Good evening, sports fans. Drew here, back at the KSR Lexington office after defying the odds →
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Here’s a depressing anniversary for you: one year ago, Kentucky lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year, and on the eve of the best three weeks in sports, let’s all say a prayer to the basketball gods that we don’t have to go through that again this season. No more hanging our heads, refusing to do brackets, and having to listen to that one friend who won’t shut up about Calipari. Or, even worse, the pitying looks from your friends who know better.
Yes, my friends, it is March and we are dancing. It may not be the joy ride we all thought it would be, but our Kentucky Wildcats are one of
68 67 66 65 64 squads that will fight to the death in the greatest sporting event known to man. Once that CBS trumpet fanfare blasts through the TV Thursday at noon, we’re off. 48 games in four days on four networks, one of which most of us forget exists the other eleven months. Across the country, people will be watching from their offices, houses, and lots and lots of sports bars. Get there early, and be ready to save plenty of seats, because all of your friends will come out, even that one who really hates college basketball. She’ll be there, and even she’ll care, at least for a little bit, which is why March Madness is so freaking awesome.
Now that we’re all revved up, let’s go over some news and try to sleep (ha!) before the Madness begins. It’s like Christmas, isn’t it?
The Cats arrive in St. Louis
The team arrived in St. Louis late Wednesday afternoon, and had that awesome welcoming committee waiting for them at the team hotel. Prior to getting on the plane, the team went through two practices, and will have an open practice at the Scottrade Center Thursday from 6:10 to 6:45 p.m. ET. It’s open to the general public, so if you’re in the area, go take notes for us. Cal and the players will also speak to the media starting at 5:30 p.m. ET, followed by Bruce Weber and Kansas State’s players at 7 p.m. ET. We’ll have all the notes and quotes you can handle on the site tomorrow night.
I’m still not over this video yet
Not only does this video chronicle the team’s journey this season (including some interesting practice footage of Cal venting his frustrations), it will give you chills on chills. Just put it on loop until Friday night.
Florida has confidence in Kentucky
The Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach is in Orlando to cover Louisville, but spent some time on Wednesday asking the Florida Gators what they thought about Kentucky. Dorian Finney-Smith said that he believes Kentucky will “cause some problems” in the tournament, and Michael Frazier called UK “a totally different team” than the one the Gators beat so handily in Gainesville. Go check out Himmelsbach’s column for more confidence-inspiring quotes like those.
The Sweet 16 continues at Rupp
On Thursday, Hopkinsville, Trinity, Scott County, and Johnson Central won at the Boys’ Sweet 16 at Rupp, and four more games will go down on Friday.
Here’s the updated bracket for those of you keeping score at home:
Join us in WKYT’s Hoops Hysteria contest.
The KSR staff will be competing against some of Lexington’s celebrities in the bracket challenge to win money for the charity of our choosing, and you can get in on the action too with the chance to win nice prizes. The grand prize winner will take home a 60″ Samsung LED 1080 p 120 Hz TV; a pair of UK branded boots from The Boot Store; a $200 Arby’s gift card; a $200 certificate of deposit from Central Bank; and a $200 Appalachian Wireless gift card, a prize package valued at $2,000.
Get signed up here.
The St. Louis UK Alumni Association is holding a pregame party at Joe Buck’s
Going to St. Louis and want to party with the BBN? The St. Louis UK Alumni Association is holding a pregame part at Joe Buck’s (1000 Clark Ave., .3 miles from the Scottrade Center) starting at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT on Friday. The event is free and at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT, the UK Band and UK Cheerleaders will lead a pep rally at the venue. If you’re not going to the game, Joe Buck’s will show it live on the TVs, and if the Cats advance, they’ll host a similar event on Sunday. They’re also inviting fans out to cheer on UK Hoops in their first round game against Wright State Saturday at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT. See you there.
