Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Aaron Torres’ Take

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E6: Joel Klatt and Cameron Mills

Nick Coffey couldn’t make it for the final episode of The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast before the Christmas break, but Torres still has plenty of great takes and a couple of great guests, Joel Klatt of Fox and Kentucky National Champion Cameron Mills.  Highlights:

— Aaron’s thoughts on Brian Bowen’s comments and Lavar Ball’s new basketball league.

—  Joel Klatt dishes on the College Football Playoff and why Scott Frost will be a home run at Nebraska.

—  Klatt’s fascinating idea on how to pay college players.

—  Mills talks about the 1998 Kentucky National Championship squad and the upcoming documentary on the team, “Out of the Blue.”

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the “Aaron Torres Sports Podcast” feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

One (very sarcastic) reason to watch every remaining bowl game

(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

I’ll be honest: I’ve had a hard time getting into bowl season this year. Maybe it’s because of my recent move (as chronicled on the most recent episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast). Maybe it’s because I’m too invested in real, meaningful college hoops to pay attention to meaningless exhibition football. Or maybe we’ve reached the point where we really do have too many games and are all just waiting for the playoff to kick-off on New Year’s Day.

Either way, it’s been a slow transition back into college football for me this winter, and I really do need a kick in the behind. And since I can’t afford one of those fancy, new-age life coaches (or even a cheap, overweight trainer at the gym) I’ve got to inspire myself – which is what I did with the article below, by giving everyone (including myself) one reason to watch every bowl game this holiday season.

Now admittedly, most of the “reasons” aren’t actual “reasons” but instead just general, half-baked feelings on each individual game. But still, roll with me here.

I’ve got some thoughts on the remaining 32 bowl games, starting with the…

Bad Boy Mowers Gaspirilla Bowl: Temple vs. Florida International
Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

Why You Should Watch: Because if you can’t get excited about a bowl that’s sponsored by “Bad Boy Mowers” than you probably don’t have a soul (you’re also probably one of those people who hates puppies, fireworks and those videos where tearful walk-ons receive college football scholarships too). Also, this is a sneaky fun matchup between one of the best program builders in college football history (anyone remember what Butch Davis did at Miami?) against, wait, who coaches Temple again?

Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio
Friday, 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Why You Should Watch: Because it’s the Bahamas! In December! And I wonder how many players and coaches are going to fake injuries, illness or possibly their own deaths to head to the beach rather than the stadium for this one.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E5: Dennis Dodd

It’s a new episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Aaron welcomes his regular co-host Nick Coffey, as well as Dennis Dodd, the national college football columnist from CBS Sports. A little sample of the sounds that will fill your ears…

— Indiana’s shocking loss to Fort Wayne – and how early can you tell whether a college hoops coach will succeed or not?

—  The most impressive parts of Kentucky’s win over Virginia Tech.

—  A detailed breakdown of Trae Young, and whether he would fit if he went to Kentucky or not.

—  Has the Heisman Trophy lost its luster with Lamar Jackson and San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny stumbling down the rankings?

—  The bizarre Herm Edwards hire at Arizona State, and the rest of the crazy coaching carousel.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the “Aaron Torres Sports Podcast” feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

What questions need to be answered this weekend against Virginia Tech?

Photo by UK Athletics

Man, is it just me, or does it feel like a lifetime since the last time Kentucky played a home game at Rupp Arena? And maybe I’m crazy, but I’m pretty sure that at least two Star Wars movies have come out since the last time the Wildcats played a legitimately good team.

Thankfully that will change starting this weekend, as Kentucky enters what might just end up as their toughest three-game stretch all season. That three game stretch – Virginia Tech, UCLA, Louisville – involves three Top 25-ish type teams and three teams that should make the NCAA Tournament this year. Therefore, as much as we think we know about the Wildcats right now, we’ll learn a heck of a lot more between now and the start of the New Year.

So what should every UK fan be watching over this three-game stretch? Here are a few things I’ll be keeping my eye on with Kentucky, starting Saturday against Virginia Tech:

Can Hamidou Diallo be the second scorer this team needs?

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Kevin Knox is this team’s single most gifted scorer, in the same way I don’t think it’s a stretch to call The Big Bang Theory the single most overrated, unwatchable show currently on television (both are such certainties that they need no further discussion). The question for Kentucky is “Who is No. 2” behind Knox? And the answer I think most fans are hoping for is Hami Diallo.

It makes sense when you consider that Diallo is second in scoring on this year’s club, but what’s been a little surprising is that he’s been inconsistent while putting up those numbers. On the plus side, Diallo is averaging 14 points per game, and has tallied at least 19 points in each of his last three games. Keep in mind however that he also didn’t hit double-digits in any of the three games before that, against what wasn’t very good competition overall (Fort Wayne, Troy, East Tennessee).

Also here’s another worth tracking with Diallo: How is his outside shot looking? After starting the year red-hot (3 of 6 in his first two games) he’s cooled down considerably, shooting just 3 of 13 behind the arc. For Hami to reach his potential as the No. 2 option on this team behind Knox, he can’t rely solely on his athleticism to get to the rim. He’s got to start hitting deep shots too.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E4: Taylor Hicks

In Episode 4, the Twitter beef of the century is finally settled, as Aaron Torres welcomes former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks to the show. But before Hicks joins, Aaron welcomes his buddy Nick Coffey to discuss the topics of the day, like…

—  The Ball brothers trip to Lithuania.

—  How Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich blocked the NBA to Louisville.

—  Why Star Wars fans are the worst.

—  Hicks explains why he was so upset with Aaron’s comments about Collin Sexton.

—  Hicks shares the advice he received from Nick Saban.

—  What Hicks’ life has been like post-American Idol, and it involves living in Alaska.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the “Aaron Torres Sports Podcast” feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Kentucky and Trae Young are both better off without each other

Right now, it isn’t a stretch to say that Trae Young is the most talked about player in college basketball – and at this particular moment, there’s nobody even close. The 6’3 guard who plays at Oklahoma has lit the sport on fire, averaging a Division I best 28.8 points per game, and is also third in assists at 8.8 a contest as well. And he’s doing it for a non-traditional power, with no one close to his talent level on the roster. While it’s arguable if Young is the “best” player in college basketball, there’s no one – not Marvin Bagley, Kevin Knox or Devonte Graham – who is anywhere near as valuable as Young is to his team.

Young is also a player who has been on the minds of Kentucky fans for a few weeks now, for a few different reasons. The first is because Young was once considered to be leaning towards attending Kentucky during the recruiting process, meaning that many UK fans couldn’t help but think “what if” after Young’s hot start. What if Young had enrolled at Kentucky, and played alongside Knox, Hamidou Diallo and Nick Richards? How much better could this team be?

More recently however, Young has been on the mind of Kentucky fans after John Calipari actually talked about him during an interview on Jim Harbaugh’s podcast.

While Calipari didn’t name Young by name, it was clear he was talking about him when he said:

“Tell me what kind of program you want to be in,” Cal said of how he talks to families on in-home visits. “Tell me how you want to play or be coached. And through the questioning, sometimes I look and say, this is not going to work. Now, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong in not coming to Kentucky. There’s a kid that’s father wanted him to shoot every ball and I said, we just don’t do that here. Well, he’s gone to a school and he had 40 last night as a freshman. The most in 20 years. Well, that may have been right for their son.”

Now of course when Calipari’s comments dropped, it caused a little bit of an uproar in the college basketball world, because well, any time Calipari says something interesting it causes an uproar. At the same time, after seeing Young play in person last Friday night when Oklahoma faced off with USC at Staples Center, I feel pretty safe saying that Calipari is exactly right. That’s not a knock on Young and certainly not on the Kentucky program, but instead reality. Young’s commitment is one of the rare ones where a big-time recruit turned down a big-time tradition rich program, and it worked out for both sides.


