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February 21st, 2017

Missouri school newspaper warns fans that halftime act will be more entertaining than tonight’s game

How pessimistic are Missouri fans about tonight’s game? In the preview of the game for The Missourian, the school paper, student columnist Rick Morgan said the halftime act, the famous acrobat Red Panda (whom Nick profiled earlier), will likely be more entertaining than the game itself:

Fans at Mizzou Arena will be wise to enjoy this entertaining spectacle at halftime. It is unlikely that the actual basketball game will be nearly as memorable. Kentucky is a consistent national power projected by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi to be a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have four players who average more points per game than Missouri’s leading scorer (junior forward Jordan Barnett).

Morgan really doesn’t hold back on the Tigers, who have been horrible, yes, but beat Vandy by 20 a few weeks back:

The Tigers are heavy underdogs in Tuesday’s game against Kentucky. Fans are encouraged to wear black, but it’s debatable how much this will matter against the Wildcats. Regardless of the final score, fans will at least get to enjoy the presence of Calipari, future NBA players and one of the most stunning halftime performances in the game.

Ouch. I hope he’s right.

[The show comes to town Tuesday when Missouri faces No. 11 Kentucky]


Kentucky vs. Missouri Preview: What We Can Learn from Vegas

 

It’s time to preview tonight’s match-up against the Missouri Tigers. I am not a basketball mind in the least. When it comes to breaking down and previewing games based on player match-ups and hardcore X’s and O’s, I am utterly useless. I leave that kind of stuff to the people who know what they’re talking about. So if you’re looking for an in depth scouting report for tonight’s game, you’re in the wrong place. I prefer to take a little different approach.

I’m a numbers guy, I prefer to preview games and make predictions based on the numbers and odds provided by our good friends in Vegas. Vegas has proven time and again to be incredibly accurate in predicting game outcomes. So when it comes to previewing games, I like to first look at what Vegas has to say.

(If you already know how gambling stuff works, you don’t need to read this part).

For those who don’t know how it works, various casinos in Vegas dump a bunch of raw data from each team into equations which are then calculated by computers, which then spit out a score projection. This score projection is used in determining the “point spread.” It’s all based on numbers, there is no bias involved whatsoever. When a point spread has been determined, people can then bet on one of the two teams, and depending where most of the money goes, the casinos will then adjust the spread accordingly. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

I previewed tonight’s game against Missouri based on the numbers in Vegas. These numbers can more often than not give us a relatively good idea of what to expect out of our boys tonight. Tonight’s spread, as of right now, is as follows:

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Vegas has set the Cats at a 16-point favorite over Mizzou with a projected score of 88-68. Missouri is one of the worst teams in the SEC, and possibly the nation so a large spread was expected. Taking into consideration how bad Mizzou is and UK’s recent positive momentum, picking the Cat’s to cover seems like a no-brainer. Even though Kentucky is projected to cover, I don’t think it’s as easy of a pick as it seems when considering some other vital pieces of information.

Kentucky originally opened as a 16.5 point favorite, and that since has been bet down to 16. 61% of the money in Vegas has gone towards the Cats. Typically, the spread goes up when a majority of the money is being bet one way, but in the case of the Cats, the spread went down. For the non-gambling crowd, this is a classic case of “reverse line movement” also known as “smart money.” Typically, when there is reverse line movement, a large wager by a single individual or gambling syndicate has been placed on the team the lesser amount of the money is going to, in this case, Missouri.

In the 2016-2017 season, betting on reverse line movement has about a 60% success rate, meaning betting against the public money works more times than not. So what does this mean in terms of tonight’s game? I wouldn’t be too confident in taking the Cat’s to cover that 16-point spread although I believe it will be close. So if you are expecting an absolute blowout tonight, the numbers suggest it could be closer than you think. Manage your expectations accordingly. Let’s hope Kentucky can defy the odds and leave Columbia with an impressive display of dominance. What does Vegas know anyway?


Player Development Levels: Defense

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The time it takes for incoming players to develop into contributors greatly varies. Factors that drive impact are influenced by opportunity, talent, depth chart mobility, willingness to work, and more. In this post we’ll discuss Kentucky’s defensive players that are in differing development stages for the 2017 season. Defenders will be divided amongst five categories that are named: It’s Time, National Honors, Conference Honors, First to Second Year, and Red to Blue Shirts.

Let’s get started:

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Pic by Scout.com

It’s Time

The name of this developmental stage is self-explanatory. The following players entered the program with a high probability to succeed and have been on the team for an adequate amount of time to start playing at a high level. Expectation has exceeded output; it’s time to step up their game or get stepped over on the depth chart.

