It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to look back and →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:00 pm
Maybe it’s because I was around Aaron Flener for part of the day and like usual, he was dressed in golf clothes, but this trick golf shot jumped out at me while looking for a News and Views honoree. Matt Wheatcroft played in the British Par-3 Championship a few months back, but this ridiculous shot is just now making the rounds on the internet. Wheatcroft found himself almost out of bounds and instead of accepting an unplayable lie and coping with a bogey, he decided to get all Michael Jordan on the ball, bouncing it off fence post and unbelievably, mere inches from the hole.
Bonus points for Brian Barnes’ getup. Those are some tall socks.
Busy day around these parts, so let’s get to the news and views.
Julius Randle is ready for his homecoming
One of the storylines of UK’s trip to Dallas this weekend is Julius Randle’s homecoming. Randle will return home to Dallas for one of the first times since coming to UK this past summer, and several of his teammates have given him their extra tickets so more of his family members and friends can attend the game. When speaking to the media today, Randle said that playing in his home state is a dream come true:
“I would say it’s a dream of mine just to be able to come back to my home state and be able to play in front of family and friends and fans in the city too, so I’m looking forward to it.”
In fact, Julius said that he knew while UK was recruiting him that the Baylor game and the Final Four would take place at Cowboys Stadium. Now that he’s a Cat, he said that getting back to Dallas a second time this season for the Final Four is “the most important thing this year.”
The bigger the stage, the harder Julius plays, so expect a big game out of him Friday night. Hopefully the same goes for the Harrison Twins, who hail from just outside Houston, Texas.
Everyone’s excited to play in Cowboys Stadium
I’ll be honest: half of the reason I’m so excited to go to Dallas is to see
Cowboys Stadium AT&T Stadium Cowboys Stadium. “Jerry World” is downright fascinating to me, from the spaceship-like exterior to the giant jumbotron that spans almost the entire field. On Wednesday, John Calipari admitted that he’s also excited to play in the stadium, and not only because it’s where this season’s Final Four will take place:
“We aren’t going to have 80,000 there but my hope is that because of the games that are being played there, everybody is ranked, it’s going to be a terrific environment. I haven’t been in the building but everybody tells me it’s just ridiculous. They are moving the court to one side, but the court will be raised, so it will be like that kind of environment. I am excited.”
Kentucky boy Dominique Hawkins also gushed about the chance to see, it calling it a “neat experience” for a “small-town kid”:
“It’s going to be a neat experience for me. I’m just a small-town kid from here and going to Dallas Cowboys Stadium is insane. I never expected to be playing in a stadium that big and that’s that well known. It’s just going to be amazing to play there.”
Dominique added that he hopes to see a few celebrities in the audience. Any guesses as to which VIPs may show up?
The Ice Storm cometh
For those of you traveling to Dallas, there’s no sugarcoating it: travel may be difficult on Friday. Winter Storm Cleon (yes, they are naming them now) is rolling across the Midwest, and is knocking on Dallas’ door. They’re expecting ice in Dallas, but thanks to warm temperatures on Wednesday, it may not be as bad as expected. If you have a flight from Lexington/Louisville to Dallas on Thursday and early Friday, you may be okay, but any shift in the storm’s projection could change things drastically. Right now, they’re saying there could be as much as 1/4″ inch of ice in Dallas through Friday night, so please check your flight status and if you’re driving, BE CAREFUL. (Hear me, Matt, Drew, and Aaron?) I am a bit of a weather nerd, so I’m channeling my inner Bill Meck and staying on top of the situation as best I can.
What you’ve missed on Funkhouser
There’s some awesome stuff happening on our pop culture site, Funkhouser. Check it out before you’re even more out of the loop:
“The Anglo Files: Five British Television Shows You’ll Love (That Aren’t Downton Abbey, Doctor Who or Sherlock)”: While you’re stranded at home in the upcoming ice storm, why not discover a few new TV shows? Funkhouser editor CM Tomlin put together a great list of cool British TV shows to try out to tap your inner Anglophile this winter.
“Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s Time for the December Don LaFontaine Awards”: Review the latest movie trailers with JD Holler (Bonus points for the Jennifer Lawrence Photo)
Plenty more where that came from: Take me to Funkhouser!
I don’t understand North Carolina
As of this posting, they lead #1 Michigan State by 10 on the road. How is this the same team that lost to UAB and Belmont??
