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January 27th, 2015

6 Side Effects of the Pursuit of Perfection

Don’t get me wrong: I am enjoying the hell out of this season. Starting with the tournament last year, the Kentucky fan base has been on the ride of our lives. An unexpected postseason run, players coming back, the Bahamas trip, and being #1 every single week has the BBN spoiled rotten, and through the Louisville game, it seemed like life couldn’t be better for Kentucky fans; however, as the wins continue to accumulate, I’d argue the mood has shifted a little bit. After a few close calls and routine routs, the remainder of conference play stretches before us with the SEC Tournament far off in the distance as a glittering reminder of when shit gets real.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed I’ve developed some new patterns. Side effects of the run, if you will. Read along and see if you recognize any of them.

1. The anxiety of being undefeated

40-0 is like the last brownie on the plate in the break room. No matter how much you try to avoid it or pretend you’re not thinking about it, it dominates your thoughts. Yes, Kentucky almost lost to Ole Miss and Texas A&M and oh my God, did it humble us. For like a day. Be real: you’re still thinking about it. I’m still thinking about it. As much as they deny it, I can guarantee you the players are still thinking about it.

The dream of going undefeated lingers over the Commonwealth like a high, wispy cloud; for now, it’s up there, not really bothering anyone yet, but as the season goes on and the Cats keep winning, it will grow and grow, until the point that when we reach the tournament, it’s this angry storm cloud that sends out bolts of anxiety every few hours. If UK is still undefeated come tournament time, this isn’t going to be like last season; there will be no unexpected outbursts of joy when we “upset” Wichita State. Beating Louisville will not just be the cherry on top. Each game will be torture, full of held breaths, high blood pressure, and quiet fist pumps until the very end, when we either cry (happy or sad) or just combust from the sheer stress of it all.

2. The nonstop internal debate: Who will beat us?

Whenever the topic of going undefeated comes up, I find myself going through the schedule to figure out who’s going to beat us. Let’s do it together this time:

  • at Missouri: Another game in a hostile road environ—whatever, we beat them by 49 two weeks ago, we will roll
  • Alabama: A team that could really catch us off gua—whatever, we beat them by 22 in Tuscaloosa, we will roll
  • Georgia: They’re ranked 27th in KenPom, could be a really tough–It’s in Rupp, not worried
  • at Florida: Always tough to play Florida at Florida–but they keep losing!
  • at LSU: Lost to them last year on the road–okay, mildly concerned about this one
  • South Carolina: Kept Kentucky on the ropes for a bit–LOL, whatever. We roll
  • at Tennessee: Could be a tough road game…if Tennessee was actually good
  • Auburn: Bruce Pearl! …ain’t gonna beat us on the night we retire Tony Delk’s jersey
  • at Mississippi State: Hostile road env–haha, no way. 
  • Arkansas: Qualls is a legit, they beat us twice last year. …slightly concerned about this one, but not really since it’s in Rupp
  • at Georgia: Legit team in a hostile road environment…has me mildly concerned about this one as well.  
  • Florida: Florida always plays us hard and Billy Donovan is a great coa—pfft, like we’re going to lose on Sam Malone, Brian Long, and Tod Lanter’s senior night
  • SEC Tournament: You never know what will happen! Look at the 2012 SEC Championship. Please, like we’re going to lose what will basically be three straight home games
  • NCAA Tournament: Anything can happen. Look at 2010. Too close to destiny, they will not lose.

3. Nitpicking/Finding things to worry about

With each win, Kentucky fans have less and less to complain about, which can be very disorienting for a fan base that thrives on criticism. Therefore, topics like how much playing time Derek Willis, our 11th man, gets dominate the conversation. People who don’t vote for Kentucky in the AP or Coaches’ polls become targets and for possibly the first time ever, we find ways to be angry at computerized rankings like the RPI. (How do they rank Kansas over Kentucky?! That computer is drunk.) Jerry Tipton is so desperate for something to criticize that he’s picking on little, lovable Ryan Lemond.

The thing they don’t tell you about being perfect is that sometimes, it’s kind of boring.