Nose Tackle Matt Elam

Elam’s expectation was unrealistically high. This miscalculation has skewed developmental analysis. However, over the course of three years it’s fair to say that his on-field result has not lived up to the buildup. New DL coach Derrick LeBlanc will challenge him both on and off the field. Naquez Pringle overtook the starting NT position by mid-season and never relinquished. Elam’s absence against Louisville and Georgia Tech perplexed.

Now a rising senior, the clock is quickly winding down. If Matt Elam’s senior season doesn’t prove to be his best, the E’town native may struggle to see significant playing time. I’m personally pulling for the young man to achieve.

2016: 9 total tackles

Defensive Tackle Tymere Dubose

I’ll be the first to admit that National Signing Day projections are mere guesses. We ranked Dubose high due to elite size, quick feet, arm length, potential, and athletic ability. Off-the-field issues plagued the rising junior early in his career. An injury slowed him last summer which bled over to the early stages of the 2016 season. But, he did show improvement and a production uptick in October and November. Just a junior, there’s hope for Dubose to develop into a consistent contributor. If he ever gets “it” right; the Youngstown native has a chance to be excel.

2016: 6 total tackles

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Pic by 247 

National Honors

These Wildcats are accomplished to the point of collecting national level honors. If projected improvement continues on current, established pace; the duo could compete for All American honors. It also must be noted that both possess a fierce work ethic and a high-level passion for the game of football.

Safety Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards is a tackling machine that arguably played the safety position better than any other SEC defensive back in 2016. He was named to several All SEC teams and is the conference’s 2nd leading returning tackler. This upcoming season could be his last in Lexington.

2016: 100 total tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss (TFL), 3 interceptions, 8 pass breakups, 11 passes defended.

Linebacker Jordan Jones

Kentucky has traditionally produced physical, influential linebackers. Jordan Jones’ 2016 production ranks high on UK’s all-time list in substance and impact. He was named to several All SEC teams. Recently Saturday Down South rated Jones as the Southeastern Conference’s #1 ranked LB for 2017.

2016: 109 total tackles, 15.5 TFL, 4 QB sacks, 4 pass breakups, 9 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble. Jones is the SEC’s top leading returning tackler for 2017.  

Conference Honors

These juniors could find themselves on All SEC Teams at the end of next season. This projection is based off prior production and also considers work ethic, maturity, talent level, and developmental ceiling.

Outside Linebacker Josh Allen

Saturday Down South rated Allen as the SEC’s 5th best LB for 2017. He led the Southeastern Conference with 4 forced fumbles in 2016 and was the Wildcat’s QB sack leader with 7.

2016: 62 total tackles, 7 QB sacks, 8.5 TFL, 3 QB hurries, 4 forced fumbles. 

Cornerback Derrick Baity

Matt House’s field corner; Baity has proven to be UK’s top pass defender.

2016: 42 total tackles, 2 TFL, 3 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 1 QB hurry.

Outside Linebacker Denzel Ware

The “Jack” LB has proven to be an effective pass rusher and is improving in pass defense. Jones-Ware-Allen construct ¾ of Kentucky’s LB corps which has the potential to be one of the better groups in the SEC.

2016: 70 total tackles, 12 TFL, 5.5 QB sacks, 5 QB hurries.

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Pic by SEC Country

First to Second Year

The most populated category which is a positive. This collection of prior true-redshirt freshmen and JUCO transfers that established early playing time in 2016. Their jump from rookie to veteran status could prominently influence UK’s win/loss column.

Defensive End Alvonte Bell

Scheduled to miss spring practice due to an offseason surgery. Came on strong in the latter stages of 2016 before being injured in the Taxslayer Bowl. Could win the starting defensive end job in fall camp.

2016: 27 total tackles, .5 QB sack, 1 TFL, 2 pass breakups, 1 QB hurry.

Outside Linebacker Jordan Bonner

Bonner contributed on special teams and showed flashes of being a pass rusher. An offseason to increase strength and weight gain will bolster a deep and talented group of OLB’s.

2016: 10 total tackles, 1 TFL. 

Linebacker Eli Brown

See above; another offseason to add weight and strength should assist Brown into becoming a viable backup to Jordan Jones.

2016: 24 total tackles, .5 TFL, 1 fumble recovery. 

Defensive End TJ Carter

PFF graded the true freshman the highest of all UK defenders in the Taxslayer Bowl. Like Alvonte Bell, will compete for the starting DE job.

