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November 28th, 2015

Official Visitors in Town for the Governor’s Cup

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

It’s the final weekend for recruits to experience the New Commonwealth Stadium recruiting room, and plenty will be taking advantage of the opportunity.

Juco WR commit Kayuane Ross will be in town for his official visit.  Ohio outside linebacker and 2016 commit, Jaylin Bannerman, is also taking his official visit this weekend.  The 6’6″ 3-star recruit runs a 4.7, and he’ll have to run that fast to get away from his Mother.  He joked on Twitter, “My mom has lost her mind if she thinks she’s moving to Lexington.”

Joining Bannerman (though I don’t know if he’s sharing cookie cake) on an official visit is Louisville commit, Ohio WR Seth Dawkins.  John Clay wrote about Dawkins’ dilemma, but his Father is a former Cardinal, making it difficult to foresee a possible flip, but it happened last year.  Running back Quinton Baker was committed to UK, his father was a UK legend, but he decommitted after watching the game from the Louisville side.

There will likely be a plethora of in-state commits in town as well, but the Thanksgiving holiday, high school playoffs (some of the Ohio kids play today) and early kickoff will all play a factor.  Even with a late Northern Kentucky kickoff, I’d expect to see the Lafayette trio -Young, Walker and Wills- to celebrate their State Championship game birth by watching the Cats kick the Cards’ ass.

Unofficial visitors will not be in short supply in the recruiting room.  Today is important for many reasons.  Kentucky and Louisville battle for recruits often, and a win would give Mark Stoops offseason momentum – something he’s never had while recruiting at Kentucky.

Senior Day Uniforms



Instead of keeping things traditional, the Cats will be wearing the gray jerseys, the blue-chrome helmet and blue pants.  For their final game, the Seniors have the power to select what they’ll be wearing, so if you have any grievances, take it out on them (I don’t know that with certainty, but facts are optional).

It’s a look we haven’t seen this year.  Maybe it will make the Cats play better than we’ve seen all year.

A Governor’s Cup Wakeup

When the Governor’s Cup started the season, we knew it would have lasting ramifications for the season, but we didn’t realize truly how important it was until the game was moved to the season finale.  For the second year in a row, a Governor’s Cup win will give Kentucky a bowl birth.  It will not come easy.  Kentucky’s second half of the season might be even more disastrous than the second half of last year’s, with only a win over the dismal Charlotte since heading into the Thursday Night Showdown with Auburn.

Louisville started sluggish, but has found a way to become bowl eligible.  They’ve looked better than UK often, but they’ve also looked just as bad (if not worse) at times.  They’re defense has been good, but it’s been against terrible offenses.  They’ve struggled to figure out who their quarterback is, undecided between the runner, Lamar Jackson, and the traditional pocket passer that killed Kentucky last year, Lexington native Kyle Bolin.

Even though many may not agree, this game really is a 50/50 toss-up.  Whoever makes fewer mistakes will get the win.

The lackluster play by both teams and the Thanksgiving holiday has chilled both fan bases, but I know something that will fire up the BBN.  Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present, “Stevie Got Loose.”

Listen to the KSR Pregame Show RIGHT NOW

There’s no waiting around for it today, we’re starting early to get you ready for the Governor’s Cup.  It’s a nasty morning, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the entire crew will be back at it from the parking lots surrounding Commonwealth Stadium in the lucky gator.

Get to the Cat Walk at 9:45

The team is rarely punctual, but they’d appreciate your presence near Gate 1 about two hours before kickoff.  Up until recently, the Cat Walks this year have been the best I’ve ever seen.  Let’s finish on a high note by leaving these Cats with a lasting memory.

The Weather Will Play a Factor

It’s not gonna be “November cold,” but the rain might make it feel colder than the 60-degree temperature indicates.  After a soggy night, hourly forecasts predict light rain during tailgate time, picking up around noon and remaining steady throughout the game.  I’m not gonna play the “rain is better for so-and-so” game, but I will say: “At least it won’t be as terrible as last week’s weather.”

Kentucky Can Run Their Way to a Victory

Last year was the first year in about 15 that the team that ran for more yards did NOT win the game.  Even though both schools are known for producing elite quarterbacks, this game is won and lost on the ground.  Through the last three games, Kentucky is averaging 240 rushing yards per game compared to Louisville’s 160.  Brandon Radcliffe might be their best offensive player, but he doesn’t have the line, or the depth behind him to keep up with Kentucky’s running game.  Kentucky can control the clock and keep the pressure off by successfully running on first down.

If Kentucky doesn’t run the ball effectively, it’s going to be a long day.

19 Seniors will Celebrate Senior Day

Get in early to show these guys you care.  They’ve been through plenty of tough times, yet still persevered.  Guys like Josh Forrest will be missed on the field, but a man like Melvin Lewis will be missed even more as a leader off the field.  If they can find a way to end on a high note, this class will be credited as the trailblazers into a new era of Kentucky football.

