It can be hard to keep up with all the changing trends in Kentucky sports these days. Therefore, in order to keep you informed on the latest happenings in the Big Blue Nation, I chart the trends of the week, from basketball to football to every ridiculous little thing in between. Keep up with what’s hot and what’s not with KSR’s Trend Watch!
Rising faster than Kevin Stallings’ cholesterol count
Tomorrow’s game — Look, every game is a must-win game for the Cats right now, with the possible exception of Florida. But tomorrow’s game is really a must-win. A win over Missouri would give the Cats the marquee win they so desperately need to solidify their postseason hopes. Not only that, ESPN College GameDay will be in town. Fans will have the chance to remind the nation who the premiere program in the country is with a record GameDay crowd and Rupp will surely be rocking. More than ever, the team will need a rowdy crowd to help them pull off the upset. With the late tip, there is plenty of time to do some decent pregaming and get hyped before the game. Be early, be loud, stay til the end.
Kentucky’s guard play — One of the reasons Kentucky looked so much better against Vandy than they did against Tennessee was the return of Ryan Harrow. After two games in which he scored zero points and zero rebounds, Harrow had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and no turnovers against Vanderbilt. Not only that, he hustled on every single play, a far cry from “Cool Ryan” we’ve seen at times this season. Also helping the cause was Archie Goodwin, who had one of his better games in recent memory. Cal said that at this point, we have to accept that Archie’s going to have one or two “oh my god” dumb moments per game, but as long as he’s doing all the other things to help the team win, it’s fine. We saw on Wednesday how much better Kentucky is with good guard play. They’ll need an even better performance tomorrow night against Missouri’s Phil Pressey and Jabari Brown.
Melancauley-Stein — Cauley-Stein stepped up and scored a career-high 20 points against Vanderbilt, filling the void left by Nerlens Noel much better than he did against Tennessee. His performance on the court was great, but his postgame comments may have been even better. Willie compared the feeling of losing to Tennessee by 30 points to puking and said that he was depressed for two straight days: “I didn’t want to come out of my room. I was happy we had a day off on Sunday, so I could just stay in my room. I put a sheet over my window. It was just dark, and I could just watch Netflix all day and eat when I needed to. You just feel real depressed. I was, like, grumpy.”
Any guesses as to what Willie watched on Netflix? I’m going with “Portlandia.”
UK’s new intro video — Strong guard play wasn’t the only new thing in Rupp Arena on Wednesday night. There was a new intro video that featured the players saying likes like “Tonight is the biggest game on our schedule,” “It’s time to make it personal” and “LET’S FIGHT” to inspire hope after Nerlens Noel’s injury and the Tennessee beatdown. It worked: the Cats fought back and beat Vandy 74-70.
Commonwealth’s renovation plans — The funding bill to renovate Commonwealth Stadium, the Nutter Training Facility and other campus projects was signed by the Governor this week, which means an SEC-worthy stadium will soon be a reality. Limestone facade, please?
Falling like snow on cedars
UK’s Tournament chances — Kentucky’s chances at making the Tournament were definitely falling after the loss to Tennessee and a win against Vanderbilt didn’t do much to help. Actually, UK’s RPI got worse on Wednesday because Ole Miss lost. Ole Miss was Kentucky’s best victory, and their 5-2 slide in SEC play isn’t only hurting them, it’s hurting us. Kentucky can get things back on track with a win over Missouri tomorrow night.
Themes — In case you haven’t heard, the eRupption Zone is planning an “80’s night” theme for the game tomorrow night. The fact that none of them were even born in the 80’s aside, I just can’t get behind this. Look–theme parties are great, 80’s theme parties especially. I attended many back in my college days and can rock a side ponytail like nobody’s business. But why do we have to do it during a basketball game? Why can’t the eRupption Zone’s theme tomorrow night just be “Come to the game, be really loud and have funny signs”?
Leaving early — My post yesterday about fans leaving early created quite the stir. The fact that I used the term “blue hairs” upset one older lady so much that she went to the radio show today and afterwards, demanded Matt call me so she could chew me out. Which she did. According to this fine elderly fan (see, I’m learning) whose hair is “NOT blue,” she paid quite a bit of money for her SEAT, and if she wants to SIT in it, so be it. That wasn’t really the point of my post, but it has become quite the debate topic this morning. Whether you sit or stand–and I’d prefer if you stood–all I ask is that you stay til the end and cheer loudly if game is still close. The team needs it.
TREND OF THE WEEK: Dodgeball
Who knew it would take a game of dodgeball to potentially save the season? The staff decided to lighten the mood on Tuesday night by having the team play the coaches in a friendly game of dodgeball, which helped the Cats recapture the fun of the game. On Wednesday, it showed. The team looked more relaxed and cohesive, and for the first time maybe all season, they looked like they were having fun out there. We’ll see if tonight’s wiffle ball game has the same effect.