2016: 11 total tackles.

Linebacker Kash Daniel

Daniel could push senior Courtney Love for a starting role. An extremely hard worker, Daniel is quickly becoming a team leader.

2016: 19 total tackles, was the Cat’s top dog on special teams. 

Cornerback Jordan Griffin

Young, talented cornerback with an extremely high ceiling. Will push Baity and Westry. Year two will show massive technical strides.

2016: 6 total tackles. Will push for a starting job.

Linebacker De’Niro Laster

Versatile, played both inside and outside linebacker in his first season before injury. Could quietly become significant factor for Matt House.

2016: 14 total tackles, 2 TFL, 1 QB sack. 

Nose Tackle Naquez Pringle

A pleasant surprise for Mark Stoops, Pringle worked his way into the starting nose tackle position midway through 2016. Recently saw the rising senior outside the Training Center, the defensive lineman has transformed his body and is dialed in for a breakout 2017.

2016: 39 total tackles, 2 TFL, 1 QB sack

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Pic of Alvonte Bell by Chat Sports

Red to Blue Shirts

The following three players redshirted and are expected to compete for playing time in 2017.

Defensive Linemen Ja’Quize Cross and Kordell Looney

Defensive line is a unit in desperate need of depth and playmakers. Looney and Cross will get an opportunity to impress in spring practice. The Cats need at least one of these two to predominantly factor in 2017.

Linebackers Roland Walder and Jamar Watson

Not expecting the pair to crack the starting lineup; best case scenario is to play special teams while gaining valuable experience.

Cornerback DaVonte Robinson

The speedster from Lexington will add depth to an already highly talented cornerback position group. Robinson could also contribute on special teams as a kick/punt returner.

Safety Tobias Gilliam

The loss of Blake McClain and Marcus McWilson opens a spot at safety. This position competition will be heated; Gilliam should be in the mix. 


Player development is the absolute backbone of a program like Kentucky. Five-star prospects aren’t overpopulating its locker room. Mark Stoops and staff rely on early evaluation and good ole fashion hard work to better his team on an annual basis. Spring practice starts soon.


WARNING: This New ESPN Promo will make you Sick to your Stomach

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The Worldwide Leader does man great things to promote the sport of college basketball.  Often times it benefits Kentucky, but this time it does nothing but incite anger in the bowels of my soul.

Every time they showcase the ACC, ESPN highlights the conference’s four Hall of Fame coaches: Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Mike Kryzeweczhewzski and Rick Pitino.  Name a more hatable quartet.  I’ll wait.

The love-feast is sickening.

For many, the Rick Pitino draws the most hate but I concede too much ill-will for what he accomplished at Kentucky.  Personally, no one is more despicable than Jim Boeheim.  He’s an overrated nose-picker who can’t coach man-to-man defense.  For my Father, it’s the “rat-faced” Coach K and for my Uncle Pete it’s ‘Ol Roy (his impression is spot-on).



Ten Facts About Missouri Basketball

Rick Sugg | Kansas City Star

Rick Sugg | Kansas City Star

Kim Anderson is the Head Coach

I know what you’re thinking, “Is that a man?”  Yes, Kim Anderson is the name of a man, even though the only other notable man named Kim rules North Korea.

Anderson was a standout for Mizzou in the 70s, named Co-Big Eight Player of the Year in 1977.  He served as a Missouri assistant in the 80s and the 90s for 13 total years in two different stints.  Prior to taking the head coaching job at his alma mater, Anderson led the Central Missouri Mules to two NCAA D-II Final Fours and a National Championship in 2014, his final season.

The secret to Anderson’s success?  His fiery personality in pregame speeches.

Props to the SEC Network for doing its best to show the “most loyal fans” and not all of the arena’s empty seats.

Kim Anderson might have been a Football Coach

Anderson appears to be Hayden Fox’s assistant coach at Minnesota State.  The resemblance is striking.

They are bad at Basketball

Mizzou is 7-19.  Starting in December they went on a 13-game losing streak that included losses to Lipscomb and Eastern Illinois.  Even though they’re 2-12 in the SEC this season (wins over Arkansas and Vandy), they’re not last in the SEC.  That honor belongs to Johnny Jones and LSU.

In Anderson’s three years at Mizzou, the Tigers are 26-63.

Mizzou has Lost 33 Straight Road Games

Their last road win came against their former coach, Arkansas’ Mike Anderson, on January 28, 2104. Lucky for them, tonight’s game is at home.

