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UK Fans of the Night’s Thursday News and Views

UK Fans of the Night’s Thursday News and Views



Wednesday was a slow day on the newswire, being New Years Day and all, but like the postal service and Doron Lamb on Twitter, takes no days off. That’s why we’re here tonight with what little bit of stuff there is going on around Big Blue Nation, including a Vine video from San Antonio and Jimbo Fisher’s wife talking about Mark Stoops. (You’ll see.)

So join me this evening, the first full night of 2014, with the first News and Views of 2014, brought to you by three Cats fans living the dream with a nice collection of Hooters waitresses. I hope you got one of their numbers, Woody.


Things are quiet at Camp Cal.

With no game this weekend, things are pretty quiet on the basketball front as the team continues its three-a-day practicing over winter break. The only thing we really know from Camp Cal is that the helmet award is back, and we learned Wednesday that Aaron Harrison is the latest recipient. Coach O tweeted that Marcus Lee, who wore the helmet after an Alex Poythress dunk on Monday, threw one down on Harrison in practice. The video is up over at and it shows Lee catching a lob from Hood off the glass and cramming it in with two hands.


I love how Robic immediately yells for the helmet after the dunk.

The Tampa Bay Times put Mark Stoops, not Jimbo Fisher, on the cover of its sports page.

Mark Stoops is on the cover of The Tampa Bay Times sports page today because someone on the newspaper’s staff thought he was Jimbo Fisher. Fisher’s wife responded on Twitter, saying, “Kinda funny, I’ve been married to him for 20 years, and I’ve never mistaken him for Mark Stoops.”

How does that happen?

Drew Barker is playing well in San Antonio.

Barker had a nice little Tuesday at Army All-American Bowl practice, according to the practice report on Here is what J.C. Shurburtt had to say about the soon-to-be UK student-athlete:

10- Drew Barker, QB, Hebron (Ky.) Conner

We knew coming in because of the level of competition he faces in the state of Kentucky that Barker may have a learning curve in terms of the speed of the game. We also knew that knowing Barker, he would pick things up quickly and he has. During one play in particular, under a rush from Frazier and McDowell, Barker avoided the pressure and fired a strike down the field to an open Brown. It was an impressive play- the type you would expect from a highly-regarded quarterback prospect. Barker will enroll at the University of Kentucky soon and depending on how quickly he develops, it could be 2015 at the latest before he’s a starting quarterback in the Southeastern Conference. [Source]

Barker will have to avoid the Matt Elam pass rush on Saturday as the two are on opposite teams in the game. He’s prepared to take a sack if it’ll help Kentucky’s chances with Elam.

Matt Elam plays Tug of War.

Barker sent out this Vine of his good buddy playing Tug of War on Wednesday. There are 2,467 people on the other end of the rope.

Marcelys Jones isn’t sure if he’ll enroll early at Ohio State.

Jones, a four-star offensive lineman with interest in the Cats, told he is still committed to the Buckeyes but hasn’t made up his mind whether or not he will enroll early. Jones said, “I’m supposed to report to Ohio State next week, but I’m not sure if I am or not. I have to see what happens, and I’m not sure about going there next week just yet.” [Scout]

Keep in mind Jones is rooming with Elam at the Army All-American Bowl this week. If Elam commits to the Cats on Saturday, you can bet he’ll put the pressure on Jones to flip and join him in Lexington.

Trey Lyles is averaging 37 points and 12 rebounds in 2014.

Kentucky basketball signee Trey Lyles had a big night Wednesday against La Lumiere of northern Indiana. Lyles scored 37 points and grabbed 12 boards in the 71-60 win.

Lyles was in Lexington for the Louisville game on Saturday, in case you missed him.

Chane Behanan to Florida State?

KSR’s own Matt Jones tweeted that he is hearing Chane Behanan is leaning toward a transfer to Florida State. Someone will write a comment about this site being obsessed with Louisville in 3… 2… 1…

Ryan Lemond will be joined by Darrin Horn on Thursday’s radio show.

