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January 30th, 2015

Checking In With Alabama

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Just two short weeks ago the Cats were gearing up for what many thought would be a tough road trip to Tuscaloosa. In the end, the Cats proved to be too much for the Tide to handle as they held them to just 17 points in the first half. Since then the Cats have kept things rolling with four more wins. How about Alabama? Lets check in and see if they bring any momentum to tomorrow’s game:

@ Arkansas : Lost 93-91 In OT

After the humbling loss to Kentucky, Alabama was 2-2 in conference play and still desperate for a resume building win. Arkansas was also 2-2 and searching for a way to right the ship. Both teams needed the win and it showed as the two teams battled it out all the way to overtime. In the end Arkansas won in the same manner they beat Kentucky last season. A game winning putback dunk.

Vs Auburn : Won 57-55

The iron basket’s (Is that what they call it?) 150th meeting  took place in Tuscaloosa and Alabama was on the ropes late in the game. However, Levi Randolph took over and brought the Tide back to a tie late with 7 straight buckets. His eighth shot missed but Rodney Cooper was there waiting to grab the ball for the go-ahead score. Auburn has yet to win on the road this season which is bad news for the Tigers on the 21st.

Vs Florida : Lost 52-50

Earlier this week Alabama played host to a  Florida team that had lost three in a row. The Gators dominated the first half but Anthony Grant’s team came storming back and the game was tied at 50 in the final minute. But it was another go-ahead dunk that proved to be the downfall for Bama. Well that and 17 turnovers.

 

So Alabama doesn’t appear to have much momentum coming into the tomorrow’s match-up but you always have to be weary of the trap. Kentucky is on game two of a 3-games-in-6-days stretch. They killed Alabama on their home court. Alabama is desperate for a win to keep their coach employed at the end of the year. The Cats should win with ease but the key will be putting them away early like they did two weeks ago.


The Harrisons have got their groove back

harrison-twins

The most exciting part of last night was probably not even in the game. It was the post-game interview between Calipari and Greenberg. However, Andrew Harrison did put a glimmer of excitement into the matchup, scoring 15 points, eight of those scored in a row after Mizzou tried to make a comeback by cutting the lead it six. Aaron even scored the second most for the Cats last night.

Whether it be John Robic doing a better job at ‘contact duty’ — we all know there has been less squinting on the floor lately — or Andrew just making better decisions, there has been an improvement in his performance on the court throughout the year.

Last night, Andrew showed the world that their life problems were not his fault (The rain and car accidents included like Cal said.) Cal even compared Harrison to Derrick Rose last night, saying Harrison has fallen to the same type of sensitivity as Derrick Rose did with his own struggles in college.

“He is too self-critical, and it’s OK to be self-critical if you’re using it to improve yourself. But if you use it–your inner dialogue buries you, then you gotta change your inner dialogue.”

That statement alone shows we are seeing an entirely new Andrew this year. Last year, it seems the most important thing for the twins was what the media had to say. This year, according to Cal, they have raised their self-esteem to make their own opinions what is most important.

Like some type of cheesy beauty queen statement, it looks like the Harrisons have been able rise above all the negativity surrounding them to find the best players they can be inside of them on their own terms.

I hate myself for that last sentence, but I will go the Harrison’s route and say:

cal-dealwithit

 

 

@Sealey_KSR


Watch John Robic preview tomorrow’s game

robic

Coach Robic filled in for Calipari — who was probably still at coffee with JoJo — during today’s press conference and he had lots of interesting things to say. Watch/listen as he talks all about last night’s win at Missouri, then previews the upcoming contest with Alabama.

Cats.


Kentucky Football’s Class of 2015 Big Board: 5 Days til NSD

2015-commits

Things haven’t exactly been popping in recruiting since the Cats were dumped turned down by Damien Harris.  Five commitments have since decided to go elsewhere, including the coveted Dowell twins, taking the total count down to 15.  Nonetheless, Stoops still has five days to make a splash.  Here’s a look at where the class currently stands.