The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E3: Rob Dauster

In the latest edition of the podcast that is sweeping the nation, the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, Aaron welcomes old friend Nick Coffey, as well as NBC Sports college basketball insider Rob Dauster.  They touch on the Heisman Trophy ceremony and a wild week of college hoops, including…

— Aaron’s Twitter beef with former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks.
— Kansas lost at home to…Arizona State?
—  What to make of Kentucky’s win over Monmouth and Louisville’s victory against Indiana.
— Rob and Aaron discuss what they have learned from the first month of the college basketball season.
—  Is the SEC the best conference in college basketball?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Aaron Torres Sports” feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Turns out Tennessee fans were right about their football coaching search

Turns out Tennessee fans were right about their football coaching search

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the Tennessee football coaching search might end up as the most over-scrutinized and overanalyzed search in the history of college football. Take a social media mob, mainstream media backlash and a three-week adventure that involved two AD’s and more than half a dozen candidates, and it really was like nothing that we’ve ever seen before in college football.

Unfortunately for those of us who enjoyed the sheer entertainment value of the search process, it has come to an end. The Vols have hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as the school’s new head coach on Thursday.

Ultimately, we’re still years away from finding out whether Pruitt is the “right” man for the job or not, but really, that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. What we’re here to talk about is the process that it took to get here, specifically the moment when Tennessee fans boycotted the first man who was hired for the job, Greg Schiano, back a few weeks ago. It was a boycott that led many in the national media with a few exceptions (including me, CBS’s Barrett Sallee and a handful of others) to unfairly criticize Vols fans, and paint them as a group of pitchfork carrying hillbillies with no perspective on reality or their place in the college football universe.

Well, with the coaching search complete, I’m here to say one thing: In the end, Tennessee fans were proven correct. Not because we can say with 100 percent certainty that Jeremy Pruitt is the right man for the job. But because the fan-base as a whole stood up to their administration, said “enough is enough” and didn’t settle on mediocrity from the start.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E2: Barrett Sallee

After receiving such excellent feedback following his first podcast, Aaron Torres is back on the mic to give the people want they want: more podcast.  Once again, Nick Coffey joins the program, followed by a college football conversation with Barrett Sallee from CBS Sports.  Highlights of what you will hear:

— Has Nick been harrassed by Louisville fans for joining a KSR podcast?
—  Are they surprised that both Ball brothers are through with UCLA, and is there any real hope for the them to sign overseas?
—  Kansas’ loss to Washington, what’s up with Billy Preston’s car, and Aaron complains about the downfall of UConn hoops.
— A deep dive into the Tennessee coaching search and hire of Jeremy Pruitt. They explain why UT fans ended up being right about the Greg Schiano situation, and Barrett discusses what Vols fans – and their opponents – can expect in Year 1 of the Pruitt Era.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

The link between Lavar Ball, LiAngelo Ball and the One and Done Rule

Richard Mackson | USA Today

If you cover college basketball like I, and everyone who works at KSR does, you’re forced to have an opinion on a couple different college hoops related topics. Is Duke back or not? Is Bill Self’s hair real or fake? Does Rick Pitino regret his 2013 national championship lower back tattoo?

But above all, there are two topics that you will absolutely, positively end up discussing whether you want to or not. Those two topics: The one and done rule, and America’s favorite basketball dad, Lavar Ball. Believe me when I say that there are no exceptions. These topics will always be hot debate points.

And ironically, over the last two days, those two topics have come together in the most fascinating way possible. Let me explain.

Let’s start with the one and done rule, because for years I’ve heard virtually every media member in the country pick apart the rule and talk about how bad it is. I for one love the rule (as I’ve written before) and think that it’s a good barrier for young basketball players and the pros. Simply put, if you can’t hack it in one year of college basketball, there’s a very, VERY good chance (with a few exceptions) that you’re probably not ready to head off to the NBA. Because of it, I also think having the one and done in place has helped a lot of kids make smarter decisions about their futures. Some still leave college for the pros as soon as they can, and for some, it’s the right decision. But many more get to college and realize they need to stay for two or three years to get things right.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E1: Evan Daniels

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E1: Evan Daniels

The long-awaited arrival of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is finally here!

KSR’s resident West Coast contributor debuts the new Kentucky Sports Radio podcast by introducing the show’s format and his weekly co-host, Nick Coffey of 790-KRD and The Card Connect.  Following a College Football Playoff discussion, the master of college basketball recruiting, Evan Daniels, joins Torres to discuss the young college basketball season.  Highlights:

—  Did Ohio State ever have a shot at getting into the playoff?

—  This year proved there does not need to be more than four teams in the CFB Playoff.

—  What’s crazier in the college football coaching carousel: Tennessee fans or the amount of money A&M paid Jimbo Fisher?

—  Lavar Ball’s latest antics and what it was like for Torres and Daniels to cover the Balls in high school.

—  The Future of the One and Done Rule and what it will mean for college basketball.

—  Evan shares the latest on Zion Williamson and where he could end up playing college basketball.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Aaron Torres Sports” feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

What UK fans should watch on their first Saturday since August without football

It’s been three long months, but for the first time since August (barring one bye week back in October) there will be no Kentucky football to watch on Saturday. I know that for many of you it’s a tough deal, and it likely means you’re going to get stuck doing the things you’ve been avoiding for months. You know, like “spending time with your family,” or “Christmas shopping” or — oh my God, this all sounds so awful.

But no, I promise you, it doesn’t have to be this way! Even though Kentucky doesn’t play Saturday that doesn’t mean you’re destined for a day of “quality time with the kids.” Screw the kids! There’s still plenty to watch on TV to whet your sports appetite.

So what should be on your agenda this Saturday? I put together a handy schedule for you.

Friday, 8:00 p.m.: Pac-12 championship game, Stanford vs. USC (ESPN)

Considering that neither of these teams has a realistic shot at the College Football Playoff, the Pac-12 Championship Game is a nice way to ease into your weekend – you know, like starting off a night on the town with a couple Bud Lights, before moving over to the hard stuff.

It’s also one of the last chances for any Browns fans reading (and I know there are a lot of you) to see Sam Darnold before he plays lights out in the final two games of the season and inevitably gets your hopes up that he is the QB this franchise has been waiting for… before ultimately deciding to return to college for another season at USC.

What we learned about the national college basketball scene during ‘Feast Week’

What we learned about the national college basketball scene during ‘Feast Week’

Sadly, the long Thanksgiving weekend is over. Which means that today was spent back in the office, eating cold, three-day old leftovers, halfheartedly listening to your co-workers tell boring stories from the weekend.

Trust me, we’ve all been there. Wasn’t it just Wednesday like half a second ago?

It seems like it, and the saddest part about the end of Thanksgiving weekend is that we just wrapped up the single most compelling week of college hoops that we’ll have until March. From last Monday, straight until Sunday night’s PK80 Championship Games, we were overwhelmed with wall-to-wall basketball, with most of the nation’s top teams playing as many as two or three games, most against top-flight competition.

Last week, I wrote about what we’ve learned from Kentucky so far this season (you can read it here). Here’s what we learned about everyone else in college basketball over the holiday weekend:

8 early season thoughts on this year’s Kentucky Wildcats

It’s Black Friday, and while I know that most of America is off at some mall somewhere, ready to throw punches over the last available XBox360 (wait, is that the cool toy that all the kids want this year?), there are plenty of you who are bored at work looking for something to do to pass the final few hours before you can head home for the weekend. Thankfully, that’s why I’m here, right?