With Matt Jones on a mini-vacation this week, Ryan Lemond will host the radio show Thursday and Friday and his first guest will be Darrin Horn. The former South Carolina head coach, a Lexington native, was great on the pregame show earlier this season and we’re looking forward to having him back on the KSR airwaves. He’ll be talking basketball and whatever else comes up with Ryan for two hours in the Lexington studio.

BTI will be by in 10 hours with a post I know you’re going to love. Stay tuned…

NBC Sports Picks Kentucky’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new day for the world to recommit and refocus on reaching goals in 2014. Back in November Coach Cal talked about the team trying to change their bad habits from high school and a perfect time to keep working on those habits is with a new years resolution. NBC Sports has been making some selections for teams around basketball and here’s what they selected for Kentucky:

Play Defense

Why it will happen: With the exception of last season’s disaster, John Calipari’s staple as a basketball coach has been his ability to get his teams to defend. During the seven season stretch from 2005-2006 through 2011-2012 — when Cal’s Memphis and Kentucky teams were in the top ten of KenPom’s rankings every season — the Wildcats only once had a defense that was worse than 9th in defensive efficiency: the 2011 team that finished 15th. This season Kentucky is currently sitting at 46th.

Ignore Randle In The Post

Why it won’t happen: Randle needs to have the ball given to him on the block. He’s not Kobe or LeBron. He’s not simply going to dribble into a post-up. He needs to seal his man and have one of Kentucky’s perimeter players throw him an entry pass. But those perimeter players aren’t always willing to make that pass. Both Andrew and Aaron Harrison, and James Young as well, are score-first players. If they get into a rhythm and Kentucky is struggling, they’ve already shown a tendency to try to take over instead of continuing to pound the ball where their breads gets buttered.

I don’t think the Cats ignore Randle in the post but focusing in on your best player some more could never hurt. Here are some more resolutions I think the Cats should focus on in this new year:

  • Concentrate on free throws late in the game
  • Make smart, crisp passes
  • Matching blonde hairstyles for everyone.

What are your picks for the Cat’s 2014 resolutions?

[NBC Sports: New Year’s Resolutions: Kentucky Wildcats]

photo via

Let’s Talk About Free Throws, Freshmen

photo via

photo via

After last Saturday’s victory over Louisville, Big Blue Nation has much to be happy about. Not only did the Cats register a near flawless statistical performance against the Cards, but they played with a fire and intensity that hadn’t yet been seen in the 2013-14 campaign. While many around the Commonwealth are still basking in the glory of beating Louisville for the fifth time in sixth attempts, there were some red flags to arise out of the annual Battle for the Bluegrass – mainly 3-point and free throw shooting. While most can accept the occasional 21% shooting night from three point land, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who will tolerate a 53% shooting performance from the charity stripe, especially given the free throw shooting woes to date. Unfortunately, it seems as though the 2013-14 Wildcats are what some would call a typical Calipari team, i.e., a poor free throw shooting team. Luckily for these youthful Cats, however, there’s ample time to improve this weakness and prove that they can break the Calipari free throw quandary. Given that many are looking for evidence of improvement, I researched past players and teams to see how, or if, they improved throughout the course of the season.

Given that Kentucky’s rosters have been completely dominated by first year phenoms as of late, I thought the best way to conduct this research would be to track the freshmen at the charity stripe throughout the season. I simply monitored their individual running average beginning at the fifth game and plotted them below. The data is divided up into three categories; players who improved, players who remained relatively constant, and players who regressed throughout the season. The only players listed are the ones who logged at least 50 free throws as a freshman, therefore Kyle Wiltjer didn’t qualify. Also Nerlens Noel was ommitted due to the mid-season injury. All of the data came via

Players Who Improved:


As previously stated, the six players listed above are the ones who improved throughout their freshmen seasons. Two of the above players, Doron Lamb and Brandon Knight, some of Calipari’s best free throw shooters, struggled with their free throws out of the gate. Given that they were elite shooters it’s difficult to place the blame on anything in particular. It could have been early season jitters or a lack of collegiate conditioning that caused the low percentages, but those two had their woes corrected before the tenth game of the season. The other four who improved; Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague, DeMarcus Cousins, and Terrence Jones, came into Kentucky as poor free throw shooters. Not one of the four was averaging over 60% from the line after five games in Kentucky blue. Even after twelve games, only one of the four was connecting on 60% of charity attempts. However, once “Camp Cal” began the percentages started to increase. Not only did their averages climb during this time, but they also remained steady throughout the remainder of the season.

Players Who Remained Constant:


The four players listed above came into Kentucky as average to above average free throw shooters and remained as such during their time as freshmen. The data does reveal that every single one of the four who remained somewhat constant during the season dropped from their early season average. I believe this can be explained with the growing sample size. As the data grows, it’s more likely that a percentage will drop, and free throws are not immune to this principle.

Players Who Regressed: 


The three players charted above regressed from the charity stripe as their freshman season progressed. Both Daniel Orton and Willie Cauley-Stein were awful free throw shooters as freshmen, so this regression shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, the significant decrease from Bledsoe did come as a surprise. He started the season connecting on nearly 90% of attempts, but as the sample grew larger his percentage steadily decreased. In the season’s final game against West Virginia, Bledsoe hit only one free throw out of his six attempts to finish the season hitting 66% – a stark contrast to how he began his freshman season.

It’s no secret that free throws have been quite an issue for Calipari throughout his coaching career. Just ask his 2008 Memphis Tigers if free throws cost them any important contests along the way. Since 2003, only two Calipari coached teams have been able to crack the national top-150 in free throw percentage, 2011 and 2012 Kentucky. Not only did those teams exceed 71% at the line, but they were able to improve as the season moved along. If the “Players Who Improved” category is any indication, a majority of players will begin to improve during “Camp Cal.” The most likely candidate for improvement is James Young as he averaged 55% after the first five games and has steadily improved to 67% since. Currently, the Harrison Twins and Julius Randle are exceeding 70% from the line, and with a steady improvement from Young, this squad can become a good free throw shooting team with time.

Kentucky vs. Louisville Music Video

Here’s a New Years Day gift from the crew at Kentucky Wildcats TV. It’s a fancy look back at Saturday’s win over Louisville in Rupp Arena, because we aren’t tired of looking back it yet.

Enjoy and Go Cats.

UK Hoops Gears up for the SEC

You could call it a successful non-conference finish for a Kentucky women’s basketball team desperate to break into the elite of the women’s college basketball world. Boasting a 12-1 record with five wins already against teams in the top 50 of the RPI, including road wins at Marist, Middle Tennessee State and Baylor, the Cats should be proud. Their one loss came at home to the second ranked team in the country by eight points, but Kentucky was without their star player and leading scorer. That’s great. That’s awesome. But that’s just the beginning. The season of these Kentucky Wildcats live and die in the SEC. Unlike the men’s side of the game, the SEC in women’s basketball is deep, talented, competitive, and TOUGH. It is a gauntlet. Week in and week out, any team can win. Currently, there are five SEC teams ranked in the top 25, and Arkansas is ranked 26th. Everyone in the SEC has a winning record, and all teams have hopes to make the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats look to get off on the right foot in conference play tomorrow afternoon against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Bama has been a cellar dweller in the SEC the past few seasons, and were picked to finish last this year, but there have been definite signs of improvement under first year coach Kristy Curry. The Tide have a 7-6 record, and the Cats definitely win the match up on paper, but winning on the road in the SEC is never easy. Kentucky will once again be playing without DeNesha Stallworth, and will need other players to step up offensively to produce points and score. Luckily, there is an abundance of scoring threats for UK, including but not limited to Bria Goss, Janee Thompson, Kastine Evans, Jennifer O’Neill, Samarie get the picture.