*****

COMMITMENTS

Linebacker

ELI BROWN
Outside Linebacker
Bowling Green, KY
6-2 | 185

Ranking: 
247Composite: 20 OLB | 277
247Sports: 18 OLB
Rivals: 23 OLB
ESPN: 15 OLB | 244

Committed: April 21, 2014

Other Offers: Ohio State, USC, Florida, Ole Miss, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky

Additional Note: Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Brown re-opened his recruitment in October shortly after an unofficial visit to Ohio State, UK’s biggest competitor for Brown at the time. Brown had to rehab a lower leg injury heading into his Senior season, but did not fail at turning heads on the offensive and defensive side of the ball for Warren East High School.

JORDAN JONES
Outside Linebacker
Youngstown, OH
6-2 | 210

Ranking: 
247Composite: 34 OLB | 410
247Sports: 51 OLB
Rivals: 41 OLB
ESPN: 36 OLB

Committed: May 8, 2014

Other Offers: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan State, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana

Additional Note: An early enrollee, Jones is an alumnus of Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, just like his coaches Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.  Stoops has watched Jordan grow up in football, making the next few years a special opportunity for the pair from Youngstown.

Defensive Line

4_1277021KENGERA DANIEL
Defensive End
Raleigh, NC
6-6 | 250

Ranking: 
247Composite: 33 WDE | 699
247Sports: 37 WDE
Rivals: 39 SDE
ESPN: 37 DE

 

Committed: October 22, 2014

Other Offers: Alabama, Florida State, East Carolina, NC State, Appalachian State

Additional Note:  Kengera “KG” Daniel has already enrolled and taken an important number on the defensive-side of the ball: Bud Dupree’s #2 jersey. For an early enrollee, I honestly didn’t know much about the kid until recently. The in-person ‘eye test’ was enough to convince me this kid can make some noise.

 

4_1280947JASON STOWBRIDGE
Defensive End
Deerfield Beach, Fl.
6-4 | 250

Ranking: 
247Composite: 26 SDE | 495
247Sports: 48 SDE
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 29 DE****

 

Committed: September 20, 2014

Other Offers: North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami

Additional Note:  Stowbridge’s wide shoulders give him a great frame to add muscle, which is probably how he’ll spend his freshman season at UK: pumping iron with a redshirt, like most of Stoops’ freshmen linemen.

 

4_2924179JAVON PROVITT
Defensive Tackle
Warren, OH
6-3 | 305

Ranking: 
247Composite: 76 DT | 1148
247Sports: 79 DT
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 62 DT

 

Committed: January 25, 2015

Other Offers: Akron, Cincinnati, Ohio

Additional Note:  Provitt’s commitment could not have come at a more crucial time as defensive linemen seemed to be dropping out of the Cats picture faster than flies on a warm, summer day.  We can only hope he has some awesome RecSpecs to replace those glasses beneath his helmet.

 

Secondary

4_1075475MARCUS WALKER
Safety
Lake Wales, FL
6-0.5 | 176

Ranking: 
247Composite: 25 S | 432
247Sports: 27 S
Rivals: 31 S
ESPN: 15 S | 214

Committed: July 18, 2014

Other Offers: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UVA

Additional Note: Walker first committed to Kentucky back in January, but decommitted in April. After picking up offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Tennessee and others, Walker decided to re-commit to Kentucky, in part because the staff kept in contact with him even after he reopened his recruitment.

4_2930064KEI BECKHAM
Cornerback
Dayton, OH
6-0 | 173

Ranking: 
247Composite: 57 CB | 580
247Sports: 53 CB
Rivals: 44 CB
ESPN: 70 CB

Committed: July 18, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, Purdue

Additional Note: Beckham committed to the Cats during Stoops’ summer Friday Night Lights  camp after an exclusive workout with Mark Stoops. He needs to bulk up before he can hold his own in the SEC, but he’s athletic, with good hands and quick feet.

