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October 18th, 2018

These KY Wildcats TV hype videos are going to get somebody killed

If there was an award for “Internet Video That Makes Me Break Everything In Sight,” Kentucky Wildcats TV would win it every week.

This week I kicked over a chair, threw a George Foreman Grill against the wall and yelled at my sweet, old neighbor… all because this UK-Vanderbilt hype video.

I’m afraid what might happen when they release one when Kentucky is 7-1 going into the Georgia game.


Why the new G-League Setup Probably Won’t Have An Immediate Impact on College Basketball

Since the FBI first began investigating the dark side of college basketball recruiting a year ago, it seemed like some sort of change was coming in the path that elite players took from high school, to college (for a “one and done” season) to the NBA. Whether it was the removal of the “one and done” rule all together, or simply adding a more incentive based G-League alternative during that one season between high school and the NBA Draft (when most of the top players end up in college), the tea leaves seemed to indicate something was indeed coming.

And on Thursday we finally found out what that “something” was.

In a rule that could alter college basketball going forward, the G-League will now offer one-year, $125,000 contracts to elite high school basketball players who are not yet eligible for the NBA Draft. Remember, the NBA states you need to be one year removed from your high school graduation and at least 19-years-old to be draft eligible – and most players (with the exception of a few) have elected to spend that one season in college.

Now, they can spend that one season in the G-League, making $125,000. ESPN had the full report, and my buddy Drew Franklin gave the details here earlier. But for those who missed it, here are some of the important notes:

  • Players who are identified as elite high school prospects, but are not yet eligible for the draft, will have an opportunity to play in the G-League for their one season that would otherwise be used as a one-and-done college player. They will be paid $125,000 for that one season.
  • Since they are professionals, they will be allowed to sign with agents and in turn use their likeness to sign endorsement deals.
  • The NBA will help the players into off-the-court developmental programs and also allow them access to NBA training facilities and coaching between the end of their high school season and the start of the G-League season.
  • To be clear, the program isn’t open to anyone who wants to enter, but the G-League will determine who they believe are the right fits, with an emphasis on character and maturity.
  • According to the head of the G-League, it is only for players who have no interest in the college game. They will not pursue players who are already committed to colleges. If players ultimately decommit, then the G-League would consider them.

So there ya have it. The top high school players can now earn six figures to play professional basketball right here in the United States. And as soon as this measure was announced it was deemed to be a death blow to college ball, the first step in what is a vast, rapid exodus of the top players for the professional ranks.

However, the more I dig into this program and the more I think about it, the fact remains that I’m not sure it has a massive impact on the sport as we know it. At least not right away.

Now again, to be clear, will this program impact some kids? Absolutely. I have no doubt that – if offered – a lot of kids will absolutely consider this path. They all should. If it was my son, I would unquestionably weigh the pros and cons of an opportunity to make $125,000 at 18-years-old to play professional basketball.

However, when you dig deeper, and ask the real tough questions, the path isn’t as glamorous as its made out to be.

(more…)


Bowl Eligibility is on the Line vs. Vanderbilt

There are a few significant milestones Kentucky could reach with a win over Vanderbilt Saturday night.

In the first three years of Mark Stoops’ Kentucky tenure, six was the elusive magic number.  The Cats started the 2014 season 5-1 and in 2015 they were off to a 4-1 start before a pair of subpar finishes.  This year achieving bowl eligibility isn’t even on the minds of the Kentucky Wildcats.

“I’m not really worried about that,” Josh Allen said.  “I’m just worried about game seven.  Like we say, you take it week by week.  Vanderbilt’s up next.  We’re trying to get that sixth win and move on from there.”

If UK does beat Vanderbilt Saturday at Kroger Field, it will be the earliest bowl berth since the 2007 team started the season 6-1.  Only two other UK coaches have been to three straight bowl games, Bear Bryant and Rich Brooks.

A win would also give Stoops a bowl bonus of $50,000.  That number increases to $100,000 if the bowl is an SEC affiliated game (which will likely occur).

Kentucky’s potential 6-1 start will be even more impressive when you consider Kentucky’s opponents.  Kentucky has not started 4-1 in SEC play since 1977.  It would be the third consecutive season with at least four SEC wins, a first in UK history.

Stoops could also climb up the ranks in UK coaching history.  A win Saturday night would be Stoops’ 32nd career victory, tied for sixth-most school history.  He would also move into a tie with Rich Brooks for most home wins with 25.

With all that being said, beating Vanderbilt is not a sure thing.  Kentucky must bring their A-game to get this special season back on track.


Coach Cal tweets “tea leaves” after new G League development

Soon after ESPN broke the news of the G League’s “Select Contracts” for potential one-and-done talents, John Calipari responded with a tweet of “tea leaf.”