Coach Mitchell spoke to the media this morning to preview the match up. “We have a lot of veterans on our team and they understand the challenge that is ahead of them. We had a very good practice yesterday and we’ll have to practice well today to get ready for a tough Alabama team. There are some good athletes on that team. They push the tempo, so we definitely need to do a good job in transition defense against them. They have really explosive guards. Shafontaye Myers has the second-best 3-point field goal percentage in our league and Daisha Simmons is really pushing the pace as their point guard.”

All in all, this should be a good way for UK to get acclimated to conference play. It should be a win. But nothing is guaranteed. The SEC is going to be a dog fight this season as all teams are good and everyone will beat up on each other. Coming out on top in the SEC will require the utmost mental toughness. We shall see.

Whoever wins the SEC will most likely garner a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which Kentucky desperately needs. The journey begins tomorrow. Lets get it.


Drew Barker and Matt Elam, future teammates?

Drew Barker posted the picture above on Twitter with the caption “BBN.” The picture comes from the US Army All-American event. Hopefully Barker helps close the deal, if it hasn’t been closed already, on Elam to Kentucky.

Teddy Bridgewater to Enter NFL Draft

Teddy Bridgewater to Enter NFL Draft


The “Year of the Cardinal” continues its disastrous end with the latest reports from ESPN that UofL QB Teddy Bridgewater will officially forgo his senior season.

This decision is really an inevitable one, since Bridgewater’s stock as the #1 QB prospect really couldn’t get any higher.  However, if recent struggles by RG3 are any indication, mobile quarterbacks have a steep learning curve to ensure long professional careers.

The news comes right on the heels of reports that coach Charlie Strong could be leaving the concrete jungle of Louisville’s campus as well, to… erm, “orange-er” pastures in Texas as the new head coach of the Longhorns.  While that’s still much more speculative than the Teddy news, it would be quite a devastating blow to a fanbase priding themselves on their recent football success to lose both their quarterback and their head coach.  It would certainly swing the momentum in Kentucky’s favor, especially if 5* recruit Matt Elam picks the Cats on Saturday, as some are predicting.

But let’s be real: this is only good news for us because he’s a terrific football player.  It’s easy to root against the Cardinals, but hard to wish ill on Teddy.  Hopefully he can succeed in the league, and get out of the commonwealth so Drew Barker can take over as Kentucky’s best quarterback.

Brandon Knight has a career night

Brandon Knight continues to fly under the radar in the NBA, although he’s putting up great numbers. Knight is averaging 15.0 pts, 4.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists on the season. Knight has been playing his best basketball as of late though, putting up 18.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 4.6 apg in the month of December. Last night, Brandon Knight had his best NBA game to date though against the Lakers. Knight finished with a career-high 37 points in the game.

And just because we can, here are a few of my favorite Brandon Knight throwback pictures:

Ohio Man Sentenced in Shooting of Desmond Allison

Ohio Man Sentenced in Shooting of Desmond Allison



Richard Lee Willis was sentenced to four years in prison after being charged with aggravated murder in the shooting death of former Kentucky basketball player, Desmond Allison.

Allison was killed July 25 of 2011 in Columbus and friend, 36-year old Malcom Goff, was also injured in the shooting.

Willis was sentenced to four years, and given credit for over a year of time served.

Desmond Allison played for UK from 1998-2000, averaging 8.9 points per game and 4.4 rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins takes it coast to coast

Don’t tell DeMarcus Cousins he couldn’t be the best 6-11 point guard in the league. Cousins takes it coast to coast for the Kings in a big win over the Rockets last night.

