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Phew. I’m not sure you could have asked for a more exciting first day of games. And, although I love the NCAA Tournament more than anything, watching it in the Twitter age is exhausting. From noon on, every shot is exclaimed about, questionable call challenged, and hairstyle discussed. And then there’s the memes. Guy with a ponytail? MEME! Adorable child dressed as his grandfather? MEME! Aaron Craft lying on the court? MEME! As we pray for Steve Masiello and the Manhattan Jaspers to upset Louisville, let’s take a look at a few of Thursday’s memes:
Phil Martelli’s four-year-old grandson dressed up as him and charmed the CBS audiences:
Aaron Craft couldn’t make the game winning shot and reclined on the court for a second…
…and sparked a meme. The “Breaking Bad” version may be my favorite:
Along with not one, but TWO “Lion King” interpretations:
Just think, we’ve only just begun.
Let’s go over some notes for Friday…
The Cats are ready to “shock the world” Friday night
Even though they’re an 8-seed and Kansas State is a 9-seed, Kentucky is going into this game like they’re the underdog. Both Willie Cauley-Stein and John Calipari told reporters they were going to “shock the world” with a win Friday night:
“Well, a lot of people think, you know, that we’re not going to make it past the first round. So winning the first game would shock the world. So just winning game by game, taking it step-by-step and you are going to shock somebody.”
Andrew Harrison continued the underdog theme, telling reporters “a lot of people don’t even think we’ll win this game.” While that’s not really true at all, I’m glad the guys have a chip on their shoulder. Whatever works.
The Harrison Twins are finally having fun
It feels like the Cats got over a psychological hump in Atlanta, and Aaron Harrison said that the Cats are ready to carry that momentum into the Big Dance, telling reporters “I think this is where we make our mark.” Aaron said he feels like he and his brother had a “weight lifted off our shoulders” in Atlanta, and focused on sharing the ball and playing fun. Andrew admitted that the scrutiny that comes with being a UK player has been tough at times this year, but it helped him develop a thick skin: “I think I’ve matured as a man. Going through scrutiny and stuff — every man needs to go through some stuff like that.” However, he agreed with his brother that the weight has finally been lifted, and told reporters that the SEC Tournament was “the most enjoyable time on the court I’ve had here at Kentucky.”
Let’s keep the good times rolling Friday night.
James changed his hair again
Willie brought up Drew Barker for some reason
When asked about his ties to Kansas, Willie Cauley-Stein mentioned that some of his cousins went to Wichita State, and like to talk to him about Drew Barker?
“I have been to a lot of camps at Wichita State. A couple of my cousins went there, so, you know, they know like Drew Barker and stuff and they have been talking back and forth. And he’s been kind of telling me that Drew said if he’s seen me in the paint he was going to try to come dunk on me like jokingly and stuff.”
I don’t get it, but I’d love to see that happen. Drew, you game?
Kansas State’s not scared
Kentucky has the third toughest schedule in the country, but Kansas State’s Will Spralding thinks his Wildcats have played an even tougher one:
“I mean, we’re not being talked about as much as the other teams here. Obviously Kentucky has the name and the tradition, but I mean, they have about the same record we have, but I felt like we had a tougher schedule, a lot tougher league and we played in a lot tougher games that are going to have us ready for tomorrow night.”
Marcus Foster told The Courier-Journal’s Kyle Tucker that fellow freshman Wesley Iwundu, who grew up with the Harrison Twins, gave him and the rest of the team a great scouting report on the two. Foster added that playing against Kentucky is different than facing most teams: “When you’re playing Kentucky, they’re a program that’s very, very good and has a higher name behind it, so it’s a different feeling playing against Kentucky.”
After 12 games, only 0.4% of ESPN’s 11 million brackets are correct
11 million people submitted brackets in ESPN’s Tournament challenge, and after the first twelve games, only 41,315 are correct. We’re still waiting on figures from Warren Buffet’s Billion Dollar bracket challenge, but I’m sure they’re similarly depressing. Now, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone joke, “Well, I lost a billion dollars” today,” I might not be as bitter.
KSR will be live at Buffalo Wild Wings on Dixie Highway all day Friday to watch games
Got plans for the best Friday of the year? Matt, Ryan, and Drew will be live at Buffalo Wild Wings (6801 Dixie Hwy) in Louisville from 10-noon for the morning show, and will stick around all afternoon to watch games with fans. Meanwhile, I’ll be on the road to St. Louis for the game, so send along your restaurant, sightseeing, and sports bar recommendations. When the Cats win Friday night, I’ll need some stuff to do on Saturday.
This time tomorrow night, it will almost be tip time, and frankly, we’ve broken down this game every way possible. In search of new material, I took to social media to dig up some dirt on the Kansas State Wildcats, and it turns out, there are a few interesting things to share. Five of them, in fact. Enjoy.
