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February 17th, 2018

UK vs. Alabama LIVE BLOG

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Live Blog UK vs. Alabama LIVE BLOG
 


How Kentucky Can Contain Colin Sexton

Marvin Gentry | USA Today

Collin Sexton is the best player Kentucky will face all year.  Period.

Considered the second-best point guard prospect in the 2018 NBA Draft, Sexton is a physical force with the ball in his hands.  He scores 18.3 points per game in a variety of ways.  He will make 34.1 percent of his three-pointers, then go dunk on your face (his McDonald’s AA Game dunk contest victory is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in person).

Slowing down Sexton will not be easy.  Here are Kentucky’s options:

Hamidou Diallo

Diallo is undoubtedly Kentucky’s best perimeter defender.  He has length that bothers opponents and can match Sexton’s physicality.  However, there are a few problems you could run into by starting Diallo on Sexton.

Diallo is in the middle of a mind-numbing slump.  Against Auburn he picked up two quick fouls guarding Auburn’s Bryce Brown, which forced Diallo to the bench.  When he re-entered the game, he was not the same.  Starting Diallo on Sexton could just dig Diallo into a deeper hole.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The most-likely option isn’t a bad one, but it isn’t that great either.  Shai just doesn’t have the physicality to match Sexton’s aggressiveness.  Quade Green has the physicality and attitude to go toe-to-toe with Sexton, but he also struggles to defend stationary chairs.

The 1-3-1

John Calipari unveiled a new zone defense against Auburn, and the Tigers didn’t know what the hell to do.  Today the Cats won’t have the benefit of surprise, but it might be their best alternative.  The 1-3-1 takes away the quick three-pointer from the wing that John Petty loves.  The catch: UK’s middle man must be quick to help when Alabama inevitably uses a ball screen to free Sexton.

Don’t

The truth of the matter is Kentucky doesn’t have any great option to beat Sexton.  He’s going to get his.  What Kentucky must do is force everybody else to beat them.  The Cats can’t let Petty get hot from three (he hit seven in a win vs. Auburn).  Kentucky must cool down Donta Hall, the forward who has 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the last two games.

Kentucky probably can’t contain Sexton, but they can still win if they can shut down Sexton’s teammates.

 


WATCH: Episode One of "Inside the Madness: Kentucky Basketball"

Go behind-the-scenes to see the story of the 2017-18 Kentucky Wildcats by watching episode one of “Inside the Madness: Kentucky Basketball.”

Before you watch Kentucky take on Alabama, see how Kentucky started the season with a road trip to Madison Square Garden to play Monmouth.


What’s on the Line vs. Alabama

A Quadrant One Win

A win over Alabama would be a bigger resume boost than Kentucky’s 29-point win over Louisville.  The Crimson Tide are currently ranked No. 30 in the RPI, which falls within the Quadrant 1 parameters.  Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament resume is solid, thanks to plenty of wins that fall in Quadrant Two.  Another Quadrant One win would all but lock up an NCAA Tournament bid.

Wednesday Night at the SEC Tournament?

The fall to the bottom is not as far as you think.  Kentucky is just two games ahead of the worst teams in the league.  Entering today Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and South Carolina are 4-9, tied for the worst record in the SEC.  A lot will happen between now and the end of the year to change things, but a UK loss and wins from Georgia and LSU today would place Kentucky into the fourth Wednesday night slot.

A Rare Rupp Arena Loss to Alabama

Kentucky is 56-10 against the Crimson Tide in Lexington.  The last time Kentucky lost to Alabama at home, Mark Gottfried roamed the sidelines.  Tubby Smith’s 2006 team fell 64-68 thanks to Jermareo Davidson’s 28 points.  You probably don’t remember that name, but you probably do remember Ronald Steele; he was Bama’s second-leading scorer with 14 points.

An Even Rarer Losing Streak

Kentucky’s current four-game losing streak is rare.  It’s just the seventh since Adolph Rupp took over the program.  Rupp and Tubby Smith never lost four-straight games.

