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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
February 5th, 2016

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!!!


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

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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 expected 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

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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:


PHOTOS: UK’s new football and special-edition basketball uniforms

UK just unveiled their new football and special edition basketball uniforms. Here are the pictures, starting with the new secondary logo:

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Now, the new football uniforms:

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Some pictures from the runway presentation:

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Here are the new basketball uniforms, which only be worn once, on the road vs. South Carolina next week:

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Here’s the shooting shirt, which features the new Wildcat secondary logo:

Thoughts?


LIVE STREAM: Unveiling of new Nike uniforms

Tune in to see what Nike will unveil for Kentucky’s new basketball and football uniforms. Mitch Barnhart, John Calipari and Mark Stoops are LIVE from the recruiting room in Commonwealth Stadium with Nike creative director Keith Crawford.


Today’s show is at Pie Five Pizza (Friday Show Thread)

Today’s a good day for breakfast pizza as the guys are broadcasting today’s show from Pie Five Pizza at Fayette Mall in Lexington. Matt and Ryan are at Pie Five to preview tomorrow’s game, and if you stop by to hear what they have to say, you can enter to win tickets to the game.

Pie Five is located next on the Dillard’s end of the mall, not in the food court. Get in there.

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

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PRTC TV Channels 209 & 409: Jackson & Owlsey Counties (Replayed at 1 and 6)

On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…

WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WWTF (1580am): Lexington, 4-6pm


New Uniforms’ Friday Morning Wakeup

@UKStoopsTroops

Here in a little over two hours, the University of Kentucky will introduce its brand new basketball and football uniforms to the world. A press conference is being held in the recruiting room of Commonwealth Stadium with Mitch Barnhart, John Calipari and Mark Stoops on hand to unveil the new threads and to explain the reasoning behind the change. Nike creative director Keith Crawford will also be there to tell us what went into each design.

The press conference is scheduled for 10:30 am and we have the live stream set up here on the site you can all follow along. I will have a full report with photos soon after, so be on the look out for that.

Here’s the football team seeing its new unis for the first time:

Football’s will be a permanent look, while basketball’s will be a one-time wear.

More…

 

John Calipari to preview Florida at 2 pm.

Kentucky has a must-win basketball game tomorrow afternoon in Rupp Arena and John Calipari has a few things to say about it and about his team today. He and a couple of players will be available for questions later this afternoon and I’ll have all of their comments here on the site.

Beat Florida.

UK Hoops dropped another one.

UK’s 18th-ranked women are now in the bottom half of the conference at 4-6 after taking a loss to No. 2 South Carolina in Columbia last night. UK Hoops has now lost four out of five games in the SEC.

UK Hoops needs to finish strong in these last six games, four of which are at home, beginning Sunday against LSU.

NBA All-Star weekend is full of Wildcats.

The NBA announced its participants for the entire slate of its All-Star weekend and seven Wildcats will be in Toronto participating in some form:

All-Stars: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis
Skills Challenge: DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns
Three-point Contest: Devin Booker
Rising Stars: Karl-Anthony Towns, Nerlens Noel, Trey Lyles

He’s not quite at his goal of having coached half of the All-Star game, but Coach Cal is doing a good job of filling up the weekend with his players.

How about that for a recruiting tool?

A UK cheerleader could really use your votes.

UK cheerleading doesn’t know what it’s like to lose so let’s not let Megan Glisson feel that feeling in her online contest for the cover of American Cheerleader magazine.

Megan and the Wildcat are up against cheerleaders from Central Florida and South Carolina for the next cover of the magazine and it will be determined by online vote. You can help her out by submitting your vote here.

Let’s put those #BBN internet powers to good use and get her a landslide win in the contest.

Keeps eyes on the University of Louisville today.

That’s all I’m saying.

Matt and Ryan are at Pie Five Pizza for today’s show.

And I’m extremely jealous.