1. Marcus Foster is man enough to get a pedi.
The other Wildcats have their own star freshmen in Marcus Foster, who leads his team in scoring and trips to the local nail shop. Ain’t no shame, Marcus. Doron would be proud.
2. Wesley Iwundu slaps his teammates’ hands even when they’re not there:
During today’s presser, his childhood friend and AAU teammate Aaron Harrison called Iwundu the funniest guy on their team growing up. I can see why.
3. Nino Williams and Will Spradling played for the same AAU team as Willie Cauley-Stein
The Harrison Twins aren’t the only ones with AAU connections in this game. Willie Cauley-Stein played for MoKan Elite in Kansas City, the same AAU team that Nino Williams and Will Spralding played for. They’re all friends, and Willie came close to playing for K-State, but chose to come to Lexington instead. They’re still bros:
K state turnt tonight I already know lol much love to the Bro @nwill11
— ☆€@TAL¥ST☆ (@TrillGeta15) February 11, 2014
4. Thomas Gipson is non content with losing on the road, so get it right media guys
Kansas State has lost seven road games, and after dropping one at Oklahoma, someone must have asked Gipson about it, and Gipson didn’t like how his comment was interpreted:
Damn media guys will take whatever you say and twist it up! I'm not content with losing on the road.. That is not what I said.. Smh
— Big Gip (@Big_Gip_Kstate) February 24, 2014
Note to self: be careful interviewing Thomas Gipson.
5. Those kids who greeted Kentucky at the hotel yesterday? They also greeted Kansas State
Remember those adorable children who greeted Kentucky at their hotel in St. Louis? Turns out they also greeted Kansas State. That’s totally fine, I love that a local youth organization/team is doing that, but I’m a little disappointed they weren’t just UK fans. Ah well. We’ll see who they’re cheering for tomorrow night.
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Milwaukee
9:25, TBS, Buffalo
The Milwaukee Panthers are on a five-game winning streak and Villanova dropped their Big East tourney opener to Seton Hall. Could another surprise happen?
(7) Texas vs. (10) Arizona State
9:40, CBS, Milwaukee
Disney reinvented Arizona State’s mascot Sparky to look like that last year, and ever since, he’s given children nightmares. Can they pull off the upset over Texas tonight?
(4) Louisville vs. (13) Manhattan
9:50, TNT, Orlando
Here’s a sentence you never thought you’d read on KSR: we are all on board the Steve Masiello bandwagon. Pupil meets teacher tonight, and if the Jaspers beat the Cards, we’ll turn KSR into Steve Masiello Sports Radio on Tuesday to celebrate. Also, Matt and Drew will buy me some Louboutins. (That’s part of the deal, right??)
(4) San Diego State vs. (13) New Mexico State
9:57, truTV, Spokane
New Mexico State’s Sim Bhullar is 7’5″, 355 lbs., which is reason enough for me to watch this game.
Who ya got?
If you’re enjoying the Sweet 16 action tonight at Rupp, take a look around. Richie Farmer is also there, watching his son, Trey, play for Clay County before he starts his jail sentence.
Enjoy that cellphone holster while you can, Richie.
(7) UConn vs. (10) Saint Joseph’s
6:55, tBS, Buffalo
All eyes will be on Shabazz Napier, but keep an eye out for Langston Galloway, who put up 31 against Dayton last week. Yes, the Dayton that beat Ohio State today.
(2) Michigan vs. (15) Wofford
7:10, CBS, Milwaukee
I am bitter because Davidson should be in this game instead of Wofford, so it’s fine by me that Michigan will roll.
(5) Saint Louis vs. (12) N.C. State
7:20, TNT, Orlando
Yup, that mascot’s still weird. Keep an eye on N.C. State’s TJ Warren, who could cause trouble if he gets hot.
(5) Oklahoma vs. (12) North Dakota State
7:27, truTV, Spokane
Another 12-5 game! North Dakota State is my upset pick in a day full of upsets. They’ve only lost once since January 9th, and are one of the most efficient teams on offense in the country. Go Bison!
Who ya got?
John Calipari met with the media in St. Louis for the first time tonight, previewing tomorrow night’s game, and yes, talking more about the tweak (and the additional tweak). Here are the five things you need to know.
1. On that new tweak…
Earlier this week on his radio show, Cal mentioned an additional tweak he made to the offense, and brought it up again to reporters today: “We tweaked a couple of things. We tweaked one thing before the tournament and we tweaked another thing.” Later on, John Clay asked him about the second tweak and whether or not reporters, who are not “basketball bennies” in Cal’s book, would recognize it. “You will not recognize it John, I know that,” Cal joked, “It’s something that you’ll see that you should be able to say ‘I see what he is doing. I saw it and I see it in this guy and that guy, and then you’re gonna say, ‘why didn’t he do it earlier? Why did he wait?’”
What’s more likely: us ever finding out what “the tweak” was or winning the billion dollar bracket?
2. Cal is very impressed with Kansas State and Marcus Foster
Cal raved about Kansas State and their star freshman Marcus Foster. He said that even though the other Wildcats aren’t tall, they’re physical, and their guard play is strong enough they won’t beat themselves. He also praised their defense, calling them “an outstanding team,” and said tomorrow night’s game is “a very tough game for anyone to play.”
Marcus Foster is one of the best freshmen in the country, and when asked about him, Cal said he was “terrific,” and that “when you watch him, he has no fear.” Cal said Foster is one of those players who has the “ultimate green light,” and because of that, “I don’t know if he’s going to be fun to play against, but he’s fun to watch.”
3. Is it “shocking the world” when you’re favored?
When asked about Willie’s comments that Kentucky will “shock the world,” Cal reprimanded his players for looking forward, not realizing that Willie was talking about Kansas State when he made the statement: “I’m trying to get them to focus and again, when they make that kind of statement, they’re not totally listening to me now. You must stay in the moment and play good basketball games” Cal said. “Obviously my 18-year-olds aren’t listening to me if that’s the statement they’re making. But that’s okay. Now I will go back and kill them and it will give me another opportunity to say something to them. ”
After all of that, Cal himself said that the Cats can “shock the world” by beating Kansas State: “We are worried about one game. Let’s shock the world tomorrow, one game. And then we’ll go from there.”
That’ll be a fun conversation in the locker room.
4. Marcus Lee lost 15 pounds when he was sick
A reporter asked about Marcus Lee, and Cal said that Lee got sick a while back, and lost 15 pounds, joking that because he’s already so skinny, “where did he lose it?”. He added that Lee is an outstanding player with a bright future at Kentucky.
5. Dakari is a moose
When asked, Cal said he really enjoyed playing Dakari and Willie together during the SEC Tournament, and said to expect more of that from now on: “I liked it. Changed the whole game. Two 7-footers. Willie plays like a 4-3, Dakari’s a moose.” Apparently, Andrew Harrison also called Dakari a moose during player interviews.
According to a tweet from Tampa Bay Times reporter Joey Knight, Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua is now on the list of candidates for the head coaching job at South Florida. Stan Heath was fired from USF earlier this week, two years after leading the Bulls to the school’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 20 years.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
James Young is rocking a new hairdo to go with his new Kobe 9s (those shoes are awesome) in St. Louis this weekend.
Meanwhile, Willie Cauley-Stein told reporters he and his teammates are ready to shock the world. When asked what “shock the world” means, Willie said a lot of people expect Kentucky to lose in the first round, so shocking the world could mean winning the first game.
Hopefully the Cats have bigger goals than that.
If you know a UL fan, chances are that you saw the above picture at some point today. It has been Retweeted and shared on Facebook a number of times, as Louisville fans cling to their one celebrity fan, Jennifer Lawrence. While I like Jennifer Lawrence (she is saucy, especially in “American Hustle), I do think it is worth remembering that even in the realm of celebrity fans, Louisville is and always will be, Little Brother:
photo by Matt Dearmond
Go Cats…and remember tonight, we are all Jaspers. #TeamMasiello
Harvard just upset Cincinnati in Spokane and a KSR reader spotted Kyle Wiltjer in the crowd as cameras panned through the celebration. Wiltjer’s Gonzaga Bulldogs play tomorrow in San Diego, so I guess he’s just enjoying some NCAA basketball as a fan today.
Good seeing you, Kyle.
To celebrate its eighth birthday, Twitter rolled out a new feature today that allows you to find any Twitter user’s first tweet from back in the day. I’ve had fun looking up old tweets from friends and celebrities and you can do the same by clicking here. Below you’ll find some of KSR’s and a couple others I really enjoyed. Check it out and share whatever you find in the comments section.
Matt kept it simple…
Back when Tyler was just an egg…
I asked my zero followers to click a link…
Shannon The Dude just being Shannon The Dude…
Joker tweeted about the Kentucky head coaching job…
I love you, Kate…
I wouldn’t play her either, Eric…
Some things never change, Pat Forde…
Forde’s tweet is timeless.
I always dread reading any article like this one on the site “BroBible” (a huge and growing website) because I know what is coming. When sites rank the “Worst Fanbases in College Basketball”, I know Kentucky is going to be on the list, mainly because we are successful, large and loud. So when I opened up this latest set of rankings, I was pleasantly surprised to see that UK was only ranked #6 and the writing wasn’t too awfully negative towards the Big Blue Nation:
Mainly on the list because they’re more successful lately than anyone else, and thus more apt to be hated, Kentucky fans are a strange breed.