If you followed his comments at SEC Basketball Media Day, you may know he said, “I’m reading tea leaves” regarding his comments about the G League and a potential change coming to his sport.

He said it a lot:

Turns out, he read those leaves correctly.


Aaron Torres Sports Podcast Ep. 88: Peter Burns and SEC Hoops Preview

It is a jam-packed episode of the Aaron Torres Sports, as he spans the college football and basketball worlds in a way that only he can. The SEC Network’s Peter Burns joins Aaron to discuss Kentucky’s SEC East title hopes, Notre Dame’s shot at the CFB Playoff and the rest of college football landscape.  After SEC Football talk, Aaron provides a few SEC Basketball predictions. But first, Aaron welcomes on Nick Coffey to discuss a wild week of courtroom drama on the FBI case.
Should Bill Self Be Fired? The guys break down all the testimony from court this week and ask the question: Should Bill Self be out at Kansas? Aaron explains why — after a year of the NCAA saying they want to remove sneaker company influence — they need to step up, but the guys also question if there is enough to cost Bill Self his job.
Coach K’s comments and Zion Williamson: Aaron defends the Hall of Famer after Coach K said the FBI trials are just a “blip” on the college basketball radar. He also explains why it isn’t so obvious that Zion Williamson definitely took extra benefits to go to Duke. The guys also discuss friend of the podcast Will Wade and his potential involvement in the case.
Next up the SEC Network’s Peter Burns joins the show. Peter discusses a number of topics, including:
Is Notre Dame a legit title threat? Peter made some headlines earlier in the week when he said that he thinks Notre Dame will get crushed if they go to the playoff and he isn’t backing down.
Why Kentucky will win the SEC East: Burns believes Kentucky will win the SEC East and face Alabama in the SEC Championship. He explains why he believes the Wildcats have the goods to get to Atlanta. They also talk about LSU’s surprise run, Texas A&M and more.
Finally, Aaron wraps the show withSEC basketball predictions. After an extensive article here, he breaks down who he likes, who he doesn’t and who will finish where in the final league standings.

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 Instagram too.


BBNBA: Kentucky Headlines Night Two of the New Season

(Photo via Bill Baptist/NBA Getty Images)

Recap

The second night of the NBA was a beautiful mess. 11 games were played Wednesday night and former Kentucky players formed more than their fair share of headlines. 12 players scored in double figures and five scored at least 20. Let’s go over some of the talking points from each game.

  • The Charlotte Hornets coaching staff stayed true to their word and gave Malik Monk 33 minutes of clock, which he turned into 18 points on 4-8 shooting from deep. The Hornets honored their 1988-89 team as the franchise celebrates its 30th season this year and who was a member of that fan-favorite squad and one of the players recognized? None other than Rex Chapman. Eric Bledsoe added 17 points for the Milwaukee Bucks in a win over the Hornets.
  • Dwane Casey began his tenure as the Detroit Pistons head coach by beating the Brooklyn Nets 103-100.
  • Andrew Harrison was one of the feature players for the Memphis Grizzlies last season and was expected to fill the backup role this year, however, the season hasn’t started off that way. Lexington native Shelvin Mack won the role and played 29 minutes behind Mike Conley, but scored only three points.
  • Bam Adebayo shot a three! He missed.. But he shot a three! He also settled an early debate about who will finish games at center for the Miami Heat, as Adebayo played the final three and a half minutes of the game down the stretch with Hassan Whiteside on the bench. Adebayo played only 21 minutes compared to Whiteside’s 33, but closing games is when playing time really matters and Adebayo got the first run to start the season.
  • Kevin Knox Struggled from the field in his debut, shooting 4-16 and finishing with 10 points. Enes Kanter dropped in a 16 point, 11 rebound double-double. Want an idea of how the New York Knicks season is going already? During a timeout, a fan hit a halfcourt shot to win $10,000. At that point, the Knicks hadn’t hit a shot yet and were 0-9.
  • Anthony Davis put up a monster stat line that nearly knotted him a triple-double (32/16/8) as he begins his MVP campaign. His eight assists were also a new career-high. Interestingly enough, the New Orleans Pelicans first game of the season came against the reigning MVP James Harden (and they beat the brakes off them), who was presented with the award before the game, something Davis noticed. ”When it was sitting there before the game, I glanced at it, and then I had to lock back in for the game,” Davis said. ”That stuff will take care of itself. As long as we keep doing what we’re doing as a team, the rest will come on its own.”
  • For Julius Randle’s Pellies debut, he looked more comfortable than ever. Pulling up for non-hesitation threes (he went 2-4 from deep!) and pouring in 25 points in only 23 minutes. His plus/minus of +23 was the highest amongst any former Wildcat. For now, the talk of “can the Pelicans frontcourt trio work together?” has been silenced.
  • The dumpster fire in Minnesota didn’t get any better in game 1. Karl-Anthony Towns played only 22 minutes before fouling out with a mere eight points as the Timberwolves lost to the hobbling San Antonio Spurs. Please, Minny, for the love of everything that is holy, just trade Jimmy Butler.
  • Wenyen Gabriel and Skal Labissiere were DNPs in the season opener, but Willie Cauley-Stein and De’Aaron Fox filled the void. WCS was impressive, scoring 23 points and slamming down a ferocious dunk over the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. Fox added 21 points and seven assists.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s rookie debut was beautiful. He scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting and showcased his uniquely smooth style of play that perplexed college defenders. It’s only one game, but SGA is going to be good, folks. On the other side of the court, Jamal Murray did not get off to a hot start, shooting 3-12 for only seven points. Trey Lyles added in 10 points off the bench in 18 minutes. Side note: Los Angeles Clippers 7-foot-3 center Boban Marjonovic dunked the ball with such force in the fourth quarter that they had to stop play and realign the goal.
  • Finally, Devin Booker went absolutely nuts against the Dallas Mavericks. Scoring 19 of his 35 points in the final seven minutes as the Mavericks tried to crawl their way back into the game, Booker buried them into the ground with unguardable jump shots. At one point, he hit his fourth three of the quarter straight in the eye of the defender and even he couldn’t help but laugh the entire trot back down the court. The All-Star campaign has officially begun for Book.

Statistics

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)121-100 W vs. DAL3512-19 (6-10)47003+2233
Anthony Davis (NOP)131-112 W @ HOU3213-21 (0-0)168331+2339
Julius Randle (NOP)131-112 W @ HOU259-15 (2-4)83000+523`
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)117-123 L vs. UTA2310-15 (0-0)74120+1738
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)117-123 L vs. UTA218-16 (0-2)47303+1937
Malik Monk (CHA)112-113 L vs. MIL187-16 (4-8)42120+533
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)113-112 W @ CHA177-13 (3-5)43012+433
Enes Kanter (NYK)126-107 W vs. ATL165-9 (0-0)113111+727
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)98-107 L vs. DEN115-6 (0-0)24113023
Kevin Knox (NYK)126-107 W vs. ATL104-16 (1-5)00212+123
Trey Lyles (DEN)107-98 W @ LAC103-6 (0-1)70101-1018
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)112-113 L vs. MIL103-6 (0-0)61011+321
Alex Poythress (ATL)107-126 L @ NYK94-8 (1-3)20103-2120
Bam Adebayo (MIA)101-104 L @ ORL94-9 (0-1)82101-621
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)108-112 L @ SAS82-6 (1-2)93003-422
Jamal Murray (DEN)107-98 W @ LAC73-12 (1-4)53101+1831
Darius Miller (NOP)131-112 W @ HOU00-2 (0-1)01102+519
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)117-123 L vs. UTADNP-CD----------------
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)101-104 L @ ORLDNP-CD----------------
Skal Labissiere (SAC)117-123 L vs. UTADNP-CD----------------
Andrew Harrison (MEM)83-111 L @ INDDNP-CD----------------
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)107-98 W @ LACDNP-Foot----------------
Brandon Knight (HOU)112-131 L vs. NOPDNP-Knee----------------

Highlights

And here’s a video of DeMarcus Cousins that makes me laugh every time.

Tonight in the NBA

Only three games tonight but a couple of important debuts, including that LeBron James dude.

8:00 (TNT): Bulls (Ulis) @ 76ers

8:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Wizards (Wall)

10:30 (TNT): Lakers (Rondo) @ Blazers

Player to watch

It has to be John Wall. There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the Washington Wizards this offseason – and most of it rather pessimistic – but now it’s time to either prove them right or prove them wrong. This could end up being a make or break season for the Wizards if they don’t pull together a moderately successful playoff run. Wall is going to have the mismatch in the backcourt against the Miami Heat. It should be an exciting opener for the Wiz.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


Sagarin Predictions: Looking ahead after the bye week

With the return of Kentucky football, we have the return of our weekly look at the Sagarin college football ratings and what it projects for the Cats in each remaining game on the schedule. By now you should know the drill; if not, let’s take a moment for a brief explanation of what you’re about to digest.

The Sagarin predictor ratings determine what the game spread should be for each game if the games were played today, based on teams’ week-to-week performance and statistics and numbers and more numbers and lots of mathematics that only Sagarin can formulate, in addition to a home field advantage. It is one of the most trusted sources in predicting upcoming games and it is right in line with the Las Vegas spread each week. (Click here for the entire Week 8 ratings set.)

