How big was De’Aaron Fox’s night? His 39 points are the most ever by a freshman →
By Drew Franklin on ©March 25th, 2017 @ 12:01am
De’Aaron Fox dominated the best individual matchup of the NCAA tournament, leading his Wildcats to a 86-75 victory over UCLA. Fox scored a career-high 39 points in his dominant performance over the Bruins. Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball needed a late dunk to reach double figures.
The win sends Kentucky to the Elite Eight to meet North Carolina. That game is set for 5:05 pm Sunday.
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You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.
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Now. On to the tweets:
#10 Alan Simpson
— Alan Simpson (@BAlan2468) March 24, 2017
I want to be this woman when I grow up.
— BK (@billykorinko) March 24, 2017
Seems appropriate. Matt and Oprah are on the same level.
#8 Kyle Sutton
— Kyle Sutton (@KSutton413) March 24, 2017
Mama they’ve made it.
#7 Klosterman Eye Assoc
— Klosterman Eye Assoc (@klostermaneye) March 24, 2017
I don’t think this is what he was like on Sunday when Matt was taking the call from the NCAA thought.
— funKYcat75 (@funKYcat75) March 24, 2017
What a time to be alive.
#5 Justin Beasley
— Justin Beasley (@jbeasley) March 24, 2017
Seems like a winner to me.
#4 Rusty Page
— Rusty Page (@RustyPPage) March 24, 2017
Ahhhh, gotta love Spring time.
— bigkat (@bigkat606) March 24, 2017
100% this is the best day of Shannon’s life.
— Samantha (@Paintmesam) March 24, 2017
You have one bright kid.
— BEN (@BolesBen) March 24, 2017
As a wise man once said, LET’S GO.
I know you’re all caught up in this Sweet 16 game right now but let’s take a moment to celebrate Devin Booker’s big night in the league.
The former Kentucky Wildcat set a new career-high mark with 70 points in a losing effort against the Celtics. He went 21-for-40 from the field in setting a new all-time high for the Suns.
He also had eight rebounds and six assists, if that kind of stuff matters to you.
Well, should Kentucky beat UCLA, they’ve got a heck of a challenge ahead of them. North Carolina just beat Butler 92-80 and looked very, very good in the process. Joel Berry had 26 points and Justin Jackson 24 in an easy rout of the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, South Carolina is whopping up on Baylor, so both Carolina teams will be in the Elite Eight. Whoulda thunk it?
…Tony Padilla, Don Daily, and Bo Boroski. I’ve never heard of any of them, which is usually a good thing when it comes to refs. A quick Google search tells me Kentucky is a combined 10-1 (1-0, 8-1, and 1-0, respectively) in games called by these officials. So, that’s another good thing, right?
Meanwhile, there is a UK fan dressed as a dinosaur in the suite next to me. Why? It’s his bachelor party and that’s apparently what bachelors do.
Let’s win it for him, okay?
Well, if you’re one to look ahead, North Carolina sure looks good. After struggling the first weekend of the tournament, the Tar Heels found their shot in Memphis, shooting 53% from the floor, including 8-17 (47%) from three-point land. Right now, they lead Butler 52-36 at half, and I have a feeling things are just going to get worse for the Bulldogs.
One good thing about North Carolina’s dominance? The game sure is going fast. Only about 90 minutes to tip…
By Drew Franklin on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 7:30pm
It was the second-worst beatdown of UCLA in the history of its program.
ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said he hadn’t seen anything like it in his 35 years of covering college basketball.
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said, “You’re kidding me,” when told the halftime score, which was 41-7. Kentucky had more blocks than UCLA had points through one half!
It started with a 24-0 Kentucky run, ended at a generous 83-44, and let’s watch it again as we get ready for the Cats’ game against the Bruins in Memphis…
Kentucky Sports Radio radio is coming to you LIVE from Memphis for the Kentucky-UCLA pregame show. We are at Tin Roof, right outside FedExForum, giving you an hour of pregame talk before the action gets really real inside.
So turn your radio dial to 630 WLAP or listen here online; you can also catch the second half hour on 98.1 The Bull beginning at 7:30 p.m.
7 — Kentucky’s ranking in KenPom’s Adjusted Defense rating. UCLA is ranked 79th.
7-6 — Kentucky’s all-time record vs. UCLA. Calipari is 3-3 vs. the Bruins and Alford is 3-2 vs. Kentucky. They’ve met only twice in the NCAA Tournament: UCLA defeated UK in the 1975 title game and UK defeated UCLA in the Sweet 16 on their way to a National Championship in 1998.
10 — Turnovers UCLA has committed in two NCAA Tournament games. Kentucky has 19 in the tournament. The first time the two teams played, Kentucky won the turnover battle, committing 9 turnovers to UCLA’s 18.
11 — Number of Sweet 16 wins by John Calipari, the second-most by any coaches remaining, one behind Roy Williams. Steve Alford is 0-3 in the Sweet 16.
13.8, 10.5 — Bam’s average in points and rebounds during Kentucky’s 13-game winning streak. He has five double-doubles during the streak, with a double-double in both NCAA tourney games.
15 — Consecutive games John Calipari has won in the FedEx Forum dating back to his 25-point win over Tulsa in the 2009 Conference-USA Tournament final.