If Kentucky falls to Alabama and makes it five straight losses, it’s “Kentucky’s Shame” bad.  There have been just two five-game losing streaks in the history of UK and they occurred in back-to-back seasons.  Kentucky lost six straight in February of 1989 as pressure mounted on Eddie Sutton in the midst of an NCAA investigation that would cost Sutton his job and keep UK out of the NCAA Tournament for the next two years.  Playing with a piecemeal team, Rick Pitino lost five straight in 1990.

Kentucky fans cringe when they think of the embarrassment that took place in 1989.  This team does not deserve to be associated with that time, and that’s why they can’t afford to lose five straight.


Listen to the KSR Pregame Show at 11:30!

Everybody stop what you are doing.  It’s almost time to listen to the KSR Pregame Show.  Find an AM dial and turn it to 630 WLAP as soon as possible.  If you don’t have an old-fashioned radio, iHeart Radio has you covered.

You can’t afford to miss the shenanigans between Matt, Ryan and Drew ahead of Kentucky’s match-up with the Alabama Crimson Tide. .


Pregame Scouting: Alabama Crimson Tide

Wednesday night’s loss at Auburn, on paper at least, shouldn’t be a low point in any team’s season. A team with an average record lost at a top 10 team in a game that was relatively close throughout. Enter in the fact that Kentucky had lost three straight before the Auburn game, and the loss becomes what is hopefully rock bottom for these young Wildcats. I’ve told myself this year that I wouldn’t waste time moping about individual losses, so I’ll move on to today’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

There is some disagreement as to what Kentucky needs to do to keep themselves out of the NIT this year. However, most would agree in saying that a win over Alabama puts Kentucky in the driver’s seat and they would then control their own destiny moving forward. I’ve been saying since before the loss at Texas A&M, that Kentucky would just need to defend their home court and they’d be fine come Selection Sunday. Today’s game is the first of three remaining home games, with the other two being against Missouri and Ole Miss.

Alabama Head Coach Avery Johnson has invigorated the Crimson Tide with energy and a high talent level in only a short time there. The Crimson Tide have been up and down this season, with highs coming in wins Oklahoma, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee, but also lows in losses to Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and UCF. Let’s take a look at Alabama’s projected starting lineup for this afternoon.


#2 Collin Sexton, Freshman Guard, 6’3″

Collin Sexton is one of the highest rated recruits to ever commit to Alabama for basketball. Sexton was a top 10 player in nearly every recruiting service’s rankings, and he has immediately become one of the best player’s in the country. Sexton won the McDonald’s All-America Game Jam Fest Dunk Contest this past summer.

The freshman phenom is widely regarded as a sure-fire one and done, and he has the stats to back up those claims. Sexton leads the Crimson Tide in points at 18.3 per game and assists at 3.5 per game. His scoring is good for third in the Southeastern Conference. He’s also grabbing 3.7 rebounds per game, swiping one steal, and hitting 34.1% of his three point shots on the year.

Starting at the point guard position and as a very ball-dominant player, Sexton is going to be an absolute chore for Kentucky to defend throughout today’s game. There are essentially two schools of thought when defending a player of this caliber. One is to throw everything you have at him, including double teams and ball denials, forcing every other player to beat you. Two, and I think the one that Kentucky will use, is to let him take his man, most likely Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and don’t provide too much off help. Force Sexton and only Sexton to beat you by himself, while not letting any of the other four players contribute.

#0 Donta Hall, Junior Forward, 6’9″

Donta Hall is the lone upperclassmen in the starting lineup for Avery Johnson, surrounded by two sophomores and two freshmen. The Alabama native was the top player in the state coming out of high school and was an ESPN Top 100 recruit. Last year against the Cats in two games, Hall totaled 9 points and 6 rebounds.

The junior is a physically intimidating presence in the paint for the Crimson Tide. He’s ranked 5th in the conference and first on the team in rebound at 7.2 per game. He’s also third in the SEC at 2.3 blocks per game. Hall is scoring 11.4 points per game and has the highest field goal percentage in the SEC at 74.5%, but only shoots 57.7% from the free throw line.

