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The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E4: Taylor Hicks

In Episode 4, the Twitter beef of the century is finally settled, as Aaron Torres welcomes former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks to the show. But before Hicks joins, Aaron welcomes his buddy Nick Coffey to discuss the topics of the day, like…

—  The Ball brothers trip to Lithuania.

—  How Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich blocked the NBA to Louisville.

—  Why Star Wars fans are the worst.

—  Hicks explains why he was so upset with Aaron’s comments about Collin Sexton.

—  Hicks shares the advice he received from Nick Saban.

—  What Hicks’ life has been like post-American Idol, and it involves living in Alaska.

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 “Aaron Torres Sports” feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Your guide to the Music City Bowl fan events

Your guide to the Music City Bowl fan events

Coming to Nashville for the Music City Bowl? There will be plenty of events throughout the week leading up to the game, so come down early to party with the BBN. Here’s the schedule of fan events:

Tuesday, December 26

3 – 4 p.m.: Teams arrive at Opryland

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, 2800 Opryland Drive 

Kentucky rolls into town on Tuesday, so if you’re already in the area, come to Opryland to greet them. Make a day of it by checking out the hotel’s famous Christmas decorations and lights or taking the kids to the ICE attraction. This year’s theme is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

7 – 10 p.m.: Bowl Welcome Party, Songwriting Contest, and Hot Chicken Eating Contest

Wildhorse Saloon, 120 2nd Avenue North; Invitation only

Once the teams get settled in the hotel, it’s off to downtown for the official welcome party. Five players from each team will participate in a songwriting contest AND a hot chicken eating contest. I nominate Matt Elam. There will also be a round of Coaches Karaoke. Maybe Mark Stoops can get some singing tips from Toby Keith?

Wednesday, December 27

8 – 9 p.m.: Global Force Wrestling Event (Players Party)

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, 2800 Opryland Drive 

As Drew mentioned last week, the players are invited to a Global Force Wrestling event Wednesday night, although whether or not this event happens is still uncertain because the company may no longer exist. The event is still listed on the Music City Bowl website, so stay tuned.

Thursday, December 28

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.: Coaches press conference

Gaylord Opryland Hotel – Ryman Ballroom, 2800 Opryland Drive

Stoops and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald will hold a joint press conference at the team hotel Thursday morning.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Coaches Luncheon

Gaylord Opryland Hotel – Tennessee Ballroom, 2800 Opryland Drive

Fans can purchase tickets to the coaches luncheon, which will feature comments from Stoops and Fitzgerald. The pep band, cheerleaders, and mascot will also be in attendance.

12 – 9 p.m.: Fan Zone opens on Broadway

Broadway will be shut down on Thursday and Friday for a block party, which includes concerts, activities for kids, and a live-fire cooking area featuring some of Nashville’s best chefs. I’m all in on that.

4 p.m.: World Hot Chicken Eating Championships

1st and Broadway

How much hot chicken can you eat in eight minutes?

There’s a Hot Chicken Eating Contest before the Music City Bowl

5 – 8 p.m.: Battle of the Bands featuring Champagne Dynamite

Broadway

If you can only attend one event, make it the Battle of the Bands Thursday night. Kentucky and Northwestern’s bands and cheerleaders will square off on Broadway, playing four or five songs each. Afterwards, a band called Champagne Dynamite will perform (Google tells me they’re a very popular wedding band).

Here’s the event back in 2009:


Friday, December 29

10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Fan Zone opens on Broadway

Grab a mimosa and brace yourself for a busy day.

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Kentucky Pep Rally

Broadway

Cheer the team on as they head to the stadium before the game.

1 – 2:30 p.m.: Pregame Concert featuring Two Story Road

Broadway

Mitch Barnhart said that’s he’s working on a way for UK fans to be able to watch the Louisville game in Nashville, which hopefully means they’ll set up some big TVs in the Fan Zone on Broadway. No offense, Two Story Road, I’m sure you’re a nice band and all, but all Kentucky fans will care about from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday is basketball.

8 – 9:30 p.m.: Postgame Concert featuring Resurrection

Broadway

One way or the other, Broadway will be wild Friday night. The Fan Zone will still be open and Journey tribute band Resurrection takes the stage at 8 p.m.:

Yacht rock lovers rejoice!