On the one hand, there are very few Wildcat supporters who you immediately hate when you first meet them. Even their main fan site (normally a place for the worst writing and whining on the Internet), Kentucky Sports Radio, is likable enough to non-UK guys. Unless you went to Louisville, conversation with a Wildcat is bound to be civil.
On the other hand… If you ever talk to a fan who perhaps has a few drinks in him, you’ll notice something weird. He makes absolutely no apology about the crookedness of Calipari. He’ll explain very matter-of-factly that yes, there’s a chance every win we’ll have will one day be forfeited. But, no, I’m not really concerned about it right now, because every year I get to watch the best fucking players in the country play. And he’ll be right, which is annoying. Deals with the devil have never sounded so great. Screw you for your unblemished conscience. At least feel some confliction, Kentucky.
Plus, much like Syracuse, Kentucky fans travel in giant hordes, driving up ticket prices and turning your home stadium into an away arena. Damn your support of your favorite team!
Now, while the article does the usual “Cal is crooked” nonsense, it does acknowledge that we are generally nice people, love basketball and want to win…all things that are true. We don’t have any conflict because Calipari’s reputation simply has nothing to do with what he does here, but that is a point that will be lost on almost anyone who is inclined to dislike him. Plus, they compliment KSR, and flattery will get you everywhere.
The top five we can all agree with Maryland, Duke, UNC, West Virginia and UCONN Women’s team…a spot on analysis I must say. Check out the whole list here.
The SEC will be represented in tournament action in March, though not necessarily strictly the NCAA tournament. Three teams from the SEC will join the ranks of the 64 team NCAA tournament pool, with Tennessee grabbing the last slot after a win last night against Iowa. Four of the SEC’s teams were invited to play in the 2014 NIT, with Georgia, Missouri, LSU and Arkansas all accepting bids. With some of the NIT first round games, and the NCAA first round/play-in games in the books, how has the SEC fared so far in the madness of March?
NCAA Tournament Action:
#11 Tennessee claws back against #11 Iowa to crash the field of 64 with an OT win
Tennessee was one of the last teams to slide into the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday, and the Vols appeared to have showed up late last night against Iowa. It took 6 minutes for the Vols to crack the scoreboard, and it wasn’t until a late run in the first half that Tennessee made a game of it. The Volunteers cut the Iowa lead to 3 at halftime, before a back and forth second half led to overtime. Tennessee took control in overtime, and it was all Vols from that point on. Tennessee outscored Iowa 14-1 in the overtime period to clinch the win. Jarnell Stokes led Tennessee with his 20th double-double of the year, putting up 18 points and 13 rebounds. The Vols will move on to play the 6 seed UMASS on Friday.
NIT Tournament Action:
#2 Georgia upends #7 Vermont
Charles Mann led Georgia with a career-high 29 points en route to a 63-56 win over Vermont in the opening round of the NIT. Georgia will now take on Louisiana Tech in the 2nd round on Saturday.
#5 LSU tops #4 San Francisco
The Tigers didn’t let the disappointment of losing to Kentucky linger long, as the Tigers made quick work of #4 seed San Francisco. The Tigers won 71-63 behind a strong performance by Jarell Martin. Martin finished with 16 points, 14 came in the first half. LSU will now face the #1 seeded team in the tournament, and the last team excluded from the NCAA tournament in SMU.
#2 Missouri rallies to beat Davidson
Missouri faced a bit of adversity, missing 2 players in Wes Clark and Shane Rector who were suspended for the game. Senior forward Tony Criswell has also been unable to play for a few weeks now, and was not available for the opening round game either. A walk-on named Danny Feldmann who had only played 45 minutes all season stepped up for the Tigers, playing 22 minutes. Davidson led by 4 at half, and then went on a 13-4 run to start the 2nd half. Missouri could have folded with its back against the wall, but the Tigers rallied to pick up a tough win. Missouri will play Southern Miss, a 3-seed in the next round.
#3 Arkansas wins big in opener against Indiana State
Arkansas put on one of the biggest thumpings of the NIT so far, beating Indiana State by 20 points in a 91-71 win. Athlon Bell set a career-high with 28 points on 11-13 shooting from the field. The NIT win was the Razorbacks’ first win in the post-season since 2008. Arkansas moves on to play the 2nd seeded California.
So far, the SEC teams are 5-0 in post-season action. Florida opens NCAA tournament play later this afternoon, while the SEC’s other post-season representative Kentucky will tip-off late tomorrow night.