Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox may take home the most SEC weekly awards, but there’s →
By Nick Roush on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
From time-to-time I’ll see a ridiculous car on Kentucky’s wonderful roadways — maybe a Cadillac with 40 inch rims or a truck with a six-pack of giant smoke stacks — and think to myself, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen somebody do to a car.” Wrong.
This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen anybody do to a car. It’s so spectacularly stupid, it’s fantastic.
Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t do justice to what I saw yesterday on Hurstbourne Lane in Louisville: a Ford Taurus monster truck. It rumbled like something you’d see at Monster Jam, but it was a Ford Taurus, eight feet into the air. I don’t know how this person gets into their car. I don’t know how it’s street legal. I don’t know how this this concoction was created, but I’m glad the Monster Taurus exists on the roads of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Now, back to UK sports. After all, that’s why you’re here.
Anthony Davis got Beat Up
The kid can’t catch a break. He missed a few days last week with an injured hip. He re-injured that hip and his left thumb after taking a hard fall in the third quarter of today’s loss to the Pacers.
Luckily, x-rays produced negative results, but these injuries must stop.
Rondo Can’t Last Much Longer
We always knew Rondo was a jerk. It’s not helping him in the latter stages of his career. Benched by the Bulls, he’s trying to earn more time in the NBA by using his words…poorly.
“Last year, you couldn’t name three people on my team…and I led the league in assists,” Rondo told David Aldridge.
Last year Rondo was one of three former Cats on the Sacramento Kings, joining DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein.
A KY Wildcats TV Recap of Auburn Game
Instead of simply giving you highlights, the fine folks at KY Wildcats TV stepped it up a notch for the Auburn game. Give it a look, you will not be disappointed.
Bad News for UofL
Louisville will be without their starting point guard, Quentin Snider, for 2-3 weeks, but that’s not the real bad news.
Tomorrow the university will submit its response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations regarding the parties thrown at Minardi Hall by Andre McGee and Katina Powell. The response will not be public, but Tom Jurich previously stated they will argue Rick Pitino should not be charged with “failure to monitor.” The NCAA has 60 days to counter before the case heads to the Committee on Infractions. The Committee on Infractions will decide if UofL’s self-inflicted postseason ban was enough punishment.
For many Louisivlle fans, this is actually good news. The end is near for the “Breaking Cardinal Rules” scandal. By the start of the NCAA Tournament, they might be able to put this behind them for good…until a friendly Kentucky fan reminds them.
Willie Taggart Doesn’t Play
Oregon players rejoiced when Willie Taggart was hired as their next head coach. Many have probably changed their tune after he put them to work. Taggart’s first order of business: use the first workout to crush their souls by sending three players to the hospital. This commenter’s take is the only one you need.
By Nick Roush on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 8:30pm
Before the Kentucky cheerleading team won their 22nd National Championship, they spoke with The New Circle Circular. There are many factors that led to the championship performance, but we all know what put them over the edge was their appearance on Hey Kentucky!
Don’t forget, Hey Kentucky! is giving away a trip to the UK-Alabama game and free Cane’s for a year. Matt has all of the details here:
— Hey Kentucky! (@hey_kentucky) January 16, 2017
Watch the entire episode with Dr. Ricky Jones after the jump.
By Nick Roush on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 8:00pm
By Drew Franklin on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 7:30pm
The SEC basketball season is rolling along as most of the teams get ready to play their sixth league game Tuesday night. But before they do, we’re ranking all 13 teams behind Kentucky to see who is a contender, pretender or complete trash (Missouri and LSU).
So grab a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Golden Flakes and catch SEC Basketball Fever with our very first edition of SEC power rankings.
1. Kentucky (15-2, 5-0)
Wins: Stephen F. Austin, Canisius, Michigan State, Duquesne, Cleveland State, UT Martin, Arizona State, Valparaiso, Hofstra, North Carolina, at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas, at Vanderbilt, Auburn
Losses: UCLA, at Louisville
New year, same Kentucky dominance across the SEC. This No. 1 ranking is unlikely to change this season.
