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March 27th, 2015

Mike Brey called Notre Dame “America’s team”


Mike Brey stood in front of a room full of people with bald spots and notepads and said the Fighting Irish will have the entire country behind them tomorrow against Kentucky.

We are America’s team tomorrow,” Brey told reporters. “There’s no question about it. Got some great texts. And we love it, we certainly will take all that support. We’ve got a monumental challenge on our hands.”

Brey said playing in the ACC, the best conference in America, prepared his team for the Wildcats.

“We’re the most efficient offensive team in the country. They’re the best defensive team in the country. I think it’s exciting to see how this thing plays out over 40 minutes.”

I know one nation that will be rooting against Brey’s team: the Big Blue Nation.

Let’s go Cats.

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I bounced around Quaker Oats-Quicken Loans Arena this afternoon, popping in and out of the locker room, breakout interview rooms and the main press conference. Here’s a little of what I heard during my adventures…


Rick Osentoski-USA Today


“Well, if I have to deal with their expectations, I would be under the desk in a fetal position.”

When asked if this season has raised Big Blue Nation’s expectations to even higher levels, John Calipari said he has to ignore what the fans want in order to keep his sanity.

“Well, if I have to deal with their expectations, I would be under the desk in a fetal position.” Cal said today. “So I don’t worry. The expectations we have for ourselves on this team is within us. The only thing that I can be concerned with is us being at our best and us having each individual player being coached as though they’re a starter being the best version of themselves, understanding what that looks like.”

Cal said the staff has a lot of footage of each player when they’re at their best and they show it to them over and over, hoping it registers that this is how they should play every night. If Kentucky loses when they’re playing their best, Cal will “deal with it.”

“He’s got a little Kobe in him.”

Andrew Harrison compared his brother to Kobe Bryant when describing that “it” factor Aaron has in the clutch. “It’s something inside him,” Andrew said of Aaron’s confidence when the game is on the line, recalling last year’s magical tournament run. “He’s got a little Kobe in him.”

Andrew said Aaron has been hitting big shots their whole lives.

“Allowing Brian and Sam and EJ to get in, it brings joy to us, for real.”

This was Willie Cauley-Stein’s way of saying, “We had a lot of fun beating the hell out of West Virginia last night.”

“We didn’t play last night, but we played this morning.”

This is about Super Smash Bros., of course. Dominique Hawkins said it was too late to play Nintendo when they got back to the hotel, but they played first thing this morning.

“Just a normal day in the NCAA Tournament. That’s all we’ve been doing is basketball practice and Smash Brothers.”

Is that normal, though?

“That’s a tough question, I never got that one before.”

And for my favorite response of the day, Andrew Harrison said, “That’s a tough question, I never got that one before,” when asked about playing with his brother. If you listened to the KSR pregame show yesterday, you probably heard me go off about how tired I am of the same questions over and over and over. The “What’s it like playing with your brother?” question is the most abused and I couldn’t believe someone asked it again today. I thought about doing it as a joke, but someone did it for real and Andrew’s response was brilliant.

“It’s fun playing with him,” Andrew added.

Still plenty more to come…

Trey Lyles can’t stop photobombing

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 4.23.16 PM

Trey Lyles photobombs on the court, he photobombs in the locker room, he photobombs in the airport.

Would you like your Lyles photobomb on a jumbotron?

Would you like it while you read Kubla Khan?

Trey’s photobomb streak continued today while the five starters headed back down to the court from the breakout rooms:

I hope Shawn Marion appreciates this.

Karl Towns says he’s playing just for the chance to play with his brothers a few more times


You can forgive Karl Towns for being a little down today. Karl had one of his worst games as a Cat yesterday, scoring one point in only thirteen minutes, largely because of foul trouble. Karl being Karl, he was extremely polite today and mustered up a few jokes and smiles, but there’s no denying that he’s down right now.

In his press conference, John Calipari said that Karl’s father, Karl Sr., texted him last night to make sure Cal stays on Karl amid his struggles.

“He’s a great kid. I’ve been harder on him than anybody on this team, but I told him at the beginning of the year, it would be that way because he had a long way to go, but I saw his upside being the best big guy in the country, and I’m not settling for anything else,,” Cal said. “When he gets off point, I’m right there, but after the game I get a text from his dad: Stay on him, don’t let up, Coach. Not: Get him more shots, play him more minutes.”

Karl even sounded a little prematurely nostalgic this afternoon, telling reporters that for him right now, it’s not about the run, or being undefeated, it’s about playing with his brothers.

“We came into the postseason, and we didn’t know we were going to be perfect. We never ever expected that. We came in to every game just worrying about that game and with the mindset that we’re sticking to the game plan,” Karl said. “Now it’s funny that we have a chance at perfection to achieve the goal of winning the national title. Of course, it’s a lot of fun, especially when you have great brothers like I have. That’s what makes it fun. It’s not about the goal, it’s about the journey you take.”

(If for some absurd reason, this basketball thing doesn’t work out for Karl, he would have a great career writing inspirational posters.)

I remember Cal saying of his 2012 team that in the end, they played just for the opportunity to play with their brothers one more game. I asked Karl about that, and he finally cracked a smile.

I think that’s the biggest joy I have is the fact that I still get to play with my brothers. Like I said, we love each other tremendously and it’s one of those things, it’s not even the fact about playing another game, it’s an opportunity to play another game with my brothers. Getting to go back out there and lace up our shoes again, hopefully for at least a few more times.”

