By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 19th, 2018 @ 11:00am
With the top four seeds in the South Region all going down, Kentucky’s path to the Final Four suddenly looks wide open. Stats website FiveThirtyEight now gives Kentucky a 57 percent chance of advancing to San Antonio, the best of any team in the Sweet 16.
Per these projections, Kentucky has a 71 percent chance of beating (9) Kansas State to advance to the Elite Eight, and should they knock off the winner of (11) Loyola and (7) Nevada to go to the Final Four, a 30 percent chance of making the National Championship game. If you allow yourself to look this far ahead, they currently have Kentucky’s chances of winning the whole thing at 11 percent.
Villanova has the highest chance of winning it all, at 22 percent, followed by Duke at 18 percent and Kansas at 11 percent. The most likely Final Four? Kentucky, Gonzaga, Villanova and Duke.
Bring it on.
By Bryan the Intern on ©March 19th, 2018 @ 10:30am
I don’t think any UK fan wouldn’t admit that the bracket has fallen our way this year. But by no means should Cal or the guys be criticized for something that was completely out of their control. In fact, they should be celebrated for slamming a Buffalo team by 20 that had just blasted Arizona by 21. The Cats hammered an opponent that they should have hammered. Now they catch another break in the draw, avoiding Virginia. Again, good luck for us but certainly not something that should be held against us. We simply lace it up against whoever is in front of us and perform.
But whether or not it was Virginia or Kansas State or UMBC that we would be facing this week, there is no round of the draw where Calipari teams have been more superior than in the Sweet 16. He is 6-0 in Sweet 16 games at Kentucky, winning those games by an average of 14.3 points per game. But that doesn’t tell the whole tale. Kentucky also outperforms where Vegas sees the game going in each and every one of those six games:
2017: UCLA (1.5 point underdog, WON by 11)
2015: West Virginia (13.5 point favorite, WON by 39)
2014: Louisville (4.5 point underdog, WON by 5)
2012: Indiana (10 point favorite, WON by 12)
2011: Ohio State (5.5 point underdog, WON by 2)
2010: Cornell (8 point favorite, WON by 17)
And you can’t argue that Kentucky has caught good draws in all of those instances. In 2010, Cornell was a good draw. Since that time, Kentucky has played a Top 5 seed in all of these instances.
I think you could argue that 1st round games in the NCAA Tournament are tough because you are trying to get past those early round jitters. By the time you get to the Sweet 16, you are fully in the tournament and it’s simply about executing. Cal getting 5 days to prepare for an opponent has led to great performances year after year. And I would expect nothing different this week. Whatever the spread turns out to be, lean heavy towards the Cats!
Considering how much John Calipari complained about Kentucky’s draw a week ago, how does he feel now that the top four seeds in the South Region are all gone? With the national media seething over the Cats’ suddenly wide open path to San Antonio, Cal couldn’t help but fire up the ole Twitter machine to respond this morning.
“Forget the seeds,” Cal tweeted. “Everybody is 0-0 that’s moving forward and it’s not about seeding; it’s about who is playing the best. We are in a tough region. I’m looking forward to seeing Jarred Vanderbilt today to see how far he’s come along.”
Calipari right after sending that, probably.
By Nick Roush on ©March 19th, 2018 @ 9:45am
Kentucky is two wins away from reaching the Final Four for the fifth time in nine years. Surrounded by upsets, the Cats will see favorable competition and a home crowd in Atlanta this weekend. KSR is giving you a chance to get to Atlanta with a Sweet 16 ticket giveaway on today’s show. Don’t miss it.
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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Exhale and accept the harsh reality that for the first time in four days, there is no NCAA Tournament basketball. The Monday after the opening weekend always provides a terrible hangover, but it hits even harder after this year’s chaos.
Two one-seeds have already been eliminated, one by a 16-seed. Kentucky’s South Region will not have any of the top four seeds in Atlanta, an NCAA Tournament first. Michigan is the highest-ranked team on the left side of the bracket as a three-seed. Six of the Sweet 16 teams are a seven-seed or higher.
After the dust cleared, here’s what the bracket looks like:
Kentucky’s Sweet 16 Game is Set
Kansas State ended UMBC’s unbelievable NCAA Tournament run to make a date with Kentucky this Thursday night at 9:47 on CBS in Atlanta. Kentucky has never lost to Kansas State (9-0) and John Calipari has never lost in the Sweet 16 at Kentucky (6-0). The last time the two teams met, Kentucky picked up a first round victory en route to a National Title run in 2014.
How UK Made It
Relive a pair of wins from the weekend in Boise with KY Wildcats TV.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 18, 2018
Auburn Laid an Egg
The SEC had an opportunity to tie the ACC with three teams in the Sweet 16, until Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers shot just 26 percent from the field to hand Clemson an easy 84-53 victory. Tony Barbee was not afraid to throw a little shade on Twitter.
— Tony Barbee (@CoachTonyBarbee) March 19, 2018
Texas A&M is the only other SEC team still alive after Florida’s last-second Saturday night loss to Texas Tech. The Aggies beat North Carolina to a pulp in Charlotte.
Mick Cronin is Mad
The Cincinnati Bearcats blew a 22-point lead to lose to Nevada in Nashville. The South’s two-seed became a punching bag for a variety of reasons, mostly because of Mick Cronin. A Rick Pitino discipline, his involuntary response to be a jerk in postgame interviews should surprise no one.
MICK MAD pic.twitter.com/UqRvBOUxxI
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) March 19, 2018
Cov Cath Wins the Sweet 16
C.J. Fredrick scored 32 points to lead the Colonels to a 73-55 victory over Scott County to win the 101st Sweet 16. It’s the second time in five years Cov Cath has defeated the Cardinals in the State Championship game. They are now only the second private school with multiple Sweet 16 titles. Check out highlights here.
Horse of the Year, IMO.
— Jason S (@jschells5) March 17, 2018
Get Lunch with the KSR Baseball Podcast
The KSR Baseball Podcast with Coach Keith Madison and Trey Huntsman is recording live on the road today at noon. Head out to Performance Physical Therapy in Brannon Crossing for some free lunch and a little UK Baseball talk wit the best in the biz.
Hamidou Diallo finally had his One Shining Moment. Now it’s time for Nick Richards to break through.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Throughout the regular season, Hamidou Diallo and Nick Richards were massive question marks in terms of what kind of production you’d see on any given night. Each of them had their moments, but not once did the term “consistency” go hand-in-hand with either of their names.
Diallo had the Virginia Tech, Monmouth, Harvard, and Texas A&M games, among others, where he showed an impressive combination of athleticism and efficiency. The game slowed down for him, and it looked like things were clicking.
But then you saw the 13 conference games he failed to reach double-figures, lack of energy, arguing with teammates and coaches, and pure frustration.
For Richards, he had his ridiculous 25-point, 15-rebound performance against IPFW, the clutch putback dunk against West Virginia, and seven total games with ten or more points. He showed the ability to block shots, run the floor, convert on alley-oops, and rebound. He was always raw offensively, but the potential was there, and he did enough elsewhere on the court to make a positive impact.
But then you saw the 15 conference games (including the SEC Tournament) he scored just five points or less, fumbled balls, opponents dominating him in the post, and a massive decline in minutes.
It has been a roller coaster ride for both players this season, but you know the one thing that has remained consistent in the process?
John Calipari’s trust in each of them.
If you were to scroll through social media on any given gameday, especially during the conference schedule, questions of Coach Cal’s neverending and tireless habit of starting Hamidou Diallo and Nick Richards were guaranteed to pop up on your timeline at least once. And rightfully so. Why not start the players you expect to see thrive night in and night out?
Half the time, it wouldn’t take more than a few minutes to yank one or both players from the lineup. If they struggled, Calipari had options on the bench to replace them with, and he never hesitated to utilize them.
Yet Calipari started both Diallo and Richards in every single game this season. Every one.
Was it so he could “whine” about starting freshmen and easily having the youngest starting lineup in the nation?
No, it was for the moment Diallo had yesterday afternoon.
“The team absolutely mauled him when he walked in,” Calipari said after the game. “Every guy was standing on chairs, hugging him. It was neat to see.”
Diallo finished the day with 22 points on 9-12 shooting, eight rebounds, two blocks, and several jaw-dropping highlights. His energy was remarkable, he made game-winning plays, and his smile shined brighter than we’ve ever seen in his time at Kentucky.
In the wise words of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Wildcats would not be Sweet Sixteen bound if it weren’t for Hamidou Diallo.
“Personally, I don’t think we win tonight without Hami,” Gilgeous-Alexander said afterward. “He played huge for us down the stretch. We went to him a little bit in a set, and he had like four baskets in a row that were really big. He works really hard, and when you work hard, good things are going to happen for you.”
For all of the comments Calipari has made throughout the season about Diallo being someone’s son, not giving up on him, taking it one game at a time, etc., it finally all made sense. The puzzle pieces finally came together and it was truly special to see.
While Diallo is being celebrated for his big break in the Round of 32, the latter half of the duo in question still has a lot left to prove. In fact, he might be the only guy left in the regular rotation that hasn’t broken through that rookie wall, if you ask John Calipari, at least.
“Nick is the only one that’s not breaking through right now,” said Calipari. “For him personally, I want to see him block and play…I want him to break through.”
In Kentucky’s 95-75 victory over Buffalo, Richards finished with just two points, two rebounds, and two fouls in eight minutes of action. It was the fourth game in a row and sixth of the last seven he had seen less than ten minutes of playing time. He has been virtually unplayable at times late in the season, and that holds true even in the NCAA Tournament. Missed defensive assignments, being just a hair late on nearly every play at the basket, foul trouble, scoring opportunities lost at the basket, etc. have held him back. Unfortunately, it has been a snowball effect that ultimately always leads to Richards finding his way back to the bench.
But Diallo had been deemed unplayable, too. He almost always found himself on the bench, as well. In the last game of the regular season in Gainesville, Diallo managed just one point on 0-7 shooting, a turnover, and a foul in 23 minutes of action. With the lineup of Gilgeous-Alexander, Quade Green, Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt, and PJ Washington working so well together, fans begged for Calipari to continue with that core group of guys going forward.
And then Diallo broke through, just like Calipari knew was going to happen sooner or later. Just like he knows Richards will, too.
“It’s like I was with Hami (Diallo), with Nick (Richards) and I just—we need (Nick). So starting him, maybe he gets going in a game and it’s like Hamidou and he has a breakthrough. Before you can worry about conquering somebody else, you gotta conquer yourself,” Calipari said earlier this month.
Everyone else on the team is having their taste of the pie, with some even going back for seconds, all while Nick Richards is left craving his first serving.
“I’m just letting him know he has to stay prepared because we’re going to need him,” Kentucky forward Sacha Killeya-Jones told the media following their opening round victory against Davidson. “There’s going to be a game very soon, it could be tomorrow, we don’t know when it’s going to be, but we’re going to need him to step up. I think he’ll be ready.”
With Jarred Vanderbilt nursing an ankle injury and Wenyen Gabriel, PJ Washington, and Sacha Killeya-Jones in regular foul trouble, Richards has a massive opportunity to take advantage of down low. Like Diallo, Richards has to slow down and allow the game to come to him.
“I saw him go from playing 30 minutes to less than five,” Diallo told the media. “It’s really tough for him. I love him as a teammate and I just keep telling him to stay prepared and stay focused. Everybody hits adversity. I hit it. Almost our whole team hit adversity this season. Just stay in the gym, stay physically and mentally prepared.”
After months of tough criticism, Hamidou Diallo finally had his day, and it was special to see.
Now it’s time for Nick Richards to have his moment in the spotlight.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 10:14pm
Kentucky’s matchup in the Sweet 16 has officially been set.
Nine-seed Kansas State defeated UMBC 50-43 tonight to advance, setting up a Wildcat vs. Wildcat match at 9:45 p.m. on Thursday night.
Kansas State defeated Vanderbilt on the road earlier this year, along with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, and Georgia. They also lost to West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas, Tulsa, and Arizona State, among others.
Time to head to Catlanta.
Let’s get this money.
We have seen multiple memorable celebrations after a player makes a big play. Whether it was throwing up the three goggles, Devin Booker “reloading” or Jamal Murray’s bow and arrow, memorable celebrations have become a big part of some of Calipari’s best teams.
This season, we have been introduced to the PJ Washington flex and snarl. Whenever the UK freshman makes a big play, he mean mugs the camera as seen above. Yesterday, another player joined him with a “mean mug.” After making a play yesterday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander snarled as well and then took to Twitter to say this:
— Shai Alexander (@shaiglalex) March 18, 2018
He claims that his mean mug is better than PJ’s, which Washington disagrees with:
Mans chill lmao ? https://t.co/n7QpxaGutA
— PJ Washington (@PJWashington) March 18, 2018
So now we, as a site, have to settle the debate. Which mean mug is better, Shai or PJ?
My vote has to be PJ. He was the first on the team to do it and has made it a consistent thing. Plus, he has the flex going with the mean mug as well, which just adds to the effectiveness.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
And just like that, Kentucky’s path to a Final Four has been gift-wrapped to us.
The Nevada Wolf Pack just knocked out two-seed Cincinnati, leaving Kentucky as the top remaining seed in the South.
And the Bearcats lost in the most embarrassing way possible.
It’s the biggest 2nd half comeback in NCAA history. Cincy wasn’t just up 22 they were up 22 with 11 minutes to play. https://t.co/B3X1wgtKKa
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 19, 2018
To make it to San Antonio, the Cats will have to take on either (16) UMBC or (9) Kansas State, and then (11) Loyola or (7) Nevada.
John Calipari has complained about Kentucky’s death region year after year, and it looked like the Cats were given one yet again this season.
Now, despite the Selection Committee’s best efforts, Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Arizona, and Miami are all out.
Time to capitalize, Coach Cal.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 7:30pm
First it was Michigan State, now it’s North Carolina.
Seven-seed Texas A&M absolutely throttled two-seed North Carolina this afternoon by a final score of 86-65, knocking them out in the Round of 32.
This sequence best describes the bloodletting A&M put on the Tar Heels:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2018
Joel Berry, Theo Pinson, and possibly Luke Maye’s careers end in embarrassment.
Should’ve gone to class, I guess.
SEC basketball: It just means more.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 7:10pm
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has taken the college basketball world by storm. He has scored 14 or more points in 13 of Kentucky’s last 15 games, scored 20 or more points in six games on the year, and single-handedly willed the Cats to several victories this year.
Not only has he been one of the top point guards in the SEC, he has established himself as one of the best in all of college basketball.
And no one expected any of it.
Gilgeous-Alexander came to Kentucky as a four-star prospect that many Kentucky fans expected to be here two or three seasons. We heard positive news about him this summer, and many NBA scouts listed him as a sleeper player to watch out for this season, but it was all expected as a role player.
Now, the 6-foot-6 point guard has established himself as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and several beat writers are begging their teams to take a chance on him in June.
One of the main teams? The Charlotte Hornets.
With star guard Kemba Walker being placed on the trading block this past season, there’s a great chance he isn’t part of the franchise’s long-term plans. And the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell is looking for Gilgeous-Alexander to replace him.
There is nothing the Charlotte Hornets need more than a reliable backup/eventual replacement for Kemba Walker at point guard.
That guy is a Canadian, by way of a Chattanooga, Tenn., high school. He has Walker’s ability to get to the rim with ease, and he has something Walker emphatically lacks: Exceptional height and length.
If Kentucky freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is around for the Hornets’ lottery pick in June, grab him.
He’s 6-6 and has a 7-foot wingspan. And the best thing he does is play defense. What’s not to like?
John Calipari has compared SGA to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for his off-court habits and tireless drive to better himself, something the Charlotte franchise would welcome with open arms. If MKG had a jump shot, he’d easily be one of the top players in the NBA right now. Gilgeous-Alexander has a pretty smooth one, among countless other desirable traits.
Calipari has compared Gilgeous-Alexander to one of his all-time favorites, Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, for Gilgeous-Alexander’s work habits. When Kidd-Gilchrist was at Kentucky, he started the “Breakfast Club,” rousting teammates up early to scrimmage and lift weights at sun-up.
“This kid goes at 7 a.m. (And) he also watches tape. He’ll go up and show me turnovers. What he was missing was any kind of skip (pass, finding a teammate beyond the nearest option). He couldn’t see it,” Calipari recalled.
He’s coming to the NBA Draft. If he’s there when the Hornets select, don’t let him slip by.
Could we see a Gilgeous-Alexander, Malik Monk, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist trio in Charlotte next season?
By Sam Gormley on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
Not counting walk-ons, John Calipari has brought in 53 players to Kentucky since arriving to Lexington in 2009. 30 of those players have been named McDonalds All-Americans. One player that wasn’t? Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The Wildcat freshman is averaging 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. In the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament so far, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 21.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.6 assists.
It is no secret that he has become one of the most important players on the team. The fact is, other than Jemarl Baker, he was the lowest rated recruit of the 8 total players Calipari brought in the season. This led me to ask the following question on Twitter last night:
BUY or SELL: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the biggest surprise of a recruit in the Calipari era.
— Sam Gormley (@GormleyKSR) March 17, 2018
Sure, everyone’s definition of a surprise might be different, but did you expect SGA to put up the numbers he has? That alone makes me say that he is, in fact, the biggest surprise of the Calipari era.
I posed the question to those that disagreed to name a player who was a bigger surprise. One person said Tyler Ulis.
Ulis is an interesting case. Was he necessarily a surprise? Or was his “surprise” based on people being stunned that someone with his size could have the talent he did?
Ulis was also rated as the #4 Point Guard in his class, was a five-star recruit, and was a McDonalds All-American. Gilgeous-Alexander was the #8 point guard, a four-star and wasn’t a McDonalds All-American.
Shai has been a critical part of this team’s success this season. Like the team said last night, whenever they need a big shot, he makes it. No one expected him to start on this year’s team. In fact, if you ask most fans they would tell you that he would be the man on next season’s team. Instead, Gilgeous-Alexander has played himself into a possible lottery pick. Has there been another player that fits that mold? I can’t think of one.
I now ask you the same question, is Shai the biggest surprise of a recruit in the Calipari era? If not, who is? Comment below or send me a tweet @GormleyKSR.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 5:45pm
And down goes yet another big dog.
In today’s 3-11 matchup featuring Michigan State and Syracuse, the Orange took care of business down the stretch to win 55-53 and sent the Spartans home crying.
Good news: The Spartans are done. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch.
Bad news: Duke’s path just opened up for (at least) an Elite Eight run, where they will likely take on Kansas.
Syracuse was the very last team to get in the Big Dance to receive an at-large bid. Now, they’re officially in the Sweet 16.
To prove just how ridiculous the outcome truly is, check out these statistics:
Syracuse was outrebounded, 51-30.
Syracuse made one 3-pointer.
Syracuse had 3 assists.
Against Michigan State.