The UK football staff visited Blake Bone and Mike Edwards on Wednesday
The UK football coaching staff is currently making the rounds visiting their 2014 commitments. On Wednesday night, that included wide receiver Blake Bone and safety Mike Edwards, who was bumped up to a 4-star by Rivals earlier in the day:
Vince Marrow is huge.
Mark Stoops will be on KSR Thursday morning
Finally, Mark Stoops will be making an appearance on KSR Thursday morning to talk about his first season as coach, what they’re working on in the offseason, and the future of the program. The guys will be live from Memphis to take his call, so tune in to hear Stoops and some stories from the road. And please, prepare for Cleon.
See you then.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:30 pm
It’s no secret that student attendance hasn’t been great at football and basketball games this year. On last night’s KSR minute, Matt sounded off about the issue, calling the students out for not coming out for UK’s game against Tennessee.
Cold weather is not an excuse.
By Corey Nichols on ©10:00 pm
Beep boop on the nose.
It’s not been a great week of news for our NBA Cats, as many are facing injury, or worse, the D-League. While struggles with health and fickle coaches can be difficult, life isn’t all bad for these guys:
-Anthony Davis left the first quarter of a game with a fracture in his left hand earlier this week. Proving that some bonds are stronger than family, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has now followed suit with a left-handed fracture of his own. What, like going #1 and #2 in the Draft didn’t make them close enough, now they gotta go break their same hand together? It’s like they just now saw Stand by Me and it changed their lives. Both players are expected to be out 4-6 weeks, which is just enough time to come spend some time in Lexington mentoring our young Cats.
-Marquis Teague has had a roller-coaster time this week, after the Bulls both sent him to, and then recalled him from the D-League in the span of a few hours. Being sent to the D-League is frustrating enough, but I’m sure Marquis is most relieved that he doesn’t have to play in Iowa after getting used to the cozy metropolitan life in Chicago.
-DeMarcus Cousins was not making fun of Derrick Rose. He really cannot stress that enough.
Let me clear this up now! In no way shape or form was I taking a shot at drose! Stop trying to make a story!!!
— demarcus cousins (@boogiecousins) December 4, 2013
-Rajon Rondo is still hurt, and the Celtics still suck. Brad Stevens is still trying to figure out how he can get a Rondo for Gordon Hayward trade out from under Danny Ainge.
-John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, and Anthony Davis are all making notable Fantasy Basketball impacts, which you would know about if micro-managing imaginary rosters four times a week for no measurable benefit was your thing.
Oh, and in case you were looking for updates on former Louisville players, I hear that Peyton Siva’s Genesis Diamonds commercial is still airing in the 502. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:30 pm
Fresh off his first season as Kentucky’s head football coach, Mark Stoops will come on the radio show tomorrow morning in the second hour (11 a.m. to noon) to talk about the season and where UK goes from here. It’s the first interview he’s granted since the season ended.
Got a question for him? Submit it in the comments section and Matt might ask it if it’s really, really good.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©8:00 pm
It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to look back and rank each UK basketball player by their performance on social media in November. What counts as a good performance? They can be funny, like Perry Stevenson; real like Patrick Patterson; or straight up legendary like Doron Lamb. In October, Tod Lanter came out on top again, but freshman Marcus Lee was close behind. With another month of social media interaction under their belts, who will reign supreme this go around? Here are November’s Tweet Beat Power Rankings:
Im a thug. I do my crossword puzzles in pen.
— Tod Lanter (@tod_lanterIII) November 6, 2013
I think that would also classify you as a baller.
Best recent Instagram:
Tod shared this video of EJ Floreal dancing in the streets of New York City with a Salvation Army bell ringer over the weekend. I could watch four hours of that.
Twitter style: The reigning Tweet Beat power ranking champ is on top again, thanks to his trademark dry humor and some behind-the-scenes videos of the team’s trip to NYC. I wish the rest of the team would do more of this.
Think I'm gonna cut the hair today
— ☆€@TAL¥ST☆ (@TrillWill15) November 26, 2013
Change my mind I gotta grow it out like zero on holes my boy @davisreid has inspired me
— ☆€@TAL¥ST☆ (@TrillWill15) November 26, 2013
Nice decision, Willie
Best recent Instagram:
Willie’s growing the fro, which means there are some great pictures of his awkward growing out phase. Some have even inspired art.
Twitter stock: Willie’s hair has been the main topic of his social media interactions this past month. He was all ready to cut it until the Big Blue Nation made a plea for it to stay. If this past week is any indication, the longer Willie’s hair grows, the better he plays, so that’s fine by us. Willie hinted that he doesn’t really run his Instagram account this week, which is a total lie judging by the number of shoe shots (shoefies?) and selfies. However, if you read some of the comments, it’s clear the lady in his life has some influence over it, including rejecting the possibility of Willie getting cornrows as his hair gets longer. I, for one, thank her for that.
