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Aaron Torres’ Take

Ranking the Kentucky players most likely to stay or go pro

It’s no secret that when it comes to Kentucky basketball, there really are three seasons. There’s the regular season (duh). Recruiting season, which never really starts or ends; just kind of exists in its own universe. And then there’s draft season. Kentucky deals with the highs and lows of this particular part of the calendar more than any other school in the sport.

And this year specifically, the NBA Draft cycle is unlike any other Kentucky has never seen. This year Kentucky has a uniquely odd group of players. There are more individual players than usual who could (in theory) make the jump to the NBA, but fewer with guarantees on where they’ll land. Outside of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox it really is hard to peg where any player will go if they decide to enter the NBA Draft. Or if they’ll be selected at all.

Which is what will make this NBA Draft cycle at Kentucky especially fascinating. This is a truly different kind of year, where there are few guarantees or givens, and where each individual player has to make the decision that is uniquely best for him. A guy who might be guaranteed to go in the first round might still decide to come back to school. A guy who could go undrafted might decide to leave anyway.

Still, it’s a topic that will make for captivating theatre in Kentucky over the next few weeks and months. And after talking to people all around basketball over the last couple weeks as well as following media reports (such as the one Matt Jones dropped a few days ago) here is my ranking of the players most likely to leave Kentucky in some form or fashion between now and the start of next season.

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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E35: Donte DiVincenzo and Kevin Knox

The college basketball season may be over, but with the offseason heating up there’s never been a better time to download a new edition of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast! In this episode, Nick and Aaron dive into the last game of the last game of the college basketball season — plus the first few days of the off-season, NBA Draft decisions and what it could all mean for everyone involved.
National Championship Recap — They explain why Villanova completed one of the greatest runs we’ve seen in recent college basketball history and wonder “should the Wildcats be considered a blue blood?” Also, will they finally get mentioned with Kentucky and Duke to start next season?
Donte DiVincenzo — How Aaron embarrassed himself when he met DiVincenzo at the Final Four two years ago. They also talk about his tweets and the shameful media who stoop that low.
A Kevin Knox Return — Is it actually possible?
University-6 — Chris Mack enjoys hot wings and what’s the deal with Pitino to Rhode Island rumors?

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.

Today’s episode is brought to you by:

 

 

 

 


Eight reasons to watch the national championship game if you’re not a Villanova or Michigan fan

Eight reasons to watch the national championship game if you’re not a Villanova or Michigan fan

It’s “Championship Monday” a normally joyous time for college basketball fans across the country. Yet this year it feels like the game is missing a little pizazz. Sorry for being honest. It’s just the truth.

Look, I love college basketball as much as anybody, but to be perfectly blunt: Unless you’re a fan of either Villanova or Michigan it’s hard to get all too excited about this game. One, these two programs are almost too likeable – I mean honestly, unless you hate good, fundamental basketball, teamwork and players who put the team before themselves, how can you dislike Villanova or Michigan? And two, doesn’t it kind of feel like we already know the result is going to be? I’m not saying this is a “David vs. Goliath” type deal or that Michigan has no chance. At the same time, the Wildcats have won their five NCAA Tournament games by an average of 17 points, with each win by at least 12 points. I know Michigan is good, but there’s a reason ‘Nova is the biggest national title game favorite since 2010. I’m not even sure Jim Harbaugh has the guts to pick Michigan to win this game.

Yet despite the lack of buzz, it is still the national championship, and dammit, I’m going to enjoy it if it kills me. And you should too. Which is exactly why I am writing today: Here are seven reasons to tune into the national championship game even if you’re not a Villanova or Michigan fan:
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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E34: National Championship Monday

It’s Championship Monday and a new edition of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Aaron is joined by Nick Coffey to preview a Villanova-Michigan title game. The boys hit it from all angles, starting with:
— A recap of Saturday’s semifinals. Why Villanova’s performance was incredible but not surprising, but why we shouldn’t expect other teams to copy their three-point heavy offense going forward. Also a look back on Michigan’s win over Loyola, the end of Sister Jean’s run and have we seen Michigan’s best game yet?
—  A preview of Monday night’s title game – everyone thinks Nova is the overwhelming favorite, but the guys lay out Michigan’s best hope for winning. Also, the guys make their title picks and tell you who will win the title. Did either guy pick an upset?
—  Nick describes Week 1 of the Chris Mack era. He explains why Mack is basically the exact opposite of Rick Pitino and Aaron shares a funny story of a meeting he had with Mack years ago.
— Funny Final Four stories with Aaron, including how he had a chance to talk his favorite coach…. and completely blew it.

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.

Today’s episode is brought to you by:

 

 

 

 


The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E33: Mack to UofL and Final Four Preview

It’s Final Four week and we’ve got a fresh edition of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast live, locked and loaded, as the guys start with the coaching carousel and move onto a Final Four preview. But it begins with the top story of the day:

— Chris Mack is officially a Louisville Cardinal. Nick shares the reaction in Louisville, as the Cardinals get their man. Aaron explains why he thinks it’s good for college basketball to be good again, and Nick says he’s just happy that there are no more negative headlines around the program.

—  Just how good is Chris Mack and are we sold he’s a can’t miss hire?