 

4_2977266CHRIS WESTRY
Cornerback
Orange Park, Fl.
6-4 | 180

Ranking: 
247Composite: 87 CB | 951
247Sports: 125 CB
Rivals: 74 CB
ESPN: 55 CB

 

Committed: January 20, 2015

Other Offers:  Florida, Arkansas, Auburn

Additional Note: Before his Senior season of high school football, WEstry chose Auburn over Florida.  However his recruitment picked right back up as soon as his season was over.  After battling off Arkansas and Auburn’s addition of former Florida coach Will Muschamp as their defensive coordinator, Mark Stoops flipped Westry to the blue and white.

 

Offensive Line

LEVON LIVINGSTON
Offensive Tackle
Washington, DC
6-7 | 232

Ranking: 
247Composite: 83 OT | 788
247Sports: 48 OT
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 86 OT

Committed: April 5, 2014 

Other Offers: West Virginia, NC State

Additional Note: Livingston plays both sides of the line of scrimmage in high school and insists he can play either in college, however, the plan is to use him on the offensive line at Kentucky.

LOGAN STENBERG
Offensive Tackle
Madison, AL
6-6 | 327

Ranking: 
247Composite: 74 OT | 674
247Sports: 58 OT
Rivals: 59 OT
ESPN: 134 OT

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: UAB (which couldn’t have ended well.)

Additional Note: Stenberg committed to UK on the same day as fellow offensive linemen Levon Livingston.

 

MASON WOLFE
Offensive Lineman
Henderson, KY
6-7 | 280

Ranking: 
247Composite: 98 OG
247Sports: 130 OG
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 132 OG

Committed: April 7, 2014

Additional Note: Wolfe became the fourth offensive lineman commit in three days when he committed during an unofficial visit to UK in early April. He told 247Sports he just felt it was time and he was interested in Kentucky since the very beginning. Since his commitment he’s been a frequent flyer to Lexington, visiting for multiple games and, more importantly, working with the other offensive line commits at camps.

4_2929835GEORGE ASAFO-ADJEI
Offensive Lineman
West Chester, OH
6-4 | 295

Ranking: 
247Composite: 47 OT | 448
247Sports: 22 OT | 199
Rivals: 27 OG
ESPN: 58 OG

Committed: June 23, 2014

Other Offers: Akron, Cincinnati, UConn, Florida, Illinois, Louisville, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Syracuse, Toledo, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan

Additional Note: Asafo-Adjei is a former teammate of current UK players Kyle Meadows and Mikel Horton, and said he felt comfortable with UK’s players, coaches, and facilities. It doesn’t hurt that the early enroll is close to home too.

Tight End

C.J. CONRAD
Tight End
LaGrange, OH
6-5 | 225

Ranking: 
247Composite: 11 TE | 289
247Sports: 9 TE
Rivals: 8 TE
ESPN: 11 TE

Committed: May 9, 2014

Other Offers: Arkansas, Illinois, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Additional Note: If there’s a player that will come in to make an immediate impact on the field, it’s C.J. Conrad.  There’s been a handful of commitments from Ohio to jump ship upon the recent emergence of the Buckeyes, but the early enrollee never thought twice that Kentucky was the place to be.

Wide Receiver

4_1299074JABARI GREENWOOD
Wide Receiver
Washington, DC
6-4 | 193

Ranking: 
247Composite: 58 WR | 515
247Sports: 58 WR
Rivals: 51 WR
ESPN: 61 WR

Committed: June 28, 2014

Other Offers: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Pitt, Rutgers, UVA, Wake Forest, Washington State

Additional Note: Greenwood picked Kentucky over Michigan State, Virginia, and Maryland. At 6’4″, 193 lbs., he’s got the size to compete in the SEC, and more importantly, looks like a playmaker. Greenwood said WR coach Tommy Mainord played a huge factor in his decision, and his commitment was a big win for Mainord, who is the primary recruiter in the DMV area.

4_2845670TAVIN RICHARDSON
Wide Receiver
Duncan, SC
6-3 | 200

Ranking: 
247Composite: 114 WR | 924
247Sports: 210 WR
Rivals: 20 WR
ESPN: 72 WR

Committed: January 30, 2015

Other Offers: Louisville, Pitt, Arkansas, Nebraska, Boston College, UCF

Additional Note: Richardon’s commitment was the Cats to lose, right up until the last minute.  After losing a pair of playmakers in the Dowell twins, Richardson’s size and frame are exactly what the Cats need in playmaking wide receivers.  His stock dropped in the rankings throughout the season, but Kentucky’s persistence should pay dividends in the future.

