Last week, a 4-year-old fan named Olivia made a video for her favorite Kentucky player, Willie →
By Drew Franklin on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 11:00pm
The Final Four is here, Cats fans!
After months and months, wins and wins, and zero losses, the final stage of college basketball is upon us. Now there’s only one thing left to do: bring home the title.
But before we get to Monday night’s title game, there’s a ton of stuff going on in Indianapolis in the days before Kentucky’s seminfinal game with Wisconsin. I will make the drive up to Indy early, early, early tomorrow morning and KSR will have coverage from the scene as soon as I touch down. (And check in to the hotel. And eat. And pick up my media credential. And sit by someone I will probably hate in the media room.)
So check back with us often as we bring you everything from the Final Four these next few days. It’s going to fun a weekend and hopefully an even better Monday and Tuesday as the Cats attempt to complete what so many have said can’t be done.
The team is in Indianapolis.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 2, 2015
The Cats arrived in Naptown around 7:00 pm Wednesday to begin the biggest five-day stretch of their lives. Tomorrow they will talk to the media in Lucas Oil Stadium, beginning with John Calipari and Bo Ryan at the podium at noon, followed by one player from each of the four teams. They will return to Lucas Oil on Friday for more media and the open practice, scheduled for 3:00 pm.
Saturday, it’s on.
Oh look, Kentucky is on the cover of Sports Illustrated again.
Do it again next week?
Jason Whitlock blasted Karl Towns on PTI.
Whitlock, filling in for Michael Wilbon, said he expects Karl Towns to have a tough time with Wisconsin’s “grown men” inside. Whitlock said Towns will “get handled” by Frank Kaminsky & Co., although Kentucky may still win the game without a big contribution from arguably its biggest offensive contributor.
He also called Towns “a kid” and “overvalued” and then spoiled The Wire ending with no warning.
Isaiah Briscoe wants Jaylen Brown and Malik Newman at UK.
Sitting courtside with Jay Williams at the McDonald’s All-American game, Isaiah Briscoe told ESPN viewers he would like to play with Jaylen Brown the most out of the eight uncommitted players in Chicago this week. Briscoe said he is also recruiting Malik Newman to Kentucky with Brown.
“I just need somebody on the wing that can catch and shoot,” he told Williams.
Briscoe, the lone Kentucky representative at the game, said John Calipari’s proven record with guards is what drew him to Kentucky.
“It’s the highest stage of college basketball and that’s something I couldn’t say no to,” he added.
Williams then asked if the pressure of playing in Lexington scares Briscoe.
“Pressure is not in my vocabulary.”
Other notes from the McDonald’s All-American game:
— The East (Briscoe, Jaylen Brown, Cheick Diallo, Thomas Bryant, Ben Simmons, Antonio Blakeney, Luke Kennard, Diamond Stone) won, 111-91.
— Cheick Diallo took MVP honors with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
— Briscoe had 11 points and five rebounds.
— Malik Newman doesn’t have a lot to say interviews. We did learn his father’s ties to Mississippi State will have no impact on his own decision, though.
— Jaylen Brown has phenomenal hair. It would look great with a Kentucky uniform next season.
— Brown also picked Kentucky to win the Final Four.
— UK target Stephen Zimmerman dunked on UK target Thomas Bryant.
— Jay Williams said, “Tom Crean has done nothing but win at Indiana.” He did. He said that. That is something that left his mouth and went on national television.
— Don’t forget: Caleb Swanigan will decide at the Nike Hoop Summit next week and Kentucky is in the mix.
John Wall is a wizard.
Wall went between the legs then no-look pass to Otto Porter before Nerlens Noel ruined the highlight play, blocking Porter’s layup attempt at the rim.
And I just realized Wall is, in fact, a Wizard. My headline was unintentional and I’m leaving it.
Boogie messed around and got a triple-double.
Cousins had 24 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists and a career-high six blocks in the loss at Houston. There’s talk Sacramento may shut him down for the season.
STOP RUINING COLLEGE BASKETBALL, WILLIE!
Willie had a Monday lunch date with one of his biggest fans, a four-year-old with cerebral palsy who hopes to one day be his wife. A nurse posted a video of her confessing her crush on Willie on Facebook, he saw it and arranged a lunch date in Wildcat Lodge.
These guys really are the best, on and off the court.
For KSR radio show fans in Indianapolis…
Friday’s show will be in studio, then Ryan and I will host the pregame show at Tin Roof Indianapolis at 6:00 Saturday. The plan is to do Monday’s show at Tin Roof, assuming Kentucky beats Wisconsin. I hope this helps.
Check out the new KSR Pop Up Shop in Lexington!
We are set up in the Crossroads Plaza at 3270 Nicholasville Road in Lexington. Stop by to get your official KSR merchandise, just in time for the Final Four.
See you in Indianapolis!
By Drew Franklin on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 10:00pm
First of all, Kentucky Sports Radio does not condone the burning of couches or any other form of comfortable living room furniture. Couches are for Sunday naps, losing change, high school romance and, in my case, a place to eat a lonely dinner every night. Couches are not to be torched.
But if you’re going to do it, and many of you will, you should know how to do it right. So let these UK fans show you in their Guide To Burning A Couch:
By Drew Franklin on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 9:00pm
We are days away from the Final Four in Indianapolis and excitement is at an all-time high around Big Blue Nation as the Cats chase No. 9 and perfection. Kentucky fans will soon take Naptown by storm, but first, let’s all make sure we’re on the same page before we come in hot and uninformed.
Here’s the official unofficial guide to Final Four weekend in Indianapolis. Stick to this and you’ll have the time of your life. (Maybe.)
Still need to get a hotel?
You’re pretty much screwed. Indianapolis is completely sold out and options are running dry outside the city.
Good luck, though. I hope things work out for you.
Still need tickets?
I hope you have deep pockets because this is one of the toughest tickets the Final Four has ever seen. A quick glance at StubHub tells me you can sit in the lower level for around $5,000 apiece, upper level end zone for around $500. I recommend checking out our friends at Guy On The Corner tickets or selling a kidney on the black market.
Monday’s ticket will be a little easier obtain, assuming UK handles Wisconsin.
Things to do when you’re not watching basketball…
Fans will have plenty of free time on Friday and Sunday, and during daylight hours on Saturday and Monday. Here are a few of my recommendations for ways to pass the time:
— $3 bowling at Latitude 360
— Visit the zoo and other sights of White River State Park
— Get lost in the World’s Biggest & Best Children’s Museum (but only if you have children; don’t be creepy)
— Go shopping at Edinburgh Premium Outlets
— Pacers vs. Hornets, Friday; Pacers vs. Heat, Sunday
— Pee on the side of the NCAA Headquarters
Or you can check out these Final Four-related events…
— Final Four Fan Fest at the Indiana Convention Center (Friday, noon-8; Saturday, 10-8; Sunday, noon-8; Monday, noon-8)
— Capital One Jam Fest featuring Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Kacey Musgraves and Cole Swindell (Sunday, 2-10)
— Three free days of music at the March Madness Music Festival at White River State Park
— Reese’s College All-Star Game (Friday, 4:30)
— Taking pictures of famous head coaches at bars and strip clubs
Hoosier Gym is a short drive away…
A quick, 30-minute drive east will put you in Hoosier Gym, where you can pretend you’re Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers. Guests of the famous gym are not only allowed to grab a ball and start shooting, it is encouraged.
If you get hungry…
St. Elmo is my favorite spot in Indy but it is all booked up for the weekend. I’m hoping to land a spot in the 1933 Lounge or its sister restaurant, Harry & Izzy’s, with hopes of getting my hands on that World Famous Shrimp Cocktail. (Warning: It will light you up.)
For fans looking for cheaper fare, there are plenty of options around downtown and the arena. I hear the food trucks are excellent, as are the tamales and nachos at The Tamale Place.
Don’t let me catch you at Old Spaghetti Factory. You’re better than that.
If you’d like to hear the KSR pregame show…
Ryan Lemond and I will broadcast from Tin Roof Indianapolis at 6:00 pm Saturday night, right as the first game tips off. Tin Roof is a short walk from the arena so join us as we rally Big Blue Nation before the Cats take the floor. We hope to add a couple guests to fill Matt’s shoes and we are open to suggestions.