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) March 18, 2018
With the victory, Syracuse moves to 7-1 as a double-digit seed in tournament history.
Syracuse is now 7-1 as a double-digit seed in the NCAA tournament. Insanity.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 18, 2018
Now it’s time for the Aggies to take care of business against North Carolina.
Making the trip down to CATlanta this weekend? Absolutely clueless/overwhelmed on what to do? Well, look no further. As a native Atlantian (really, 20 minutes outside of Atlanta, shhhh.) I’ve got you covered. Here’s my personal recommendations on what to do, eat and drink in the ATL.
Note: You really can’t go wrong with any food in Atlanta. The city has SO much to offer and is quickly becoming more and more “foodie” everyday. These are just a few of my faves in the interest of article length.
- The Varsity: An Atlanta staple. Think of the greasiest food you’ve ever had and multiply it by 10 and you’ve got the Varsity. Not the nicest place but if you’ve never been, you at least need to stop in for an Orange Shake and a Chili dog.
- Taco Mac: This is your go-to for inside the Arena food. Think pub food meets tap house. Try the wings, thank me later.
- Hudson Grille: Hudson Grille is located over near Centennial Olympic park (we’ll get to that later on), about a six minute walk from Phillips Arena. It’s my favorite pre-concert place to eat. They’ve got makers mark barbecue sauce that’ll make all Kentuckians feel at home.
- South City Kitchen: If you’re wanting real, authentic, southern Atlanta food, head on down to this midtown restaurant. Crab cakes, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes – they’ve got all your Georgia Staples. I’d recommend getting a reservation for this one though.
- The Sun Dial: If you’re looking for something real fancy shmancy with a great view, head over to The Sun Dial, located inside the Westin. Don’t let this freak you out, but the Sun Dial is a spinning restaurant/bar with a 360 degree view of the city (hence the name). Even if you aren’t going to eat there, you’ve gotta at least go up for a drink. The view is unreal.
- STATS Brewpub: KSR’s Atlanta Headquarters. I have a feeling STATS will once again be the Kentucky HQ this year.
- Park Bar: If you’re looking for a hipster hangout with craft beer and unique bourbon cocktails, Park Bar is your place.
- Meehan’s Public House: Not an exposed brick and beard oil fan? Skip Park Bar and head to Meehan’s for a good ole fashioned Irish pint.
- The Vortex: Think Biker bar meets Kurt Cobain. The Vortex is quirky and fun with tons of beer and over the top loaded burgers. If you’re looking for a late night place to get drinks AND drunk munchies, you can’t go wrong with The Vortex.
- Sidebar: Another sports bar like atmosphere with pool tables, bar games and tons of TV’s.
- Joystick Gambler: Known for its numerous pinball machines and interesting burgers (try the Lamb burger, just trust me), Joystick Gambler is a great bar for those of that want a little more fun and games than classy cocktails and conversations.
What to see and do
- The Georgia Aquarium/World of Coke: Something everyone always recommends. If you have kids, I say go for one or both of these attractions. If not, I’d skip them. Sure, the Aquarium is cool (I had my prom there, it was a blast) and sampling coke from all over the world is fun, but with only one off day in Atlanta, there are better things to do.
- Ponce City Market: Looking for a unique food hall, rooftop terrace, mini-golf, and boardwalk style arcade? Here’s a one stop shop for all of those, plus more. Ponce City Market, though new, is quickly becoming the best Atlanta hangout. Ponce City is great place to spend a couple of hours during the day playing min golf or skee ball.
- Centennial Olympic Park/Skyview Ferris Wheel: Towering about 20 stories above the park, take a ride in the Skyview Ferris wheel to really see the whole city (and the metro area too). Be warned, it’s a little pricey – one ride is about $13.00, but the view is worth it.
- Sweetwater Brewery: Take a tour and see how the famous 420 beer is made. Or don’t tour and sit in the tap room. Either way, you have to check out the Sweetwater Brewery.
