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February 5th, 2016

Some Things To Know About Florida

Lost in all of the excitement today is Kentucky’s game with Florida in Rupp Arena tomorrow afternoon. Normally we’d spend the better part of our Friday previewing the game ahead, but today called for the critiquing of uniforms and laughing at Louisville.

But I’m still going strong here at the KSR office, approaching my 14th hour in front of the computer today, and I won’t call it quits until we chat a little bit about the game. So join me in going over some of the things you should know about the Florida Gators. Then after that I’m going airplane mode and disappearing into the night. It’s been long one.

 

Florida has scored 80 or more points in five of its last six games.

Florida has won five of its last six and it score over 80 points in all five of those victories. The one loss came at Vanderbilt, arguably the second toughest place to play in the conference, and Vandy needed two clutch free throws to clinch it in the final seven seconds.

Needless to say, Florida is coming in hot and playing well over the last three weeks.

The Gators are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country.

Today John Calipari said, “Let me say this, the best rebounding team in our league offensively is Florida.”

He’s almost right. Florida is third in the conference behind South Carolina and Kentucky in offensive rebounds per game:

1. South Carolina: 14.7
2. Kentucky: 13.7
3. Florida: 13.6

Still not something we want to hear with the Cats’ struggles on the glass. Kentucky is No. 10 in the league in defensive rebounds per game.

It has been 18 years since an unranked Florida team defeated a ranked Kentucky team at Rupp Arena.

You’ll have to go way back to 1998 when Jason Williams and Kenyan Weaks combined for 48 points to take down seventh-ranked Kentucky.

Speaking of 1998…

Mike White hasn’t coached in Rupp Arena, but he’s played in it.

The Gators’ new head coach scored 16 points and had six assists against the Wildcats in 1998 as a starter for Ole Miss. The Rebels won that game, upsetting the eventual national champion, 73-64, on its own floor.

Dorian Finney-Smith is still there.

And not only is he still there, he is the team’s star player. Finney-Smith currently averages 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds on the year, and has notched a double-double in five of the last eight games.

He’s also one of the SEC’s best free-throw shooters.

Freshman KeVaughn Allen can fill it up.

Florida’s second-leading scorer, Allen has games of 32 and 27 points this season. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week this week with an average of 17.5 point per game in the Gators’ wins over Vanderbilt and No. 9 West Virginia.

 

Now you know about the Gators and knowledge is power.

Go Cats.


Fun with the new secondary Wildcat logo

new-logo

The overall reaction to the University of Kentucky’s new secondary Wildcat logo hasn’t been a positive one. For the most part, fans seem to be pretty displeased with the new design.

Many say it’s a blatant rip of other Wildcat logos, namely Kansas State; while others didn’t see a need in adopting a new logo at all.

Personally, I like the new logo, although I didn’t think I would when I caught a glimpse of it last night. It’s already growing on me and I think many of you will be able to say the same as UK gradually incorporates it into more and more things.

No matter which side of the discussion you’re on, it is here to stay and I think we should all have a little fun with it tonight. So let’s do that by poking fun at our own favorite team’s new “fierce” Wildcat…

 

It kind of looks like the East High School logo in High School Musical.

So I’m told. I’ve never seen High School Musical.

It also looks the ThunderCats logo.

Or…

Maybe a bottle of Fireball.

I don’t see that one as much, but it was a popular comparison today.

SBNation compared it to a staple remover.

@SBNationCFB

This one may be my favorite.

Another one that made me laugh is the blowdryer effect.

blowdry

But I think we can all agree…

It’s definitely two birds in a loving embrace.

lover-birds


You have to feel for Trey Lewis, Damion Lee and the UofL players

uofl-team

I’m all for Louisville’s suffering, but Trey Lewis and Damion Lee do not deserve the punishment handed to them. No one on that roster does, as far as we know. The violations that led to this point occurred before this season, yet this team is the one taking the fall. And that is what’s wrong with the NCAA and these self-imposed sanctions.