4. Ennui of the SEC slate

Maybe it’s because we started the season in such a world-crushing manner, beating Kansas so soundly that the BBN collapsed in a collective ball of giggles on the living room floor. Maybe it’s because we survived the emotionally-draining annual thumping of Louisville. Maybe it’s because otherwise horrible SEC teams turn it on and try to hack the ever-living pulp out of Kentucky and still can’t beat us. Whatever the reason, UK’s recent games have been, well, kind of boring. I hate to say it, but the lack of legit competition is making the SEC slate drag on. Aside from maaaaybe Florida at Florida or Arkansas, there aren’t very many “sexy” games coming up.

I’d ask “Is it March 13 yet,” but that defeats my next point…

5. Worrying you’re not in the moment enough

We make fun of Calipari for running some phrases in the ground, but if there’s one phrase we’ve parroted since March, it’s been “cherish this.” Because it’s true. Seasons like this don’t just grow on trees, and odds are a good number of these players will be gone after this season. I’m constantly worried I’m not “in the moment” enough this year. Cherishing wins like Kansas, UCLA, North Carolina, and Louisville were easy, but cherishing a win over, say, South Carolina, is a little less glamorous. “Remember that sick bounce pass from Tyler Ulis to Devin Booker? Man. That was beautiful.

By tournament time, I may just need to strap a GoPro to my head to capture it all.

6. Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Maybe it’s just the world we live in or maybe I’m just a cynic, but I’m a firm believer in “the other shoe.” Things just can’t go well all of the time. That’s not reality. So, in a season made of sunshine, brotherhood, and Devin Booker smiles, I’ve found myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Can you blame me? I’m a Kentucky fan. I’ve seen some things.

Maybe Alex Poythress’ injury was the other shoe and now we’re in the clear. Maybe me writing this article is the other shoe and the Cats will lose the next game just because. God, I hope that’s not the case. If so, it’s been nice knowing you all.


EKU football player injured in Richmond bar fight, three UK football players possibly involved

An Eastern Kentucky football player was injured in a bar fight in Richmond over the weekend and three UK players are in the middle of the finger pointing, though the extent of their involvement is unknown at this time.

What is known is Colton Scurry, an offensive lineman for the Colonels, was hospitalized with significant facial injuries after an altercation at Jerzee’s in Richmond. There is also an investigation into a related incident on campus, according to EKU.

KSR is hearing the three Wildcats believed to be involved are Drew Barker, Dorian Baker and Tymere Dubose, formerly of last season’s pellet gun incident.

We’ll have more as it comes out.

For now, Ugh.


Still can’t get over these Anthony Davis highlights

As posted in the News and Views post last night, Anthony Davis had a pretty good game against Philly. In just 31 minutes, Davis tallied 32 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals. He also went 12 of 19 from the pant and hit all eight from the line.

Sounds pretty good on paper, right? Well, its even more exciting when you watch the over six minutes of highlights he racked up. Here is a look at the actual highlights from the matchup.

 

@Sealey_KSR


John Wall to face Steph Curry in H-O-R-S-E at NBA All-Star Weekend

The NBA announced a new All-Star weekend competition today, pitting John Wall and Steph Curry against one another in a game of H-O-R-S-E. The All-Star game’s two starting point guards will go shot-for-shot in what they’re calling the ‘Degree Battle of the Game Changers.’

“Curry is having a phenomenal season, and is a great shooter, but there’s more to being a ‘Game Changer’ than throwing up three pointers,” John Wall said in today’s press release. “My skills reign supreme, not only in the east, but across the league and I’m looking forward to seeing what Curry brings to the court.”

For Wall, the entire competition will come down to whether or not dunks are allowed. If it’s just throwing up halfcourt shots, Curry wins this one easily. However, I’m sure the NBA kept that in mind when establishing the rules so Wall should be allowed to utilize his athleticism.

This has potential.


Calipari wants Willie Cauley-Stein to get fouled

WCS 2

Two years ago, if you had told me John Calipari would say he wants Willie Cauley-Stein to get fouled, I would’ve questioned Cal’s sanity. Willie shot 37 percent from the foul line as a freshman, then 48 percent last season as a sophomore. Those aren’t “go get fouled” numbers.

But today, Cal said he wants to see Willie be more aggressive with the ball and draw fouls inside.

“Catching it three or four feet from the goal and get fouled,” Cal said, when asked what Willie needs to do offensively. “Right now he’s made 85 percent of his free throws the last five or six games, whatever that is, so get fouled. Go in there and ball fake and get fouled.”

