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The Funkhouser Situation: Episode 7

Chris Tomlin and Lee Cruse are back for another excellent edition of The Funkhouser Situation.  KSR’s pop culture podcast touches on a variety of topics from the week, including…

 

—  Are the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees any good?

—  Take ’em or leave ’em: which Hollywood celebrities they can live with and without.

—  Is Taylor Swift fun to hang out with?

—  Netflix series recommendation: Mindhunter.

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 “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


KSR is at the Bluegrass Stockyards (Friday Show Thread)

KSR is at the Bluegrass Stockyards (Friday Show Thread)

Get ready for a wild show from the Bluegrass Stockyards as Matt and Ryan talk sports from inside the ring. The radio tech on site told me, “It’s gonna be a show that’s talked about for a while.”

They have lots to give away, too.

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: It’s Blue-White Game Day!

Today on KSR: It’s Blue-White Game Day!

Hello, all. Welcome to Friday’s edition of the morning wake-up. Let me tell you some of what’s ahead for the day. Sound good? K.

The Blue-White game is tonight.

Can you believe it’s already basketball time? I can’t. I’m all worried about Kentucky’s football game at Mississippi State tomorrow and then basketball sneaks in to steal our attention for the night. Tickets are still available too, so you’d be crazy to not go see what John Calipari has for the upcoming season. Buy those tickets for five bucks each here.

GREAT NEWS: Jordan Jones, Charles Walker are back.

Mark Stoops had said he expects all players to be ready to go after the bye week, and now we know the two injured starters — linebacker Jordan Jones and wide receiver Charles Walker — are indeed ready to go tomorrow.

One negative piece of injury news, though: Jordan Bonner will miss significant time at linebacker. Boogie Watson will now move back over to the outside to relieve him.

Come live blog with us tonight.

Basketball live blogs return tonight at 7 pm with the Blue-White game and then we’ll do it again tomorrow at 4 pm for the football game. This is our busy season as the two sports cross paths and we hope you’ll join us as we grind it out.

Dan Wetzel: “Rick Pitino fails in first interview after being fired.”

Read Wetzel’s opinion here.

The new Free Money Podcast came out last night.

Get your fix:

Free Money with Matt and Drew: Episode 8

This is not a good look for Julius Randle.

KSR is at the Bluegrass Stockyards.

Today’s show is at the Fayette County Farm Bureau at 4561 Ironworks Pike Lexington. The guys are there for two hours of live KSR with a ton of giveaways for fans who attend.

Go Cats.


This Weekend at Keeneland, presented by Pocket Aces Racing

Message from our sponsor:

Have you ever wanted to roam the paddock at Keeneland between races?  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see your horse line up in the starting gate?  Have you ever dreamt of having your picture taken in the winner’s circle?  Owning a race horse is easier and more affordable than you might think.  Let Pocket Aces Racing LLC show you how. Thoroughbred racing partnerships are forming now.  


The third weekend of October marks the last full weekend of racing for Keeneland’s fall meet.  The weather forecast looks perfect, and you can take off after the feature on Saturday and still get home in time to catch the second half of Kentucky’s game at Mississippi State.  Here is a preview of some of the most interesting races of the weekend:

Friday’s 6th race is a maiden special weight for three-year olds and up going a mile and an eighth on the main track.  This looks like a good spot to play against the two likely favorites and hope for a decent price in the first leg of the pick 5.  Commandeering and Fireball Shot are 2/1 and 5/2 on the morning line respectively.  They are a combined 0 for 18 to begin their careers.  I always prefer horses in these experienced maiden races that do not have such a proven record of failure.  Total Cooperation cost Midwest Thoroughbreds over half a million dollars at the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.  A colt by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow out of a stakes winning daughter of Belmont and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, A.P. Indy, he was bred with stamina in mind.  He stretches out around two turns for the first time, and trainer Tom Amoss wins 30% of the time under such circumstances.  With enough speed to secure good position from the outset, Total Cooperation looks like decent value at that 5/1 morning line or better.