 

[All images and star-ratings via 247Sports.com]


Bomani gave Drew a shoutout on today’s Around The Horn


Alabama will be without its starting point guard

As if Kentucky needed any more help tomorrow, Alabama will be without its starting point guard in the game. Ricky Tarrant, the Tide’s second-leading scorer, stayed back in Tuscaloosa with an undisclosed lower leg injury. He suffered the injury Tuesday night against Florida.

Tarrant averages 13.1 points and two steals this season.

About that point spread…


Kentucky opened as a 20-point favorite over Alabama

Vegas released its line for tomorrow’s game in Rupp Arena and Kentucky finds itself as a 20-point favorite at home against the Tide. The Cats won by 22 a couple weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, so that’s a line I can get behind.

Your thoughts?


YAHTZEE! Cats add three-star wide receiver

Finally, some good news for the football program…

The Cats added three-star wide receiver Tavin Richardson from South Carolina this afternoon. Richardson picked Kentucky over Central Florida, with other offers from Louisville, Nebraska, Arkansas, Mississippi State and The U.

Yahtzee!


And another one… Tyrone Riley flips to NC State

4_2929789

TYRONE RILEY
Defensive End
Savannah, GA
6-6 | 230

Ranking: 
247Composite: 39 WDE | 775
247Sports: 41 WDE
Rivals: 27 WDE
ESPN: 51 OLB
Scout: 124 DE

Committed to UK: November 18, 2014

 

Kentucky’s 2015 recruiting class lost another commitment today, although this one isn’t a huge surprise.

Tyrone Riley, a three-star defensive end, flipped his pick to NC State today. One of Craig Naivar’s recruits, Riley seemed to be wavering recently. He visited NC State earlier this month.

That’s now four lost commits this month, however. Not a good look.


Coach Robic isn’t concerned at all about Willie Cauley-Stein

robic

Willie Cauley-Stein was a complete no-show last night in Missouri on both ends of the floor. Kentucky’s star big man didn’t score a bucket (or attempt one) until late in the game and, defensively, a rare zero blocks and zero steals. Only four total rebounds, too.

Today, Robic said he expects Willie to bounce back and return to form.

“It might’ve been a tough game for him yesterday,” Robic told reporters this afternoon. “He had a lot of family and friends that were there from the Kansas City area. I think you can think about that a little bit. It just wasn’t one of his better games, but I think he’ll rebound.

“We’re not concerned at all,” he continued. “We’ll put that one behind him.”

Luckily Willie’s off-night came against Missouri, a team Kentucky can beat without him. As we said last night after the game, it’s okay for Willie to zone out in those games but he needs to be 100 percent Willie when the lights are brightest.

Shrug it off and move on.


Marcus Lewis looked comfortable with UK last night

Lost in all the basketball excitement last night was this photo from Marcus Lewis, UK’s top remaining target in the 2015 football class. Lewis met with Derrick Ansley, Tommy Mainord and current UK commit Jabari Greenwood last night and it might’ve saved Kentucky’s chances to sign the four-star defensive back.

Just earlier this week, eight out of eight Rivals.com recruiting experts predicted Lewis to Miami, however, seven of the eight flipped their pick yesterday.

Lewis will decide between the Cats and Canes on Tuesday, the day before Signing Day.

Let’s hope he picks FAMILY.


DeMarcus Cousins is going to the All-Star game

demarcus-cousins-kentucky-university-gestures-after-being-selected-the-sacramento-kings-the-fifth-overall-pick-the-2010-nba-draft-new-york

What a day for DeMarcus Cousins. First he broke the internet with his call-out of Clay Travis. Now he’s an NBA All-Star.

Boogie will replace the injured Kobe Bryant for the West squad in New York City.

