It’s been a treat watching Kentucky’s four McDonald’s All-Americans develop since I first watched them →
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The next week is going to be bittersweet for Orlando Antigua and those who love him in Kentucky, which is everyone. The UK assistant will travel to Dallas with the Wildcats for the pursuit of nine, and when they return to Lexington after the tournament, he’s gone. Antigua accepted an offer to become the head coach at the University of South Florida, his first head coaching job, effective immediately after the Cats’ trip to the Final Four. A press conference will be head next Tuesday to officially introduce him as the Bulls’ new coach in Tampa.
A tireless and extraordinary recruiter of elite talent, Antigua coached under John Calipari for six seasons, following him from Memphis to Kentucky in 2009 after one season with the Tigers. At Kentucky he was instrumental in reeling in five consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes to Lexington, with the current 2014 class ranked No. 2 overall. On Monday, John Calipari released a statement to congratulate his top recruiter on the next step of his coaching journey:
When this is done right, everyone involved should benefit from the success of the program. This includes the university as a whole, the athletic department, administrators, staff and especially the assistant coaches. They and their families deal with the brunt of the work. With that being said, I am so excited that Coach Antigua has been hired by USF. Based on what he’s done with the Dominican Republic National Team as their head coach and his work with our family over the last five years at Kentucky and one season at Memphis, I have the utmost confidence in him to lead this program to new heights. My guess is they will do things that have never been done before at USF. We’re all going to miss him and his family after we finish this run.
Selfishly, we would like to keep Antigua at Kentucky forever. But this is a great opportunity at USF, one where he can really be successful, and we couldn’t be happier for him. It won’t be the same without Coach O on the UK bench or out on the recruiting trail in blue, but South Florida picked up thousands of new basketball fans on Monday and one hell of a guy to lead its team.
Best of luck to Antigua this weekend with the Cats in Dallas and then in Tampa with his new program. Thanks for five great seasons and one great quote for the haters:
Willie Cauley-Stein is doubtful for Saturday.
The early word is we shouldn’t expect to see Cauley-Stein in the Final Four against Wisconsin. Coach Cal said on Monday that he doubts he’ll have his sophomore center against the Badgers, but he knows Willie will be cheering loudly from the bench.
When Cal checked with the doctors after the Louisville game, he said he was told, “I’ve got to stop you. You cannot believe how much [Willie] was cheering for his team in there. He wasn’t worried about himself. He was going bonkers. We had to hold him down. He was trying to run around.”
That sounds about right…
Rick Pitino predicts a Kentucky-Florida national championship.
And when Rick says something, it rarely happens.
Do not tell Bo Ryan that Wisconsin and Kentucky play contrasting styles.
When informed that Billy Donovan said he sees contrasting styles in Wisconsin and Kentucky, which is true, the Badgers head coach said, “Kentucky’s trying to put the ball in the hole. We’re trying to put the ball in the hole. We’re trying to keep them from doing it. They’re trying to keep us from doing it. I didn’t know there were that many styles. I don’t see it totally as that. If other people do, they could explain to you why. But we are who we are right now. We’re not changing. They’re who they are right now. Whatever people want to say about styles and all that, I leave that up to them. I’ve never gotten caught up in that kind of a conversation.”
Wisconsin and Kentucky play contrasting styles, Bo.
The regional trophy spent the night with Jon Hood.
Hood took the trophy home with him Sunday night and when he asked Calipari what to do with it Monday morning, Calipari told him, “You keep it.”
“I just love the kid,” said Cal. “He’s come so far.”
James Blackmon Jr. defeated Tyler Ulis in the McDonald’s All-American three-point contest.
Ulis settled for the second place trophy behind Indiana commit James Blackmon Jr. after falling three points shy of Blackmon’s 23 in the competition. Ulis was also the runner-up in the skills contest, losing to soon-to-be Duke Blue Devil Tyus Jones by two seconds in the race.
Karl Towns dunked the ball, blindfolded.
But Duke’s Grayson Allen won the dunk contest by jumping over his future teammate, Jahlil Okafor, while wearing a Jay Williams jersey.
Pat Forde ate a big helping of crow Sunday night.
We give Pat Forde a pretty hard time here on KSR, some of it deserved, so it’s only fair that we pat him on the back for a job well done. That was the case Sunday night when Forde wrote, “That bed John Calipari made for himself is looking pretty comfortable these days,” a follow-up to his attack piece on Calipari early in March. Here, have an excerpt:
After providing about 64 games of ammunition since the 2012 title to those who weren’t sure one-and-done was a sustainable way to build a program, you’ve supplied a powerful rebuttal. Three Final Fours in four seasons says that your way works – it works better than any other way currently being implemented in college basketball. [Yahoo]
I’m sure it was a tough pill for Forde to swallow, and he nailed it. Definitely give it a read.
