It’s almost that time, friends. In just a few days, we’ll all be crammed into the Tin Roof on Broadway to preview Kentucky’s SEC Tournament run, which means that unless you get there EARLY, you’ll likely share some space in the aisles or near the wall with a Wildcat friend you haven’t met yet. Ahh, I can smell the cheap beer, fried food, and disinfectant now.
Plenty to do before then, so let’s get to it.
1. Calipari says he’s instituted — wait for it — another tweak
Calipari was as giddy as a schoolgirl on last night’s radio show, telling listeners that he’s in a better frame of mind than he was with the 2015 team headed into the tournament because he believes his team is still under the radar. Earlier in the day on the SEC Teleconference, he didn’t sound quite as chipper, telling reporters that something’s not quite right with this group and he plans to tweak things in the next few days.
“We’re still not quite where we want to be. Got a couple practice days here to get some stuff tweaked and get us to have a little different mentality as we approach games. I’m loving the fact that this team has learned to fight, that they stuck together when things looked bleak and they just kept going, had a will to win and all that stuff. But we’re still, there’s something that’s not quite right that we have a few days to try to fix.”
Maybe Cal saw something he liked between the teleconference yesterday afternoon and the radio show that night, because he sounded ten times more optimistic with Tom Leach.
2. You’ll get to hear what the team thinks heading into the SEC Tournament
This afternoon, select players will address the media about the team’s state heading into the postseason play. This will be the last time we hear from the team until Calipari’s first media opportunity in Nashville on Thursday, so check the site mid-afternoon to hear what the players have to say about any tweaks that are happening.
3. The SEC will release its end of the season awards
The week between the regular season and the postseason means two things: mentally and physically preparing yourself for SEC Tournament (hydrate!) and end of season awards. Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox pulled in honors from various national outlets yesterday, and today, they’ll likely get some more from the Southeastern Conference. Here’s the list of awards that were voted on by the league’s coaches:
- First and Second All-SEC Teams
- All-Freshman Team
- All-Defensive Team
- Coach of the Year
- Player of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- Sixth Man of the Year
- Freshman of the Year
Prediction: Monk for Freshman of the Year, Sindarius Thornwell Player of the Year, Mike White Coach of the Year. Lots of Cats everywhere else.
4. Bridgestone Arena is ready
I love how that reads!!!! Home of SEC Basketball!! pic.twitter.com/oeAjShCFbl
— PREDSident (@PREDSident) March 6, 2017
Tomorrow, SEC Basketball fans and Kentucky fans not willing to waste the first two days of their ticket books will descend upon Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville for four days of hoops hysteria. Per usual, these pictures of the venue remind me to 1) dress warmly because the ice is still under the floor and 2) pack lots of tea and granola bars because I hate Dr. Pepper, Sunkist, and Golden Flake.
Mississippi State and LSU will tip things off tomorrow night, followed by Auburn vs. Missouri, but just because all of that sounds like horrible, horrible basketball, have no fear; Nick, Drew, and I will be courtside Wednesday night to entertain you.
5. Mother Nature is not ready
Hopefully Mother Nature will do some tweaking to this forecast as well.
5. An SEC Tournament preview of The OTT podcast drops this afternoon
Fake Barney joined me and my husband last night to talk about Kentucky’s chances heading into the tournament, along with a lot of other really random stuff, including the exciting news that he’s going to be a dad! In lieu of torturing his friends with a gender reveal party, he shared the news on the podcast, so check the KSR podcast feed on iTunes later today to find out if he’s having a Malik or a Makayla. Plus, tune in for a lot of SEC Tournament talk, including Best/Worst SEC Tournament memories, etc.
6. We’ll hear from Eddie Gran and the offense after practice
Yesterday, Mark Stoops held a press conference to discuss spring practice, and this morning, Eddie Gran and select players will address media after practice. Check the site before lunch for a recap.
Speaking of football…
7. Tomorrow is Pro Day
Jon Toth and Boom Williams strutted their stuff at the Combine last week, but tomorrow, scouts and player personnel from nearly every NFL team will come to the Nutter Field House to watch all of the program’s draft eligible players go through a variety of skills tests, including running and agility drills, bench press, position-specific drills and the vertical jump. Former Cats Jason Hatcher and Maxwell Smith will also participate. Here’s the full list:
- Will Tom Collins 5-11, 241, FB (Jackson, Ky.)
- Tanner Fink 6-2, 251, TE/FB (Louisville, Ky.)
- Jason Hatcher 6-3, 250, OLB (Louisville, Ky.)
- J.D. Harmon 6-2, 200, CB (Paducah, Ky.)
- Jojo Kemp 5-10, 200, FB (Deland, Fla.)
- Marcus McWilson 6-0, 210, S (Youngstown, Ohio)
- Blake McClain 5-11, 200, DB (Winter Park, Fla.)
- Courtney Miggins 6-5, 285, DT (Lithonia, Ga.)
- Maxwell Smith 6-5, 235, QB (Granada Hills, Calif.)
- Ryan Timmons 5-10, 198, WR (Frankfort, Ky.)
- Jon Toth 6-5, 310, C (Indianapolis, Ind.)
- Stanley “Boom” Williams 5-9, 196, RB (Monroe, Ga.)
The event starts at 9:00 a.m. and UKAthletics.com will have a special show streaming live on its site starting at 9:30 a.m., starring our own Freddie Maggard, who will be alongside Dick Gabriel and Jeremy Jarmon.
One final football note…
8. Linebacker Nico Firios is transferring
Yesterday, redshirt sophomore Nico Firios announced he was transferring from the program. Firios battled injuries during his time at Kentucky and played mostly on special teams, tallying six tackles in 13 games. Best of luck to him wherever he ends up.
9. Check out Caleb Swanigan’s story on “Sunday Morning”
CBS’ “Sunday Morning” is required viewing in our household, and to my delight, Sunday’s episode included a profile of Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, who survived a rough childhood to become one of the best players in college basketball. I’ve been a huge fan of Swanigan’s going back to when Calipari recruited him, and his story is worth a few minutes of your time:
10. Win SEC Tournament tickets or a UK golf cart at Dever’s
There are KSR remotes and then there are KSR remotes! Today’s is the latter. Get on down to Dever’s Golf Carts at 1030 East New Circle Road in Lexington to enjoy the show and register to win SEC Tournament tickets and this amazing UK-themed golf cart: