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UK not in the top 10 of best college basketball destinations

TripSavvy ranked UK the 11th best destination in college basketball and I have some questions.

You can read the entire top 13 destinations HERE, but I’ll provided their rankings:

1. Dayton

2. VCU

3. Pittsburgh

4. Michigan State

5. UNC

6. Iowa State

7. Arizona

8. Butler

9. Indiana

10. Maryland

11. Kentucky

12. Kansas

13. Duke

It seems the ranker, James Thompson, valued arena atmosphere along with restaurants/bars near the arenas. In some places weather seemed to be a factor, but mostly it was arena atmospheres and food. Sadly as a media member at Rupp Arena the $7 food voucher doesn’t allow you to do both, and when the Cats play a garbage team we go 0/2. #BringBackPapaJohn’s.

But as far as the criteria for rankings, I’m down with both those things. I love food and eat it pretty much three times a day, and I love good college basketball atmospheres.

I’ve only been to a few of the bars/restaurants on this list, but it seems Thompson has made a slew of horrible mistakes putting Dayton, VCU and Pittsburgh No. 1, 2 and 3. If you don’t want UK to be No. 1 I’m perfectly fine with that. There are better atmospheres than Rupp Arena. I very much like the food in and bar scenes in Lexington when you get away from Rupp, but even those establishments could be topped elsewhere.

But if you put it together, restaurants and atmosphere, UK isn’t topped by Dayton, VCU or Pitt.

Here’s what Thompson said about UK:

“Kentucky is the only state in the south that cares more about basketball than it does football, which is what raises Kentucky near the top of our list. Big Blue Nation cares about their Kentucky Wildcats so much that the conversation permeates through talk radio and bar chatter on a 24/7 basis. Rupp Arena holds 23,500, which is largest college basketball venue that’s not a football stadium. (Syracuse’s Carrier Dome holds 33,000 for college basketball games.) We all know what UK offers in terms of basketball history. It’s hard to match up with 17 Final Fours and eight national championships. The double burger at Parkette Drive-In is a local delicacy and the live music at Two Keys Tavern will have you loving your trip. The added benefit of sneaking away for some time on the Bourbon Trail is the cherry on top of your Kentucky sundae experience.”

Nothing against Parkette, but if you’re traveling specifically into Lexington for a basketball game I’m going somewhere better. Perhaps Saul Good? Maybe Malone’s if I’m feeling fancy? If you want to go somewhere cheaper and quicker then what about Joe Bologna’s (best pizza in Lex)?

Also, I went to Two Keys a lot in college. It’s a fine suggestion for out-of-towners heading to Lexington to take in the UK atmosphere away from Rupp, but do they often have live music? Was Thompson thinking Tin Roof? Maybe Two Keys has more live music than I’m remembering but it was mostly just DJs. It makes me question Thompson’s entire list.

When I hear top college basketball destinations I take it as “If you’re going to make a college basketball trip here’s where you need to go.” On my list Dayton, VCU and Pittsburgh wouldn’t make the top 15. I love the food in Pittsburgh, but even when the Panthers have been relevant the Petersen Events Center is underwhelming. Food alone doesn’t make Pittsburgh a top basketball destination.

My list for the top places to travel to see a college basketball game would be:

1. Kansas

2. Duke

3. UK

4. Indiana

5. Butler

6. Louisville

7. Michigan State

8. Purdue

9. UNC

10. Syracuse

Things to do in the city matter, but if you’re traveling to go watch college basketball you need to go to a place that loves and lives it. If you go to any of those places and you plan accordingly you could see a monster matchup. You’re not getting monster matchups at Dayton or VCU.

How would you rank the top 10 college basketball destinations?

C.M. Newton dies at 88

Naismith Hall of Famer and former UK athletic director C.M. Newton died Monday at the age of 88.

Newton also played basketball (1951 national champion) and baseball for the Cats. Newton was hired as the athletic director at UK in 1989 and served Kentucky until 2000. Mitch Barnhart has said on record that Newton recommended John Calipari during the 2009 coaching search.

He was born in Rockwood, Tenn., but his family moved to Fort Lauderdale during the Great Depression before Newton turned one.

Newton didn’t make the Hall of Fame because of his basketball accolades as a player at UK. He played in just 22 games as a Wildcat basketball player. He  scored 27 points in his UK career, but Hall of Famer Frank Ramsey said that he won UK the 1951 Eastern Regional championship because of Newton’s defensive contributions. UK would go on to win the title.

On Adolph Rupp’s recommendation, Newton would go on to coach Transylvania’s basketball team directly out of college while still playing baseball for the Cats and ultimately signing with the Yankee’s organization.

After leaving for the Air Force Newton came back and gave up baseball to be a full-time coach at Transylvania. But he wouldn’t stay in Lexington forever. Paul “Bear” Bryant called Newton to take over Alabama’s basketball program.

Newton would accept as long as he would be allowed to recruit African Americans, which was assured by Bryant. It didn’t take long for Newton to sign the first black scholarship athlete in Alabama history (Wendell Hudson).

He did as much as anyone in the SEC when it came to integrating the conference. In 1973 he had the SEC’s first all-black starting lineup and hired UK’s first black men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

During 12 seasons at Alabama Newton went 211-123 and won three SEC Titles and was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1972 and 1976. He was named the head coach at Vanderbilt in 1982 after a two year stretch being the associate commissioner of the SEC.

Newton returned to UK in 1989 to become the athletic director and almost immediately hired Rick Pitino, who turned around UK’s program in short time.

Newton’s health had been deteriorating over the last few months and Calipari asked fans to pray for him. We you all will continue to keep Newton and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

This was a guy that did it all during his life in athletics. He was friends with Rupp, Bear Bryant, Joe B. Hall, Calipari and several other greats. What a representative he was for UK sports and the SEC. Rest in peace to a UK and SEC great.


PHOTO: Your first look at the 2018-19 Kentucky Wildcats


Here’s a great way to start your week: the 2018-19 Kentucky Wildcats have assembled. Check out the team, including newcomers Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and EJ Montgomery, in Bardstown at the first of John Calipari’s satellite camps:

Ashton Hagans and Reid Travis, we’re just waiting on you.

Catching up with Austin MacGinnis: Free Training Sessions, NFL Aspirations and Life as UK’s All-Time Leading Scorer

Austin MacGinnis’ career as a Kentucky Wildcat is complete, but his time in Lexington is not over…for now.

The former University of Kentucky placekicker that holds the school’s all-time scoring record is searching for an NFL home.  After competing in the Chicago Bears’ three-day mini-camp, he has returned to Lexington.  While waiting for a call from the NFL, he’s working a bank job and training twice a day.  Beginning next weekend he’ll assume a new role as a mentor for aspiring kickers in the community.

Over the next two months MacGinnis will hold two-hour training sessions for specialists at Frederick Douglass High School.  To give everyone a chance to work on their craft, or for those who want to try kicking for the first time, the first session is free.

“I just want to give kids the opportunity to come out and see if they like kicking. They might have never done it before,” MacGinnis told KSR.  “I’ll see where they’re at and just have some fun. There’s no pressure or anything for the first camp, just come out and see if you like it.”

Campers will be trained to punt, kick field goals and kick off.  Former UK long snapper Kelly Mason, who spent a preseason as a free agent with the Washington Redskins, will be in attendance to help train long snappers.  MacGinnis was inspired to create the kicking camps by those who helped him become the nation’s third-ranked high school kicker.

“For the kids that sign up, it’s not just for the day they sign up. It’s going to be mentoring. Anytime they can shoot me a text, pick my brain about the mental side. I’m here to help the kids at the end of the day because I had people that helped me get to where I went to, and hopefully can play in the NFL. I just want to give these kids the best chance to be the best kicker they can be.”

The first session on June 3 is already full, but there are plenty of other dates still available.  You can sign up to train with Austin by reaching out to him on Twitter, Instagram or e-mail him at

You might not be interested in kicking camps, but you’ll be interested to hear what MacGinnis told KSR about his time at Kentucky (including why he dabs) and what his NFL future looks like.

KSR: How is life since you finished school?

MacGinnis: Things have been going well. I had a tryout with the Chicago Bears. I was up at their mini-camp for three days and that went well. They signed a veteran in Cody Parkey. Now I’m just training, working at Central Bank as a credit analyst, training in the mornings and afternoons, staying ready.

KSR: Was it weird since they just signed a kicker for a ton of money?

MacGinnis: No, not really, because things can happen. If he gets hurt, they want to know who there options are if something else happens.  It’s just really good to get your foot in the door anywhere. At my position as a placekicker, there’s only so many opportunities, so many teams looking for kickers, so you kind of just gotta stay ready. It could take some time to get the right opportunity and take advantage of it.

KSR: How does it work to be a free agent kicker? Do you just have to play the waiting game?

MacGinnis: You just gotta stay ready. Let’s say a kicker gets hurt or has a bad game, whatever, they’ll fly four or five kickers in to have a workout that next Monday. Basically, whoever they like the best out of that workout they’ll keep around. You just gotta stay sharp. It’s a weird position where you kind of don’t necessarily lose value the older you get, where at other positions, the older you get, the worse you’ll perform. As a kicker you can play for a long time so you gotta stay ready.

KSR: Does that mean you’ll be cheering against guys?

MacGinnis: No, I’m not (laugh) But if the opportunity presents itself, I won’t be mad if they call me up. I can’t though. That’s not good karma. In good conscience I can’t wish bad on anybody. I’m sure some things will happen this season. I just hope I’m going to be on the short list to get called. I’ll go to some competitions to stay releveant and keep my name out there so they know I’m still one of the top kickers.

KSR: What about training camp, will they bring in multiple kickers or is much of the same?

MacGinnis: How training camp normally works, you have a kicker, punter and snapper. They’ll bring in one extra guy for only one of those positions, so a total of four specialists. If a team’s punter didn’t do good last year, they’ll bring in a punter. If they’re all solid, they might not bring anyone, because you know in the NFL it’s all about a numbers game. They don’t get that many roster spots. Also, if another one of the players gets hurt, let’s say an offensive linemen gets hurt or something, prior to the season they’ll bring in a bunch of extra offensive linemen to try out, get someone to fill the gap and take that number from the speciailists. The specialists’ numbers are the first to go.

KSR: You Probably can’t pick a favorite game-winner, but what goes through your mind before a big kick?

MacGinnis: I love it because you work so hard throughout the season to get that opportunity to be the deciding factor. It’s what you dream about, especially knowing you can have that much control of a game. I just love it. I’m here to win games.

I think we did pretty well in my four seasons that I actually played. We had a .500 record.  I’m hoping that Coach Stoops and them can keep the ball rolling and get to another bowl game this year and not regress.

KSR: People forget that UK has actually been pretty good the last four years.

MacGinnis: We’ve been good, we’ve been competing, we’ve been right there. I’m happy with where I left from when I got there. My redshirt freshman year we were 2-10. That’s not fun for anyone.


Michael Huang

UK basketball at center of EPA administrator controversy

Michael Huang

The New York Times is reporting the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, attended the Louisville vs. Kentucky basketball game in December after acquiring tickets from Joe Craft.

Pruitt bought the tickets at “market value” and supposedly paid $130 cash per ticket.

The article, which you can read here, details how the declining coal industry now has allies in the EPA, but the focus of the story is Pruitt attending Rupp Arena.

He traveled to Lexington to watch the Cats destroy Louisville by 29 points. The Pruitt and Craft did not sit together but Pruitt did have his security detail and Kentucky governor Matt Bevin was scheduled to be a part of Pruitt’s group at Rupp Arena.

Pruitt was allowed access to locker room area before and after the game and even took a picture with Shai Alexander. Below, you can also see Pruitt and his son on the floor as the players walk out onto the court.




Dontaie Allen Schedules Unofficial Visit to Kentucky


A rising in-state star is coming to Kentucky’s campus.  Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen has scheduled an unofficial visit to Kentucky for Sunday June 10, his AAU team announced last night.

Next weekend’s visit will be the first time Allen has set foot on campus as a Kentucky recruit.  Joel Justus made the trip up I-75 to watch the sharpshooter work out in early April.  The UK assistant liked what he saw.  This weekend the rest of the coaching staff will see how Allen stacks up with the 2018-19 Wildcats, who are set to report to campus this Monday.  If Allen performs well, a scholarship offer may soon follow.

Dontaie Allen
Small Forward| 6-6 | 185 lbs.
Falmouth, KY | Pendleton County
AAU: M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs
ESPN No. — | 33 PF Top247 No. 154 | 41 SF
Rivals No. — | — 247 Comp.  No. 214 | 52 SF

This weekend Allen is on the west coast at the Pangos All-American Camp.  The three-day showcase could bring more schools to the table.  Allen added four scholarship offers this week — West Virginia, Dayton, Virginia Tech and Purdue — to increase his total to 13.

Allen may not be the only visitor on campus next weekend.  Kira Lewis, a rising point guard from Alabama, has tentatively scheduled an unofficial to Lexington for June 10.  That could change if Lewis earns an invitation to next weekend’s NBPA Top 100 Camp.

Next weekend is setting up to be an excellent weekend for Kentucky basketball recruiting.  If Kentucky does extend a scholarship offer, it would not take long for Allen to accept the opportunity to play at his “dream school.”  The Big Blue Nation yearns to see in-state stars in a UK uniform.  The wait for the next one may soon be over.

The Most Quintessential Kentucky Things Ever

The Most Quintessential Kentucky Things Ever

Today is Kentucky’s 226th birthday, and to celebrate, I came up with a list of 22.6 things that are quintessentially Kentuckian. I’m talking about the stuff that, if you’re raised here, is in your blood, even if you move away. Stuff that people from outside the Commonwealth just don’t understand. Stuff that’s just…Kentucky.

1. Bourbon

Obviously. The pride of the Commonwealth, bourbon is as Kentucky as it gets, right down to the limestone that makes it so unique. As bourbon has boomed over the past ten years, so has Kentucky’s tourism. If you’ve got friends visiting from out of state, odds are you’ll take them to a distillery or along the bourbon trail. Even if you’re not a huge bourbon fan, basic knowledge of the spirit is instilled in you. We do this better than anyone. (Sorry, Brooklyn.)

2. The Kentucky Derby

The other obvious top choice. For two minutes each year, the world turns its eyes to Louisville, and between the horses, the hats, and the B-roll of horse country, our state never looks better. For us ex-pat Kentuckians, there’s no homesick like Derby homesick, especially when “My Old Kentucky Home” starts up.

3. Keeneland

The Derby and Churchill Downs are more well-known, but Keeneland has my heart. Despite the fact that you’re, you know, gambling, trips to Keeneland almost feel religious to me, from the unparalleled beauty of the grounds, the pilgrimage from your parking spot to the gate, and (almost) everyone decked out in their Sunday best. Give me a spot on the rail, a program, and a Keeneland Breeze and I’m at church.

4. Kentucky Basketball

There is no fanbase like the Big Blue Nation. Alabama football is a close second, but Kentucky basketball fans are an unique breed. What other program can boast that its fans camp out for free tickets to a practice? Or support websites like this? I have a job because Kentucky fans love their Cats so much, something I never take for granted.

5. Ale-8-One

Kentucky’s official soft drink has been around for over 90 years and only now are people outside of the state sitting up and taking notice. Ale-8-One has started popping up at hipster foodie spots across the South, but whenever I see one, I’ll always flash back to commercials like this:

Has anyone tried the new Cherry flavor?

6. Hot Browns

Because I’m from Kentucky, I feel like I have to like hot browns, but really, I don’t. Most people will say that’s because I haven’t had a good one, but an open faced turkey sandwich with Mornay sauce all over it? No thanks. Sandwiches are not meant to be eaten with forks and knives. Just give me the bacon, please.

7. Burgoo

Now, this is a Kentucky food I can wholeheartedly support. Spicier than a normal beef stew, it’s the perfect thing to warm you up on a cold, rainy day at Keeneland. Just don’t ever tell me all the different types of meat in it.

8. BBQ Mutton

Don’t worry, Western Kentucky, I didn’t forget you. Owensboro is the Mutton Capital of the World, which is why Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn is a must stop. North Carolina has pulled pork with vinegar sauce; Texas has brisket; Memphis has dry rub; Kansas City has burnt ends. Kentucky has mutton. It’s just our thing.

How many of us have a picture like this in our phone?

9. The Castle

If you’re from the Central Kentucky area, odds are you know some some version of the history of the castle on Versailles Road. It’s like the Bluegrass’ demented fairy tale. A man started building it for his wife and then they got divorced. Instead of finishing it, he put it on the market and for decades, it sat vacant. Finally, someone bought it in 2003 and a year later, it caught fire. After a series of owners and renovations, it’s now a successful bed and breakfast, restaurant, and concert venue.

10. Dinosaur World

Even though I’ve never actually been to Dinosaur World, I feel like I have because the 65-foot T-Rex statue marks the midway point between Nashville and Lexington. Like the Castle, it’s always a good photo-op while on the road.


Pick your 2018-19 Kentucky Basketball Starting Lineup

After this week’s draft decisions, Kentucky’s 2018-19 roster is one step closer to being final. We’re still waiting on Ashton Hagans to reclassify and Stanford grad transfer Reid Travis to pick Kentucky over Villanova, but it’s a Friday, so let’s have some fun and pick our ideal starting lineups.

I’ll go first:

G: Ashton Hagans
G: Quade Green
G/F: Keldon Johnson
F: Reid Travis
F: PJ Washington

Obviously, this is contingent on Travis coming to Kentucky, but if he does, I like the idea of going small and playing both Travis and Washington. Depending on matchups, you can rotate EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards in for length and Tyler Herro and Jemarl Baker in for shooting. Immanuel Quickley can sub in for either Hagans or Green. There are so many directions you can go in with this roster, which is why next season is going to be so much fun.

Pick your starting five below and explain yourself in the comments.

Ask Anything Mailbox, Vol. 2: Licking cars and meeting stars

Guess what’s back, back again? Ask Anything Mailbox’s back, tell a friend.

Here we are for Round 2 of the summer “Ask Anything Mailbox” series on these fine pages of Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com. It’s been a busy 24 hours of news here on the site, so I’m going to chop it up a bit by answering another round of questions submitted by you, our dear readers.

Let’s go.

What is the story with you and Cole Swindell?

This story is way too long (and not all that exciting) so I’ll give you the abbreviated version:

Cole Swindell, who I had never heard of at the time of this story, was at a bar in Lexington. He had his own area roped off and the manager of the bar, a good friend of mine, wanted me to meet him. We shook hands. He said his name was Cole. I said my name was Drew. We went back to living our lives. Later in the night, the manager introduced me to him again. He said his name was Cole. I said my name was Drew. We went back to living our lives. Later in the night, I’m standing next to Cole, who I’ve met twice in an hour at this point, and he introduced himself a third time, but made sure to point out that “he is not any Cole,” he is Cole Swindell. So I, not knowing who the hell Cole Swindell was, said something along the lines of: “With all due respect, I’ve never heard of you but we’ve now met three times and you seem to really want people to know you’re somebody.”

I’ve since heard his work and now know he is big time. At the time I think it was a classic case of me being too sober (it was a game day) and annoyed by all the people who had been drinking all day. He wasn’t rude or anything. I just think Cole Swindell is a big fan of Cole Swindell.

What is your go to adult beverage?

Tito’s and water with an orange slice when I’m out. Bourbon or red wine on the couch, but I very rarely indulge in adult beverages at home. No Fireball under any circumstances.

How much money is Matt making off the KSR empire? Answer in Euros if you please.

I do not know how much money Matt is making off the KSR empire, but at the very least, it’s enough to buy a hooded sweatshirt for every team in every sport and to eat out every night of the week.

If stranded on a deserted island with Matt, Ryan, And Shannon who do you eat first so you can survive?

This is an unimaginable scenario, therefore I can’t even formulate a hypothetical response.

We’ll never be stranded on a deserted island because Matt makes us drive everywhere.

What exactly happened with the Tyler Ulis incident on Twitter?