That recliner never stood a chance…
Let’s go to Texas, indeed. I, too, feel you baby.
Andrew Wiggins will enter the NBA Draft.
In related news, the sky is blue and water is wet.
Charles P. Pierce trashes John Calipari for Grantland.
“I’ve been watching John Calipari operate since he was an assistant coach at Pittsburgh, and I still wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw a thoroughbred,” Pierce writes. The “Forever Young” Grantland piece says all America can do is laugh at how Kentucky handles its business and is back in the Final Four.
I think Kentucky’s the only one laughing right now, Chuck.
KSR will give away Final Four tickets on Tuesday.
You have two opportunities to win Final Four tickets on Tuesday from GuyontheCornerTickets.com and KSR. If you live in or around the city of Louisville, Matt and Ryan will be doing the morning show live at Oxmoor Ford from 10:00 am to noon with tickets to give away. And if you can’t make it in the morning, Matt and I will be at Charlie Wilson’s Appliance & TV in downtown Louisville during Terry Meiners’ show Tuesday evening. Registration begins at 4:00 and we will draw at 6:00. You don’t have to be present to win.
The Marlana VanHoose E:60 special is a must-see.
Scroll down, click play, and cry your eyes out. Marlana’s voice is beautiful, much like her love for UK.
Go Cats, everybody.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 10:00pm
I can hear you now…’who is Marlana VanHoose?’ She’s an 18-year-old fan who’s brought the Big Blue Nation to their feet four times with her rendition of the national anthem at UK Hoops games. Marlana suffers from cerebral palsy and has been blind since birth, and if you’ve seen her sing in person, you know just how inspirational her performances are. Oh yeah, the girls are 4-0 in games where she’s sung the anthem. ESPN’s “E:60” profiled her over the weekend, and we finally have the video to share.
Go Cats. Go Marlana.
The team didn’t get back from Indianapolis until about 10 p.m. last night, but after they were greeted by fans at the airport and the Wildcat Lodge, they had one more stop to make before bed. Thanks to KSR reader Michael, who sent in this picture of some of the players on State Street with the Lexington Fire Department.
One last stop on a very special night.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 9:00pm
If you weren’t in Indianapolis this weekend, the place to be was Lexington. Couches across the city clutched their cushions in fear as Kentucky beat Louisville Friday night, and according to the Lexington Fire Department (via @HLpublicsafety), there were about 27 fires across town on Friday and Sunday nights. Eight people were taken to the hospital for injuries and only three were arrested.
The Lexington Police department estimates that 5,000 fans were on Limestone, 8,000 on State Street and 200 on Woodland Friday night, and the same number Sunday night. The celebrations were reportedly much more calm Sunday night than Friday night because, you know, it wasn’t Louisville.
Police are also on the lookout for one of the missing signs from State Street. Five were stolen, and four have been recovered. If you know where this sign is, please take it to the Lexington police. Or not.
The Herald-Leader put together this video of some of the celebrations. Enjoy:
You have two chances to win Final Four tickets tomorrow from GuyontheCornerTickets.com and KSR. If you live in the city of Louisville, we will be doing KSR live at Oxmoor Ford and then will be at Charlie Wilson’s Appliance during Terry Meiners’ Show. At both places, we will have Final Four tickets to give to someone in the audience. Here is all you have to do:
Oxmoor Ford 10-noon for KSR Radio: Come watch the show (next to Oxmoor Mall) and we draw at the end of the show (must be present to win).
Charlie Wilson’s Appliance: Come register from 4-6 pm, we draw at 6 and you need NOT be present to win.
Two sets of tickets and you can win. Why not try?
And until then, check out the link below when Jim Nantz came and sat with us for 15 minutes on the KSR Pregame show for the Michigan game…very cool stuff and Nantz was unbelievably gracious and interesting. Worth your time:
Did Wisconsin head basketball coach Bo Ryan take a shot at Kentucky basketball on today’s Final Four teleconference? Ryan was asked about Badger fans in the state of Wisconsin and his comments can be interpreted as a dig at Big Blue Nation.
Read for yourself:
I tell you, the people here in this state are crazy about basketball. They realize they didn’t invent it like some other states believe, but they also know they have a passion for it. Because there’s been a lot of success by state schools, by schools in the state of Wisconsin, Division I, Division III, NAIA, different levels of college basketball, Division II with Parkside, which is one of my… the head coach is one of my former players — I don’t want to leave him out. So they love it here, but they’re not so over the edge that they don’t understand.
