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November 29th, 2015

Happy Birthday to two former Cats!


Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Both Julius Randle and Jamal Mashburn celebrate their birthdays today. Mashburn turns 43 and the current Los Angeles Laker turns the big 21 today.

The Lakers take on the Indiana Pacers at 6:30 PT at the Staples Center. Hopefully Randle can go out and celebrate his birthday and a win after the game. I’m sure Kobe would love to buy a drink for you, Julius.

#BBN, make sure to wish Julius and Jamal a very happy birthday!!


“What ifs” for other guards if Tyler doesn’t play tomorrow

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

After injuring his right elbow against South Florida on Friday, there is the possibility that Tyler Ulis could potentially be sidelined tomorrow against Illinois State. Lucky for us, even if our floor general is out, we have a bench full of guards to take his place.

Today, discussed the opportunities for other guards that exist if Ulis is unable to play tomorrow.

On Briscoe and Jamal:

“Against USF, Briscoe had a strong stat line of six points, a season-high seven assists and six rebounds, but Coach Cal didn’t like his shot selection (3 for 9) and how he seemed to avoid contact (took just one free throw). Murray led the Cats in scoring with a season-high 21 points, but Calipari wants him to get to the foul line more, where he’s an 88.2 percent shooter.”

“So it’s not that I’m worried about Isaiah and Jamal and how they’ll play — Dom(inique Hawkins) — it’s not that. It’s that we’re playing a team that plays a little different, that Tyler would have no problem with, but these guys may.”

On Dominique Hawkins:

“Hawkins is another player who could see an uptick in minutes Monday if Ulis were to sit out. Against South Florida, the junior guard logged nine minutes, hit one of his two 3-point attempts, dished out an assist, had a steal and took a charge. Afterward, Calipari said he liked what he saw from the Richmond, Ky., native, adding that Hawkins may be that elusive “rotational guy” he’s been looking for all season.”

Hey Tyler, the offer for my elbow is still there if you want it. You need it more than I do.

2016 basketball recruits had big nights last night



Because it’s never too early to talk about next basketball season, 2016 recruits had one heck of a night last night according to Chris Fisher from 247 Sports.

  • Bam Adebayo had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Malik Monk had 46 points, yes 46 points.
  • Sacha Killeya-Jones posted 28 points and 11 rebounds.
  • De’Aaron Fox gathered 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

So what does this mean? It means we’re going to be pretty dag on good next year.

Read more here.

Hoops Cruises to Win over JSU, 92-24.

(HT UK Athletics)

(HT UK Athletics)

Coach Matthew Mitchell got his 200th win with Kentucky this afternoon in Memorial Coliseum when the Hoops squad beat Jackson State, 92-24. Today’s win marks the first time Kentucky has won a game by 60 or more since the Grambling State game in 2013.

Both teams struggled in the first quarter, with Kentucky only making 6 out of 19 of their shots. Towards the end of the second period, the Cats went on a 24-0 run, the largest of the year, extending the lead to 28 points with 3:25 to go in the half. Makayla Epps made her first basket of the afternoon at the halftime buzzer to give the Cats a 30 point lead. At the break, Kentucky had two players in double-digit scoring, Taylor Murray with 11 and Akhator with 13. Kentucky demolished JSU in the paint, outscoring them 26-2. The Cats forced 24 TO’s in the first two quarters alone, converting 28 points off of them.

Kentucky cruised through the second half, shooting 45.2% from the field. The Cats continued to dominate the Lady Tigers defensively, forcing 13 turnovers in the second half, and holding them to 4.2% from the field (yes, you read that right.)  Evelyn Akhator ended the game with a double-double, 20 points and 13 rebounds, joining four other UK players in double-digit scoring: Jennings with 10 points and 9 rebounds, Janee Thompson with 15 points and 7 assists, Makayla Epps with 12 points and 9 assists, and Taylor Murray with a career high 13.

Here’s Kentucky’s box score:


Full box score here.

The Cats will now look to Northern Kentucky on Wednesday in Highland Heights, KY at 7pm. The game after that will be against UofL in Rupp on the 10th. Be there or be square, BBN.

Go Cats.


Josh Forrest surprised by Lamar Jackson

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Ending the season on a disappointing note, UK’s 38-24 loss to Louisville Saturday still hurts. As soon as Lamar Jackson came in to the game after Kyle Bolin threw two inceptions, the Wildcats scrambled to keep the mobile backup QB contained – and failed, miserably.

It seemed as if Mark Stoops and Co. were scratching their heads to come up with anything to shut down Jackson ,who finished the game with 130 yards passing, 196 rushing, and three touchdowns.

It led many to speculate on Twitter if Kentucky even prepared for the possibility of Jackson, and sadly, it seems they didn’t.

After the game, Josh Forrest told the media the team was surprised by Louisville’s switch to Jackson – something the team had, surprisingly, not planned for. Forrest said Jackson ran more than the team had anticipated and was faster than expected:

I don’t know what’s more troubling, the fact that UK was caught unawares by a quarterback change or the fact that no one has yet to figure out how to stop a running quarterback. After three years, you would think someone would at least have a plan…



Mark Richt steps down

Wesley Hitt / Getty Images

It’s open season on college football coaches right now as University of Georgia’s Head Football Coach Mark Richt becomes the most recent coach to receive a pink slip from his university.

After 15 years with the Bulldogs, Richt agreed to step down from his position following Georgia’s upcoming bowl game, which will be announced on Dec. 6. Richt will leave Georgia as the second-winningest coach in Bulldog’s history with a record of 145-51. UGA finished this season 9-3.

According to UGA athletic director Greg McGarity, who met with Richt earlier this morning, it was a mutual agreement that Richt should step down as the head coach.

The news of Richt’s leaving came shortly after Rutger’s released both the university’s athletic director Julie Hermann and head football coach Kyle Flood. This marks an abrupt end to Hermann’s short two-and-a-half year tenure that was riddled with controversy. Flood, who faced a three-game suspension in September for violating a university compliance policy, was ousted after a tumultuous season that included the arrests of seven of Flood’s football players on various charges.

The search for football coaches is about to get really hot, as college football staffs and athletic directors continue to reshuffle their decks in search for more wins. New football staffs  mean that December and January will be a recruiting Armageddon as newly-installed leadership look to fill their coffers with fresh recruits as many previous commitments will likely fall to the wayside.

Get ready for war, that’s all I’m saying.

On a lighter note, Les Miles appears to be safe and sound at LSU after a bizarre week of speculations that the head football coach would be receiving the boot in Baton Rouge. Even Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal got involved:

Putting the rumors to rest, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva made it clear the Tigers would be sticking with Miles:

“The season’s complete, and I want to make it very clear and positive that Les Miles is our football coach and he will continue to be our football coach. I’m looking forward to working with Coach Miles as he leads this team to a bowl game and another great recruiting class.”

I would hate to be a college football coach right now.


Towles bids farewell to UK

Darrell Bird |

Darrell Bird |

After a rocky season with the Wildcats, UK quarterback Patrick Towles just announced his plans to transfer from the university on his Instagram account.

The quarterback, who spent four years with the Wildcats and is a native of Fort Thomas, KY, wrote:

I would like to thank the University of Kentucky for giving me the opportunity to achieve my childhood dream of playing quarterback for the WildCats. The last four years have been ones that I will truly cherish for the rest of my life. Although I wish my time here in Lexington could have ended another way, I’m eternally grateful. I’ve decided to transfer to play my fifth year at another university. Thank you to Coach Stoops, Coach Dawson, Mitch Barnhart, my teammates, the Big Blue Nation and the entire Kentucky Athletics Department for allowing me to achieve my lifelong dream. I will truly bleed blue til the day I die.


While at UK, Towles joined Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner and Jared Lorenzen as the only players in school history to top the 3,000-yard mark in their first season as a starter. Due to red shirting in 2013 his sophomore year at UK, Towles will be eligible to play immediately for the university he transfers to. The quarterback was expected to redshirt in 2012 as a true freshman but was pressed into service when injuries struck the quarterback position.

Good bye Patty Ice, you have always represented the Wildcats with class and while this year has been a difficult one, I will miss seeing my favorite Harry Potter fan out on the field. Much success to you, and please, grow out those luscious golden locks again.

The feels, they are too much right now…


Five takeaways from Cal’s Illinois State presser

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 10.26.50 PM

Ulis will not practice

According to Coach Calipari, Tyler Ulis’ status for the team is still day-to-day and the 5-foot-9 sophomore will not join his teammates in today’s practice. Cal shied away from reporter’s questions about Ulis playing in tomorrow’s match up against the Redbirds, instead, Cal saying the team “might be without Tyler” and that it “would be a different game.” Cal assured reporters that Ulis’ injury was not serious and that “he’ll be fine.” Ulis hyperextended his elbow during the Wildcat’s game against South Florida Friday, but according to Ulis’ dad, subsequent x-rays revealed no broken bones and told reporters that his son’s injury was nothing to worry about. Cal said, knowing Ulis, the starting guard would insist on playing against Illinois State but it was still too early to make a definite call.

If the team is without Ulis for Monday’s game, Cal said he was unsure how the team would react gainst the Redbirds who, according to Cal, play similiar to Arkansas in that they like to trap and pressure teams on defense.

“Tyler keeps coming and does not stop,” Cal said of Ulis. “That’s the experience. I don’t know how the other’s will respond. They (Illinois State) has some veteran guys… Ulis has experience with these types of teams.”

Let’s just hope that Tyler is icing up that elbow.

The guys need to be more aggressive

Cal said the guys need to “stop running from someone” and instead “look for someone to post up” during games. He told reporters that after reviewing tapes, he noted that some guys need to play more physically and fight for position.

“We’re playing really fast and that is really hard to do,” Cal said. “You have to play physical. What we’re asking of them is really hard. If we can get to when the shot goes up, fight for position then go get the ball, we’ll be fine.”

Cal said Illinois State likes to spread the court and play five men out, which means the Wildcat’s will need to adjust on the defensive side of the ball where center Skal Labissiere will need to up the ante on the aggression meter.

“If Skal doesn’t play tough enough, we’ll put Isaac in,” Cal told the media.

Hawkins is working hard for minutes 

After being sidelined with a hand injury, Dominique Hawkins told reporters he felt like he was “being left behind” and has been working hard to get back into rotation. In regards to Hawkins’ playing time, Cal said he has been trying to get the guys to understand that they are responsible for themselves.

“They need to fight within. You want more time, how are you going to get it,” Cal said. “If you don’t defend you have no chance playing here. If you go under the ball screen – you are coming out.”

Cal said, unlike other teams, Kentucky players are expected to be on “warp speed time” here and develop their talents quickly.

“(On other teams) you can tell them that by junior year, you are going to be a beast,” Cal said. “But here, we say, by JANUARY, you got to get this right.”

Blue gets in

Cal said he expected to see some blue at UCLA’s Pauley Pavillion when the team takes on the Redbirds tomorrow.

“I don’t know why,” Cal joked with the media. “I would figure they would get tickets somehow.”

Let’s hope the Big Blue Nation doesn’t disappoint.

Isaiah Briscoe has a message 

According to Cal, Briscoe has a card attached to his mirror that reads: “Make a ridiculously hard play look easy.” However, the coach said Briscoe has been reading the message backwards, because he has been making easy plays look difficult. Cal claimed it was “just how the AAU play” and that Briscoe would have to break some habit’s from high school.

The No. 1 Wildcats (6-0) will take on the Redbirds (3-4) tomorrow at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

Pitino thinks he had “the best recruiting class” this year


Because Rick Pitino is Rick Pitino and likes to keep us all entertained, he told the media after a 77-57 win over Saint Louis: “We had the best recruiting class, I think, in college basketball, as far as I’m concerned.” This is above our class with Skal, Jamal and Briscoe, I-Zack, Mychal Mulder and Charles Matthews and even Dukes (bleh).

And because he can’t do anything without talking about Kentucky (jealous, much?) he also said, “Kentucky taught me how to get into the one-and-dones, and I’m doing it now, except I’m waiting for fifth-year guys instead of high school kids.”

According to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal, Pitino also believes that Louisville is being ignored because of the Katina Powell situation. Apparently everyone is focusing on that instead of the stellar basketball they’re playing.