Erik Daniels, Gerald Fitch, Makayla Epps will graduate tomorrow

Erik Daniels, Gerald Fitch, Makayla Epps will graduate tomorrow

Tomorrow is graduation day at UK and 35 current and former student-athletes will take part in the festivities at Rupp Arena. Erik Daniels, Gerald Fitch, and Makayla Epps are three of the six Wildcats – all of whom were All-Southeastern Conference honorees and played professionally – who returned to UK and completed degrees:

  • Erik Daniels (2001-04), All-SEC men’s basketball player and a member of two SEC championship teams, was in pro ball for 11 years, including one season for the NBA Sacramento Kings
  • Makayla Epps (2014-17), All-America/All-SEC women’s basketball player, currently playing for the WNBA Chicago Sky
  • Gerald Fitch (2001-04), All-SEC men’s basketball player and a member of two SEC championship teams, has played professionally for 13 years, including one season with the NBA Miami Heat
  • Max Kuhn (2012-14), All-SEC baseball player who played professionally in the minor leagues
  • Ryan Wilkes (2005-08), All-SEC baseball player and member of the 2006 SEC championship team who played professionally in the minor leagues
  • Garry Williams (2005-08), All-SEC football player and member of three bowl champion teams, who played six years for the NFL Carolina Panthers

Epps was drafted 33rd in the 2017 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky and had to leave school early, but she returned to campus this fall to complete her degree in social work.

A complete list of the graduates and their sports:

  • Baseball –  Max Kuhn, Ryan Wilkes
  • Men’s Basketball – Erik Daniels, Gerald Fitch
  • Women’s Basketball – Makayla Epps
  • Football – David Baumer, Garrett Johnson, Stephen Johnson, Will Mahone, Kyle Meadows, Alex Montgomery, Cole Mosier, Charles Moushey, Naquez Pringle, Garry Williams
  • Men’s Golf – Chris Meuth
  • Rifle – Jenna Bethea
  • Men’s Soccer – Napo Matsoso, Landon Souder, Stefan Stojkovic, Jordan Wilson
  • Women’s Soccer – Michaela Dooley, Ayanna Parker
  • Softball – Meagan Prince
  • Men’s Swimming and Diving – Tanner Anderson, Drew Aviotti, Brandon Flynn
  • Women’s Swimming and Diving – Kelly Berger, Ally Dupay
  • Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country – Nick Anderson, Michael Iacofano, Raine Wireman
  • Volleyball – Kaz Brown, Darian Mack, Anni Thomasson

The party gets started tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Rupp. Congrats, everyone!


Terrence Jones headed to the G-League

Scott Halleran | Getty Images

Terrence Jones is headed back to the NBA. Or, the G-League at least.

After playing in China for a few months, Jones is back in the States and will sign with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G-League affiliate, according to USA Today. Jones, the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, played for Houston, New Orleans, and Milwaukee before signing a one-year, $2 million deal with Qingdao in the Chinese Basketball Association. Late last month, he was released by Qingdao following a confrontation in practice with the head coach. In nine games, he averaged 22.3 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 blocks.

Here’s hoping he makes the best of this new opportunity.

[USA Today]


Send a kid to the Music City Bowl for Christmas

Feel like giving back this Christmas? UK is teaming up with Boys and Girls Clubs across Southern and Western Kentucky to send some lucky kids to the Music City Bowl, and you can be a part of it.

Gifts are being accepted now through December 22 and are tax deductible. A gift of $85 is enough to send one child to the bowl game from one of the following organizations:

  • Glasgow/Barren County Boys and Girls Club
  • Franklin Simpson Boys and Girls Club
  • Hopkinsville Boys and Girls Club
  • Bowling Green Boys and Girls Club
  • Hopkinsville Middle School Football
  • Christian County Middle School Football
  • Fort Campbell Staff and Family

The K-Fund’s goal is to raise $50,000, which will enable 600 people from these communities to attend the game. If you’re interested in helping, click the link below and help some kids make some lifelong memories.

[Bowl Game Tickets for Kentucky Communities and Children]


James Wiseman plays on ESPN2 tonight

Get on those tippy-toes, Cal!

Want to check out one of Kentucky’s most coveted players in the 2019 class? Tonight at 7 p.m. James Wiseman’s Memphis East (Tenn.) will take on Webster Groves (Mo.) on ESPN2, giving you the perfect chance to do a little Thursday night scouting.

Memphis East is currently ranked number one in the country, and, as you can see above, is coached by Penny Hardaway. Because Wiseman also played for Hardaway on Team Penny in the EYBL, he was ruled ineligible for this season at Memphis East, but yesterday, was granted a temporary injunction so he can play for the time being.

There were some rumblings Wiseman might reclassify to 2018, but he shot those down last week. Regardless, Kentucky is still the clear favorite for his services, which is an excellent thing because he’s very good at basketball.

 James Wiseman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Power Forward 6-11 | 216 lbs. Memphis, TN East High/Team Penny
ESPN: 1 | 1 PF Top 247: 4 | 2 PF Rivals: 2 Scout: 2 | 2 PF


WATCH: UK is the evil Empire in Virginia Tech’s Star Wars-themed hype video

WATCH: UK is the evil Empire in Virginia Tech’s Star Wars-themed hype video

Kentucky is often referred to as the evil empire of college basketball, and with Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming out this weekend, it’s not surprising that Virginia Tech went there with their hype video for Saturday’s game. Watch the Star Wars-themed video below, which depicts the Hokies as the Rebel Alliance, aka “the light side,” and the Cats as the Empire, aka “the dark side.”

I’m going to see the new Star Wars tonight, but that is some nerdy stuff. I’m not sure I’ve laughed harder than I did from 1:30 to 1:34.


The KSR Football Podcast: Signing Day and Music City Bowl Preview

Before things get crazy on the football front over the next two weeks, the KSR Football Podcast has everything you need to be prepared for the chaos.  Drew, Jared, Freddie and Nick preview the matchup between two Wildcats in Nashville before turning to next week’s signing day and the 2018 UK football recruiting class.  Highlights:

—  What caused Drew to break out in tears?

—  Why Freddie believes next season’s starting quarterback will be announced immediately after spring practice.

—  Which freshman has arms as big as Jared’s stomach?

—  Nick is a nerdy jerk.

—  Which UK commit looks like Lamar Thomas on the football field?

—  Is the early signing period a good thing for Kentucky football?

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 “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: December is a hot month for Jamal Murray

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Murray has been heating up as of late. Last night, he posted a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with 4 assists and 3 steals. This marks his second straight 28-point performance and his third in the month of December.

This month, through 7 games, he’s scoring 19.4 points per game and shooting 52% from 3-point land. Compare those numbers to the entire regular season, and they are both huge improvements, with his season averages tallying at 14.4 and 32% respectively. Also seeing improvements, albeit smaller ones, are his rebounds, assists, steals, and free throw shooting.

The Jamal Murray we saw night in and night out at Kentucky is starting to take form for the Denver Nuggets, alongside an emerging Trey Lyles.

Numbers:

 

 

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray124-118 loss to Celtics289-17 (4-8)104305+836
Trey Lyles124-118 loss to Celtics94-6 (1-2)62101+833
DeMarcus Cousins115-108 win over Bucks2610-16 (2-4)137019+437
Anthony Davis115-108 win over Bucks2510-16 (0-1)102042+1136
Darius Miller115-108 win over Bucks93-6 (3-5)14010+423
Rajon Rondo115-108 win over Bucks52-5 (1-2)33213-318
Eric Bledsoe115-108 loss to Pelicans145-14 (3-8)35405+332
DeAndre Liggins115-108 loss to Pelicans73-4 (1-1)00000-1218
Andrew Harrison93-87 loss to Wizards206-9 (1-2)37102-330
John Wall93-87 win over Grizzlies136-15 (1-3)14212+1128
Jodie Meeks93-87 win over Grizzlies52-7 (1-4)71100+1019
Tyler Ulis115-109 loss to Raptors166-8 (0-1)58000-1729
Bam Adebayo102-95 loss to Trail Blazers123-3 (0-0)72003-1030
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist108-96 loss to Rockets188-12 (0-0)112100+029
Malik Monk108-96 loss to Rockets62-2 (2-2)00000-55
Patrick Patterson100-95 win over Pacers82-4 (2-3)11000+413
Dakari Johnson100-95 win over Pacers00-0 (0-0)00000+00

 

 

Highlights:

 

Schedule:

  • Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30pm ET
  • New York Knicks (Enes Kanter) at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30pm ET
  • Sacramento Kings (De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein) at Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns), 8pm ET
  • Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Cleveland Cavaliers, 8pm ET on TNT
  • Dallas Mavericks (Nerlens Noel) at Golden State Warriors, 10:30pm ET on TNT

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Jarred Vanderbilt hinting at a return?