The 7th on Friday drew an overflow field of turf sprinters.  Each of the ladies in the main body of the field has earned over $100,000 in her career thus far.  It is a very deep field, and the winner could come from anywhere.  There is a rather provocative jockey move worth noting.  Fair Point is a deserved 3/1 morning line favorite.  She has earned nearly $470,000 in her career and is a Grade 3 winner.  She was the runner-up, beaten just a neck, in the Grade 3 Franklin Country here last fall and exits a troubled 4th place effort in the Kentucky Downs Ladies’ Sprint where she finished just a neck behind Morticia, who won this year’s Franklin County just one week ago.  The Smart Strike mare has been ridden by Jose Ortiz in each of her 19 career starts.  Yet Ortiz (who rode Browse to victory in Wednesday’s feature for Fair Point’s trainer Shug McGaughey) takes off the 3/1 favorite to ride 20/1 shot Dreamin for Mike Maker in this spot.  Dreamin is a stake winner on the dirt and exits a middle of the pack 5th place effort in a starter allowance at Kentucky Downs.  She is 0 for 3 lifetime on the grass.  Ortiz has been one of the best young riders in the country over the last several years and you have to believe he knows something about this filly that we cannot see on paper.

Race 8 features a solid field of 10 first level allowance runners going 8 1/2 furlongs on the main track.  If Total Cooperation does win race 6, that bodes well for Battle Colors, who beat him by nearly 4 lengths in his debut at Churchill last month.  Battle Colors has the look of a horse that could turn into something quite nice.  He was purchased at the OBS March 2yo Sale last year for $240,000, a large sum of money for any horse, but particularly for one by the stallion Biondetti, as his 2yos averaged only $29,000 this year and his yearlings average less than his advertised $4,000 stud fee.  Tom McGreevey, bloodstock agent for owner Fox Hill Farms, has one of the keenest eyes in the business, and this horse broke his maiden first time out in a very professional manner.  He has a solid local breeze in preparation for this start and appears capable of taking another step forward.  If Fireball Shot wins the 6th, that speaks well for Tarpon Bay Road, who beat that rival several weeks ago at Churchill.  It took him 8 starts to break through with his maiden victory, but he made a big step forward that day and deserves a shot in here.  Uncle Mojo looks like he might have the speed to wire this field, though he may be less keen than in his previous starts as Todd Pletcher removes the blinkers for this start.  Gain Ground is another interesting prospect.  The Tapit colt is making his first start on dirt and adding blinkers – both are high percentage plays for trainer Eoin Harty.  Cedartown is another that merits strong consideration.  He has never been worse than 2nd in 4 prior starts and has improved markedly in his last two starts once stretched out to two turns.

The Grade 3 Valley View for 3yo fillies on the turf is Friday’s featured event.  Fault gets the top nod in here as she beat many of these when winning the Pucker Up at Arlington.  She followed that up with a very good 3rd in the Grade 2 Sands Point where she was just over a length behind La Coronel who captured the Grade 1 QEII over this track last weekend.  I’m Betty G has ample speed and could be very dangerous if left alone in front under Julien Leparoux.  Chastise returned from an extended layoff with much improved form when taking a first level allowance field at Saratoga in August.  She faces stakes company for the first time coming in off the preferred 8 week break for Pletcher.  Lovely Bernadette must be respected on the basis of her last two stakes efforts which include a win at Indiana Grand.  She has shown significant improvement since making the switch to grass over the summer.  Dolce Lili is the dark horse in here for turf czar Chad Brown.  It’s difficult to put too much into her wins at Monmouth as the competition was undoubtedly lighter than what she will face today, but disregard Brown in a turf stake for 3yo fillies at your own peril.

Image result for keeneland

Photo courtesy of Keeneland

The late pick 4 on Saturday kicks off with a full field of 12 (plus 2 also-eligible) signed on to contest a 7 furlong maiden race for two-year old fillies in the 7thElusive Truth put forth a solid 3rd place effort in her debut at Churchill last month.  Expect improvement in her second outing for the Asmussen barn.  She appears to have the speed necessary to gain a nice tracking position just behind the expected pace setter Princessof the NylAmerica’s Tale ran 2nd to next-out Grade 1 Alcibiades winner Heavenly Love two starts back over the undulating turf course at Kentucky Downs.  She moves back to the dirt here, but given her pedigree you have to wonder whether she prefers the grass.  Palmilla Moon is eligible to improve with the addition of Lasix for her second start.  She has two good morning works over the Keeneland surface as well.