Thursday’s schedule of games
12:15, CBS, Buffalo: (6) Ohio State vs. (11) Dayton
12:40, truTV, Milwaukee: (2) Wisconsin vs. (15) American
1:40, TBS, Orlando: (8) Colorado vs. (9) Pittsburgh
2:10, TNT, Spokane: (5) Cincinnati vs. (12) Harvard
2:45, CBS, Buffalo: (3) Syracuse vs. (14) Western Michigan
3:10, truTV, Milwaukee: (7) Oregon vs. (10) BYU
4:10, TBS, Orlando: (1) Florida vs. (16) Albany/Mount St. Mary’s
4:40, TNT, Spokane: (4) Michigan State vs. (13) Delaware
6:55, tBS, Buffalo: (7) UConn vs. (10) Saint Joseph’s
7:10, CBS, Milwaukee: (2) Michigan vs. (15) Wofford
7:20, TNT, Orlando: (5) Saint Louis vs. (12) N.C. State/Xavier
7:27, truTV, Spokane: (5) Oklahoma vs. (12) North Dakota State
9:25, TBS, Buffalo: (2) Villanova vs. (15) Milwaukee
9:40, CBS, Milwaukee: (7) Texas vs. (10) Arizona State
9:50, TNT, Orlando: (4) Louisville vs. (13) Manhattan
9:57, truTV, Spokane: (4) San Diego State vs. (13) New Mexico State
Bring it on. See you in the morning.
Congrats to 2015 shooting guard Luke Kennard, who was named Ohio Mr. Basketball today. Kennard is averaging a staggering 41 points and 10.4 rebounds a game, and has scored 50 or more points three times this season, while shooting over 50 percent from the field, 42 percent on 3-pointers and 85 percent at the line.
Kennard, considered the top shooting guard in the 2015 class by 247 Sports, is down to Kentucky, Duke, Ohio State, North Carolina and Michigan. His Crystal Ball predictions sit at 51% Duke, 39% UK, 7% Ohio State, and 2% Michigan.
Let’s celebrate with some highlights:
Yes, I understand that Bracketeer is not a real word. Neither was swagger, but then Moms starting using it and suddenly it’s apparently “real.” By the way, a general rule of thumb: If you use the word “Swagger,” you probably don’t actually have it. Moving on. It’s that time of year… you know, the time when you learn way more about New Mexico men’s basketball than you ever thought you would– in hopes that you make the right decision when filling in the lines on your NCAA March Madness Tournament Bracket. Even people who have little or no interest in college basketball throughout the year, or sports in general for that matter, find the process of joining a bracket pool exciting and worthwhile. Bracket contests and pools make the first weekend of the NCAA tournament one of the most thrilling in sports, as all eyes are on the TV all weekend to see which brackets are still in contention after the Sweet 16 is settled. Anyone who has ever had a legitimate chance at winning a pool knows that you have to have a solid crop of teams still alive in your Sweet 16. Those early upset decisions, sometimes only one or two in number, often make or break the contest.
The strategies for filling out a bracket though are potentially endless. Some people have it down to what they consider a science, while others study up to find out as much about the teams as possible. And yet some people will use seemingly ridiculous criteria such as who has the better mascot or team colors. The beauty of the tournament’s tendency toward randomness is that no single strategy is necessarily better year in and year out than another. Even the random strategies sometimes leave people sitting prettier than the more complicated ones. With that said, which type of “Bracketeer” are you?” Although it’s impossible to list every type of strategy people use, here are some of the most common ones that I’ve seen. Which category do you fall into? Or do you break these molds and have your own strategy? Which types of Bracketeers do you like? Which type do you hate? And you know there’s some guy/gal out there who always does _ (insert weird thing here)__ that frustrates the hell out of you.
The “All Chalk” Guy/Gal:
This is the person who sucks the life out of bracket challenges by picking “all chalk,” meaning picking the better seed to win in every match-up. This person decides that the odds of the “favorite” winning are generally better across the board, and assumes that more favorites will win than upsets– avoiding taking any real risk or chances. This strategy almost always ensures that you will not be toward the bottom of the bracket pool rankings, but you also probably won’t win either. Something crazy always happens, and the big money/points are earned by the people who correctly pick the few upsets that happen.
