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March 19th, 2017

Dominique Hawkins: “We pretty much proved them wrong”

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One of the few certainties with this team is that when things start to fall apart, Dominique Hawkins steps up and takes control. Today, Dom once again came through, hitting some big shots and helping shut down the Shockers to ensure that the Cats wouldn’t be headed home after the first weekend of the tournament again. Hawkins has said several times that this team is the most fun he’s been around in his four years at Kentucky, and after the game, I asked him how proud he was of his squad. Spoiler: Very.

“I’m very proud. Everybody said we’re really young and don’t focus. We pretty much proved them wrong. I feel like everybody tied in on the defensive end and that’s why Malik made that big play at the end.”

That big play Dom’s talking about is Malik’s huge block at the end. I don’t think many fans would have guessed Malik would have one of the biggest blocks of the game, but he did. Dominique, one of the best lockdown defenders Calipari’s had, sounded like a proud older brother when asked about Malik’s improvement on defense.

“Malik, he’s an excellent player, he can do more than just score. He defends, he can guard the best player if you need him to. He’s just a player that wants to win and will do anything for the team.”


The NCAA/Drew Franklin Dilemma Rolls On

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Our own Drew Franklin probably didn’t anticipate just how much chaos the now infamous video of Gregg Marshall’s wife would stir up. It’s not crystal clear why NCAA officials were so adamant about the video coming down, although one could speculate, but in forcing Drew to do so, they’ve just made the situation that much more magnified, as outlined by Phillip Bupp of Awful Announcing:

This story has become so big, I wouldn’t be shocked if this is a topic on sports talk radio shows across the country on Monday and the video gets played on ESPN multiple times throughout the day. By trying to contain something they knew couldn’t be contained because “once something is on the Internet, it’s there forever,” the NCAA only made more people aware about this.

Make your own judgment calls here folks, but at every other sporting event I’ve ever been to, you don’t protect the overly rowdy fan, you toss ’em out.

You can read the full piece from Awful Announcing right here.

@JayWinkKSR


Tom Crean is on LSU’s Radar

@PFTCommenter

@PFTCommenter

Come on, you know you wanna see it.

According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, LSU is looking at Crean as a potential replacement for Jonny Jones.

This is a very early development, of course, but Crean’s potential addition would really add some depth to the SEC coaching pool. Seeing his silly face when UK beats LSU every year would just be icing on the cake.

@JayWinkKSR


Malik Monk is Now the Highest Scoring Freshman in UK History

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All hail the freshman scoring king. 14 points against Wichita St. were enough for Malik Monk to surpass Jamal Murray as UK’s all-time freshman scoring leader. 247Sports’ Chris Fisher broke it down further:

By scoring 14 points, five over the final 2:10, Monk passed Jamal Murray as Kentucky’s all-time freshman leading scorer with 721 points on the season.

Monk’s 721 points are also tied with Kenny Walker (1985-86) for seventh on UK’s all-time single-season scoring list.

Read the full piece right here.

@JayWinkKSR


The Reds Report: March 19

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It’s been a stressful day around here. Not only did we nervously sit through Kentucky’s win over Wichita State, but we were then treated to the drama of Drew Franklin vs. the NCAA. I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a distraction.

I have just what you need. How about some news from Reds spring training? Don’t worry, you can thank me later (in the comments). We’re just two weeks out from Opening Day, and as the start of the season gets closer the final shape of the roster is becoming clearer.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. It’s been a few seasons since Reds fans could utter the phrase, “Devin Mesoraco caught a Bronson Arroyo game.” However, that blast from the past played out in camp this week. Arroyo hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014, and he’s looking to get one more shot with a big league club.

So, how did it go?

Arroyo made it through 1.2 innings of work…before he was hit in the face with a ball when Mesoraco tried to throw out a runner at second. Bronson’s injuries weren’t serious, but it did bring an abrupt end to his day. Speaking of injuries to Reds starters….

2. The biggest question mark currently facing the team is who will open the season in the starting rotation. Brandon Finnegan and Scott Feldman are the only current pitchers projected as locks. Dan Straily, the team’s second best starter from last season, was traded to Miami in January. Homer Bailey will be out until at least June after undergoing a procedure on his elbow. Now, Anthony DeSclafani is also expected to be out until mid-May thanks to an elbow sprain.