Defensively, Willie is about as good as one person can be. Cal said it’s like having a sixth defender out there and his ability to switch makes Kentucky’s pick-and-roll defense very good.

“He’s playing well. I mean, he still needs to do some stuff for us offensively, but I think he’s doing fine.”


Devin Booker still has love for Mizzou

boozer-mizzou

Missouri began recruiting Devin Booker when he was in middle school, long before Kentucky was knocking on his front door. His father is a basketball legend at Mizzou and Devin came very close to becoming a Tiger as well. But in the end, it was Kentucky, the best basketball decision.

“That’s what it came down to,” Booker said today. “We talked about it together forever, for days on days, and I just came up with the best decision for me.”

Though Kentucky was his choice and where he’s lighting it up this college basketball season, he hasn’t forgotten the school that was on him in the very beginning.

I still have a lot of love for Missouri,” said Booker. “They have a special place in my heart.

Watch Booker talk Mizzou, playing against old men, and defense in today’s interview. Marcus Lee had some things to say, too:


Coach Cal on needing a loss: “It depends how we would deal with it.”

cal-sc

During his pre-Mizzou press conference today, Coach Cal was asked if he would prefer a loss before the postseason. Cal said it doesn’t matter because he doesn’t know how his guys would respond, so it depends. He also took the opportunity to remind us that the December 2011 loss to Indiana was better for Kentucky in the long run.

“It doesn’t matter. Again, how, it all depends. It depends on how we would deal with it. I know at Memphis what we did: we took that game, we cut it up, and our kids went to another level. The Indiana game, was that lucky for us or lucky for them? Was that good for us or good for them? From that point, my team went (raises hand above head) there, but you know what, it was pretty good for (Indiana). The problem was (Indiana) had to face us again and it wasn’t so lucky that they had beaten us early. There was no way my team wasn’t going to win that game.”

Cal also said the undefeated talk hasn’t come up in the locker room and it’s not on his mind, although I have a hard time believing the latter.

 


LIVE STREAM of John Calipari’s Pre-Missouri Press Conference


You’ll never guess which team is No. 1 in ESPN’s new power rankings

Chet White | UK Athletics

Chet White | UK Athletics

Kentucky!

That’s right, the Kentucky Wildcats are sitting atop ESPN’s new college basketball power rankings, voted on by several ESPN personalities and released earlier today.

“The Wildcats are still rolling along, making life miserable for opposing offenses. They lead the nation in blocks and are second in points allowed,” the website reads.

Behind Kentucky you’ll find:

2.) Virginia
3.) Gonzaga
4.) Wisconsin
5a.) Arizona
5b.) Duke
7.) Kansas
8.) Villanova
9.) Notre Dame
10.) Utah

Reading about Kentucky being No. 1 never gets old.


Father and son arrested for assault of Louisville high school basketball coach

A father and son have been arrested for allegedly assaulting the Doss High School basketball coach following a loss to Trinity over the weekend.

Demetrius Franklin, the father of a Doss basketball player, has been accused of punching coach Tony Williams multiple times as Williams walked to the locker room after the game. The son, Daelyn Franklin, is also accused of joining in on the attack and striking Williams in the face.

The Franklins (no relation to me, that I’m aware of) claim Williams is the one who did the assaulting. They were arrested at the Hall of Justice in downtown Louisville while trying to take out a warrant on Williams.

[Wave 3: Father, son arrested following postgame assault of basketball coach]


Matthew Mitchell has a future as a kindergarten teacher

mitchell-tls

Matthew Mitchell has a future as a kindergarten teacher if his career as a women’s basketball coach and Bruno Mars impersonator do not work out. Coach Mitchell stopped by The Lexington School last Friday to talk to the young KinderKlasse minds.

Watch as he teaches them the Cats chant in this video below:

Coach Mitchell Expert Speaker! from TLS Website on Vimeo.


Mobile ticketing now available for Kentucky games

UK Athletics and Ticketmaster have partnered up to make the ticket-purchasing experience easier on Kentucky fans through a new mobile ticketing app. Fans can now avoid phone calls, long waits and the hassle of keeping up with paper tickets by doing all that stuff on their cellular device. Tickets can even be transferred from phone to phone on the occasion one cannot end a game.

