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Despite an all-around good day in college basketball, it was relatively a slow UK news day. Other than reaction to last night’s game and remembering Senior Day, the biggest UK news we brought to you today may have been UK’s plans to sign a long-term lease with Rupp Arena. This means that the University supports the plan to redesign Rupp into the palace you see above, and renovation plans can take a major step forward once the lease is officially signed. There have been too many renderings, announcements and press conferences to remember concerning this project, but it looks like it’s finally about to become a reality. The next time a press conference is called, it will likely be to announce that the school has officially signed the lease. The last remaining hurdle will likely be figuring out how the new Rupp will be paid for.
The night following Kentucky’s bounce-back win over Alabama on Senior night proved to be a significant one in college basketball. Most notably, No. 4 Duke lost by 10 points to a bad Wake Forest team (16-14, 6-11 ACC). No. 17 Saint Louis also fell at home to Dayton, losing its third straight. The Billikens had won 19 straight games since losing 70-65 to Wichita State on December 1st. This follows a night where No. 7 Syracuse lost its fourth in five games, falling at home on Senior Night to Georgia Tech (14-16, 5-12 ACC). The theme in college basketball of late is that a lot of really good teams keep losing. Well, everyone except Wichita State. But the Cats aren’t the only talented team struggling down the stretch, and this is another reason to be on #TeamJanice.
Also, Indiana lost to Nebraska at home on its Senior Night and our own Matt Jones and Drew Franklin were on the scene while on their college basketball road trip with Fox Sports.
The Indiana Seniors have to give a speech to the crowd…after losing by ten…at home…to Nebraska. This should be awkward
— Matt Jones (@KSRRoadtrip) March 6, 2014
The first Senior is now ten minutes into his farewell speech…I am not kidding…and we have three more to go.
— Matt Jones (@KSRRoadtrip) March 6, 2014
“Will Sheehy helped return Indiana to national prominence”….we must have different definitions Indiana of the word “prominence”
— Matt Jones (@KSRRoadtrip) March 6, 2014
–Matt and Drew are killing it on the road trip, and here are their latest works:
Michigan – The most interesting team in the world, by Drew Franklin
Stauskas’ closeup, UI alum’s Olympic bronze, by Matt Jones
And more soon from Bloomington!
–ICYMI, here are all of the Cats’ latest NBA draft projections:
(for links to the complete projections, click here)
Draft Express 2014 mock draft (updated 3/5)
4. Julius Randle
14. Willie Cauley-Stein
23. James Young
36. Alex Poythress
Draft Express 2015 mock draft (updated 3/5)
18. Dakari Johnson
26. Aaron Harrison
31. Andrew Harrison
NBADraft.net 2014 mock draft (updated 2/25)
4. Julius Randle
22. James Young
24. Willie Cauley-Stein
NBADraft.net 2015 mock draft (updated 2/25)
7. Marcus Lee
11. Karl Towns
27. Andrew Harrison
33. Alex Poythress
36. Aaron Harrison
49. Dakari Johnson
Who will stay and who will go?
–The UK baseball team deserves some love for whipping up on Cincinnati, sweeping the Bearcats in a doubleheader by scores of 7-0 and 11-4. KSR’s David Mulloy has the recaps for you right here.
–I’ll leave you with Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson’s senior day ceremony, because it’s worth viewing again and again:
Game 1: UK 7, CIN 0
With the first game of the series pushed back a day due to the weather, sophomore Dylan Dwyer wasted no time asserting himself and pitched the first complete game shutout since first round pick Alex Meyer did it verses top ranked Vanderbilt in 2011. Dwyer allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out eight on 113 pitches.
Offensively the Cats were led by sophomore Ka’ai Tom and freshman JaVon Shelby adding two RBI each with Shelby hitting his first career homerun.
Game 2: UK 11, CIN 4
In the nightcap the Cats again wasted no time jumping on the Bearcats, scoring nine runs in the first three innings behind a 3-for-5 game by Austin Cousino. A.J. Reed knocked in three runs and extended his NCAA RBI lead to 24 and has his hitting streak to 15 games.
Juco transfer Andrew Nelson made his first start as a Wildcat, working four innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and struck out three before giving way to a bevy of relievers. Fellow Juco transfer Spencer Jack earned his first win at UK, working two and a third scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
The Cats will put their nine game winning streak on the line this weekend against Ball State, who will come to town for the final series before SEC play. First pitch is 4pm on Friday.
Two Lexington football players talk about their paths to becoming special teams walk-ons at UK and UL
By Ally Tucker on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 9:30pm
(Ryan Betlach in the UL sweatshirt, Jake Ryan in the UK sweatshirt)
When I set out to interview two high school seniors about their journey to becoming special teams walk-ons at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, the two biggest schools in their home state of Kentucky, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if I would have to pull answers out of them, or what the story would amount to in the end. What I discovered were two very humble young men (both big fans of Jacob Tamme due to family ties in Danville), each set to take different paths at rival schools… yet both of whom were making childhood dreams come true in a way they might never have expected. Jake Ryan and Ryan Betlach are both set to graduate from Tates Creek High School here in Lexington in June. The destination couldn’t be more different for the two seniors– with Ryan heading to Kentucky and Betlach venturing down the road to Louisville– but the journey and excitement about the opportunity that lies ahead strike eerily similar chords for both Ryan and Betlach. What I found when sitting down for the interview, was that both UK and UL are inheriting the kind of guys you would hope to have in your locker room. Both are mature for their age, well-spoken, gracious for the chance they’ve been given, hungry to succeed, and proud to be a part of their home state’s university. I couldn’t have been more impressed with either. Neither will be the most heralded name when glancing down the rosters they both hope to eventually make, but Ryan and Betlach are just the kind of guys you want to root for…
Ryan will be attending Kentucky to be a walk-on punter, while Betlach will be going to Louisville as a walk-on to be a long-snapper. Ryan nearly set the state record for the longest punt in Kentucky history earlier this season, with an 82-yarder against Henry Clay (The state record is 82 1/2 yards). Interestingly enough, Betlach was the long-snapper on the punt, and was the one to recover the ball in the end zone. Betlach was ranked as the #2 long-snapper (based on speed/accuracy) in the country after attending a pro-camp during his sophomore year. Ryan is currently ranked as the #42 punter in the country.
