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Basketball Season Coverage

Coach Cal will Discuss his new book with Matt Jones Tomorrow Morning in Lexington


Before Matt hits the road for Vegas with the KSR crew, he’ll spend an hour and a half discussing “Success is the Only Option” with Coach John Calipari tomorrow morning in Lexington.

Commerce Lexington Inc. is hosting the two at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in their Good Morning Bluegrass series, beginning at 8:00 a.m.  Following their discussion, Coach Cal will be signing copies of his book.  Tickets are just $35, $25 for Commerce Lexington members.

If you can’t wait until tomorrow morning, you can listen to last night’s postgame show.  I missed it, but I hear it’s one for the ages.

UK Men's Basketball 08_09

UK vs Florida

UK wins 68-65

The eRUPPtion Zone named 7th best student section in basketball


UK Men's Basketball 08_09 UK vs Florida UK wins 68-65

USA Today Sports’ For The Win ranked the 8 best student sections in college basketball. The eRUPPtion Zone came in at number 7, which might seem low, but is not surprising to me at all. Here’s what USA Today had to say about the students in Rupp.

The passion of Kentucky basketball is undeniable, but by no fault of their own, the student section gets hurt solely by its location. Kentucky cut the student allotment from 9,000 to between 4,000 and 5,000 in 2015, which inevitably took a toll on the noise level. That being said, Rupp Arena remains one of the tougher places to play in college basketball, and the lower level “eRUPPtion Zone” is always rowdy. The students just deserve more seats.

Check out the rest of the top 8 in the full article here.

On a side note, having attended games as a student, an employee of UK Athletics, and now as a graduate, I feel that student’s don’t get their fair shake with the tickets they are offered in Rupp Arena. Say what you want about the student not filling the rafter seats for games against S.F. Austin and Asbury, but can you really blame them?

These students wait for hours in a completely outdated lottery system for tickets. Not to mention that the majority of those tickets are either upper deck, nosebleed seats or are stuck directly behind the basket in the eRUPPtion Zone. Let me also say, outside of freshmen and the people who sit in the front row of the student section every game, that watching a game in the eRUPPtion Zone really isn’t much to write home about. Your view is obstructed by the basket, and they pack too many people into vague stand-only rows. Believe it or not, some students would much rather watch the game on a big-screen HD television, than from an uncomfortable seat far away from the court.

A lot of the top student sections in the country have students along the sidelines, so they can have more impact on the game. The students in these arenas truly make it tough on the opposing team to play every possession.

Many believe that the donors should be moved to suite style seating, leaving room near the floor for the students. What do you think? Should students get different seating to move the student section up to the top of the list where it belongs?


It’s an off day, so of course Calipari wrote a mini-manifesto on Twitter


You have to hand it to John Calipari; the man is incapable of taking a day off. Today is supposed to be an off day for the team, but Calipari couldn’t help but put out a mini-manifesto on Twitter, doing as the young kids do and posting a screenshot of a note on his phone.

“We have an off day, and my thoughts went to all the players I currently coach and my responsibility to them,” Cal writes. “Parents who send us their most precious child expect a lot more from us than to just dedicate ourselves to this profession. Their child should not be a spoke in the wheel that’s used to win a ‘chip for our program. We owe them more!!”

Etc. Etc. Etc. Losing attention span…oh hey, caps!

“We should KEEP IT REAL! Let them know they are responsible for themselves! Nothing in life is given that’s worth having! Life isn’t always fair so deal with it. We need them to know how to create joy in their lives (helping others) and how to be continually happy (be continually grateful). That’s a mouthful but we owe it to the parents, the kids and ourselves to be dedicated to them and not just our profession.”

Who knows what prompted this, but read it for yourself below:


Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

More basketball tickets going on sale tonight

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Struggling to find a Christmas gift for that special someone? How about tickets to a UK basketball game? Tonight at 5 p.m., a limited number of single-game tickets for three games in January will go on sale: Auburn (Jan. 14), South Carolina (Jan. 21) and Georgia (Jan. 31). You can only get these tickets online at or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. Based on availability after Thursday’s sale, tickets will also be available on Friday morning through the UK ticket office and the Rupp Arena box office.

In addition, an extremely limited number of 200-level single seats will be available for the Kansas game (Jan. 28), as well as verified resale tickets through the TicketExchange, the official fan-to-fan resale marketplace of UK Athletics.

For a complete listing of on-sale dates, single-game ticket prices and other ticket information, visit

Kentucky drops to a 2-seed in latest-but-still-way-too-early Bracketology

Kentucky drops to a 2-seed in latest-but-still-way-too-early Bracketology


It’s still too early for Bracketology, but that’s not stopping Joe Lunardi from giving his predictions on who will end up where in the NCAA Tournament a good three months before it happens. Last week, Kentucky was the 1-seed in the South Region, but the loss to UCLA dropped them a line to a 2-seed in the East Region, playing the 15-seed Fort Wayne Hoosier Killers in the opening round in Indianapolis:


Of course, this bracket is meaningless, but you can you imagine a Sweet 16 showdown with Louisville? And of course West Virginia’s in there.

However meaningless, bracketology is an important reminder of the impact the loss to UCLA could have. Yes, the Bruins are also listed as a two-seed, but the loss happened at Rupp, which could damage Kentucky’s resume, especially if they lose to North Carolina and Louisville. Drop one of those two and I think Kentucky’s chances of getting the 1-seed are still good, but drop both and they’ll have to make a nearly flawless run in the SEC to be one of the top four teams in the tournament. That’s the thing about the SEC…wins don’t get you much because the competition is weak, but losses kill you.

So, let’s beat North Carolina AND Louisville, okay?


Mark Zerof | USA Today

Thursday Morning Leftovers From Last Night

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Your University of Kentucky Wildcats moved to 8-1 on the season last night with a rout of the Fightin’ Alec Peters of Valparaiso in the final home game of the calendar year. Mrs. Tyler did a fantastic job in recapping that game for you late last night, but I have a little more for you this a.m. before we move past the game and on into the 2016-17 season.

So refill your coffee and then hit these quick-hitters from last night’s action to start your day…


Watch Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis and Mychal Mulder review the game.

Mychal Mulder noted that his team didn’t bring the energy against UCLA and that was a big focus in bouncing back from that loss.

There were 27 NBA scouts in attendance.

Believe it or not, there were more scouts at last night’s game than at the UCLA game, when Lonzo Ball, a future lottery pick, was in town. 27 scouts from 21 NBA franchises were in the building last night to see Valparaiso’s Alec Peters go against the many pro prospects on Kentucky’s roster.

Shai Alexander attended the game, too.

‪Love that Shai got to see us play tonight! GREAT kid. ‬

A photo posted by John Calipari (@ukcoachcalipari) on

The Kentucky signee made the trip to Lexington to watch his future team roll through Valpo. John Calipari shared a photo of the two from just outside the UK locker room.

The announcer could not pronounce ‘Adebayo.’

Rough night for Tom Hart of the SEC Network, who called the game alongside Kentucky’s own Tony Delk. Hart mispronounced Bam Adebayo’s name throughout the entire broadcast, showing the television viewers that he didn’t take the time to learn the name of one of the game’s stars.

Do better, Tom. You’re calling a basketball game; it’s not rocket surgery.

John Calipari saw a lot of potential in his team.

After the game, Coach Cal said, “There were signs today that we could be really good. And then the question is, how good do we want to be?”

The UNDER finally hit in a Kentucky game.

After four straight games of hitting the over out in Las Vegas, last night’s game went under the 156.5 total for the first time since Duquesne game. The Cats did cover, however, which brings their record against the spread to a staggering 6-2 on the year.

Other brief notes and anecdotes:

— Kentucky’s 21-0 run after the game was tied at four was the biggest of its kind of the season.

— Malik Monk has scored in double figures in every game.

— Derek Willis has three straight in double figures.

— Kentucky forced Valpo into 19 turnovers. The Cats have forced at least 17 turnovers in all but one game this year.

— Pat Adams really is the worst official in college basketball.

Did you watch Hey Kentucky! before the game?

If not, check out this clip of Matt and Jeremy Jarmon playing a fun game of “True or False.”

You can see the entire episode of Hey Kentucky! here.

10 Takeaways from Kentucky’s bounce-back beatdown of Valparaiso

10 Takeaways from Kentucky’s bounce-back beatdown of Valparaiso

© Mark Zerof

© Mark Zerof

After a jarring loss to UCLA and four long days of reflection, Kentucky bounced back in a big way tonight, beating Valparaiso 87-63. It wasn’t the most exciting of games, but it was nice to see the Cats get back to doing what they do best: run fast, score, and win the game. Bam led all scorers with 16 points, followed by Malik Monk with 15, Derek Willis with 12, and Isaiah Briscoe with 10.

Let’s break it down.

1. Kentucky clicked into gear early

They didn’t exactly sprint out of the gate, but it didn’t take the Cats long to warm up. With the score tied at four two and a half minutes in, Kentucky went on a 21-0 run, their biggest of the season, reminding us why we love this group so much.

“Was it that many points in a row?” Valpo’s head coach Matt Lottich said when asked about UK’s run. “Sure felt like it. Yes, they got us uncomfortable. They sped us up, I think we took a lot of quick shots, which is very uncharacteristic of us.”