My back has been cracking so much lately. Feels so good!!
— Marcus Lee ∞ (@SuperKingMe) November 21, 2013
Marcus and I share this joy.
Best recent Instagram:
At first glance, I thought that was a crushed velvet tank top. Upon further inspection, I think it’s just a print, but regardless, that is one hipstery/hippy thing to wear in the middle of November.
Twitter stock: Lee’s still his cheerful, positive self on Twitter, which is great; however, I wish he’d share a little bit more about himself. The real way to get to know Marcus is through his retweets (RTs). For instance, through those, I know he likes the upcoming “Boy Meets World” sequel series “Girl Meets World,” enjoys “food porn” (pictures of tasty looking food like chocolate covered strawberries), and may be the UK Volleyball team’s biggest fan. Show us that in your own words, Marcus!
— Sam Malone (@SamMaloneuk13) November 12, 2013
Apparently “bigcatting” is a new trend in which you pose for a selfie with your mouth hanging open. I don’t get it, but I like that Sam Malone does.
Best recent Instagram:
Twitter stock: Malone is pretty good about posting behind-the-scenes pics of the team’s trips, dinners, shootarounds, etc. Check out this one of the team’s Thanksgiving meal. Mac and cheese ON ham?? That’s just crazy. He also tweeted that while in NYC, the team met up with former Cat Stacey Poole Jr., a blast from the past. Keep up the good work, Sam.
Great that someone maliciously slashed my tires last night…
— Jon Hood (@jonnylightning4) November 3, 2013
The tweet that started a thousand media wars. (Nice use of sarcasm, too.)
Best recent Instagram:
Like Jon Hod, I take a ton of pictures of my dog, and like Jon Hood’s dog, my dog also responds that way when I saw “squirrel.” And “walk.” And “treat.” Kentucky basketball players and their dogs: they’re just like us!
Twitter stock: November was a slow month for Jon on the social networks, but he did start a media war, so I’ll give him that.
6' 9 250 and I'm trying to skate. Thanks @kendra_shaw10 😒 not happening again lol
— Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) November 21, 2013
The thought of Julius Randle skating (or ice skating) made my day.
Best recent Instagram: N/A
Twitter stock: Julius Randle’s Twitter feed showed life for the first time in months, with Julius posting about an unsuccessful skating trip, Thanksgiving with his new “brothers,” and retweeting a picture of a very cool Julius Randle cake. For that, he made a big jump in the rankings. Like Coach Cal says, Julius, don’t try to be perfect on Twitter, just try to be better than the person above you in the Power Rankings.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©7:30 pm
Earlier this week, we brought you FernDaddyDollas “Pound Cake” remix, the latest contender to be UK’s “anthem” for the season, and the reviews were mostly positive.
This morning, I received a UK-themed Christmas song from brother-sister duo The Breedings entitled “Big Blue Christmas.” Take a listen:
Here are the lyrics:
Santa. I love you, Santa. I love you, Santa
So here’s my list
When Louisville comes to town, beat them by 10
When conference play comes around my way, give me 16 wins
Everybody wants to tell me about the North Pole
But that ain’t no place I wanna go
I’ll be down in Big Blue Country
Rudolph. I love you, too, Rudolph. I love you, Rudolph
Here’s what I propose
You need not be ashamed of your nose, no
If you change it to blue, then I swear to you
You’ll feel good right to your toes
Everybody wants to tell me about the North Pole
But that ain’t no place I’m gonna go
I’ll be down in Big Blue Country
Big Blue Christmas
I’ll be down in Big Blue Country this Christmas
Erin and Willie Breeding, originally from Lexington, are huge UK and KSR fans that moved to Nashville to hit it big. Will “Big Blue Christmas” make it on your holiday playlist? If so, go download it for free here.
By Corey Nichols on ©6:00 pm
Our biggest concern this year has been simple: Don’t be like last year. With a 2012-13 campaign mired in apathy after a high pre-season ranking, it’s fair to worry early on that the current edition of the Wildcats would face similar disappointment. After losing one game already to Michigan State, fans (and probably Cal) are eager to see how they’ll respond to a tough opponent on a big stage. Has improvement been made post-Izzo? Or has a lack of competition inflated their reputation?
