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January 20th, 2019

UK bests UofL in Saturday TV ratings

Cue the sad Louisville fans.

On Saturday afternoon, both the UK and UofL basketball teams hit the court. Both games were on the road – No. 12 Kentucky at No. 14 Auburn; Louisville at Georgia Tech. The Cats’ game was shown on ESPN; the Cards were on WHAS, an ABC-affiliated station in Louisville. Here are the results in Louisville:

For all of you non-TV people out there, here’s what that means:

For the Kentucky game, 12 percent of the people in the market who own TVs were watching the game (that’s a 12 rating); 21 percent of the people watching TV at that time in that market were watching that particular game (a 21 share).

For the Louisville game, nine percent of the people in the market who own TVs were watching the game (a 9 rating); 16 percent of the people watching TV at that time in that market were watching that particular game (for a 16 share).

In other words… Cats by 90.


Two top-25 UK targets will play on TV tomorrow

Assuming you aren’t completely burned out by all of the sports happening this weekend, you can look ahead to a couple potential future Cats tomorrow.

At 11AM, 6’11” power forward Jaden McDaniels will suit up on ESPNU. McDaniels is the 5th ranked prospect by 247 Sports, and based on his highlights, he earned that spot more with finesse than power.

Sure looks like a fine alternative to James Wiseman to me.

Later in the day at 5PM, 5-star small forward Keion Brooks will squad up with his La Lumiere team, also on ESPNU. Indiana is considered the heavy favorite to land Brooks, but he has taken an official visit to UK and has yet to remove them from his list, so anything is possible. And I definitely wouldn’t mind having him.

@JayWinkKSR


ICYMI: Yesterday was a wild day all around college hoops

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday saw our beloved Cats snuff out an impressive rally from the Auburn Tigers, notching their first top-15 win on the road in the SEC in the Calipari era. But if that was the only game you watched on Saturday, you missed out on one of the wildest regular season days of college basketball that I can recall.

#2 Michigan fell on the road to Wisconsin, 64-54

Coming into Saturday, there were only 2 remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball. Neither would survive the day.

Michigan went first. The Wolverines couldn’t guard Ethan Happ, who scored 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the Badgers to victory. At this stage of the season, with 6 losses already, Wisconsin was playing with the desperation of a team that was already on the March Madness bubble.

Michigan is objectively one of the more well-rounded teams in the country, but yesterday, the team that wanted the win more earned it. Kudos to the Badgers.

#3 Tennessee barely dodges Alabama, 71-68

Alabama continues to pester the top teams in the SEC. This time, they were perhaps just a pump fake away from taking down the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville. But alas, Grant Williams showed why he was the preseason conference POY with a clutch block with just over a minute left:

Can’t say I’m looking forward to playing them twice. With Duke’s loss against Syracuse early in the week, Tennessee should take the #1 spot in the polls.

#7 Kansas drops the ball against West Virginia, 65-64

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Kansas is not the same team without Udoka Azubuike. Still, you would think they had enough firepower to take down a middling 9-loss Mountaineer squad. Apparently not.

Try not to get too overconfident for our matchup with the Jayhawks in 6 days.

Lastly, Duke overcame Virginia, 72-70

There will be no 40-0 team this year. Duke sped the Cavaliers up, but UVA kept pace with the young studs for the most part. But in the end, the Barrett/Williamson combination was too much for the final unbeaten team.

Also Zion did this:

I will never forgive him.

@JayWinkKSR


BBNBA: Booker and Bledsoe Each Drop 30

(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Devin Booker dropped 32 points on Saturday, so naturally, the Suns lost by 20. Let’s talk NBA.

VOTE!!! Send the BBNBA to the 2019 All-Star game. Today is the last day to experience a free trial for NBA League Pass.

RECAP

[11-36] Suns – 115 @ [22-23] Hornets – 135

  • Devin Booker led the BBNBA in scoring on Saturday night, pouring in 32 points on 10-23 shooting. Booker also dished out 11 assists for his fifth double-double of the season, but, more impressively, did so without turning the ball over once. The bad news? The Suns still lost by 20 and were dominated throughout the entirety of the game by the league’s most average team. No disrespect meant towards the Hornets, but if you had to pick three teams over the previous five seasons that perfectly define mediocrity in the NBA, it would be the Charlotte Hornets listed three times (okay, I guess that was a teensy bit disrespectful, but I stand by my take).

