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February 21st, 2017

UK vs. Missouri LIVE BLOG

Live Blog UK vs. Mizzou LIVE BLOG
 


We played Tinder on Tuesday’s edition of Hey Kentucky

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On Tuesday night’s edition of the not-yet-award-winning Hey Kentucky, Matt and I played a fun and harmless game of Tinder on air.

We also talked Cats-Mizzou, DeMarcus Cousins, Swedish government, extreme snapping and much, much more.

See the entire episode below:

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Missouri Fans Looking Forward To The First Five Minutes Of Basketball They’ve Watched All Year

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Editor’s Note: The following was written by Harold Leeder, editor-in-chief of The New Circle Circular, Lexington’s #1 source of fake news you can’t count on.

Deep in the heart of the south east, Columbia, Missouri is known for two things and neither of them are basketball fandom. Missouri fans, still coming down from the euphoria of a 4-8 football season, have emerged from their three month sports hibernation to watch tonight’s game vs Kentucky, in what many assume is the home opener for the basketball team.

Attending a “Mizzou” basketball game is like Mardi Gras for basketball, if Mardi Gras was set inside an old church’s auxiliary gym, and only your uncle and youth minister were there. We caught up with Chad, one of Missouri’s biggest (read: only) basketball fans. “Look, we’re the show me state, if you want me to believe we’re playing basketball, you’ve gotta show me. I haven’t seen our games on TV or anything.”

“I’m excited to see the first game of the season here. We’ve all heard of March Madness but it’s cool to see the team early on like this.” Chad continued, “If the game is close I’ll probably stick around to halftime, otherwise I’ll just head out at the under 16 media timeout and go back to the library since it’s only pre-season.”

The fanbase’s only game of the year is a late one, as tipoff is scheduled for 9pm tonight. The late start, and not the terrible play by the tigers, may explain why the University’s marketing for the game encourages students to “Catch some Z’s with MiZZou Basketball.”

To keep up with The New Circle Circular, like the Facebook page or follow Harold Leeder’s Twitter Account.


Blue is getting in to Missouri

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Shoutout to Micah Riddle for these pictures of Kentucky fans making themselves at home in Columbia for tonight’s game. At this rate, will there be more Cats fans than Tigers fans?

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Isaac Humphries honoring former teammate with his shoes tonight

Isaac Humphries

If you notice some writing on Isaac Humphries’ shoes tonight, here’s the reason: according to @OlgunUluc, the Australian big man is honoring his friend and former teammate Arran Bannatyne, who passed away last weekend. Isaac posted this picture of himself writing “RIP Arran” and the date of his birth and death on his shoes a few hours ago:

Condolences to Isaac and the Bannatyne family. Twenty is way too young…


Can Anything Good Come From Tonight’s Game?

Sandwiched in-between a difficult road win at Georgia and a duel for first place in the SEC against Florida, tonight’s road trip to Missouri is by definition a trap game.

The Tigers are are just 2-12 in the SEC, second to last in the league, and their best quality win was a one-point loss to eleventh-ranked Xavier.  The game will not tip-off until 9:00, but a black-out will surely create the best atmosphere that arena has seen all season.

Been there, done that.

What makes this “trap game” even more of a trap, is that nothing good can come from this.  As T.I. once said, “You either you lose or you lose.”

If Kentucky blows out Missouri, it’s expected.  Any significant improvements made will be brushed aside.  Instead of praising them, most will credit the result to Missouri’s ineptitude.  It should not be the case, especially with just two weeks left in the regular season, but that is how most will perceive their performance.

Even if Kentucky wins by double-digits, they will not get credit for winning on the road, even though the Cats are just 5-3 in true road games.  In those eight games, the point differential is just +30.  For some, Kentucky could win by double-digits on the road for only the second time this season, but if they don’t cover there’s hell to pay.

If Kentucky loses, prepare for anarchy.

Luckily, not even Kim Anderson is confident that will happen.  “We have to play a near perfect game in a couple aspects to be able to hang with them.”

There are some things the Cats can work on tonight — pick-and-roll defense, on-ball defense, playing with pace offensively and offensive rebounding — but in this trap game, it’s unlikely anyone will leave satisfied.

 


DeMarcus Cousins pens emotional farewell to Sacramento fans

(Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)

After nearly breaking down in tears in front of a group of fans last night, DeMarcus Cousins just released an emotional farewell letter to Sacramento, promising fans that just because he’s with the New Orleans Pelicans now, he will never forget the city that was his home for almost seven years:

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family…and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

Leaving fans in Sacramento must have been tough, but Boogie sure looked happy when he stepped of the private plane in Nola:

This picture of Boogie reading the New Orleans paper on the plane from his manager Andrew Rogers is also very cool:

Here’s to a clean slate.


Listen to the UK/Mizzou KSR Pregame Show

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Who needs Scott Pelley when you can listen to Matt Jones, Ryan Lemond and Drew Franklin discuss Kentucky’s matchup with Missouri?

It’s a late one, so grab a cup of coffee and turn your radio dial to 630 WLAP or listen here online; you can also catch the second half-hour on 98.1 The Bull beginning at 5 pm.

Discuss below.


Missouri school newspaper warns fans that halftime act will be more entertaining than tonight’s game

How pessimistic are Missouri fans about tonight’s game? In the preview of the game for The Missourian, the school paper, student columnist Rick Morgan said the halftime act, the famous acrobat Red Panda (whom Nick profiled earlier), will likely be more entertaining than the game itself:

Fans at Mizzou Arena will be wise to enjoy this entertaining spectacle at halftime. It is unlikely that the actual basketball game will be nearly as memorable. Kentucky is a consistent national power projected by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi to be a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have four players who average more points per game than Missouri’s leading scorer (junior forward Jordan Barnett).

Morgan really doesn’t hold back on the Tigers, who have been horrible, yes, but beat Vandy by 20 a few weeks back:

The Tigers are heavy underdogs in Tuesday’s game against Kentucky. Fans are encouraged to wear black, but it’s debatable how much this will matter against the Wildcats. Regardless of the final score, fans will at least get to enjoy the presence of Calipari, future NBA players and one of the most stunning halftime performances in the game.

Ouch. I hope he’s right.

[The show comes to town Tuesday when Missouri faces No. 11 Kentucky]


Kentucky vs. Missouri Preview: What We Can Learn from Vegas

 

It’s time to preview tonight’s match-up against the Missouri Tigers. I am not a basketball mind in the least. When it comes to breaking down and previewing games based on player match-ups and hardcore X’s and O’s, I am utterly useless. I leave that kind of stuff to the people who know what they’re talking about. So if you’re looking for an in depth scouting report for tonight’s game, you’re in the wrong place. I prefer to take a little different approach.

I’m a numbers guy, I prefer to preview games and make predictions based on the numbers and odds provided by our good friends in Vegas. Vegas has proven time and again to be incredibly accurate in predicting game outcomes. So when it comes to previewing games, I like to first look at what Vegas has to say.

(If you already know how gambling stuff works, you don’t need to read this part).

For those who don’t know how it works, various casinos in Vegas dump a bunch of raw data from each team into equations which are then calculated by computers, which then spit out a score projection. This score projection is used in determining the “point spread.” It’s all based on numbers, there is no bias involved whatsoever. When a point spread has been determined, people can then bet on one of the two teams, and depending where most of the money goes, the casinos will then adjust the spread accordingly. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

I previewed tonight’s game against Missouri based on the numbers in Vegas. These numbers can more often than not give us a relatively good idea of what to expect out of our boys tonight. Tonight’s spread, as of right now, is as follows:

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Vegas has set the Cats at a 16-point favorite over Mizzou with a projected score of 88-68. Missouri is one of the worst teams in the SEC, and possibly the nation so a large spread was expected. Taking into consideration how bad Mizzou is and UK’s recent positive momentum, picking the Cat’s to cover seems like a no-brainer. Even though Kentucky is projected to cover, I don’t think it’s as easy of a pick as it seems when considering some other vital pieces of information.

Kentucky originally opened as a 16.5 point favorite, and that since has been bet down to 16. 61% of the money in Vegas has gone towards the Cats. Typically, the spread goes up when a majority of the money is being bet one way, but in the case of the Cats, the spread went down. For the non-gambling crowd, this is a classic case of “reverse line movement” also known as “smart money.” Typically, when there is reverse line movement, a large wager by a single individual or gambling syndicate has been placed on the team the lesser amount of the money is going to, in this case, Missouri.