2. Florida (14-3, 5-0)
Wins: Florida Gulf Coast, Mercer, St. Bonaventure, Belmont, Seton Hall, Miami, at North Florida, Charlotte, Little Rock, at Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee, at Alabama, Georgia
Losses: Gonzaga, Duke, at Florida State
Returning to its rightful throne as the SEC’s second best team after an eighth-place finish a year ago, Florida is Kentucky’s biggest threat in the conference in 2017. The Gators appear to be back in Year 2 under Mike White with a perfect in-conference record through five games, while its three losses in the non-conference slate came against three top-10 teams in No. 5 Gonzaga, No. 7 Duke and No. 9 Florida State.
3. South Carolina (14-3, 4-0)
Wins: Louisiana Tech, Holy Cross, Monmouth, South Carolina State, Michigan, Syracuse, Vermont, Florida International, at South Florida, Lander, at Georgia, Texas A&M, at Tennessee, Ole Miss
Losses: Seton Hall, Clemson, at Memphis
Frank Martin has his South Carolina squad off to another great start in 2016-17. The Gamecocks are 7-2 against top-50 teams and won their first four SEC games by an average of 10 points. Carolina is a tournament team and a tough matchup for everyone in the conference.
4. Georgia (11-6, 3-2)
Wins: UNC Asheville, Furman, George Washington, Gardner-Webb, Morehouse, UL Lafayette, Charleston Southern, at Georgia Tech, Auburn, Missouri, at Ole Miss
Losses: at Clemson, Kansas, Marquette, at Oakland, South Carolina, at Florida
Georgia comes in at No. 4, which is also where it was picked to finish in the media’s preseason poll. The Bulldogs are lead by Yante Maten, my pick for the league’s best non-Kentucky player. Maten is second in the conference in scoring and third in rebounding. He is tough.
5. Arkansas (13-4, 2-3)
Wins: Fort Wayne, Southern Illinois, UT-Arlington, Mount St. Mary’s, Stephen F. Austin, Austin Peay, Houston, North Florida, Texas, North Dakota State, Sam Houston State, at Tennessee, Missouri
Losses: at Minnesota, Florida, at Kentucky, Mississippi State
Justin Moore’s beloved Razorbacks were off to a blazing start until running into Kentucky and Florida in SEC play. They’ve now dropped three league games and they are slipping down the power rankings despite being the conference’s second best scoring team at 82.2 points per game. Losing at home to Mississippi State was not a good look.
6. Tennessee (9-8, 2-3)
Wins: Appalachian State, at Chaminade, Georgia Tech, Presbyterian, Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb, at East Tennessee State, at Texas A&M, at Vanderbilt
Losses: Chattanooga, Wisconsin, Oregon, at North Carolina, Gonzaga, Arkansas, at Florida, South Carolina
Tennessee has been somewhat of an overachiever thus far after being picked 13th in the preseason poll. The Vols took North Carolina down the wire in Chapel Hill, played Oregon to overtime, and picked up two nice road wins in the early conference play.
7. Alabama (10-6, 3-1)
Wins: Coastal Carolina, Ball State, Saint Louis, Charleston Southern, South Carolina Upstate, Arkansas State, Stetson, at Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, at LSU
Losses: Dayton, Valparaiso, at Texas, at Oregon, Clemson, Florida
Alabama plays one ugly style of basketball that limits scoring by both teams. The Crimson Tide currently ranks 277th in the nation with only 68.6 points per game, while allowing only 62.6 from its opponents. Some of you may fall asleep just thinking about watching an Alabama game.