If you want, you can read the full article here. It might brighten up your day after yesterday.

Keep doing you Rick, never change.

Watch Calipari preview Illinois Sate

Future Cats take to Twitter after loss to UofL


It’s natural to worry about the state of the upcoming recruiting class after yesterday’s disappointing loss to Louisville. It was very apparent yesterday that we will need some new blood in order to compete in next year’s tough schedule, so we need to keep the recruits that we already have. Lucky for us, some took to Twitter to ease the mind of the Big Blue Nation.

However, cornerback Tobias Gilliam’s tweet was less than reassuring.

Sunday’s Morning Wakeup


Sunday’s morning wake up is brought to you by the only fitting movie title. Groundhog Day. I, much like everyone else here, probably woke up feeling the same way from a year ago regarding the football team. High expectations after some perceived early season wins, playing Florida tough but ultimately losing and then collapsing against Louisville. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Let’s take a look at some happier things though.

There are special players joining the basketball program next year

I know it’s weird to already say that considering the season is less than a month old and Kentucky is still No. 1 in the country. But, De’Aaron Fox played in the Thanksgiving Hoopfest in Texas and put on a show against Andrew Jones – another top guard prospect. Fox put up 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. The highlight though may have been when he went coast to coast and finished while adjusting in the air, in all under four seconds. Oh, and Malik Monk scored 46 in a win too. Those two are going to be a ton of fun to watch next year.

LSU Decides to keep Les Miles

In a bizarre week for LSU, rumors were the Tigers were going to relieve Les Miles of his duties, leading one of the best coaches in the game looking for a job. Well, after beating Texas A&M last night, it was announced that Miles would be keeping his job at LSU. This obviously means a ton for the conference, even if the Cats only see LSU about twice a decade, just to keep a big name like that at one of the more prestigious football jobs in the country is national news. The boosters need to get Miles the finest grass to eat for dinner tonight now.

The Guys Survived Day One

After the game, Drew, Matt, Shannon and Ryan hit the road for the KSR Does America roadtrip and it seems like they survived day one. Follow the guys on Twitter for the constant updates, complaining, questioning and all-around tomfoolery that makes this site great.



November 28th, 2015

Another epic collapse defines Kentucky’s “woulda, coulda, shoulda” season

© Mark Zerof

© Mark Zerof

It started so well. Kentucky stormed out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, looking like a well-oiled machine behind a strong running game, a solid passing attack by Drew Barker, and a scrappy defense that came up with two crucial picks. Receivers were catching passes! The offensive line was opening holes! It was happy times in Commonwealth Stadium again!

Then Boom Williams got hurt. A Louisville pass interference penalty gave Kentucky a free play at the end of the first quarter and Boom took the ball one yard before slipping and falling on the elbow he injured during the Tennessee game. With 37 yards and one touchdown, Boom went out of the game and wouldn’t return.

Neither would Kentucky’s offense. Behind backup quarterback Lamar Jackson, Louisville went on a 38-3 scoring run, Kentucky’s only points coming off a Miles Butler 20-yard field goal. In the second half, all of Kentucky’s woes came back to haunt them: drops, penalties, questionable coaching decisions, etc. Meanwhile, Louisville couldn’t be stopped. After Butler’s field goal, they scored 31 unanswered points and that was that.

The script of the season

Today’s game was pretty much the entire season in a sad, 60-minute nutshell: a promising start, a setback, and an epic collapse. I mean, really, what other team could squander a 21-point lead? That’s why any UK fan worth their weight in heartache knew what was coming when Lamar Jackson scrambled into the end zone for Louisville’s first touchdown of the game, his first of three today. As fans, it’s sad that even that early, we could sense the collapse; it’s even sadder that the players did too.

Some depressing and mind-numbing stats

  • 4-1 start to season; 1-6 to finish
  • 21-0 to start the game; 3-38 to finish
  • Offensive yards in the 3rd quarter: Louisville 204, Kentucky 19
  • 3rd quarter passing yards: Louisville 78, Kentucky -1
  • 2nd half rushing yards: Louisville 247 Kentucky 13
  • Kentucky penalties: 9 for 95 yards

Today in one, cruel loop:


They went back to Patrick Towles

Drew Barker started off well enough, putting up 129 passing yards, one rushing touchdown, and no interceptions in the first half, but the second half was a different story. Barker was rattled and didn’t get any help from his receivers, who repeatedly dropped balls. The freshman completed only one pass in the second half, and it was for negative yardage. With Louisville scoring at will, the staff eventually went back to Patrick Towles with four minutes in the game, but it was too little too late. After the game, Stoops admitted he should have gone back to Patrick sooner.

“We had a discussion at that point,” Stoops said when asked why they didn’t switch quarterbacks when the score was tied at 24. “I talked with Shannon (Dawson) at that point, and we felt like there were some plays that were there that he was making some good decisions. We felt like he was a fraction off. I think it was (Jeff) Badet had a drop, I think it was at that time. We had some plays and could have probably gone with Patrick (Towles) a couple of series earlier than that.”

Get ready for another quarterback battle this spring.

Another backup quarterback looked like a superstar

If we’ve learned anything about Kentucky football over the years, it’s that even in the best of times, the worst can happen and backup quarterbacks, especially those that are mobile, are our kryptonite. After Kyle Bolin threw two interceptions, Lamar Jackson came in and took over the game. Jackson finished with 130 yards passing, 186 rushing, and three touchdowns. As Stoops said, he made Kentucky look bad.

“He just flat out made some plays,” Stoops said. “He outran us and really made us look bad on the edge, on the perimeter on some plays.”

Bizarrely, Stoops said the staff was caught “off balance” by the quarterback change. Really? Louisville didn’t even name a starter coming into the game. Theoretically, that would mean UK would prepare to see both Bolin and Jackson, but instead, they were caught “off balance”?!

After the game, Jackson put it very cruelly when he said “We just couldn’t lose to those boys.” Even crueler? He’s only a freshman.

Will there be coaching changes?

Some things, like receivers dropping balls, can’t be helped; however, some things, like adjusting your defense to stop the read option, can. The difference in the game happened in the locker room at halftime. Bobby Petrino and his staff made adjustments to contain Kentucky’s wilting offense; Mark Stoops and his staff couldn’t come up with any answers on offense or methods to shut down Lamar Jackson.

After watching Kentucky fail to move the ball in the second half, the most obvious target is Shannon Dawson; however, Stoops voiced his support for his offensive coordinator after the game.

“Yes, I absolutely have confidence in Shannon Dawson. He’s a very good coach, very knowledgeable. It gets frustrating for him, believe me. It’s the same way, as a defensive play caller, when things aren’t going well. It gets difficult. Let me put it to you that way. It gets hard and it gets frustrating and guys need to step up and make plays.”

“Whether you’re an offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator, there’s only so many good play calls. At some point, you have to win some one-on-one battles. I have a lot of confidence in Shannon. He’ll get the ship corrected and straightened out and get the guys competing at a higher level and we need to play better across the board.”

In fact, Stoops refused to comment on any coaching changes, telling reporters he doesn’t want to make any emotional judgments.

“I’m not going to get into that right now. You know, I’m disappointed in this loss, as all you and our fans. And everybody that cares about Kentucky is disappointed and frustrated. Believe me, I am. And we’ll look at all aspects of our program to make it a program that everybody’s proud of.”

Where do we go from here?

“Five wins is not good enough. And I’m tired of the woulda, coulda, shoulda, just as the fans are,” Stoops said. “And this won’t hurt our momentum in recruiting and developing our team and our program, we’re going to continue to get better, believe me.”

I like Mark Stoops, but after yet another spectacular collapse, it’s getting harder and harder to keep the faith in this staff. For the second straight season, Kentucky is 5-7. Technically, there’s a chance they can still go to a bowl, but based on today’s performance, they don’t deserve it.

Embrace the Suck: The Worst of the Worst from Today’s Game

Image from every UofL fan on Twitter.

Image from every UofL fan on Twitter.

Never in my life have I been more disgusted with the Kentucky football team.  I’ve seen awfulness from the program before, but that’s because I knew they were terrible and lacked talent.  What makes this year’s season finale performance sickening (I thought I might puke in the press box in the 3rd quarter) is that this team has talent, but they lack execution, direction and development.

I’ve tried dressing this thing up throughout the year, but all I can do now to cope with the loss is make a long list of the disasters that made today’s Governor’s Cup a dumpster fire.  It may not be cohesive or carry a common theme because I’m pissed off and frankly I don’t give a damn.

Getting Spotted 21 Points isn’t Enough

For the second year in a row, our rival has handed us 21 points to start the game.  I’ll grant you, the first offensive drive was pretty good.  I just can’t get over the fact that the script was similar to last year: go up 21, they put in their backup QB, Kentucky loses.  At least last year’s team showed more fight down the stretch, displaying a mental toughness this team did not have.

What can the Offense do Without Boom?

There’s some things you can’t just can’t plan.  UK had the upper hand in the running backs department, but they were all hurt at some point.  Jojo for a big chunk of the first half, Mikel’s hand was crushed on the fumble (so much so the media relations staff asked us not to shake his hand after the game) and Boom Williams was lost for the game.  With receivers dropping passes in the rain, there was virtually no shot at a big play of any kind without Boom.

I tried to hold on to my hope for a win, but that quickly vanished after halftime.

Kentucky’s 3rd Quarter of Offense

11 offensive plays will get you nowhere fast.

3rd quarter

UK Will Never Learn How to Defend the Read Option

Defensive football is more complex now than it ever has been, but it’s astounding to see the lack of fundamentals displayed by Kentucky’s defense.  In its most basic form, defense is about gap responsibility.  Each hole is covered by a defender.  Defensive ends are responsible for outside containment.  Playing against option teams should be the most fun for defensive ends because you know what their job is?  Hit the quarterback.  Every single play.  Is Lamar Jackson an elite athlete? Yes, but he’s not a good thrower.  The ends didn’t force him to do anything out of the ordinary, they stayed at home and were too hesitant to lay a lick on him.  I know that offense can create big plays with an elite athlete, but I don’t understand how high schools can figure out how to defend it but Kentucky can’t.  Until proven otherwise, I’ve lost all hope that they ever will be able to defend the read option.

Bobby Petrino Did this After the Game

Second Half Passing

In Drew Barker’s career as a starting quarterback, he’s had -1 passing yards in the second half of play.  His second half stat line: 1-14 for -1 yards.

Two Stats You Can’t Rely on with this Kentucky Team

In the Governor’s Cup, you could rely on whoever won the battle in the rushing department to win the game.  Last year that trend changed (it did not today though).  You could also count on one team only winning four games in a row.  No team had ever won five in a row, until today.

Tobias “Cash” Gilliam might reconsider

Stoops said this loss wouldn’t hurt offseason “momentum,” but one of their best defensive back commitments seemed to be wavering before the game was even over.


Where Do We Go Now?

It’ a question that I don’t have an answer for, a question I don’t think anybody, including the coaching staff, has an answer for.

They tried to remedy the offensive woes by playing Drew Barker instead of Patrick Towles, but with an inept offensive line and receivers prone to dropping passes, the quarterback was only part of the problem, and getting a new one was not the solution.  The same goes for Shannon Dawson.  Getting a new offensive coordinator would give the offense three OC’s in three years – that makes things worse before it makes it better.

With a team heavily relying on young guys, we knew it was going to be struggle this year, but nothing THIS bad (10 TD passes and 16 INTs, I mean COME ON).  Kentucky has recruited the talent, but the coaching staff must prove that they can develop players, and they must do it quickly.  The players don’t have to transform into world beaters, they must consistently make the simple, routine plays.   

Things must change in Year Four of the Mark Stoops Era.  Until then, enjoy an annual Kentucky tradition: forget football by enjoying basketball season.

An Update on the Postgame Parking Lot Brawl



Pictured above is the scene from the Blue Lot after the game when UK fans got into a violent altercation.

Jennifer Palumbo of WKYT was there when the dispute turned bloody.  Three men were involved in the fight, two leaving with head injuries after the alleged assailant pistol-whipped them in the scram.  UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said that Joe Walters has been charged with second-degree assault and first degree wanton endangerment.



A sad way to end the day.  Here’s to a full recovery from the victims, regardless of the source of the dispute.