Their Coaches Fought Georgia’s Coaches

Famous Basketball Alumni

DeMarre Carroll: The best former Tiger currently on an NBA roster, Carroll cashed in on the Atlanta Hawks’ 2015 success by signing a $60 million deal with the Raptors.  Until today, I had no idea Carroll played at Mizzou, but he helped them get to an Elite Eight in 2009 under Mike Anderson.

Melvin Booker: Devin’s dad was an All-American and Big Eight Player of the Year in 1994.

Kareem Rush:  Rush led Mizzou to the Elite Eight in 2002, a feat only done five times in school history.  He played professionally for ten years before calling it a career.

Larry Drew: Before he coached to the Atlanta Hawks to three playoff appearances from 2011-2013, Drew was a point guard at Mizzou.

Jordan Clarkson: A first team All-Rookie Selection in 2014, Clarkson averages 13.7 points per game for the Lakers this season.

They need some Muscle

After they turned into Protest U in 2015, enrollment took an 8 percent hit, with the worst decline coming from out-of-state undergrads, a 12 percent drop.

The Program is on Probation

Wherever Frank Haith goes, he leaves behind a trail of NCAA violations.  Mizzou is Haith’s latest victim.  After a booster handed out impermissible benefits, Haith was fired, the school vacated wins, lost two scholarships and is on NCAA probation until August of this year.

The Border War is No More

NCAA sanctions hurt Mizzou basketball, but losing the rivalry with Kansas might have done more to destroy their identity.  The oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi began on the basketball court in Columbia in 1907, but the hate between the states stems back to before the Civil War. Without providing a full history lesson, “Bloody Kansas” (also known as the Border War) was a violent time on Missouri’s western frontier as people fought over the legality of slavery in the new state of Kansas between 1854-1861.

When Mizzou left the Big 12 for the SEC, the rivalry ended after 267 meetings.  The teams each won their final home game of the rivalry in 2012 as top ten teams.  They have not played since, leaving a noticeable  void in the Missouri basketball basketball.

Jordan Barnett is their Best Player

Brett gave you a complete roster rundown earlier today, but if you only know one name, know Jordan Barnett.  A transfer that’s only been eligible for 17 games, he leads the team in scoring (12.3) and rebounds (6.3).  Barnett scored 23 points for the second consecutive game to lead the Tigers their last win over Vanderbilt.


Red Panda will Perform at Tonight’s Game

No, not that red panda (although it would be incredibly cute).  The Red Panda performing at halftime of tonight’s Kentucky/Missouri game is the most famous halftime entertainment in all of basketball, just ahead of the frisbee-catching dogs.

If you’re unfamiliar with Red Panda, take the time to see the crazy stuff she can do on a seven-foot unicycle.

For those curious to see more:

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Former Miss Kentucky USA Contestant Lights Roommate’s Bed on Fire

Christen McAllister of Louisville has been charged with first degree arson after a late night altercation with her roommates.  When police arrived at her apartment just off UofL’s campus early Saturday morning, McAllister admitted to setting the bed on fire after getting into an argument with her roommate.  The least shocking news: the police report indicated she may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Another piece of information that makes this story even more interesting, according to the guys at Barstool, the apparent tattoo on her chest in the mugshot isn’t a chest tattoo — it’s from a bar’s body paint competition.

[Lex 18]


Pregame Scouting: Missouri Tigers

7410_missouri_tigers-mascot-1986

After a hard fought game in Athens, where the Kentucky Wildcats picked up a solid W over the Georgia Bulldogs, the Cats travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers tonight at 9pm ET. Sandwiched between the big road game at Georgia and the absolutely huge home test against Florida, the Missouri game could not come at a better time for a few reasons. On top of giving the squad an easier game than the last two have been, the team also should be able to work on anything they’ve been struggling with, as the score should be lopsided form the get go.

Kentucky and Missouri have also faced each other 9 times in basketball before tonight, with Kentucky winning all of the previous match ups. Tonight should be no different. The Tigers host UK sporting a 7-19 record, including a 2-12 record in the SouthEastern Conference. This is familiar territory for the Tigers, who had a 3-15 record in the SEC last season and a 10-21 overall record, which somehow might actually end up being better than this season.

Despite their poor record, the Tigers have been in positions to win a few more games than the scoreboard shows. They have a one point overtime loss to Xavier, a 4 points loss to Ole Miss, a five point loss to Auburn, a five point loss to Georgia, a two three point losses at the hands of Texas A&M and Alabama. That list includes six of the eight losses by 5 points or less that the Tigers have suffered this season. A few shots fall for them or don’t fall for the opponent, and the Tigers could easily be 15-11 rather than 7-19. But almost’s don’t count in basketball, and certainly haven’t helped Missouri this year.

Let’s take a look at the potential starting five for Kim Anderson’s squad tonight.


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#24 Kevin Puryear, Sophomore Forward, 6’7″

Kevin Puryear was named to the 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team last season, after posting the best scoring season by a Missouri freshman in 23 years. He started every game last year for Kim Anderson, and has started every game so far this season as well. Despite not being a highly touted recruit, he’s going to be the best player on Missouri’s team for the next few years most likely.

The sophomore is the team leader in points scored and rebounds on the season. He’s averaging 11.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game through this year. He’s a versatile forward who can step away from the basket and knock down a jumper, but his three point percentage isn’t great. Puryear hits 29.5% of his 3’s and 75.3% of his free throws. Last year, he scored 10 points in 19 minutes in the Tigers’ loss to the Cats.

Kentucky has essentially two ways to guard the bigs that start for Missouri. Puryear measures in at 6’7″, but he does weigh 243 pounds. He’s probably a better match up for Bam Adebayo as far as size goes. However, he plays more of a mobile, outside game than the other starting forward for the Tigers. I think UK will use a combination of both Bam and the Wenyen Gabriel/Derek Willis duo to guard Puryear. Missouri is a team that UK could shut down the other four guys on the court, and make Puryear try to beat them on his own, which won’t happen.

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#1 Terrence Phillips, Sophomore Guard, 5’11”

While Kevin Puryear was one of two Missouri Tigers to start every game last season, Terrence Phillips is the other. Also a sophomore, Phillips played his high school days at Oak Hill Academy, but is a native of Orange County, California. He holds the career assist record at Oak Hill, and was one of the best freshman passers in Missouri history. His 107 total assists put him just 10 behind record holder and Tiger legend of the early 2010’s, Phil Pressey.

As you may have guessed from the assist numbers in his past, Phillips is the true point guard for this Mizzou squad.He leads the team in assists with 4.5 per game, as well as gives the team 9.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and a team leading 1.4 steals. His assist numbers make him the third best passer in the SEC behind Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox and Florida’s Kasey Hill. He’s shooting 35.5% from behind the arc and 74.4% from the charity stripe on the season.

Last year, Phillips finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals against Kentucky. It was a really strong outing, if you consider that he was matched up against Tyler Ulis, and that the Tigers only totaled 54 points and 28 rebounds. Phillips will match up with De’Aaron Fox tonight, who outsizes Phillips by 4 inches and around 10 pounds.

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#11 K.J. Walton, Sophomore Guard, 6’3″

K.J. Walton is the third of four sophomore starters for Missouri this season. Coach Kim Anderson has used this season to build his young players to prepare for a better next couple of seasons, and K.J. Walton is right in the fold to be a part of that rebuild. Walton started 7 games last season, but has already started double that amount this season.

Walton is averaging 7.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game on the season. Despite playing the two-spot on the floor for the Tigers, Walton isn’t much of an outside shooter, making 5 of his only 20 three point shot attempts on the year. Walton will take the majority of his shots from cuts to the basket and straight-line drives, as has been part of the Missouri offense for years.

The sophomore will most likely be matched up defensively with Kentucky sophomore Isaiah Briscoe. Briscoe is Kentucky’s best on-ball defender, and would pair best with the Missouri player who will spend a lot of his offensive time driving to the basket. After a rough game on Saturday at Georgia, look for Briscoe to try to bounce back offensively as well and take advantage of the extra weight he has over Walton.

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#25 Russell Woods, Senior Forward, 6’8″

Russell Woods is the lone senior both in the starting lineup and on the entire roster for Kim Anderson’s Missouri team. Woods is in his second season at Mizzou after playing his first two years for John A Logan Junior College in Carterville, Illinois. In high school, he attended Simeon Career Academy, where he was teammates with former Duke Blue Devil and current Milwaukee Buck, Jabari Parker.

Woods wasn’t a huge statistical contributor last season, only averaging 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. However, those numbers have increased in a starting role this season. He’s putting up 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds this year in 22 minutes per game. The issue for Missouri is that Woods is their biggest starter at 6’8″, but he doesn’t offer a huge offensive post presence. He can’t be relied upon for a ton of offense because when he gets fouled, he only hits 58.8% of his free throws.