“I think their best offense, honestly, is transition,” Lottich said, summing it up quite nicely.

I agree:

Kentucky started the second half in similar fashion, going on 21-8 run to pad the lead.

2. Defense was better

Valparaiso is no slouch. The Crusaders received votes in the latest AP poll and have a player projected to go in this year’s NBA Draft in Alec Peters (more on him later). After letting UCLA score 97 points, the most by an opponent in the Calipari era, Kentucky clamped down like a team that had been yelled at for for four days, holding Valparaiso to 63 points off 34% shooting and 27% behind the arc.

“The one thing that we didn’t want was them to lose to UCLA,” Lottich said. “I think it definitely refocused their defense. The thing that they have is supreme athleticism. They pressure you all the way up the floor, they don’t make passes easy. They’re very disciplined on the defensive end, very well coached.”

“Our whole point of a team that plays a little bit slower, you have to disrupt that team,” Cal said of Valpo. “UCLA was going to play fast, whatever we did. So you’re pressing them to get into their legs, you’re not pressing them to be disruptive. That’s not what you would do. This team, that’s what we tried to do.”

It worked. Along those same lines…

3. Bam finished at the rim, and by finished I mean dunked

At some point on Saturday, I think every Kentucky fan yelled, “Dunk the ball!” at Bam Adebayo at some point, and he responded today, putting up 16 points on 5-9 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line. Dunks like this were very welcome:

Calipari was pleased.

“It’s great to see how he is and what he’s doing because he’s just getting better and better,” Cal said on his radio show of Bam. “If you trap him, it doesn’t effect him.”

4. Alec Peters is good, but Kentucky contained him

Coming in to the game, everyone was worried about Valpo’s Alec Peters, who finished with a game-high 23 points. Kentucky did a good job of shutting Peters — an NBA prospect — down in the first half, rotating defenders, but the second they let up on the intensity in the second half, Peters pounced, all while battling cramps.

“My hope is we were running so fast that he started cramping, because that — we want to fly,” Cal quipped, before adding, “I know how good he is. I grabbed him after and I said, I love watching tape of him play. He just knows how to get shots.”

5. One good surprising stat: blocks

I don’t really consider rim protection one of this squad’s strengths, but they had nine blocks tonight to Valpo’s one. In fact, Kentucky is fourth in the nation in blocks right now with 7.38 per game, which may just mean that the rest of the nation isn’t blocking a lot of shots. Wenyen Gabriel was especially good guarding the rim tonight, swatting three shots, followed by Sacha Killeya-Jones with two blocks.

6. One bad surprising stat: UK had more turnovers than assists

Usually, Kentucky fills up the stat sheet with assists (remember when we had 33 vs. Arizona State?); but in the last two games, the passing hasn’t been quite as good, and it shows on the stat sheet. Verses UCLA, the Cats only had 16 assists, and tonight, they had 15, with 17 turnovers to boot. Kentucky won by 24, so it doesn’t really matter, but still an odd stat nonetheless.

One not surprising stat: Kentucky is 37-5 in games following a loss in the Calipari era.

7. Mychal Mulder made a statement

After not playing at all vs. UCLA, Mychal Mulder made the most of his 16 minutes tonight, finishing with 9 points, 7 rebounds, two assists, and one block. While Mulder’s defense still isn’t great, Calipari said he feels comfortable playing him when Isaiah Briscoe is also on the court.

“Mychal was good,” Calipari said. “What I want to do is have he and Isaiah on the court together because Isaiah makes Mychal comfortable. And Isaiah figures out ways of getting him shots he can make. And Isaiah will talk to him through defense and help him, and he just makes him more comfortable on the court.”

He looked very comfortable on this play:

8. People other than Malik Monk made threes

Monk has accounted for most of Kentucky’s outside shooting this season and had one tonight, but Kentucky’s three seniors all hit threes tonight, led by Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis with two and Mychal Mulder with one. Brad Calipari got one as well, his first basket in Rupp Arena (aside from exhibitions, his only prior points in Rupp were off free throws).

It’s noting new, but Dominique also played great defense tonight, earning kudos from Calipari.

“Dom goes in and just changed the whole complexion because of how he defended on the ball. And he kind of disrupted what they were doing offensively.”

9. The announcer couldn’t pronounce Bam Adebayo’s name

I’m sure Tom Hart’s a nice guy, but he could not pronounce Bam Adebayo’s name properly during the first half, calling him “Ado-boy-o,” “Atta-boy-o,” “Ada-boy-a,” and every variation in between. Thankfully, someone (hopefully his partner Tony Delk) slipped him a pronunciation guide at halftime, because he seemed to get it right a lot more often in the second 20 minutes.