2013: The Pop Culture Year In Review

2013: The Pop Culture Year In Review

Best Live Performance: Beyonce at the Super Bowl
Best Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V
Best Baby (Quantified): The Royal Baby
America’s Sweetheart: Jennifer Lawrence
New Zealand’s Sweetheart: Lorde
Best Hip-Hop Album: Jay-Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail
Best Circa-1982 Roller Rink Album: HAIM, Days Are Gone
Biggest Tour: Justin Timberlake
PR Stunt That Worked: Miley Cyrus on the VMAs
PR Stunt That Didn’t Work: Anything hyping Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP
Well, I Guess That Was That: The N’Sync Reunion
Just Stop Talking: Kanye West
Trained Monkey: Justin Bieber’s
Untrained Monkey: Justin Bieber
That’s Quite Enough of: “Twerking”
Five-minute Fad: Harlem Shake
Lines: Blurred
Punk: Daft
New Awards Show Nobody Understands: The YouTube Awards
New Network Nobody Understands: The Esquire Network
Show Everyone Will Love in Two Years: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Glad to See This Guy Back, Even If I Don’t Watch His Show: Michael J. Fox
Less Funny, More Brilliant: The Fourth Season of Arrested Development
Worst “Clever” Idea for a Series Finale Season: Setting How I Met Your Mother over the course of a weekend
Most Hyped Series Finale: Breaking Bad
Most Creative Series Finale: Eastbound & Down
Most Unfortunate Tornado: Sharknado
Died: Brian Griffin, Family Guy
Came Back to Life: Brian Griffin, Family Guy
False Advertising: Super Fun Night
We Are Canceled: We Are Men
Snappiest Dialogue (US): The Newsroom
Snappiest Dialogue (UK): The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode
Wait, What are the Rules Again?: Million Second Quiz
Oh My God This Is Terrible: Dads
Thing You Have to DVR if You Want to Get All of The Amazing Race: The Good Wife
Worst Wedding: Red
Best Guest Host: John Oliver on The Daily Show
New Black: Orange
Best Show About People Supposed to be Charismatic Not Featuring Many Charismatic Characters: House of Cards
Best Use of Space: Gravity
Most Convincing Old-Man Makeup: Bad Grandpa
Solid Sequels: Iron Man 3, Anchorman 2
Harrison Ford Overacting Alert: 42
Should’ve Been Better: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Should’ve Been Worse: Pain & Gain
Cleverest Movie No One Saw: It’s a Disaster
Hugh Jackman with Adamantium Claws: The Wolverine
Hugh Jackman with a Superfluous Scrotum Hanging from His Neck: Movie 43
Here We Go Again (Schwarzennegger): The Last Stand
Here We Go Again (Stallone): Grudge Match
Here We Go Again (Schwarzenegger/Stallone): Escape Plan
Um, Okay: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
Sure, Whatever You Say: The Last Exorcism Part II
Best James Franco Performance in a Non-James-Franco Role: Spring Breakers
Best James Franco Performance in a James Franco Role: This Is the End
Khaaaaaaaaaan!: Star Trek Into Darkness
Quirky: Frances Ha
Fancy: The Great Gatsby
Woody: Blue Jasmine
Not-Epic: Epic
Ladies and Gentlemen Will You Please Rise for President Jamie Foxx: White House Down
Best Use of a Battleship as a Baseball Bat: Pacific Rim
Zero Interest: 2 Guns
You Know What We Need? Men In Black, Only with Ghosts: R.I.P.D.
I Hate My: Jobs
Die Hard Meets Home Alone: You’re Next
Movie About Vikings, Not a Movie About Led Zeppelin: Hammer of the Gods
Warmest Color: Blue
When Do I See You?: Now You See Me
Best Thing Lee Daniels Did in 2013, Presumably: Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Best Year to Come: 2014

14 Predictions for 2014

(Kate Martin, maybe)

It’s never too early to make predictions… but why not push the envelope and make some predictions as early as possible in the year 2014? As we get ready to dive right into the 2014 action, here are a few semi-educated predictions for what the next year has in store for the University of Kentucky…

