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Aaron Harrison hit a three with 5.7 seconds left to give Kentucky a 74-73 lead, and Traevon Jackson’s jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim as the Wildcats will play UConn for the national championship Monday night.
For more game coverage, check out CatsPause.com
UConn it is. The Huskies did the unthinkable and beat the top seed Florida to advance to Monday night’s National Championship. The UK/Wisconsin game will tip off at 9:12 p.m. ET.
The Cats are ready…
Sadly, none of them decked Pat Forde when he slithered by:
…Mike Stuart, Pat Adams, and Terry Wymer.
Stuart called the UK/Wichita State game a few weeks ago; Adams has called four UK games this season; and Wymer hasn’t worked a UK game since 2006.
Stuart ejected Cal from the Mississippi Valley State game way back in 2010 and Adams called a T on Willie during the Mississippi State game earlier this season.
By Ally Tucker on ©8:00 pm
If you haven’t done so already, head on over to the CatsPause.com to check out some of the great pictures from Darrell Bird in the photo gallery. While you’re browsing through some of the best pictures, also take a moment to check out a great story from Bird on Willie Cauley-Stein’s injury, as well as his small-town dreams.
It’s been a looooooong day waiting for this game to finally start…and it’s almost here. Almost. Kentucky fans across the country have been killing time since waking up (probably earlier than usual due to excitement) this morning. Some of the former Kentucky players have been anxiously awaiting the tip-off as well, including Mr. February (Ramel Bradley).
The Cats spent the final quarter of their practice today scrimmaging in full pads for the first time this Spring. It wasn’t a dynamite explosion of football excellence, but it wasn’t exactly terrible either.
Offensively, the biggest standout today was Ryan Timmons. Timmons took a simple 7-yard slant from Patrick Towles and turned it into a touchdown, showcasing his explosiveness and elusiveness. Neal Brown likes what he sees from Timmons, “This Spring he’s making the turn, and I think he can be a really good player in this league.”
The only other touchdown of the day was a bomb from Drew Barker to AJ Legree. Barker caught the defense out of alignment and found the much-improved Legree open in the middle of the field. Today’s improved quarterback play was much needed after they had their worst day of the Spring yesterday. Today they did the simple things right, easily converting routine plays while keeping their cool when adversity hit.
It’s also nice to see Legree finish a big play. Legree has always had the tangibles to succeed at wide receiver, but he struggled with confidence after a multiple drops in important situations last season. Legree has since been moved to the slot position where he has found his comfort zone. Coach Brown said, “He’s got more confidence, and that’s always been the issue with him.”
Defensively, Bud Dupree made the offensive line work, causing plenty of havoc in the pass rush. The coaches are still looking for linebackers to step up as playmakers in the absence of Avery Williamson. With a lot of guys moving around at linebacker and in the secondary, the defense struggled to get lined up correctly multiple times, with coach Stoops unable to hide his displeasure.
- The running back group ran a little thin today. Jojo Kemp sat out once again, despite hopes that he’d be able to go today. Braylon Heard also sat out after waking up with a nasty crick in his neck. It gave the opportunity for Mikel Horton to see more full-speed action. Horton got absolutely ROCKED during his first full-contact practice Wednesday, but since then he has settled down and learned how to absorb the contact with his gigantic body (When I stand next to the guy, I can’t understand how he can actually be a running back, he’s that big).
- The Cats are hosting a TON of recruits this weekend. They certainly picked a great weekend to visit Lexington.
By Matt Wheatley on ©6:30 pm
Tonight, we face a foe that most UK fans don’t care much about outside of this game—a loss to the Wisconsin Badgers wouldn’t sting any worse for you than losing to any other random team we might have faced in the Final Four. You would simply feel the normal, soul-crushing emotion that would naturally accompany a loss at this juncture in the season. For me, the stakes are higher—much higher. Remember the sick feeling you probably had before the Louisville game just thinking about the possibility of a season-ending loss to the Cards? I have the displeasure of facing that feeling—though admittedly to a lesser-degree (about 25% less)—once again this postseason.
I lived right outside of Milwaukee for five miserably cold years. As terrible Wisconsin is for weather, it was an even miserable place to be a Kentucky sports fan. The constant barrage of Kentucky-related insults from Badger fans always left me scratching my head. Before living there, I never gave a second thought to UW and I assumed they didn’t care much about UK either. I was wrong; Badger fans often think of the Big Blue. Wisconsin fans think Bo Ryan and their program stand for all that is good in the sports world and they believe Kentucky is, and always has been, a stain on the sanctity of the game. Here are a few reasons why you should join me in my hatred of all things Wisconsin Badgers—even if it is only for tomorrow.
They relish the fact that they are universally thought of as the most boring, hard-to-watch college basketball team that has ever taken to the hardwood. To Wisconsin fans, their tedious style of basketball is a sign that they are “doing things the right way”. Indeed, the Badgers believe they are playing the game the way it was meant to be played. To them, Bo Ryan is a purist that seeks to preserve basketball in all of its 19th century glory. For example, you might hear a Wisconsin fan say something like this: John Wall had a sick, acrobatic dunk against North Carolina last night? Oh yeah, well watch this compilation of fundamentally-sound boxouts we had in our 43-39 win against Minnesota earlier. Sorry, the Wisconsin fan lectures, Bo Ryan isn’t about flash—he is about smart shots, gritty defense, and fundamentals. Bo coaches his players up, he doesn’t just roll the ball out there like Cal, they say.
Never mind the fact that until now, this style-of-play has taken the Badgers past the Sweet 16 only a, single, solitary time since the legendary Bo Ryan has been their head coach. Plain and simple, this “pure” style has been below-average to mediocre. What’s more is that you Wisconsin fans have been subjected to the visual equivalent of nails on a chalk board for the better part of the last 15 years. Personally, I like watching Marquis Teague throw lobs to Anthony Davis and I love watching Aaron Harrison unexpectedly put up a three in a defender’s face in the waning moments of a humongous game. You take your shot-selection and go for the tie, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin fan is the first to lament the “Kentucky Way”. Bo Ryan perfectly-summarized one of the most common insults Wisconsinites hurl my direction in regards to my Kentucky fandom: “What I like about the Wisconsin fans is they understand these are student-athletes who actually are here for the purpose of an education first and playing ball second.” That wasn’t just a coach talking up his fan base—they really do “understand” this and they make it known in their arguments against the Cats. Since the arrival of Calipari, my friends back in the Cheese State have been nearly as vocal as Louisville fans in their whining about the “succeed and proceed” culture at Kentucky (one and done if you aren’t familiar with this new Cal-ism). True to their belief that Wisconsin is doing it the “right way”, I am often asked how I can cheer for a sham program like Kentucky. From atop their high-horses, Wisconsin fans variously assure me that Kentucky pays their players and that it is only a matter of time before some academic wrongdoing is uncovered at UK where such tomfoolery is possible. These things wouldn’t be possible at a prestigious University like Wisconsin Madison—especially under the fatherly eye of Bo Ryan.
What is that you say? Wisconsin basketball only has a 44% graduation rate? Hmph, and Bo Ryan has Wisconsin fans believing his players “are [t]here for the purpose of an education first.” Meanwhile, down in Lexington, the “Kentucky Way” is leading to an 82% graduation rate and a whole-mess of deep tournament runs.
This last point may be the most foreign to all Kentuckians whether you cheer for Louisville or Kentucky. Being a Wisconsin fan is not like getting married—there is no need to be faithful only to your team of choice. In Wisconsin, if you’re a Badgers fan, you’re also a Marquette fan, and a Wisconsin-Milwaukee fan, and the list goes on. Those crazy cheeseheads cast their fanhood net so wide that it was nearly impossible for me to keep track of where anyone’s loyalty actually lay. In honor of “state pride”, most Wisconsinites have a revolving carousel of Wisconsin teams they cheer for, generally decided by which program is playing best at a given moment. In Kentucky, if you’re a Louisville fan, you cheer for Louisville. If you’re a Kentucky fan, you cheer for Kentucky. Rooting for both teams is an indication of apathy (which is both fine and uncommon in this state), or you’re not from Kentucky. This multi-team loyalty is rampant in Wisconsin even amongst those who claim to be the most-rabid of Badger fans. To that, I think Kentucky and Louisville fans alike (and also most other states) can unite by telling Wisconsin fans that they’re being weird and they should pick a side already.
If you needed a little extra fuel to your fire this afternoon, I hope this provided what you needed to take your dislike of Wisconsin to new heights. Our collective hatred of the Badgers may be what it takes to send the Cats on for a chance at nine. Do your part.
We’re almost there, folks. Tune into 630 WLAP in Lexington around 6 p.m. for the KSR pregame show with Matt and the gang live from North Texas. The show will be streaming live on WLAP.com.
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