It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to look back and →
By Andrew Cassady on ©10:32 pm
A redemption tale for the ages took place tonight as the Auburn Tigers completed their journey from worst to first. One year ago the Tigers finished winless in the SEC and just 3-9 overall. Now, with a little help, they sit on the precipice of their second BCS title game in 4 years thanks to some good ol’ fashioned running the football. Auburn took down Mizzou in the Tiger clash in an offense orientated onslaught 59-42. New Heisman candidate Tre Mason ran the ball for Auburn a record 46 times for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Tigers would finish with 545 yards on the ground for a new SEC championship record. It’s an unbelievable story and an unbelievable season.
All eyes are now on Ohio State who currently trail 17-7 at the half. Who do you have in the BCS?
The Future is In Kentucky
Ladies and gentleman its the most wonderful time of the year in that county way out west at the Marshall County Hoopsfest. Cal, Kenny Payne, and Coach O caught an early flight (more on that later) and arrived in time to take in future Cat Devin Booker take on the top team in the state Ballard. Booker showed out for the staff as he finished with 40 points in a 92-71 loss. Booker wasn’t the only future Cat to have a big game against Ballard as Trey Lyles and Arsenal Tech took them on earlier in the day. Lyles finished with 27 points in an overtime win including a nice dunk featured on down the page. A nice showing for our future Cats.
Current Cats Get Grounded
After last night’s awful showing in Dallas you would think things couldn’t get any worse for the Cats. Then their flight home gets cancelled. Cal and company caught an early flight to do some recruiting but with winter storm Cleon leaving the big D crippled the Cats found themselves stuck. The last bit of news from the city had the Cats finding another flight available to get them home. Hopefully, they will get back in time to get some rest and practice in before the Broncos come to town this Tuesday.
Kentucky Volleyball Gets The W
While the boys continue to struggle on the hardwood it’s the women of UK who continue to get things done. A quick shoutout to the UK volleyball team who advanced to take on Michigan State tomorrow at 4. Get out to Memorial and support these ladies as the make another NCAA tournament run.
Surprise Recruits on Campus
According to Justin Rowland Marcelys Jones, a four star offensive lineman–currently committed to Ohio State- made his way to Lexington to take in the Cats.
Jones, who has been linked to Kentucky for some time now, is rumored to be a serious candidate to flip from Ohio State to Kentucky come National Signing Day. He has been on campus multiple times now and adding him to the offensive line mix would make for a possibly elite line to stand in front of Drew Barker in the coming years if everything pans out as it could. Also on campus was Marcelys Jones who is visiting through Monday. Jones is a 4-star OG who has also given his verbal to Ohio State. If the Cats could flip one or both it would be a major coup for Stoops and the staff.
So it’s been a tough cold weekend for just about everybody but tomorrow begins a new day and a new week. I’ll be back in the morning to try and move past the Baylor loss and start focusing in on Boise St. The team will get it all figured out, let’s just hope it is in time to land a good NCAA seed.
By Will Totten on ©9:30 pm
Image courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times and Patrick Gleason
Tyler Ulis may not be as heralded a PG prospect as the John Wall’s, Brandon Knight’s, and Andrew Harrison’s of the world, but earlier today he proved himself worthy of his Top 40 ranking, albeit in a losing effort from his Marian Catholic squad.
Marian Catholic is playing in the Chicago Elite Classic and today took on California power Etiwanda, who is ranked #6 in the country by USA Today and proved themselves worthy in the school’s firsy ever appearance in a National Showcase. Ulis dropped a cool 30 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds in the 74-68 loss.
“We lost, so there isn’t anything good about it,” Ulis said. A less competitive observer could see many upsides for the Spartans. They proved they could play with the top teams in the country. Ulis himself showed a crowd of national talent evaluators that he should be a McDonald’s All-American, finishing with 30 points and eight assists against USA Today’s No. 6 ranked team.
By Andrew Cassady on ©8:12 pm
Except for the Final Four I don’t think Kentucky fans, players, or coaches want to hear anything about the city of Dallas for a very long time. The trip with everything possible seemingly going wrong continues to go from bad to worse as it now appears the team is stranded at the airport:
UK basketball team gets to airport and is told they can’t fly out tonight. Stuck again in Dallas for another night
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 8, 2013
And just like that, a plane is found and UK may have a way to come back. I am now done with UK Basketball travel updates for the night
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 8, 2013
Well it looks like the Cats may make it back tonight after all. If not I’d fully expect them to be running laps up and down the halls of whatever hotel they end up in. What do you think the Cats should work on first once they finally land in Lexington?
By Will Totten on ©7:00 pm
After yesterday’s winter storm laid a sheet of ice over the whole state of Kentucky and postponed the start of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament in Lexington until today, the Kentucky volleyball team proved that a lay off would do nothing to derail their hopes of a deep run in the tournament, defeating Duquesne 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) today in Memorial Coliseum and pushing their record to 22-8 on the season.
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) December 7, 2013
The Volleyball Wildcats will take the court again tomorrow at 4pm in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament against Michigan State (22-11), who took down MAC Champion Ohio in straight sets in the early game today. A win tomorrow would likely send the Wildcats to Happy Valley to play against #2 ranked Penn State.
By Matt Wheatley on ©5:30 pm
Much has been made about this football staff’s ability to recruit elite players away from the big dogs. Not nearly enough has been said about how well they have scouted some under-the-radar prospects before getting big bumps in their ratings. While Derrick Kelley has recently decommitted from Kentucky, when he chose the Cats, he was a name that came out of no where. Since then, he has received offers from some of the big boys in college football, including an offer from LSU earlier this week. Even if Kelley doesn’t rejoin the fold–which I believe he will assuming he make his visit next weekend as has been rumored–this sort of scouting will pay off.
Another player that has caught the attention of recruiting analysts after his play this year is Dorian Baker. Baker, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, received a fourth star from Rivals earlier this week. Kentucky fans who follow recruiting were very excited when Baker committed and it was clear that he was an underrated prospect. As football recruits often do (for whatever reason), Baker has decided to proceed with his visits despite being committed to Kentucky. Not to worry, however, as the only visit he currently has planned is taking place right now in Minnesota. I’ve been to Minnesota and if we think it is cold in Lexington this weekend, I can only imagine how miserable it would be to be touring that campus in the 2 degree weather that they are experiencing right now. Not to mention the Viking women that are roaming the campus up there. I don’t think the Cats will lose this one.
By Matt Wheatley on ©3:45 pm
Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) of Rivals.com has reported via his Twitter account that two of the most highly-touted recruits in the nation will be officially visiting Kentucky this weekend. Marcelys Jones, a four star offensive lineman–currently committed to Ohio State–and Erick Smith, a four star safety are apparently in Lexington.
Jones, who has been linked to Kentucky for some time now, is rumored to be a serious candidate to flip from Ohio State to Kentucky come National Signing Day. He has been on campus multiple times now and adding him to the offensive line mix would make for a possibly elite line to stand in front of Drew Barker in the coming years if everything pans out as it could (a BIG if).
Erick Smith might be a newer name for some of us. Smith, a four star safety ranked among the nation’s top 150 prospects would be yet another jewel in the recruiting crown that Vince Marrow has been crafting since his arrival in Lexington. Adding him to an already stout secondary recruiting class would be an unheard of achievement here in Lexington and would prove yet again that even with the struggles that this staff faced this season, Kentucky has the right people in place. If Smith were to choose Kentucky, the Cats will have warded off Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and about a dozen other schools to secure his services.
[UPDATE]: Erick Smith did not make the visit to Lexington as earlier reported, however Marcelys Jones is on campus and will be through Monday.
Marcelys Jones is at Kentucky on official visit right now. Glenville teammate Erick Smith is not with him.
— Bill Greene (@BillBankGreene) December 7, 2013
By Stuart Hammer on ©2:30 pm
(Video via Anthony Wireman)
Future Cat Trey Lyles’ Arsenal Tech Titans battled Ballard High School, and after opening up a monstrous 24-2 lead through 1st quarter, the Bruins slowly chipped away to make it a game after the 3rd, trailing just 59-52. Early in the 4th quarter the game was tied at 61, but Ballard kept the pedal to the metal and extended a five-point lead late into the final frame.