What I like about the Wisconsin fans is they understand these are student-athletes who actually are here for the purpose of an education first and playing ball second. That’s what I believe makes them really endearing, as far as a coach who’s stayed in the state this long. Because they’re so supportive of their players, of their teams. That’s been really neat for me to see. And I’m not saying that wasn’t the case back in Philly growing up, in the Chester area or anything else. Here in the state of Wisconsin, I think the love for basketball, passion for basketball is definitely as high as anywhere else.
Ryan suggests other fan bases — like, Kentucky maybe? — don’t understand that student-athletes are in school for an education. He also commends Wisconsin fans for knowing their state didn’t invent basketball, a clear shot at the University of Kentucky, in my opinion. At least we realize we didn’t invent cheese.
Who ever thought we’d have beef with Wisconsin?
By Drew Franklin on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Four future Wildcats will participate in the McDonald’s All-American Skills Challenges tonight, live on ESPNU at 9:00 ET from Chicago. Karl Towns will compete in the dunk contest, three-point contest and skills contest, while Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis will join him in the three-point and skills competitions. UK Hoops commit Alyssa Rice will represent the Cats in the girls’ three-point competition.
A look at tonight’s participants:
Powerade Jam Fest
1. Justise Winslow
2. A’ja Wilson
3. Kelly Oubre Jr.
4. Grayson Allen
5. Karl-Anthony Towns
6. Stanley Johnson
7. Theo Pinson
8. Cliff Alexander
Boys Three-Point Shootout
1. Kevon Looney
2. Rashad Vaughn
3. Devin Booker
4. Myles Turner
5. Melo Trimble
6. D’Angelo Russell
7. Justin Jackson
8. Isaiah Whitehead
9. James Blackmon Jr.
10. Stanley Johnson
11. Grayson Allen
12. Karl –Anthony Towns
13. Tyler Ullis
Boys Skills Contest
1. Joel Berry II
2. Tyus Jones
3. Justise Winslow
4. Jahlil Okafor
5. Theo Pinson
6. Tyler Ullis
7. Devin Booker
8. Stanley Johnson
9. Karl-Anthony Towns
10. James Blackmon Jr.
Trey Lyles will be in attendance but we won’t see him until tomorrow night’s game.
UK is on a remarkable run. I know this, you know this, even my grandmother knows this. A month ago this team looked dead in the water and now they are the talk of the nation, and rightfully so.
But, as the title suggests, just how crazy has the run been? Well, here are some facts/figures and I’ll let y’all decide.
Kentucky’s last three games have all been against top-10 KenPom teams, as Louisville ranks 3rd, Wichita State ranks 5th and Michigan ranks 10th (the Cats are 8th). That’s more than any other Final Four team has faced. In fact, that’s more than any other Final Four team has faced… combined. Wisconsin took down 2nd-ranked Arizona, while UConn beat 9th-ranked Michigan State.
So this begs the question: when was the last time a team took down three top-10 KenPom teams to make the Final Four? Well, since the rankings came out in 2003, it has never been done. Wichita State was reaallly close to doing it last year, but Pittsburgh ended up being ranked 11th in the ratings. Poor Shockers.
If the Cats can get it done vs. Wisconsin on Saturday, and finish it off with a championship over Florida, that would be five straight victories over top-10 KenPom teams in five games. Now that’s something that’s never been done before whether it’s the postseason or the regular season (in fact, I’m not sure if any team has ever played five straight games against top-10 teams).
So what’s been the biggest difference maker so far this postseason? Perimeter shooting (I think we all knew this, though). During the regular season, the Cats made just 32.6% of their three-point attempts, good for 258th in the country. Since the regular season ended, the Cats are shooting 39.7% from beyond the arc, which would have slotted them at 9th in the country during the regular season.
Can the Cats keep their hot shooting up vs. Wisconsin and extend this ridiculous run? We’ll have to wait and see.
The NCAA released the 10 names that make up the pool of officials for the Final Four on Monday. “They represent the best in NCAA men’s basketball officiating,” said John W. Adams, the national coordinator of officiating.
Our good friend Tony Greene didn’t get the call, but we might get to see Doug Shows. Oh boy.
By Nick Roush on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 6:45pm
Just like most of the #BBN this morning, the Cats had a bit of a slow start on their first Monday morning of Spring practice. “Pretty decent day, a little sluggish here on a Monday morning. They must’ve been up watching the basketball game late last night, I don’t know,” Coach Stoops said. Here’s how the rest of the day went.
– Mark Stoops will not have his best wide receiver this Spring. After leading the team in catches, yards, and touchdowns in 2013, Javess Blue will miss the Spring after undergoing shoulder surgery last Friday. The injury occurred during offseason workouts with receivers and quarterbacks, but he is expected to fully recover in the next 3-4 months, just in time for the start of the season. Don’t hate on the offseason QB/WR work though; Coach Stoops can already see a better relationship between the two positions just two days into Spring practice.
– Speaking of wide receivers, Demarco Robinson‘s status was uncertain after off-the-field issues but according to Coach Stoops, “He’s out here practicing, he’s on the depth chart…he’s earning his way back onto the team.”
– Stoops and Eliot talked about their new Special Teams’ Coach Craig Naivar. DJ Eliot made a funny, saying he “only hires his former bosses” after working beneath both Bradley Dale Peveto and Naivar before hiring them at Kentucky. Stoops applauded Naivar’s extensive 15-year career and loves the energy Naivar brings to the field. Sometimes teams will tone it down a bit on Special Teams in the Spring, but not Coach Stoops, “We’re full tilt. Right now we have as much time dedicated in the Spring as we do in the Fall.”
– On the first day of practice, JUCO transfer A.J. Stamps left a remarkable impression on the coaching staff. A.J. showed that he has the fast-twitch that can turn into big plays at cornerback.
– The defensive line is stacked this year. JUCO transfer C.J. Williams is expected to play a big part in the defense, but he still has a ways to go and plenty of people to beat out as Jacob Hyde and Regie Meant improve. C.J.’s biggest problem right now is that he’s moving too fast; hard to believe from a 300-pounder, but it’s true. There will be an intense battle for playing time on the defensive line, but C.J. isn’t concerned about that right now, “As of right now I don’t look at it as a competition because of the fact that I’m learning. The guys ahead of me, I’m not like ‘get em out of their spot’ because I don’t know what I’m doing. I look to the sideline and they’re pop-lockin’ and stuff over there and I don’t know what signals they’re making. I’m just trying to learn.”
We’re talking about pop-lockin, DJ Eliot’s got jokes and Mark Stoops ‘dabbles’; Spring practice is a lot of fun. @RoushKSR
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 6:00pm
Ready for the most DeMarcus Cousins thing ever? Boogie announced yesterday that he’s releasing an R&B album entitled “Misunderstood” under the moniker “Boogie Smooth.” Even better, the lead single is called “Emotional” and features Chance the Rapper. In news that will make Drew Franklin giddy, the album also features a bonus track called “Big Fellas” featuring Rick Ross.
No word on the release date, but Boogie Smooth posted the pic above on Instagram.
UPDATE: Apparently, this is a hoax, and I am not happy about that.
By Corey Nichols on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 6:00pm
“Did they see my per-game averages?!”
There were so many talented freshmen in college basketball this year, but only two (Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins) made the Wooden Award All-American team, leaving our own Julius Randle off the list according to ESPN. He made the All-American 3rd team, but the ten man roster for the Wooden team was apparently less interested in the NCAA’s leading double-double machine.
It’s okay though, because unlike Wiggins and Parker, Randle still has a weekend left to prove them wrong.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 5:30pm
It’s official: Orlando Antigua is the new head coach at South Florida. John Calipari congratulated Antigua on social media this afternoon, and said that Coach O will lead South Florida to new heights:
When this is done right, everyone involved should benefit from the success of the program. This includes the university as a whole, the athletic department, administrators, staff and especially the assistant coaches. They and their families deal with the brunt of the work. With that being said, I am so excited that Orlando has been hired by the University of South Florida. Based on what he’s done with the Dominican Republic National Team as their head coach and his work with our family over the last five years at Kentucky and one season at Memphis, I have the utmost confidence in him to lead this program to new heights. My guess is they will do things that have never been done before at South Florida. We’re all going to miss him and his family after we finish this run.
That last sentence makes it sound like Coach O will be with the Cats in Dallas for one last hurrah. Let’s send him out in style.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 31st, 2014 @ 4:35pm
Last week, we told you about Josh Harrellson and Peyton Siva’s “gear bet” over the Kentucky/Louisville game. The Detroit Pistons teammates promised to wear each other’s team gear if their team lost, and it looks like Siva has followed through, according to this picture Jorts posted on Twitter. He included the caption “@PeypeySiva3 rocking my 2012 champion shirt my boy @uknum1 got me after winning the NCAA title! Good sport #BBN”
Just couldn’t help himself with those red shoes and L sign, could he?