More than comparing our team now to our team earlier this year, Baylor is the perfect opportunity to contrast this year’s Cats to last year’s. The 2012 game against Baylor was the first time we started to really worry. Coming off a loss to an un-ranked Notre Dame squad, we expected to see an angry Kentucky team taking out some frustration at home in a physically dominating win. What we got was an anemic show offensively, and Cal’s first ever loss at Rupp (and still only one of two).
This year, we face a similar Baylor team anchored by Isaiah Austin and (Canadian) Brady Heslip, who give the Bears both a strong inside presence, and the ability to score on the outside. Notably missing from this year’s Baylor team is Pierre Jackson who, while talented, shot under 33% in last year’s game, to go along with a 5:7 assist/turnover ratio. Losing Jackson might be addition by subtraction. This year’s Baylor team is also ranked in the top 20 nationally, with their only loss courtesy of a Syracuse team that did us the favor of dismantling Indiana last night.
Oh, and the Cats are losing home-court advantage. While Big Blue travels well, it might be reasonable to expect the Texas school to at least match Kentucky’s travelers and even sway that metric in their favor.
Ultimately, Friday’s game will have to see improvements in shooting percentage. Nerlens and Co. out-rebounded, out-assisted, and committed fewer turnovers than the Bears, but shot a miserable 29.6%, and went 9-18 at the line. No way we can win with a repeat performance. Will Julius Randle, James Young, and Aaron Harrison be able to do a better job shooting? We have to hope so.
If you wanted the best possible way to see if this year’s team is any better than last year’s, Baylor is the ultimate measuring stick. With enough similarities in their squad (3 of 5 starters), and enough difference in ours (a starter who is now 6th man, and a 6th man who is now a starter), it’ll be a good opportunity to see just how different we are. Prediction? Cats by 9.
By Stuart Hammer on ©5:00 pm
It comes as no surprise that Kentucky is one of the youngest teams in the country. Take one look at a few of the starting lineups John Calipari has run out this season consisting of five freshmen and you can see the Wildcats are all-in on the “talent” side of the age-old “talent versus experience” debate. It is Cal’s modus operandi and all of Big Blue Nation has become accustomed to having young teams year after year.
Despite all the fresh faces, the Wildcats already seem to be clicking – and that is vital to having a successful non-conference schedule and gaining a big boost on the RPI for March. Just how well are the other young teams playing? Not too shabby. Take a look at the ten youngest teams and how they fair compared to the 12 oldest teams.
Joining the Cats on the list of youngest teams out of the power-six conferences is Kansas, Michigan, and Texas. Each team boasts a strong record, but the strength of schedule between the teams is across the board. In total, the lot of ten has a winning record of 4.2 – 3.3 (.560).
Three teams are tied as the tenth-oldest team, making this list 12 teams long. No major-conference teams are among the top-ten oldest in the nation, but a handful of legit mid-majors and March Madness hopefuls are here, including Norfolk State, Pacific, and Eastern Kentucky.
Through the first month of the season the young guns are winning out, as the oldest teams are just barely above .500 on the season with an average record of 3.8 – 3.6 (.514). What makes this comparison hold water is the average RPI which is off by just two points between the two sets of data.
It’s not by much, but as of now, talent is better than experience, and that news comes just in time for the holidays when the Cats will play through one of the toughest stretches of games out of anybody.
Stats provided by StatSheet.com
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:30 pm
Congrats to Mike Edwards and Dorian Baker, who both were bumped up to 4-star status by Rivals this morning. That takes Kentucky’s total of four-star recruits in the 2014 class from eight to ten, which is pretty unbelievable. The class is currently ranked 9th in the country by Rivals, in front of Texas, Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss, LSU, and yes, Louisville.
They’re coming, folks.