8. Ole Miss (10-7, 1-4)
Wins: UT Martin, UMass, Oral Roberts, Saint Joseph’s, Montana, Memphis, Murray State, Bradley, South Alabama, at Auburn
Losses: Creighton, Middle Tennessee, at Virginia Tech, Kentucky, at Florida, Georgia, at South Carolina
Ole Miss has seven losses, all to top-50 teams, and the Rebels’ schedule is the eighth toughest in college basketball. Yeah, that 1-4 conference record is ugly, but you have to consider the fact Ole Miss played the four best teams right out of the gate. Let’s hold off on passing too much judgment on this team until we see how they play the middle-of-the-road teams and bottom-dwellers of the SEC.
9. Vanderbilt (8-9, 2-3)
Wins: Belmont, Norfolk State, Santa Clara, Tennessee State, High Point, Chattanooga, at LSU, Auburn
Losses: Marquette, Bucknell, Butler, Minnesota, at Middle Tennessee, at Dayton, at Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee
Bryce Drew’s first year is off to a mediocre start with the Commodores hovering around .500 overall and in conference. With only three wins against top-100 RPI teams, Vandy has some winning to do. Playing Kentucky close isn’t enough.
10. Mississippi State (12-4, 3-1)
Wins: Norfolk State, Boise State, UTEP, Northwestern State, Oregon State, Georgia State, Southern Miss, Morehead State, UMKC, at LSU, at Arkansas, Texas A&M
Losses: UCF, Lehigh, East Tennessee State, Alabama
Mississippi State is off to its best start since opening the 2011-12 season 13-3, in part because it has the worst strength of schedule in the entire conference. A win at Arkansas helps the resume, but outside of that, Ben Howland’s Bulldogs haven’t shown us anything other than that they can beat teams in the bottom half of the RPI.
11. Texas A&M (9-7, 1-4)
Wins: Northwestern State, American, CSU Northridge, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M-CC, Denver, South Carolina State, St. Francis, LSU
Losses: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Tennessee, at Kentucky, at South Carolina, at Mississippi State
Last year’s SEC co-champion and tournament runner-up has been the conference’s biggest disappointment in 2016-17. Picked third in the preseason by the media, A&M has lost four of its first five SEC games, including a 42-point drumming at Kentucky and double-digit losses to Tennessee and South Carolina, and has a 1-6 record against top-100 RPI teams. It’s safe to say we all were a little off with our expectations of the Aggies because they’re garbage.
12. Auburn (11-6, 1-4)
Wins: North Florida, Georgia State, Eastern Kentucky, Texas Tech, South Carolina Upstate, UAB, Coastal Carolina, Mercer, Oklahoma, UConn, at Missouri
Losses: Purdue, Boston College, Georgia, at Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, at Kentucky
Bruce Pearl’s third Auburn team already matched its win total of a year ago, but the Tigers still have a ways to go to become an SEC contender. There is some optimism on the roster as Pearl has built a good foundation for the future with two five-star freshmen in Austin Wiley and Mustapha Heron along with redshirt freshman Danjel Purifoy, who was the No. 12 small forward in the 2015 class. Auburn will return seven of its top eight players next season, but in the meantime, Auburn is still Auburn.
13. LSU (9-7, 1-4)
Wins: Wofford, Southern Miss, North Florida, Old Dominion, Houston, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern, Charlestown, at Missouri
Losses: Wichita State, VCU, at Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Mississippi Sate, at Texas A&M, Alabama
Fresh off a comical 14-loss season with the No. 1 NBA draft pick — a strong candidate for Worst Coaching Job Ever — LSU is back to its losing ways in 2016-17. Antonio Blakeney is having a good sophomore season, though; the former UK and Katina Powell target averages 17 points and five assists per game. Outside of his play, it’s a Christmas miracle Johnny Jones still has a job.