The “Bracket/Sheet of Integrity” Guy/Gal:
This is the person who faithfully completes 1 bracket and 1 bracket only. This person lives or dies by the decisions he or she makes on that sheet of paper. Sometimes this person will submit the SAME bracket into multiple different pools, but never enters more than 1. This person finds it easier to keep track of how the bracket is doing because he/she doesn’t have 5-6 different scenarios depending on which bracket is being considered. This person does have a dilemma though, for example, when it comes to what to do with his/her “Favorite Team.” Let’s say this person’s favorite team is Kentucky. While tempted to ride or die with the favorite team, they might also want to be more realistic and have to put a team they don’t like knocking out their own team. More careful time and consideration has to be put into each choice, because it’s do or die with each decision.
The “Bracket 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7″ Guy/Gal:
This is the person who fills out multiple brackets, often times for the same pool. This person feels as if his/her chances are better because each bracket contains a different scenario, and all bases are covered. This is the person who can’t remember if he/she had Team A or Team B winning, and must consult the brackets. “Well, in one of my brackets I need Wichita State to win. But I can’t remember if it’s the bracket I’m in 5th place with or the bracket I’m in 12th place with.” Shhhhhh… No one cares. This is the person who everyone cringes about silently as they read the results and see that “Smith 4″ is in 1st place. And 8th place. And 19th place. And 21st place. If you win and filled out multiple brackets, it’s kind of like winning the NIT. It’s an accomplishment… it’s winning something, but no one really wants to see the banner.
The “Kentucky wins the national title” no matter what Guy/Gal:
It doesn’t necessarily have to be Kentucky, but Kentucky felt like a good example. This is the person who has his/her favorite team and will pen/pencil them into the national championship slot faithfully year in and year out– even if the team has a bad seed and nearly an impossible road ahead. Furthermore, sometimes this person will be… (see below)
The “What I want” PLUS the “What I actually think” Guy/Gal:
This is the person who fills out exactly 2 brackets. One bracket puts his/her favorite team winning the national championship year in and year out faithfully, while also filling out another bracket with what they “actually think” will happen. One bracket is the bracket they hope for, while the other is the one they would “put money on.” This is the only time I will grant an exception for someone filling out more than one bracket.
The Hater Guy/Gal:
This person will not pick a rival team to win, even if the rival team is so obviously the favorite in a game. This person might literally pick an absurd upset, just to avoid writing the name down of the team they hate/dislike as advancing in the tournament. This person is willing to sacrifice the money in order to maintain his/her pride about rooting against the rival.
The Upset Happy Guy/Gal:
Unlike the “All Chalk” guy/gal, this person goes a little too overboard on picking the upsets. Instead of picking a few, and rolling the dice that the right ones are picked… this person listens to every single pundit/sports head and pencils in every single upset anyone possibly brings up. While there are always upsets, USUALLY there aren’t so many that the bracket is completely flipped upside down. This person picks way too many and usually feels proud about “calling the upset,” but also usually doesn’t have many Elite 8 and Final 4 teams left when it’s all said and done.
The Annoying Strategy if they win Guy/Gal:
This is the person who has some ridiculous criteria for picking winners. This is the person who might pick based on mascots, or location, or school colors, or which coach they think is the cutest…or any other number of non-basketball related categories. This person rarely wins, but even if you find out he/she is doing better than you… it’s enough to piss you off– especially if you actually spent any time doing research/actually watching college basketball that year.
The WAAAAAYYYYY too much time/effort Guy/Gal:
This is the person who takes the whole bracket process WAAAAAY too seriously. You know this guy/gal. He or she pours over the same page, making changes and stressing about each pick for 3-4 days before finally turning in the finished product at the last minute. This person spends way too much time looking up information and listening to every talking head they can before making a final decision. This is usually the kind of person you kind of the hope the “Annoying Strategy Guy/Gal” beats, just because it’s kinda funny…
So, which type of Bracketeer are you? Or did I miss anybody out there?
The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and your friends at KSR are here to get you ready for all of the Madness. Whether you’re watching at work, home, or with friends at the bar, here are our tips on how to maximize your March Madness experience:
DO go to work as early as possible. This way, you can leave early without looking like a slacker.