The big question on everyone’s mind is when — or if — Jarred Vanderbilt will play this season. Last night, Vanderbilt posted this picture on Instagram with a suggestive caption:

Stay tuned⌚️👀

A post shared by Jarred Vanderbilt (@jvando_) on

On Monday, John Calipari said Vanderbilt has been doing individual workouts with Kenny Payne but has yet to join the team in practice. Is Vanderbilt telling us that’s changed?


UK Basketball manager, brain cancer survivor set to graduate

UK Basketball manager, brain cancer survivor set to graduate

Kevin Massey is a brain cancer survivor who has served as a UK Basketball manager for the past few years. On Friday, he will graduate from UK with a bachelor’s degree in communications, and to honor him, UK released a video detailing his incredible journey.

Massey first came on John Calipari’s radar when he was 16 years old and fighting for his life in an Indiana hospital. He was given 24 hours to live when Calipari visited him and promised him a chance to be a student manager at UK (Gregg Doyel profiled that visit here). Massey did just that, proving his prognoses wrong.

“The day I got accepted was the first day I ever saw my dad cry,” Massey said.

Massey has become a fixture around the program through his relationships with the players and coaches, particularly John Robic, who has become like a father to him, according to Cal.

“You’ve got a whole gym full of people who are really proud of what he has done,” said Robic. “When I came to my office the other day and saw his graduation announcement on my desk, I almost cried.”

“It’s so inspiring what he’s been able to accomplish at this point in his life, with all the things that were thrown at him,” Calipari said.

Watch Cal, Robic, and associate professor Anthony Limperos reflect on Massey’s time at UK; it’ll be one of the best things you do today, I promise.

[UKNow]


© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Is This Team Doing in Segments?

© Nicole Sweet | USATSI

You will often hear on TV broadcasts, especially from coaches of underdog teams, that they simply split the game into segments and push their teams to win as many segments as possible while losing by as few as possible in the segments they don’t play well.  But I think that strategy can obviously work for any team.  The more segments you win, the higher your likelihood to win the game.  For Kentucky, who has been the favorite in 8 of 9 games this year, I think the strategy should be more about winning segments BIG against overmatched opponents.

Every game has 20 segments, based on the TV timeouts.  In theory, more or less, 20 different 4-minute segments.  Here is how UK has done in those segments as a whole, and in each half:

TOTAL (90 total segments)
UK by 10+ points: 4 (Utah Valley, Harvard, Monmouth x2)
UK by 5-9 points: 17
UK by 1-4 points: 28
Even: 7
Opponent by 1-4 points: 25
Opponent by 5-9 points: 8
Opponent by 10+ points: 1 (Troy)

1st Half Alone (45 total segments)
UK by 10+ points: 2 (Monmouth x2)
UK by 5-9 points: 10
UK by 1-4 points: 15
Even: 4
Opponent by 1-4 points: 9
Opponent by 5-9 points: 5
Opponent by 10+ points:

2nd Half Alone (45 total segments)
UK by 10+ points: 2 (Utah Valley, Harvard)
UK by 5-9 points: 7
UK by 1-4 points: 13
Even: 3
Opponent by 1-4 points: 16
Opponent by 5-9 points: 3
Opponent by 10+ points: 1 (Troy)

So what can we take from this?  My observations would be this:

  1. It’s a little concerning that in the 2nd half of games, UK has only won 22 segments while the opponent has won 20.  The reason this hasn’t been a huge issue yet is because UK has been ahead in most games at half and the margin that UK has been winning their segments has been significantly better than those of their opponents.  So, for instance, they beat Illinois-Chicago by 8 in one segment and 7 in another (+15 total) but then lose a segment by 2 and another one by 1 (-3 total).  So, despite the fact that UK and UIC split the segments 2-2, they actually won the total by 12.  Nonetheless, it is clear that UK has played better in the 1st half of games overall than the 2nd half.
  2. When UK is losing segments, they are doing so by small margins.  In the 34 segments they have lost, 25 of those have been by 4 points or less.  And they’ve only had one -10 segment and that was when ahead by over 20 to Troy, so that wasn’t really an important segment.
  3. 29-14-2 segments in the 1st half means UK has been focused in most games in the first half.  Their have been some exceptions like Utah Valley and ETSU, but overall UK has been pretty methodical in getting up on teams early and keeping them at arms length in that half.