14. Missouri (5-11, 0-4)
Wins: Alabama A&M, Tulane, Northwestern State, Western Kentucky, Miami (OH)
Losses: Xavier, Davidson, North Carolina Central, Arizona, Eastern Illinois, Illinois, Lipscomb, LSU, at Georgia, Auburn, at Arkansas
After starting the season with a 55-point win and a one-point overtime loss to then-No. 11 Xavier, Missouri has lost eight consecutive games going all the way back to early December. The Tigers are on course for a third straight last place finish in the conference and may struggle to match their SEC win total of three games in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. To put it shortly, Missouri flat out sucks at the game of basketball.
By Nick Roush on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 7:00pm
Even though the University of Kentucky did not have class on MLK Day, the football team still had plenty of work to do. The team’s post-bowl break ended with today’s work outs at the Nutter Football Training Facility.
During their time off, Nick Haynes hooped (Yes, that’s a 6’3″3 320-pound offensive lineman dunking).
Hoop Mixtape Coming soon! pic.twitter.com/aE2JxZ9Pa7
— Nicholas Haynes (@The_NHaynes) January 11, 2017
The coaches didn’t have much of a break. Once the dead period ended on January 11, Vince Marrow was recruiting, pictured here on the 12th with Naasir Watkins and Josh Paschal.
The Cats did more than lift weights. Their workout included plyos (short for plyometrics) on the running hill.
After work, there was time for play. This afternoon Dorian Baker hit the Commonwealth Stadium turf for a photoshoot.
The coaches were busy working too. Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops brought Steve Clinkscale to their hometown of Youngstown to see UK’s latest commit, Lynn Bowden.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 6:15pm
Back when Kentucky started recruiting Bam Adebayo a few years back, the first thing I noticed about him is that he looks like a 40-year-old man, not a teenager. According to Bam’s teammates, the big man’s intimidating stature is the first thing his opponents notice about him as well.
“Every team is scared of him when they see him I think,” Malik Monk said of Bam today. “Especially when he comes out to defend guards on the perimeter. Bam is a great player and I’m glad to have him on this team. He brings a lot of energy too so we feed off of that.”
When asked if about Joel Justus saying Bam is “meaner” on the court than he thought he’d be, Isaiah Briscoe said that’s a trait of the entire team because of how competitive practices are these days.
“It’s with this team I think you have to be mean on the court,” Briscoe explained. “It starts in practice. Like Coach said, we’re in there competing with each other. We’re acting like we don’t know each other, just for the love of the game and just to get each other better. Nobody on this team can really be soft. It starts in practice. If you’re soft in practice you’re going to see us every day. You just gotta have a different attitude coming into practice every day. And like you said, Bam is Bam. He’s big. He dunks on people. He’s gotta be mean. That’s just something that he’s gotta do. People respect that and when they see it he scares people. People are scared of that. It’s a good thing he’s on our team.”
Yes, it is. Let’s feed him more, okay, guys?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 5:45pm
Most of the mock drafts I’ve seen in the past month have Malik Monk going before De’Aaron Fox, but Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony says not so fast. Givony updated his 2017 mock draft this morning and has Fox going sixth to Philadelphia, followed by Monk going seventh to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Obviously, the draft order isn’t even set yet, so it’s best not to get too excited about these things, but KAT and Monk? Yes, please!
Meanwhile, Givony has Bam Adebayo going 17th to the Milwaukee Bucks and Isaiah Briscoe going 48th to the Indiana Pacers. Briscoe hasn’t been a constant in most mock drafts, so seeing him firmly in the second round was nice to see; judging by his play so far this season, he certainly deserves it.
Also of note: Harry Giles, who was once predicted to be the number one pick in the 2017 draft, has fallen all the way to 18th in Givony’s mock. Through seven games, the Duke freshman’s only averaging 5.6 points and 5 rebounds per game. Ouch.
Check out the rest at the link below.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 5:00pm
This afternoon, Joel Justus filled in for John Calipari to preview tomorrow’s trip to Mississippi State, and while I already shared his thoughts on Isaiah Briscoe with you, there were plenty of other interesting quotes to share. Five, in fact.
