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Kentucky moves up a spot in the AP poll

After their best win yet, your University of Kentucky Wildcats moved up one spot in the AP poll to No. 7.

Villanova is still the number one team in the country, followed by Michigan State, Arizona State, Duke, North Carolina, and Miami (Fl.). Texas A&M is right behind Kentucky at No. 8, and the only other SEC team in the Top 25 is Tennessee, who moved down one spot to No. 21 after taking North Carolina down to the wire yesterday. Florida dropped out of the rankings. Arkansas is right on the outside, receiving the 26th most votes.

Here’s the poll in its entirety:

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Villanova (45) 11-0 1,602
2 Michigan State (15) 10-1 1,560
3 Arizona State (5) 10-0 1,429
4 Duke 11-1 1,390
5 North Carolina 10-1 1,332
6 Miami 9-0 1,308
7 Kentucky 9-1 1,231
8 Texas A&M 9-1 1,156
9 Xavier 10-1 1,073
10 West Virginia 9-1 1,040
11 Wichita State 8-2 851
12 Gonzaga 9-2 831
13 Virginia 9-1 796
14 Kansas 8-2 791
15 TCU 10-0 789
16 Purdue 11-2 706
17 Oklahoma 8-1 691
18 Arizona 8-3 396
18 Baylor 9-2 396
20 Cincinnati 9-2 314
21 Tennessee 7-2 308
21 Texas Tech 9-1 308
23 Seton Hall 9-2 223
24 Florida State 9-1 164
25 Creighton 8-2 144

ESPN president steps down, citing substance addiction

ESPN president steps down, citing substance addiction

Breaking news in the sports media world: ESPN president John Skipper has resigned to tackle his issues with substance abuse. 

“Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN,” Skipper said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. I owe a debt to many, but most profoundly Michael Lynton, George Bodenheimer and Bob Iger.

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”

The 61-year-old Skipper has been with ESPN since 1997 and was named president on January 1, 2012. George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s president from 1998-2011, will take over as the acting chairman for the next 90 days to help Disney chairman and chief executive office Bob Iger find a replacement.

Best of luck to Skipper as he faces his demons. We’re rooting for you.

[ESPN]


KSR Shop: Last Day To Order Online & BOGO Free Sweatshirts!

KSR Shop: Last Day To Order Online & BOGO Free Sweatshirts!

We are now exactly one week away from Christmas. Today is the final day to get your order in from ShopKSR.com to receive by Christmas day! Pick out a gift that your family and friends will love.

We are even offering another day of Buy One, Get One free sweatshirts! The KSR Shop has a great selection of KSR and Kentucky state pride sweatshirts. Some other great gift ideas include UK ornaments, jewelry, Music City Bowl apparel, UK wine goblets, and much more! Hurry, get your order in by midnight!

[KSR Shop: Last Day to Order Online & BOGO free sweatshirts]


Going to New Orleans? Here’s where you’ll find Kentucky fans

Headed to New Orleans this weekend for Kentucky vs. UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic? The UK Alumni Club of New Orleans has organized several events for the Big Blue Nation:

Friday, December 22nd

Early Evening: Happy hour and dinner at Kenton’s

Kenton’s has agreed to host us for happy hour and dinner. This would be a happy hour with dinner option- all individually paid. Happy Hour is 5-7 p.m. People should make dinner reservations via Kenton’s website starting 6:30 or 7. State in reservation that you are with the UK Alumni group.

Kenton’s is an American whiskey bar and restaurant with a menu of the smoked, grilled, and charred flavors that have an affinity for bourbon. The restaurant’s namesake is Simon Kenton, a founder of the town of Maysville, the Kentucky port town from which whiskey was first shipped out of state on flatboats. The primary downriver destination was New Orleans where the whiskey gained popularity and perhaps even acquired its name from Bourbon Street.

To get to Kenton’s from the French Quarter it is about a 15-minute cab ride.

Late evening: Razzoo’s (511 Bourbon Street) will be the official meeting spot for UK fans.


Saturday, December 23

11 a.m.: Company Burger (611 O’Keefe Ave C7) will be the official meeting spot for UK Fans.

Company Burger features the best burger in town and will have several special bourbon drinks for UK fans to enjoy before they head to the arena. To get to Company Burger from the quarter, there are several options:

  • It’s about a 20-minute walk
  • 5-minute cab ride
  • Take the red Loyola Street car from Canal Street for $1.25. Get off at the Hyatt and walk two blocks
  • The Smoothie King Arena is a 10-minute walk from Company Burger

For more information on these events, visit the alumni group’s Facebook page: UKinNola.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Still The Greatest Half in UK History?

It’s UCLA week, which means it always a good time to bring up what I think was the most impressive half of basketball played at UK in my lifetime (32 years).  Sure, UK has had halves where they have won by more points.  But the utter demolition of what turned out to be a Sweet 16 UCLA team, holding them to a still mind-boggling 7 points in the 1st half, is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  If you can think of a better half, I am ready to hear it.

So take a look back:


Recapping a fun weekend (Monday Show Thread)

Recapping a fun weekend (Monday Show Thread)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Monday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, the gang will recap Kentucky’s win over Virginia Tech and the KSR Christmas Party, and look ahead to the football early signing period, which begins on Wednesday. Tune in to find out just how many shirts we collected for Ryan Lemond and other fun stories.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.

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Today on KSR, sponsored by Anthem Medicaid

Today on KSR, sponsored by Anthem Medicaid

Message from today’s sponsor:

Now is the time to find the health insurance plan that is just right for you. Anthem has been around for nearly 80 years in Kentucky. Anthem Medicaid serves members in all 120 counties in Kentucky. The benefits of Anthem Medicaid are endless: coverage for all ages, no copays, free eyeglasses for children and adults, the only Medicaid plan offering adults both glasses or contacts every year, free over the counter medicines with a prescription, and so many other benefits. To choose Anthem Medicaid call 855-306-8959 or visit benefind.ky.gov.


The early signing period starts Wednesday

This week, our focus will shift a little towards football, as the early signing period begins on Wednesday. This weekend, several commits and targets visited UK, including Terry Touchdown Wilson and Stanley Garner III, who teased another Yahtzee:

Hmm. It’s going to be a wild week, so buckle up. Here are all of UK’s 2018 commits thus far:

Kentucky Football 2018 Recruiting Class

NamePositionHometownHeightWeight 247 Composite
Marquan McCallOGOak Park, Mi.6-43204-star
Darian KinnardOTCleveland, Oh.6-73364-star
Xavier PetersOLBWest Chester, Oh.6-42254-star
Terry WilsonQBOmaha, Ne.6-21803-star
DeAndre SquareS/OLBDetroit, Mi.6-12003-star
Brenden BatesTECincinnati, Oh.6-52303-star
Stanley GarnerCBFt. Lauderdale, Fl.6-31803-star
Meechi HarrisWRXenia, Oh.6-21883-star
Quintin WilsonCCincinnati, Oh. 6-32903-star
Marvin AlexanderWRHollywood, Fl.6-31753-star
Jamari BrownCBPompano Beach, Fl.6-31803-star
Davoan HawkinsDEHollywood, Fl.6-42703-star
Akeem HayesATH/WRHollywood, Fl.5-101753-star
Keaton UpshawTELima, Oh.6-72253-star
Christopher RodriguezRBMcDonough, Ga.5-112003-star
Ashton PierreATHDeerfield Beach, Fl.6-21913-star
Domonique WilliamsJUCO CBKnoxville, Tn.5-101903-star
Chance PooreKAnderson, Sc.6-32003-star
Max DuffyPWestern Australia6-11763-star
Kenneth HorseyOTSeminole, Fl. 6-43253-star
Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone DTManchester, Ga.6-4195N/A

I’m a huge fan of Quade’s shades

Are Quade Green’s shades the thing the Big Blue Nation needed to fall in love with this team? It sure felt like it on Saturday. Green sported the sunglasses to protect his injured eye from the lights at Rupp, providing for not only some spectacular pictures, but the most fun game of the season. The defense still needs some work, but man, I’ll take the team we saw in stretches over almost any other.

Quade claims he’ll sport the sunglasses all season, but I love them so much I’ll just be happy if he wears them vs. UCLA in New Orleans. Until then, enjoy one last look at the Virginia Tech win courtesy of KyWildcatsTV:

College Basketball on TV tonight

6:00 PM Houston Baptist #2 Michigan State BTN
7:00 PM Omaha #13 Kansas ESPN2
7:00 PM Charleston Southern #19 Florida State ESPNU
9:00 PM North Dakota State #23 Arizona PAC12

I am still laughing at Chris Tomlin’s gift from the KSR Christmas Party

Ryan’s free t-shirts will steal the headlines from the KSR Christmas Party, but shoutout to Chris Tomlin for the best gift of them all: a portrait of my dear Gatsby as an astronaut.