Q: Give a little background on your football careers and how you came about to be a kicker/punter (Ryan) and a long-snapper (Betlach).
Ryan: “I played quarterback my freshman year, and in and out my sophomore through senior year. I’ve kicked since my freshman year, and started punting my sophomore year. I went to a couple camps (for kicking), but it just kind of came naturally to me. Sometimes after practice, some of us would just kind of mess around and kick around. Lot of guys that can’t kick try to kick. It’s a lot of fun. I played soccer when I was younger, but it’s a lot different. I always kind of really wanted to kick in college, and my sophomore year when I started punting I thought– wow I’m not too bad at this. It’s been a process though to become better at it.”
Betlach: “I’ve played since I was 7 years old. I’ve played all kinds of positions. As I got into middle school and high school I focused more on defense. But when I was in elementary school, my Dad taught me how to long snap, so I’ve been a long-snapper ever since for every team that I’ve been on. I’ve been to a couple camps as well.
Q: Did your Dad teach you long-snapping in the backyard just for fun, or was it because he thought that special skill could be a ticket to college football down the line?
Betlach: “It was for fun, but he knew that long-snapping could be my ticket to college. He said, ‘You could go to a D-I school and long snap.’ I didn’t know how seriously to take him until a couple weeks ago when I got the call saying, ‘You have the opportunity to go to Louisville.'”
Q: When you were growing up, did you ever dream/imagine that you would be going to a Division I school to play college football?
Ryan: “I’ve grown up in Lexington, so I’ve always been a fan of UK. I couldn’t really see myself going there, cuz I’ll probably still be the smallest guy there. But it’s almost surreal at this point. I mean I know I’m going and I know I’m going to be there, and it’s going to be an awesome experience– but growing up I didn’t really see myself going to a D-I school. I saw myself going to a smaller school, maybe like Centre. D-I always just seemed like a dream really.
Betlach: “When I started when I was 7, I always said I was going to go to the NFL. That’s always everyone’s dream. But as you slowly progress through the years and see everyone’s talent, you say to yourself, ‘Okay maybe I’ll just go D-I.’ And then maybe after that, ‘Maybe I’ll just try to play in college.’ So it’s always been a dream of mine to go D-I, but as I slowly progressed through my career, my dream was more to play college football at any level. But when I got the opportunity to go D-I I was shocked. It was awesome.”
Q: Both of you had opportunities to play at smaller schools. What was it that made you decide to pass on those opportunities to walk-on at Kentucky and Louisville?
Ryan: “I think definitely playing for your home university was my biggest thing. When Coach Harmon (TC coach) told me I had an offer, I was like, ‘You don’t have to contact anyone else.’ It’s been really fun. I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s just awesome that UK is giving me this opportunity to play.”
Betlach: “I had a couple of different options, especially Division 3 schools. I was really struggling to make a decision. The smaller schools were a lot more expensive. But I got accepted to Louisville’s Speed School (Engineering program) and it’s one of the top programs in the country. When Coach Harmon found that out he contacted Pete Nochta at Louisville. He’s in charge of the long-snappers at UL. He made that connection, and told Nochta my times and that I was a good snapper. So he gave me that chance. And I took it.”
Q: How exactly did the recruiting process go about to get you all to Kentucky and Louisville?
Ryan: “I didn’t personally get a call but Coach Harmon did. And it was right before the dead period so we had to wait a few weeks. Then I met with Neal Brown at a basketball game one afternoon. It was like right after Matt Elam signed, so he was running all over the place. That was the extent of my recruitment. He didn’t really have to recruit me. I was set on going there.”
Betlach: “Once I found out I had the opportunity, there wasn’t much recruiting involved. I was really excited and it’s always been my dream to go D-I in any position.”
Q: Both Kentucky and Louisville football have a lot of excitement surrounding the the programs right now, with blockbuster recruiting classes at UK ignited by a new staff, and a returning successful head coach in Bobby Petrino at Louisville. Talk a little bit about what it’s like and the excitement you’ve felt as you head into those programs…
Ryan: “Personally, I’ve been watching the recruitment process by Coach Stoops and his staff. I’ve been a fan my whole life. The excitement around the program is great. I’m excited for the program as a fan, and he’s doing a great job bringing in talent. But I try to stray away from telling people I’m walking on to UK. If they ask, I’ll tell them. But I don’t walk around telling everyone.”
Betlach: “Louisville just got into the ACC and got a new coach. They have one of the hardest schedules in college football this year. It’s an exciting time for Louisville, too.”
Q: Betlach, is it a little strange to go from being a lifelong Kentucky fan growing up in Lexington, to now being part of the Louisville program?
Betlach: “Yeah, I grew up in Lexington. My room was all decked out in UK. It’s been a bit of a transformation. A lot of my friends jokingly call me a traitor. But I’m excited about the opportunity, and I guess I am a Louisville fan now.”
Q: Have you all thought about a moment when you all take the field at the same time, on opposing sides, as former teammates?
Ryan: “Yeah, and I’ve talked about it with my family. Actually, my stepmom and his Mom went to high school together in Danville. They are just like ‘Ah man, you and Ryan are gonna be on the field at the same time.’ Some of our friends have talked about us jogging out to midfield and shaking hands.”
Betlach: “Yeah, we have thought about it. Coach Harmon has said he can’t wait til we are both playing on the field at the same time. Well, obviously not at the exact same time.”
Q: You two had to have had a chemistry on the field as the punter and long-snapper. Does that make it even more special for the two of you to see each other reaching your goals?
Ryan: “I’m excited for him and I’m excited for myself. I mean, without him, I couldn’t do anything. When I heard about him going to Louisville, I actually pulled him out of class and we talked about it for a few minutes. It’s pretty awesome for one program (Tates Creek) to have 2 guys going D-I, at opposing schools in the same state. It’s pretty fun.”
Betlach: “Yeah, Jake was actually one of the first people to say something to me. He found out the same day I did. Like he said, he pulled me out of class. I guess Tates Creek is known for its special teams. Obviously, David Akers.”
Q: What are you all most excited about when it comes to playing at Kentucky and Louisville?
Ryan: “I really want to say the clothes. (laughs) But I know that’s not the right answer. Just the people that I’m going to be around. I like being a part of a team, and I miss hanging out with my teammates every day, and weight lifting and joking around and seeing everyone. Being part of a team and the road trips and all of that, that’s the part I’m looking forward to the most. Creating memories with teammates. Stepping on the field is going to be cool– seeing thousands of fans. I mean we have season tickets, but we are waaaay up there. It’s going to be unreal. I don’t even know how to explain it yet, but I’m really looking forward to that.”
Betlach: “Like I said, it’s always been my dream to play Division I football and now it’s a reality. I’ll get to play against some of the best teams in the nation and be on one of the best teams in the nation. I’ll be excited to go play at places like Notre Dame. That’s one of the most traditional stadiums and programs.”
Q: Who’s your favorite UK/UL player of all time?
Ryan: “Do I have to pick a special teams person? Actually, when I go to UK games I’m like, ‘Landon Foster! He’s so good.’ I tell my friends that all the time, and they make fun of me. (After going on a tangent about Johnny Football)…Or I guess Randall Cobb.”
(Betlach interupts): “I’m surprised you didn’t say Jacob Tamme.”
Ryan: “AH! That’s who it is! I have a pair of Jacob Tamme signed gloves because he went to Boyle County and my stepmom knows his Mom. Okay, he’s my favorite.”
Betlach: “I guess I would have to go with Teddy Bridgewater. I think he’s a great quarterback and a great guy. I hope he goes #1 in the draft. As far as UK guys go, Jacob Tamme. My Aunt’s a counselor at Boyle County, so that’s a connection. I mean I don’t have any signed gloves like he does or anything.”
Q: Jake, you know UK’s special teams guys are a pretty funny group. They have their own Twitter account and everything.
Ryan: “I guess I have to be come a little bit funnier so I can become a part of that team.”
Q: Have you guys talked a little trash to each other yet about the rivalry?
Ryan: “I don’t know if I can talk trash now since I have a good friend on the team. I mean I really want to, but I feel like it’s going to be difficult.”
Betlach: “Obviously it’ll be a little tough to talk trash about UK.”
Q: Last but not least, what are your academic plans at UK and UL? (Both are very strong students)
Ryan: “I want to go into chemical engineering or pharmaceutical work.”
Betlach: “I got accepted to UL’s Speed School , which is very exciting. It’s a 5-year program, but you get your master’s in 5 years. It’s a very difficult program, but I’m hoping I can get through it.”
Good luck to both guys as they head to Kentucky and Louisville in the fall to make the rosters. As you can tell, Ryan and Betlach are both grateful and excited about the opportunity they are being given at their home state programs.
Oh, and the guys both have Twitter and they asked me to score them a couple of followers. So do your thing, BBN. Just don’t make any Sixteen Candles jokes toward Jake Ryan. “She pretends like she didn’t know, but I think my Mom did it on purpose.” He has a flip phone though, so he probably won’t see your Tweets until a few days later. See if we can’t get these guys to 800 followers, BBN.
By John Wilmhoff on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 8:59pm
Earlier this week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he believes elite prospects would be better off playing in the NBA D-League straight out of high school instead of spending one season in college. It seems like everyone has had something to say about one-and-dones and “the Calipari way” following the Cats’ recent struggles, and Mark Cuban chimed in with these little nuggets in an ESPN.com story:
“I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one,” Cuban said. “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”
While I’m sure most would agree that the NCAA is hypocritical, it’s not their rule that elite prospects can’t play in the NBA if they’re ready before they turn 19. It’s not Calipari’s rule either. It’s your rule, Mark Cuban–or at least the NBA’s rule. Cuban’s idea though is not too far fetched. The D-League has a minimum age of 18 and if someone wanted to start earning a paycheck right out of high school instead of going to college for a year, they could choose to go that route. If Brandon Jennings can play in Italy for a season before moving on to NBA success, I’m sure there are a few other top prospects who could take a similar path into the D-League and transition successfully into the NBA. To me, I think it would be easier for a teenager to stay in the U.S. as opposed to spending a year overseas. Cuban offered a number of ideas that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could consider to make this option more attractive for star prospects, which you can read by clicking the link below:
I do think the D-League could be an option for some players who financially need a paycheck, even if it’s not NBA lottery-pick money until they turn 19 (or 20…fingers crossed). But is Cuban right, from purely a developmental standpoint, that players would be better off going straight to the D-League instead of playing college hoops? Larry Brown says no way.