1. He continues to be impressed by Bam Adebayo’s work ethic
Justus has raved about Bam Adebayo in past media opportunities, and he did again today, telling reporters Bam’s got so much potential that Kentucky fans won’t see his best basketball before he leaves.
“I think any time we talk about Bam, I don’t believe, and I don’t expect, that anyone here is going to see Bam’s best basketball. I think hopefully we can get him to be his best version right now before he leaves us – whenever that time is. Bam is a guy that comes in every day and just has a tremendous desire and thirst to be the best he can be, and then also have others around him be at their best.”
2. Mulder is “a little desperate”
Mychal Mulder scored 12 points on Saturday, the most he’s scored since the UT-Martin win back on November 25. Justus said Mulder improved a lot during Camp Cal and is now “playing maybe a little desperate.”
“Mychal had a tremendous Camp Cal. Over the break Mychal was more competitive. He was one of the most competitive guys in practice during that time, and it’s paying off. I believe that Mike is playing maybe a little desperate with his career coming to an end here in the next couple months. I’m happy for him, personally, with what he’s done. You see him putting in time. You see him getting to practice a little earlier, staying a little later. And by Mychal being better he’s making our team better.”
3. Hamidou Diallo was excited by his first game in Rupp
When asked how Diallo’s adjusting to college life, Justus said the newest member of the team was just excited to be in Rupp for a game on Saturday.
“A little bit of everything. I had asked him before – you know, sometimes kids are able to come to a game, whether it’s an unofficial or an official visit, before they get here. He’d been in Rupp Arena, but it was not for a game. For him to be in there, he was excited. That’s what I asked him. He had been to other college basketball games — been to great atmospheres. So I think for him it was neat to see it. Obviously I’m speaking maybe for him in that. But just in the short conversation that I had with him pregame, he was excited. You know, he’s here for the right reasons: to become his best version. He knows that it’s a process and you can’t skip steps. And sitting, watching and learning is a big part of that. Hami’s an extremely bright, inquisitive young man. I think these next couple of months are going to be critical for his development and being the best he can be.”
4. Quinndary Weatherspoon is Mississippi State’s Isaiah Briscoe
Justus called Briscoe the “straw that stirs the drink” for Kentucky, and when asked, said Weatherspoon — who won SEC Player of the Week earlier today — does the same for the Bulldogs.
“He’s a tremendous player. He’s obviously in a little bit of the same role as maybe as what we were just talking about with Isaiah, with a group of inexperienced players. He’s a guy that is able to provide maybe some stability for that group with (IJ) ready coming off the bench. You have a little bit of that with our seniors. So I would say that they’re a team that’s very similar to us. I would say he’s a guy who is a big part of their success and having that burden of success and failure is a big burden for college basketball players, especially at a young age. He seems to be handling it quite well.”
5. How did he explain this tweet?
🍔🍔🍔🍔 and we are still hungry #whowantstobenext
— Joel Justus (@UKCoachJustus) January 16, 2017
Last night, Nick Richards, Quade Green, PJ Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were all named to the McDonald’s All-American Game, prompting this cryptic tweet from Justus. When asked about it today, he played coy.
“I’m not sure. I was just hungry last night. [Laughter] I hadn’t eat all day. We practiced and I was out of town for a little bit. I had a cup of coffee and a doughnut so I was hungry.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 4:30pm
Vegas has spoken and the Cats opened as a 14-point favorite in tomorrow’s game in Starkville. Kentucky’s 12-5 vs. the spread this season, and tomorrow night’s game could be a tricky one for you gamblers. Mississippi State’s 3-1 in the SEC and got an impressive win at Arkansas last week. Whoulda thunk it after they lost to Central Florida, Lehigh, and ETSU earlier this year?
So…14 points. Do the Cats cover?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 4:00pm
Ready for some more news that won’t surprise you? Mississippi State is holding a white out for tomorrow night’s game at The Hump. That’s right, if you’re making the trip to Starkville, well, first of all, you are one hell of a dedicated fan, and second, you can get your very own white Mississippi State t-shirt.