Three more times, at least.

Win a grand from KSR and Draft Kings tonight

Need some cash for your Final Four trip? Here’s an opportunity to win a quick stack by picking the top performers in tonight’s games. We’ve teamed up with Draft Kings for a $13,000 contest tonight. The winner will walk away with $1,000 cash to spend in Indianapolis — or wherever your little heart desires.

The top 995 players will receive some form of payment, so don’t worry if you get beat for the top spot. You can still win some money.

As always, first timers will receive free entry to the contest.

Click here to draft your team before tonight’s action.

Matthew Mitchell’s daughter gave him a black eye

IG: ukcoachmitchell

IG: ukcoachmitchell

Today in ‘well, that’s random': Matthew Mitchell’s daughter gave him a black eye. You may have noticed Mitchell’s black eye during the Dayton game on Sunday, and this morning, he took to Instagram to clear up some rumors.

“BBN, there have been a lot of questions about my black eye this week, so I thought I would clear things up. Saylor Rose did catch me inadvertently, but after going to the monitor for an intensive video review process, she will face no further disciplinary actions. #HardHeaded #JennasDaughter”

Who knew Saylor was such a bruiser?

Andrew Harrison called that crazy circus shot

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

We may need to add fortune teller to the growing list of Andrew Harrison’s skills. Last week, Andrew predicted the Cincinnati/Purdue game would go to overtime, and it did. According to his teammates last night, Andrew also predicted he’d made a crazy circus shot in the game, and he did.

“It was crazy,” Dakari said. “He said he called it, but that was crazy stuff.”

“Actually in the first half, when he stole it and went up, he said he should’ve put it behind his back,” Aaron Harrison told Jon Hale. “So he just did it right there. It was pretty cool.”

“I practice it all the time,” Andrew quipped.

“That was smooth, I’ve never seen anything like that before, especially on a stage like this,” Karl said. “That just shows you how loose we are.”


The shot just gets more and more ridiculous each time you watch it:

Hey Andrew, how are you feeling about tomorrow’s game?

Kentucky dominates the ratings again

© Rick Osentoski

© Rick Osentoski

Kentucky has been a ratings monster this season and last night was no exception. According to Matt Norlander, last night’s games earned a 9.1 overnight rating, the highest ever for a Thursday Sweet 16 slate.


Aaron popped his own finger back into place


When Aaron Harrison ran off the court in pain during the second half, it looked like something was seriously wrong. Harrison was doubled over, holding his left hand and sprinting back to the locker room.

The picture of Andrew’s dislocated finger circulated quickly on Twitter, and just as I was getting control over my dry heaves, Aaron was back on the bench. Because he’s a stone cold killer, he popped his finger back into place himself.

“I had no choice,” Aaron said. “I just felt like I needed to get it back, so I pulled it. Chris put a towel over it and I just pulled it out myself and it went back in.”

Thankfully, the injury was to Aaron’s left hand–his non-shooting hand–and minutes later, he checked back into the game. “I just told him I can still shoot Coach, I’m good,” Aaron said of his conversation with Cal on the bench. “I went back out there so I could get back in the game.”

I’m the same way when I get a paper cut.

Tyler Ulis says be careful what you wish for

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Ulis was especially swaggy in last night’s locker room, telling reporters that West Virginia got what they asked for.

“Be careful what you ask for,” Ulis said. “Like Cal always says, they can talk, but eventually they’ve gotta step in the ring. It’s like when everyone talks about Floyd (Mayweather), they gonna beat him. We came in, and we just tried to beat them down.”

How did it feel?

“It feels great,” Ulis said, repeating for emphasis, “it feels great.” He later told me he wanted to hang 50 on the Mountaineers. “We wanted to come out and kill them, win by 50 and show them what we’re about.”

Watch swaggy Ulis for yourself:

UK’s win ties largest in Sweet 16 history

How big was Kentucky’s win last night? UK’s 39-point margin ties Louisville’s 2009 win over Arizona for the largest ever in Sweet 16 history.

Additionally, according to Darren Rovell, Kentucky is the first team to double up its opponent this late in the NCAA Tournament since 1940.

More history for a historic squad.

The Final Four court is too red for my liking

The court is officially in place at Lucas Oil Stadium and it is way too red for my liking. Of all colors, why red?

UK opens an 11.5-point favorite over Notre Dame

Vegas has spoken, and the Cats opened as an 11.5-point favorite over Notre Dame. So far, the line has moved down slightly to 11 points.

Cover? Definitely cover.

The best national reactions to last night’s game

IG: SportsNation

IG: SportsNation

Judging by Twitter, it seemed like everyone in America watched last night’s game. By now, you’ve seen most of the local takes on the game, but what are people saying outside of the Commonwealth? Here’s a sampling of the best reactions to last night’s rout:

Comedian Frank Caliendo:

Nerlens Noel:

SportsCenter with a sobering stat:

Fox Sports’Aaron Torres:


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Shane Battier:

Ashley Judd:

Seth Rosenthal:

That about sums it up.

Recapping a fun night in Cleveland (Friday Show Thread)

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Friday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Everyone else get plenty of sleep? Ha! Me neither. But, after last night’s beatdown of West Virginia, who needs sleep? The Cats are in the Elite Eight and looked absolutely dominant against the Mountaineers. A mere eight hours after finishing the postgame show, Matt and Drew will be on to talk about it some more.

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

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