Twelve fillies will take to the post in Saturday’s 8th race, a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint.  Smiling Causeway is a logical morning line favorite.  She was runner-up to Grade 3 Franklin County winner Morticia three starts back in a stake at Laurel, and she’s never been worse than second in her 5 lifetime starts.  She faces a tough task in this spot as there are several others signed on that will look to apply pressure up front from the outset.  Cherry Lodge, Touch of Bling, and Delphinia all possess an early turn of foot, and the pace scenario may prove more favorable for a horse that can move from the middle of the pack.  Excessivespending scored a facile victory in her turf debut at this distance two starts back at Ellis.  She followed that up with a credible 4th in the Indiana Grand, and you can trust Julien Leparoux to work out a nice stalking trip.

The Grade 2 Raven Run is Saturday’s featured 9th race for 3yo fillies going 7 furlongs on the main track.  Tequilita may go favored, and deservedly so.  She broke her maiden here at this distance last October, and she’s 3 for 4 lifetime going 7/8ths – with the only loss being a 3rd place finish in the Grade 1 Test.  However, the daughter of Union Rags is far from a lock in this spot as there are a number of these at longer odds that are quite enticing.  Chalon owns arguably the best last race in the field.  She ran second against older fillies in the Grade 2 TCA on opening weekend.  The winner of that race, Finleysluckycharm, will be amongst the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.  Classy Tune and Miss Sunset have been holding their own in southern California and both will likely contribute to a contested pace.  Nonna Mela has tactical speed and should work out a nice stalking trip under Chris Decarlo for Todd Pletcher.  Pinch Hit has been in good form of late, winning 3 of her last 4 including the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill in her last start.  She came from near the back of the pack to mow them all down in the latter stages of that one and may well see a similar pace scenario develop on Saturday.  Overture won the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks for Bill Mott in July going wire-to-wire.  She cut back to 7 furlongs and found herself 13 lengths behind the leader at the first call in the bullring at Charles Town.  The daughter of Congrats made up more than 11 of those 13 lengths to finish 3rd, just over a length behind Tequilita.  She picks up Jose Ortiz for this engagement and rates as the top selection in this field.

The 7th race on Sunday features what looks like a very well intentioned debut runner for the Andrew McKeever barn.  Antarctic is a royally-bred son of Tapit being sent out for the Niarchos family’s international Flaxman Holdings operation.  His work tab includes several bullets, including a best of 50 gate drill in a blazing :59 flat.  McKeever only wins with 6% of his first-time starters, but this one certainly looks like he could fire fresh.

Sunday’s featured 8th race is the Grade 3 Dowager, a turf marathon for fillies and mares.  Grateful is the top choice.  She won 2 of her last 3 and most recently filled the place position, beaten just a neck in a Grade 3 at Saratoga.  The daughter of Hard Spun is lightly raced and therefore still eligible to improve against this more veteran group.  She has hit the board in all 8 of her starts and looks poised to take another step forward in her second start against graded stakes company.

Best of luck to all who find their way to the windows this weekend.  Check back next week as we close out the fall meet and spend some time with one of the best young trainers in the game, Brad Cox.

 


Hamidou Diallo: Calipari has “fallen in love” with the zone

Mark Zerof | USA Today

John Calipari famously hates the zone defense, but according to star guard Hamidou Diallo, he’s fallen in love with it after watching his team in practice.

“We’re definitely playing zone this year,” Diallo said. “Definitely. The length is ridiculous and we’ve been playing it great in practice and he’s just fallen in love with it.”

How can Hami tell?

“Every time we start playing in it and he just sees the length when we open our hands up and we just start covering different spots on the court so easily and he just starts smiling.”

Judging by the way Calipari casually dropped in a reference to that zone during his remarks, I’d say Hami is right.

“By the way, I put in a zone and it was 6-7, 6-6, 6-10, 6-9, 6-10 and it was so big,” Calipari bragged. “But we won’t play zone.”

Right.


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


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.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.

#10 lewispoore

A great picture of our MVP.

#9 banion

He’s the best.

#8 Daniel Slone

It took long enough.

#7 Terry Jordon

Bye!

#6 James Murray

Zombie Rick coming in hot.

#5 Patrick Shea

That seems about right.

#4 KY Mudder

*All of us before this morning’s show*

#3 KentuckyDude

That’s how you decorate a baseball bat!

#2 Freezing Cold Takes

Aw, poor thing.

#1 Brandon Harris

Huge congrats to the Harris family!


@MaggieDavisKSR


Photo by UK Athletics

Shai Alexander building case to start at point guard

Photo by UK Athletics

No player has garnered more positive buzz in the preseason than Shai Alexander. The 6-6 combo guard was recruited to play the two at Kentucky alongside Quade Green, but he’s been so good in practice as of late that’s he’s making a case to start at point.

“Oh yeah,” Cal said. “He could start [at point guard]. Quade’s doing fine, too, but they’re competing for [the starting job]. I would say, they’re both going to play.”

Part of the reason Shai stands out is his seven-foot wingspan, second only to Hamidou Diallo among guards in the Calipari era. Calipari says that wingspan is a game-changer on defense.

“With his wingspan and all that stuff, he’s really disruptive. Really disruptive.”

Wenyen Gabriel agrees.

“I’ve said it before. Shai, I really thought he surprised me over the summer and he just kept it rolling ever since. He’s really into this. His focus is right. He’s got the length, all you need. Cal tells him every practice, ‘You have a 7-foot wingspan.’ He’s a talented player and he can shoot the ball. He’s learning the game like the rest of us. We’re still putting the pieces together but I think Shai’s going to be a really good player. Whether he starts or not, he’s going to have a big role on this team.”

Like Calipari, Gabriel said Shai’s wingspan can be a catalyst for the Cats on defense.

“It’s an advantage, definitely, for the rest of us. He’s bothering the point guard, which makes it really hard for the other team to get into it. Our defense really starts with the point guard in that aspect. We all feed off of that.”

Hamidou Diallo agreed that Alexander’s competitiveness has stood out in practice.

“Shai can definitely play point guard,” Diallo said. “He’s a great player. He can play multiple positions, one or two. He’s been bringing it everyday. He’s very competitive. He and Quade have been battling it out everyday. Two great point guards going after each other. Both of them, I feel like, want to see each other play and they’re fighting for minutes.”

Solution: Quade plays point on offense, Shai guards point on defense.

For fun, check out a chart of the wingspans of the guards of the Calipari Era below:

Player Height (with shoes) Wingspan
Hamidou Diallo 6’5.5” 7’0.25”
Shai Alexander 6’6″ 7’
James Young 6’6.75″ 7’
DeAndre Liggins 6’6.25” 6’11”
Archie Goodwin 6’5.25” 6’9.5”
John Wall 6’4” 6’9.25”
Mychal Mulder 6’4.5” 6’8”
Isaiah Briscoe 6’2.5” 6’8”
Aaron Harrison 6’6.25” 6’8”
Andrew Harrison 6’6” 6’8.25”
EJ Floreal 6’4” 6’7.5”
Eric Bledsoe 6’1.5” 6’7.5”
Marquis Teague 6’2” 6’7.25”
Doron Lamb 6’4.75” 6’6.75”
Brandon Knight 6’3.25” 6’6.75”
Jamal Murray 6’4.25” 6’6.5”
Devin Booker 6’6.25” 6’6.25”
Dominique Hawkins 6’0.25” 6’5.5”
De’Aaron Fox 6’3.25” 6’4.5”
Malik Monk 6’3” 6’3.5”
Quade Green 6’ 6’2.5”
Tyler Ulis 5’9” 6’1.25”

10 Leftovers from SEC Basketball Media Day

10 Leftovers from SEC Basketball Media Day

© Christopher Hanewinckel | USATSI

Yesterday was “SEC Basketball Tipoff,” aka SEC Basketball Media Day, here in Nashville, and now that I’ve churned through the majority of the Kentucky content, I’m ready to reflect on the event as a whole. Simply put, it was a hot mess.

1. The setup was horrible

I had planned on bringing you guys a rundown of each team in the league; however, once I walked in the tiny meeting room they had us in, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. The room was split in half, with one side set up as a “work room” and the other as the main media area, with small high top tables stationed around the perimeter. Throughout the day, coaches and players came through the room at staggered times, meaning at least two or three people were talking at once, leading to crowding around the small tables and mass chaos on the open floor. TV cameras, cords, tripods, microphones, and large, grumpy reporters were just a few of the obstacles you had to face while switching from one interview to another, and unless you were the height or an actual basketball player or could squeeze through gaps like Benny Snell, there was no getting close to anyone worth talking to.

Media gonna whine, I know, but being smushed up next to a total stranger with a photographer’s hot, smelly breath in your ear is not an ideal way to do anything (legal, at least). When you compare the setup to the palatial spread at SEC Football Media Days in Hoover, it is obvious that, to the league, basketball does not “just mean more.”