At 6’9″ and 232 pounds, Hall will match up at the four position with Kentucky’s PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Wenyen Gabriel, depending on the lineup. Kentucky throws three very athletic forwards at him, but they must stay out of foul trouble to be able to utilize that athleticism advantage.

#23 John Petty, Freshman Guard, 6’5″

John Petty was the second highly touted freshman in the most recent recruiting class for Avery Johnson. He was a top 30 player in the class and had a 5-star ranking out of Mae Jemison High School in Hunstville, Alabama. His hair resembles Gilgeous-Alexander’s from the beginning of the season, except much larger and unkempt.

The freshman has been the definition of a streaky shooter throughout this season. His free throw percentage sat near 50% for a lot of the year, but has now grown to nearly 64%, while he shoots 38.1% from three. It is feast or famine for Petty, as he’s made 3 or more threes 11 times this season, hitting 10 of them in a game once, but has also made one or less in 8 games. He’s averaging 10.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on the year.

This match up is huge for Kentucky today. Petty most likely plays the shooting guard position for the Crimson Tide, meaning he’ll match up with Hamidou Diallo. As much as Diallo hustles and as hard as he’s trying to play well, it has been more than a struggle for him lately, to the point where he can’t be on the floor in the second half of a close game. Today more so than any game this year ,the Cats absolutely must have a smart game from Diallo, not necessarily a huge scoring game, but a smart game. Limiting turnovers on offense and limiting Petty’s shooting will be key today.

#12 Dazon Ingram, Sophomore Guard, 6’5″

Dazon Ingram should forever be remembered, to Kentucky fans, as the recruit who picked Alabama over Kentucky….except he didn’t have a Kentucky scholarship offer, so he picked Alabama over no one. Drew Franklin’s post from his commitment day simply stated, “the classic example of a recruit wanting Kentucky on his final list when, in reality, he never had an offer,” and it was the absolute truth. Nevertheless, Ingram has been a solid player for the Crimson Tide in his time there, despite being injured for most of his freshman season, and eventually redshirting.

The redshirt sophomore was the best player on last year’s Alabama team, but has taken a bit of a backseat to the two talented freshmen guards. Ingram is currently averaging 10 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He’s shooting 23.7% from three this year, down from his 42.9% from deep last season. He played well against Kentucky twice last year finishing with a combined 29 points and 12 rebounds over two games.

Ingram played the point guard slot for a lot of last season, but as moved to more of a small forward this season. At 6’5″ and 207 pounds, he doesn’t have the height of most forwards, but he has the strength to keep from being bodied around. Similar to Auburn, this is a game that Kevin Knox should be able to get the ball in or near the paint and work from there.

#4 Daniel Giddens, Sophomore Center, 6’11”

Daniel Giddens has started 16 games this season, but is splitting his playing time with fellow big man Braxton Key. Giddens actually started his career at Ohio State but transferred after one season, sat out last year, and now is back in action. Giddens was a top 50 player coming out of high school and the potential to be a stud is still there.

Neither of the two starting big men are giving Alabama jaw-dropping numbers, but they both are doing what is asked of them. Giddens is averaging 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and blocking 1.2 shots, while Key is averaging 6.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Key has hit 10 of his 39 attempted threes this season.

These two players provide different roles for Avery Johnson. Giddens is a big body that can be a force in the paint, while Key has the ability to play on the perimeter some, while stepping away to defend or take a jump shot. Kentucky center Nick Richards has been steadily improving, but it has been masked by the losing streak. If Richards can continue to make open layups, not foul, and pull down strong rebounds, he is doing his job for the Wildcats.


Go Cats. Beat Crimson Tide.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


GAMEDAY: Kentucky’s Season Defining Match-Up with Alabama

Now or Never

Kentucky is running out of time to turn around the season.  Throughout Kentucky’s four-game losing streak, the Cats have been close.  In each game they’ve shown signs that they’ve turned a new page, yet every time they appear to take a step forward, they go right back to where they started.  Whether its offensive ineptitude or mistakes down the stretch, John Calipari’s team has failed to put together a complete game.