76 — Lonzo Ball’s shooting percentage through two NCAA Tournament games. He’s only missed four shots, and two of them were three-pointers.
19 — Malik Monk’s three-point shooting percentage in the month of March.
19.6 — Points per game De’Aaron Fox is averaging since the regular season finale at Texas A&M.
21.6 — How many assists UCLA records a game, the most in the NCAA since Kentucky won the 1996 National Championship.
42 — The opponents’ average field goal shooting percentage for both teams.
56.1 — UCLA’s average field goal shooting percentage in the NCAA Tournament. Their 52.1 shooting percentage this season is the highest in the nation.
175.4 — The two teams combined average points per game. The over/under in Vegas is 166, depending on the outlet.
In news that won’t surprise you, Michael Porter Jr. has committed to Missouri. The five-star power forward was committed to Washington, but after the Huskies fired Lorenzo Romar, got a release and will now play for Cuonzo Martin at Missouri. Not only did Porter have the Tigers on his final list, his family lived in Missouri before moving to Washington, his sisters play there, his aunt is the women’s coach, and his dad used to be on the women’s staff. In turn, his commitment is being hailed as a homecoming:
— Michael Porter Jr. (@TheMPJ1) March 24, 2017
Well, Missouri just got a lot better in a hurry.
As of late Thursday night, the Kentucky-UCLA game was still a pick ’em in a lot of Las Vegas sports books, but the line has since moved with Friday’s action.
The line moved to Kentucky as a one-point dog early this morning and UCLA is now a 1.5-point favorite over the Cats as tip-off approaches.
However, most of the sharp money loaded up on the Under when the Total was set at 169. That has since dropped several points, but is slowly climbing its way back up.
My advice to you: There’s too much emotion involved in this one to put money on it. Watch the game and let Kentucky’s future in the tournament be the only thing at stake.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 5:00pm
“One and Not Done,” ESPN’s “30 for 30” on John Calipari, doesn’t premiere until April 13, but the Worldwide Leader did us a solid and released a few clips today in advance of tonight’s Sweet 16 game. In this first clip, Calipari describes his swaggy demeanor, which hasn’t always rubbed people the right way.
“I was probably more aggressive than I needed to be, I was probably more outspoken than I needed to be,” Cal said of his attitude early on in his career. “There was probably arrogance that was thrown at me a few times and probably, I would say, rightfully so.”
“Aggressive people are going to make enemies,” longtime UConn Coach Jim Calhoun said of Cal. “But I think his own reality, he takes care of his own business, and hell to you.”
“When you’re trying to make it, you had to have a swagger about you to survive in the waters we were in, the shark infested waters,” Cal said. “Not going to let you crap on me or disrespect me or push me to the curb and say you’re nothing. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t intimidated by this school or that coach. Failure wasn’t an option.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes clip with director John Hock:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 24th, 2017 @ 4:30pm
As we slowly inch closer to tonight’s late tip, let’s see what the national media has to say about Kentucky’s chances vs. UCLA:
The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy: Kentucky
(3) UCLA v. (2) Kentucky
If you’re Kentucky, how do you play this? They know they can run with the Bruins. They figure they can win running with the Bruins, although the only piece of available evidence in that regard favors UCLA. But most of UCLA’s defeats have occurred when its team has been drawn into less comfortable games in which defense is a priority and the pace is measured. Southern California did it that way once, and nearly a second time. Arizona did it in the Pac-12 Tournament. We’re not talking about a slowdown. It’s unlikely anyone’s keeping UCLA in the 60s. We’re talking about just forcing the Bruins to guard. They’re better at it now than they once were, but the less they are forced to deal with that end of the court, the happier they’ll be.
The pick: Kentucky, but only if the Wildcats make UCLA work.
The SEC Network
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish: UCLA
(2) Kentucky -1 vs. (3) UCLA
Straight-up pick: UCLA
ATS pick: UCLA
I have UCLA winning the national championship, so there’s no way to not take the Bruins here without disrespecting my bracket. And I don’t want to disrespect my bracket. So give me Lonzo Ball and the Bruins over Malik Monk and the Wildcats. But it’s worth noting that Kentucky will have a sizable fan advantage inside FedExForum. That has to be worth something. But it’s also worth noting that UCLA has already beaten Kentucky inside Rupp Arena. And that has to be worth something too.
Dick Vitale: Kentucky
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 24, 2017
ESPN’s BPI: Kentucky 55.2%
FiveThirtyEight: Kentucky 68%
Why Kentucky will win: As UCLA saw in December, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo play more like grizzled veterans than freshmen, and that’s really been true in the NCAA tournament. They both had key blocked shots in the final 15 seconds of the down-to-the-wire win against Wichita State in the second round, and Adebayo had double-doubles in each of Kentucky’s first two NCAA tournament games.
Why UCLA will win: Turnovers. Or, rather, a lack of them. In their first two NCAA tournament games, the Bruins had nine turnovers. Total. That’s an insane stat, especially given the competition. Now, the Bruins have had games with a lot of turnovers — 18 in their win against Kentucky in December, in fact. But they’ve been much better taking care of the ball down the stretch, finishing with double-digit turnovers just twice in the last seven games.