That leaves three current openings in the Reds starting rotation. Earlier this week, Zach Buchanan broke down the most likely candidates to take those opportunities.

3. The news regarding DeSclafani was disappointing, but it could have been worse. He had recently been dealing with elbow soreness, and this week was diagnosed with a sprained elbow. Mark Sheldon offered a helpful summary of the news. DeSclafani will attempt to rehab the injury instead of undergoing surgery. He’s emerged as Cincinnati’s best starter over the past few seasons, and a healthy season from him would be a big boost to the Reds chances of winning some games.

4. The Reds made their first round of cuts at major league camp this week. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of the decisions. The biggest name in the group was Dilson Herrera. Herrera was acquired by the Reds in the Jay Bruce trade, and there was hope he could make the major league roster as a utility/bench option. Unfortunately, he’s still battling recurring shoulder issues.

If you’re interested in the entire list of cuts, you can find them here.

5. This week, several of us at Red Reporter had the opportunity to talk with Chris Welsh of Fox Sports Ohio about the current state of the rotation. He talked openly about his assessment of a number of pitchers in the system, and what could potentially be done about preventing injuries to pitchers in the future.

You can find the episode here.

6. The World Baseball Classic has gotten lost in the shuffle of March Madness. However, if you’re looking to satisfy your baseball fix it’s been a million times more enjoyable than watching spring training games.

Last night, the US knocked off the Dominican Republic 6-3. The win sent the US to the semifinals, where they will face Japan on Tuesday night. If they can get a win in that one, they would play in the championship game on Wednesday.

Along with the win, the game also provided two of the best highlights you might see all season.

Eric covers the Reds for KSR and Red Reporter. He writes about fantasy baseball for Baseball Prospectus. You can follow Eric on Twitter @ericroseberry.

Kentucky Now Has the Longest Active Winning Streak In the Country

@TheCatsPause247

@TheCatsPause247

Coming into the game this afternoon, Wichita State was riding high, having won 16 games in a row. At the time, that was the longest active winning streak in the country. Kentucky, on the other hand, had a 12-game win streak under their belt, which was second only to the Shockers.

Oh, how the tables have turned.

With the win today, Kentucky now has the longest active winning streak in the country at 13 games in a row. Can’t think of a better time of year for that stat.

@JayWinkKSR


Rajon Rondo and other fun photos from the game

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Relive all that fun with our photos from Kentucky’s second round win. Go Cats!


Bam’s Mom: “He didn’t shut him down, did he?!”

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Wichita State’s Darral Willis Jr. said he was going to put a stop to Bam Adebayo’s streak of good games. That did not happen. And Mama Bam is happy about that.


Drake shares old Calipari photo, mentions Cal in new song

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Kentucky’s most famous fan is excited about the win. He is so excited that he shared an old picture of Coach Cal and his wife on Instagram:

Mood. ON WE GO. #OnlyOneBigBlue #UK 🌺

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Calipari also gets a mention in Drake’s new song, “Can’t Have Everything,” when Drake raps, “Started out doin’ college shows, Calipari flow.”

Maybe we’ll see him in Memphis?


Briscoe on Wichita State’s trash talk: “Eventually, you gotta play the game”

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The locker room was an absolute mad house after the game, but I managed to squeeze in near Isaiah Briscoe for a few minutes. Wichita State’s trash talk was a popular topic, and when asked, Briscoe was happy to report it was all talk and no action.

“Yeah, we seen it,” Briscoe said. “Eventually, you’ve gotta play the game. That’s on them, but eventually, you’ve gotta play.”

Darral Willis Jr. in particular said the Shockers were going to shut Bam Adebayo down, which, considering Bam’s 13 points and 10 rebounds, did not happen. Briscoe said he and his teammates told Bam to ignore the Shockers’ talk.

“Absolutely. We were just telling Bam, don’t worry about what they’re saying, go out there and play your game. As long as we play Kentucky basketball we’ll be fine.”


Gregg Marshall’s wife was out of control and definitely not a KSR fan

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We had some fun sitting next to the Wichita State section and it almost cost me my NCAA credential, which I intend to use next weekend in Memphis and then again in Phoenix.

It all happened when I shared a video of the craziest woman in the arena, who happened to be right next to me, and who happened to be the wife of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall. It didn’t take long for the tweet to get to her and that’s when all hell broke loose.