—  Jeff Capel to Pitt, a surprising move for both parties. How will this effect Duke’s recruiting? And will will it help Kentucky?

—  Final Four: The campaign against Sister Jean continues, Aaron explains why the monkey is finally off Bill Self’s back, and who will win Saturday’s semifinals.

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.

Today’s episode is brought to you by:

 

 

 

 


Chris Mack to Louisville is good for the Kentucky rivalry and good for college basketball

Chris Mack to Louisville is good for the Kentucky rivalry and good for college basketball

On Tuesday, the least surprising move in the history of college basketball’s coaching carousel became official. After years of speculation that Chris Mack would someday be the man to replace Rick Pitino at Louisville (dating back to when Pitino actually had the job last season) Mack was officially named to the position. He will earn right around $30 million over the next seven years for the move.

Before we get into the particulars, let’s first give some quick credit to new Louisville AD Vince Tyra. Ultimately there was only one real name on Louisville’s coaching search list, only one guy he could get who would have the full support of the fan-base, alumni and boosters. That man was Mack, and if Tyra couldn’t get him, well, he would have had a lot of explaining to do (admittedly, Trya probably wouldn’t have gotten the full-time AD job either, but that’s beside the point). Tyra got his man however, and we have officially entered a new era of Louisville basketball.

So with Mack now officially a Cardinal, it brings us to the most important question: What’s next for Louisville basketball? It’s a fair question and one that just about everyone is asking today as the Mack news spread across the college basketball world.

Well, let me be the latest in a long line of people to say that this was just about the perfect hire for Louisville. One that is good for Louisville itself, good for the rivalry with Kentucky and good for college basketball as a whole.  
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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E32: Elite Eight Recap and Coaching Carousel Update

We’re down to just four teams, and on the newest episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, Aaron and Nick Coffey talk about all the madness in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Among the topics the guys discuss:

— A recap of the Kansas-Duke thriller. Aaron explains why it was a good day for Bill Self, and Nick asks how much blame does Coach K get with Marvin Bagley barely touching the ball?

— Is the “one and done” era dead in college basketball, with all the top freshmen knocked out of the tournament?

— Why Villanova winning ugly was a good sign for Jay Wright, and why we’re still not sure which Michigan club we’ll get in San Antonio.

—  A deep dive on Loyola-Chicago: Has America officially gotten too much Sister Jean?

— A quick reflection back on Kentucky’s loss to Kansas State? Did Kentucky play the worst possible game at the worst possible and can you blame John Calipari at all for the loss?

— And finally, a quick dip around the coaching carousel. Aaron explains why Dan Hurley is the perfect hire for UConn and Nick breaks down the timeline where he expects Chris Mack to be named Louisville’s next head coach.

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.

Today’s episode is brought to you by:

 

 

 

 


A full preview of Friday night’s East and Midwest region games

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America

I’ll be honest: I know it’s not an easy day in Kentucky. There is nothing I can say about Thursday night’s Kansas State game that hasn’t already been said by dozens of others, whether it’s my colleagues here at KSR or the friends and family that you’ve probably been talking to over the last several hours.

Ultimately though, the tournament must go on. And as KSR’s national college hoops writer, I figured it was only appropriate that I do a short preview of tonight’s games for those of you who plan on actually watching.

I know it won’t be many, but for those who will tune into the East and Midwest regions, here is what you need to know.
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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E31: A Complete Sweet 16 Preview

It’s Thursday and the Sweet 16 is upon us, so what better way to prepare for the games by listening to a new episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast! As always, Aaron is joined by his man Nick Coffey and the pair discussed the following topics:

— Before they get into the games, Nick and Aaron discuss the coaching carousel. Nick explains why it’s still “Chris Mack or Bust” and Aaron breaks down the UConn coaching job. Is it inevitable that Danny Hurley gets the job, and if not, who would the Huskies take?
— Moving onto the games, a full breakdown of every region. They start in the West, where Aaron shares a funny story from Texas A&M’s media day and Nick makes some surprise picks in the West and the Midwest. Can Syracuse somehow get back to the Final Four? And does Aaron believe that someone other than Villanova is going to come out of the East?
— And finally the guys wrap up in the South. Aaron again explains why Eric Musselman is the ideal candidate for Louisville, and Nick breaks down why Louisville fans would be concerned with the hire. And finally, can anyone beat Kentucky in this region?

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.

Today’s episode is brought to you by:

 

 

 

 


Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A full preview of Thursday night’s NCAA Tournament games

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Well folks, we’re really here. A season that started five months ago with 351 teams believing they could win a national championship (well, 350 teams. Pitt never had a chance) is down to just 16 schools left. And thanks to a slew of upsets last weekend, we’ve got a nice balance of teams heading into the weekend. There are traditional powers like Kentucky, Kansas and Duke, true upstarts like Loyola (IL) and Nevada and a few in between teams like West Virginia, Texas Tech and Florida State.

So with Sweet 16 games tipping tonight, let’s talk some hoop. My friends at KSR have you covered from the Kentucky perspective, but let’s look at each individual region, and the storylines heading in. Today, we’ll do the West and South regions (since they play tonight) and tomorrow we’ll hit the East and Midwest.

Let’s go!
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