Don’t everyone run to the car at once!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 3:15pm
Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox may take home the most SEC weekly awards, but there’s no denying that Isaiah Briscoe is the leader of this team; on this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said just that.
“When I think of Kentucky, the heart and soul of that team is (Isaiah) Briscoe. Briscoe, to me, is the guy that if you (asked) me, who am I most worried about? I’m worried about him. He makes it happen. … They need a tough basket, he’s the guy that delivers. He’s just a winner. He makes everybody else better around him. You can’t say enough about Briscoe and what he does.”
Howland’s right. Briscoe’s knack for driving the lane to get a bucket has saved Kentucky in key situations this season, notably vs. Vanderbilt last Tuesday. I wrote all about this last week, but as Howland said, Briscoe delivers. Today, Joel Justus called Briscoe the “straw that stirs the drink” for this team.
“Nothing fazes him; Coach Cal doesn’t faze him. He’s embraced everything that is the day-to-day grind of Kentucky basketball. I think what we’re most proud of is he has been the guy that is the first guy talking and the last guy talking, whether it’s on offense, whether it’s on defense, whether it’s on timeouts. He is the guy that you could say the straw that stirs the drink with this group.”
“Personally, I believe the thing that he does the best is he drags us,” Justus added. “He’s a gatherer of guys that gets us to where we want to go.”
Watch Briscoe’s second half performance vs. Vandy, and then thank your lucky stars he’s in blue and white.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 2:40pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 2:15pm
Is there new hope for an NBA team in Louisville? According to the NBA blog 16 Wins a Ring, the NBA is planning to add two new teams as early as the 2018-19 season, and Louisville is one of the possibilities.
“The front running cities in talks are Seattle and Mexico City, with Louisville still very much in the picture,” Adam Joseph and Keith P. Smith note, adding that Las Vegas and Vancouver have also been mentioned prominently, but “only Louisville is considered a serious contender as it stands right now. ”
The movement to bring an NBA team to Louisville has been going on for years, but UofL’s lease with the Yum Center has basically made that impossible. With the arena buried in debt and the Louisville Arena Authority facing an audit, there may be more pressure than ever for UofL to alter its lease to allow other tenants, such as an NBA team.
But, considering it’s UofL, I wouldn’t hold your breath, NBA fans.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 1:30pm
On yesterday’s episode of “This is Kentucky Basketball,” UK put Kenny Walker and Malik Monk in a room and had them talk about dunking the basketball. It’s even better than I hoped it be. Walker — the 1989 NBA Slam Dunk Champion — and Monk watch a highlight reel of Monk’s dunks from this season, swap strategies, and talk about how something that is nearly impossible for 99% of humans comes so easily to them.
Kenny: “You said you had your first dunk when you were 5’10”, so you’ve been doing it pretty much –”
Monk: “For a long time”
Kenny: “So it’s just natural, you know for you.”
Monk: “Everything’s natural. Everything is natural.”
My favorite part is when Kenny breaks down Monk’s big slam vs. Vanderbilt. You know, this one:
Kenny: “Oh boy, here he comes. Look at those eyes. I mean, when you see that basket–”
Kenny: “I know, but even if it’s a little crack?”
Monk: “Nah, I know I’m going to make it alright.”
Kenny: “You can get there? No fear?”
Monk: “No fear at all.”
Monk even critiques Walker’s dunks form his days at UK and the NBA, which is priceless. More stuff like this, please.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 1:00pm
It’s a new week, and your University of Kentucky Wildcats moved up one spot to fifth in both the AP and Coaches Polls. Villanova reclaimed the top spot in the AP Poll after former number one Baylor lost at West Virginia, although Kansas actually got more first-place votes. Kansas did get the top spot in the Coaches Poll, followed by Villanova, UCLA, Gonzaga, and Kentucky.
Here are both polls for your viewing pleasure: