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It’s time to rally behind Kentucky Baseball’s Rally Cup Hat (and make your own!)

Photo by UK Athletics

There are several obvious contributing factors to UK Baseball’s historic run to the Super Regional: the relentless enthusiasm of first-year head coach Nick Mingione; talented pitchers like Sean Hjelle and Logan Salow; All-Americans Evan White, Tristan Pompey, and Riley Mahan; and the team’s remarkably quick transition to Mingione’s system. Yet, there is one unsung hero in this bunch that deserves some recognition: Austin Keen’s rally cup hat.

Constructed entirely of paper Powerade cups and tape, Keen’s creation is modeled after a Viking hat. It first drew attention when Kentucky faced elimination vs. Indiana on Sunday of the Lexington Regional. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so Keen, a redshirt freshman pitcher, crafted the hat out of the materials available and it worked. Kentucky went on to beat Indiana and, a few hours later, NC State to advance to the final showdown with the Wolfpack Monday night.

“Of all the guys and everything that happened in our program, who and what from the University of Kentucky got on ESPN?” Nick Mingione joked today. “The cup hat! The guy that poured himself into the team the most. I want you to think about that. It wasn’t the grand slam, it wasn’t the dog pile, it wasn’t any of that. The guy that got on ESPN was the guy that had the cup hat.”

Heading into Monday night’s big game, the hat was bigger and bolder then ever, gaining new accessories like a propeller so that it resembled a giant flying blue and white traffic cone. Its shining moment came at the top of the sixth inning when, with the Cats down one, a foul ball rolled into right field near the dugout and Keen took off a sprint to retrieve it. His hat magically staying in place, Keen flipped the foul ball into the crowd and dutifully sprinted straight back to the dugout.

Mingione has embraced the hat as a metaphor for his team’s selfless, one brick — err, cup — at a time mentality.

“By the way, what was [Keen] doing? He was chasing a foul ball to serve his team. That’s the guy that got on SportsCenter. Oh and by the way, that just happened to bleed over to our team and we just happened to win a championship and do something that’s never been done before. I’m about to share this with our team. That’s how life works. Who’s the guy that everybody wants to pull for? The guy that’s the most selfless person. How do you not want to root for that guy?”

You can’t. It’s impossible. Today, senior Connor Heady and junior Riley Mahan credited the rally cup hat and the rest of the dugout for keeping the team loose during the stressful postseason.

“Fortunately for us this weekend, it was pretty loose,” Heady said. “You guys saw some of the things we had going on in the dugout with the rally cap, the cup hat that Austin Keen made. Just guys wearing sunglasses the whole game in the dugout for the night game, backwards hats. They had it all going on. Our dugout was really loose this weekend and they brought a lot of energy, a lot of positive reinforcement for us that are out there playing the game.”

“When you have stuff like that going on in the dugout, it keeps everybody loose,” Mahan said. “That really helps from both ends and keeps everybody loose and reminds everyone it’s just a game and go out there and control what you can control and have fun playing the game.”

To answer the question you surely have by now, yes, the cup will travel to Louisville for tomorrow’s Super Regional showdown with the Cards.

“It’s ready to go,” Mahan assured reporters today. “I think he might have some more tape on it to make it more stable, but it’s ready to go.”

Want to make your own? Hopefully we won’t need it, but it’s best to be prepared.

How to make your own Rally Cup Hat

Materials needed

  • Paper cups (preferably blue, white, and/or black)
  • Scissors
  • White tape

Step 1: Cut several paper cups down the side and remove bottoms

Step 2: Tape cups together to form initial ring

Step 3: Layer and tape rings until you form a cone

Step 4: Add horns

Step 5: Add other accessories at will

Go ahead, get crazy. It’s Louisville, and the rally cup hat hasn’t failed us yet.


Introducing the KSR Summer Tour 2017

Introducing the KSR Summer Tour 2017

Get your calendars out because the 2017 KSR Summer Tour schedule is coming together. This year’s tour will be split into two legs: one in June and one in August, surrounding Matt’s European vacation.

Here’s how it stands as of today:

Leg 1: June

6/12 – Prestonsburg – Stonecrest Golf Course
6/13 – London – Sleep Outfitters
6/14 – Russell Springs – Lawless-Smith True Value
6/15 – Somerset – Ashley Furniture
6/16 – Lexington – Don Franklin Auto on Richmond Road

6/19 – Danville – Dexter Insurance
6/20 – Leitchfield – Future Designs
6/21 – Louisville – Academy Sports on Outer Loop
6/22 – Henderson – Sleep Outfitters
6/23 – Owensboro area – Don Moore Auto

Leg 2: August

8/3 – Lexington – TBA
8/4 – Louisville – Academy Sports in Middletown

8/7 – Loretto – Maker’s Mark
8/8 – Monticello – Monticello Banking Company
8/9 – McKee/Jackson County – TBA
8/10 – Flemingsburg – People’s Bank
8/11 – Pikeville – Bank 253

8/14 – Cynthiana – Maiden City Brewing Company
8/15 – Somerset – Sleep Outfitters
8/16 – Campbellsville – Mr. Gatti’s Pizza
8/17 – Benton – Kennedy’s Fan Shop
8/18 – Madisonville – Hudson Toyota

8/21 – Hopkinsville – Eclipse
8/22 – KY State Fair
8/23 – Northern KY – Dickman’s
8/24 – Richmond – Mann Chrysler
8/25 – KSR Louisville Golf Outing


Three Wildcats are going to USA U19 training camp

Three freshmen from the University of Kentucky have accepted invitations to attend the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team training camp in Colorado later this month, UK announced today. They are Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, and P.J. Washington, and they will compete against 25 other players from both high school and college for a spot on the team that will travel to Egypt under the guidance of John Calipari. All three Wildcats have experience playing for USA Basketball.