(Don’t answer that)

Regardless, I’m here anyway, and when it comes to the 2017-2018 Kentucky Wildcats this feels like a perfect time to sit back and reflect on the season so far. Kentucky is right around a fifth of the way through their schedule overall, and at the exact halfway point of their out of conference schedule. Six games in is also a big enough sample size where we’re not really judging the team based on one game or play, but instead, a solid body of work.

So what does this “outsider” think of the Wildcats so far? Here are eight thoughts, both good and bad:

Quade Green has been wayyyyyyy better than I expected

I’ll be honest: I saw Quade Green enough during his high school days to think I knew what Kentucky was getting from him this season. I thought they were getting a solid floor-general who would get his teammates involved and look for his offense when needed. I thought they were getting a good player, one that wouldn’t do anything to draw the ire of John Calipari, but also one that really wouldn’t blow you off the page in a positive way either.

Admittedly, that’s what I thought the Wildcats were getting. And what I thought was wrong.

The simple truth is that Quade has – at least in my eyes – been the single biggest surprise for the Cats, a solid floor-general, who is also a much more refined offensive player than I expected. On the season he’s averaging a respectable 11.7 points per game, but at times has played much better than the numbers would indicate. Quade has been a lights out three-point shooter (46 percent), can get buckets off set plays and also at the rim, and when others (specifically Kevin Knox) are off, he can carry them too. Quade singlehandedly carried Kentucky against East Tennessee State when the rest of the offense was struggling. I truthfully don’t know if UK wins that game if he didn’t put them on his back.

Regardless, I’d argue right now that Quade has been the Wildcats’ second best player behind Knox, and frankly, I don’t know if there’s anyone even close. Shout out to him, for exceeding the preseason expectations of so many, including myself.


An in-depth guide to all the Thanksgiving college basketball tournaments

An in-depth guide to all the Thanksgiving college basketball tournaments

Congratulations, you’ve made it! It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, meaning that –whether you’re actually done with work or not – you’re officially in vacation mode. It’s time to kick back, relax, half-heartedly text your friends about that 5k you promised to run tomorrow (even though you know you won’t) and get ready to gorge on enough turkey and mashed potatoes over the next four days to kill a baby rhinoceros.

Honestly, how great is Thanksgiving?!?!

Of course as great as Thanksgiving always is, there is one added bonus besides the food and booze: More college basketball than you can possibly handle. That’s right, over the next four days, virtually every important team is in action, often times for several days in a row, in what can only be described as the most action-packed part of the college basketball season until March. Feast Week is here, and with so much college hoops on TV, it’s fair to ask: What are the games you need to watch?

Thankfully, that’s what I’m here for. As KSR’s national college basketball analyst (frankly, I didn’t know that was my title until Matt told me it was, so let’s just roll with it) I feel it my responsibility to get you caught up on everything going on in college hoops this weekend, from the interesting to obscure and everything in between.

Here’s your guide to Thanksgiving hoops.

Maui Invitational Final (Wednesday night)

Teams to watch: Wichita State, Notre Dame

This is the only tournament in this preview that is actually underway (although the Battle 4 Atlantis starts today) so if you haven’t been watching, you’ve missed some good basketball. Among the big storylines was LSU – and first-year coach Will Wide – pulling an upset in Round 1, and basically looking like a completely different team from last year (somehow making the Johnny Jones era look even worse in the process). Also, former Kentucky guard Charles Matthews has looked awesome for Michigan, averaging 25 points in two games in Hawaii.

However with the opening rounds done, we’ve now reached the final, where we get a fun matchup between Wichita State and Notre Dame. Both are legitimate Top 15 teams and both threats to make a deep tournament run (although if we’re being honest, we all know what Wichita State’s future holds – they’re going to get matched up with Kentucky in the second round and lose a heartbreaker. That’s what always happens to the Shockers).

On the court, both teams are led by guards. For Wichita it’s Landry Shamet and Notre Dame it’s Matt Farrell. Skip the bars on Wednesday night and stay in for this one. I promise it will be worth it.