DO take Friday off if you can, or take a half day. It’s totally worth it to watch the games with your friends without the fear that your boss will catch you. Seriously, that Friday afternoon is practically a holiday, and the people who take off early are the happiest people in the whole world.
DO create the ultimate March Madness viewing environment if you’re watching from home. This is why God invented extra monitors, iPads, laptops, AND TVs.
DON’T post stuff on social media if you call in sick. Nothing says “rookie” like calling in with a cough and then posting a picture of you and your friends with a bucket of beer watching games three hours later. If you’re playing sick, play smart.
DO plan your lunch break strategically. Look at the schedule and try to take your lunch during the second half of games so you don’t miss any buzzer beaters.
DON’T cheer audibly at your desk. Dead giveaway.
DO watch the games with friends. It’s the only time some of your friends will ever care about basketball, so enjoy it while you can.
DON’T be ashamed if you have to search for TruTV on the channel guide. You’re not missing much with “Lizard Lick Towing.”
DON’T rely on the NCAA’s boss button. While it has come miles in the past eight (!) years, nothing says “I’m watching basketball when I shouldn’t” than a fake PDF when your job doesn’t require you to use PDFs. Or, when everyone else in the office working on the same fake PDF. This year’s NCAA boss button also has variants for school and home, the latter of which makes me sad. If you have to use the boss button to watch basketball in your own home, it’s time to get a new “boss.”
DO create your own boss button by cleverly staggering windows. Why not make life a lot easier for yourself by staggering windows from applications you actually do use at work, such as email?
DON’T brag to your coworkers about watching the games at your desk. Do you want to get caught or something? Let this be a private triumph.
DO be nice to the guys in IT this week. It can’t hurt, right?
DO pick a 12 over a 5. It happens almost every year for a reason. (My pick? North Dakota State over Oklahoma)
DON’T trust that lady from accounting. She always wins.
DO cheer for one Cinderella. It just makes it more fun. May I recommend Eastern?
DON’T brag about your bracket when you made fifteen of them. Don’t be that guy. Just don’t.
DO feel free to brag if you’re the only one in your group who picked an upset and you only did one bracket.
DON’T forget about KSR. We’ll have live threads for all the games and updates from UK’s open practice and news conferences on Thursday, as well as all the pregame coverage you could dream of on Friday. Just keep us in one of those staggered windows.
DO enjoy the games. Even if Kentucky loses to Kansas State, it’s ten times better than last year.
After re-aggravating an injury to his right elbow on March 9th, Patrick Patterson still hasn’t been cleared to return to action with the Toronto Raptors. With further evaluation, Patterson was diagnosed with a right ulnar collateral sprain, and team doctors want him to give it at least another week of rest. As he mentioned in the video above, the pain has almost completely vanished, but the effects still linger in his elbow. “Very little (pain), it’s just all discomfort when I do certain things with my arm and that’s it,” he said. “But as far as sharp pain, agonizing pain, none.”
Despite Toronto’s 3-2 record in the absence of Patterson, their points off the bench have been terrible. In Sunday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Raptors were outscored 59-11 off the bench. The loss of Patterson clearly hurts the scoring chances for the Raptors’ reserves, as their head coach, Dwane Casey, continues to mention.
“We gotta hold serve at least. Hold serve as far as not losing leads. We’ve been losing offensively as much as anything else. We have to find a go-to player or a guy who can produce for us point wise from the second unit. Pat was giving us some help and spacing the floor for us,” said Casey.
The Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach is in Orlando to follow the Louisville Cardinals and he also ran into the Florida Gators at the NCAA second and third round stop. He used the opportunity to ask some of the Gators their thoughts on Kentucky, the team they’ve seen three times in 2014.
Florida’s Will Yeguete told Himmelsbach, “They’re just playing together now. Just knowing what the other guy wants defensively, where he needs to be. They’re coming together as a team and we wish them the best.”
“They’ve grown a lot,” Michael Frazier added.
Read more from Himmelsbach’s chat with the SEC Champions here.