What to do if Kentucky wins it all…
By Drew Franklin on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 8:30pm
Jerry Tipton over at the Herald-Leader took a break from writing terrible things about the Kentucky basketball program to write something positive, in this case, our good friend Rex Chapman.
Last year was a rough year for Chapman, as you know, but he has gotten his life together since hitting rock bottom with his September arrest for shoplifting. He is doing well in his recovery from painkiller addiction, he’s down 40 pounds, and “feeling great,” he says.
And there is this:
UK associate coach Kenny Payne, a contemporary of Chapman as a player, called weekly. UK Coach John Calipari joined Payne on a visit to The Brook Hospital.
When Calipari visited, Chapman said he apologized for “the tweet thing.”
Hours before Kentucky played Connecticut in the 2014 national championship game, Chapman tweeted that it was a “done deal” that Calipari would leave UK to become coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“He’s been great to me,” Chapman said of Calipari.
Chapman’s return to the broadcast table for the Final Four Team Stream has received mixed reviews from UK fans, understandably. But like him or not, you have to be happy he’s overcome his addiction and owned up to his mistakes.
By Nick Roush on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 7:30pm
1. While most people are more concerned with making jokes, the Cats worked on building teamwork. Technically you could consider every practice a “teamwork exercise,” but they took it a step further before finishing practice today. We weren’t allowed to watch, but I like imagining Matt Elam doing a “trust fall” with T.V. Williams.
2. Big George is a Head Bussa*. Just ask Khalid Henderson; he learned today when he got his bell rung by the early enrollee. Normally Stoops’ freshmen offensive lineman have a redshirt waiting on em, but Big George Asafo-Adjei might be the exception.
Coach Stoops likes his maturity on and off the field. For mid-year transfers, sometimes it can be tough being away from home for the first time, but not Big George, “We always know George is OK because he has a big plate of food usually,” Stoops said.
3. Mark Stoops will be next to Bud Dupree at the NFL Draft in Chicago. I can’t remember the last time Kentucky had a player attend the Draft. If you can, comment away.
4. Melvin Lewis is becoming a leader on the DLine. After losing leadership on the defense, Stoops has been looking for players to step up. Senior nose guard Melvin Lewis is starting to fill that void, taking all kinds of questions from younger players and responding with positivity.
“He’s a guy that’s upbeat,” Stoops said. “When you walk in the building, if you’ve got a good, positive attitude, you can affect people in a positive or negative way. He’s not perfect, but for the most part when he walks in the building he’s ready to affect people in a positive way.”
5. Jason Hatcher said Andy Buh is a “light switch.” Bud Dupree had to learn a lot by himself without a position coach that specialized at outside linebacker. With a huge void to fill, Coach Buh is helping Denzil Ware and Jason Hatcher learn the slightest of nuances, instilling fundamentals in the Spring to become habits by Fall.
“I like to call him a light switch guy. He can be cracking jokes with you, all cool and fun, and then the next play it’ll be like a light switch, just the complete opposite. He goes from zero to 100, real quick. It’s funny, but you can’t laugh because he’ll get mad at that too.”
*For those that don’t know, Head Bussa’s>Head Buster’s
By Drew Franklin on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 7:08pm
Posted in Main
College basketball is winding down but you can still cash in on your favorite sport before it ends this weekend. We’ve teamed up with DraftKings for a $14K Buzzer Beat Four contest during Saturday’s games. The winner will take home $1,000 while the top 1,085 players win guaranteed money.
As always, first-time depositors receive free entry into the contest. It will cost everyone else an easy three bucks to play.
Click here to sign up and draft your squad: https://www.draftkings.com/gateway?s=634474524
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 7:00pm
Stop me when this starts to sound familiar: four Butler students came up with a foam finger that looks like three finger salute players make after they hit a three-pointer. They dubbed the creation the “Thringer.” Get it? Like three fingers…yeah.
Wait, what? That’s a three goggle, right? Well, not according to the NCAA, who bought 3,000 “thringers” from “Freelance Foam,” the company the four Butler students created. They will distribute 750 to each student section at the Final Four this weekend as a “student gift.”
Now, I’m not the type of fan who thinks Kentucky created the three goggle. The Trailblazers started doing the motion in 2010, and Kentucky basketball and other college teams quickly adopted it, although there is a fair argument that the Cats made it mainstream. I’ve seen three goggle foam fingers around for years, most recently at the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Anyways, if you’re one of the lucky 750 UK students to get a student ticket this weekend, enjoy your three goggle. (I will never call it a thringer.)
By Drew Franklin on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 6:25pm
The Wildcats are taking off from Lexington for one final trip to close out this college basketball season. Tomorrow they will practice and chat with the media to kick off what will hopefully be five fun days in Indianapolis.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) April 1, 2015
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 6:00pm
Fox Sports’ Reid Forgrave interviewed John Calipari one-on-one before this season, and today, he’s got an excellent column on FoxSports.com about why American needs to retire the “simple and lazy narrative” about Cal–you know the one–and appreciate the incredible coaching job that he’s done this season:
The story of this Kentucky team isn’t just a story of the most talented team in college basketball. It’s a story of a coach who has gotten his absurdly talented players to play as a team, which any college coach can tell you is one of the greatest challenges in the profession.
People are complicated; people change. And so the public narrative about a person should be just as nuanced as the person himself, and ought to be able to change, too.
Preach it, Reid. More where there came from, so go check it out.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 5:24pm
Earlier today, I gave you a little update on Caleb Swanigan, one of several big men Kentucky is after in the 2015 class. Swanigan has turned some heads at the McDonald’s All-American festivities this week, and just tweeted that he’ll announce his decision next Wednesday at the Nike Hoop Summit:
I will announce which college I will be going to at the Nike Hoop Summit next week.
— Big Sauce (@Biggs_Swanigan) April 1, 2015
Swanigan is down to Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, California, Arizona, Purdue and Chicago State, and while Michigan State has been the perceived favorite for most of his recruitment, Cal(ifornia) recently made a strong push in an attempt to woo him, Ivan Rabb, and Jaylen Brown.
Should we be worried that Swanigan will decide before we find out which UK players will go pro? Maybe, but right now, it’s probably a given that at least two of UK’s big men (Willie and Karl) will declare, while Dakari’s still up in the air.
We’ll find out in a week…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 5:00pm
During his weekly chat this afternoon, ESPN NBA guru Chad Ford said he believes Karl Towns is now the slight favorite for the #1 pick in June’s draft:
I’d say, talking to NBA folks this weekend, that the a small majority of them now have Towns ranked ahead of Okafor which is why I made the chance to the Top 100 on Sunday. However, it doesn’t mean he’s the consensus No. 1 (yet). When you check out our Lottery Mock Draft, you’ll see scenarios where Okafor is still the No. 1 pick. It’s been that way for over a month however. They are different players, both elite prospects, and just fit differently on different teams. Scouts are praying that Kentucky and Duke meet in the NCAA Finals. To see them go head-to-head could determine who goes No. 1 overall, though I’m still a pretty firm believer that who’s No. 1 between the two is pretty contextual.
Ford also said that while Andrew Harrison’s stock is rising, his brother Aaron’s is not. “Aaron’s stock is still in pretty bad shape,” Ford writes. “He hits big shots, but not every game is the March Madness and shooting guards who only real strength is shooting, need to hit every day three point shots with much more efficiency.” Ford projects that Aaron will go late second round to undrafted.
For more of Ford’s insight, including where he thinks Trey Lyles will be drafted, head on over to the newly redesigned Worldwide Leader.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 4:00pm
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Hello, friends. Have we all recovered from today’s slate of emotional Willie and Karl features? Me neither. Tried to work at the coffee shop earlier and even with sunglasses, I couldn’t do it. As excited as I am about this weekend, the fact that at this time next week, the season will be over is really starting to hit me. It feels like only yesterday we were in the Bahamas watching the team goof off at the pool, and now we’ve only got two games left with them, at best. Hopefully, they’re two games to remember.