“A bunch of these games, it’s not that they were taken (away), it’s that they were given (away). And we’ve gotta get out of that mode,” Cal said yesterday.

Kentucky can’t afford to give Alabama anything.  Led by the excellent freshman backcourt combination of Colin Sexton (18.3 ppg, 3.5 apg) and John Petty (10.8 ppg, 38% 3FG), Avery Johnson’s Crimson Tide have won their last two games by a combined 43 points.

If Kentucky can’t contain Alabama to snap the four-game losing streak, it’s hard to see a scenario where the season is still salvageable.  Today is the day UK must leave it all on the line, or risk losing the fan base for good.

Tyrese Maxey on Campus

Today’s game has a little more on the line with Tyrese Maxey in town.  The nation’s second-ranked point guard is in Lexington for an unofficial visit this weekend, his second UK game this season.  If Kentucky can put on a good show, Calipari will be in great position to land another great point guard.

TV, Radio, Vegas

TV — A 2:00 tip-off on CBS with Andrew Catalon and Steve Lappas on the call.

Radio — KSR Pregame Show on 630 WLAP at 11:30. Hear Leach and Pratt on the UK Sports Network, Sirius-137 and XM-190.

Vegas — Kentucky -4.5

Today’s Tale of the Tape

Murray and Fox’s All-Star Appearances

De’Aaron Fox and Jamal Murray were the first of ten Wildcats to take the Staples Center court at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game.  In defense of his 2017 Rising Stars MVP crown, Murray had 21 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in a 155-124 victory for Team World.  Fox played 16 minutes as a Team USA reserve and finished the night with 4 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds.

Murray will return to the court for tonight’s Skills Challenge.  Devin Booker will try take the 3-Point Shooting title from Klay Thompson.  Coverage begins at 8:00 on TNT.

College Basketball on TV

Time Game Network
Noon Texas at #23 Oklahoma ESPN
Noon Syracuse at Miami CBS
Noon Providence at Butler Fox
1:00 Iowa State at Kansas State ESPNU
2:00 #2 Michigan State at Northwestern Fox
3:30 #10 Auburn at South Carolina SEC
4:00 #21 Texas A&M at Arkansas ESPN
4:00 Florida at Vanderbilt ESPN2
4:30 #3 Villanova at #4 Xavier Fox
6:00 #20 West Virginia at #13 Kansas ESPN
6:00 #18 Tennessee at Georgia SEC
8:00 Oklahoma State at TCU ESPN2
8:15 #14 North Carolina at Louisville ESPN
10:15 Oregon at UCLA ESPN

Presidents’ Day sale at the KSR Shop

Spend your weekend stocking up on new gear from the KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded. Take advantage of their big Presidents’ Day sale! Receive up to 40% off on shopksr.com.

Check out the KSR pullovers, UK framed prints, Kentucky jewelry, kitchen items, KSR and UK polos, hats, and much more! Sale ends Monday at midnight.

[Presidents’ Day sale at the KSR Shop]


February 16th, 2018

In five short years, Vince Marrow has gone from “Stoops’ close friend” to Kentucky football icon

When Mark Stoops announced the hire of Vince Marrow back in December of 2012, his credentials didn’t immediately jump off the page. Or ever, for that matter.

Marrow had been a graduate assistant with Nebraska under head coach Bo Pelini, where he looked over the tight ends unit and eventually helped recruit when associate head coach Barney Cotton was unable to travel while recovering from surgery.

Before that, he served as a tight ends coordinator for two NFL Europe teams, the University of Toledo, and the Omaha Night Hawks, and was also a head coach for Springfield High School in Holland, OH. He played in the NFL from 1992-1995, and then overseas until 1998. He even played in the lone season of the XFL begun by WWE’s Vince McMahon in 2001.

Stoops and Marrow had known each other since before they were 10 years old, and played together at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio. At first glance, it looked like the newly-hired Kentucky head coach was handing out a favor for a longtime family friend.