“…play for Rick Pitino for a year or two or Tom Izzo or John Calipari or Bill Self, I think Cuban would be happy with what they’re getting.”
Perhaps, Cuban doesn’t consider how bad AAU basketball really is. Calipari still hasn’t fixed many of the bad habits he inherited with his current superstar class, but history shows that he does a pretty good job of preparing stars for the NBA. Could the D-League do any better? Is this idea any threat to college basketball? Larry Brown and his 1,198 NBA coaching wins do not think so. What do you think?
If you were at last nights’ game, odds are you’re in the HD picture taken by the Rupp Arena fancam before the game. I spent a ridiculous amount of time zooming around the picture today to bring you some of the best snapshots.
As always, we’ve gotta start with Johnny Short, who’s dutifully listening to the last few minutes of the pregame show with Oscar Combs and Dave Baker:
What a great American. Hey, look, it’s KSR’s favorite tweeter, Lonny Demaree!
Lonny just wants to know why there was a chicken in the opening scene of “The Hangover.”
What do you think Jimmy Dykes and Brad Nessler are talking about?
Some people were ready for the fancam:
…While others were clearly more interested in eating Rupp ice cream:
(There were hundreds of these.)
These three thought they were going to a Mardi Gras party:
This guy snuck in a pregame nap:
Hey look, it’s Ryan Lemond, his son, and Kyle Macy!
Light up peepers looked a bit evil in the upper deck:
And this woman is really into traveling. Or hosting. Or hosting travelers:
Even Eli Capilouto got in on the fun:
Well, kind of.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Cal’s been dropping hints about his new book lately, and now we know its release date. Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out will be released on April 15th, and is now available for pre-order on ThePenguinPress.com. Cal’s friend Bill Clinton has already read a copy, and has these praises to sing:
“If you are a college basketball fan like I am, you’ll understand why I’ve long admired John Calipari’s leadership style. While no coach treasures a win more than John, this terrific book reveals his greater purpose—to lead his young players to better lives, and then challenge them to give back to others.” —President Bill Clinton
A little sad it wasn’t titled Pooping Ice Cream: Turning talent into Orange Leaf.
There’s no denying it; these past two years have been incredibly frustrating. In back-to-back seasons, Kentucky has gone from a preseason favorite to win the title to a lower-tier tournament team in early March. In looking for an outlet for this confusion, many fans have turned toward the man at the helm of the program – John Calipari. While few rational fans have called for a coaching change, numerous people have questioned Calipari’s recruiting philosophy and his ability to lead the team. How warranted is this criticism?
Let’s take a look at Coach Cal’s resume in his time at Kentucky compared to some of college basketball’s other premiere coaches. What follows could restore your potentially waning faith:
Tenure: 5 years
Record: 145-34 (81%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 2
Tournament Appearances: 3
Final Fours: 2
National Titles: 1
Rick Pitino (Louisville)
Tenure: 13 years
Record: 334-116 (74.2%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 3
Tournament Appearances: 10
Final Fours: 3
National Titles: 1
Roy Williams (North Carolina)
Tenure: 11 years
Record: 305- 86 (78%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 6
Tournament Appearances: 9
Final Fours: 3
National Titles: 2
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)
Tenure: 38 years
Record: 946-318 (74.8%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 11
Tournament Appearances: 30
Final Fours: 4
National Titles: 1
Tom Izzo (Michigan State)
Tenure: 19 years
Record: 461-185 (71.4%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 7
Tournament Appearances: 16
Final Fours: 6
National Titles: 1
Bill Self (Kansas)
Tenure: 11 years
Record: 322-66 (83%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 10
Tournament Appearances: 10
Final Fours: 2
National Titles: 1
Coach K (Duke)
Tenure: 34 years
Record: 907-244 (78.8%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 12
Tournament Appearances: 29
Final Fours: 11
National Titles: 4
Billy Donovan (Florida)
Tenure: 18 years
Record: 443-168 (72.5%)
Conference Titles (reg. season): 6
Tournament Appearances: 13
Final Fours: 3
National Titles: 2
As you can see, Calipari’s numbers at Kentucky rival many of college basketball’s elite coaches. Despite consecutive disappointing seasons, only Bill Self has a higher winning percentage at his current school than Coach Cal. Calipari’s two final four appearances are similar to most of the premiere coaches – and they’ve been at their respective programs much longer.
While some of his approaches need to be evaluated in the offseason, our coach has done enough in his short time at Kentucky that he should not be on the hot seat any time soon. Perspective is a good thing; let’s use it.
Yesterday, former UK star Patrick Patterson and his teammate, Landry Fields, visited a local Toronto middle school. They were there to help promote the MLSE Shape Up program, a program based in Toronto which encourages healthy, active lifestyles for children. This is only one of many programs and organizations Patterson promotes within the local community. Since joining the Raptors in early December by way of a trade, Patterson has made the most of his experience. He’s been known to help out local communities with other NBA Cares programs, and he continues to be rewarded. For the month of February, Patterson was named the Toronto Citizen Community MVP for his services given off the court.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 28, 2014
With all of his help and time given to the community surrounding Toronto, its hard not to believe he’s become a fan favorite. Just check out the reactions from the kids, they love him!
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 4, 2014
It’s great to see a former Kentucky player doing great things, on & off the court. Congrats Pat Pat!
For more pictures and silly videos from Patterson’s visit yesterday, head on over to the Raptors’ page by clicking this link.
Photo via GunShowComics
If you were one of the many who thought last night’s win looked rough, Seth Davis from Sports Illustrated has some good news: this Kentucky team is better than they look.
And maybe admitting that is what being #TeamJanice is about. Instead of being prone to wild swings of expectations (“They’re going undefeated!” … “They’re going to the NIT!”), we should instead give these guys the benefit of the doubt. It’s clear they’re playing hard, it’s clear they like each other, and having us constantly on their backs makes it hard for them to have fun.
Over at SI, Davis highlighted a few points to consider when discussing this Kentucky team, and why we can let off the pressure a little bit. First, there aren’t any obviously bad attitudes. Anybody that regularly watches the team knows that the Harrisons and Randle give their best efforts every night. We’re not really lacking in “hustle plays” or motivated players, but we already knew that.
More importantly, though, is Davis’ diagnosis for the Cats on the offensive end (where they so desperately struggled last night): do what you do well. That’s advice you’ve heard before if you watched Tracy Morgan’s SNL tenure almost a decade ago.
“Do what you know. And I know booze.”
We (and by “we” I mean “they”) know how to do at least two things: get boards, and get fouled. Bringing those things back to the forefront of the offense, which they really should be under the Dribble Drive, should do wonders for the point-phobic Cats.
Finally, just accept that Cal can coach. Remember when he came here, and he said he didn’t have any magic wands? Two years ago, we thought he was lying to us. But he doesn’t. He’s trying to figure each team out, too. Don’t let this year (and last year) sway your opinions on that. Some people have the memory of a fish.
Worrying’s not going to do us any good in the post-season. So take this team for what it is, hope they do what they do well, and let Cal coach.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 5:30pm
New Dinner Menu Features:
Dinner Combinations: We are thrilled to offer dinner combinations. Simply select any two combinations including Papa G’s Chicken, Crispy Chicken, Top Sirloin, Ribs, Shrimp Diablo, Agave-Glazed Salmon, and Brisket Tacos. Served with roasted red skin potatoes and Latin vegetables for only $18.
Buffalo Chicken Tacos: Crispy chicken with buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, jack cheese, shoestring fries, and poblano slaw.
Crispy Chicken Dinner: Lightly fried chicken with shoestring fries and poblano slaw.
Crispy Chicken Salad: Lightly fried breast, romaine, tomato, cheddar, bacon, and tortilla strips. Might we suggest the avocado ranch or cilantro-lime vinaigrette dressing?
New Lunch Menu Features:
Wouldn’t you rather be watching the jellyfish than watching the clock? With a streamlined new lunch menu, fast service, and tons of space, we will get you seated, satisfied, and back to work.
Lunch Combinations: Select any two options for $6.75 or any three for $8. Selections: Any taco, enchilada, burrito, bowl of soup, Coba salad, or 1/2 Cuban sandwich.
Taqueria: Interested in tacos? Select any two options for $8.5 and any three for $9.75. Crispy beef, seasoned chicken, brisket, fish, or buffalo chicken tacos. Served with rice and beans.
Agave-Glazed Wild Salmon: Fresh, hand cut, seared salmon roasted with agave glaze on a bed of poblano slaw. Served with Latin vegetables and rice.
The Cheeseburger: Two quarter pound patties, American cheese, romaine lettuce, romatomato, Coba sauce, shoestring fries, and poblano slaw.
Need an excuse for dessert? Why not try our homemade gelato or cheesecake? Gelato flavors rotate on an ongoing basis and our cheesecake flavors include New York style with lemon sour cream topping and choice of fruit topping; Key Lime; Chocolate; White Chocolate Raspberry, and Peanut Butter & Jelly.
Coba Cocina is located in the Idle Hour Shopping Center at 2041 Richmond Road, Lexington, KY 40502, 859-523-8484, www.CobaCocina.com. Coba and Cocoh! hours: Sunday 11am-10pm; Monday-Thursday 11am-10:30pm; and Friday & Saturday 11am-11:30pm. Cobar hours: Thursday 4-10:30pm and Friday & Saturday 4pm-12:30am
Good afternoon, folks. We’re officially over the hump. While you salivate at those pictures of Coba Cocina’s new menu up there, I’m going to churn out these afternoon notes…
— There’s been a lot of talk about James Young’s draft stock today, with Chad Ford bumping Young up to #9 in his latest mock draft. In his SportsCenter chat today, Jeff Goodman said that he still thinks Young will go to the draft, and NBA teams still consider him a late lottery pick:
The issue with Young is that he was thought to be a shooter — and he’s not consistently making shots. However, NBA guys still think of him as a late lottery pick. My gut says he still comes out.
— There’s also been a lot of talk about James Young’s hair, which it looks like is here to stay:
Rock it, Wanda.
— On today’s show, you may have heard Matt mention the Kentucky Kernel story about Brad and Haden Pike, a father and son from Garrard County. Haden is a 20-year-old UK student who suffers from Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare disorder that affects muscle coordination. He’s also blind, and largely confined to a wheelchair. Haden’s father, Brad, drives 45 minutes to Lexington every morning to pick Haden up at his apartment and take him to his classes. If they’re ever in the car together from 10 a.m. to noon, they tune into Kentucky Sports Radio, a very touching tradition that we’d like to thank them for. If you get a minute this afternoon, click on over to the Kernel and read their story, which is truly inspirational.
— Earlier, we shared the video of Steve Zahn doing the “Y” from last night. Did you happen to spot this great American in the crowd?
Thankfully, the Cats covered the John Short spread last night.
— If you were at the game last night, you likely made the Rupp Arena fancam. I’m working on a post with the best screencaps from it right now.
— The SEC Tournament starts in ONE WEEK, and it’s time for us to start reminding you where you can catch the KSR Crew. Once again, we’ll be stationed at STATS Restaurant and Bar near the Georgia Dome, which is where the guys will do the morning show on Friday, as well as all the pregame and postgame shows. Hopefully, it will be warm enough to enjoy that rooftop patio.
— Last night, John Calipari admitted that his hip has been giving him some problems lately and that he’ll have to get it replaced after this season. In the meantime, maybe we can get him a segway, as suggested by John Robic’s Hair?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 5:08pm
Good news: UK spokesman Jay Blanton told the Herald-Leader today that UK is behind the Rupp Arena redesign, and confirmed that the university will sign a long-term lease:
“As the primary tenant, the University of Kentucky and its athletic department are supportive of this project,” Blanton said. “We continue to work on our financing plan to help support this initiative. The UK plan includes a long-term lease and new project revenues generated solely from premium seating and other revenue opportunities created by the new Rupp Arena.”
Blanton added that no university funds support Rupp now, and none will be used for the project. Meanwhile, the city of Lexington filed a bill today to raise the hotel tax by 2.5% to help pay for the Rupp Arena project, which is estimated to cost $310 million.
Awesome news for the future of the program.
For full disclosure, I intended yesterday’s recap of Game of Arms to be a one-off recap, but then I realized, there’s something to this show. No, it’s not the next Mad Men, Breaking Bad or Walking Dead, but it’s interesting. There will be another recap next week, so we can meet the Erie Wrecking Crew, and after that, I’ll go on your comments/tweets on whether I should keep going with this. I will do a series finale at least, if not more.
Last Tuesday, AMC debuted “Game of Arms”. The show is a reality based program about the world of professional arm-wrestling. During the series, viewers get to meet five regionally based teams who will compete against one another for money and glory. If you missed the recap of the debut episode, check it out here.
So yesterday, after the first recap came out, I got this tweet:
@rbramblet WHY IS THIS SHOW NOT CALLED "ARMS RACE"
— C.M. Tomlin (@CM_Tomlin) March 4, 2014
To which I replied…
@CM_Tomlin ARMy of Darkness? ARMageddon In the ARMy Now? In hARMs Way? ChARM City Cakes? DhARMa and Greg?
— Richmond Bramblet (@rbramblet) March 4, 2014
and then we finished with:
@CM_Tomlin How I Met Your Mother
— Richmond Bramblet (@rbramblet) March 4, 2014
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I’m a sucker for a good pun. Do you have a better name for this show? Let me know on Twitter: @rbramblet or in the comments below.
Now, let’s meet our two teams for this week’s episode. First:
Andrew “Cobra” Rhodes – Cobra is a sixteen-time world champion, not unlike “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Cobra looks like a villain in a Jean-Claude Van Dam movie, except he’s a father of five, a chef, and a “Zen Master”. Looking to be a mentor to Ethan Fritsche. Also, he played a referee in the movie “Over The Top”.
Ethan Fritsche – Fritsche is the son of arm wrestling legend, Don Fritsche. Ethan is a competitive gamer and his home is supposedly the Mecca of arm-wresting: The Ponderosa. He can climb two vertical ropes, simultaneously, using one arm for each rope without using his legs… WHAT?!?!
Don Underwood – #10 ranked arm wrestler. He’s a former pro wrestler and football player, and a world arm wrestling silver medalist. Now, he’s a motorcycle salesman.
Nick Zinna – Zinna is a simple guy, it doesn’t take much to get him going. He’s a four-time national champion. From working on his parents’ farm, Zinna claims he gets his strength from that work.
Bill Logsdon – Logsdon is a two time national champion. He is known for making custom arm wrestling arm exercise machines. He makes tables, he makes forearm strengthening devices and more. Someone has a lot of time on their hands…
And their opponents…
Matt “Chop” Bertrand – Chop is a good-ole boy from Baton Rouge, and a two-time national champion. When he’s not arm-wrestling he’s a part-time shrimp fisherman and oil worker on his family farm. After his wife left him, and a gang killed three of his friends, arm wrestling is the only thing holding Chop together.
Josh “Turbo” Borrow – Turbo is Chop’s best friend; clearly as they both have silly nicknames for each other. He’s a bar manager and has a degree in digital communications. At 420 lbs., Turbo relies on strength, while being new to arm wrestling.
Ray Hennerichs – Has been arm wrestling for 20+ years. Rides around the bayou on his speedboat, and is a large-scale oil refinery construction super intendent.
Larry Alexie – Larry is a tugboat captain, aged 39, with four daughters and three grandkids. Notably, he’s missing the index finger on his left hand after losing it in a tugboat accident.
Craig Tullier – Craig is one of the strongest “pullers” in the south. He took a break after a bad divorce, but came back last year strong. Works as an oil plat construction manager, working long hours and has s teenage daughter.
Episode results after the jump…
Right after I posted a bunch of mock drafts for you guys this morning, Chad Ford went and updated his. In his latest version (3.0), Ford actually moves James Young up from #17 to #9.
Are we watching the same player? Ford says that even though Young has “struggled at times with his jump shot this season, many NBA scouts believe he has the chance to be a star.” That is certainly true, but surely those NBA scouts have seen Young try to pass the ball in the past few months.