The Chicago native played 18 minutes against the Cats last year, but did not score and only managed one rebound against the week front line Kentucky had. As I mentioned earlier, UK could use Wenyen Gabriel and Derek Willis on Woods, as he isn’t as strong as Puryear in the post. But Coach Cal may use Bam here, to keep the Gabriel and Willis as perimeter defenders on Puryear instead.

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#33 Cullen VanLeer, Sophomore Guard, 6’4″

Cullen VanLeer is the fourth and final sophomore starter for the Missouri Tigers this season. He started just 3 games all of last season, but tonight will mark VanLeer’s 17th start this season. VanLeer played only 17 minutes per game last season, scoring 4 points and grabbing 1.2 rebounds per game. His minutes have increased to over 25 per game with the starting role this season.

VanLeer is not afraid to let it fly from behind the arc, as 108 of his 132 shots on the season have been from 3-point land. VanLeer is averaging 5.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, while shooting the deep ball at a 31.5% clip. As evidenced by only staying on the perimeter, VanLeer has only taken 20 total free throws in 26 games this season, but he has made 17 of those 20. He scored 7 points, dished out an assist, and pulled down a board against UK last year.

The Pacific, Missouri native would most likely be guarded by Malik Monk in tonight’s game. His perimeter oriented game is good for the sometimes defensively-challenge Monk, and the fact that he won’t be under the basket will allow for Monk to get out on the break like he desires. The good part for UK is that VanLeer won’t be able to stop Monk in transition if they were to be in a one-on-one situation. Monk should have a solid scoring game tonight, against a team that doesn’t have the defenders to match up with his skill or athleticism.


After losing to Kentucky 88-54 last season in Rupp Arena, the Tigers could be looking to keep this game close to seek some revenge. Unfortunately for Kim Anderson and the Tiger faithful, they just don’t have a set of guys that can keep up with UK. I hate to say before a game that Kentucky is going to blow someone out, because I think it just leads to let down once the game begins, but there is absolutely no reason that Kentucky should not win this game by 20+ points. And it really shouldn’t even be that close. UK was a 16 point favorite as of last night, and I’d bet the house on it that they cover that tonight.

Go Cats. Beat Tigers.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


The Rollie Pollie Goalie is Forced to Resign for Eating Pie

BBC

BBC

The KSR curse strikes again.

During yesterday’s radio show, Matt and the KSR crew discussed the newest phenomenon in English soccer, Sutton United second-string goalkeeper/janitor Wayne Shaw.  Dubbed the “rollie pollie goalie,” the 46-year old 285-pounder had his time to shine when the fifth division club received the international spotlight against Arsenal in the FA Cup.

Shaw basked in the fame.  At half time he went to the pub instead of the locker room.  With ten minutes to play in the match, Shaw chowed down on a meat pie on the sideline.

Playing into the stereotype is good, innocent fun, right?  Wrong.  One gambling service had 8/1 odds that cameras would catch Shaw eating a pie.  He shared his side of the story after the game.

“A few of the lads said to me earlier on: ‘What is going on with the 8-1 about eating a pie?’ I said: ‘I don’t know, I’ve eaten nothing all day, so I might give it a go later on,’” he said. “Sun Bets had us at 8-1 to eat a pie. I thought I would give them a bit of banter and let’s do it. All the subs were on and we were 2-0 down.

“I went and got it at half time from the kitchen, I had it all prepared and ready to go. It was meat and potato,” added Shaw.

Asked if he knew anyone had backed the bet, he replied: “I think there were a few people. Obviously we are not allowed to bet. I think a few of the mates and a few of the fans.

“It was just a bit of banter for them. It is something to make the occasion as well and you can look back and say it was part of it and we got our ticket money back.”

The United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission opened an investigation, prompting the club to ask for Shaw’s resignation.  The Rollie Pollie Goalie’s 15-seconds of fame has destroyed his career with the club.

h/t Deadspin


A Second South Florida 2018 Prospect Commits to Kentucky

Via CBS Miami

Via CBS Miami

In a matter of minutes, Eddie Gran added a pair of Chaminade-Madonna teammates to the 2018 recruiting class.  Shortly after defensive end Davoan Hawkins committed, three-star wide receiver Marvin Alexander committed to Kentucky.

The 6’3″ 175-pound wide receiver told 247, “I feel it’s the best situation for me,” Alexander said. “I have a couple of my teammates going there. I just feel it’s the right place for me…It’s great that we will all be together in college, too.”