2. There was a literal stampede when Calipari walked in

As the day went on, it became painfully obvious how chaotic it would be once Calipari walked in. With no indication from the staff on where Calipari would be placed, reporters and photographers staked their claim around one of the open tables in hopes it would encourage officials to bring him to us. NOPE. At the last minute, they decided to put him across the room, leading to a literal stampede. TV cameras came crashing down as reporters scurried to get a front row spot. Like the nice dufus I am, I stopped to help a camera guy get his tripod and microphone off the floor, which meant I couldn’t even see Cal most of the time he spoke. As you can see in the picture at the top of the post, I ended up watching most of it on John Clay’s iPad (thanks, John!).

That close proximity made it easy for Calipari to reach out and jokingly pat down a few reporters for a wire, much to their enjoyment:

Enough complaining. Some good things…

3. There was free sparkling water!

And, like at any SEC event, all the Sunkist and Dr. Pepper you could dream of. I hear the lunch was also excellent (I’m still “eating clean,” which meant an unwich from Jimmy John’s down the block).

4. Andy Kennedy is a treasure

The only thing that makes this event worth it? Andy Kennedy. The longest tenured coach in the SEC always entertains, and yesterday, cracked several jokes about how dumb Media Day was (TRUTH!), how Kentucky’s always good, and Jerry Tipton. The best was when he was asked about Ole Miss’ beautiful new arena, the Pavilion, which replaced the old, dark “Tad Pad.”

“It is well lit. The AC works. I kind of like the darkness at times. I’m better in the dark. Bada Bing!”

LOL. Never change, Andy.

5. Pat Bradley’s accent fascinates me

The former Arkansas Razorbacks guard is now an analyst for the SEC Network, and, as we discussed a little last season, has the most bizarre accent. He was born in Massachusetts and lives in Little Rock now, so he’s got this weird Yankee twang that he turns on and off while on camera. He occupied an entire corner of the tiny room we were in, so we got to hear lots of his questions, which ranged from challenging Cuonzo Martin to one-on-one in Birkenstocks to how many times Ben Howland has seen Godfather and Godfather Part II (80 times). Unfortunately, this video doesn’t do it justice:

The best part when Bradley asked 21-year-old Riley LaChance how often he shaves. If you’ve forgotten, this is what Riley LaChance looks like:

Speaking of accents…

6. Admiral Schofield’s British accent needs work

The Tennessee big man was born in London, England (at the same hospital where Princess Diana gave birth to Princes William and Harry, in fact), but his British accent could use some work:

Kudos to him for being a good sport. He was the funniest kid we talked to all day.

7. Michael Porter, Jr. is a vegetarian

The first player I got to meet was the preseason pick for SEC Player of the Year, Mizzou’s Michael Porter Jr. Considering all the hype around him, I expected him to be a little cocky, but he couldn’t have been nicer. The most interesting thing about him? He’s a vegetarian and always has been, and is now in the process of becoming a vegan. Thanks to some help from a chef from England, Porter and his family — including younger brother Jontay, who reclassified to join Michael at Mizzou — are switching to a raw vegan diet in hopes it will help their on-court performance.

Whenever you hate on Porter this season, remember that, unlike other college kids, there are no late night Taco Bell runs for him. Or real cheese. Have you had fake cheese? For your sake, I hope not.

8. Bruce Pearl couldn’t comment on the FBI investigation

Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person faces six federal charges in the FBI’s investigation into bribery in college basketball. Not surprisingly, Bruce Pearl was asked about it, but couldn’t offer much comment.

“Under normal circumstances, if we weren’t a part of this ongoing investigation, you’d get a lot of comments from me about it,” Pearl said. “But I think because we’ve got something that’s ongoing right now, I just can’t offer my thoughts or opinions, and I hope you understand that.”

9. Everyone else did though

Kyle Tucker made it his mission to ask every coach if their program has been contacted by the FBI, and some took kinder to the question than others. The most annoyed? Frank Martin, who practically went after Kyle.

“Who are you? From? I don’t know if you followed what I said before: We are not under investigation, so since we’re not under investigation, we have no conversations with the FBI. I don’t want to be lumped into something that we have nothing to do with. Lamont worked for me. Lamont is under investigation. Lamont has not worked for me for over a year. We are not under investigation. So I don’t — I did all this; I’m not going to keep talking about the FBI when we have nothing to do with that.”

