By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 2:23pm
While digesting his dinner with the help of a little ouzo, Rick Pitino picked up his phone and turned his thoughts to the NCAA Tournament. With nearly 50,000 Twitter followers waiting with bated breath, he finally hit “Tweet,” releasing his Final Four predictions into the world. As the words scampered across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the impatient hands of his former fans, Rick smiled and sipped his drink.
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) March 20, 2019
Someday, Rick thought, placing his phone on the table and stretching back in his chair, they’ll come calling.
By Nick Roush on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
If you tell John Calipari he can’t do something, by God, he’s going to do it.
Earlier this week ESPN ranked all 64 NCAA Tournament head coaches as players. Of course, the Dream Team’s Chris Mullin is at the top of the list. No one can argue with that. John Calipari does take issue with where he was ranked at No. 41.
Calipari started his career at UNC Wilmington, scoring 29 points during the 1979-80 season before transferring to Division II Clarion, closer to his native Western Pennsylvania. Calipari was a starter at point guard for the Golden Eagles, averaging 5.3 points and 5.3 assists during his senior season.
Those statistics don’t exactly jump off the page, but Coach Cal’s got game. Unlike the critics who said he couldn’t survive in Alaska, Calipari had an opportunity to prove ESPN wrong at this morning’s practice in Jacksonville. Not only did he show off a smooth jumper, Coach Cal has a pretty sky hook.
41st?!?! They ranked me as the 41st in the field? They couldn't have seen me play. I was small, but I was slow! LOL! pic.twitter.com/WbwSrMQ8ef
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) March 20, 2019
While the Big Blue Nation anxiously awaits to hear more about P.J. Washington, Swaggy Cal is busy getting buckets.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
Abilene Christian won the Southland Conference championship on Saturday to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and head coach Joe Golding was so excited he ripped his pants during the celebrations. In the whirlwind days since, he hasn’t had time to get it repaired or buy a new suit, so he’ll be wearing the same ripped suit — hole in the butt and all — vs. Kentucky tomorrow night.
“I jumped up and hugged our associate head coach,” Golding said. “It was an incredible embrace that we had the last eight seconds. Unfortunately I ripped my pants. So I get back to Abilene — I haven’t got my bonus yet, either. I just found out I don’t get that until June 1st, I think. I heard somebody was going to start a GoFundMe page; I would appreciate it, any help I can get.”
“We’ve got one suit place in town, that’s it. One suit place, and they couldn’t get it done. I guess you’ve got to alter and do some stuff. So I’ve got one suit, my man. I had two suits when the year started. I left one in an airport, true story. Had to go when we played Nicholls State and buy a suit or khaki pants and a shirt. I’m coaching them all in my baby blue suit, and I’m going to have a hole in my butt, man. So it is what it is, man. We’re going to be who we are and go out there and embrace it.”
This man is a national treasure. I think we’ve found John Calipari’s successor.
His answer was outstanding! pic.twitter.com/dwg6TJ4rnd
— Lee K. Howard (@HowardWKYT) March 20, 2019
By Zack Geoghegan on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 1:15pm
Good afternoon, folks. De’Aaron Fox and D’Angelo Russell had a battle for the ages last night. Let’s talk NBA.
[36-36] Nets – 123 @ [34-35] Kings – 121
- The Sacramento Kings waltzed into the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets with an enormous 103-78 lead. At this time, D’Angelo Russell had scored only 17 points – all of them coming in the first half. The Kings were rolling. Marvin Bagley finished with 29 points. Sacramento had just beaten the Chicago Bulls by 27 not long before.
- 12 minutes later, Russell walked off the court with a career-high 44 points, a two-point win, and enough trash talking that would resemble an Oscar the Grouch family reunion. This is Kentucky Sports Radio, but in no way am I above recognizing the ass-kicking that Russell doled out on the Kings and an unsuspecting De’Aaron Fox. Yes, Fox managed to finish with a BBNBA-high 27 points on 10-20 shooting in addition to four rebounds and nine assists (and five turnovers), but I still can’t get over what Russell did on Tuesday night. Watching it live, I was convinced he wouldn’t miss a shot that entire quarter. Russell shot 10-15 in the fourth and only missed when someone wasn’t holding a hand directly in his eye sockets. It was as if the closer the defender was to him, the more likely he was to hit it. Once Sacramento began to overplay his three-point shot – apparently tired with him knocking down three straight triples – Russell just zipped inside for easy layups with two guys on him. Who did the Los Angeles Lakers trade him for again? Brook Lopez? The same guy they let go and is now having a career year in Milwaukee? Someone take away the steering wheel from Magic Johnson, he clearly can’t decide on a lane.