Five years later, Vince Marrow is the most valuable element of the Kentucky football program.

“Our logo right now probably the last three years has been the second-most dominant logo recruiting in Ohio,” Marrow said on National Signing Day last Wednesday.

He and the Kentucky Wildcats had just earned a signature from four-star linebacker Chris Oats over Ohio State, the fifth UK signee from the state of Ohio.

Bill Greene, an Ohio recruiting insider for 247 Sports, said despite a hard late push from the Buckeyes, Oats’ relationship with Marrow ultimately won out in the end.

“I always felt they were in good shape when Oats described his relationship with Marrow as a father/son relationship,” Greene said. “I never heard him talk that way about any other head coach or any other assistant coach at any other school. Even when I thought Ohio State might be able to win this one, that always stuck with me.”

Ohio recruiting analyst Andrew Lind reported similar information when the tide started turning blue for Oats, saying Kentucky flat out won the recruiting battle with OSU, with Marrow being one the key reason.

“While questions about his grades will surely be tossed around as a reason why he didn’t end up at Ohio State, Oats’ decision will be more so about his relationship with Marrow and the rest of Kentucky’s staff,” he said.

This is a sentiment we have heard time and time again from talented recruits, specifically from the state of Ohio.

Five of the top 35 prospects from the state of Ohio signed with Kentucky in the 2018 recruiting class. Six of the top 30 prospects from Ohio signed with Kentucky in 2017. In 2016, 10 of Ohio’s top 56 recruits ended up in Lexington.

Since arriving at Kentucky back in 2012, Marrow has been the lead recruiter on 37 Kentucky signees from the state of Ohio, with 16 of those prospects being listed as a four-star by at least one recruiting service.

When Kentucky’s 2014 recruiting class finished as a consensus top-25 group, and easily the highest rated in school history, attention turned toward UK’s lead recruiter. In 2015, Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines did their best to steal the talented recruiting coordinator away from Kentucky, but a hefty raise and promotion kept him in blue and white.

When whispers of other schools laying the groundwork to make another run at him spread last March, Kentucky signed Marrow to a three-year contract extension to keep him at UK as the recruiting coordinator through 2020, including another pay raise worth roughly $500,000 a year.

And even that may be an underpay.

You see, what Vince Marrow does at Kentucky on the surface is appreciated, but that’s not where he holds his incredible value with the program. What he does behind the scenes, however, is where he has become a truly special talent.

He has looked every elite program in the eye while crossing paths on the recruiting trail without flinching and has won at an unprecedented rate. He backs down to no one. Like we’ve seen with Oats, Lynn Bowden, Josh Paschal, CJ Conrad, and plenty others, Marrow competed with the big dogs and won out on National Signing Day. And when those same elite programs come knocking on the door in the weeks leading up to Signing Day, he almost always manages to hold them off.

Even if he loses a recruiting battle initially, he doesn’t give up there. Just this past year, Kentucky signee Nick Lewis committed to Washington State early in the recruiting process, and Marrow called him immediately afterward to tell him he’d end up in blue and white regardless. After constantly prying and digging, he got the 6-foot-9, 348-pound lineman to visit Lexington, and he flipped his commitment almost immediately after.

If Marrow gets his foot in the door with a four or five-star talent, that player will not commit to any school without thinking twice about the Wildcats. It’s a fact. The mutual respect gained is something that never fades, and it has paid off in the end on several occasions. According to multiple sources, Marrow also keeps tabs on former top recruits in case a potential transfer comes to fruition (keep an eye on a former four-star receiver that had Kentucky in his final two from several years back.)

Family. Community. Priority.

When Marrow gets involved with a recruit, he’s all in. When you see some of the other top programs in the nation recruit, they place players on the backburner as second or third options in case other situations arise. They’ll “offer” a scholarship, and then tell them to their face to hold off on visiting or making a commitment until closer to Signing Day. With Kentucky’s top recruiter, every player is a priority, and they are treated as such. Recruits and their families respect that.

