to take a total effort to do that again this season. Josh Robinson has emerged as a true threat in his breakout junior season and will likely cross the 1000 yard mark this season. State also goes about 7 deep at receiver as , like Kentucky, they have several guys capable of making a play. If Kentucky can find some way to make them a bit more dimensional then they will have a much better chance at the W. Easier said that done.

What do you think of Mississippi State’s season so far?

 


Dan Mullen on Kentucky

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, fresh off his team’s bye week, met with the Starkville media yesterday to preview the week ahead and Saturday’s game in Lexington. I assume you weren’t there, so you can find what he had to say about the Cats below:

“The Kentucky game this week is going to be very challenging. There are a lot of similarities with both teams. In our game against them last year, it came right down to the final play. They have a lot of star players back from last year, and we have a lot of guys back too. So I know they are going to have a lot of confidence. Anytime you are on the road in the SEC, it is going to be a huge challenge.”

“I don’t know if you can judge any team by how they perform on a Saturday night in ‘Death Valley’. They had a tough game last week and some things went wrong for them, but if you look at their overall body of work on the season, they have very talented players. [Patrick] Towles really throws the ball well and has the size to be able to stand in the pocket and throw it. He is very deceptively athletic. He is a much better runner than he gets credit for. They rotate their running backs through and they all bring something different to the table. They have some explosive wide receivers. They certainly have a lot of big time players on their team. Our focus is to get a fourth SEC win this week, and that is really what it is all about.”

He continued:

“I think Mark Stoops has done a great job. The first thing you start with is getting guys to play hard. You can get the talent, but the guys have to play hard. They are playing hard and with a lot of energy. There are guys stepping up and making big plays for them when they need them. That is a sign that they have bought in to what Coach Stoops is trying to build. I think you are seeing those steps pay off on the field for them this year. They are 5-2, with both losses coming on the road in the SEC. One was a triple- overtime game. When you look at the improvement that they have made, they can compete with anyone.”

Mullen also called Kentucky “one of the hottest and most improved teams in college football.”

Now let’s beat him.


Mississippi State fan got a tattoo, likely unaware tattoos are forever

As we count down the days to Kentucky’s game with Mississippi State this weekend, KSR will take a look at some of Starkville’s finest citizens and representatives. Like this character for instance. His name’s James and he added a sweet new tattoo a couple days ago.

Someone should tell him tattoos are permanent.


Antonio Blakeney on Kentucky and his upcoming visit

Former Louisville commit Antonio Blakeney is set to take his official visit to Kentucky in a little under two weeks on Halloween weekend and the five-star guard chatted with Scout.com’s Evan Daniels about why UK is an option for college. He said, “What sticks out the most [about Kentucky] is how coach Cal is for his players and he really wants his players to do well and make it to the next level.”

“Most every player wants to make it the next level and when you have a coach pushing you to do that it really benefits you,” added Blakeney.

He will travel to Baton Rouge to check out LSU the weekend after his trip to Lexington, followed by visits to North Carolina and North Carolina State. He is also considering Missouri.

For more on Blakeney’s recruitment, check out Scout.com’s story here.


Show going up, on a Tuesday (Tuesday Show Thread)

Good morning, KSR listeners. Big show today, lining up to be one of the five best shows this week. Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond are live and unfiltered for two hours to talk a little more about the LSU loss and how it’ll affect the Cats’ confidence heading into Saturday’s clash with numero uno. They’ll preview that game plus drop a few basketball recruiting nuggets along the way.

Also, Ryan will almost certainly say something dumb. You’ll want to listen.

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

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: You Like Mississippi State as UK’s Yearly West Opponent?

Florida-LSU
Georgia-Auburn
Missouri-Arkansas
South Carolina-Texas A&M
Tennessee-Alabama
Vanderbilt-Ole Miss

These are the permanent cross-divisional football rivals set when the league expanded to 14 teams in 2012.  Kentucky’s rival is this week’s opponent of course, Mississippi State.  The 2 teams have met every season since 1990, and in general, the rivalry has usually been competitive.  In many seasons, it has been nice to have a lower tier SEC school as the permanent rival as it gave UK a legitimate chance for an SEC win.  Interestingly though, this season UK has a really good team and is facing the best Bulldog team maybe ever.  It rarely has gone that way in this series though as usually one program is on the rise and the other on the decline.  Then the series bounces back the other way.

But in the grand scheme of things, it is probably the SEC’s least heated rivalry between cross-division rivals.  I’m not sure many UK fans would even call it a “rivalry”, despite the fact we play them every year and the series is often close.  So the question I would like to know is if you are satisfied with the Bulldogs being UK’s permanent rival?  Arguments on both sides:

PRO
On the one hand, it’s nice when you are a program always striving for 6 wins to not have to face a Top 10 opponent like LSU or Alabama every year.  Let’s not forget that in the 1990’s, UK was playing LSU every year but that series ended in 2002.  With the Bulldogs, you get a possible win every year, even if the game is on the road.  Obviously this year will be about as good as MSU will be and they are almost surely going to go back to a mid-level SEC team in the years coming.  Assuming that happens, UK gets it pretty easy with their cross-divisional rival compared to teams like Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina.

CON
This program is trying to become a player in the league.  You could argue that becomes easier with easier opponents but true football fans want true tests.  Scared programs want easier schedules.  Mississippi State generally gives you an easier schedule, sans this year.  Add to that the MSU fanbase and town are one of the worst in the league and that makes trips there for road games not the greatest in the world.  From a fan perspective, this is a no-brainer that you would want a different opponent yearly.  From a program perspective, a debate can be had.  But what is certain is that the Bulldogs don’t provide the greatest room for growth in a rivalry.

The fact of the matter is this: THE SEC DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THESE 2 TEAMS OR THIS RIVALRY.  Yes, this year the Bulldogs are great and Kentucky has been a pleasant surprise, but in general, these 2 programs are not the breadwinners of this league in football.  And that is exactly why they were put together in the first place.  They needed Tennessee-Alabama, Auburn-Georgia, Florida-LSU.  When Texas A&M moved into the league, the league didn’t pair them with Vandy or Kentucky, they paired them with the historically best program remaining, South Carolina.

The league is more than comfortable with this rivalry because it doesn’t get in the way of the other rivalries.  Much in the same way that Vandy and Ole Miss don’t get in the way.  This year of course the 2 teams threw a wrench into that plan and were basically forced onto CBS.  But in general this rivalry exists so that is can be shoved onto the SEC Network at noon.  And with the trajectory of the UK program, I worry this luke warm rivalry is doing to be a roadblock of sorts to that expansion.  So what do you think?  Do you like the easier (in general) opponent as our permanent cross-divisional opponent or would you like to see a Texas A&M or Auburn instead?


KSR’s Top Ten Tweets of the Day

Like Not Tipton said, "soon..."

Like Not Tipton said, “soon…”

We will focus most of our attention on relevant Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as per usual, there are no limits to our madness. You, the KSR fans, can also participate in our top-10 tweet countdown by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTopTen, or by tweeting @KySportsRadio.

 

#10 Dr. Erin Siciliano Calipari

Twitter-ers, she’s back!

 

 

#9 Patrick Daniels

Of course it is.

 

 

#8 Damien Harris

Drake…that name’s familiar.

 

 

 #7 Jeff Goodman

O_o 

 

 

#6 Davey Rudolph

Fair question.

 

 

#5 Mrs. Tyler Thompson

Then reach for….. what the ‘ELL IS THAT!?

 

 

#4 John Ellis

That would be … 3, right?

 

 

#3 Lincoln Duff

That players!

 

 

#2 Stephen Zimmerman

Welcome to the weird world of BBN Twitter.

 

#1 UK Snapchats

Oh, hey “Tyler.”