Now for Kentucky’s remaining schedule, in which Sagarin gives the Cats the edge in all but one of the six games. For an added perspective, I threw in ESPN’s FPI Win Probability for each game, although it is not as confident in your Wildcats.

The Sagarin spread and ESPN FPI of two weeks ago are included to show the change since UK’s loss at Texas A&M and how the opponents fared while UK was off on its bye week. For Kentucky’s first four games, I used the Las Vegas closing line (*) because the weekly Sagarin ratings are not archived and I didn’t start this until Week 5 when things started getting serious.

GameSagarin PredictorESPN FPIActual ScoreLast Week  
vs. Central Michigan-17*88.7%Won, 35-20
@ Florida+13.5*12.9%Won, 27-16
vs. Murray State-41*99.3%Won, 48-10
vs. Mississippi State+10*22.1%Won, 28-7
vs. South Carolina-0.546.3%Won, 24-10
@ Texas A&M+521.5%Lost, 14-20
vs. Vanderbilt-15.584.9%-1484.7%
@ Missouri-243.4%-0.541%
vs. Georgia+5.522.7%+818.9%
@ Tennessee-865.6%-1072.7%
vs. MTSU-2591.8%-2693.3%
@ Louisville-1584.8%-980%

Go Cats.


There is a checkerboard sidewalk on UK’s campus

(Instagram/@universityofky)

Checkerboard has become an integral part of the UK Athletics brand, and now it’s an integral part of the UK sidewalks.

Over on Rose Street on UK’s campus, you’ll find a huge checkerboard sidewalk. It’s in front of the Jacobs Science Building. You can’t miss it.

Is that checkerboard enthusiast Mitch Barnhart hand painting it in the photo?

Also, the upside down ‘S’ is driving me crazy.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: What Would Each Possible UK Record Mean?

© Dale Zanine | USATSI

Before the season, I put a post up detailing how the fanbase would react/feel with each possible season record, from 0-12 to 12-0.  You can view the full post here.  Now that we are completed with half of this season, I thought it could be a good time to do a little refresher and get a sense of how the fanbase might feel depending on each of the record possibilities.  This does not take into consideration a possible SEC title game and/or bowl berth.

FINISHING RECORD

5-7: A complete collapse by the Cats would bring back memories from 2014 and 2015.  Considering this would include losses to Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Louisville, and MTSU, I would have to think Mark Stoops would be back on the hot seat.  And likely will have lost the fanbase again.

6-6: Sure the Cats would go to a bowl but they’d probably be the only ones as fans would likely have checked out by the time Georgia was beating us.  This would likely just be a win over MTSU left on the schedule.  Stoops would very likely keep his job but the seat would be very, very hot going into 2019.

7-5: The two scenarios above are very, very unlikely.  When you get here is where you could reasonably say their is some realistic chance.  Even saying that, I would say 7-5 is a less than 5% chance of happening.  This would mean wins over MTSU and either 1 SEC win or Louisville.  No matter what the combination would be, fans would have to feel some disappointment if the season finished here.  Would mean Cats lost at least two of Vandy/UT/UL and that would suck.

8-4: I think, right now, this is reasonably the worst case scenario.  Give UK Vandy and MTSU.  Louisville is looking more and more like a lock too.  That means road losses to Mizzou and Tennessee and a home loss to Georgia.  In some ways, that is a very good season.  In other ways, you would still see opportunity lost.  Would be interesting to see the fanbase reaction to an 8-4 finish, which would also lead to a pretty decent bowl.

9-3: Unless one of the two remaining losses is Louisville, this means Cats don’t make SEC title game but finish 5-3 in SEC for the first time since the Carter administration.  The difference in fan reaction between an 8-4 season and a 9-3 season would be the most dramatic, I think.  Even still, a New Year’s Bowl is very possible at 9-3 and this team goes down as the best in UK in over 40 years.

10-2: If the remaining loss is to Georgia, then Cats might not make it to Atlanta but if Georgia is a win, then Cats are going to Atlanta barring some unfortunate things.  This season would go down as maybe the best in UK since the 1950’s and a chance to play Alabama would be wild.  Mark Stoops gets as close to a lifetime deal as he wants.

11-1: Hello Atlanta.  Hell Sugar Bowl.  Hello all the money to Mark Stoops.  Don’t even try Florida State.  He’s Ours.

Thoughts?


KSR Show Thread (10/18): SEC Media Day thoughts, Beat Vandy

Today on your favorite morning radio show, Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond discuss everything that happened at SEC Basketball Media Day, plus more about the return of Kentucky football this weekend. Tune in!

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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