Where did Ford rank our other Cats? Julius Randle dropped to #6, and Willie Cauley-Stein moved up a few spots to #21. Go check out the rest of his mock draft here.
It’s been a rough week in the Big Blue Nation, but the Cats got a win they absolutely had to last night, lifting everyone’s spirits just a bit. This morning, Janice, a 77-year old grandmother, called into the show to tell Matt to get off Shannon’s back and encourage the BBN to be positive about this team going forward. Janice has some ideas about what Cal can do to help the team make a big run in March, including playing Randle, Poythress, and her man Willie Cauley-Stein together, along with a few of the “little boys” to play guard. I definitely felt better after listening to Janice’s call, and you will too.
I, for one, am all #TeamJanice. After seeing the Cats hit rock bottom in person in South Carolina, and dealing with all the rumors about Cal leaving, I will admit, I was pretty depressed. It was almost like the BBN was in mourning for the team that was supposed to be. However, during last night’s game, I came to the realization that this team is what it is, and probably will be for the rest of the season. Like Cal said, we’re not going to blow teams out, so why not put down all the expectations and just be happy if they win at all? Anthony Davis isn’t walking through that door. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t walking through that door. So, for the rest of the season, let’s stop pulling our hair out over what could have been and just enjoy the ride. If James Young wants to keep looking like Wanda, even better. Seeing his hair like that was the first thing to make me laugh in days.
Be sure to listen to the rest of the show, which was good old school KSR fun.
Are you #TeamJanice?
By Nick Roush on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 2:30pm
Tyler Ulis wears awesome shoes and Coach Cal waves to the crowd in the 2014 commit’s newest highlight reel. There’s also some great basketball played on this mixtape (SPOILER!); step-back jumpers, deeeep threes and flawless passes.
Short people rule! #EatItDrew
By S.E. Shepherd on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 2:00pm
Over the last several days, the Cats’ struggles have kicked the “Coach Cal to the NBA” rumor machine into high gear. Although Calipari’s comments following last night’s win over Alabama seemed to discredit much of that speculation, basketball fans know that you can’t always take a coach’s comments at face value. Calipari leaving Kentucky is inevitable – whether it’s after this season or several years down the road. Either way, it’s never too soon to start compiling a list of potential replacements.
So who are the top candidates to fill Coach Cal’s shoes and take over one of the most coveted, but challenging, jobs in college basketball? I’ve spent hours looking at the current crop of big name coaches – Shaka Smart at VCU, Gregg Marshall at Wichita State, Thad Matta at Ohio State, and even Brad Stevens who recently left the college ranks to coach the Boston Celtics – and I just don’t see anyone who’s equipped to handle the pressures that come with being the men’s head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. That led me to think outside of the box and consider some lesser known names and long-forgotten legends of the game. I’ve come up with a list of four potential coaches who I believe could flourish at Kentucky. None of these candidates are slam-dunks – they all bring some pretty serious baggage to the table – but I think they are the Big Blue Nation’s best bets. Let’s take a look at each one below:
Most High-Profile Job: Coach of the Beacon Town Beavers
Coaching Philosophy: “Never get less than 12 hours sleep, never play cards with a guy who’s got the same first name as a city, and never go near a lady who’s got a tattoo of a dagger on her body.”
Why He’s a Perfect Fit to Coach at Kentucky: The best players on the 1985 Beavers team were a 5-foot supernatural creature whose favorite shot was a two-handed scoop layup and a 300-pound high school senior who looked like he was 45-years old. Finstock managed to lead his team of misfits to a Regional Championship despite the fact that the score-at-will lycanthrope didn’t even play in the championship game, proving that, on any given night, he’s uniquely equipped to overcome adversity and get the most out of the talent on hand. If nothing else, Finstock’s ability to remain calm and keep his players focused after one of their teammates literally transformed into a werewolf in the middle of a game shows that he is the epitome of grace under pressure.
Why He Might Not Be Cut-Out to Coach at Kentucky: His eating habits are terrible, so his health may be an issue. He’s been known to eat hard-boiled eggs on the sidelines during games and regularly gorge on fried chicken dinners. He also has shown questionable decision-making skills when it comes to his personal finances; former players admit to hearing him complain about his troubles with the IRS on more than one occasion.
Most High-Profile Job: Coach of the Western University Dolphins
Coaching Philosophy: “You can get through college half-assed, you can get through life half-assed, but I’ll guarantee you boys one thing, sure as hell I’ll guarantee you this: You cannot win half-assed!”
Why He’s a Perfect Fit to Coach at Kentucky: Pete Bell is among the last of a dying breed of coaches who aren’t afraid to use fear and intimidation as motivational tactics. In the mid-1990s, he established himself as one of the top recruiters in the game, attracting blue chip talent such as Neon Boudeaux (imagine a young Shaq), Butch McRae (picture Penny Hardaway in his prime), and Ricky Roe to Western. He’s also a proven winner, with one of his biggest victories coming against the then #1-ranked, alternate universe Indiana Hoosiers led by Calbert Cheaney and Bobby Hurley (?!?!) and coached by Bobby Knight.
Why He Might Not Be Cut-Out to Coach at Kentucky: Bell’s career has been marred by accusations of recruiting violations and a high-profile point-shaving scandal. He famously broke down during a post-game press conference and admitted to, among other things, providing Boudeaux with a fully loaded Lexus. And that was after a softball question from a second-rate sports reporter. That doesn’t bode well for Bell’s chances of handling the pressure of questions from the likes of Jerry Tipton and other members of the local media.
