Tomorrow, the Cats will take on fellow blue blood UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic →
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 12:45pm
The CBS Sports Classic is currently underway with UNC taking on Ohio State so that means the Cats are just a few hours from taking the floor against UCLA. The two teams teams with the most championships are meeting for the first time since a Maui showdown in 2006. UCLA won that one which earned them a place on this season’s revenge tour. Tune in to 630 WLAP in Lexington to hear the KSR pregame show with Matt live from Chicago. The show starts at 12:45 p.m. and will stream live on WLAP.com.
Feel free to comment below.
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 11:30am
There is a reason the Bruins received several votes in the preseason top 25 AP poll and that’s because they have some talent in their starting five. However, beyond the starting five UCLA really lacks depth and they currently have four guys averaging over 30 minutes per game. If Kentucky can handle these 3 match-ups with ease then the 16 point spread may not be enough.
Kevin Loney Vs Marcus Lee
When you’re talking UCLA players with the ability to make the leap to the next level then that conversation begins with freshman power forward Kevin Looney. Averaging a double-double with 14 and 11, Looney has the skills to give Karl Towns and Trey Lyles fits on both sides of the ball. DraftExpress describes him as a excellent rebounder and competitive defender thanks to a high motor that keeps him bringing the intensity. At just 6’9 he may not have the size to do anything with Karl-Anthony Towns but he may be able to counter Marcus Lee and Trey Lyles. Those two will need to match Kevon’s fire when they are in the game.
Bryce Alford Vs Andrew Harrison
Bryce Alford: Great court vision. High basketball IQ. Terrific Motor. Coach’s Kid. No seriously, he’s the coaches kid. It turns out all those old basketball cliches just so happen to be true for Bryce Alford. He’s averaging 18 points per game with nearly 7 assists which is among the leaders in the Pac-12. He had his worst game of the season against UNC’s Marcus Paige where he was held to just 10 points on 3-10 from the field so it will be interesting to see how he handles the bigger and stronger Andrew Harrison. Andrew should be able to impose his will in this game and then Tyler Ulis can come in to push Bryce into a faster tempo. No point guard has yet to overcome the 1-2 combo of our point guards and I don’t expect Steve’s boy to become the first.
Norman Powell Vs Aaron Harrison
Meet UCLA’s other player with a chance of making an NBA roster, Norman Powell. Powell is a holdover from a Howland days and one of the best seniors in college basketball this season. He’s averaging a collegiate high 17.4 points while shooting 46.7% from beyond the arc. Last week against UNC Aaron Harrison broke out of the sophomore shooting slump that has plagued his season. Can he keep it going against a crafty veteran this week? It’s one of the more interesting storylines to watch as the two could find themselves in a three point duel.
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 10:00am
Want some predictions for today’s throwdown in Chitown? Here you go:
UCLA vs. No. 1 Kentucky (United Center in Chicago), 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, CBS: The Bruins aren’t bad. In some ways, they’ve surpassed expectations. Who thought Bryce Alford would evolve into an all-Pac-12ish point guard for Steve Alford? Norman Powell is one of the best all-around players in the country. Kevon Looney is a pro. But they’re not capable of solving the Kentucky problem that might perplex every opponent the Wildcats face this season. It’s a broken record, I know, but if you’re dealing with a shot-blocking crew that protects the space within the arc better than any team in America and throws multiple 6-foot-10-and-up future pros at you on offense, how can you stop that over 40 minutes? UCLA won’t have that answer during this CBS Sports Classic matchup.
Prediction: Kentucky 80, UCLA 60
Pick: Not sure the Bruins have a great matchup here. They’re awfully reliant on Bryce Alford offensively, and it seems likely that he’ll be swallowed up by Kentucky’s the size and length. Also, depth will be a serious concern for the Bruins against a team that goes at least nine, possibly 11 deep, with little drop-off in skill. Kentucky wins its 12th straight game by double-digits.
UCLA vs. No. 1 Kentucky, Sat. 3:30 p.m.: I’m not convinced that UCLA is all that good this season. In fact, I think there’s a chance that they’re an NIT team. They do have some athletes on the wing, but we’ll see how Bryce Alford is able to deal with the Kentucky pressure.
If you’re looking to contrast basketball dynasties, how Kentucky and UCLA are flying to Chicago for Saturday’s game is one place to start.
UK chartered a flight with Miami Air International, which services professional teams, U.S. military and governmental agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
UCLA flew commercially. Message: With UCLA, oh how the mighty have fallen. Meanwhile, Kentucky is soaring higher than ever.
Kentucky beat EKU by 33. EKU beat Miami by 28. Miami beat Florida by 2. Therefore by the transitive property we should beat Florida by a good sixty points. Seriously though, the win is EKU’s first over a top 25 team so congrats to Coach Neubauer and his team from Richmond.
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 10:30pm
Over the years the Windy City has been pretty kind to the Kentucky Wildcats as several UK greats hail from the Second City. Those greats include guys like Antione Walker, Nazr Mohammed, and DeAndre Liggins. Oh and let’s not forget perhaps the greatest player Kentucky has ever seen, Anthony Davis. Then there is Tyler Ulis who embodies the toughness and grit of those Chicago legends and became a fan favorite the moment he made his Bahamas debut. Tomorrow young Ulis will be jamming to Kanye’s homecoming as he returns to play in the United Center in front of friends and family.
Tyler had this to say about the return, “I can’t wait to get back home, play in front of the home crowd. Everybody’s there. My family is going to be there watching, lots of my hometown friends and stuff like that. It’s going to be exciting,” Ulis said. So, no pressure? “Not really because I’ve been playing around them my whole life. It’s just another game.” I expect Tyler to have yet another big game in the Blue and White.
Kentucky Favored Once Again
Another game and another double-digit spread Vegas thinks UK will post on their opponent. The Cats opened as a 15-point favorite and it was quickly bet up to 16. If Kentucky can shut down daddy’s boy Bryce Alford, who leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game, then the margin could be even higher.
Shannon Dawson and UK Make It Official
The story broke on late Wednesday but Kentucky wasn’t able to announce anything until the job posting closed. With the formalities out of the way UK had a news release today welcoming Coach Dawson to the Big Blue Nation.
“I’m very excited to bring Shannon Dawson to the University of Kentucky,” Stoops said, “He has done a great job in helping build programs to success on every level. I’ve been impressed with the balance of West Virginia’s offense and how difficult they are to defend. I love the continuity he will bring to what we’ve been doing as we build on the progress we’ve made so far.
“In learning more about Shannon, I’ve found out what a strong leader he is and heard nothing but good things about him throughout our profession,” Stoops concluded.
Dawson returned the kind words and says he can’t wait to be a part of what Mark Stoops is building in Lexington. “The opportunity to work with Coach Stoops is awesome and growing up in SEC country, I’ve always wanted to coach in the league,” Dawson said. “I’ve recruited against Kentucky the last couple of years and have been impressed with how Coach Stoops is building a foundation and has the program going in the right direction. I look forward to helping him and his staff do that.”
Dawson got a nice bump in pay from his WVU days and will be making $550,000 per year as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Welcome to Lexington where we also know a thing or two about burning couches.
Charles Matthews On ESPN
Charles Matthews and his St. Rita team out of Chicago were on ESPN2 tonight taking on the nation’s twelfth ranked team Simeon. Coach Cal, Slice, Kenny Payne, and our own Matt Jones all made the trip out to watch him play and Matthews didn’t disappoint. Charles finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and a four blocks while show casing the athleticism that makes him ideal for Cal’s offense. In the screenshot above you can witness him elevating for a rebound over half the dudes on the court. He will be a fun player to watch when he arrives in Lexington.
Matthews and St. Rita pulled off the upset 51-46.
Tomorrow’s Court Is Something
Kentucky has played in Cancun ballrooms, Connecticut casinos, and Alaskan shootouts over the years but it’s hard to think of a bigger eyesore than what they’ll be playing on tomorrow. There’s just too much going on with this court and with the teams locked in, it’s a safe bet we will be playing on it the next three years. At least they put the UK on Aaron Harrison’s favorite spot.
Finally, shoutout to Tyler Brause, Alvin Davis, Mike Douglas, Tre Dunn, Teven Eatmon-Nared, Jabari Johnson, Malcolm McDuffen, Raymond Sanders, Ronnie Shields, Miles Simpson, Maxwell Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Darrell “D.J.” Warren, and Zach West along with our own Wilder Treadway and Hayley Minogue who graduated from UK tonight. Way to make the Big Blue Nation proud.
See you in the morning. Go Cats.
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 9:30pm
Charles Matthews was in action tonight in front of Calipari and the coaching staff and he took full advantage of the opportunity. Matthews finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and four blocks. He got it done on both ends of the floor as he drilled shots, defended, and made plays that nobody else on the court could have made. It was an impressive performance on national TV. Matthews and St. Rita survived a late comeback and took down 12th ranked Simeon 51-26.
If there are 43 players in the nation better than this kid then I’d like to see them.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 9:00pm
We all know Randall Cobb is the man. Since leaving Kentucky in 2011, Cobb has blossomed into one of the top receivers in the NFL. Cobb is headed towards free agency after this season, and despite Aaron Rodgers calling out for the Packers to re-sign him, Cobb says there are still no current contract talks. “It is what it is,” Cobb told reporters this week. This season, Goldeneyes has 76 receptions for 1,076 yards and 10 touchdowns, and he and Jordy Nelson are the best receiving tandem in the league.
Tuesday on his radio show, Rodgers said it’s “important” to Green Bay’s future success to lock down Cobb. In addition to his lavish stats, Rodgers said Cobb is a “great teammate,” an “excellent practice player,” a developing leader and someone who embodies “what it means to be a Packer.”