LESSSSSSGGGGGGOOOOOOOO!

clay


An Oral History of Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,000 Wins

coachk-official-head-shot

Gil Corrano, Sports Reporter, The West Point Gazette
“I covered his first game as a head coach — Army versus Lehigh — in 1975. Army had been 3-22 the season before and no one was expecting much out of this new first-timer. But they beat Lehigh by 27 points in the season opener. Afterward, I caught up with him and asked him how it felt, you know, to be turning things around. I’ll never forget it; he looked me the eye and said ‘Now I have to win 999 more.’ I remember that I laughed, because I thought it was a joke, but then he held up a walnut and crushed it in his fist and let the shattered shell fall to the floor. I could see even then that he was motivated.”

Jim DeSalle, Duke Athletics Staff, 1980
“The weekend after we made Mike’s hiring official, I took him out for a drink to talk to him about his future at the university. I kidded him that his name was hard to pronounce, that it looked like some sort of crazy vanity license plate meant to convey a phrase with all the vowels taken out. He didn’t like that; he smashed a Michelob bottle on the bar and held the jagged glass to my neck. He was wild-eyed and screaming ‘Everyone will learn to say my name! Everyone!‘ The whole bar got quiet. It was weird, but I could tell he meant business.”

Linda Preston, Owner and Operator of Linda’s Playplace, Durham, NC
“In 1982 we filmed a PSA at our facility about kids and exercise, and Coach Krzyzewski came to film a piece on being a good sport. Everything went well on-camera, but off-camera one of the kids told Coach that he liked basketball even when he didn’t win. Coach Krzyzewski got really mad; he started smashing lego structures with his hands and kicked a ball through a plate glass window — and he told the kid that winning was the only thing. He ran outside shrieking and ripped some monkey bars out of the ground and did like $2,000 worth of damage. The kids were all crying and scared. One of those kids was Clay Aiken.”

Karl Malone, Member of the “Dream Team,” 1992 Olympics
We had just won our game against Panama and I hadn’t played as well as I could have; I was walking out of the arena and a taxi cab ran over me from behind, then stopped, backed up and ran over me again. Coach K was hanging out of the window of the taxi yelling ‘You will not take this win from me! You will not take my wins away from me!‘ I was really injured badly and was like ‘You’re not even the head coach! This doesn’t even count on your record!’ People were running around like ‘No mas! No mas! Detener the automóvil!‘ But we went back out there and brought home the gold.”

J.J. Redick, Duke University Basketball Player, 2002-2006
“We lost a game at Maryland in 2003 and after the game, I told Chris Duhon that we’d get them next time. Coach overheard it and picked up a brick — I don’t even know where he got it — and threw it at me, screaming that it would have been his 650th win and we screwed it all up for him. Then he stopped the bus on a bridge and made me get into a burlap sack, tied it with rope and pushed it into the Patuxent River. I almost died but I barely escaped from the sack before I froze to death. I guess I just didn’t have the drive, back then, that I needed. Coach gave me that drive.”

Bobby Knight, former Indiana Head Coach
“I remember after that 903rd win, where he broke my record. He visited my home and rang the doorbell. I came to the door to ask who it was and he said ‘Coach, it’s me, Mike. I wanted to talk to you about how much you’ve meant to me and what an inspiration you’ve been.’ I think he thought I’d be happy to see him, but instead I asked him to take one step back and then I pulled the lever that activates a trap door on my porch and he fell into the hole I had built to capture trespassers. People aren’t supposed to even get that close to the house to begin with.”

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Head Coach
“There will be others who win more, but it’s kind of neat to be the first person to 1,000.”

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Head Coach
“I don’t know who did this, but someone threw a rock through the front window of my home last night with a note that read STOP WINNING GAMES OR ELSE. I’ve turned it over to the authorities for a proper investigation, but I have my suspicions.”

 


Marlana VanHoose will sing the national anthem at tomorrow’s game

…which makes you even luckier if you’re fortunate enough to attend. Marlana has sung the anthem for several women’s games over the years, the football game vs. Vandy this past September, and one of the basketball alumni games, but this will be her first time singing the anthem during a regular season men’s game in Rupp.

Because we gotta:


Get ready for lunch with my Super Bowl Snack Bracket

The Fast Food Bracket was a big hit (or miss, depending on your choices) last week, so I thought I’d get us all in the mood for Super Bowl Sunday with The Today Show’s Super Bowl Snack Bracket. See if you agree with my picks:

FIRST ROUND

Wings vs. Party Mix: WINGS

I love me some Chex Mix (without the rye chips, please), but there is something so right about the combination of wings and football. They’re the Luke and Laura of Super Bowl snacks. Much messier to consume in a group setting than party mix, but man, when that tangy buffalo sauce hits your lips, it’s football snackin’ heaven.

Buffalo Chicken dip vs. Onion dip: BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

Buffalo Chicken dip is the crack of Super Bowl snacks. Onion dip is good, but gives you awful breath. Easy call.

Salsa vs. Hummus: SALSA

While hummus has come a long way in recent years, it’s still the most boring snack on the menu. We all like to pretend that we love hummus, but unless you get the kind with the really spicy stuff in the middle, it pretty much goes untouched. Again, love hummus for a chill weekend cookout, but this is Super Bowl Sunday. No healthy stuff here. Salsa all the way.

Queso vs. Sub sandwich: QUESO

The novelty of the 6′ Subway sandwich is always fun, but queso is cheese and therefore wins in a landslide.

Chili vs. Sliders: CHILI

Like wings, chili just goes with football. And people LOVE to make chili. So much they get oddly competitive about it. Personally, I’m a fan of chorizo chili, but appreciate all varieties. It’s also much easier to make than sliders, which…if someone goes through the trouble of making enough sliders for an entire Super Bowl gathering, well, they’re doing too much. Chili in a landslide.

Guacamole vs. Potato Skins: POTATO SKINS

Some may view this as an upset, but I’m rolling with the potato skins here. I love guacamole, but there’s something deliciously decadent about a potato skin. It combines all the wonderful things in the world: carbs, cheese, and bacon, and on a day that embraces unhealthy food decisions, why not?

Nachos vs. Pigs in a blanket: NACHOS

Tough matchup, but I’ll vote nachos, even though they are kind of gross to eat in a group setting. Again, this is mainly because of the cheese factor.

Spinach dip vs. 7-layer dip: SPINACH DIP

If there’s one dip that you can trick yourself into thinking is somewhat healthy (even though it’s TOTALLY not), it’s Spinach Dip. 7-layer dip is a strong contender, but I’m going with spinach.

ELITE EIGHT

Wings vs. Buffalo Chicken Dip: WINGS

This may be the most difficult matchup in the entire bracket, but I have to go with wings for the aforementioned reasons. Wings and football are peas and carrots, and watching people try to eat them without looking grotesque can be just as entertaining as the game. I hate this loss for Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Salsa vs. Queso: QUESO

Because it’s cheese.

Chili vs. potato skins: CHILI

Potato skins are fun, but not enough to trump an iconic football snack.

Nachos vs. Spinach Dip: NACHOS

Even though by this point in the party, they’re congealed and when you dig in, you either get an entire chip full of cheese or a chip with nothing at all, gotta go with nachos, simply because when you are lucky enough to get that chip full of cheese, it is bliss.

FINAL FOUR

Wings vs. Queso: WINGS

It was a good run, cheese, but you’re not beating a heavyweight like wings.

Chili vs. Nachos: CHILI

Chili in a knockout. The congealing effect comes back to bite nachos in the end.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Wings vs. Chili: CHILI

This is the Duke vs. Kentucky of Super Bowl snacks. Ali vs. Frazier. Both foods are excellent contenders, and thankfully, in real life, there is no loser here. Both also have excellent fixins: ranch/bleu cheese and celery for wings and cheese, sour cream, chives, and crackers for chili. It’s a close one, but I’m voting chili as my champion for the sheer fact that it’s even better the next day. Wings don’t have that kind of staying power. It’s a close one, though.

Your turn.