Have a look at the entire list of training camp attendees:

 

 

The camp will also include four of UK’s targets top targets in the Class of 2018: Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish and Bol Bol.

Advantage: Calipari.


Louisville Baseball Scouting Report (By Someone Who Hates Louisville and Baseball)

Louisville Baseball Scouting Report (By Someone Who Hates Louisville and Baseball)

The University of Louisville will play host to the University of Kentucky in baseball this weekend with a spot in the College World Series on the line. The best-of-three series will be played in front of a sold out crowd on Friday at noon, Saturday at noon, and, if necessary, Sunday at — you guessed it — noon o’clock.

Excitement is running wild in both cities and within the two programs as it is easily the biggest head-to-head series in the rivalry’s storied history. Kentucky, playing in its first ever Super Regional, hopes to upset Louisville to punch its ticket to Omaha; while Louisville, the sixth-ranked team in the country, looks to return to the College World Series for the fourth time under head coach Dan McDonnell.

Now before I go on, I should make it very clear that baseball is not my expertise. I went to a Cincinnati Reds game in like third grade and got tossed out of a handful of Thirsty Thursdays in Lexington in my prime; but outside of that, America’s pastime ain’t my thing. That being said, I put myself on assignment to scout the Cardinals for all of you Kentucky fans out there, and scout the Cardinals I did.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the Wildcats’ upcoming opponent and future Louisville Super Regional runner-up…

 

They dyed their hair blond for the postseason.

@UofLBaseball

Although, pitcher Jake Sparger opted for the red mohawk instead.

@WLKYNatalie

If for some reason you didn’t hate Louisville before, you do now.

One of the star players is from Lexington and originally committed to Kentucky out of high school. (So, he is a traitor.)

A top-100 MLB draft prospect, Louisville short stop Devin Hairston almost ended up in blue and white for his college career. He committed to Kentucky as a young star at Tates Creek High School in Lexington to join his older brother, Dorian Hairston, on the Wildcats baseball team. But then something happened and the younger Hairston flipped his commitment to the dark side, and now he is one of the key components and brightest stars on Louisville’s roster.

It’s a really sad story of a young boy losing his way.

They play in Long John Silver’s Stadium.

Technically, it’s Jim Patterson Stadium. But Jim Patterson is known for founding Long John Silver’s, so we’re unofficially changing its name to Long John Silver’s Stadium right now.

Spread the word: $1.99 Fish and Fries before 6 p.m. with a free hush puppy for anyone over 60. Present your ticket stub at any location following the game for free corn on the cob and a 50 percent shot at food poisoning.

(Note: Long John Silver’s was founded in Lexington, yet another example of Louisville relying on its rival city.)

The Louisville pitchers may or may not use pine tar, so I read on Twitter once.

My understanding is pine tar is frowned upon in baseball. And to be fair, I don’t see pine tar in that screenshot. And to be fairer, I don’t know what pine tar looks like. And to be fairer than that, I would use the hell out of pine tar if I pitched.

I’m just passing along another man’s observation from last Sunday and presenting a better look for you pine tar conspiracy theorists out there.

To me it looks like he wiped bare-handed after eating at Long John Silver’s.

Head coach Dan McDonnell licks microphones when he can’t answer a question.

For example: “Hey Coach, are you confident your team will beat Kentucky this weekend?”

See? Told ya.

Meanwhile, pitching coach Roger Williams wants you to f— off.

Louisville, always classy.

Brendan McKay is the best player in college baseball and he may be the best two-way player in history.

Pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay will go No. 1 or No. 2 overall in the MLB draft and he’ll make more money before he’s 25 than I’ll make in a lifetime, so I have nothing negative to say about his game.

But I have no problem saying his postseason hairdo makes him look like an asshole:

@ULBaseball

Speaking of bad hair…

The second baseman with cornrows is so, so Louisville.

And you can’t lose to a white guy with cornrows, can you?

Go Cats.


UK has invited the singer Courtney Love to watch the linebacker Courtney Love play football

UK has invited the singer Courtney Love to watch the linebacker Courtney Love play football

Last night, the singer Courtney Love was on “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” during which Meyers brought up last week’s story about Love discovering that there was another Courtney Love in this world, the senior linebacker at Kentucky.

“I google myself once in a while,” Love admitted. “And I kept seeing that there was this linebacker Courtney Love. I kept thinking he was British because he kept saying U.K., but it’s the University of Kentucky. He’s about 6’2″, 22 years old, African American, and his name is Courtney Love.”

When singer Courtney Love saw a tweet from UK saying the football player Courtney Love had been named to the Lott Trophy Watch List, she couldn’t help but chime in:

That was all the folks at UK needed to extend an invitation.

“Now the University of Kentucky has invited me to a University of Kentucky football show,” Love told Meyers, laughing. 

Check out the video of her appearance below, thanks to the football player Courtney Love:

This is awesome. Courtney meets Courtney.


Wednesday’s Top 10, brought to you by the Mad Butcher of Panzano

Wednesday’s Top 10, brought to you by the Mad Butcher of Panzano

Photo by Grape Tours, the tour company we used in Chianti

In a tiny town in the middle of Tuscany lies one of the most colorful characters in the world: Dario Cecchini, the “Mad Butcher of Panzano.” We visited Dario in his legendary butcher shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, while touring the Chianti wine region, and being in his presence for just a few minutes was one of the most remarkable experiences of our trip. Dario’s family has been in the butchery business for eight generations, and now, he’s the most famous butcher on the planet. The 59-year-old first burst onto the foodie scene in 2001 when he held a funeral for “bistecca fiorentina” (a style of T-Bone steak famous in Florence) during the Mad Cow disease crisis, the plaque for which still hangs outside his shop:

Since then, the larger-than-life Dario has become a superstar, nicknamed the “Michelangelo of Meat,” and cooks for famous people around the world. We were lucky to catch him in his shop, although rumor has it he may have cut a trip to Los Angeles short so he could grill for the Obama family, who was also touring Tuscany when we were. Entering his shop is a visceral experience. The first thing that hits you is the smell: wonderful, aromatic, meat. The second thing that hits you is the small wine glass thrust into your hand, filled with local Chianti. From there, you’re ushered to a table overflowing with cold cuts, bread, olive oil, and quite possibly the most delicious spread I’ve ever tasted, which makes sense because it turned out be lardo. The party spills into the street, the Italians shouting over AC/DC (the only music Dario will play) while tourists look around and wonder what the heck they walked into. Our group ate a lunch across the street that was catered by the shop, and after eating more than my fair share of pasta all week, my body sang for the freshest thing it had seen in days: vegetables dipped in olive oil, which was mixed with Dario’s “Profumo del Chianti,” an herb salt. You better believe we brought some home with us.

So, should you find yourself anywhere near Florence, Italy, take a tour or drive yourself out to Panzano to meet Dario and try that lardo. And bring some me some more herb salt, please.

Now, on with the show.

1. The Super Regional vs. Louisville is sold out

If you were hoping to cheer the Bat Cats on in their first Super Regional ever, well, prepare to pay a lot on the secondary markets. All three games between Kentucky and Louisville are sold out, and considering the Cards are the host and had a day head start on selling tickets, I have a feeling that crowd will be mostly red. If you were lucky enough to secure a spot in Jim Patterson Stadium, do us all a favor and BE LOUD.

For the rest of us, the games will begin at high noon Friday (ESPN2), Saturday (ESPN), and Sunday (TBA).

2. If you haven’t yet, listen to the KSR Baseball Podcast

Hearing former UK Baseball coach Keith Madison reflect on the program’s historic accomplishment is so good, so good, so good. If you haven’t already subscribed to the KSR podcast feed, here’s how you can.

3. UK Basketball’s complete non-conference schedule was released

  • October 13: Big Blue Madness
  • October 20: Blue/White Game
  • November 10: vs. Utah Valley
  • November 12: vs. Vermont
  • November 14: vs. Kansas, Champions Classic, Chicago
  • November 17: vs. ETSU
  • November 20: vs. Troy
  • November 22: vs. Fort Wayne
  • November 26: vs. UIC
  • December 2: vs. Harvard
  • December 9: vs. Monmouth, Citi Double Cash Classic, New York
  • December 16: vs. Virginia Tech
  • December 23: vs. UCLA, CBS Sports Classic, New Orleans
  • December 29: vs. Louisville
  • January 27: at West Virginia

The SEC schedule will feature nine home games and nine away games, which were announced last week without dates. Kentucky will play Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Missouri twice (home and away); play Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State at home; and play on the road at Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina.

4. Players continue to arrive on campus

UK’s summer session begins today, which means the basketball and football teams are back on campus. Here’s Shai Alexander and Jemarl Baker moving in to their new home:

And PJ Washington hanging with some fans at the airport:

PJ Washington will be a fan favorite. Mark it down.

5. Dominique Hawkins is working out for the Sacramento Kings today

A day after the Kings hosted De’Aaron Fox, they will see Dominique Hawkins, who will work out alongside Donovan Mitchell (Louisville), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), Cameron Oliver (Nevada), Erik McCree (Louisiana Tech), and Jabari Bird (Cal). The Kings have the 5th, 10th, and 34th picks in the draft.

Yesterday, Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe worked out for the Detroit Pistons (12th pick), while Malik Monk visited the Phoenix Suns (4th, 32nd, and 54th picks). De’Aaron Fox will work out for Phoenix later this week, but apparently his workout in Sacramento went so well that the Kings are considering trading their 5th and 10th picks to Philadelphia in order to ensure they get Fox at #3. Oh boy.

6. Alvonte Bell was dismissed from the team

The defensive line suffered a big blow yesterday with the news that senior defensive end Alvonte Bell has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. That one hurts because Bell was a projected started at a spot that sorely needs depth. For more on what Bell’s dismissal means going forward, check out Freddie’s recap of the Governor’s Cup luncheon.

7. Mark Stoops had some interesting comments about Matt Elam

“He and I (Matt Elam) had a sit-down in mid-April about some things he needs to do. And, you know, it’s up to Matt. Matt is a good worker and does good things and everything that’s expected of him when he’s with us. There are sacrifices you have to make when you’re away from college and you’re away from your coaches. That’ll be up to Matt.”

This will be Elam’s senior season, meaning he’s running out of time to make the impression he needs to in order to get an opportunity on the next level.

8. Stoops picked up a kicker named Chance Poore

Get ready for a whole lotta puns because Stoops just landed Chance Poore, the top-ranked kicker in the state of South Carolina. Apparently his chances of landing 40-yarders won’t be poor because he’s been hitting them since age 13. Please let that be the only pun about him I ever write.

Anyways, Chance is the 10th member of UK’s 2018 class. Welcome.

9. Scooter Gennett made history last night

The Cincinnati Reds second baseman hit four home runs, tying the MLB record, and finished with 10 RBIs, tying a franchise record, in the Reds’ 13-1 rout of the Cardinals last night. He’s only the 17th player to hit four home runs in one game in major league history, quite the feat for a player who was claimed off waivers in late March and only had three home runs this season going into last night.

10. Happy birthday, Fake Barney!

June is a big birthday month at KSR, and today, we celebrate our favorite fake purple dinosaur, Fake Barney. My OTT podcast compadre and his Baby Bop are expecting their first baby in September, and if not for stupid Luke Maye, he would be having a record year. Enjoy the day, Barnes.

Radio in an hour…


Photo by UK Athletics

UK Baseball’s turnaround one of the biggest success stories in school history

Photo by UK Athletics

In the wee hours of the night, something special went down at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Bolstered by a record crowd of 5,005 screaming fans, the UK Baseball team rallied to beat NC State 10-5 to advance to the Super Regional for the first time in school history. That alone is a remarkable achievement, but when you consider it came after UK lost to NC State on Friday and the Bat Cats had to win three straight games — including back-to-back victories over the Wolfpack — to do it, it’s incredible. Add in that all of this success is coming in Nick Mingione’s first year as a head coach, and you can understand why the team collapsed into a dog pile of emotions after the final out and Mingione was reduced to tears.

On the precipice of the program’s first Super Regional — which will pit them against archrival Louisville, nonetheless — regardless of what happens, what Mingione and the Bat Cats have accomplished this season is one of the biggest success stories in UK Athletics’ history; if they make it to the College World Series, it could be the biggest. Here’s why.

It’s not only Nick Mingione’s first year as UK’s coach, it’s his first year as a head coach period

As Kentucky fans, we’ve been blessed with some charismatic coaches, most notably John Calipari, but what a year for Nick Mingione. Last summer, Mingione accepted the Kentucky job at the age of 37, his first head coaching job ever. After his first press conference, it was easy to see why Mitch Barnhart took a chance on him. It’s impossible not to like Mingione. He’s down to earth, passionate, smart, funny, and reads people extremely well, one reason he probably connected so quickly with his players.

Mingione spent two seasons as an assistant at Kentucky from 2006-07 and has said several times that Lexington is the only SEC town he would bring his wife to during his seven years as an assistant at Mississippi State. Now, in his first season as a head coach, he was named Coach of the Year in the SEC, a huge baseball conference, and is taking his team to the Super Regionals for the first time in program history. No wonder he sounded so giddy on the phone this morning.

No one saw success coming this soon

Given last season’s struggles and the fact that this is Nick Mingione’s first year as a head coach, everyone — understandably — had guarded expectations for this season…except the team. Mingione took over a program that was coming off back-to-back subpar seasons and had only been to the NCAA Tournament three times in the past decade. The Cats were picked in the bottom half of the league in the preseason, started off 2-5, and didn’t break into the national rankings until week five. Now, they’re 43-21, only two wins away from tying the school-record 45 wins in 2012. Mingione found a way to not only connect with his guys early on, but push them to their limits and beyond, which is why he was moved to tears watching them celebrate last night:

It’s captured the excitement of a “basketball school”

UK has broken attendance records all season, and last night, a record 5,005 fans sat through a two-hour and sixteen minute rain delay to cheer on the team to victory, which came sometime around 1:15 a.m. I wasn’t there in person, but everyone who was raves about the experience, many ranking it among their favorites as a UK fan. That says a lot from a school that’s won eight national championships in basketball and is coming off one of the biggest upsets in the football program’s history. People always refer to Kentucky as a basketball school, and it likely always will be, but for the fans who stayed through the rain and well past midnight (including John Calipari), last night was a special moment, exactly the kind a program on the rise needs to break through.

It comes at the perfect time

I’m glad The Cliff got last night because soon, we’ll have another stadium to christen with memories. The Cliff has one more year of use until Kentucky’s new $49 million stadium opens in the fall of 2018, a much-needed upgrade that will put the Bat Cats on par with their SEC peers. In case you missed it all the times they showed it during last night’s broadcast — thanks, SEC Network! — here’s the rendering:

Kentucky’s new stadium combined with their breakout season is music to Mingione’s ears. Known as an ace recruiter, Mingione has already landed several big recruits in his first year in Lexington, and as time goes on, we continue to see why. Who wouldn’t want to play for this guy?

Mingione’s first season rivals John Calipari’s

Hear me out, hear me out. Calipari came to Kentucky as the best recruiter in college basketball; it was not surprising that he brought five-star players — whom he was already recruiting — with him. Playing for a proven coach like Calipari at a powerhouse program like Kentucky is a no-brainer. In college basketball, you only need five good players and, if you’re lucky, a few stars, to make some noise, which Kentucky definitely did in Calipari’s first season. Despite falling short in the Elite Eight, John Wall and Calipari instantly put the Cats back atop college basketball, which is where they’ve stayed ever since.

Contrast that with the UK Baseball team, which had some talent but was coming off years of stalled progress. After Gary Henderson resigned, the players put their faith in an enthusiastic first-year head coach who purposefully kept a grueling season-opening series vs. North Carolina as a litmus test. Bits of success snowballed into boulders of momentum, and now, they’ve accomplished something that no other team in the 121-year history of the program has…and they’re not done yet.

For all the reasons I’ve already listed, UK Baseball’s turnaround in Mingione’s first year as a head coach rivals Calipari’s first year in Lexington; if they make the College World Series, it could even surpass it.


Mark Stoops Adds South Carolina’s Top Kicker to 2018 Class

@Chance_Poore

After Austin McGinnis finishes his record-breaking Kentucky career this season, the Cats will be in good hands, or in this case good feet.  Chance Poore, the top-ranked kicker in the state of South Carolina, told the Independent Mail why he chose Kentucky shortly before announcing his decision on Twitter.

“Kentucky is just a great place and on the rise athletically,” Poore said. “The football program is coming up. They have a great basketball program. The baseball program is doing well, and even softball.

“It is just a great place all-around.”

@Chance_poore

Like every other position, Kentucky’s ability to land Poore is rooted in their ability to scout talent early.  He’s reportedly been knocking down 40-yard field goals in games since he was 13.  That game film wasn’t exactly what convinced Dean Hood he needed to offer him a scholarship, but that scholarship offer is what convinced Poore to come to Kentucky.

“(Hood) told me he liked what he saw. He went back and talked to (head coach Mark Stoops),” Poore said. “Coach Hood showed him the film, and they both came to the agreement to offer me the full ride.”

The tenth member of UK’s 2018 class, it doesn’t take long to understand why Hood wanted to offer the 6’3″ Anderson, South Carolina-native.

[Independent Mail]


Kentucky’s non-conference schedule is out

We now know the 13 opponents on Kentucky’s non-conference men’s basketball schedule for the 2017-18 season and it includes 12 schools that reached the postseason last year, eight of which were in the NCAA tournament.

The schedule is as follows:

Kentucky vs. Utah Valley
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Friday, November 10
Kentucky vs. Vermont
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Sunday, November 12
Kentucky vs. Kansas 
Chicago, Il. | United Center
Champions Classic
Tuesday, November 14
Kentucky vs. ETSU
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Friday, November 17
Kentucky vs. Troy
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Monday, November 20
Kentucky vs. Fort Wayne
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Wednesday, November 22
Kentucky vs. UIC
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Sunday, November 26
Kentucky vs. Harvard
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Saturday, December 2
Kentucky vs. Monmouth
New York, Ny. | Madison Square Garden
Citi Double Cash Classic
Saturday, December 9
Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech 
Lexington, KY | Rupp Arena
Sunday, December 16
Kentucky vs. UCLA 
New Orleans, La. | Smoothie King Center
CBS Sports Classic
Saturday, December 23
Kentucky vs. Louisville
Lexington, Ky. | Rupp Arena
Friday, December 29
Kentucky @ West Virginia
Morgantown, Wv. | WVU Coliseum
Big 12/SEC Challenge
Saturday, January 27

The SEC schedule will feature nine home games and nine away games, which were announced last week without dates. Kentucky will play Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Missouri twice (home and away); play Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State at home; and play on the road at Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina.

The full schedule will be released later this summer.


Tuesday’s Top 10: Late night sends Cats to the Super Regional

Tuesday’s Top 10: Late night sends Cats to the Super Regional

Like many of you, I was up way past my bedtime last night thanks to Kentucky’s exciting baseball game in the Cliff. A rain delay (and some arguing) pushed the finish back into the wee hours of the morning, but it was all worth it to see Kentucky win the Regional for the first time. What a night, what a weekend, what a season for the Cats.

Let’s talk about it and more…

 

1. Kentucky is moving on to the Super Regional in Louisville.

With last night’s win, the Cats advance to the Super Regional for the first time ever. And who awaits in the Super Regional? None other than the Louisville Cardinals in a best-of-three series in Louisville for a spot in the College World Series. It is, without question, the biggest series in program history.

Here’s the schedule, released moments ago:

June 9 – Noon ET – ESPN2
June 10 – Noon ET – ESPN
June 11 – Noon ET – ESPN/ESPN2

Beat. Louisville.

2. VIDEO: KY Wildcats TV caught the postgame excitement.

Enjoy…

3. MORE VIDEO: Marlana VanHoose sang the national anthem.

You know it’s a big game when they bring Marlana out for the national anthem.

4. Mitch Barnhart and Eddie Gran were wiping down seats after the rain delay.

I’d like to see Tom Jurich do that.

(Note: Tom Jurich would never do that.)

5. John Calipari’s new Wildcats have arrived on campus.

We have confirmed sightings of several members from Calipari’s top-ranked recruiting class, including Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington, who have made their way to Lexington on Monday to begin their careers as Wildcats. Most everyone on the team will be back today for the summer session, which begins tomorrow.

It’s happening!

6. The new football Wildcats arrive this week, too.

Also, Monday was Day 1 of summer workouts for the team:

They pass the look test. That’s for sure.

7. Mark Stoops to speak at the Governor’s Cup Luncheon today.

Our own Freddie Maggard will be in Frankfort this afternoon for the annual Governor’s Cup Luncheon with appearances from Stoops, Bobby Petrino and former stars from both the UK and UofL football programs.

We’ll have a full report on the site once Freddie finishes his lunch, whenever that may be.

8. The Preds won to tie the series at 2-2.

More important, the win forced a Game 6 in Nashville and I will be there. As you probably know by now, I am the biggest Nashville Predators fan on planet Earth after discovering the team almost three whole weeks ago. Now I can’t wait to get to the Music City this weekend to get behind my team and possibly die when Broadway implodes.

9. The KSR summer tour schedule will be up at 10 am.

So check back for that to see where we’ll be stopping around the state.

10. Lots of baseball talk coming up on today’s KSR.

Tune in!


UK Athletics

Kentucky Defeats N.C. State 10-5 for First Regional Championship

UK Athletics

A Cliff Hagan Stadium record crowd of 5,005 stayed up well past midnight to watch the Kentucky baseball team win the program’s first Regional Championship in head coach Nick Mingione’s first season.

A back-and-forth affair, the Cats took the lead for good in the seventh inning when Kole Cottam’s deep drive to right-centerfield hit the top of the raised wall.  The double drove in two RBIs to give UK a 7-5 lead.

After a rough start, a wild fourth inning filled with confrontation peaked when Kentucky’s Marcus Carson doubled down the rightfield line to put two runs on the scoreboard.  Connor Heady and Evan White each added an RBI to tie the game at 4-4.  The Cats fell behind in the fifth before the explosive seventh inning put Kentucky in the driver’s seat.  They topped it off with three insurance runs in the top of the ninth for the 10-5 final score.

Sean Hjelle shut the door on the Wolfpack.  Entering with two outs in the sixth inning, the SEC Pitcher of the Year needed only 35 pitches, good for three strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth, to retire the last 10 batters and secure the win.

Kentucky advances to play in the Super Regional next weekend at Louisville where the winner of the best-of-three series will advance to the College World Seris.


“Wildcat Welcome Guide” for Calipari’s new Cats on campus

“Wildcat Welcome Guide” for Calipari’s new Cats on campus

Welcome to the University of Kentucky!

As a new student-athlete on campus and a member of our basketball program’s top-ranked recruiting class, we are excited to have you in Lexington and in Big Blue Nation. With your arrival this week and enrollment in our second summer session, you are officially a Kentucky Wildcat! Woo-hoo! Take that, Duke!

Now that you are all moved in to the Lodge and eager to learn about your new home for the next four years (or one year LOL), take a moment to read this Wildcat Welcome Guide complete with things you need to know as a UK basketball player. If you have any questions, ask your Twitter followers.

 


Upcoming Events


Tuesday, June 6: First team meeting (An Introduction to Position-less Basketball)

Wednesday, June 7: “see blue” U Orientation and Registration for new and returning students

Thursday, June 8: First day of classes

Friday, June 9: Walk aimlessly around Fayette Mall as a group


Places To Know


You will learn much more about our 800-acre campus in your student orientation and in the UK 101 course in which you are already enrolled for the upcoming semester, but go ahead and familiarize yourself with the following places as you will be spending the majority of your time in them as a member of the men’s basketball team:

Joe Craft Center – The newly-renovated, state-of-the-art basketball practice facility attached to Memorial Coliseum; also home to basketball support spaces, including the coaches’ offices (key card entry only)

CATS: Center for Academic & Tutorial Services – The first center of its kind dedicated solely to providing primary academic support for UK’s more than 500 student-athletes; located inside the Joe Craft Center

Wildcat Coal Lodge – Residence hall for the men’s basketball program

Student Center – Currently in the midst of a $175 million dollar renovation, the UK Student Center will soon include a 600-seat cinema, retail and residential dining, and a Barnes & Noble-run student bookstore; temporary facilities are fully operational along Avenue of Champions

Sorority Row – As a member of the UK basketball team, you will be very popular among our sororities and the entire female student population; perks of the job, they say

Raising Cane’s – Unofficial, off-campus dining hall for the men’s basketball program; although, John Wall preferred Indi’s Fast Food Restaurant over Cane’s when he craved chicken during his time at UK


5 Fun Facts About UK Men’s Basketball


1. UK is the most successful NCAA Division I basketball program in history in terms of both all-time wins (2,237) and all-time winning percentage (.765).

2. UK leads all schools in NCAA tournament wins (124).

3. The school’s eight NCAA championships ranks second all time.

4. Kentucky is the only program with 5 different NCAA Championship coaches.

5. Anthony Davis took the fourth most shots.


Important Dates To Know


August 23, 2017: First day of fall semester

April 2, 2018: NCAA Championship game

May 8-13, 2018: NBA Combine

May 23, 2018: Deadline for early entrants to return to school

June 21, 2018: 2018 NBA Draft


Frequently Asked Questions


Is it safe to walk through the Big Blue Madness campout?

Yes and no. You will get attacked by mobs of autograph-seeking fans who have been sleeping on the ground for two days, but they’re pretty harmless, for the most part. It is at the campout that you will truly realize that Kentucky fans, though kind at heart, are crazy and will do anything to get a photo with you.

Will Big Blue Nation be upset if we lose to Louisville?

Short answer: Don’t lose to Louisville.

(And you won’t.)

Should I go live on Instagram after midnight?

No.

When can I meet Drake?

You will meet Drake only if Sandy Bell decides the meeting is within NCAA rules. In fact, you will do nothing without Sandy’s approval of your every move. You will not go to sleep until she tells you it is okay to go to sleep and you will not eat until she says your meal is NCAA compliant.

Why is someone standing outside my window with three basketballs?

Get used to it.


A Message From Your Coach, John Calipari…


“Welcome to Lexington, son! I’m so happy to have you here at the University of Kentucky as a member of our men’s basketball program! As I told you throughout our discussions during your recruitment, this place isn’t for everyone. You are here because it is for YOU and only YOU will decide how far it takes you in your basketball journey!

The first step in that journey will be accepting your role within the TEAM and learning servant leadership. You’re going to share more than you have ever shared, you’re going to score less, you’re going to play less minutes, and be more about your teammates than about yourself. YOU will be your brothers’ keeper here at Kentucky, and when you embrace that brotherhood and practice servant leadership, we will all eat together.

I hope you’re ready to be a part of the gold standard in college basketball!”


 

Detach the following form and submit to Mrs. Ellen by Friday.


Confirm your Date of Birth.

 

______ / ______ / ____________

 

Peanut allergy?    NO         YES   



@ShawnMcKenzieSN

Game Four’s Monday Morning Wakeup

@ShawnMcKenzieSN

Greetings, friends. Long time no type. I’m back from my two-week adventure in Italy, during which I ate lots of pasta, drank lots of wine, and generally did my best to forget about UK Sports for a while…until Ryan Lemond’s creepy laugh woke me up one night to tell me Hamidou Diallo was coming back to school. (As you might imagine, going back to sleep after that was impossible.) I’ll share bits and pieces from my trip over the next week, but right now, a much more important matter is upon us: Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Being abroad when the Nashville Predators won the Western Conference Finals was tough, as was getting home just in time to witness their humiliating loss in Game Two; that’s why Saturday’s 5-1 win was so sweet. I’ve lived in Nashville for 11 years now, and I’ve never witnessed a more amazing day in the city. Over 50,000 fans flooded the streets downtown, forcing police to close down two additional blocks of Broadway all the way to the river. For once, there were more locals than tourists downtown as Preds fans pushed out bachelorette parties and staked their claim to hear Alan Jackson’s free concert and swap guesses as to who will sing the national anthem (Martina McBride) and how many catfish would hit the ice (by my count, three). The Preds responded, turning in a crucial 5-1 win to move the series to 2-1. Even though it’s a Monday, I expect the atmosphere will be equally as rabid leading up to an essential Game Four. I got my fill of the chaos downtown on Saturday, but will be cheering from my lucky seat here in East Nashville. Join me at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports. We got this.

In the meantime, here’s what we’ll be talking about today:

1. UK Baseball will play NC State for a spot in the Super Regional tonight

The Bat Cats got back on track in the Lexington regional with two huge wins yesterday, the first over Indiana and the second over NC State to force a final showdown with the Wolfpack tonight. The winner will advance to the Super Regional in Louisville to face the Cardinals. The game starts at 7 p.m. at The Cliff, and while you should do absolutely everything you can to be there to cheer them on in person, it should be televised, although the channel has yet to be determined. We’ll keep you updated.

2. Coach Mingione got a little emotional in the postgame presser

How much would a spot in the Super Regionals mean to this program and its players? Nick Mingione teared up when talking about his senior centerfielder Marcus Carson last night:

How can you not love Mingione? Speaking of baseball…

3. How about my Davidson Wildcats?

My other Wildcats knocked off 2-seed North Carolina last night to win the Chapel Hill Regional in what D1 Baseball’s Aaron Fitt called one of the biggest upsets in college baseball history. Between the Preds winning Saturday, both sets of Wildcats winning Sunday, and Steph Curry doing his thing in the NBA Finals, it was certainly a great weekend to be a Wildcat. Watch the awesome winning moment below:

4. Calipari was in NYC this weekend

After stops in Destin for the SEC Spring Meetings and Pittsburgh for Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals, Calipari was in NYC this weekend to take his son Brad to a Mets/Pirates game:

Something tells me Cal will be back in Pittsburgh for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Thursday night.

5. 17 Days until the NBA Draft

Believe it or not, there are only 17 days until the NBA Draft in New York, and while I was gone, it seems buzz continued to grow around De’Aaron Fox. Fox impressed at the Catalyst Sports Pro Day this weekend, prompting some to suggest that the Lakers may pass on Lonzo Ball and take Fox instead with the second pick. We saw this as the season went on, but Fox’s shooting continues to improve, as you can see in this video from his Pro Day workout via Draft Express:

After the workout was over, Fox was back in the weight room to put in more work:

Make the right choice, Magic.