The Hate is Real

I doubt there will be another pregame fight before this year’s Governor’s Cup, but one thing is certain: the guys in the middle of it last year will need to play great today.  Drew Barker and Jeff Badet were excited redshirts in the middle of the melee a year ago; last week they were the most potent passing duo, connecting four times for 39 yards.  Here’s to hoping they make more highlights on the field this year than they did last year.

The Kentucky Football State Championships are Set

It was a rough night for the Podcast Crew.  Tyler’s Danville, Jared’s Highlands, and my DeSales Colts all lost in very close games.  The Pikeville/Paintsville rematch wasn’t the same without Kash Daniel.  Paintsville didn’t stand much of a chance against the state’s #1 offense without him, falling 42-23.   Here’s the adjusted scheduled for next weekend’s finals in Bowling Green after WKU’s win won them homefield in the C-USA Championship.

1A: Beeechwood vs. Pikeville, 7:00 pm Thursday

6A: Male vs. Lafayette, 5:00 pm Saturday

5A:  Bowling Green vs. Pulaski County, 8:00 pm Saturday

2A: Mayfield vs. Newport Central Catholic, 1:00 pm Sunday

3A: Lexington Catholic vs. Belfry, 4:00 pm Sunday

4A: South Warren vs. Johnson Central, 7:00 pm Sunday 

Check back after the football game for Trey’s semi-state recap.

Bobby Petrino has Never Lost to Kentucky…

…and neither team has ever won five in a row in the Governor’s Cup series.  UofL has won four in a row.  Something’s gonna give when the Cats and the Cards kickoff at noon on the SEC Network.

November 27th, 2015

Twas the Night before the Governor’s Cup


If you’re expecting a literary play off the famous Christmas story, I’m sorry. Just thought the title was catchy.

For Kentucky to Win…

 Let the moment be “The Moment”, then settle into execution. This is accomplished through effective game week or practice preparation. Screaming, tunnel exits, and hype videos last one series. Then the game comes down to Jimmies and Joes and execution. Kentucky cannot downplay game’s significance nor allow it to be too big which can lessen attention to game plan detail.

— Kentucky’s rushing attack must exceed the 3.3 yards per carry that the Louisville defense has averaged over the course of the season. By doing so, the magic number is 225 yards on the ground. In every Governor’s Cup other than last year, the team with the most rushing yards wins the game. Tomorrow will return to that norm.

— Has to decrease Louisville’s average completion from 13.6 to under 10 yards. Cardinal receivers excel in yards after catch. The youthful Wildcat secondary will have to keep Card receivers in front of them, then make sure tackles.

— Must exceed the Cardinals average of surrendering 35% 3rd down conversions. Again, Shannon Dawson has to dial up plays that produce positive first down yardage. 2nd and 10’s will not be UK’s friend tomorrow.

— Slow U of L’s front seven including elite edge pass rushers. For the year, the Louisville defense has produced 30 QB sacks and 80 TFL’s. A balanced offensive attack can help. Run/pass ratio will be telling. Louisville’s strength is its defensive big play capability. By somehow keeping defenders on their heels will assist in this factor.

— Offensively, UK has to take the game away from Louisville’s front seven’s influence and stress its back four. Unlike years past, its secondary is vulnerable. Constant pressure through rushes that break the line of scrimmage and completing a high percentage of passes will be critical for the Governor’s Cup Trophy to reside in Lexington.

— Stay out of certain passing situations. This is accomplished by positive first down yardage. Yes, this is a recurrent theme.

Contain Lamar Jackson. By forcing Jackson to go through passing progression, edge rushers must remain disciplined in gap and lane responsibility. Will UK play a spy when Jackson is in the game? Not sure, but the freshman is extremely dangerous once he decides to run the football.

— If Kyle Bolin is the quarterback, UK safeties must remain cognizant of his middle of the field passing preference. Bolin’s tendencies are seam or vertical routes between the hashes.

— Just like basketball, Kentucky has to slow Louisville’s scoring runs. The Cards have scored in bunches or slugged through sixty minutes. The latter is the preference.

Win the turnover margin. Through 11 games, UK is 11th in the SEC in turnover margin. For one November Saturday, it has no other option than to win this category.

— Have no special team’s blunders. Cats don’t have to win the game in the third phase. But, it cannot afford to lose the game in the kicking game.

— Let Drew be Drew. Play through mistakes and build confidence by completing high percentage completions. Consistent pass catchers also factors into this equation. Drops must stop. Barker appears to be a competitor, his pregame demeanor will be under the microscope by teammates as well as the opposing team.