(In no particular order)…

1. Willie Cauley-Stein will get a triple-double

Cauley-Stein has flirted with a triple-double on a number of occasions already this season. Cauley-Stein is the most likely candidate to be the first player since Chris Mills (also, the only player in UK’s storied history) to record a triple-double. Cauley-Stein is the one player who consistently puts up strong numbers in 3 categories: points, rebounds and blocked shots. At some point during the SEC schedule, probably on a day we least expect it to happen– the elusive triple-double will be achieved by Cauley-Stein– etching him into the Kentucky basketball history books forever. *Side note/Prediction: I think the blocks and rebounds will be the easy part on that day/night (whenever it happens). The 10-point mark will be the hardest part…

2. Andrew Harrison will finish the season in similar fashion to Marquis Teague

Remember the first 2/3 of Marquis Teague’s season as Kentucky’s freshman point guard? Teague’s up and down play was the cause of many a headache for Kentucky fans. Luckily, Teague had a core group of veterans and two improbable freshmen (Davis and MKG) to surround him and allow him plenty of time to grow up into a championship caliber point guard. By the time the SEC tournament rolled around, Teague was the player and point guard Kentucky needed as the final piece of the puzzle to win the national championship. Andrew Harrison has continued to make big strides, especially over the last few weeks. With the talent Kentucky has on its roster, Andrew does not have to be the best player on the court– much like Teague did not have to be the best player on the court. But he does have to run the team and be a constant and reliable piece, stepping up in big moments when needed. When it’s all said and done, I think Andrew Harrison becomes the championship caliber point guard we all hoped he would be upon his arrival in Lexington.

3. The UK Hoops team will make the school’s first ever Final 4

The UK Hoops team has been knocking on the door for 4 years now, coming up just short of reaching the school’s first women’s basketball Final 4 on 3 occasions. Kentucky has taken a 2 seed into the tournament at best, never able to grab one of the important 1 seeds in women’s basketball. Perhaps more so than in any other sport, that #1 seed is a huge deal in the women’s game. With a handful of teams each year who are nearly impossible to top (UCONN this season), it’s important to draw as far away from those teams as possible. Securing a #1 seed would almost certainly ensure that Kentucky would not meet one of those teams until the Final 4. Not to say that Kentucky couldn’t beat a team like UCONN, but the road would be much better for Kentucky if they could avoid that match up until as late as possible. I think this is the year. The Cats have already proved to be one of the top teams in the country, with big wins over Louisville and Baylor. Kentucky also has a nice path lined up, especially should they get the #1 seed. Kentucky could host the first and second round games in Lexington, and likely will. Louisville has also been chosen as a regional site for the tournament. If ever a year for Kentucky to do it…this could be the one.

3. Kentucky will put 2 players in the NBA’s Draft Lottery, POSSIBLY 3…

I know, I know. That seems like a long shot at this point. Julius Randle is the only definite player to hear his name called in the lottery portion of this year’s NBA draft. Randle will likely be a top 5 pick, barring something crazy happening. I also think that Willie Cauley-Stein will find his way into the top 13 picks. A 7-footer who can defend the perimeter the way he can, as well as be a shot blocking presence around the basket, isn’t a skill set you see every day. His offensive deficiencies will be the only thing to potentially hold him back, but don’t be surprised if a team takes a chance on the 7-footer with unique talent. As for the third player? Don’t count out a 6-5 point guard in Andrew Harrison or an offensively gifted (and now potentially great rebounding guard) James Young. If Young gets hot down the stretch, it’s not out of the question to think he could slip into the lottery.

4. Matt Elam will pick Kentucky

We’ve talked about this a lot here on KSR lately, but the tide has shifted in favor of the Cats. It’s hard to imagine at this point that Elam will make any other decision.