Maybe we’ll see them again in three weeks for a fourth time?
Alright, Big Blue Nation. What’s the vibe on this Tennessee play-in game tonight? Do we root for the Vols, our SEC brethren? Or do we stick to the code and hope for the worst for Tennessee all of the time?
As much as it pains me to admit it, I will be rooting for orange tonight in the 9:10 pm game in Dayton. SEC basketball has gotten zero respect lately and the Vols can send a message to the haters with a convincing win tonight over Iowa. When that happens, I like Tennessee to upset UMass and advance to a third round game against Duke, where I will be screaming “Go Vols” once again.
It won’t be easy pulling for our enemy to the south, but the conference needs it. We can put the bad blood aside for two weeks and show the country that SEC basketball is better than what it gets credit for. Plus, I’ll take a Duke loss to Tennessee all day. I’m hoping for it.
If you’re taking the opposite path and hoping the Vols lose tonight, I don’t blame you one bit. It’s an odd situation we’re in here.
So I’ll ask you, KSR readers: Is it OK to root for the Vols tonight?
By T.Walters on ©4:30 pm
DraftStreet’s $40,000 mega four-day survivor style contest filled up quickly, so they’re opening up another contest with half the prize pool for half the cost. This one carries a $20,000 prize pool and it’s only $11 to enter, so the potential to make some serious cash is still there.
The rules are the same: finish in the top half each day and advance to the next round. Final standings will be determined by your score on the final day. It’s like this…
Day 1: Top 1,000 advance (of 2,000 entries)
Day 2: Top 500 of 1,000 advance
Day 3: Top 250 of 500 advance
Day 4: Final 250 play for $20,000 in prizes
The action gets going Thursday and you could be the one holding all the cash when the first weekend is over on Sunday! So sign up now!
50,831 fans showed up for the first Blue/White scrimmage of the Mark Stoops era last April, and the University of Kentucky hopes to see a similar crowd in 2014, although the capacity will be an estimated 45,000 due to construction. You can become one of those 45,000 by claiming your ticket today.
Tickets are free again this year and you can claim up to six for your group by going to Ticketmaster.com, stopping by any Ticketmaster location, or calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Lower level seats will be reserved but the upper level will be general admission. Students may obtain their free tickets at the Joe Craft Center ticket office; two tickets are allowed per ID.
The game is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 at 3:30 pm. You better be there.
Good afternoon, Cayts fans. I’m here in Rupp Arena for the first session of the 2014 Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16 Boys’ State Tournament and the fans here in attendance are pumped for some state tourney action. I’m just getting settled in here at my first trip to the tourney since 2001, but I have a couple notes for you after the first two hours of the day…
— The Hopkinsville Tigers just eliminated South Oldham in the first game of the tournament, 83-62. Tra Edwards scored 30 points to lead Hoptown to victory. I won’t pretend to know a ton about the tournament field, but after watching Hopkinsville, I can’t imagine too many teams being much better. They’re loaded with talent and athleticism; just ask my Madisonville Maroons, who lost by 32 to the Tigers in the 2nd Region tournament. I’m still bitter about that, and yes, Madisonville has the better Ferrell’s.
— I saw Scott Padgett wandering around the concourse area in his Samford Bulldogs sweats and he is getting mobbed for pictures by fans. Other celebrities in the building this afternoon include Joe B. Hall, former Paintsville star J.R. Van Hoose, Twitter superstar Lonny Demaree, and Les Johns of KSR live blog fame.
— We have a Louisville fan in the house, wearing the Louisville fan uniform:
See you in Indianapolis next weekend, sir.
— The line for Rupp Arena ice cream is ridiculous. High school kids everywhere, fighting to get a cone. That place must make a fortune.
— Up next is Trinity vs. Owensboro in the second game of the day. Trinity features junior forward Ray Spalding, a player that’s gaining interest from Kentucky. Ranked No. 88 in the country and No. 1 in Kentucky according to 247Sports, Spalding has an offer from Indiana, heavy interest from Louisville, and was paid a visit last week from UK assistant Orlando Antigua. I’ll be keeping eyes on him in this one.
— Go Campbell County Camels tonight!
As we count down the days and the hours to Kentucky’s clash with the Wildcats of Kansas State, we’ll take a look back at great moments in Kansas State basketball history.
Today we reminisce back on the day when Bill Walker had to go so bad, he couldn’t wait until after the last play of regulation. With one second on the clock and his team tied with Oregon, Walker ran to the bench and let it go next to the bench.
Adventure Time meets more acid, more shrooms, and more Ghostface Killah.
Yes, I know it’s Wednesday, but Monday sounded better, OK!?
Here are some music videos that were released this week that I thought fit to share with you Funkhouser.
They have been chosen for being particularly catchy tunes, as well as fun and/or sexy videos–because who doesn’t love a song that can get stuck in your head for seven days, even when you’re taking a microeconomics exam? Yes, this has happened to me, even worse, it was We are Young–DAMN YOU TO HADES FUN. Especially you Jack Antonoff.
Along with the sexy, comes the disclaimer that some of these are NSFW. Use your best judgment good people–Sexercise is totally fine though, you’re good to go.
When watching this, am nostalgic for…something.
Yes, this is exactly what I look like when I exer/sexer/anything-cise.
This kid is 17 and cooler and more talented than all of us. He pulls off this weird song AND that Pharrell hat.
Talk singing works… when it’s not country. Most things work when it’s not country.
Not too cool to admit, I LOVE electrofunk/what the hell is electrofunk!?
I want to punch that Matthew Koma guy in the face. No reason, just do.
With wins over 7 NCAA tournament teams (Gonzaga, George Washington, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Iowa State) K-State is a legitimate threat to send the Cats home before the big dance really gets started. The other Wildcats have been able to win so many crucial games because of the play of their Manhattan “Big 3″. These are guys who helped impact the Big 12 race but just who are those players? Let’s find out:
Come for the poster dunk, stay for the Troll 2
These days Kentucky is normally the team that features a fearsome freshman but in Marcus Foster K-State has one of their own. The 6’2 freshman guard was only a 3-star prospect coming out of Wichita Falls, Tx but has quickly outplayed that rating. He leads the Wildcats in scoring with 15.6 while grabbing 3.2 rebounds and dishing 2.5 assists each game. That output was good enough to land Foster a place on the All Big 12 second team. According to the Kansas City Star the key to shutting down foster is to get him tired as evidenced by blowout losses to Baylor and OK State. Bruce Weber had this to say following the loss to the Cowboys:
“He gave in mentally and physically,” Weber said. “There’s no doubt he has logged a lot of minutes as a freshman and had a lot of pressure on him. It’s been hard on him. But maybe that can be a teaching point where he can learn and get better. We just have to get him feeling good and happy down the stretch.”
The guard heavy Wildcats only have one reliable option on the block and that player is Thomas Gibson. Gibson was a All Big 12 honorable mention as he averaged 12 and 7 against some solid front-courts like Baylor and Kansas. This season the junior has been the emotional leader and associate coach Chris Lowery had this to say about his leadership:
“When he is locked in like he has been this season, we are really tough to deal with, he makes you defend him at a high level with double teams and that makes everyone around him better. When you look at the run we got on after Puerto Rico, you can tell Thomas set the foundation. He got us going.”
Gibson will have his hands full against the duo of WCS and Julius Randle but he has shown he is capable of playing well against great players.
Joining Gibson as a All Big 12 honorable mention is senior guard Will Spradling. Think of Spradling as a makeshift point guard who averages 7.8 and 3.1 assists. Those assists are a big part of the K-State offense as they come in at 27th in the nation with 15.5 per outing. Expect K-State to move the ball to try and find the open shot but to be constantly badgered by the length of our own Cats.
If you wanted to find a team to compare the Kansas State Wildcats to in the SEC a good place to start would be with the Georgia Bulldogs. Both feature a guard oriented offense that has allowed them to win some games you never expected them to. Kansas State is a better version of UGA but I would expect them to try and beat the Cats in similar ways. How do you think the Cats will do against the Big 3 out of Manhattan?