Joining Chris Whittaker and Joshua Ali from the class of 2017, Hawkins and Alexander give Stoops four from the Florida high school football powerhouse.  Alexander shares a connection with another member of the 2017 class; he was teammates with Clevan Thomas for his first two years of school at Flanagan High School.  Today’s two commitments give Kentucky three in the class of 2018.

 


Stoops Picks Up Second Commit in 2018 Class

Three-star 2018 defensive end Davoan Hawkins announced on Twitter he has committed to play football for Mark Stoops at the University of Kentucky.

@D1_Youngin

@D1_Youngin

Hawkins is teammates with 2017 signees Joshua Ali and Christopher Whittaker at Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida.  Hawkins has offers from Wisconsin, North Carolina and West Virginia.  Recruited by Eddie Gran, the strong side defensive end is the second commit in Stoops’ 2018 recruiting class, joining dual-threat quarterback Jarren Williams.


Tuesday Hot Take: Fighting in Sports is (usually) a Good Thing

My fingers were so fiery, I couldn’t wait for the Live Blog’s #HotTakeTimeout at the under-eight media timeout.  Before I begin, let me say I am not encouraging assault, hence the “usually” in the title.  

While others jeer, I cheer every time I see fighting in sports.  It’s not that I want to see the return of the gladiators.  I appreciate and admire those who use their mental toughness as an advantage to break down the opponent until he (or she) retaliates.

Halfway through the second half in Athens, after run-ins with Georgia’s Diatta Pape on consecutive possessions, Isaiah Briscoe got in a scuffle and was awarded a technical foul, his fourth personal foul.  Many fans responded with comments like, “What a punk;” “There’s no room for that in basketball;” “Get that head-case to the bench.”

Isaiah Briscoe’s technical foul was stupid, but not just because he was pushing and shoving.  There’s a time and place for trash-talking that incites altercations.

Before explaining why “fights” like that are good, let me call out all of those who make the loaded comments about “punks” who fight during games.  You think those people said the same thing about Bill Laimbeer?

Fighting is a part of sports and should be treated as another tool when used appropriately.

What makes it appropriate will surprise you.  The aggressor is the one who always wins.  The refs always catch the retaliator.  The aggressor preys on the mentally weak by pinching them, stepping on their feet, or with a simple, steady flow of trash talk.  If that person reacts just once, the aggressor has got inside their head and they are done for the day.

Emotions run high in sports.  Seeing an altercation is a sign of competitiveness.  Some might say it shows that they care, a criticism levied against this Kentucky team just two weeks ago.  People don’t get in fights if they aren’t whole-heartedly invested in winning.

There is a trick to it.  On the basketball court, you have to do it early in the game.  If you wait until later in the game, the technical can take you out of the game.  Briscoe’s technical was his fourth personal foul and essentially ended his day.  The tool is most effective if you can mentally take your opponent out of the game in the early stages.

In football there’s a fine line you cannot cross.  It’s a simple line: don’t throw a punch.  It’s easier to mess with your opponent in football, but much more difficult to receive a significant payout.  Linemen can jaw the entire game and mess with people in pile-ups.  However, the best trash-talking happens between corners and receivers.  I’m sure Derrick Baity has exchanged some words with his opponents, but never pulled a Cortland Finnegan.

The greatest advantage in football: the penalty hurts much less than a technical foul.

Altercations in basketball should be deregulated.  There are extreme cases that should be excluded.  The Tates Creek-Henry Clay girls’ fight got grotesque and the D-III player who threw a sucker-punch deserves assault charges.  But for minor scraps, handing out a double-technical is insulting.  It accomplishes nothing.  There’s jawing at every level of every sport.  If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.


Wendy’s want to send you to Nashville to cheer on the Cats!

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Do you want to cheer the Cats on in Nashville next month? Wendy’s is teaming up with “Hey, Kentucky!” to give away two all-session tickets books to the conference tournament in Nashville.

All you have to do is click the link below to register, and cross your fingers that you’ll win! It’s that easy.

Wendy’s Hey Kentucky Basketball Tickets Giveaway


There’s a lot to talk about (Tuesday Show Thread)

From the KentuckyMBB Instagram page.

From the KentuckyMBB Instagram page.

The busy weekend bled over into Monday.  You might think they discussed it all yesterday, but there’s much, much more.  Kentucky plays Mizzou tonight, but I would not be surprised if they spend less than two minutes talking about the game.  What exactly will they discuss?  In the words of Matt Jones: “fireworks.”