Season ticket holders and fans who have ordered single game tickets through UK can access tickets on UKAthletics.com using their iPhone or Android devices. Those fans wishing to use mobile ticketing should log on to their My UK Account and select the corresponding event.

Mobile tickets can be scanned at all Rupp Arena entrances.

The new technology will also be available for football games next fall.


Cleveland Browns interested in Joker Phillips

Former UK head coach Joker Phillips may have a new job in football soon. According to the Orange and Brown Report, the Cleveland Browns have had several conversations with Phillips and they’re leaning toward a hire. Phillips will coach the wide receivers if the deal gets done.

First order of business if Joker gets the job: Tell Josh Gordon to stop smoking weed.


Let’s call John Feinstein (Tuesday Show Thread)

Big show today, Cats fans. We have an undefeated basketball team, National Signing Day is next week, Louisville is trying to copy KSR and John Feinstein thinks Virginia is the best basketball team in America. Tune in to the show and hear the guys call Feinstein to ask him why he’s the only media member to take Virginia over Kentucky. It’ll be good.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

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Flener’s Bachelor Running Diary: Episode 4 “Would You Rather?”

wouldyourather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to The Bachelor I’m here for three things. The cat fighting, the tears, and the delusion. While you can argue that those three things are one in the same, you probably shouldn’t. If you are here for an in depth review of what girl he should pick, go somewhere else. You won’t enjoy this. I have no interest in the final outcome of the show. The future happiness or despair of the contestants on this show is of no concern to me. He will pick someone, they will be apart “trying to make it work” while the show airs. They will appear happy at the reunion show, then you’ll see something like this or this a week or a month later. The format of this column, as always, will be a running diary of my thoughts throughout the show. There a lot of places to go for Bachelor commentary so let me thank you for choosing a sports website. Let’s get involved, what do you say?

 

Preview, Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3

 

I missed the first 15 minutes of the show because something went wrong with my DVR. One could also argue that something went right with my DVR.

I also watched Gone Girl right before this so my crazy girl awareness is on 100 right now. If you’ve never seen Gone Girl and you want to be able to trust women besides your Mother for the rest of your life DO NOT watch Gone Girl.

 

Since I missed the first 15 minutes, I asked you guys to help me fill in the blanks. You did not disappoint.

I guess not everything can be perfect about her.

 

8:15- The first thing I see is Kelsey complaining about being at a lake that is not as nice as the lakes in Michigan. Then God stung her with a bee in the sweet meat for her bad attitude. What is the sweet meat, you ask? The sweet meat is the inner thigh area between your knee and your groin. Quite possibly the most disgusting part of a male body, not so bad on the females.

8:18- “I’m a camping virgin and virgin camping” says Ashley I., a virgin. I would have said “I am NOT camping.” Because man do I love not camping. 

8:25- Ashley I. just called Kelsey fake. Reader (and friend) Josh had this to say…

*Insert fire emoji, cause she just got burned!

8:29- Ashley S. is back at it. She is singing songs that do not contain real words. Speaking of being back at it, Mackenzie is talking about aliens. Again.

8:34- Ashley S. then gets some time alone with Chris. If my DVR would have worked I would go back and get this word for word but the best I can do because Ashley S. does not speak actual english phrases normal people are familiar with is this : “What are you? What are you? I mean I know you’re a scorpio…” and then later she closes with this: “I love everything about you, and I hope that resonates within yourself tonight.” Who talks like this? If someone told me they hoped something resonated within myself tonight I would hope they were talking about tacos.

8:36- Kaitlyn got the group date rose. She had this to say “I’m so happy about this. And I’m drunk.” You know what, I appreciate the truth.

8:40- Ashley I. went to Chris’ tent and woke him up out of a dead sleep to tell Chris she was a virgin and then she did everything except tell Chris she was a virgin. They were really close talking too. Michael Kinney makes a great point…

 

8:45- Jade gets picked for the princess ball date and Ashley I. is salty because Jade is getting pampered by a crazy looking person with pink hair. Ashley I.’s thirstiness is unquenchable. I could have given her all the Citrus Cooler Gatorade I saw at the gas station yesterday and the girl would still be thirsty. And really the only reason I mentioned her thirstiness was so I could talk about Citrus Cooler Gatorade.  WHY CAN I NEVER FIND IT?!?! I see Citrus Cooler Gatorade once a presidential term. It is the best flavor and it’s not even close. Does Gatorade hate money? Does Gatorade hate me? Is Gatorade just trolling us? I almost bought all of it. If I had 3 wishes one would be for a lifetime supply of Citrus Cooler Gatorade. The other two wishes would be a billion dollars and for someone to tell me what the hell is wrong with Ashley S.