Ah, I thought this one might come up. My memory is a little fuzzy as to exactly how it happened, but I vaguely remember him accidentally tweeting a screenshot of his phone’s photo gallery. How one would accidentally tweet that, I don’t know. But some of the photos were not meant for the public eye.

Drew, what is the most overrated thing in the entire world?

Exercise. Definitely exercise.

With a girl licking Devin Booker’s car being an iconic moment who would you want (and brag about) licking your car?

Whose car would you lick and brag about it?

I don’t want anyone to lick my car, but if someone gets the urge, go for it. It’s the SUV parked outside with the bird shit all over it.

I would not lick anyone’s car and I certainly wouldn’t brag about it if I found myself in a situation that called for me to lick a car.

I have often wondered how college basketball referees are graded. It seems that everyone else in the free world is evaluated on his/her performance, but college basketball refs can continually be horrible and maintain employment. Is there an actual rating system for them? It’s almost like a government assistance program where they stay employed in spite of the fact many are truly awful. My guess is that college basketball refs were largely unqualified for any other occupation in life so taxpayers must be subsidizing their incomes to keep them off welfare. Think about it- when did you ever hear a kid in high school or college say he/she wanted to be a ref when he/she grew up? NEVER! My hypothesis is that they failed at every other facet of life and the generous people at the NCAA felt compelled to give them high profile jobs to keep them off government cheese. What say you?

I no longer comment on officials or the act of officiating. It is company policy. You understand.


My buddies and I got in a pretty intense argument back in the fall about a topic I thought was pretty obvious: Is Enes Kanter a true Kentucky Wildcat? Of the 6 of us in our idiotic, best friend group text, we have one friend that is the only “true UK fan” and whatever he thinks is the only way a real fan can think. The guy still calls me randomly throughout the week and bitches about how he can’t get over the 2015 loss to Wisconsin (yes, it sucks but life goes on.) Back to the question/argument about Enes; it is/was 5 against 1, with the 5 of us saying that Enes should be considered a Wildcat and a true member of that 2011 team. Our main argument is because he helped them get better day in practice and they rallied around his status with the NCAA off of the court. He more than likely/obviously made Josh Harrelson better every day by going up against him in practice. Even through all of the BS that the NCAA put him through, Enes stayed the course and helped elevate the UK Wildcats to an unexpected level that season by making the team better every day in practice (I beat this point like a dead horse because it’s obvious.) Now, my best friend who is an absolute idiot (we all have that one friend, right? Okay good,) claims that Enes isn’t a true Wildcat because “we have played just as many minutes in an NCAA game as a UK Wildcat than Enes has: ZERO!” I/my other 4 friends think it’s the dumbest ****ing argument ever. Please Drew, after 8 months of back-and-forth jabs, help us settle this debate in a public forum. Is Enes Kanter a “true” UK Wildcat?

I believe Enes Kanter is more of a Wildcat than some former players who actually played. Kanter still talks about his time at Kentucky during NBA interviews, while there are former players who don’t own a blue shirt and can’t find Lexington on a map.

If you really want to shut up your friend’s stupid argument, though, remind him that Kanter was named a student-assistant coach after the NCAA ruled him ineligible. So if you’re saying he isn’t a true Wildcat, you’re saying staff members aren’t true Wildcats. Is John Robic a Wildcat? Is Bill Keightley a Wildcat? They never played in any NCAA games at UK.

Then there are the contributions Kanter made to the team behind the scenes (meetings, practices, locker room, etc.).

Tell your friend he’s an idiot.

While Mr Jones acts like he’s in charge, I have a feeling it is a public front.  Isn’t Ryan really the Mr Brains of KSR?  Just seems logical.

I love Ryan, but he is not the “Mr. Brains” of KSR and that does not seem logical at all. KSR is actually a multifaceted brand with several moving parts and Ryan’s involvement is on the radio side, where he is an excellent co-host to Matt. But to say he is the Mr. Brains of KSR is liking saying Doron Lamb was the Mr. Brains of the 2012 national championship team.

Submit your question(s) for an upcoming edition of the “Ask Anything Mailbox”…


Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

Until next time…