- College Football Hall of Fame: All sports fans should visit this place at least once in their lives. Located almost right across from Phillips Arena, the CFB Hall of Fame is something kids will LOVE too. It’s a quick tour loaded with history and memorabilia. Definitely worth your time.
Other tips, tricks, and hacks
- Uber/lyft everywhere. Between the confusing streets (we have about 20 streets named “Peachtree”), the traffic, and the parking I’d really recommend leaving your car at the hotel and paying for a ride. What you’ll spend in money you’ll save in headaches and frustration.
- MAKE RESERVATIONS! There’s always about 800 things going on in downtown Atlanta, so if you’re short on time or really set on eating at a certain place, make a reservation.
- Tweet me with any questions you may have! Need to know a great breakfast place? Where the best shopping is? Did I miss something you want to know about? Tweet me @savannahpattKSR, I’m happy to help.
Have fun, be safe, and let’s all turn my hometown blue! Go Cats!
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 18th, 2018 @ 4:15pm
KHSAA has crowned a new Sweet 16 State Champion.
Covington Catholic has defeated powerhouse Scott County to take home the title trophy by a final score of 73-55.
Cov. Catholic, led by CJ Fredrick with 32 points in the victory, finishes the year with a 35-4 record.
Scott County, the heavy favorite going into the tournament, ends their season with a 37-2 final record.
With just over three minutes to go in the first quarter, Scott County led Cov. Cath. 9-11, but an 8-0 run led by two big baskets from Fredrick pushed the Colonels out in front 17-11.
Midway through the second, Scott County was able to cut the lead to just three points, but Catholic continued to bounce back, extending the lead to seven at halftime.
Three big baskets to start the third quarter extended the Colonels’ lead to 13 points, and from there, the Cardinals were unable to cut the lead to anything less than eight points. For every response Scott County had, Covington Catholic came right back with their own punch in the mouth, pushing the lead to as many as 21 points late in the fourth quarter.
— Caitlyn Stroh (@caitlyn_stroh) March 18, 2018
Here are the game highlights:
Watch highlight’s from today’s championship game of the 2018 Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16® between @CovCathBball and @SCHShighlights, brought to you @UPSJobsKY #khsbkb #MyReasonWhy @1stStringMedia pic.twitter.com/17AUf3bwAs
— KHSAA Main (@KHSAA) March 18, 2018
CJ Fredrick once again put on a show, matching the tournament-high point total yet again with 32 on 9-15 shooting, 4-6 from three, and 10-11 from the line. He also added three assists, two rebounds, and zero turnovers on the day.
According to the Herald-Leader’s Josh Moore, Fredrick’s 32 points is ninth-best all-time in title games, and his 111 total points in the Sweet 16 has pushed him past Dominique Hawkins (107) and just behind Chris Lofton (112) on the leaderboard to 12th overall.
To no one’s surprise, Fredrick took home Sweet 16 Most Valuable Player honors:
— KHSAA Main (@KHSAA) March 18, 2018
Cov. Catholic’s Aiden Ruthsatz also added 16 points (5-8), five assists, and two rebounds in 31 minutes of action.
For Scott County, starting guard Cooper Robb finished with 22 points, four rebounds, and two assists in the loss. Teammate Michael Moreno wasn’t too far behind with 21 points of his own, eight rebounds, and an assist.
The Covington Catholic students came out in full force throughout the tournament, but took it to a whole new level in the title game. From the opening tip through the final buzzer, the Colonel student section put on a show:
— Mario Anderson (@MarioAndersonTV) March 18, 2018
— Evan Dennison (@EvanDennison1) March 16, 2018
This is Cov. Cath’s second state championship in the last five years, with the first coming in 2014.
With buzzer-beater victories, triple-overtime battles, and ridiculous scoring outputs each day, this was certainly a Sweet 16 for the books.
Congratulations to Covington Catholic on their incredible run!