10. Forget Christmas; Calipari can’t wait for Camp Cal


Calipari seemed pleased with Kentucky’s renewed energy tonight, but he’s really excited to put his team to work during the annual “Camp Cal,” which apparently starts next Wednesday.

“I told them, I can’t wait until finals are over so we can start three-a-days. Get this thing right. They got finals next week. Get through those by Wednesday, and it’s from that, bar the door, right there, let’s go. I said, you got to eat, sleep, video games, I’ll give you a little time for your video games, and then we’re playing basketball.”

“There were signs today that we could be really good,” he concluded.

Just in case anyone needed reminding.

Mychal Mulder capitalizes on opportunity against Valparaiso

USA Today

USA Today

After sitting out against UCLA, Mychal Mulder came in with a chip on his shoulder against Valparaiso, and capitalized.

Some have blamed it on defensive struggles, others believe it may have been due to lack of ball-handling or passing ability against the Bruins’ elite backcourt. Regardless, Mulder never entered the game against UCLA, and the fans were heated.

Judging by a deleted tweet immediately following the game, Mulder wasn’t a happy camper either.

Nonetheless, Coach Cal gave him another shot against Valparaiso, and the Windsor, Canada native proved he belonged on the court.

In his post-game presser, Calipari said he knew going into the game that he’d be giving Mulder minutes, and was happy with the results.

Mychal was good,” Calipari said. “What I want to do is have he and Isaiah on the court together because Isaiah makes Mychal comfortable. And Isaiah figures out ways of getting him shots he can make. And Isaiah will talk to him through defense and help him, and he just makes him more comfortable on the court.”

Mulder finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds, just one shy of his career high on the glass. He had confidence and made plays both with and without the ball, providing a massive spark off the bench.

“I go into every game motivated, regardless of the game,” Mulder said. “I was motivated in practice and kept working hard so I didn’t let (the UCLA game) bother me at all. I was ready for my opportunity and when that came today, I tried to make the most of it.

Dominique Hawkins believes Mulder has come a long way from last year, and thinks he has earned the right to be on the court. “He’s knocking down shots, and I think he’s able to come in and bring energy on defense.”

After the game, I spoke with Mulder’s father, who was visibly relieved following his son’s big game. “It’s about damn time,” he joked. “No, in all honesty he looked really comfortable out there, the team looked good. I enjoyed watching him play tonight.”


Watch the highlights from tonight’s win

Watch the highlights from tonight’s win


Come get your bird’s eye view of the game’s top plays courtesy of this highlight package from the kind-hearted, hard-working, superb people at Kentucky Wildcats TV.

Lots of fun in here…

Combined statistics through nine games

Combined statistics through nine games

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Have a look at the updated season statistics through nine games played in 2016-17:


How about Isaiah Briscoe shooting 71 percent from the foul line and over 50 percent from the field? That’s quite a turnaround from a year ago.

LIVE: John Calipari’s postgame press conference


Tune in to the live stream down below to hear everything John Calipari had to say after tonight’s win.

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Kentucky defeats Alec Peters and his band of Crusaders, 87-63

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Alec Peters got his but it wasn’t enough to keep his team in the game. Valparaiso’s star big man, who drew scouts from 21 NBA teams tonight, scored 23 to lead all scorers. However, Kentucky put up 87 as a team to get its eighth win of the season, 87-63

Brad Calipari tied his career-high with three points.


Cats up big at the half

Cats up big at the half


Kentucky bounced back from the UCLA loss with an exciting first half of basketball against Valparaiso. The Cats currently lead 45-24 at the break with plenty more to come.


UK vs. Valparaiso LIVE BLOG

Live Blog UK vs. Valparaiso LIVE BLOG

Billy Gillispie is retiring from college basketball

Joe Robbins | Getty

Joe Robbins | Getty

Breaking news from Ranger, Texas: according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, Billy Gillispie is retiring from college basketball. Gillispie, who was fired from Kentucky in 2009, just started his second season at Ranger College, his alma mater. Last year, Ranger went 31-7 and advanced to the semifinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament, but had to forfeit all of its wins for using an ineligible player.

Gillispie cited health issues as his reason for stepping away from the game.

“I’ve been very sick with blood pressure issues since the summer, but I’ve tried to fight it out,” Gillispie said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News. “I got a report Monday that told me if I didn’t address this blood pressure situation immediately, irreversible, bad things were very likely to happen here relatively soon and my long-term health could be compromised.”

Here’s hoping Billy gets the help he needs.

[Dallas Morning News]