Lewis and Lee, Louisville’s two graduate transfer seniors, met with the media today with their teammates standing behind them. Lee told reporters, “When you’re a little kid and you work so hard for something, and you get to that moment where you can finally have it and you can finally taste it, and it gets ripped away from you — it’s like you’ve lost your best friend.”

Both Lewis and Lee said they wouldn’t change anything, though, and their time at Louisville has been the best of their college careers.

It really is too bad they won’t get to experience what they transferred to Louisville to be a part of, although Dan Dakich isn’t quite as sympathetic as the rest of us. He tweeted, “Those 2 kids screwed their previous schools… Karma is a mutha.”

Dakich does have a point there, but it’s still unfortunate they’re taking the fall for other people’s actions.


Rick Pitino’s career has come full circle

pitino-circle

Rick Pitino began coaching at Kentucky in the midst of a postseason ban, before winning an NCAA title and bolting to the NBA.

Pitino then left the NBA to begin coaching at Louisville, where he won an NCAA title and earned a postseason ban.

It’s the perfect time to hang it up for Rick.

Full circle, right in the middle of Louisville athletics’ “Coming Full Circle” campaign.

Storybook ending.


Florida’s flight delayed out of Gainesville

It’s unlikely this will have any effect on tomorrow’s basketball game, but it is worth noting that Florida’s basketball team is off to a rough starting getting to Lexington. The Gators’ flight out of Gainesville was delayed, pushing the team’s arrival back until much later tonight.

The unexpected travel hiccup may cost Kentucky’s opponent its Friday night shootaround in Rupp Arena, which may mean nothing at all in the grand scheme of things.

Safe travels to the Gators whenever they finally #wheelsup.


Notes, Quotes and Video From John Calipari’s Pre-Florida Press Conference

cal-press-2-5

John Calipari met with the media today to update everyone on the status of his team following the loss at Tennessee and the upcoming game with Florida, a team Kentucky shares the SEC’s third place with.

Cal said of the Gators, “They’re really good. They’ve got good size. They have a 3-point shooting four. Their guards are good. Their defense is – they’re playing, they look like my old UMass teams. They’re giving you one tough shot. When you drive, you’ve got five guys near you and they’re rebounding with five guys. He’s doing a good job with that team. A really good job.”

More from Cal…

 

Practice has been hard and all about defense this week.

After giving up 71 points in 25 minutes to an 11-loss Tennessee team, the Cats returned to Lexington for what Calipari described as a “very hard” string of practices.

Today he said, “It was very hard. We made it more physical. I really zeroed in on our defense.”

The team practiced for about an hour and 20 minutes today before shutting things down for Florida. The hope was to create better habits defensively and in rebounding, where they’ve really struggled in recent losses.

Yesterday was a “rough-house practice.”

Tyler Ulis is his consultant. 

Cal said today he called Tyler Ulis into his office and asked him, “What are you seeing? What about this guy? What about that guy? How do we help this? How do we help that?” He also asked for ideas and, “How’s the team?”

Ulis told him, “I’m good and as long as I’m good, I’ll get these guys right.”

He is coaching Jamal Murray on shot selection everyday.

Cal is encouraging Murray to play in a straight line, but when things go wrong, Murray reverts back to his old ways.

“He has never played that way,” said Cal. “When you’re asking a guy to do stuff that will change who he is as a player but he’s never done it, if it gets rough, then they revert back to what they know best.”

Skal Labissiere is getting better, but Cal can’t do it for him.

He acknowledged that Labissiere has been better lately and will have a good opportunity to continue his progression tomorrow, but only Labissiere can do it. Teaching him and coaching him up can only take him so far.

Cal said, “Look, we can teach, we can challenge, we can raise the bar; at the end of the day you’ve gotta go in there and perform. I can’t do it for you. I can’t fight for you. I can’t battle for you. I can cover for you; I can say it’s my fault. But at the end of the day you’ve got to get in there and you’ve got do it, and he’s getting closer.”

Isaiah Briscoe has to avoid getting fouled.

Cal said Briscoe is the only person on the team who will get tough around the basket. We see it when he rips a rebound away from the bigs, including some of his own teammates, to put the ball back up and in. He’s also done well defensively, although not against Tennessee, and he really wants to win.