Now, before I fall into a puddle of tears again, let’s get some notes rolling…
— In case you haven’t fallen victim yet, today is April Fools’ Day, and even though I hate the holiday, I have to give kudos to the folks behind the Green Bay Packers reddit page, who turned it into a Kentucky page to mess with Wisconsin fans:
I’ll be honest, I still don’t really understand reddit, but that’s funny. (Also, if you’re wondering, yes, there is a reason I have two KSR bookmarks on my toolbar and no, I’m not telling.)
— Remember those 40-0 shirts that popped up a few summers ago? Well, the guy who designed them tried to trademark “40-0″ and is now fighting with UK over who should own the term in court. For what it’s worth, the creator says he’s a die-hard UK fan and would be fine with UK using “40-0″ on national championship items, but not as a “stand-alone brand.”
I can’t even think about any of that until late Monday night.
— What if I told you there was a Kentucky fan that has Wisconsin blood running through his veins? That’s the case for Salvisa native Scott Logdon, who received bone marrow stem cells from a Wisconsin student two years ago when he was being treated for high-risk leukemia at the UK Hospital. This is a really cool story, so go check it out at The Courier-Journal.
— The team has arrived in Indianapolis, but before they left, Sam Malone took a chance to reflect on his last practice at the Joe Craft Center:
A photo posted by Sam Malone (@sammaloneuk13) on
Oh god here come the tears again…agh!!!! Happy, something happy…
— How much does this guy at my local coffee shop look like Tom Crean?
I originally took the picture to make fun of this guy for bringing his desktop computer to a coffee shop, but the resemblance is uncanny. Maybe that’s what Crean is doing with his time these days.
— How awesome is this sign at the Space Center on Winchester Road?
Yes, yes, he would have. Ditto for Bill Keightley, who passed away seven years ago yesterday.
Let’s close it out with today’s podcast, which features a great interview with Orlando Antigua in the first hour:
John Calipari, Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo, and Coach K release joint statement about the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 3:18pm
The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act is going to be a huge issue this weekend in Indianapolis, and in an attempt to get ahead of the story, John Calipari, Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo, and Mike Krzyzewski released a joint statement in support of the NCAA’s stance this afternoon:
“We are aware of the recent actions in Indiana and have made a point to talk about this sensitive and important issue among ourselves and with our teams. Each of us strongly supports the positions of the NCAA and our respective institutions on this matter – that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated. As a part of America’s higher education system, college basketball plays an important role in diversity, equality, fairness and inclusion, and will continue to do so in the future.”
I’m sure each coach will still be asked about the law, but kudos to them for trying to get ahead of the issue.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 01st, 2015 @ 3:00pm
If I had my way, every day on KSR would be Karl Towns Day, but today certainly feels like it. First, we found out Karl was on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated and then we saw quite possibly the best baby picture ever, and now, we have an extra special treat for you guys: Ian O’Connor’s excellent profile of Karl for ESPN.
O’Connor covers a lot a lot of familiar ground: Karl’s big heart, his work ethic, and the time he gave one of his shoes to paralyzed UK super fan Matt Bunk after the Florida game. O’Connor’s piece focuses on Karl’s remarkable kindness, a trait which will make even the biggest Kentucky hater fall in love with him. Here are two of my favorite paragraphs:
Jacqueline said her son forever gravitated toward kids who were considered outsiders, kids who might not have felt wanted or comfortable in social or classroom settings, “because Karl was also the outsider when he was younger. He was too tall, his feet were too big, he didn’t fit into his desk, and sometimes kids can be cruel.”
Jacqueline laughed when recalling the time she asked Karl-Anthony if she could quit her job at the behavior health hospital at Rutgers after he made his NBA millions, only for her son to express concern for the patients who might need her continued help. But truth is, Karl-Anthony is always looking out for his mother. When Jacqueline’s father died, Karl-Anthony brought her a gift in a box — new sunglasses for the funeral. “I know you’ve been crying a lot,” he told his mother. “I thought you would need these.”
Actually, Karl, I need those right now. Go read the rest and bring some sunglasses and tissues with you.