Tune in to hear what they have to say at 10 am.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Recruiting Rankings and UK Football, Why There Still Is a Chance…..

cobb breaks a tackle ukathletics

How does a school like Kentucky end up with Randall Cobb?  An NFL pro bowler who was equipped to play the college game at a high level from Day 1 somehow gets out of the South and ends up at Kentucky.  How does that happen?  Can you ever imagine that happening in college basketball?  The reason is not all that difficult.  The fact of the matter is that talent evaluation of high school football players is much more inexact than in college basketball.  There are camps that schools hold and some elite level camps as well that have expanded over the years, but nothing like the AAU circuit.  And because of that, you get the following stats.  Take a look at the TOP 5 players in each football and basketball class from 2007-2010.  And next to each player is where they ended up being drafted in the NFL or NBA Draft.  Those in red fell out of the first round:

2007
Football
Jimmy Clausen: 48th
Joe McKnight: 112th
Eric Berry: 5th
Ryan Mallett: 74th
Carlos Dunlap: 54th

Basketball
Michael Beasley: 2nd
Eric Gordon: 7th
Derrick Rose: 1st
OJ Mayo: 3rd
Kyle Singler: 33rd

2008
Football
Terrelle Pryor: Supplemental Draft
Daquan Bowers: 51st
Mike Adams: 56th
Julio Jones: 6th
Patrick Peterson: 5th

Basketball
BJ Mullens: 24th
Jrue Holliday: 17th
Demar Derozan: 9th
Brandon Jennings: 10th
Scotty Hopson: Undrafted

2009
Football
Bryce Brown: 229th
Rueben Randle: 63rd
D.J. Fluker: 11th
Sheldon Richardson: 13th
Matt Barkley: 98th

Basketball
John Wall: 1st
Demarcus Cousins: 5th
Derrick Favors: 3rd
Avery Bradley: 19th
John Henson: 14th

2010
Football
Ronald Powell: 169th
Seantrel Henderson: 237th
Kyle Prater: Undrafted
Sharrif Floyd: 23rd
Keenan Allen: 76th

Basketball
Josh Selby: 49th
Harrison Barnes: 7th
Enes Kanter: 3rd
Kyrie Irving: 1st
Jared Sullinger: 21st

So, what is the point of all this?  The point is to say that in basketball it is clear that you MUST get the top talent and the recruiting rankings are usually pretty good at picking out that talent.  In football, not so much.  Of the 20 football guys listed above, all 5-star players, only 6 ended up as 1st round NFL Draft picks.  Of the 20 basketball guys, 17 ended up in the 1st round.  If your school is not getting the players at the top of the rankings in basketball, you are going to be at a talent disadvantage.

With that said, it doesn’t mean you can build a football power out of 2 and 3 star guys.  What I like about Mark Stoops is he is building the team out of 3 and 4 star guys and hoping they pan out to be 5-stars.  Boom Williams for instance.  He has 5-star talent and UK was able to land him.  What Alabama and LSU do so well is they accumulate so much 5-star talent that some of them pan out and some don’t.  UK has to HIT on many of it’s 4-star talent.  It’s margin for error in these classes is much thinner. 

But at least in football you have a chance.  In basketball, if you load up with 3-stars in a class and they all hit, you still won’t compete with the big boys.  The talent evaluation is so much better in basketball that the teams like Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas hit on most of their big star guys.  The reason teams like Boise State, TCU, Northwestern, and Iowa can still succeed is their talent evaluation can be better than the Scouts and Rivals of the world.  At this point Mark Stoops has found some diamonds in the rough but still has flopped on too many guys.  He margin for error is thin and getting thinner by the season.  Here is to hoping some of those 3 and 4 star guys turn out to be 5-stars in the future.


February 4th, 2016

Behind Enemy Lines: Thompson-Boling Arena

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Over the past few seasons, I’ve been fortunate enough to cover some of UK’s SEC road games for KSR. Along the way, I’ve also been reviewing the venues across the SEC, and on Tuesday, I visited Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena for the first time. Before I give you my thoughts, here are my past reviews:

Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium
Auburn Arena
Alabama’s Coleman Coliseum
Ole Miss’ Tad Smith Coliseum
South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena
Florida’s O’Connell Center
Mississippi State’s Humphrey Coliseum
Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum
Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena


Thompson-Boling Arena

Opened: December 2, 1987
Capacity: 21,678

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Exterior: 2

The first thing I thought when I saw Thompson-Boling Arena was “man, that looks like Rupp.” That will be a common theme throughout this review, but Tennessee’s arena has the same exterior paneling as Rupp Arena, albeit the building is a slightly more interesting shape.