 

8:59- Ashley I. put on one of the extra dresses for the Cinderella date that she wasn’t invited to go on. That’d be like if I would’ve shown up to the game in South Carolina on Saturday in a Kentucky uniform and tried to start on the blue platoon.

9:05- They are pimping the Cinderella movie on the show tonight. First the dresses and now a commercial at the hour break. I know I’m not the demographic they are aiming for and I know that because under no circumstance am I going to see it. If you gave me a choice between locking me in a room with both Ashleys on this show or going to see Cinderella then lock the door pal.

9:09- Six girls got wedding dresses for a group date. Wedding dress girl from last season would’ve been all like “Nah it’s cool I brought my own.”

9:12- The girls get in a plane and fly to San Francisco in the wedding dresses. They all think they are going to do a fake wedding with Chris. They are not doing that at all. They are going to run a tough mudder course in a wedding dress. I’ll leave this quote from Becca here with no further explanation: “I gave up after the big balls.”

9:15-9:25 – Jillian wins the one on one date in the tough mudder challenge. Then she proceeded to talk about fitness and the gym for 30 minutes before she busted out the “Would You Rather” game. She asks Chris if he would rather have sex with a homeless person or abstain from sex for 5 years. Chris does not answer and then does not give Jillian a rose. I’ve played WYR. WYR is a fun game amongst close friends in the privacy of a car or a home. But “Would You Rather” is like middle school girls basketball. It’s fun for the participants but it’s not meant to be watched.

9:34- Ashley I. is going to try this “tell him I’m a virgin” thing again. She gets it out this time. Chris didn’t care. She thought Chris cared. So she cried. Ashley I. completely lost control tonight. She’s like Jessie Spano in the episode of Saved By the Bell where she took caffeine pills to stay up and study.

9:39- We find out Becca is also a virgin. The only difference is Becca is chill about it and not crying and hasn’t tried and failed two times to tell Chris this fact about herself. She is the anti-Ashley I. I think she even has real eyelashes and doesn’t pretend to be on dates she didn’t get invited to go on.

9:47- After Chris gets questioned by Britt about the way he is distributing roses, he walks into the room full of girls to assure them his has the right intentions and that if any of them didn’t believe it that they could go home. Mackenzie says “I don’t know whats going on. I’m super confused.” Considering she has talked about aliens more than once this season, I feel like that is something she could say almost all the time about every situation.

 

ROSE CEREMONY

-WHITNEY!! WHITNEY!! WHITNEY!!

-Carly and Megan get roses, which makes sense. They’ve spoken on camera this season.

-Samantha gets a rose, which does not make sense. She has not spoken on camera this season. I’m not kidding. I have not seen one clip of her talking to Chris or in an interview with producers.

-Mackenzie gets a rose. I think she understood this part, but I can’t be sure.

-Kelsey gets a rose. Kelsey also stars in the “next week on the Bachelor” as the girl who all the other girls have started to hate. Always one of my favorite people every season. She is then seen throwing a fit and laying on the ground crying in her Rose Ceremony dress. Look for big things out of Kelsey next week.

-Becca and Ashley I. get roses giving them a total of four flowers between them.

-And the Final Rose goes to Britt, leaving us with 11 girls because Kaitlyn & Jade got roses on dates.

 

So not getting roses are someone named Nikki who never spoke, Juelia, and Hall of Fame crazy person Ashley S.

 

Ashley’s exit speech was every bit as crazy as you’d hoped Ashley S.’s exit speech would be.  “I feel nothing. Like I have no feelings at all. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not worried about anything at all. Chris, all I have to say to you is nothing.”

 

Bachelor Running Diary readers, all I have to say to you is nothing. Until next week, I hope this post resonates within you this week…

 

@AFlenerKSR