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

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

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Tuesday’s Top 10: Emotional Boogie, Rapping Trebek and Kentucky/Mizzou

The only time the arena will be filled all season.

The only time the arena will be filled all season.

Yesterday was pretty wild.  Get caught up with all the shenanigans from Monday before you begin to prepare for a late Tuesday night with your Kentucky Wildcats.

The Three Biggest Stories from Monday

The Kentucky fan’s dream team of Davis and Cousins in New Orleans dominated the sports news cycle around the country.  Last night Boogie said an emotional goodbye to the city of Sacramento.

If you asked a UK fan from the state of Kentucky and surrounding region, the second-biggest story would be “Cowherd’s an ass.”  However, if you were on the elliptical in the gym and looked up to see OTL on ESPN, you would see Jay Bilas discussing Calipari’s postgame comments on college coaches being dismissed during the season (if that scenario sounds oddly specific, it’s because I’m referencing myself).

The dichotomy is interesting.  The regional outrage at Cowherd is merited.  After refusing to give him attention until after 11:00 p.m. last night, my insides churned as Cowherd talked down on my beloved Cats.  That feeling compares to the surprise when I heard Calipari ask a crowded press room in Athens, “We’re firing coaches in midseason…Are you shitting me?”  A man that doesn’t like to curse didn’t give a damn.  The scope and power of Cal’s words are more profound than I previously believed.

The news cycle changes quickly.  With a game against Mizzou tonight, all of these stories will quickly go away.  Is it good or bad or both?  I don’t know.  The only certainty is that I gotta quit watching The Newsroom late at night or I’ll continue to subconsciously rant about the philosophy and current climate of the media industry.

Alex Trek’s Rap Game is 💯

That got a little heavy.  Let me lighten things up with the best Jeopardy category ever.

But wait, it gets better.

There’s a New Hey Kentucky, The Bachelor

You probably missed that fantastic Jeopardy category because you were busy watching the latest installment of Hey Kentucky, The Bachelor.  If you missed it, re-watch it here, and if you’re in Louisville, you no longer have to watch it online.  Beginning last night, Hey Kentucky! is airing every night at 10:00 on WBNA-21 in Louisville.

Kentucky Plays Mizzou Tonight

I’m not are why they’re actually making them go through with it.  To say “Mizzou is trash” wouldn’t adequately describe the state of their basketball program athletic department.  After some early success on the football field, the Tigers have given the SEC nothing except a coerced trip to St. Louis for the SEC Tournament in 2018.  If the Cats can’t win tonight, they can’t win another basketball game ever again.

All the Info on UK/Mizzou

It’s a late starter that gets the rare SEC Network treatment.  Adam Amin, Joe Sundvoid and Laura Rutledge  will have coverage from Columbia, starting at 9:00.  The No. 10/11 Cats are 16-point favorites. The tale of the tape:

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The UK Women are in the NCAA’s Top 16

The NCAA placed Matthew Mitchell’s team at No. 15, a four-seed, with just three weeks of basketball left until Selection Monday.  The men’s committee only released one preview of the bracket, while the women received three early looks.  Kentucky was a four-seed in two of the three previews. They return to action Thursday at 7:00 against Miss. State for Senior Night at Memorial Coliseum.

I Can’t Get Crocodile Rock Out of my Head

After hearing the Elton John jam at a piano bar Saturday night, I can’t stop singing, humming and whistling the catchy tune.  I’ve tried all the tricks to get it out of my head, yet Crocodile Rock persists.  Luckily, I’m a big fan of the song.  For those who hate it, I hope the “Laaaaaa, la, la, la, la, la,” is immediately imprinted on your brain.

Jarrett Allen Killed a Guy Dunked the Basketball

I can’t say he “killed a guy” when Bob Huggins almost died on the sideline.  That’s insensitive.  Huggins fell to his knees in the first half after he apparently began having issues with his defibrillator.  The good news: Huggins is fine.  He returned to the sideline for the second half.  However, one of his player’s is not fine, not at all.

College Basketball on TV Tonight

The first game on this list could have an impact on Kentucky’s chances for an SEC regular season title.

  • 7:00: South Carolina at No. 13 Florida on ESPN
  • 7:00: Oklahoma at No. 9 Baylor on ESPN2
  • 7:00: Clemson at Va Tech on ESPNU
  • 7:00: Auburn at LSU on SEC Network
  • 9:00: Ole Miss at Miss. State on ESPN2
  • 9:00: Indiana at Iowa on ESPN

KSR Starts in an Hour

Get with it or get lost.