5. Kentucky football will win at least 2 SEC games next year and knock on the door of a bowl game

Kentucky hasn’t won an SEC football game in 2 seasons. The streak will not only end next season, but Kentucky will pick up at least 2 SEC wins. Couple those wins with a couple of non-conference wins, and Kentucky will be knocking on the door of a bowl game. I still think 2015 is the year for that to happen, but Kentucky will be much closer in the hunt this year than last.

6. Jarrod Polson will have at least one more memorable game for Kentucky

Jarrod Polson came up huge for Kentucky against Belmont, but didn’t see the court against Louisville. Match-ups and speed of the opposing guards will likely dictate when and how Polson will be used. Throw in the fact that Dominique Hawkins has essentially locked up the back up point guard position, and Polson’s minutes just don’t look promising on a consistent basis. I predict though that at another point this season, Kentucky will face a team with guards Polson can defend, on a night when the other guards are struggling. And Polson will come in and provide one last hoorah as one of the most beloved Wildcats to wear the jersey. When it’s all said and done, Polson’s career at Kentucky won’t be one to make any of the all-time great lists, but his experience, composure and work ethic carried Kentucky at times last season and saved a potentially disaster of a loss against Belmont.

7. Kentucky football will finish with a top-15 nationally ranked recruiting class

The Matt Elam commitment would help, but Kentucky will be close no matter what to completing a top-15 nationally ranked recruiting class. That class should put them somewhere closer to the middle of the pack in the SEC.

8. Someone will continue to complain in the comment section of KSR’s “Funkhouser” that we are not talking enough about UK sports

Some people will never understand… And those people will always find a keyboard and a comment section.

9. Rick Pitino will suspend at least one more player “indefinitely”

I don’t know who it will be…and it won’t really matter because it won’t last long. But rest assured that at some point this year, another player will be suspended indefinitely. Definitely count on them playing soon after.

10. Kentucky will win the SEC regular season title in men’s and women’s basketball

I don’t know if Kentucky can quite measure up to the “Year of the  , seriously, I just can’t say it… But I think Kentucky will have a big year of its own in 2014. I think both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will make strong runs through regular season SEC play, bringing home the crown in both.

11. Julius Randle, James Young and Aaron Harrison will each have a 25+ point game in SEC play

I almost went with 30 points, but decided to play it more conservatively. All 3 of these players have proved that they are capable of explosive offensive performances. Throughout SEC play, all 3 of these players will have AT LEAST one monster game. The question is, who will end up being the leading scorer for UK at the end of the season? It will be one of those 3 guys…

12. Kentucky will make a run to the Elite 8… and possibly more

Without knowing how the seeding and bracketing sorts out, it’s nearly impossible to predict such things. With that said, I think Kentucky AT LEAST makes a run to the Elite 8. Best case scenario? National championship. Worst case scenario? Elite 8.

13. Kentucky will see Michigan State again at some point…

For some reason, I just have a gut feeling that the NCAA selection committee will try to pit these 2 teams on a collision course in the NCAA tournament. The story line would play out nicely, allowing for a re-match of the highly anticipated opening game in the Champions Classic. The story line will be whether or not the young Kentucky team was able to close the gap throughout the course of the season, or does experience win out in the end?

14. I’ll let you fill in #14… What is your prediction for 2014?

Mark Stoops’ New Year’s Resolutions

Mark Stoops’ New Year’s Resolutions

stoops snarl msu

1. A more relaxed Coach Stoops.  Running a rebuilding SEC football program is stressful.  When players’ aren’t making silly mistakes, referees are always there to make you angry.  For the sake of his health, we need less of the above, and more moments like the one below.

stoops family

2. Keep it close to home.  Mark Stoops vowed in his opening press conference to keep the best of the best in the state home.  Not only is he keeping the best home, but he has also gone home to Ohio for elite talent. In the 2014 class, five of the eight players from Ohio are 4-stars, and if Matt Elam picks the Cats this weekend Stoops will have the #1 and #2 players in the state.  Stoops is on the right path so far for next year with three of Kentucky’s top four high school players hot on his radar, QB Elijah Sindelar, and LBs Emmit Smith and Eli Brown.  The recruiting pipeline has been built and it will pay dividends during the 2014 recruiting season.