But Kentucky can’t afford to send Briscoe to the line. He has to learn to pass or get his layup off when he drives inside, not look to draw contact. That’s part of the self-evaluation Cal asks of Briscoe and everyone else on his team.

So how does Briscoe avoid the line when teams are looking to foul him late in games?

“Run up the court. Run. Get off the court. Run. Just outrun the guy. ‘He’s trying to foul me.’ ‘Run faster than him. Don’t get fouled.’ ”

Hear for yourself…


Kentucky opened up at -4.5 against Florida

In all this new uniform and new logo and Louisville postseason ban talk we haven’t had a lot of time to discuss tomorrow’s home game with the Florida Gators.

The line for that game was released earlier today and the Cats opened at -4.5 out in Las Vegas. It has since climbed all the way to -6, which suggests people with money and people who know gambling like Kentucky to win.

As always, gamble responsibly and never let your bookie know your home address. If your bookie does know your home address, I hope you’re caught up on those payments or have a high tolerance for pain.


Jerry Tipton fired a shot back at John Calipari today

cal-jerry

John Calipari and The Herald-Leader’s Jerry Tipton will occasionally go back and forth with one another during a press conference, like boys do. Just some playful, harmless banter while talking sports. No big deal.

But today got vicious when Calipari told Tipton that Kentucky can lose to anyone in the country.

Tipton fired back with, “And you’re proving that.”

BODY BAG!!!

Here’s he whole clip with Cal’s response:


Texas A&M game set for 6:30 pm tip

ESPN has announced the start time for Kentucky’s upcoming game at Texas A&M. The Saturday, February 20 contest will get a 6:30 pm tip in College Station. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The network also confirmed the 7 pm start time for Kentucky’s home game with Tennessee on
Thursday, February 18. It will be also televised on regular ol’ ESPN.

Go Cats.


Updated Bracketology released today

bracketology-update

There is still a lot of regular season basketball left before Selection Sunday but this is how the bracket projects as of today.

The tournament will be tough to predict this year but you have to like the odds for a team not named Louisville. Definitely a heavy favorite at this point.


CJ Conrad says new uniforms are much lighter and bring energy to program

conrad-uni

Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad was the third model at today’s unveiling, wearing the new cool gray alternate uniform, my personal favorite.

Conrad believes the new uniforms are much lighter than last year’s and they will bring energy to the program.

He also thinks JoJo Kemp was the best of the three models.


Louisville to announce self-imposed postseason ban

A 1:30 pm press conference has been called at the University of Louisville involving President Ramsey, Tom Jurich and Rick Pitino. KSR is hearing the Cards are will announce a self-imposed postseason ban for the current season.

Of course the timing of the announcement is very strategic. Friday before Super Bowl weekend? They know what they’re doing over there. Put this out when the national media is in San Francisco with Peyton and Cam.

Personally, I’m really going to miss watching Kentucky beat Louisville in the tournament this year.


Nailed it.

@SBNationCFB

Someone at the SB Nation offices might’ve uncovered the inspiration behind Kentucky football’s new secondary logo.

You’re busted, Nike. Caught red handed. Your design team is a fraud. Kentucky paid you thousands and thousands of dollars to add eyeballs to a staple remover.


Courtney Love is a big fan of his team’s new uniforms

love-uniforms

UK linebacker Courtney Love was the first to take the stage at this morning’s new uniform unveiling as he modeled the new blue football uniform.

Afterward, he chatted with KSR about what he likes about the new gear and which of the three new color schemes is his favorite.

Love even threw out a shout-out to Secretariat, which surprised me considering he is a transfer from Nebraska and grew up in northern Ohio.

Check it out:


JoJo Kemp talks about his new uniform and modeling career

jojo-model

JoJo Kemp took a second to speak to KSR after working the UK Athletics runway this morning in the new uniform unveiling. I asked him why he was chosen to be one of the three models and what he likes most about the new look.

He told me he loves the new all-white uni and cleats. “I can’t wait to put these bad boys on in a game and go break a long one,” he said.

Hear more from JoJo below: