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Located at: 3120 Pimlico Parkway Suite 138, Lexington, Kentucky 40517
Kentucky’s Road to the Final Four begins ceremoniously tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in a matchup with the Duke Blue Devils in the Champions Classic. You could not ask for a bigger stage to start the season.
Tonight will be just the fifth meeting since the 1998 National Championship team sent Duke home in the South Regional. Over the last 15 years, Kentucky has only won one of those meetings, the last one. Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe each scored in double figures while forcing Grayson Allen to a 2-for-11 shooting night in a 74-63 win at the United Center.
Kentucky enters this meeting ranked two spots higher than Duke at No. 2, but the Blue Devils are bringing more hype thanks to Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett. The top three recruits from the 2018 recruiting class, tonight will be the first night we experience the fullcourt press of media love for this team. Try not to throw up in your mouth too much.
Outside of those three elite wings, Duke doesn’t have much. Point guard Tre Jones was a top ten prospect last year, but the freshman cannot afford to play like a freshman as the team’s sole distributor. In the post, Marques Bolden is ineffective at best and at worst a waste of space. On the bench there’s…nothing. Duke will be lucky to play with six or seven, while Kentucky can roll nine deep. Tonight we’ll discover if depth matters and if Kentucky’s defense can return to form to stop three prolific scorers.
The action begins with Kansas and Michigan State at 7:00. The Cats will not tip-off until sometime between 9:30-10:00 (probably closer to 10:00).
Coach Cal on SVP
Shortly after the conclusion of Monday Night Football, Scott Van Pelt welcomed John Calipari onto his show to preview the Champions Classic matchup between Kentucky and Duke. Even though he wasn’t full-on Swaggy Cal, he did say, “We’re a little better than a November team.”
Brad will Redshirt
Yesterday we learned Coach Cal’s son will stick around a little longer. Brad Calipari plans on graduating early and attending two years of grad school. In order to play in all five years, he needed to redshirt in at least one season; this is it. Brad Calipari will continue to practice and travel with the team, he’ll just be on the sideline. Sorry Rupp Arena crowd, you gotta find someone else to yell “SHOOT!” at in the waning minutes of a blowout.
New College Football Playoff Rankings Released
They will not matter to Kentucky fans quite as much this week. The Cats will surely drop from their inaugural No. 9 spot, however, it will still be cool to see the football receive the spotlight before the basketball team takes the court. The rankings will be released in-between the two Champions Classic games.
Before those rankings make it to the public, we’ll hear from Eddie Gran’s offense after practice. If you missed Mark Stoops’ abbreviated press conference, you can find it all here.
Russ Yeast will Transfer
The son of UK legend Craig Yeast is leaving the UofL football team. First reported by Mark Ennis, Yeast is the second impact player to leave Petrino’s program in the last week, following quarterback Jordan Travis. In that time they’ve also lost (at least) three recruits from their 2019 recruiting class.
A consensus four-star prospect and an Under Armour All-American out of high school, Yeast played sparingly last year as a freshman while filling in for the injured Jaire Alexander. This year the cornerback has recorded just three tackles in nine games. A one-time Kentucky commit, I doubt he tries to follow in his father’s footsteps. Bridges were not publicly burnt following Russ’ de-commitment, but neither side appeared to be on the same page throughout the recruiting process.
Murray goes Crazy
Jamal Murray is a bad man. The former Wildcat scored a career-high 48 points in a victory over the Boston Celtics. Some of his highlights are absolutely insane, but the moment of the night that is capturing the most attention did not follow a made bucket. With the shot clock turned off and an eight-point lead, Murray let one final shot fly as time expired to try to surpass the 50-point milestone. The poor wittle Celtics’ got their feelings hurt. Drink their tears, Jamal.
Kyrie tossed tossed the ball into the crowd after Jamal Murray took a shot at 50. pic.twitter.com/mOnoWgZwkC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 6, 2018
It’s Election Day
And the Louisville polls still aren’t giving out stickers. What a shame. There is good news: the political commercials will end tomorrow! “Can’t wait.” — Bart Scott
The laptop that guided me through my first three years of full-time KSR duties has seen better days. Last night might have been its last. While exporting the KSR Football Podcast, it locked up and refused to restart. Hopefully it has a little more life to live. If not, Jack will make sure you get a brand new football podcast before the day ends.
Mrs. Tyler and I had a competition to see whose computer would die first. It’s one instance where I would rather not refuse to lose.