Yikes. Check out Kyle’s rundown of the other coaches’ responses by clicking here.

10. Wenyen Gabriel hasn’t been to Keeneland

I shared the most ridiculous observation for last. As Kentucky’s session wrapped up, a reporter who covers another team asked Wenyen Gabriel how he liked Lexington, specifically Keeneland. To our astonishment, Gabriel said he’s never been.

“I haven’t gone. Everyone tries to get me to go, but I just feel like I’m going to get bombarded right now. I’m going to wait until I’m not an amateur anymore so I can sit up in a box and do it right.”

Fair enough.


Matt interviews Reggie Thomas on “Hey Kentucky!”

Matt interviews Reggie Thomas on “Hey Kentucky!”

Tonight on “Hey Kentucky!”, Matt interviewed 6th District Congressional candidate Reggie Thomas. Learn more about why Thomas is running and his platform in the interview below:

For the full episode, which includes another visit from Ricky Jones, head on over to HeyKentucky.com.


Free Money with Matt and Drew: Episode 8

Matt Jones and Drew Franklin return to make picks for this weekend’s slate of college football games, but more importantly, KSR’s dynamic duo dishes on what’s gone down at the University of Louisville this week.  Highlights:

— Is Drew enemy #1 in Starkville?

— Matt reluctantly admits that he likes the new UofL assistants.

— What does Phil Steele brag about this week?

— How Drew feels about Tennessee football

— Famous alumni from Miami University in Ohio.  

— Matt offers an exciting giveaway for all loyal Free Money listeners.  

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 “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


The Depth Chart Podcast: Mississippi State

After a brief break for the Bye Week, Freddie Maggard returns for another exciting episode of The Depth Chart Podcast to preview Kentucky’s road trip to Starkville.  On top of Freddie’s knowledge, the podcast got a little perspective from a superfan who knows the Bulldogs better than anyone.  Highlights:

—  The Cats and the Bulldogs are a lot closer than the Vegas line appears.

—  Freddie found few tendencies, except on critical third downs.

—  Tips for those traveling to Starkville (DON’T FORGET EARPLUGS!).

— Why this game looks a lot like the 2016 UofL game.

—  A Game of Thrones reference all nerds will enjoy.

Editor’s Note: Sorry about the interview quality. For unknown reasons it was on the fritz this week and adds a little too much pop.  Please persevere through it; I promise it’s worth it. 

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 “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Where to Eat, Drink and Tailgate in Starkville

Where to Eat, Drink and Tailgate in Starkville

There’s not a whole lot happening in Starkville, Mississippi but the town will be buzzing for homecoming this weekend.  The last time I went to Starkville, I could only find fast food joints.  Now, I have some help from KSR fan and MSU grad school student Ethan Stewart to make sure your trip to Stark Vegas isn’t as miserable as my last adventure.

Food

A Taste of Kentucky — Start your day the right way at Aunt Marti’s Bakery.  Ran by a Fleming County native and less than a mile from campus, they are bringing out their best for the Big Blue Nation.

The Best Burger —  When you want a burger and you’re attending a game at Mississippi State, it only makes sense to try the Bulldog Burger.  If you’re really feeling froggy, throw some pulled pork on top with the Hogwild burger.

“Hey, I’ve been there before.” —  The KSR headquarters in Hattiesburg was at Mugshots.  The sports bar also has a home in Starkville.  If you missed it at Southern Miss, it’s something you can’t pass up at Miss. State.

A Taste of the Gulf — Starkville isn’t on the Gulf Coast.  To make it feel like you’re not in the middle of nowhere, try a Po’Boy at Oby’s.

A Name Perfect for BBQ — The Little Dooey sounds like a great place for BBQ.  If that doesn’t convince you, this logo should.

If that’s not enough to convince you, they’ve served Alabama, Garth Brooks, Kirk Herbstreit, Charlie Daniels and John Micheal Montgomery.

Sit Down and Enjoy — If you’re in the mood for a big, delicious sit-down meal after a Kentucky victory, Restaurant Tyler has the Southern fixens to cap off a wonderful win.

Applebee’s —  I hear they’ve got a two for $20 deal that’s to die for.

Brunch It —  The Veranda will fuel you for your drive back to the Bluegrass with a bountiful brunch that includes my personal favorite, chicken and waffles.