“He makes every recruit feel like they are the No. 1 prospect on Kentucky’s board,” said one former top prospect and Kentucky signee. “Once they’re committed, Coach Marrow just takes it to the next level. He creates a family atmosphere that you don’t see anywhere else.”

Even still, everyone knows Vince Marrow is an extraordinary recruiter. He has made raking in four-star talent the norm, and Kentucky fans expect a solid number of them each recruiting class as a result. But what else does he do for the school to separate himself from the pack?

One source close to a Kentucky player that made an NFL decision this offseason said Marrow was easily the difference maker.

“You don’t understand what it’s like to be recruited by Coach Marrow, you really don’t,” they said. “(When he was making his decision), it felt like you could trust him with every aspect of the situation wholeheartedly. He laid everything out, pros and cons, and (the player) was able to make the best decision for him. It truly felt like he was being recruited to Kentucky all over again. (He) felt special.”

Marrow gave his pitch, and made him feel wanted at Kentucky, but didn’t force the issue. He didn’t do what was in the school’s best interest or his own, it was entirely on what was best for the player, and his family appreciated that.

It was a decision that was done the right way, with the right resources to help.

Following Kentucky’s loss in the TaxSlayer Bowl back in 2016, Boom Williams announced his decision to enter the NFL Draft, one that shocked no one. Williams had always loved the spotlight and had dreams of playing in the NFL, and it was no secret he wanted to get there as soon as possible. In the decision making process in the weeks leading up to the bowl game, Vince Marrow put in countless hours of work talking to NFL scouts and teams about Williams’ draft stock, knowing full well he had all but decided he was going pro. Still though, like he had promised to do with every other Wildcat since he got to Kentucky, he went the extra mile.

After receiving draft grades of anywhere from the fifth round to undrafted, Marrow approached Williams’ family about the numbers and strongly advised him to reevaluate his decision. Williams’ family talked to their own people and came to the conclusion that Boom would be selected in the “first or second round,” and went forward with the draft preparation process.

Williams went undrafted and has yet to play a down in the NFL.

If tensions rise in the locker room, Marrow is the one to neutralize the problem. If a player is upset with his current status on the team and threatens to transfer, Marrow talks them back from the ledge. When Kentucky needs to seal the deal with a recruit on the fence, Marrow delivers the knockout blow.

In all aspects of the game, Vince Marrow has been Kentucky football’s most valuable element since he arrived on campus back in 2012. He has taken recruiting to unforeseen heights, developed an inseparable bond with both recruits and current players, and overall, helped build excitement and expectation of success around the program we haven’t seen in years.

In five short years, Marrow has gone from being thought of as nothing more than Mark Stoops’ close friend to becoming a Kentucky football icon.


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

McDowell


The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


You can be a part of McDowell’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.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.

#10 BigBlueSanta


I’m so mad I haven’t used this in an article yet.

#9 J


Sounds about right.

#8 Cathy Cahill


The funnest of facts.

#7 Fake TG ThunderShuck


It’s brilliant.

#6 Seth Lieber


The perfect name.

#5 TJ in the 606


This could be it.

#4 Lincoln Rowe


Hey, I like your sweatshirt.

#3 The Max Cramer


That’s one more for Billy.

#2 Lee Grace


A true fan.

#1 Brian Carpenter


They planned it.


WATCH: Kentucky steals the spotlight with BBNBA commercial to kick off NBA All-Star Weekend

The BBNBA steals the show again.

To kick off NBA All-Star Weekend, UK got their own commercial to show off all of the former Cats in the NBA from their time suiting up in blue and white.

All 26 of them.

Check out this incredible Kentucky commercial:

Jamal Murray and De’Aaron Fox are currently competing in the Rising Stars Game, Devin Booker will participate in the 3-Point Contest tomorrow night, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis will play in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

If DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall didn’t get injured a few weeks ago, they would also be representing the BBN on Sunday.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

#LaFamilia


Isaiah Briscoe scores 50 points in Estonia/Latvia All-Star Game

Isaiah Briscoe wasn’t seen as a dominant scorer at the college level, but he changed that narrative tonight.