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Interior: 4.5

In 2007, Thompson-Boling underwent an extensive renovation to replace all of the seats (which used to be orange) with black padded chairbacks, install a new scoreboard, and add luxury suites and loge seating. This took the capacity from 24,535 to 21,678, and I believe is a good blueprint for what could happen at Rupp Arena should the powers that be decide to renovate. Thompson-Boling was a similar capacity and has a similar feel, and in order to make room for the suites/loge levels, they took out the entire upper arena of seating on the bench side:

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The loge level (the third section down) consists of 166 seats, costing $4,000 each. There are interior lounge areas with flat screen TVs and catered concessions to go along with the premium seats outside.

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Thompson-Boling has 32 luxury suites on two levels, each varying in size from 10-16 seats. Each suite has a private lounge area, arena seating, and kitchenette with catered concessions. Ten-seat suites cost $35,000/year, while 12- or 16-seat suites cost $50,000/year. If you’re wondering, yes, you can drink alcohol in the suites and loge level. The catering company will stock the suite with booze of your choosing.

Here’s the Coke suite:

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Here’s the view looking straight out from the inside of the suite:

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And the view of the court from the outside seats:

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There were some drawbacks to adding the suites and loge: some of the sight lines in the upper level corners are atrocious. Here’s a view from a seat on the aisle of a corner section:

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These are advertised as “obstructed view,” but still.

Flow: 3.5

The concourses were remodeled in 2007 as well and feature murals and signage of the UT men’s and women’s basketball programs, along with volleyball:

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The concourses feel a little narrow, but there never seemed to be any logjams. All in all, fine but not spectacular.

Concessions: 3.5

Standard fare of hot dogs, pretzels, Papa John’s pizzas, nachos, etc. I did appreciate the separate popcorn stands:

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That’s a one-stop shop for this gal.

Standard hot dog price: $4

Popcorn: 3.5

Good, but a little too buttery, which, for this OCD blogger, meant lots and lots of napkins and wiping before typing.

Signature food: 4

There were a few speciality concession stands, including Petro’s Chili and Chips and Calhoun’s, a popular Knoxville BBQ restaurant. The Calhoun’s pulled pork sandwich seemed to be the signature food, priced at $9 with a bag of chips or $16 with a souvenir UT soda (free refills). They also offered wings for $10, pulled pork nachos for $9, and a pretzel and beer cheese for $8.

Bathrooms: 1

I visited two and don’t care to relive the experience.

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Scoreboard: 5

Much nicer than ours, obviously. Installed in 2007, the scoreboard has large rectangular screens on four sides, circular boards at the top and bottom, and additional scoreboards on all four sides. I even like the “Tennessee” lettering.

PA System/announcer/music: 3

Nothing spectacular.

Fun stuff: 4

As a nod to running through the T in football, Tennessee’s basketball team had a large T to run through when the team comes on the court before the game. The intros were pretty decent, and Tennessee had lots of other things to keep fans entertained, including the always-popular Kiss Cam and a t-shirt gun in the shape of a Coke Zero bottle. They also encouraged fans to send in pictures to share on the jumbotron using a hashtag, something I hope Rupp also does when wifi is installed next season.

Tuesday was Groundhog Day and to celebrate, the folks at Tennessee made a fan dress up as a groundhog and go through an obstacle course. I didn’t understand it either, but the crowd seemed to like it.

Pep band: 4

Tennessee’s band is awesome, and in turn, their pep band is pretty great. I was entertained throughout the night, except during the endless playing of “Rocky Top.” In fact, as the game got closer and closer and the crowd got louder and louder, I actually felt ill every time they played it.

Halftime show: 4

No Quick Change, which automatically vaults this higher than most of my halftime show reviews. Tennessee brought in the Air Elite Dunkers, who showcased some impressive acrobatics while jumping on trampolines towards the goals. It was fun.

Souvenirs: 1

No t-shirt night! And they actually won.

Ticket price: 3

Tickets are $15 for uppers, $30 for lower, and $40 for sideline lower. Not too bad, although it definitely wasn’t a full house. The announced attendance was around 19,295, but I don’t think it was that full. Attendance has been really bad at Thompson-Boling this season, to the point they’ve had to lower the curtains surrounding the upper bowl at times to make it look better on TV. (Those curtains are usually down for all women’s games.)

Ushers: 5

Incredibly helpful and nice, especially while navigating the confusing media/behind-the-scenes areas, which are basically rooms created with lots and lots of curtains.

Press area/meal: 4

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The work room was pretty big and what’d you’d expect at an SEC arena. The food area was a curtained off section that was PACKED, and with good reason. The meal — fried chicken, green beans, mac and cheese, and cornbread — was fantastic.

(more…)