Those in attendance say Lyles put the reeling team on his back and helped close the gap in the final two minutes. Some costly mistakes and a big shot helped tie the game at 78 by the final horn. Then Tech then pulled away in overtime to win 87-84.
Lyles scored 27 points and was named MVP.
By Stuart Hammer on ©1:00 pm
The Marshall County Hoopfest was postponed a day thanks to mother nature, but the games must go on! Trey Lyles and his Arsenal Tech squad will battle Louisville commit Quentin Snider’s Ballard in the first game of the day. You can watch on iHigh, tip off is at 1 o’clock eastern.
Lyles became Tech’s all-time leading rebounder last week and is just three points away from become the school’s all-time leading scorer, breaking the record of 1,269 points.
Later in the evening, Ballard will play Devin Booker and his Moss Point Tigers at 5 p.m. Booker dropped 21 points and hauled in 21 rebounds Friday night in Mississippi in a 60-51 win over Pascagoula. His team boarded a bus and drove through the icy night to make it to the Bluegrass for tonight’s contest.
Rumors are John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and Bob Huggins will be in attendance tonight.
By Stuart Hammer on ©11:30 am
Death, taxes, and Calipari-to-NBA rumors. We’ve weathered this storm before, and the latest bout occurred within the last week as the Knicks continue to struggle under Mike Woodson. So naturally, John Calipari is target numero uno and he’s going to be hired tomorrow. But that will leave a vacancy in Lexington which, according to Dan Rubenstein of SB Nation, is going to be filled by 66-year-old coaching veteran Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K is the obvious choice, says Rubenstein, and his unreal recruiting class at Duke will follow him to Kentucky.
Fear not, Big Blue Nation. The darkest hour is just before the dawn. Better times are coming.
(Before you go off the deep end, I’m pretty sure this is satire)
It’s an ugly morning after here in Dallas, and like most fans, I can’t stop replaying last night’s game, especially the postgame press conference. Here it is in its entirety, thanks to @KyWildcatsTV. Watch Cal, Aaron Harrison, and Julius Randle struggle to talk about the loss.
The most telling part to me? After answering questions from reporters, John Calipari abruptly left the presser with a sour look on his face.
I feel ya, Coach.
So last night kind of sucked. Not only did you stay up ‘til nearly 1:30 in the morning, but you also had to watch Kentucky lose in the most depressing manner possible: Slowly withering away after having their foot on the gas for so long. Frustration and confusion are the easiest words to describe the emotions felt – Why did the team collapse? Where was the intensity? How come they abandoned the zone-attack? The Cats panicked down the stretch and the Baylor Bears got the better of this young team, evidently still searching for its identity.
– Kenny Chery scored 18 points, including six in the go-ahead run for Baylor. The Cats had a 50-41 lead with 13 minutes left and the Bears responded with a 15-5 run to put them up 56-55, and they never trailed again.
– In case you forgot, this was the second-straight victory for Baylor over Kentucky. I guess the revenge factor wasn’t quite significant enough for Willie Cauley-Stein or Alex Poythress.
– It’s not all bad news for Kentucky fans. The UK Hoops team won a thriller in the game prior to the boys, knocking off Baylor 133-130 in four overtimes. Jennifer O’Neill dropped a whopping 43 points on the Bears which helped the Cats win the highest scoring D-I women’s basketball game ever.
– Check out some of the highlights from that game which featured 10 players foul out, and almost 200 field goal attempts between the two teams.
– The ice storm kept a lot of people indoors yesterday and changed plenty of plans around the Commonwealth. The Marshall Country Hoopfest is one event that was bumped, but Nation of Blue has the rescheduled-schedule featuring Trey Lyles’ Arsenal Tech, Devin Booker’s Moss Point, and Monraque Gill-Caesar’s Huntington Prep. We’ll have more on this later.
It’s going to be a busy day for college football even though the Cats are done. Missouri and Auburn are going at it down in the Georgia Dome to see who is the best in the SEC, while Ohio State and Michigan State are battling for the Big Ten title in Indy. Heck, most people aren’t giving Duke much of a chance against Florida State in the ACC, but you never know. The BCS standings might get a major shift depending on the outcome of those games.