Pay the man, Green Bay.
By UKStoleMyFish on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 8:00pm
The Kentucky basketball program has always its detractors. It comes with the territory when you’re the winningest program in the history of ever. However, there are a few fans of rival programs who have taken that hate to a whole new level. For a collection of all the salt, shade, envy, awe, and downright stupidity offered up by opposing fans on message boards, Facebook, etc., follow Kentucky Stole My Fish. As a reminder, these are actual posts from actual people. For real.
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 7:32pm
UK Commit Charles Matthews and his St. Ritas squad are currently taking on 12th ranked Simeon just outside of Chicago so Coach Cal, Slice, and Kenny Payne went to watch him work. At the half St Ritas led 24-20 and Matthews had 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists while showcasing some crazy athleticism that will make him fun to have on campus next season.
You can watch him play as well right now on ESPN2.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
Andrew Dowell has quite a request for National Signing Day. The four-star running back and one-half of the Dowell twins is trying to get his hands on a baby wildcat for the day he signs his Letter of Intent to Kentucky. And not just any baby wildcat, Andrew wants a white one.
Great in theory, disastrous when it bites his finger off.
I want a baby white Wildcat for signing day 🐯
— State Champ™ (@AD_All_Day) December 18, 2014
By Courtney Sealey on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 6:30pm
For the upcoming CBS Sports Classic, Gary Parrish wrote a piece on how neutral court games are not okay. This weekend there will be a combined 25 NCAA titles in Chicago, each playing on a neutral court. Outside the CBS Sports Classic, and I am assuming the Champions Classic although he never mentions it, Parrish believes the neutral court games happen too often and ruin the game atmosphere. Here’s a little excerpt:
“Only because every interesting non-league game played on a neutral court is one less interesting non-league game we get on a college campus with a big band, rowdy student section and the type of atmosphere, in general, that often makes college basketball great.”
Obviously Parrish didn’t take the Big Blue Mist into account. Kentucky fans will travel near and far just to get a glimpse of the Cats in action. I’ve never known a game environment to suffer at a Kentucky neutral court game (If you can think of one comment below). The neutral court games in New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, New York, Dallas (just to name a few) all have given us some of the best game environments Kentucky has had in years. It’s like a mini-vacation with thousands of your closest friends.
Often times it seems that consistent game-goers seem to have more fun traveling to games on a neutral court than playing at home in Rupp. Several times a season there are complaints about the environment in Rupp, while there are only a few (if any) complaints about neutral court games. Is it a bad thing that Kentucky has just as much fun at neutral site games as home games? Who knows. I guess it just depends on how you look at it.
Parrish had plenty more to say. Read the full article here.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 6:00pm
Today is Graduation Day at UK, and fourteen football Cats will receive their diplomas this evening at Memorial Coliseum: Tyler Brause, Alvin Davis, Mike Douglas, Tre Dunn, Teven Eatmon-Nared, Jabari Johnson, Malcolm McDuffen, Raymond Sanders, Ronnie Shields, Miles Simpson, Maxwell Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Darrell “D.J.” Warren, and Zach West.
Mark Stoops posed for this picture with some of his graduating seniors a little while ago. Congrats to them, and a special note of congratulations to two of our own, Wilder Treadway and Hayley Minogue, who will also graduate this evening. Wilder and Hayley have done an incredible job covering UK Hoops in the most ridiculous manner possible, and hopefully we can hang on to them at KSR a little while longer.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 5:30pm
Upsetting the unanimous No. 1 team in the United Center would be quite a way to earn a 500th career victory, and that’s what Steve Alford hopes to accomplish tomorrow.
Problem is, that ain’t happening, Steve.
No, Steve will likely lose his second attempt at win No. 500 after losing to Gonzaga in his first shot last weekend. The Wildcats are looking to push that ceremony back at least another eight days, when UCLA travels to Alabama on December 28.
It’s not like he’s in a hurry to tally up more wins, either; Alford currently leads all coaches 50 and under in victories. So he’s got time.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 4:30pm
Bryce Alford is UCLA head coach Steve Alford’s son; he’s also his starting point guard.
The younger Alford, a sophomore, started in all 11 of UCLA’s games this season and leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game. He also has a team-high 6.7 assists per game and leads the Bruins in minutes played.
Alford’s numbers also stand out in the Pac-12 Conference, where he ranks first in assists, third in scoring, third in assist-turnover ratio, and fourth in free throw percentage. This comes after being named First Team All-Freshman in the league a year ago.
Needless to say, Bryce Alford is more than a Daddy’s Boy taking up a uniform and a seat on the bench. That award goes to Kory Alford, Steve’s other son on the Bruins roster, who has played a grand total of 12 minutes this season with three total points.
Save your Daddy’s Boy taunts for him.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 19th, 2014 @ 4:00pm