By Matt Jones on ©4:00 pm
Is this the biggest UK fan in all the land? It is a bold claim to make, but UK student Nate Dillon has made the video below claiming to be just that man. Dillon has been in the news a great deal recently as he was the student who complained to UK and got Stone Cold Willow banned from the Erruption Zone (for allegedly not being a student). So taking away one of the biggest fans in UK land, Dillon likely knows that he must make up for it by being a huge fan himself. So he apparently made this video to let everyone know who was at the Top of the UK Fan Mountain:
It is an interesting case. Does this video make Dillon the top dog? And what do we make of the video, which may have been for a UK contest, but is fascinating in its odd construct. I am not sure whether to believe him or not. A quick scan of his Facebook page suggests that he goes to a ton of UK sporting events decked in UK apparel (while rarely taking pictures without his girlfriend) and all indications are that he is a very likable guy who can cozy up to almost anyone:
But is he UK’s #1 fan? That is a huge honor and for such a young guy to win it, he has to be quite strong. I give Nate credit for being bold and passionate…to post a video claiming the title is asking for debate, but if anyone can handle it, maybe Nate can. What do you think? Yay or Nay for Nate as #1? I do know one person however who will likely vote against him:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
John Calipari met with our favorite media friends this afternoon to discuss the upcoming game against Baylor in Dallas. After quipping that he wished the game would be postponed a month and a half because of weather, he got down to business. Here are six quick hitters:
1. Cal pitched a women’s basketball/men’s basketball/football triple-header to Mark Stoops
When asked about putting together the men’s/women’s basketball double-header, Calipari said he actually pitched the idea of a triple header with Baylor or Notre Dame to Mark Stoops, who laughed any asked why they couldn’t play UConn instead. Could a triple-header be in UK’s future once Stoops gets rolling?
2. Cal says playing against the zone is making his team more cohesive.
Baylor plays a mix of man-to-man and zone defense, but Calipari is expecting them to play 95% zone on Friday night, which is fine by him: “The zone is making us pass the ball, so we’re playing with one another way better.”
3. Julius needs to stop trying to be perfect
Friday will be a big night for Julius Randle, a Dallas, Texas native. Dominique Hawkins told reporters he and his other teammates are giving their extra tickets to Julius so his family and friends can come. One thing Calipari wants Julius to do on the court?
“Quit trying to be perfect. You’re trying to act like you should make every play. Just stop. Just play harder than the other guy.”
Matt Jones says the same thing to me every day.
4. Everyone is excited about playing in Cowboys Stadium
Half of the fun of going to Dallas is going to be playing in AT&T Stadium, aka Cowboys Stadium. Cal said that he’s never been, but has been told it’s ridiculous. The court will be moved to one side (unlike the setup for last season’s NCAA South Regional) and the court will be raised. Despite the odd layout and dome environment, Cal’s not worried about how it will affect shooting. Both the men’s and women’s teams will practice there on Thursday and have a shootaround Friday.
5. EJ Floreal could play in the NFL
When talking about practice habits (Willie Cauley-Stein is “attacking practice,” while other players are letting practice “attack them”), Cal mentioned EJ Floreal, who one bystander said could play in the NFL because of his athleticism. That same person may have been the one that told Matt EJ was a record holder in the triple jump in high school.
6. Jon Hood probably won’t make the trip to Dallas
Lake hair is still feeling the effects of a head injury he sustained in practice a while back. Cal said they’re being very careful with him and there’s a possibility he won’t come to Dallas:
“I was there when it happened, and he practiced later but he had headaches. I know our doctors and I trust our doctors. They’re going to be really conservative with what we’re doing here. I am concerned but I know he’s in great hands and I know no one’s going to ask him to do something he shouldn’t do.”
Maybe time for a lake helmet?
Catch the replay of Cal’s presser here.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:45 pm
Towards the end of last night’s Indiana/Syracuse game, one Indiana fan inexplicably stripped down to her underwear in the Carrier Dome, according to a poster on the Syracusefan.com message boards:
About 2 minutes left in the game I look to my right and this IU chick is sitting there in her bra and panties. I think she was sobbing a little. She had stripped down almost buck naked. As soon as the horn sounded she slipped her jeans and red IU t-shirt back on.
Did she lose a bet? Why is no one staring at her? Where is security?? Could Indiana fans get any weirder?
H/t to Deadspin
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:00 pm
You know the weather is going to be bad if Jim Cantore’s coming to town. Well, he’s coming to Dallas on Friday. According to the National Weather Service, Winter Storm Cleon is going to roll through Dallas on Thursday evening through Friday afternoon, with rain and freezing rain starting Thursday evening and switching to ice on Friday. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect, and the NWS is calling for 1/4″ or more of ice through the end of Friday.
Keep in mind that the forecast may change as the storm continues to barrel through the West. So far, it’s left more than two feet of snow in its wrath in Minnesota, the Rockies, and the Plains.
Here’s a graphic from The Weather Channel showing the potential for ice on Friday:
The storm is expected to hit Lexington Friday night and Saturday, with some models calling for 5-8″ of snow. For more information, check out TheWeatherChannel.com. Everyone travel safely and prepare yourselves for ice storm jokes if either Kentucky or Baylor have bad shooting nights Friday.