That will hang in our guest bathroom for years to come.

The Foo Fighters’ Christmas Medley from SNL will get you in the holiday spirit

Radio in an hour…


Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker developed a brotherhood at Kentucky that will never be broken

NBAE/Getty Images

When Kentucky fans watched the 2014-15 basketball team play each game, we all knew we were witnessing something special. The way they played, how they carried themselves, and the type of people they were, they just had that “it” factor that sticks in fans’ minds forever.

They came up short in the end, but it’s undeniable that team reached legendary status in not only Kentucky history, but the entire history of college basketball.

Several pieces of that team are now in the NBA making a massive impact both on and off the court, giving fans countless reasons to be proud of them. Two of those main individuals? Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker.

AZ Central Sports caught up with both of them this weekend to talk about their time at Kentucky, the success they’ve found in the league, and the brotherhood they will keep forever.

“I’ve always believed good people attract good people,” Towns said. “I had a good connection with him and obviously at Kentucky it blossomed into something much more special.”

Towns and Booker have gotten so close that they consider themselves part of each other’s families.

Three years into their NBA careers the friendship between Booker and Towns has only gotten stronger. Their families have become close, Booker affectionately calls Towns’ father “the real KAT,” and Towns said they’re so much like brothers that, “He’s a Towns and I’m a Booker.”

Former Cat and current Sun Tyler Ulis said Towns and Booker took the same history class at Kentucky, and said the teasing and competitiveness between them even took place in the classroom.

“He’d go, ‘Karl, you got a 90 and I got a 96,’ ” recalled Suns point guard Tyler Ulis, who was a teammate of Booker and Towns on that 2014-15 Kentucky team. “Book is so petty and childish. He loves getting under somebody’s skin.”

Both players have put up historic numbers in their first three seasons in the NBA, with each receiving national praise in the media as cornerstone pieces for their respective franchises. Booker realizes Towns will continue to dominate the league for quite some time.

“He’s going to be a really special player for a long time,” Booker said.

Towns feels the same way about Booker.

“Booker, in my opinion, is a once in a generation kind of talent,” Towns said.

Calipari says being at Kentucky is a “brotherhood” and throws around the phrase “La Familia” like it’s his job, but I don’t think anyone realized it’d be like this. This is pretty special.

Go Cats.


LOOK: Kentucky commitments and recruits enjoy themselves in Lexington

@StanleyG_9

This past weekend, the UK football team hosted one of its biggest recruiting events of the year, with over 35 prospects on campus for both official and unofficial visits.

According to a few sources within the program, the coaching staff went all-out throughout the weekend and really made an “extraordinary impact” on everyone in attendance. The Wildcats made up a ton of ground on recruits they weren’t in great position with and locked up a few commitments that were on the fence.

Here are just a few of Kentucky’s top recruits and commitments talking about their time on campus:

Four-star QB commit Terry Wilson confirmed after his visit he would be signing with Kentucky on Wednesday.

Most importantly, Stanley Garner III says the Cats may have picked up a commitment this morning…

Any guesses on who that might be?

Regardless, it looks like the Cats are set to receive plenty of signatures on National Signing Day this Wednesday.


WATCH: Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Immanuel Quickley already turning heads this season

High school basketball season is finally kicking into full gear, and we’re already seeing why Coach Cal fell in love with Kentucky’s three early signees.

Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Immanuel Quickley are all putting on shows, with some pretty impressive highlights to prove it.

Johnson finished with 31 points and ten rebounds this afternoon, including some pretty ridiculous dunks. Check it out:

Tyler Herro has already had games of 42, 34, and 43 points this year. Just two days ago, he dropped 31. Here are some of his early highlights:

Immanuel Quickley recently returned from injury/illness, and he’s already turning heads this season, as well:

In case you missed it last week, Quickley went in-depth with SLAM Magazine to talk about John Calipari and how excited he is to play at Kentucky next year. Check it out:

The Cats have three unbelievable talents signed, sealed, and delivered for next season, and it’s only going to get better from here.

Next stop: Zion Williamson.


Former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme hired as OC at Jackson State

Former Kentucky coach and current Belhaven (D3) head coach Hal Mumme has accepted an offer to become offensive coordinator at Jackson State University.

Jackson’s Clarion Ledger was the first to report the news:

Sources close to the situation tell the Clarion Ledger that JSU is set to announce current Belhaven head coach and Air Raid specialist Hal Mumme to run the offense next season.

Mumme has been the head coach at Iowa Wesleyan, Valdosta State, Kentucky, Southeastern Louisiana, New Mexico State, McMurry, and Belhaven before accepting the job at JSU.

At Kentucky, Mumme finished with a final record of 20–26, including a 7-5 year with Heisman trophy finalist and No. 1 NFL Draft Pick Tim Couch in 1998.

The former Kentucky head coach also hosts a regular radio show on ESPN Radio (105.9 FM) in Jackson, which he will continue to host in his new gig.

Congratulations to Mumme on his new job!


PHOTO: UK Athletics

Three Takeaways from Kentucky’s Tough Loss to Louisville

PHOTO: UK Athletics

Despite second-half improvements by the Wildcats, Kentucky could not overcome Louisville’s dominating lead, and UK fell to their in-state rivals 87-53 inside Memorial Coliseum. The unranked Wildcats’ loss to No. 3 Louisville drops their record to 8-4 on the season. For Savannah’s immediate game recap notes, click here. Otherwise, fill yourself in on the top three takeaways from today’s loss.

A Costly Second Quarter

After hanging on throughout the first ten minutes of play – Kentucky trailed by seven at the end of the first quarter – the Wildcats went ice cold in the latter half of the period. Kentucky scored just nine points on 3-13 shooting throughout the entirety of the quarter, while the Cardinals recorded 24 points.

“We let it get away in the last 12, 13 minutes of the first half,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said following the game. “I thought the end of the first quarter was bad and then, you know, obviously the second quarter we didn’t do what we needed to do to hang in there.”

Louisville built their biggest cushion of the half during the final three minutes, increasing their lead significantly during the end of the quarter. Kentucky trailed 47-25 at the half, and they were never able to recover. The 22-point deficit proved to be too much for the Wildcats to make up in the second half.

“After that really tough second quarter, our mind in the second half was trying to come out and get back, chip into the lead, see if we could cut it to ten or so, get it under double-digits and see if we could get ourselves back in a position to win,” Mitchell said.

In trying to chip away this lead, the team got frantic. They committed six turnovers, fouled six times and grabbed only one offensive rebound. Guard Maci Morris recognized this franticness as an issue, but sees it as a learning opportunity.

“I think what we have to learn from is just, when teams go on run, we can’t just panic and try to catch up right then and there,” Morris said. “We have to slow down and just chip away from those leads.”

Two-on-Two, Louisville dominated

All season, Kentucky has shown – and relied upon – the depth of their bench. Today was no different. Nine Wildcats saw the court, and all nine of them scored (eight of which recorded field goals; Amanda Paschal had one point on 1-2 shooting from the free-throw line). 

While nine players scored, only two hit double digits. Maci Morris was the team’s leading scorer, finishing with 16 points, followed by Tatyana Wyatt, who added 10 points. Point guard Taylor Murray had a relatively quiet game, contributing eight points and seven rebounds. Jaida Roper had nine points, while Taylor Murray and Alyssa Rice both added eight. Still, UK and UofL finished the game with the same number of bench points: 16. 

While Kentucky’s top two scorers combined for 26 points, Louisville’s top two finished with a combined 50 points. Junior Asia Durr scored a whopping 32 points, and senior Misha Hines-Allen added 18. 

Limiting the productivity of UK’s typical scorers was obviously a part of Louisville’s game plan, but Cardinal head coach Jeff Walz said other Kentucky players did a good job of stepping up and scoring.

“We doubled on ball-screen when Morris came off of it, and she throws it back and McKinney hits a three. Tatyana Wyatt hits a three. So they had kids step up and make some shots, too,” Walz said. “Which you have to have when you’ve got players of the caliber of Asia [Durr] and Maci Morris that you’re competing against.”

It was a physical one

As a rivalry game, today’s matchup held true to form. Memorial was packed and energetic, and the game got rough. From diving for loose balls to hard fouls and tough rebounds, players from both teams will feel this game tomorrow. Those hard-fought rebounds were tough, but they were the key to success in this game.