In the 2016-2017 season, betting on reverse line movement has about a 60% success rate, meaning betting against the public money works more times than not. So what does this mean in terms of tonight’s game? I wouldn’t be too confident in taking the Cat’s to cover that 16-point spread although I believe it will be close. So if you are expecting an absolute blowout tonight, the numbers suggest it could be closer than you think. Manage your expectations accordingly. Let’s hope Kentucky can defy the odds and leave Columbia with an impressive display of dominance. What does Vegas know anyway?


Player Development Levels: Defense

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The time it takes for incoming players to develop into contributors greatly varies. Factors that drive impact are influenced by opportunity, talent, depth chart mobility, willingness to work, and more. In this post we’ll discuss Kentucky’s defensive players that are in differing development stages for the 2017 season. Defenders will be divided amongst five categories that are named: It’s Time, National Honors, Conference Honors, First to Second Year, and Red to Blue Shirts.

Let’s get started:

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Pic by Scout.com

It’s Time

The name of this developmental stage is self-explanatory. The following players entered the program with a high probability to succeed and have been on the team for an adequate amount of time to start playing at a high level. Expectation has exceeded output; it’s time to step up their game or get stepped over on the depth chart.

Nose Tackle Matt Elam

Elam’s expectation was unrealistically high. This miscalculation has skewed developmental analysis. However, over the course of three years it’s fair to say that his on-field result has not lived up to the buildup. New DL coach Derrick LeBlanc will challenge him both on and off the field. Naquez Pringle overtook the starting NT position by mid-season and never relinquished. Elam’s absence against Louisville and Georgia Tech perplexed.

Now a rising senior, the clock is quickly winding down. If Matt Elam’s senior season doesn’t prove to be his best, the E’town native may struggle to see significant playing time. I’m personally pulling for the young man to achieve.

2016: 9 total tackles

Defensive Tackle Tymere Dubose

I’ll be the first to admit that National Signing Day projections are mere guesses. We ranked Dubose high due to elite size, quick feet, arm length, potential, and athletic ability. Off-the-field issues plagued the rising junior early in his career. An injury slowed him last summer which bled over to the early stages of the 2016 season. But, he did show improvement and a production uptick in October and November. Just a junior, there’s hope for Dubose to develop into a consistent contributor. If he ever gets “it” right; the Youngstown native has a chance to be excel.

2016: 6 total tackles

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Pic by 247 

National Honors

These Wildcats are accomplished to the point of collecting national level honors. If projected improvement continues on current, established pace; the duo could compete for All American honors. It also must be noted that both possess a fierce work ethic and a high-level passion for the game of football.

Safety Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards is a tackling machine that arguably played the safety position better than any other SEC defensive back in 2016. He was named to several All SEC teams and is the conference’s 2nd leading returning tackler. This upcoming season could be his last in Lexington.

2016: 100 total tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss (TFL), 3 interceptions, 8 pass breakups, 11 passes defended.

Linebacker Jordan Jones

Kentucky has traditionally produced physical, influential linebackers. Jordan Jones’ 2016 production ranks high on UK’s all-time list in substance and impact. He was named to several All SEC teams. Recently Saturday Down South rated Jones as the Southeastern Conference’s #1 ranked LB for 2017.

2016: 109 total tackles, 15.5 TFL, 4 QB sacks, 4 pass breakups, 9 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble. Jones is the SEC’s top leading returning tackler for 2017.  

Conference Honors

These juniors could find themselves on All SEC Teams at the end of next season. This projection is based off prior production and also considers work ethic, maturity, talent level, and developmental ceiling.

Outside Linebacker Josh Allen

Saturday Down South rated Allen as the SEC’s 5th best LB for 2017. He led the Southeastern Conference with 4 forced fumbles in 2016 and was the Wildcat’s QB sack leader with 7.

2016: 62 total tackles, 7 QB sacks, 8.5 TFL, 3 QB hurries, 4 forced fumbles. 

Cornerback Derrick Baity

Matt House’s field corner; Baity has proven to be UK’s top pass defender.

2016: 42 total tackles, 2 TFL, 3 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 1 QB hurry.

Outside Linebacker Denzel Ware

The “Jack” LB has proven to be an effective pass rusher and is improving in pass defense. Jones-Ware-Allen construct ¾ of Kentucky’s LB corps which has the potential to be one of the better groups in the SEC.

2016: 70 total tackles, 12 TFL, 5.5 QB sacks, 5 QB hurries.

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Pic by SEC Country

First to Second Year

The most populated category which is a positive. This collection of prior true-redshirt freshmen and JUCO transfers that established early playing time in 2016. Their jump from rookie to veteran status could prominently influence UK’s win/loss column.

