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
Kentucky’s Tournament chances — A win over Missouri bought the Cats a threadbare cushion when it comes to their Tournament chances, but it’s a crowded bubble and absolutely nothing is certain in college basketball this season. For the Cats to go dancing, they have to keep winning. Wins over Arkansas and Georgia secure their spot, in my opinion. If the Cats win out, they’ll get at least a share of the SEC regular season title, something that seemed absurd a few weeks ago.
Ryan Harrow — A big part of the Cats’ post-Nerlens success has been the play of Ryan Harrow. We’ve gone over this in-depth this week, but after an up-and-down season, Harrow appears to be piecing it all together just in time for the Cats to make some noise in March. A lot of that is thanks to the Cats opening up the court, allowing him to get some shots on the perimeter, but the bulk of it can be attributed to Ryan’s new found confidence. Keep it up and we’ll all make motivational posters of you, buddy.
Beast Mode — How have we not received any Photoshops of Alex Poythress riding The Beast at King’s Island by now? Poythress has been a different player this past week, scoring 37 points and grabbing 15 rebounds over the last two games. More importantly, he looks sure of himself, fighting for shots and hustling on both ends of the court. Courage is roaring.
The Rupp Arena crowd — After our rallying cries for the Blue Hairs to stand up and cheer (old lady, if John Calipari uses that term, I can too), the crowd delivered on Saturday against Missouri. Major props to Referee Guy and the student section for their part as well. Don’t worry, we won’t hold you not putting up the Billy Gillispie fat head up against you.
Blue collars — Before the Missouri game, Jay Bilas said that for Kentucky to beat the Tigers, they’d have to play “blue collar basketball,” meaning they needed to forget about the fancy stuff (ahem, Ryan Harrow) and commit to doing all the small things to help the team. The Cats listened, and got their biggest win of the season.
The past — The highlight from Wednesday night’s game was the halftime ceremony honoring the 1996 National Championship team. The team finally received rings for their title, something put into motion by the UK basketball staff earlier this season. We always joke about Cal’s “La Familia,” but the respect he gives the program’s former players is second to none. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat. (Also, Mark Pope can come be the “Y” ANYTIME. I now have a shortcut to that .gif of him doing the CATS chant on my desktop for whenever I’m feeling down.)
The future — Also in attendance Wednesday night? Andrew Wiggins and his parents. Wiggins is one of Kentucky’s last three targets in the 2013 class and judging from the people he started following on Twitter, he made some nice friends in Lexington.
Friday of the SEC Tournament — Kentucky’s next three games are paramount for their NCAA Tournament chances, but they are also important for their seed in the SEC Tournament. Kentucky is currently tied for 2nd in the SEC standings with Alabama, and in order to get the double bye in the Tournament, they have to stay in the top four. If the Gators beat Alabama on Saturday, they’ll clinch the #1 seed, which means Kentucky needs to secure #2, #3, or #4, preferably #2 or #3, because it would spare us from possibly facing Florida until the finals.
Falling like snow on cedars
The Big Blue Shake — ESPN GameDay wanted to capitalize on the “Harlem Shake” craze, but was too cheap to pay for the rights to the song, so instead, the UK band play something completely different while Jay Bilas shimmied across the floor in a very odd mask. Seeing the fans come on the court and dance behind the desk was fun, but all in all, the intro came off as pretty lame.
Saltiness — I think we all felt a little sorry for Mississippi State’s Rick Ray on Wednesday night. He’s lost half of his team over the course of the season due to transfer, dismissals, suspensions and injuries. At one point, he had to play what looked to be a high school freshman against the Cats. I get it, that sucks. But there’s no need to get all salty in the postgame interviews. Ray said that his team has had more trials and tribulations than any in the country, “so excuse me if I don’t start crying for what is going on at Kentucky compared to what is going on here.” Kevin Stallings may have some competition for the SEC’s biggest crybaby. #AintNoTimeForThat
TREND OF THE WEEK: Kentucky football
As of this morning, 27,000 seats had been reserved for the UK football spring game, which will shatter the previous spring game record of 20,700, set back in 1987. The presale was meant only for season ticket holders, but after the promo code was leaked, fans pounced on the opportunity to snatch up tickets. That upset some season ticket holders, but caused a surge of momentum so big that it reduced Mark Stoops to tweeting his excitement in all caps. The football staff released the number of tickets sold throughout the day on Twitter, which got the fan base and players buzzing, caught the attention of some national college football reporters, and as Mark Stoops pointed out, showed recruits just how much the fans care about the program. LOYALTY, indeed.