PHOTO: UK Athletics

“They’re an aggressive team. Their guards rebound the ball so well – I think Taylor Murray had seven rebounds,” said Hines-Allen. “Say we did get the ball, their guards would be right there. I know I got one poked away from me. Their guards are really aggressive; their post players are just so big. We just have to be strong with that ball.”

Despite the physicality of the game, both Morris and Murray remained on the court for the full 40 minutes. 

“We were just trying to get better. We had a rough first half there, and we’re counting on those two,” Mitchell said. “They’re also two really strong competitors that want to win, and this is a big game with a lot of pride on the line there. So we were trying to play our very best. Those two never ask to come out, they never ask for a break – that tells you what kind of warriors they are.”

The persistence of Morris and Murray surprised Louisville.

“We were up like 15 or 20 but we had to keep going,” Durr said. “[Mitchell] didn’t take his best two players out for the whole game. He was trying to make a statement.”

But, according to Mitchell, he wasn’t trying to make a statement. He was just trying to win.

“We were trying to get back in the game and win the game – that’s the statement we were trying to make there,” Mitchell said. “We were just trying to play our best basketball. We didn’t today, but there are brighter days ahead.”


Now on a three-game losing streak, the Cats will look to return to the winning path Thursday Dec. 21 at noon when they take on the California Golden Bears inside Memorial Coliseum. 

@MaggieDavisKSR


LISTEN: Matt Jones on The Paul Finebaum Show

On Friday afternoon, Matt Jones joined the Paul Finebaum Show to talk about all of the fun going on in the SEC.

Here are just a few of the key points from his appearance:

  • Matt compares Rick Pitino getting fired/leaving rivalry with Kentucky to the Joker leaving Batman
  • Quality of the SEC in football and basketball
  • Impact of Greg Schiano/Tennessee situation
  • Kentucky vs. Northwestern preview

Listen to his entire segment below:

Go Cats.


FINAL HOURS: 20% OFF at the KSR Shop

FINAL HOURS: 20% OFF at the KSR Shop

 

Kentucky beat Virginia Tech which means you win as well at the KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded! The Big Blue Buckets sale is the perfect way to finish up your holiday shopping.

Head to ShopKSR.com to receive 20% OFF your order. Check out the KSR pullovers, Kentucky sweatshirts, KSR hats, UK jewelry, kitchen gift ideas, and more. Sale ends at midnight!

[BIG BLUE BUCKETS: 20% OFF at the KSR Shop!]


Hiring Ed Reed would be a game changer for Kentucky

@JenNimePalumbo

A few weeks ago, Mark Stoops said he wasn’t sure about any potential staff changes this offseason, whether it be who the new NCAA-allowed 10th assistant would be or if anyone would be let go from the current staff.

We’ve heard rumors about the 10th assistant, including some of Stoops’ old friends and familiar faces, but none would be bigger than the current rumored target.

Future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed was on campus yesterday touring the facilities and meeting coaches, and Kentucky’s interest in bringing him in as an assistant is very real.

According to KSR sources, Reed was with the team today during meetings and film work, and talked to the players a good bit throughout the day.

Big Blue Banter’s Patrick Loney said the former Ravens safety major interest in becoming Kentucky’s DB coach a few years back, but the Buffalo Bills hired him in a bigger role.

Reed was even with the staff talking with recruits and parents, making it seem this move is a lot more likely than most realize.

After the visit, Reed tweeted about his experience in Lexington.

Lamar Thomas has been a “swaggy” hire for the Wildcats, but Ed Reed would be a complete game changer. Many of these top recruits grew up not only watching him, but modeling their game after him. As far as overall talent, technique, and passion for the game of football goes, Reed is easily one of the best of all time and an NFL legend for a reason. When he talks, people listen, and that will go a long way with recruits deciding whether or not they want to attend school.

Not only would recruiting improve, but overall technique and development would increase like no other under Reed. Promising prospects would get individual instruction from one of the best to ever play the game of football and know how to not only thrive in college, but find greatness at the next level. Kentucky already has guys in the secondary with massive potential, and they obviously need someone to help unlock that for them.

As far as we know it’s not a done deal, but Stoops needs to do whatever it takes to make it one.