Defensive End Alvonte Bell

Scheduled to miss spring practice due to an offseason surgery. Came on strong in the latter stages of 2016 before being injured in the Taxslayer Bowl. Could win the starting defensive end job in fall camp.

2016: 27 total tackles, .5 QB sack, 1 TFL, 2 pass breakups, 1 QB hurry.

Outside Linebacker Jordan Bonner

Bonner contributed on special teams and showed flashes of being a pass rusher. An offseason to increase strength and weight gain will bolster a deep and talented group of OLB’s.

2016: 10 total tackles, 1 TFL. 

Linebacker Eli Brown

See above; another offseason to add weight and strength should assist Brown into becoming a viable backup to Jordan Jones.

2016: 24 total tackles, .5 TFL, 1 fumble recovery. 

Defensive End TJ Carter

PFF graded the true freshman the highest of all UK defenders in the Taxslayer Bowl. Like Alvonte Bell, will compete for the starting DE job.

2016: 11 total tackles.

Linebacker Kash Daniel

Daniel could push senior Courtney Love for a starting role. An extremely hard worker, Daniel is quickly becoming a team leader.

2016: 19 total tackles, was the Cat’s top dog on special teams. 

Cornerback Jordan Griffin

Young, talented cornerback with an extremely high ceiling. Will push Baity and Westry. Year two will show massive technical strides.

2016: 6 total tackles. Will push for a starting job.

Linebacker De’Niro Laster

Versatile, played both inside and outside linebacker in his first season before injury. Could quietly become significant factor for Matt House.

2016: 14 total tackles, 2 TFL, 1 QB sack. 

Nose Tackle Naquez Pringle

A pleasant surprise for Mark Stoops, Pringle worked his way into the starting nose tackle position midway through 2016. Recently saw the rising senior outside the Training Center, the defensive lineman has transformed his body and is dialed in for a breakout 2017.

2016: 39 total tackles, 2 TFL, 1 QB sack

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Pic of Alvonte Bell by Chat Sports

Red to Blue Shirts

The following three players redshirted and are expected to compete for playing time in 2017.

Defensive Linemen Ja’Quize Cross and Kordell Looney

Defensive line is a unit in desperate need of depth and playmakers. Looney and Cross will get an opportunity to impress in spring practice. The Cats need at least one of these two to predominantly factor in 2017.

Linebackers Roland Walder and Jamar Watson

Not expecting the pair to crack the starting lineup; best case scenario is to play special teams while gaining valuable experience.

Cornerback DaVonte Robinson

The speedster from Lexington will add depth to an already highly talented cornerback position group. Robinson could also contribute on special teams as a kick/punt returner.

Safety Tobias Gilliam

The loss of Blake McClain and Marcus McWilson opens a spot at safety. This position competition will be heated; Gilliam should be in the mix. 


Player development is the absolute backbone of a program like Kentucky. Five-star prospects aren’t overpopulating its locker room. Mark Stoops and staff rely on early evaluation and good ole fashion hard work to better his team on an annual basis. Spring practice starts soon.


WARNING: This New ESPN Promo will make you Sick to your Stomach

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The Worldwide Leader does man great things to promote the sport of college basketball.  Often times it benefits Kentucky, but this time it does nothing but incite anger in the bowels of my soul.

Every time they showcase the ACC, ESPN highlights the conference’s four Hall of Fame coaches: Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Mike Kryzeweczhewzski and Rick Pitino.  Name a more hatable quartet.  I’ll wait.

The love-feast is sickening.

For many, the Rick Pitino draws the most hate but I concede too much ill-will for what he accomplished at Kentucky.  Personally, no one is more despicable than Jim Boeheim.  He’s an overrated nose-picker who can’t coach man-to-man defense.  For my Father, it’s the “rat-faced” Coach K and for my Uncle Pete it’s ‘Ol Roy (his impression is spot-on).



Ten Facts About Missouri Basketball

Rick Sugg | Kansas City Star

Rick Sugg | Kansas City Star

Kim Anderson is the Head Coach

I know what you’re thinking, “Is that a man?”  Yes, Kim Anderson is the name of a man, even though the only other notable man named Kim rules North Korea.