  • Booker played the most minutes for his Suns’ team but was also the only starter who didn’t finish with a disastrous plus/minus. Booker’s plus/minus was zero in 37 minutes while his four fellow starters combined for a minus-78. It doesn’t even matter how well Booker plays anymore, his teammates just simply aren’t good enough to help his team win games. The Suns have now lost 10 of their previous 12 outings.
  • For Charlotte, they played one of their best overall games of the season. They scored a season-high 135 points, shot over 54 percent from the field, made nearly 50 percent of their 34 three-point attempts, and led by 20 for the majority of the game. Malik Monk scored seven points on 3-6 shooting while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 10 points on 3-4 shooting to go along with three rebounds.

[33-12] Bucks – 118 @ [19-27] Magic – 108

  • Eric Bledsoe is quietly having the most efficient season of his career. His numbers aren’t quite up to par with some up his impressive seasons in Phoenix, but alongside the current MVP front-runner, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe has played the secondary/tertiary scorer role to perfection. He went off for a season-high 30 points on an insane 12-14 shooting from the field with zero turnovers against the Magic. Despite shooting the worst three-point percentage (31.3 percent) since his sophomore season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe is actually posting a career-high effective field goal percentage of 55.6 percent, largely in part to a career-high shooting percentage from inside the three-point line. Bledsoe is shooting a career-best 61 percent on two-pointers. Khris Middleton demands more attention as the Bucks second-best scorer, but that allows Bledsoe to sneak in mostly undetected and put up impressive numbers without anyone hardly noticing. He’s a massive reason the Bucks are one of the two or three best teams in the entire NBA right now.

  • For the Orlando Magic, Isaiah Briscoe continues to prove his worth as an NBA player. For the seventh-straight game, Briscoe played at least 15 minutes, clocking 17 against the Bucks for seven points on 3-6 shooting. He also contributed two rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover.

Other notes

  • For the Sacramento Kings, Buddy Hield bailed out his team as De’Aaron Fox struggled from the field, shooting 4-13 for only 14 points. However, Fox did record a double-double thanks to 10 assists to go along with six rebounds and one turnover. Hield hit the game-winning three as time expired to finish with 35 points. He made seven of his nine three-point attempts to secure a massive win for the Kings, who now move two games above .500. Willie Cauley-Stein went for 12 points (on 6-8 shooting) and six rebounds in 24 minutes.
  • And finally, in Denver, the Nuggets stomped the Cleveland Cavaliers into the dirt behind 26 points from Jamal Murray, who went 8-14 from the field in addition to five assists. Trey Lyles added 16 points on 7-11 shooting, the most he’s scored in over a month. The Nuggets controlled this game by 20 points in the first half and never looked back.

  • Check out the rest of the stats below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)115-135 L @ CHA3210-23 (2-7)211000037
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)118-108 W @ ORL3012-14 (2-3)72000+2430
Jamal Murray (DEN)124-102 W vs. CLE268-14 (4-7)25002+1824
Trey Lyles (DEN)124-102 W vs. CLE167-11 (0-3)64101-219
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)103-101 W @ DET144-13 (1-4)610100+835
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)103-101 W @ DET126-8 (0-0)62000+1324
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)135-115 W vs. PHX103-4 (0-1)30100+824
Malik Monk (CHA)135-115 W vs. PHX73-6 (1-4)14101-618
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)108-118 L vs. MIL73-6 (1-1)24001-1119
Bam Adebayo (MIA)117-103 W @ CHI52-3 (0-0)13122+122
Nerlens Noel (OKC)117-115 W @ PHI42-2 (0-0)10210+1612
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)117-115 W @ PHI00-1 (0-0)00000-84
Patrick Patterson (OKC)117-115 W @ PHI00-2 (0-1)11011-2314
Skal Labissiere (SAC)103-101 W @ DETDNP-CD----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)138-134 (OT) W vs. LALDNP-Knee----------------
Alex Poythress (ATL)105-113 L vs. BOSDNP-G League----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)134-138 (OT) L @ HOUDNP-Finger----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)124-102 W vs. CLEDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

6:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Pacers

7:00: Suns (Booker) @ Timberwolves (Towns)

7:00: Clippers (Gilgeous-Alexander) @ Spurs


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Today on KSR: Cats survive monster comeback; take down #14 Auburn

Jan 19, 2019; Auburn, AL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Reid Travis (22) makes a shot against the Auburn Tigers during the first half at Auburn Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Well yesterday was fun. Kentucky picked up a massive road win against not only just one of the best teams in the SEC, but also what I believe is one of the better teams in the entire country.

The story of the game? A massive start to the second half that saw the Cats get out to a big lead which somehow flipped the three point switch for Auburn and the three ball began to fall. Auburn took the lead in the closing seconds, but clutch free throws down the stretch gave the Cats an 82-80 victory. Now on to the news:

Keldon Johnson bounced back from Scoreless Game vs. Georgia

Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

We all say it seemingly after every game. For this Kentucky team to be successful, Keldon Johnson HAS to play well. Sure, there was an exception on Tuesday night against a bad Georgia team, but to beat a good team, Johnson must be a star player.

A star player he was yesterday on the plains. The UK freshman scored 20 points, which tied with Tyler Herro for the team lead, and was a major difference in the game. One of the biggest shots in the entire game was a three by Johnson as the shot clock was expiring in the second half. It stopped a huge momentum turn for Auburn.

If Johnson continues this stretch for the next few games, this could turn into a massive run for the Cats, but consistency has to be key.

The game didn’t start great for Johnson as it took a teammate to tell him to… well…. you can probably read his lips:

After this moment, he turned it on. In all seriousness, this was a true leadership moment for Hagans and a good sign moving forward.

Tom Hart with a Big Time Tweet Postgame

Everyone’s favorite tv play-by-play announcer, Tom Hart, gave a nice compliment to the Cats after he caught up with the games. This was his opinion on a specific sequence in the game:

Personally, I could not agree with him more. That run to end the first half and begin the second was some of the best basketball I have seen this team play since the Bahamas. Is it sustainable for a full 40 minutes? Maybe not, but when this team plays that way and fits those keys, there aren’t many teams in the country that can actually beat them.

Charles Barkley and John Calipari have a funny interaction

Jan 19, 2019; Auburn, AL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Ashton Hagans (2) talks with coach John Calipari during the first half against the Auburn Tigers at Auburn Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

In case you didn’t watch ESPN’s coverage of the game, “the Round Mound of Rebound” himself, Charles Barkley, was in attendance to cheer on his alma mater. He spent a segment in the first half with the ESPN broadcast in which he had a point where he was very complimentary of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation.

After the game, Barkley went into the press area during Calipari’s postgame interview in what turned into a perfect moment. Just as a heads up, there is a NSFW moment right at the beginning of the clip:

Barkley is one of my favorite studio analysts in sports. His humor and knowledge of the game is unmatched and he works perfectly with the TNT crew for NBA games.

Anthony Edwards to visit Kentucky this Week

Photo: Alyssa Trofort/Under Armour

While most fans were focusing on the game, some big recruiting news came through the wire with Anthony Edwards announcing that he will be visiting Lexington this week.

While most believe that he is headed to Tallahassee to suit up for former Kentucky assistant Leonard Hamilton, getting him on campus is a big deal.

For more on the announcement, including when specifically he will be in town, click here.

College GameDay to come to Lexington next weekend

In what might have been the least surprising news of yesterday, College GameDay officially announced that they will be bringing their show back to Lexington for the 10th straight year.

With Kansas coming to town, a possible top ten matchup (although Kansas did lose to unranked WVU) is one that producers are obviously excited about. Plus, Kentucky fans always show up in mass numbers.

Heck, this even gives me an excuse to share the video of the first of the ten straight. The moment where many say, “Kentucky Basketball was back.”

The Super Bowl will be set Today

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

We are only two weeks away from one of the best days in sports; Super Bowl Sunday. After today, we will know the two teams that will be making the trip to Atlanta to compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

Only one former Cat remains, Larry Warford and his New Orleans Saints will host the Los Angeles Rams at 3:05 EST on FOX.

The AFC Championship pits young vs. old as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs welcome in Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Kick for that game is scheduled for 6:40pm on CBS.

Not that you really care who I am picking, but I am taking the Saints and Chiefs. Every dynasty has to come to an end at some point.

With all of that being said, this probably guarantees that the Rams and Patriots will be meeting up in two weeks in the Super Bowl.

That wraps up your news for the day. If you are in an area that has been affected by #Snowmaggedon, be safe and enjoy your Sunday. Go Cats!

@GormleyKSR


January 19th, 2019

TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari breaks down victory over Auburn

Opening statement…

“This is so hard for these kids, and let me tell you again what I’m proud of. We’re playing a veteran team that have been through wars and have been through games like this, they made shots, were down seventeen and never stopped, but neither did we. Keldon [Johnson] makes a play, Tyler [Herro] makes a couple plays, we make free throws. Again the issue here is they’re pressing about individual play, you can’t for a team and be in that mode, you have to just go with what the team is asking you to do, and if you can’t do what the team needs, you won’t play much. In a game like this it’s fight. The game was physical with a lot of hand to hand combat, that’s how the game is played here. I’m proud of him though (Johnson), and this is coming off a game where he scored no points.”

On the biggest difference in the game…

“The defense that we played in the first half gave us a chance. Auburn started in zone to start the second half and we were waiting on it. We were just waiting on that to start the game. But when you have a team that makes threes like Auburn does they’re never out of the game. My thing was make them drive. We gave them too many threes down the stretch where we had our hand down, and bang. We’re lucky to get out of here alive, we’re lucky he missed that little shot.”

On if he thought game would be close at the end once they got a 16 point lead early in the 2nd half…

“I don’t think that way. I’m playing play to play, looking at the score and trying to get these guys to realize that we walked out of two timeouts and they did what they chose to do and didn’t listen. It led to breakouts, bumps, and dribble handoffs. We said no dribble handoffs and they got dribble handoffs. They do that because they are freshman and their whole lives they choose what to do. I thought Reid (Travis) was really good today, he gave us something around the basket and got us easy baskets when we needed it. We made six threes, only took fifteen, but we made six.”

On recent growth of Tyler Herro’s game…

“Yeah, I am seeing it. He wanted the ball, wanted it to come to him. I like the fact that Keldon [Johnson] was telling me he wanted it too.”

On production coming from several guys, in large numbers…

“Two nights ago I woke up and I said, ‘For us to win Keldon and Tyler are going to have to score baskets. We came up with some stuff to run specifically to Keldon, packages that we’ve been working on. The other thing we did is ask ourselves who we would go to if we need a shot late. Who we would run to, and what are we running. So, this is a work in progress, this is a new team that has never played together so it’s a disadvantage that we have, but sometimes they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know that they aren’t supposed to come in here and win, be up seventeen, they’re just playing. The problem is that once the game gets going they revert, and start playing like it’s a high school game. For example, that Tyler foul on Bryce Brown, fouling him, and I asked why he’d do that when we’re ready to bury them? So that’s the kind of stuff where we just have to tighten the ship up. But look, when you win on the road in this league, this league is ridiculous. Some of you remember me saying let’s get to the point where we get 8, 9, 10 teams in, and everyone laughed at me. Now you look and say oh my god we may get ten teams in. You know Alabama had Tennessee on the ropes, and Alabama beat us.

On team’s record at home vs. on the road…

“These guys don’t know the difference between and home and on the road. The way we played today, it was one of our better games and it was on the road. The game at Georgia one of our better games. We may be playing better on the road than we are at home. This is the part of our schedule that is ridiculous, even though none of it is easy. We have every good team in the league twice, so we’ll enjoy this and then figure out what we’re doing next.”

(more…)