— Manage the elements. Going to rain. In sloppy conditions, the team with the best offensive line play and ball security wins. Both UK and U of L have struggled up front. The team that gets the most production from its front five will win.

There you have it. Enjoy the calm before the storm, both figuratively and literally.

Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day


Only Wendy’s ®makes a deal feel like a meal. Introducing the new Four for Four! Four bucks for the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger with Applewood smoked bacon, crispy nuggets, small natural cut sea salt fries, and drink. Get more for four, now at Wendy’s®.

You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:


#10 Lori Collins

I have plenty of leftover cake from Thanksgiving; I’d be willing to donate to the cause.


#9 Johnny Handsome

Well, I mean they got the mustache right.


#8 John Gardner

The world may never know.


#7 Betsy Rhein has probably crashed, too.


#6 Doug Phelps

It’s basically the same thing.


#5 Not Jerry Tipton

And we’re the problem.


#4 Logan

Don’t be the Cousins on cable. Bad things happen.


#3 Jay4UK

This is the real question, folks.


#2 C-lo

Brand name is always better.


#1 T.O.

Just the way the Pilgrims envisioned it. #BeatLouisville



The enemy has arrived


The Louisville football team is set up and ready to go in Commonwealth Stadium. The UofL equipment staff shared a couple of photos from the visiting locker room earlier today. Tomorrow, the Cardinals will suit up in those white-on-white unis before meeting your University of Kentucky Wildcats on the field.


You know the deal: Win and the Cats are bowling with a six-win regular season.

Cat Walk at 9:45 am.

Beat Louisville.

Kentucky took its talents to South Beach, defeated South Florida

Steve Mitchell | USA Today

Steve Mitchell | USA Today

Kentucky went down to South Beach and took care of business in the family reunion game with Orlando Antigua and his South Florida Bulls.

Playing without Tyler Ulis, who suffered an elbow injury in the first half, the Cats handed Coach O’s team its fourth loss in five games, defeating USF, 84-63. UK led by as many as 31 in the game.

Jamal Murray led all scorers with 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting, to go along with his three rebounds and three assists. Skal Labissiere wasn’t far behind in the points race, adding 17 of his own. Charles Matthews was the only other Wildcat in double figures with a career-high 11 points in a career-high 24 minutes off the bench.

Here’s more…



Tyler Ulis suffered a hyperextended right elbow.

Outside of the new W in the win column, the biggest news of day was the scare given to Big Blue Nation when Tyler Ulis left the game with a right arm injury. It occurred with about five minutes to go in the first half, when his arm was pinned underneath Angel Nunez on a loose ball play. Ulis immediately walked toward the Kentucky bench and back to the locker room, his right arm sagging.

We would later find out it is a hyperextended elbow and he is listed as day-to-day. He played seven minutes with eight points and two assists before sitting out the rest of the game.

The injury ended Ulis’ streak of three consecutive games with at least 15 points and five assists. He was the first UK player to do that since John Wall in 2010.

The freshmen dominated the game.

Kentucky’s freshmen combined for 59 points in the win, nearly beating South Florida on their own. As I mentioned before, Jamal Murray was the star of the bunch, scoring a game-high 21 points and taking Basketball Hall of Fame Classic MVP honors.

It was a youth-led game with Ulis on the pine and limited production from Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress, Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins.

Isaiah Briscoe played well, aside from his “skee-ball shots.”

We got a taste of what life would be like if this were Isaiah Briscoe’s team to run, and it was okay. Briscoe filled in for Ulis at point guard and did some good things in the new role, his natural position.

Briscoe’s stifling defense forced the South Florida guards into multiple turnovers in the backcourt. Offensively, he dished out a career-high seven assists and attacked the rim for his six points. The only complaint was his erratic shot attempts that Calipari called “skee-ball shots.”

“I thought Isaiah struggled,” said Cal. “He was flipping balls like you are in a HORSE game. He had four flips, like, he was trying to spin them off the high corner to see if he could knock it in, like we’re playing skee-ball.”

Calipari called it a great learning experience.

Charles Matthews moved past Derek Willis in the rotation.

Matthews played his best game as a Wildcat, totaling 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting with two rebounds and an assist in 24 minutes. Derek Willis, who is competing with Matthews for the seventh spot in the rotation, played only six minutes.

Calipari said, “I think Charles has pushed everybody aside and now has moved his way into the rotation. And he’s doing it because he is working hard.”

Matthews is trying to become this team’s do-it-all guy.

Here’s what Matthews and Murray had to say after the game: 

Thank you, Kentucky Wildcats TV.

The rebounding could’ve been better.

Kentucky is one of college basketball’s best at rebounding the basketball, having entered today with a +13 rebounding margin per game, one of the highest in the nation. South Florida almost cut that number in half by staying within six boards in the game.