Anderson was a standout for Mizzou in the 70s, named Co-Big Eight Player of the Year in 1977.  He served as a Missouri assistant in the 80s and the 90s for 13 total years in two different stints.  Prior to taking the head coaching job at his alma mater, Anderson led the Central Missouri Mules to two NCAA D-II Final Fours and a National Championship in 2014, his final season.

The secret to Anderson’s success?  His fiery personality in pregame speeches.

Props to the SEC Network for doing its best to show the “most loyal fans” and not all of the arena’s empty seats.

Kim Anderson might have been a Football Coach

Anderson appears to be Hayden Fox’s assistant coach at Minnesota State.  The resemblance is striking.

They are bad at Basketball

Mizzou is 7-19.  Starting in December they went on a 13-game losing streak that included losses to Lipscomb and Eastern Illinois.  Even though they’re 2-12 in the SEC this season (wins over Arkansas and Vandy), they’re not last in the SEC.  That honor belongs to Johnny Jones and LSU.

In Anderson’s three years at Mizzou, the Tigers are 26-63.

Mizzou has Lost 33 Straight Road Games

Their last road win came against their former coach, Arkansas’ Mike Anderson, on January 28, 2104. Lucky for them, tonight’s game is at home.

Their Coaches Fought Georgia’s Coaches

Famous Basketball Alumni

DeMarre Carroll: The best former Tiger currently on an NBA roster, Carroll cashed in on the Atlanta Hawks’ 2015 success by signing a $60 million deal with the Raptors.  Until today, I had no idea Carroll played at Mizzou, but he helped them get to an Elite Eight in 2009 under Mike Anderson.

Melvin Booker: Devin’s dad was an All-American and Big Eight Player of the Year in 1994.

Kareem Rush:  Rush led Mizzou to the Elite Eight in 2002, a feat only done five times in school history.  He played professionally for ten years before calling it a career.

Larry Drew: Before he coached to the Atlanta Hawks to three playoff appearances from 2011-2013, Drew was a point guard at Mizzou.

Jordan Clarkson: A first team All-Rookie Selection in 2014, Clarkson averages 13.7 points per game for the Lakers this season.

They need some Muscle

After they turned into Protest U in 2015, enrollment took an 8 percent hit, with the worst decline coming from out-of-state undergrads, a 12 percent drop.

The Program is on Probation

Wherever Frank Haith goes, he leaves behind a trail of NCAA violations.  Mizzou is Haith’s latest victim.  After a booster handed out impermissible benefits, Haith was fired, the school vacated wins, lost two scholarships and is on NCAA probation until August of this year.

The Border War is No More

NCAA sanctions hurt Mizzou basketball, but losing the rivalry with Kansas might have done more to destroy their identity.  The oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi began on the basketball court in Columbia in 1907, but the hate between the states stems back to before the Civil War. Without providing a full history lesson, “Bloody Kansas” (also known as the Border War) was a violent time on Missouri’s western frontier as people fought over the legality of slavery in the new state of Kansas between 1854-1861.

When Mizzou left the Big 12 for the SEC, the rivalry ended after 267 meetings.  The teams each won their final home game of the rivalry in 2012 as top ten teams.  They have not played since, leaving a noticeable  void in the Missouri basketball basketball.

Jordan Barnett is their Best Player

Brett gave you a complete roster rundown earlier today, but if you only know one name, know Jordan Barnett.  A transfer that’s only been eligible for 17 games, he leads the team in scoring (12.3) and rebounds (6.3).  Barnett scored 23 points for the second consecutive game to lead the Tigers their last win over Vanderbilt.


Red Panda will Perform at Tonight’s Game

No, not that red panda (although it would be incredibly cute).  The Red Panda performing at halftime of tonight’s Kentucky/Missouri game is the most famous halftime entertainment in all of basketball, just ahead of the frisbee-catching dogs.

If you’re unfamiliar with Red Panda, take the time to see the crazy stuff she can do on a seven-foot unicycle.

For those curious to see more:

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Former Miss Kentucky USA Contestant Lights Roommate’s Bed on Fire

Christen McAllister of Louisville has been charged with first degree arson after a late night altercation with her roommates.  When police arrived at her apartment just off UofL’s campus early Saturday morning, McAllister admitted to setting the bed on fire after getting into an argument with her roommate.  The least shocking news: the police report indicated she may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Another piece of information that makes this story even more interesting, according to the guys at Barstool, the apparent tattoo on her chest in the mugshot isn’t a chest tattoo — it’s from a bar’s body paint competition.

[Lex 18]