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January 15th, 2019

Get ready for the Georgia game with the KSR Pregame Show

We’re two and a half hours from tipoff of Kentucky vs. Georgia, which means it’s time for the KSR Pregame Show.

Matt and Ryan are live in the Lexington studios at KSBar and Grille to get you ready for tonight’s game, so turn that radio dial to 630 WLAP or listen online via iHeart Radio.

 


Cheap tickets to tonight’s game still available

Photo via GeorgiaDogs.com

According to Georgia, tonight’s game vs. Kentucky has been sold out since October, but a quick glance at the secondary ticket markets suggests you can still get into Stegeman Coliseum for a very low price.

Upper level tickets are going for as low as $17 on Vivid Seats, lower level for as low as $37. By my count, approximately 250 tickets are still up for grabs on secondary markets, so if you live in the Athens/Atlanta area and are even toying with the idea of making the trip, get in that car and go.

One part of the 10,500-seat arena that will be full is the student section. Starting this morning, students lined up to get wristbands for the game:

Tom Crean issued this plea to Georgia fans yesterday.

“We need them to be here early, to be loud, to be crazy, obnoxious, whatever it takes early on to establish themselves. Just for them to be into the game and help us through everything. If we are on a run, help us keep going. If we have to get a run going, help us get that going. Continue to read the game the way they have and just be loud.”

Kentucky failed the “Everybody’s Super Bowl” test at Alabama a week and a half ago. Will they keep their composure when Stegeman gets rocking tonight?


5 things to know about the Georgia Bulldogs

1. The two best players for Georgia through the first half of the season are Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton. These two are the top two producers in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals for the Bulldogs on the year. On top of that Claxton also leads the team in assists, and Hammonds is second on team in three-point shooting. Currently, Claxton is averaging 12.6 points, a tied for the SEC lead 9.5 rebounds, an SEC-leading 3.3 blocks, 2.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Claxton has made an awesome jump from his freshman to sophomore year, and presents a match up nightmare for most teams. Leading the team in assists as the tallest player on the roster is extremely uncommon, but shows how much of the offense runs through Claxton. As for Hammonds, he’s putting up 13.9 points, 6.7 boards, 1.7 assists, and nearly one steal per contest, while hitting 42.1% of his threes and 84.2% of his free throws. Another huge leap for the Bulldogs from freshman to sophomore year, Hammonds has seen big jumps in all of his statistical contributions, despite playing nearly the same minutes as last year. The one downfall for these two sophomore studs is that they are turnover prone, combining for nearly 4 turnovers per game, despite not playing the guard positions.

2. Similar to the lineup that Vanderbilt was throwing at the Cats for extended periods, Georgia starts a group that has a solid size advantage over Kentucky. A starting lineup of 6’4″ William Jackson II , 6’4″ Teshaun Hightower, 6’8″ Rayshaun Hammonds, 6’9″ Derek Ogbeide, and 6’11” Nicolas Claxton doesn’t sound too incredibly large, until you realize that their 6’8″ small forward outweighs Keldon Johnson by 25 pounds, 6’8″ PJ Washington will be defending Claxton, who is longer, quicker, three inches taller, and more versatile than how Washington’s playing at the moment, and that Reid Travis is 15 pounds lighter than Ogbeide. The Bulldogs present both an athletic big and a power big, which means Reid Travis and PJ Washington need to get out of their collective funk and provide some sort of offensive production, while playing with high effort on the defensive end.

3. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention Georgia’s new Head Coach this season. We last saw Tom Crean underperforming on a regular basis leading the Hoosiers at Indiana. Hoosier fans grew impatient with the constant “next year” mentality that had seemingly encompassed the program. In 9 years at Indiana, Crean made the NCAA Tournament just 4 times, the Sweet 16 only three times, and never advanced to an Elite 8. Even the year he had two top-4 picks in the draft, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, Crean lost as a number 1 seed to 4 seeded Syracuse in the Sweet 16. After being let go at Indiana, Crean took a season off, but the hiatus was short as the Georgia job came calling. The Bulldog faithful has been energized by the Tom Crean hire, and he seems to genuinely like working at Georgia. He’s pumped up the fanbase with hope of future success, and that includes tonight’s game against Kentucky. The game is sold out and they let students start to line up prior to noon this morning to get into the game.

4. Georgia’s non-conference schedule was set up to put them in a good position to vie for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They were slated to take on two ranked teams, along with being the favorite in every other game they played outside of those two games. However, it did not go as planned for the Bulldogs, as they fell to both of their ranked opponents, Clemson and Arizona State. To add insult to injury of those two losses, both of those ranked teams have now fallen out of the rankings in the time since beating Georgia. The Dawgs’ best win is an 11-point win at rival Georgia Tech, but their struggles outweigh the positives. Losses to Temple and Georgia State won’t help come Selection Sunday, and they’ve dropped two of their first three SEC games, to Tennessee and Auburn. Georgia currently sits at 9-6, desperately needing a résumé boosting win. Kentucky can’t have the slow starts that have plagued their start of conference play, as the crowd will be raucous.

5. John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have beaten the Georgia Bulldogs 11 straight times, dating back to 2013. In fact, Kentucky is 16-2 against Georgia since Coach Cal took over in Lexington. The only two wins for the Bulldogs in the Coach Cal era came in Athens. In 2011, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb combined for 42 points, but Kentucky had three players foul out and Trey Thompkins dominated for Georgia, finishing with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in a 77-70 victory for the Bulldogs over the 10th ranked Wildcats. Then, in 2013, the Cats were still reeling from the loss of Nerlens Noel for the season, Georgia was able to win by 10 points, behind a strong 24 point and 10 rebound performance from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.


Go Cats. Beat Dawgs.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Josh Allen and CJ Conrad announce Signing Tour together

Photos: KSR – Michael Huang

Kentucky star running back Benny Snell just finished up his #SnellYeahTour over the weekend, but two other popular Wildcats are also ready for a statewide meet-and-greet with the Big Blue Nation.

Superstar pass rusher Josh Allen, a potential No. 1 overall pick in this spring’s NFL Draft, announced his signing tour for March.

Soon after, former Kentucky tight end and fan-favorite CJ Conrad announced he would be joining Allen on the tour.

Details of cities, specific locations, and prices are still in the works and have not been released quite yet, but we promise to keep you updated as we hear more about it.

All I know is if it’s anything like the #SnellYeahTour, the BBN is in for a treat.

Go Cats.


BBNBA: Davis and Randle combine to score 73 in Pelicans win

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Recap:

  • If not for James Harden going for 30+ points in 17 straight games, everyone would be talking about how dominant Anthony Davis has been lately for the Pelicans. Last night, Davis took over yet again, finishing with 46 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. The Brow was 12 for 12 from the free throw line, including four of them in the final 13 seconds to help seal the victory. Starting alongside Davis, Julius Randle had a big night of his own, putting up 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. The two of them have benefitted so much from playing with the other, if the Pelicans had some stronger guard and bench play, they could contend for a top spot in the Western Conference. Darius Miller played nearly 30 minutes tonight off the bench for the Pels, scoring 6 points and channeling his inner Anthony Davis with 4 blocks.

  • The win for New Orleans came at the cost of a poor night for Clippers’ guard Shai Gilegous-Alexander. SGA was held scoreless and played a career-low 13 minutes. Patrick Beverly has all but taken over the main guard spot from SGA as far as minutes played goes, but SGA remains in the starting lineup for now. The “rookie wall” is very real and Gilgeous-Alexander may very well be hitting it as of late.

Stats:

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis121-117 win over Clippers4616-34 (2-5)164311+139
Julius Randle121-117 win over Clippers2710-19 (0-3)65103+2133
Darius Miller121-117 win over Clippers62-3 (2-3)31040-1929
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander121-117 loss to Pelicans00-3 (0-1)02012-1313
De'Aaron Fox115-107 win over Trail Blazers163-11 (1-3)29200+332
Willie Cauley-Stein115-107 win over Trail Blazers124-10 (0-0)83203+329
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist108-93 win over Spurs31-5 (1-3)71011+725
Malik Monk108-93 win over Spurs21-5 (0-3)10001-35

 

Highlights:

Schedule:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) at Philadelphia 76ers, 7pm ET on NBATV
  • Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker) at Indiana Pacers, 7pm ET
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Nerlens Noel, Hamidou Diallo) at Atlanta Hawks (Alex Poythress), 7:30pm ET
  • Miami Heat (Bam Adebayo) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe), 8pm ET
  • Golden State Warriors (DeMarcus Cousins) at Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles), 9pm ET
  • Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers (Rajon Rondo), 10:30pm ET on NBATV

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Former Kentucky star Avery Williamson is back in Lexington to earn his degree

Classes officially started last week at the University of Kentucky, and like every other student on campus, I slowly made my way through each class on my schedule for syllabus week.

In one instance later in the week, I was trekking my way into the brand new UK Student Center when an individual walked past me that caught me off guard. There are thousands of students walking through campus each day, and I only had time to take a quick glance, but I could’ve sworn I had seen him before. Did I have a past class with him? Same high school? Played sports together growing up?

I brushed it off and didn’t think anything of it until this morning. Making that same journey into the Student Center, I walked down a flight of stairs into the dining area, and that same individual from the week before was walking my direction. This time, though, I got a closer look at him and still couldn’t figure it out. He was 6-feet tall or so, wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants, longer hair, etc. But the face was so freaking familiar.

Sitting down for a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit, I was making my typical morning rounds on social media. Then I came across the following post on Twitter from University of Kentucky assistant athletic director Tony Neely:

Bookbag on and pencil in hand, the individual I had seen twice absolutely was former Kentucky star linebacker and current New York Jet Avery Williamson.

Williamson, who finished with a career-high 121 tackles (41 solo), three sacks, six tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in 2018, is back in Lexington this semester to finish his degree at UK.

After being drafted in the fifth round by the Tennessee Titans in 2014, Williamson played the first season of a three-year, $22 million deal with the Jets he signed last offseason.

At Kentucky, Williamson played from 2010-2013, racking up 296 total tackles, four sacks, ten tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

Congratulations to the former Wildcat great on coming back to earn his degree!


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The SEC Road Has Been Tough on the Cats

© Marvin Gentry | USATSI

Kentucky heads into another, on paper, quite winnable game tonight against Georgia.  There is nothing that would suggest if the Cats don’t bring their “A” game they won’t win comfortably.  Georgia is not any threat to make the NCAA Tournament as Tom Crean tries to rebuild a program that used to be a Top 4 team in the conference.  But if recent history tells us anything, it is that Kentucky fans can no longer assume that ANY road game in the conference is a gimme.  Just a glance:

2016: at LSU 85-67
2016: at Auburn 75-70
2016: at Tennessee 84-77
2016: at Texas A&M 79-77
2016: at Vanderbilt 74-62
2017: at Tennessee 82-80
2017: at Florida 88-66
2018: at Tennessee 76-65
2018: at South Carolina 76-68
2018: at Missouri 69-60
2018: at Texas A&M 85-74
2018: at Auburn 76-66
2018: at Florida 80-67
2019: at Alabama 79-77

Since the 2016 season, UK is just 14-14 in road games in the conference.  And there is more to that record than meets the eye:

-Average margin of defeat in those 14 losses is 9.5 points.  The Cats are not just getting beat at the buzzer consistently like they were in the 2011 season.  They are getting beat comfortably.

-In 10 of the 14 losses, UK came into the game ranked and the opponent was unranked.  They are losing games to teams they shouldn’t.

-UK has given up 75 or more points in 12 of the 14 games.  They are often losing these games on the defensive end of the floor.

So while I think many people are overlooking the game tonight as an automatic win on the schedule, I think it will be a very telling game.  After the Alabama loss, a loss which looks worse and worse as the weeks go on, UK really needs to show up focused and hammer an inferior team on their home court.  No more slow starts.  No more offensive droughts.  No more defensive breakdowns.  Take care of business like a supposed Final Four contender would.

I think we have to start seeing some improvement on many fronts to think this team has any shot at a deep run in March.  And while it might not seem like it, I think the result of tonight’s game, and margin of victory, will be an important indicator of that improvement.


KSR Show Thread 1/15: Are you ready for some Tom Crean?

Tonight Tom Crean will once share a sideline with John Calipari when the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs.  Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond will prepare you for the game, and make jokes at Crean’s expense, on today’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio.

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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KSR Shop: FREE set of rock glasses

Kentucky Branded is offering a Shop KSR exclusive to get your week off to a fantastic start. Purchase $50+ at ShopKSR.com and receive a FREE set of rock glasses.

Pick out some new KSR gear, UK sweatshirts, and tees to take advantage. This exclusive offer ends at midnight.

[KSR SHOP]