In the Estonia/Latvia All-Star Game, the former Kentucky point guard dropped 50 points and took home MVP honors.

Here he was holding the trophy:

He averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists his sophomore year at Kentucky, but has upped his game for BC Kalev-Cramo in Estonia this season.

He’s currently averaging 18 points, four assists, and four rebounds in just 26 minutes per contest.

The end goal for Briscoe is to end up back in the NBA, so hopefully he uses this performance to build toward that goal.

Solid work, Zay!


Kentucky’s Simidele Adeagbo becomes first African woman in history to compete in skeleton event in the Winter Olympics

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

A Kentucky Wildcat made history on the Olympic stage this afternoon.

UK graduate Simidele Adeagbo became the first Nigerian, African and/or black woman to compete in the Skeleton event in the history of the Winter Olympics.

Despite finishing 20th overall, Adeagbo managed the third-fastest push time of the day at 5.06 seconds and a personal best down time of 54.19 seconds.

Check out the historical run from the Wildcat below:

Adeagbo will have another chance in the Skeleton event tomorrow afternoon in heats three and four.

Congratulations to the former Wildcat on the incredible accomplishment!


Kentucky Puts Their Best Foot Forward On Opening Day

UK Athletics

Nick Mingione wants to do things at Kentucky that have never been done before. The second-year coach did just that on Friday when he led his team to their first season-opening win under his leadership with a 6-1 win over Wofford. Luke Heyer, Kole Cottam, and Tristan Pompey all hit home runs as the Cats won their first opening game since 2015.

The SEC’s leader in hitting last season, UK wasted no time putting up a crooked number against starting pitcher Adam Scott. After Kole Cottam and Troy Squires reached base in the second, senior Luke Heyer launched a three-run home run to give UK their first runs of 2018.

While the UK offense was rolling, junior pitcher Sean Hjelle was settling in on the mound. The reigning SEC Pitcher of the Year retired the first nine batters of the game. Hjelle showed mastery of his three pitches early. Wofford did not manage a base hit until the fourth inning against Hjelle.

The BatCats kept their foot on the gas early. Tristan Pompey and Cottam launched home runs in the third and fourth innings respectively Scott had issues keeping the ball in the park. Ben Aklinski added an RBI single in the sixth as UK scored in four straight innings to build a 6-0 lead over Wofford.

 

Wofford could never find consistent success on offense against UK’s staff. Mack Nathanson delivered both of the Terriers’ base hits on Friday, including a double to score their only run of the game in the sixth inning.

Opening Day is all about putting your best foot forward. UK’s pitching staff did just that. Hjelle cruised thru six innings of one-run ball to pick up his first win of the season. The junior pitcher allowed one run on two hits while striking out three on 83 pitches. With this being the first start of 2018, Mingione pulled Hjelle after the sixth inning to preserve his arm early this season.

After Hjelle’s solid start, the UK bullpen finished the job with three dominant innings. Redshirt freshman Carson Coleman struck out five in two innings of work in his collegiate debut before senior Alec Maley struck out the side in the ninth to finish off a 6-1 win over Wofford.

An Opening Day win is not a definite marker for a successful season. But it can be used to set the tone early in a season. We will see if the momentum carries over when Kentucky returns to action tomorrow in a doubleheader against USC Upstate. The first game will be at 1 ET with game two following at 5. Both games will be broadcast on the USC Upstate Facebook Live.

 


Hey Kentucky! checks in with the UK Cheerleaders before they head to the Winter Olympics

Kentucky’s National Champion Cheerleading squad is about to head to South Korea for the Winter Olympics, where they will represent Team USA.

Before they headed out, Hey Kentucky! got the chance to meet up with them at practice and find out a little more about their big trip.

Check out what they had to say:

Speaking of the Winter Olympics, a homemade curling video has gone viral, and it may make you want to sweep your house:

To watch the entire episode, take a look below:

Go Cats!