Now we get into the meat of the schedule.  Let’s see if UK can improve their 2nd half performances and keep holding team to small segment wins if possible.  High scoring teams like Virginia Tech and UCLA will test the Cats in that regard, but I think we’ve seen some positive signs over the last couple weeks from this team.


Get up, it’s time for KSR! (Thursday Show Thread)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Thursday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, the gang will discuss the latest drama out of Louisville, including how Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich blocked the Charlotte Hornets from coming to Louisville back in 2001. Plus, a preview of this weekend’s game vs. Virginia Tech and much, much more.

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, powered by DRAFT: Hokies, Hurt, and Star Wars

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One step closer to Virginia Tech

The Hokies may not be the marquee non-conference opponent we all had hoped for, but the closer we get to Saturday’s game, the more excited I am to see how the Cats respond to their potent offense. We’re used to seeing Kentucky overwhelm opponents with its speed and athleticism, but Virginia Tech is one of the rare teams thus far capable of keeping up. Plus, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s cousin plays for them and he’s very good.

ICYMI, Kentucky offered Matthew Hurt

There was a lot of news last night (most of the Louisville variety), so you may have missed John Calipari extending a scholarship offer to Matthew Hurt, the fifth-ranked prospect in the 2019 class. Clearly, watching Hurt drop 48 points Tuesday night made an impression. UK has now handed out eight offers in the 2019 class:

  • PG: Tyrese Maxey
  • G: Bryan Antoine
  • SG/SF: Scottie Lewis
  • SF: D.J. Jeffries
  • SF: Keion Brooks
  • PF: Vernon Carey
  • PF: James Wiseman
  • PF: Matthew Hurt

The Music City Bowl Gift Suite looked awesome

Yesterday, the football team got to choose their bowl gifts from the Music City Bowl gift suite, which included HDTVs, Yeti Coolers, recliners, gaming consoles, and pretty much any cool electronic you can think of:

Which gifts would you have chosen?

Did you see the end of the Wisconsin/Western Kentucky game?

The Hilltoppers would have gone to overtime with Wisconsin if not for this terrible call by officials:

Rick Stansbury had every right to be furious. I’m furious.

Podcasts everywhere!

The football podcast crew is reuniting this morning to tape a new podcast, and later today, the OTT Podcast crew is tackling yet another bracket to determine the Worst Christmas Song ever. I know you’ve got feelings on this, so feel free to share them in the comments.

ICYMI, new episodes of the Funkhouser Situation and the Free Money podcast dropped yesterday, so refresh that KSR Podcast feed.

Anyone else seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi tonight?

I’m tagging along with my husband and friends to check out the latest installment of the Star Wars series. I’m far from a Star Wars nerd but I enjoyed The Force Awakens, and the people watching should be spectacular. Plus, popcorn.

Shoutout to Brandon for repping KSR on the cliffs of Ireland

I hope you warmed up with a nice pint of Guinness, Brandon.

Radio in an hour. I have a feeling they’ll mention Rick Pitino once or twice.


BREAKING: UofL sues Rick Pitino seeking lost profits for NCAA vacated games and ticket sales

Back in November, Rick Pitino filed a lawsuit against UofL worth roughly $35 million for breach of contract following his termination from the school.

Tonight,  Jason Riley of WDRB has reported the University of Louisville has officially filed a lawsuit against Rick Pitino, asking for monetary damages from NCAA vacation of wins, ticket sales, donations, and bonuses.

UofL claims Pitino admitted wrongdoing in his epic ESPN interview with Jay Bilas, where he took “full responsibility” for his hiring decisions. They also argue Pitino knew about Brian Bowen’s mother living in the Galt House and did not report the potential violation to compliance staff.

After UofL had their hearing today with the NCAA, it’s obvious things did not go well at all and the school will look to earn back every cent lost when sanctions officially hit in January.

This situation just got a whole lot uglier..