Most High-Profile Job: Coach of the Hickory High Huskers
Coaching Philosophy: “Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms. And remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again. And, most important, don’t get caught up in thinking about winning or losing this game. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game. In my book, we’re gonna be winners. OK?!”
Why He’s a Perfect Fit to Coach at Kentucky: Dale is a stern disciplinarian whose approach to the game places fundamentals above all else, which means the gray-haired, dyed-in-the-wool members of the Big Blue Nation would love him. Dale actually has a lot in common with John Calipari. He famously led the Huskers to an Indiana state championship with a team featuring only seven players. The Kentucky faithful would be happy to see Dale employ a similar philosophy at UK, since fans already are used to seeing Coach Cal stick with a seven- or eight-man rotation despite having a deep bench. And just as Coach Cal has stuck by a member of his staff who has struggled with alcohol, Dale showed loyalty to assistant coach Shooter Flatch – father of the Huskers’ Everett Flatch and an infamous town drunk who proved to be a valuable asset to the team during their championship run (although a relapse late in the season required Shooter to be hospitalized).
Why He Might Not Be Cut-Out to Coach at Kentucky: Dale is known for a slow and methodical offensive approach, and his practices feature more drills and conditioning work than time spent in scrimmages where players can get up-and-down the court. That throwback style might not be popular with recruits and likely wouldn’t be a good fit in today’s highlight-driven basketball culture. Of greater concern is the fact that, before finding success at Hickory High, Dale was a bit of a pariah in the basketball world, having been fired from a previous coaching job for punching one of his players. Those antics might be par for the course in Indiana, but won’t sit well with Kentucky fans.
Most High-Profile Job: Player/Coach of the Tune Squad
Coaching Philosophy: “Guys, let’s just go out and have fun.”
Why He’s a Perfect Fit to Coach at Kentucky: Michael Jordan is arguably the best player to ever play the game of basketball, and despite the fact that he played his college ball as a Tar Heel at rival North Carolina, his high-profile status makes him a perfect fit for a program that has grown accustomed to seeing celebrities like Drake, Jay-Z, and Lebron James associate themselves with the Wildcats. Jordan’s success in the NBA is well documented, but it was his stint with the Tune Squad in the mid-1990s that cemented his legacy. Not only did Jordan lead a rag-tag group of animated characters to victory over an intergalactic squad of alien baddies, he managed to do so while balancing the famously explosive and mercurial temperaments of his star players: a wise-cracking rabbit, a short-tempered duck, a loudmouth Southern chicken who some suspect was constantly drunk, and a pig with a nearly crippling speech impediment. If he can coach a team with that many issues and type-A personalities, he’ll have no problem handling the egos of the one-and-done superstars who play for Kentucky.
Why He Might Not Be Cut-Out to Coach at Kentucky: While Jordan technically served as coach of the Tune Squad, he made his biggest impact as a player on the court. He won’t have the opportunity to suit up for the Cats, which means the argument can be made that his value as a coach may be marginal at best. Jordan also has been hounded by rumors that he supplied his players with some sort of performance-enhancing substance (“Michael’s Secret Stuff”) that ultimately gave the Tune Squad an unfair advantage over the Monstars. While skirting the rules may have worked in an exhibition game between a bunch of psychotic cartoon animals and extraterrestrials, it won’t fly under the watchful eye of the NCAA.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 1:30pm
The Cats took care of business last night, and although the game wasn’t pretty, there were plenty of moments to share. Let’s have a look in this week’s edition of GIFs from last night:
It was Jon Hood’s Senior Night, and right out of the gates, he was feeling that sweet string music:
We were all ready to break out the air banjos again, when Hood made this incredible three at the shot clock buzzer…
Except the refs said it didn’t count. What????
The Cats went on a 15-2 run in the second half, capped off by Dakari Johnson’s dunk off a missed rebound. As he often does, Dakari motioned to the Rupp crowd and reminded all of us that basketball is supposed to be fun:
I watched this for way too long trying to figure out what he’s saying. “I want this”?
One more time, because we really needed that:
The good times kept rolling during “Mony Mony,” when these two won a dance off with Dancing Guy:
Yes, they broke out the sprinkler:
(Fun fact: this is my go to dance move when I’m nervous.)
All in all, it was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. It’s been a stressful week for the Big Blue Nation, especially John Calipari, who couldn’t help but crack himself up in front of the media afterwards:
I’ll have what he’s having.
By T.Walters on ©March 05th, 2014 @ 1:00pm
Got plans tonight? Why not turn $22 into $10,000 by entering Draft Street’s NBA $50K daily fantasy contest? The NBA $50K will take place every Wednesday night when there is a full slate of NBA games to watch and hundreds of players to choose from. So test your fantasy skills weekly with a chance to share in $50,000 of prize money including a massive first place prize of $10,000.
All you have to do is sign up at Draftstreet.com and make a deposit, join the $22 entry $50,000 fantasy NBA league, and draft your favorite NBA players from Wednesday’s games. If you place in the top 300, you’ll have a share in the $50,000. First time players get a 100% match for up to $200. This means you deposit $100 and get $100 FREE!
Be sure to save your team before the NBA games start at 7:00 PM. Then, just kick back and enjoy the NBA schedule and find out if you placed in the money as soon as the last game is over.
I have no other words to say in regards to this so…. there ya go. Enjoy.
Check out my thoughts on the lineup below, and feel free to talk fest-val-ee to me (not quite as catchy as talking dirty is it?) on Twitter.