3. Win in the SEC.  It has been 765 days since Matt Roark’s streak-ending win for the Cats over the Vols – the last time UK won an SEC football game.  The Cats came close to sneaking out a couple on the road this year, with a successful onside kick overturned in Starkville and Jordan Matthews’ play in Nashville keeping the Cats from getting that elusive victory.  Probably the biggest draw to Kentucky for Stoops’ high-caliber recruits is playing in the SEC; 2014 is the time to win in the SEC.

4. Find a Quarterback.

2 qbs

Spring Practice 2014 is going to be an interesting one.  In Stoops’ first season a starter was not solidified until the 5th game, only for Jalen Whitlow to go down with an injury the following game.  It’s difficult to get excited for an uncertain offense and it’s the coaches’ job in the Spring and Summer workouts to solidify a starter.  The greatest question is who that might be.  They could go with the proven athlete ( Whitlow), the veteran (Max Smith), the redshirts (Pat Towles and Reese Phillips), or with the future of Kentucky football (Drew Barker).  The only certainty at Quarterback is that Mark Stoops is not going to tolerate another season of uncertainty at his offense’s most critical position.

5. End 2014 on a high.  One of the most underrated difficulties of the Kentucky football coaching job is keeping fans interested at the end of the football season as basketball season begins.  With New Commonwealth opening in a highly anticipated 2015 football season, it’s even more important to keep the fan base hyped about football in November of 2014.  Next year’s schedule should keep things interesting enough, ending the season with the Vols and the Dirty Birds from Loserville.  The possibilities are in place for momentum to shift around the program, all it takes is a strong finish against your two biggest rivals.



The Dunk Helmet moves on to Aaron Harrison

The “Dunk Helmet” didn’t last long with high flying Marcus Lee. According to assistant coach Orlando Antigua’s Twitter, Lee passed the helmet along to Aaron Harrison after a big time dunk yesterday in practice. Who doesn’t love the Dunk Helmet? Aaron Harrison, apparently. Look at that face.

New Years Day Morning Links

Good morning, Big Blue Nation. And let me take a moment to wish you a happy new year! Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy evening last night, ringing in 2014 while putting 2013 in the past. Sit back, watch some football and enjoy your first day of the new year while checking in with us here at KSR throughout the day. Here are a few links to get you started…


—- In the aftermath of Chane Behanan’s departure most recent departure from the Louisville basketball team, the Herald Leader took an interesting “Where are they now?” look at the McDonald’s All-Americans that Rick Pitino has coached. I’ll give you a hint: He doesn’t have 17 guys in the NBA like Calipari over the last 4 years.

—- DeMarcus Cousins continues to put up impressive numbers this season for the Sacramento Kings. Last night, Cousins was the key factor in the Kings’ win over the Rockets, coming up with crucial plays down the stretch. 

—- After Saturday’s victory over the Cards, Kentucky jumped Louisville in ESPN’s latest “Power Rankings.” The Cats moved up to the #15 spot, while the Cards took a significant drop to #18. Arizona tops the list, followed by Syracuse, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

—- In some news that involves one of Kentucky’s biggest football rivals, the Texas coaching search continues to heat up– and Charlie Strong’s name is squarely in the middle of the conversation. One source told (a Texas-based website…shocker, I know) that Texas AD Steve Patterson flew to an undisclosed Louisville location to meet with Strong. Other coaches are still being talked about heavily for the position as well, including Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher.

—- If you are the kind of person who enjoys “New Years Resolution Lists,” ESPN’s Page 2 has a list of Resolutions from the Sports World. Some of them are funny. Some of them are reaching. Take a look and decide for yourself.