Alex Poythress had his lowest total of the year with five rebounds, after tallying a double-double in each of the last two games. Skal Labissiere only hauled in four in 29 minutes, while Briscoe tied Marcus Lee for the team-high at six.

Best free throw shooting night of the season.

UK hit 16 of its 19 free throw attempts for an 84.2 percentage, a clip that will certainly make Calipari happy. Briscoe, Labissiere and Lee each had one miss from the stripe.

Outside shooting improved from the past few games as well. The Cats went 6-of-13 from deep.

Skal Labissiere’s shot blocking improves each time out.

Labissiere’s offense was outstanding in this one, as we’ve seen over and over again already. But it’s his shot blocking that is really improving, though it isn’t getting the same attention as his post moves. He’s still nowhere near Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein or Karl-Anthony Towns, or the shot blocker he will hopefully become, but he did have three nice blocks tonight. Again, his timing is getting better and better.

Kentucky was great defensively.

It wasn’t just Skal playing good defense on the Bulls, collectively, the defensive effort was great throughout the entire game. South Florida was never a threat to go on any kind of a run because the Cats had them locked down from start to finish.

Jamal Murray was hot.

Saving Murray talk for last because we seem to say the same thing after every game. The guy can flat out score in a variety of ways and he could’ve gone for more tonight if needed. I still think he can be a little reckless, and sometimes selfish, but you tolerate the occasional bad play because there are so many more good ones. He’s so fun to watch and so hard to guard.


Okay, that’s enough about basketball. Let’s beat Louisville tomorrow and clinch this bowl game.

Listen to the KSR Postgame Show

Turn your radios and your radio streaming devices to 630 WLAP in Lexington or 840 WHAS in Louisville to hear what Matt Jones and the KSR callers have to say about tonight’s win over South Florida.

Feel free to give Matt a call at 1-800-444-8484 or 502-571-8484.

Listen online here. Discuss below.

Count Sinbad among UK’s celebrity fans

Ashley Judd. Josh Hopkins. Josh Hutcherson. Occasionally George Clooney. Now Sinbad? Tonight, the famous comedian/actor sent out this tweet suggesting he’s a part of the Big Blue Nation:

Well, alright. Come on down. Sinbad, if you keep it up, maybe I’ll leave “Jingle All The Way” on in the background next week while I’m working.


Tyler Ulis tried to talk his way back into the game

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 6.25.50 PM

When Tyler Ulis went to the locker room with his arm injury, I half expected him to pop whatever was not in place back into place and head back out for the second half. Apparently, he tried. Jamal Murray told reporters that Ulis attempted to talk the coaching staff into letting him go back in, but they refused.

“He was encouraging us and trying to get back into the game,” Murray said. “But he just said to find everything and make sure it’s right.”

Calipari didn’t have much of an update beyond Tyler’s “day-to-day” status.

“Don’t know. We haven’t spoken to him. I know he’s in a sling,” Cal said. “He’s hurt right now but we’ll see. It’s a good thing to get Isaiah and Jamal some time in there without him.”

What is Kentucky without Tyler Ulis?

“Not very good,” Cal said.

Meanwhile, someone tell Devin Booker to check KSR:


Jamal Murray named Most Outstanding Player of the Hoophall Invitational


With Tyler Ulis out, tonight was Jamal Murray’s night to shine. Murray had 21 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in Kentucky’s win over South Florida, a performance good enough to earn him the honor of Most Outstanding Player of the Hoophall Invitational.

Congrats, Jamal. Let’s celebrate by watching a few of his highlights:

A sweet lob to Skal:

UK 84 South Florida 63


Kentucky rolls over South Florida 84-63; Tyler Ulis hyperextends right elbow

Photo by UK Athletics

Kentucky took care of South Florida tonight 84-63, but that wasn’t the real story of the game. Towards the end of the first half, Tyler Ulis went down with a hyperextended right elbow injury and sat out the rest of the game. He’s listed as day-to-day.

The rest of the team took care of business in his absence, Jamal Murray leading the way with 21 points, followed by Skal Labissiere with 17 points and Charles Matthews with 11.


More throughout the night, including Cal’s comments on Ulis here in a few minutes.

It’s a hyperextended elbow for Ulis

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 6.25.50 PM

We have the official word on Tyler Ulis’ injury and it will keep him out today, but hopefully not too much longer.

UK confirmed Ulis suffered a hyperextended right elbow and will not return to the South Florida game. He will be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

Kentucky has two days off before it hosts Illinois State in Lexington on Monday.

UK vs. South Florida (Second Half Comment Thread)


Kentucky leads South Florida, 42-21, down in Miami, but all we care about right now is the status of Tyler Ulis.

Hopefully he returns to the game in the second half. If not, Isaiah Briscoe is doing just fine as the Cats’ point guard.

Discuss below.