 

@BrennanKSR + Funkhouser


October 20th, 2014

23 Blast‘s Tuesday News and Views

A new feature film based on a true story out of Corbin, Kentucky made its red carpet debut Monday night in New York City and will come to Lexington later this week. The film is called 23 Blast and it is the story of Travis Freeman, a Corbin teen in the late 90s who lost his eyesight overnight to bacterial meningitis. Freeman continued to play football for Corbin High School and helped the Redhounds advance to the state playoffs that season, despite being completely blind.

Directed by Dylan Baker — a popular actor with roles in Spider-Man, Anchorman 2, and Requiem for a Dream —  the movie was shot in Corbin in the spring of 2012. “There is something about doing a film where it actually happened, and you’ve got the locations where things happened,” Baker said during shooting.

Freeman, played by Mark Hapka, is now a pastor and college professor of religion at University of the Cumberlands. He was on the red carpet in New York City for Monday’s premiere:

23 Blast will hit select theaters nationwide this Friday with a special premiere at Kentucky Theatre Thursday night at 7:00 pm. Click here for a complete list of where you can see the movie across the country, beginning this weekend.

Check out the trailer below:

 

Mark Stoops is back to work after the LSU loss, getting ready for the Dawgs.

His opening statement during Monday’s press conference: “After reviewing the film, as I said in the postgame, you have to give credit to LSU. They outplayed us, outcoached us, but there are certainly a lot of things that we need to get corrected and can get corrected, so looking forward to getting back out there.
Another great challenge this week, playing the No. 1 team in the country. We will have our hands full and need to play a whole lot better. So, again, need to get back out there and improve this week on the practice field.”

Beat Mississippi State.

In hindsight, the opening kickoff at LSU was a mistake.

“That’s something that in hindsight we would do differently,” said Stoops. “It was poor execution and poor call and we didn’t kick it where we were supposed to, either. So what we were supposed to do on the kick wasn’t there. Therefore, it magnified it. So, sure, we would do it differently. That’s one instance where we were too cute there. Again, I take that responsibility. We take that and we move on.”

The SEC is reviewing the clip of Dorian Baker beheading that guy on a block.

Can we get a review on this one too?

Boom hasn’t been cleared to practice but Mark Stoops believes his condition is improving. “I think things are looking better. When he will be cleared to practice or play I have no idea,” he said.

Kentucky and Missouri will kick off at 4:00 PM, the perfect time if you ask me.

The Cats’ November 1st road contest at Mizzou is set for 4:00 PM on the SEC Network, leaving room for two long nights during your Halloween weekend. Me, I’ll be catching Garth Brooks in Rupp Arena Friday night before an early noon wake-up call to get ready for the Tigers. Saturday night, we celebrate UK’s 7-2 record in costumes. #WhyNot

Four Wildcats named Midseason All-SEC by Phil Steele.

Bud Dupree, Landon Foster, Darrian Miller and A.J. Stamps were all named Midseason All-Southeastern Conference by Phil Steele, the man who tends to know a thing or two about football. All four Cats earned Second Team honors and are expected to contribute in Kentucky’s win against No. 1 Mississippi State this weekend.

The SEC Network took a break from being terrible to hire Dave Baker and Tony Delk.

Congratulations to Buzz and Double-Zero for joining the SEC Network’s college basketball broadcast team. Baker will be a play-by-play guy for the network, while Delk will lend his expertise for studio coverage.

One more reason why UK will beat Mississippi State.

Earlier I wrote several reasons why I believe UK will win this Saturday, but I left one convincing fact off the my list: Rich Brooks will be in Lexington…

Hopefully bringing some of that Papaw magic.

KSR will be at Mattress Warehouse in Ashland on Wednesday.

UK fans in the Ashland area should head out to 12540 US RT 60 for Wednesday’s live broadcast. Matt and Ryan will be at Mattress Warehouse to talk about the Cats for two hours. Should be a fun time.

That’ll do it for now.

Cats.