- So Karl-Anthony Towns has no idea how to play a bad game of basketball at this point. Against the Warriors (who were without DeMarcus Cousins for the second straight game with a bad ankle), KAT posted something light; 26 points and 21 rebounds on 10-16 shooting. Ignore the seven turnovers and the 10-point loss for a second and understand just how much weight Towns is carrying on his shoulders. Since the car accident that held him out for two games, Towns’ usage rate has rocketed into space. Only James Harden (39.9 percent), Luka Doncic (34.2 percent), and LeBron James (33.7 percent) finish possessions at a higher rate than Towns (33.3 percent). But the real impressive stat is the efficiency he’s doing all of this with. Of the four players just listed, LeBron has the second-highest true shooting percentage at 57.8 percent. KAT puts that number to shame, posting a 67.5 true shooting percentage. Excuse me?
- Speaking of young former Kentucky players excelling in the NBA with unprecedented value, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has shattered any talk of him not being able to break out of a rookie slump. Another impressive performance of 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, zero turnovers, and some of the most annoying defense you’re eyes will ever witness has SGA playing like an All-Rookie team player.
- Unfortunately, the rest of Tuesday night’s games were rather unappealing. The Lakers and Bucks played each other, but without LeBron or Giannis Antetokounmpo. Eric Bledsoe posted 14 points (on 4-12 shooting), eight rebounds, seven assists, and four steals for Milwaukee, who toppled the Lakers by a score of 115-101. Rajon Rondo added 13 points, six rebounds, and 10 assists for L.A. Bledsoe and Rondo combined for 11 turnovers.
- Check out the full stat sheet below.
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||121-123 L vs. BKN||27||10-20 (2-5)||4||9||1||0||5||+9||34|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||107-117 L vs. GSW||26||10-16 (2-3)||21||4||1||0||7||+3||34|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||115-109 W vs. IND||17||6-9 (1-2)||3||3||2||0||0||+6||28|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||115-101 W vs. LAL||14||4-12 (1-6)||8||7||4||0||4||+10||32|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||101-115 L @ MIL||13||6-16 (1-5)||6||10||2||1||7||-10||39|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||121-123 L vs. BKN||7||3-6 (0-0)||9||3||2||0||1||-1||19|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||114-118 L vs. PHI||6||2-2 (1-1)||6||1||0||0||1||+4||9|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||114-118 L vs. PHI||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||105-121 L vs. HOU||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||117-107 W @ MIN||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Cavaliers (Knight)
7:00: Pelicans (Davis, Miller, Randle) @ Magic (Briscoe-out)
7:00 (ESPN): Celtics @ 76ers
7:30: Jazz @ Knicks (Knox)
8:00: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Bulls
8:00: Rockets @ Grizzlies
8:30: Heat (Adebayo) @ Spurs
9:30 (ESPN): Raptors @ Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson)
10:00: Mavericks @ Trail Blazers (Kanter, Labissiere)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 12:45pm
All anyone cares about right now is what’s wrong with PJ Washington’s foot, to the point that Abilene Christian coach Joe Golding was asked about it during his press conference in Jacksonville this morning. Shoutout to Golding for a perfect response.
“Well, if he shows up to play in a walking boot and Coach Cal lets him play in a walking boot, we might have a chance,” Golding quipped. “If he takes the walking boot off, we’ve got a problem. He’s really good. He’s talented. He’s one of eight problems we have on their roster.”
Golding went on to praise Washington, jokingly asking reporters for suggestions on how to stop him.
“I honestly — I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re still trying to figure that out. He’s an incredible talent. If he’s making shots and he’s scoring the ball on the block, then he’s really tough to defend. So we’ve got to try to force him away from the rim as much as we can, but that’s easier said than done. You’ve got four other pros on the floor with him, too.
“We’ve got our hands full on that and still trying to figure that out. If you’ve got any ideas, I’d love for you to share them with me, man. You’ve probably seen them a little more than I have.”
Most likable opposing coach ever? Golding’s clearly embracing the moment and encouraging his players to do the same.
“Here’s the deal, man, we couldn’t have got a better draw. We’re playing the University of Kentucky. I mean, one of the most historic blue bloods, maybe the most historic blue-blood college basketball program in the country. You’re playing five-star recruits. You’re playing a Hall-of-Fame coach, the best fan base in the country. So any time anybody the next 48 hours is going to talk about the University of Kentucky, they’re going to mention Abilene Christian. So it’s an incredible way for us to share our story of our university.”
“We could play Kentucky, I don’t know, man, 10,000 times, we might win once, but that’s March Madness. That’s what tomorrow night’s about.”
By Nick Roush on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 12:15pm
Appalachian State needs a new men’s basketball coach. Could Joel Justus be the man for the job?
Last week the Mountaineers fired Jim Fox after five seasons. As the administration searches for a fresh face to come to Boone, North Carolina, Ethan Joyce of the Winston-Salem Journal believes Justus should be considered.
Justus is a Winston-Salem native in the midst of his third season as an assistant coach with the Wildcats. He joined the program in 2014-15, working as the director of analytics then as special assistant to the head coach for the following season.
Before that, Justus was the head coach at Davidson Day High School for two years. He’s also been an assistant at Elon (from 2004 to 2008) and graduated from UNC Wilmington.
Justus’s only experience as a head coach is at the high school level — coming at Davidson Day and at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia (2008 to 2012).
Justus’ ties to the area are certainly intriguing. Conference-USA is also not a bad place to start a head coaching career.
There are a few surface level connections, but nothing significant behind Joyce’s column. It’s something to keep an eye on after the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament, but Justus is one Calipari’s most important assistants. The coach who is the first to identify UK’s top underclassmen targets, if push comes to shove, Calipari will not let him walk away easily.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 11:46am
Posted in Main
Great news! John Higgins’ lawsuit vs. Kentucky Sports Radio has been dismissed with prejudice by a federal court judge in Lexington.
From the ruling, via Jason Riley:
“Still, while the Plaintiff’s frustration is understandable and their damages are real, in some instances the First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides special protection to speech on matters of public concern, even if that speech is revolting and upsetting. In this instance, after reviewing the entire record of and considering the content, form, and context of the allegedly tortious speech, the Court has reached the conclusion that Defendants’ speech, broadcast in various forms on radio, television, and the internet, involved matters of public concern.
Thus, the speech enjoys special protection and the First Amendment prevents the Plaintiffs from using tort actions to silence and punish the Defendants for engaging in protected speech. As a result, the Plaintiffs may not recover on the claims pleaded in the amended complaint and the claims must be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.”
After almost two years, it’s finally time to move on.
By KSR on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 11:45am
Posted in Main
It’s tournament time! This year, you can build your bracket for FREE, just in time for the most electric period of college basketball. With $64,000 on the line, here’s how you can play:
1. Pick your teams
2. Rack up points for each correct pick
3. Get the most points and you win
Get your brackets in now, this offer ends at tipoff on March 21st.
Bottom CTA: PLAY FREE
Legal: 21+. Eligibility restrictions apply. See website for details.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 11:30am
Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament run begins tomorrow. How far do the pundits believe the Cats will go? Here’s a roundup of picks from the national media.
Thirteen of ESPN’s 29 college basketball writers/reporters picked the Cats to make the Final Four:
- Paul Biancardi
- Adam Finkelstein
- John Gasaway
- Seth Greenberg
- Myron Medcalf
- Adam Rittenberg
- Alex Scarborough
- Jordan Schultz
- Adam Teicher
- Dick Vitale
- Seth Walder
- Jay Williams
Only one picked them to win it all: Jay Williams
Five of CBS Sports’ eight college basketball writers picked Kentucky to make the Final Four:
- Jerry Palm – Picked Kentucky to lose to Tennessee in the semifinal
- Kyle Boone – Picked Kentucky to lose to Duke in the championship
- Chip Patterson – Picked Kentucky to lost to Duke in the championship
- Dennis Dodd – Picked Kentucky to lose to Gonzaga in the championship
- Josh Nagel – Picked Kentucky to lose to Virginia in the semifinal
Mike DeCourcy picked Kentucky to make the Final Four and the national championship game, with Duke winning the title.
Two of SI’s nine college basketball writers picked Kentucky to make the Final Four, zero to win it all.
- Emily Caron: Picked Kentucky to lose to Virginia in the semifinals
- Max Meyer: Picked Kentucky to lose to Duke in the championship
Davis picked Kentucky to make the Final Four with Purdue, Duke, and Gonzaga, with the Blue Devils beating the Cats in the title game.
Ben Roberts compiled almost 40 picks from national and local media — including yours truly and Matt — so head on over to the Herald-Leader to check that out.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 11:24am
As Kentucky fans, we know all about Tyler Herro’s swagger on the court, born in part from playing in front of hostile fans in Wisconsin after he decommitted from the Badgers and committed to the Cats. But we don’t know a ton about Herro off the court. Mirin Fader is here to change that with a longform feature on Herro that went live on Bleacher Report this morning.
The profile includes a lot of stuff we knew already — Wisconsin fans were awful to Herro his senior year, he’s a bucket, etc. — but goes in depth on how hard the freshman is on himself, which stems from how hard his father was on him growing up, specifically in high school. Herro admits their relationship hasn’t always been easy, but it’s given him the chip on his shoulder that defines his game. A fierce competitor, it’s what brought him to tears after the season-opening loss to Duke.
Maybe that’s why Herro broke down in front of Fajembola after the Duke loss. “I just felt like I let you guys down,” Herro told him.
Herro meant his family. The ones who always saw him as worthy, as capable—who cleaned up every egged car and buried every hate-filled letter. Herro couldn’t bear to let them down.
Especially not his dad.
Seriously, stop what you’re doing and go read it. It’s so good.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 11:00am
With March Madness upon us, Matt joined the guys at Pardon My Take to talk brackets, how far Kentucky can go, and who will win the tournament if they don’t. Warning: like everyone else in America, they talk about Zion Williamson, too.
Listen on iTunes here or below. Matt comes on around the 27-minute mark.
By KSR on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 10:30am
It’s the moment America we’ve been waiting a year for — the bracket is out, and our college basketball insider Aaron Torres makes his picks. Aaron goes region by region, game by game and tells you who he likes and why. Highlights:
A Game-by-Game Tournament Breakdown: Aaron goes through each individual game and tells you who he likes, why, and what the key matchups will be. What players do you need to know? What teams could be Cinderella? Aaron has all the answers.
Upset Picks: Aaron has a bunch of upsets that could potentially shake up your bracket. He has two No. 12 seeds upsetting five-seed, and one four-seed that he is positive won’t get out of the first round. Also, could the defending champion Villanova Wildcats be in trouble?
Who’s going to win it all? Finally, Aaron makes his Final Four and national championship picks. He tells you the one reason Duke won’t win the title, and why Tennessee-Virginia might be the game of the tournament. Is Kentucky in the Final Four? Who wins the title? Stay tuned for Aaron’s final picks!
Get the podcast delivered directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. Don’t forget to follow the show on Instagram too.
By Bryan the Intern on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 10:00am
I don’t think many are expecting Kentucky to have much trouble with Abilene Christian tomorrow in Jacksonville. Outside of a hot shooting performance by ABU, UK is just superior in almost every way imaginable. John Calipari teams seeded 3rd or higher are 13-0 in 1st round games during his career. But I feel like you see a trend in those 13 games:
1992 (UMASS, 3 seed): defeated Fordham by 27
1993 (UMASS, 3 seed): defeated Penn by 4
1994 (UMASS, 2 seed): defeated SW Texas St. by 18
1995 (UMASS, 2 seed): defeated Saint Peter’s by 17
1996 (UMASS, 1 seed): defeated Central Florida by 22
2006 (Memphis, 1 seed): defeated Oral Roberts by 16
2007 (Memphis, 2 seed): defeated North Texas by 15
2008 (Memphis, 1 seed): defeated UT-Arlington by 24
2009 (Memphis, 2 seed): defeated Cal-St Northridge by 11
2010 (Kentucky, 1 seed): defeated E. Tennessee St. by 29
2012 (Kentucky, 1 seed): defeated Western Kentucky by 15
2015 (Kentucky, 1 seed): defeated Hampton by 23
2017 (Kentucky, 2 seed): defeated Northern Kentucky by 9
Just 2 of these games were decided by under 10 points. For those who remember the NKU game from 2 years ago, that score was about as close as NKU deserved to be. UK was comfortably ahead for almost that entire game. But you also see that just 5 of the 13 games were decided by over 20 points. Which is interesting because as a 3-seed or higher, you are theoretically playing one of the 12 worst teams in the field. I doubt UK covered very many of these spreads. But they also were not in threat of losing any of these games expect for the 1993 UMASS-Penn game.
So what should we expect tomorrow? I expect we will come away from the game with little moments of stress but unimpressed by the overall performance of the Cats. And if you are a betting person, for entertainment purposes only, I think Abilene Christian +22.5 is not a bad bet.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 20th, 2019 @ 9:55am
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Wednesday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, which is coming to you live from Jacksonville, Florida. Tune in to hear about the gang’s trip to the Sunshine State and the latest on PJ Washington’s mysterious foot injury.
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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