Tailgate Time

For those who do not want to prepare their own tailgate, the UK Alumni Association has you covered. They’ll be setup on the old intramural fields on Stone Boulevard just south of Bully Boulevard from 12:30-2:30 CDT.  The pregame buffet is just $20, $15 for Alumni Association members and $10 for students.  You can register ahead of time here.

For a little bit rowdier crowd, I’ve received a few messages from Cats who will set up shop down the road in the Mississippi Horse Park RV Lot.  If you don’t head there, I’ll be honest, the parking situation is spread out all across campus.  To help you find your way around, check out the parking map below (click to enlarge).

Fine Establishments

Does Starkville have a night life?  Kinda, sorta, in a way.

You won’t find anything like what Lexington has to offer, but a good place to start is the Cotton District.  Here you’ll find a handful of places to enjoy a cocktail or two, including a place that may feel familiar, the STAGerIN Sports Grill.

Outside of the Cotton District, The Guest Room and Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern should tickle your fancy.  The Dark Horse Tavern also has pretty good pizza to help soak in all of the alcohol you’ve consumed throughout your college football Saturday.


Mark Stoops’ Team is Healthy Ahead of Trip to Starkville

In his final meeting with the media prior to Kentucky’s road trip to Starkville, Mark Stoops did not have any significant injury setbacks to report.

Charles Walker will be back for the Mississippi State game, as will All-SEC linebacker Jordan Jones.  Even if Jones doesn’t have a dozen tackles in his return, his infectious energy will benefit the Kentucky defense.

“I was out at practice, I guess yesterday and I was standing behind Darius [West].  Jordan was Jordan, flying around, and Darius just turned around and said, ‘He’s back!'”

Now that Jones is back, Boogie Watson is back to playing outside linebacker.  The timing is perfect for Watson’s return to the outside.  Stoops revealed Jordan Bonner recently suffered an injury that will force him to miss a significant amount of time.  Now Watson will be Josh Allen’s backup at Sam linebacker.

Stoops also shared his thoughts on playing vs. tempo, how Danny Clark has mimicked Nick Fitzgerald in practice and more.

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Calipari to pay spring tuition for two students at Blue-White game

As is tradition, John Calipari will pay the 2018 spring semester in-state tuition for two lucky Kentucky students who attend Friday’s Blue-White Game at Rupp Arena.

To be eligible, UK students will need to check into the Blue-White Game via the BBN Rewards app with a fully completed profile, including their student ID number. The winners will then be randomly selected and announced at the completion of the game. The winners must be present to win.

In the event of an out-of-state or graduate/professional student winner, the spring semester in-state undergraduate tuition amount will be applied.

Good luck, Wildcats.


Hamidou Diallo and Wenyen Gabriel on how to deal with screaming Calipari

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about John Calipari in the past eight years, it’s that he loves to scream. Calipari is famous for screeching and stomping at his players from the sidelines, which can take a toll on a freshman’s psyche. What advice are Wenyen Gabriel and Hamidou Diallo — “veterans” on this squad — giving to their younger counterparts on how to deal with screaming Cal?

“When he’s screaming, he’s not mad; he’s just trying to get a point across,” Diallo said. “I don’t think any of these guys have seen Coach mad yet. That’s a good thing, definitely. Nobody wants to see that side of him.”

Diallo may only have a semester of experience under his belt, but he’s seen “that side” of Calipari before.

“A couple times last year,” Diallo said. “I was here at the end when it really counted, so any little thing could turn that switch on.”

Gabriel’s message to his younger teammates: don’t take it personally.

“We always gotta keep it as, it’s never personal with Cal. We all know he’s a businessman, but it’s never personal. That’s something you have to keep in your mind. You’ve got to try to take the message about what he’s trying to say there. If he yells at you, that doesn’t mean he’s mad at you. That’s one of the things that you’ve got to really let them know.”

With his youngest team ever, Calipari’s screaming a lot in practice these days, but Diallo is doing his best to make sure the younger guys don’t crumble.

“Definitely just staring at the guys when Coach is talking and the little things,” Diallo said of ways he’s trying to help the freshmen out. “Always trying to boost their confidence because Cal stays on top of guys and he wants to see who is going to let go of the rope. At the end of practice when it gets tough, that’s when it really counts.”

Has anyone let go of the rope yet?

“No. Absolutely not.”