6. I had the best risotto in the world in Burano

Should you ever find yourself in Venice, Italy and overwhelmed by the crowds, do yourself a favor and hop on the ferry to Burano, a small fishing island about 40 minutes outside the city. Known for lace and brightly painted buildings, Burano is an amazing oasis, made even more so by the seafood risotto at Da Romano. My husband and I first heard about the dish on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” and made the trek solely to try it; we were not disappointed. Prepared delicately with “go,” a local fish, it was simply perfection, especially when paired with the house white wine and this view:

Sigh. Before I hop on a plane back to Venice, let’s keep going.

7. The Governor’s Cup Luncheon is tomorrow

For some reason, the Governor’s Cup luncheon is still held in June even though the rivalry showdown takes place in November, but alas, this year’s version takes place tomorrow afternoon at the Frankfort County Club. That means awkward photo opps between Mark Stoops and Bobby Petrino, plenty of pictures of the trophy, and hopefully a little bit of swaggy trash talk. Usually, this event is a bore, but it sure is nice to come in as the winner after last season’s upset for the ages.

Speaking of…

8. The UK Football Women’s Clinic is set for July 22

Period jokes aside, last year’s women’s clinic was a great way to get ready for football season, and from what I hear, the folks at UK have even more tricks up their sleeves for this year’s event, which will go down in the Woodford Reserve Club at Kroger Field on Saturday, July 22. The registration fee is $75, which includes a gift, t-shirt, lunch, and all the pictures with Freddie Maggard you could dream of. For more information, visit ukathletics.com/camps.

9. Wonder Woman was awesome

I’m not a huge superhero/comic books fan, nor do I expect a lot from Hollywood when it comes to females in leading roles, but I absolutely loved Wonder Woman. I came in not knowing a lot about the character other than her accessories have powers, but director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot brought a story many have struggled with to life. I left the theater ready to rumble and happy that finally, little girls have a heroine that’s just as badass as Batman, Superman, or the countless other male superheroes. Do yourself a favor and go see it.

10. One hour until the gang discusses Shannon’s win over Tony Vanetti in OVW

If you haven’t seen the pictures and videos of Shannon wrestling in a speedo, consider yourself warned:

Tune in to hear the gang break it down one hour and six minutes from now.


Why Kevin Knox Picked UK, Where He’ll Play and the ‘Scary’ Combination with Hamidou Diallo

Kevin Knox was a surprising late addition to John Calipari’s 2017 recruiting class.  Deciding shortly after the Kentucky Derby, the initial shock caused for celebration.  After the celebration, fans began to ask questions, “How did he get to UK?  Where is he going to play?  What can he do for our team?”  In an interview with KSTV, he answered all of those questions and more.

The most curious question is where the versatile 6’8″ forward will play.  An athlete with exceptional offensive skills, Knox can play forward or stretch the floor as the two-guard.

“They want me to play a lot of two, a lot of three, maybe throw in some four depending on what lineup,” Knox said.  “They really want me everywhere on the floor and I think that’s one of the reasons why I picked Kentucky.”

While fans waited to hear Hamidou Diallo’s decision, many questioned if his return would negatively affect Knox by taking away some of his time as a two-guard.  Knox’s reaction was quite the opposite.

“I’m naturally my best on the wing and I think with Hamidou coming back and him most likely playing a lot of the two, I’ll be playing a lot of the three.  Me and him on the wing together — that’s pretty scary.” 

Many experts, analysts and fans have questioned this team’s ability to shoot.  Knox does not.

“A lot of people say we lack shooting, but I think I can knock shots down, P.J. can knock shots down, Jarred can knock shots down.  I think we’re really pretty solid on shooting.”

Youth is the team’s biggest question mark.  It’s a question raised every year for John Calipari’s teams, but with eight newcomers the concern is even more extensive.  Even though they’re young and have yet to report to campus, Knox has a great rapport with his teammates.  Their time playing AAU on shoe circuits and at All-American games has created a bond, a bond that will build through competitiveness in practice.

“Every single day we’re in the gym together it’s gonna be real competitive,” Knox said.  “That’s one of the reasons why I picked Kentucky is because I know they’ll get me better.  The players around me, they’ll push me really hard.  I can’t come to practice and slack off everyday.  I know I gotta come to practice with my A-game.”

The time for talking is finished.  Knox knows it’s time to go to work. “I’m ready to strive for nine.”

[KSTV]


The Depth Chart Podcast with Mark Higgs

depth-chart-jack-kain-ford

This week it’s another edition of Freddie Maggard’s “Has Beens” series on The Depth Chart Podcast.  Chris Chenault returns with his roommate, Jay Dortch, to bust the chops of former UK great Mark Higgs.  One of the best to ever run the football at the University of Kentucky, his old teammates spend more time teasing him then praising him for his long list of accomplishments.  Highlights:

—  The time Higgs crossed Chenault’s dog, 45.

—  Their summer jobs, and how Higgs got the easiest.

—  Where Benny Snell stacks up against the best running backs in the SEC.

—  Can Kentucky hit the over of six wins in 2017?

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.