By Drew Franklin on ©3:51 am
It’s late, Kentucky lost, and we all just want to go to bed and forget about it. But, the KSR show must go on so I’m here with you in the wee hours of the morning reporting from the belly of AT&T Stadium, where Kentucky just dropped its second game of the season, 67-62.
The Cats held a nine point lead midway through the second half when we all looked for UK to hit the gas and put Baylor away for the evening. What we saw was quite the opposite, actually, as the Bears scraped and clawed their way back to a tie game at the six minute mark. Kentucky got colder than Dallas from there, scoring only seven points in the final six minutes before taking the troubling loss.
I’m about to pass out, so let’s run through some of the key observations from the night and then rest up for a new day. If you I fall asleep somewhere in the middle, please forgive me and finish the discussion in the comments section.
Free throws, free throws, free throws
Maybe the biggest concern with this team was even more concerning Friday night. I’m talking about free throws, the easiest part of the game. The Cats shot a disgusting 12-of-23 from the stripe for a 52.2 percentage overall. The misses came at crucial times, too, with James Young’s back-to-back bricks with the opportunity to regain the lead standing out from the bunch. Randle’s late game showing at the line wasn’t any better, either.
This team is going to go to the line a lot this season, as we’ve already seen thus far, and more losses like this one can be expected if they can’t find a way to make the freebies. 52 percent is inexcusable for any team, especially a team of this caliber.
Outworked on the glass
Following his team’s embarrassing performance in Dallas, Coach Cal said Baylor deserved to win the game. “They out-hustled us,” he said in the postgame press conference. “They out-worked us.”
A quick glance at the box score and you’ll see what he’s talking about, right there in the rebounding column. Baylor out-rebounded Kentucky 41-25, including 18 on the offensive end, more than UK’s 15 defensive rebounds. Even Julius Randle, Mr. Unstoppable, was getting dominated on the boards. He gave up a key one on a missed free throw in the final minute. That’s not supposed to happen.
Quote of the night
Courtesy of Baylor forward Rico Gathers:
“We didn’t take no foots off the gas. We were just like pushing the whole night and they didn’t like it.”
Yeah, we noticed.
Coach Cal seemed pretty pissed
I looked down at my computer during Coach Cal’s postgame press conference and when I looked back up, he was gone. Cal left abruptly and unannounced, leaving Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle to answer the remaining questions. I believe it’s the first time he’s ever stormed off like that.
The crowd was great
Though it looked like an empty building on television, there was a pretty solid turnout for the game considering the conditions. Attendance was announced at 12,818 and I’m not sure how everyone managed to get there, but they did. The roads are terrible here in Dallas and one fan told me it took almost three hours to get to the game from downtown.
Coach Cal also wondered how everyone found away to get inside. He said, “I don’t know how these people made it. They must have been on dogsleds or something. I look around and it’s blue.”
BBN, you never disappoint.
Andrew Harrison has a long way to go.
If this team is going to contend for a national champi
You know what, I’m really tired and don’t feel like talking about this game anymore. This recap gets as much effort as Kentucky showed down the stretch.
Y’all have a nice night. Or morning. Whatever you want to call this.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:01 am
Scott Drew and the Baylor players were very gracious about their win, but both Drew and Rico Gathers said that Kentucky’s inexperience was a factor tonight:
“They’re great freshmen, but freshmen are still 18 years old, and if they’re competing against 22-year-olds, that’s tough,” Drew said.
“When you’re playing a bunch of freshmen on the court, it’s all about thinking,” Gathers said. “We basically out-thought them today.”
I think we can all agree with that.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:44 am
John Calipari left the postgame presser as abruptly as he arrived. When asked about his team’s performance, Cal said his guys were simply outmatched by Baylor: “They outhustled us, they outworked us, they deserved to win.” How about his team panicking down the stretch? “That’s where we are as a team right now,” Cal said. “We’re not ready for that as a team right now.”
What were the Cats’ main Achilles’ Heels tonight, according to Cal? “Offensive rebounding and putbacks.” Cal even blamed himself for playing guys too long, and said that the team will either “start fighting or we’ll keep losing.”
After praising the crowd for showing up, he shoved his chair back and left.