Someone from the NCAA came and got my name and told me I could no longer tweet about her because “it made her upset.” I guess it didn’t make anyone else upset when she told Malik Monk to get in the weight room or told Isaiah Briscoe to buy some bigger shorts or told Calipari to “shut the f-ck up” or told Roger Ayers he is garbage or any of the other classy things she yelled between F-bombs.

The poor security guard made multiple attempts to calm her down before calling for help and then deciding “we have to be delicate because she is the coach’s wife.”

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But I’m the bad guy for drawing attention to her. I guess I deserved the “MOTHER F-CKER!” after the game.

I just hope she has a safe trip back to Wichita.

UPDATE TIME!

I’m in trouble again. This time they came over to me in the media room and demanded I delete the video.

It’s getting fun in here!

UPDATE 2

Matt and I met at the KSR headquarters in Indianapolis and decided to put it up again. So, here it is:


Cats win a close one, 65-62

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Kentucky is off to Memphis for the Sweet 16 after a very exciting basketball game. The Cats blocked two Wichita State three-pointers on the Shockers’ final two possessions to hang on for the win, 65-62.

Enjoy the box score and we’ll have plenty more to come.

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Bowling Green Wins First Sweet Sixteen In School History

Paul Gray Photo

Paul Gray Photo

For the first time in school history, Bowling Green won the Sweet Sixteen Title. The Purples ran away from Cooper in Sunday’s final 67-56. Terry Taylor was named Tournament MVP after scoring 16 points and grabbing ten rebounds against Cooper.

It seemed early on that both teams were rattled. Bowling Green missed a pair of contested three’s before Zion Harmon knocked down a pair of free throws and three to give BG a 5-0 lead. Cooper responded time and time again to Bowling Green’s athleticism in the first quarter from beyond the arc. Sean McNeil hit two three’s in the first quarter as Cooper got nine of their 11 first points on three point baskets. McNeil’s back-to-back jumpers got Cooper within two before Kyran Jones tipped in a bucket and Harmon hit one of two free throws to give BG a 16-11 lead after one.

 

Cooper hit four of their first seven three pointers to start the game. The deep shot paced their offense and kept them on the heels of an oversized BGHS squad. Eli Thurman came off the bench for Bowling Green and drilled a three to start a 9-2 run for the Purples. McNeil hit his third three of the game to cut into the lead once again at 28-21. Harmon led BG with 11 first half points. The eighth grader finished with 21 in the championship after hitting yesterday’s game winner. BGHS allowed two buckets at the end of quarters against Scott County, but the Purples flipped the script today as DeAngelo Wilson hit a runner to end the half and give BGHS a 30-21 lead.

Photo by Paul Gray

Photo by Paul Gray

Tournament MVP Terry Taylor only attempted one shot in the first half for BGHS. Taylor began to get more touches in the third quarter. The big man scored four points out of the gate and finished with 11 points in the third quarter. BGHS began to pull away late in the third, but Cooper once again roared back to end the third and start the fourth.

Brayden Runion drilled a three to cut the lead to ten with 20 seconds remaining, but once again BGHS scored at the buzzer on Harmon’s floater.

Trailing 45-33, Cooper made one last push at the title. The Jaguars scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to cut the score to 45-40. From that point on, Bowling Green was in winning time. Kyran Jones hit his first three of the tournament with 3:25 to play to start a 12-0 run for the Purples.

From that point on, it was a free throw show by BGHS. Bowling Green hit 15/20 free throws in the fourth quarter to ice a 67-56 win over Cooper.

Bowling Green’s win today was their first Sweet Sixteen Championship in school history. This group of seniors went 10-3 in four appearances in the state tournament. Taylor was named MVP of the tournament after averaging a double-double in the state tournament. DeAngelo Wilson and Zion Harmon were both named to the All-Tournament Team as well.

The Purples lost only twice this season and only once to an in-state team. Coach D.G. Sherrill won his first title after coming so close the last four seasons. A senior-led BGHS team got some help from the top eighth grader in the country as they will hang a Sweet Sixteen Championship Banner in the Bowling Green High Arena for the first time in school history.

 


At The Half: Kentucky 26, Wichita State 24

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UK vs. Wichita State LIVE BLOG

Live Blog UK vs. Wichita State LIVE BLOG