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
The 2013-2014 Kentucky Wildcats — It’s been a while since we’ve charted the trends in Kentucky sports, and since then, a lot has happened. Kentucky is out of the tournament, a blow that could only be lessened by the commitment of a top recruit: Julius Randle. Randle pledged his allegiance to the blue and white the day after the Cats lost to Robert Morris in the NIT, and in doing so, rescued the Big Blue Nation from some serious March Melancholy. Randle’s commitment, along with talk that the UK’s three freshmen may return for a sophomore season and good news on the Andrew Wiggins front, makes next season so promising that missing this year’s Tournament is pretty manageable.
Andrew Wiggins — Kentucky’s chances of landing Wiggins have increased dramatically over the past few weeks. Why? Maybe Andrew and his parents heard what they wanted to hear and saw what they wanted to see back in late February during his visit to Lexington. Maybe Randle coming on board piqued Wiggins’ interest in being a part of the National Championship run. Maybe he realized that at Kentucky, not only would he get more exposure than at Florida State or arguably North Carolina, but that he could be a part of something special and take his brand to the next level by playing against the best of the best. Regardless, Cal and Wiggins met yesterday before Wiggins left to begin the McDonald’s All-American game festivities. Cal’s final pitch? “Come to Kentucky and we’ll win games by 30 points.” Not bad.
Serenity — Am I sad Kentucky’s not in the Tournament? Of course. But I’m sleeping better than I have in months. Instead of stressing over the Cats’ chances of making the title game, Kentucky fans can enjoy this Tournament for what it is–entertaining basketball. Indiana losing and next year’s team also help.
UK Hoops — Kentucky fans still have one team playing! UK Hoops takes on Delaware tomorrow in the Women’s Sweet Sixteen in Bridgeport, Connecticut. How tough is this group of girls? Three of them came down with the stomach flu during the team’s game against Dayton and played through it, with Samarie Walker literally puking on the bench at one point. After watching the guys fall flat at the end of the season, UK Hoops’ toughness is a sight for sore eyes.
NBA Cats — It was a great week for UK’s professional players, with John Wall and Darius Miller achieving career highs of 47 and 16 points, respectively. DeMarcus Cousins also had a season-high 34 points and 14 rebounds in the Kings’ win over the Suns. Keep making us proud, boys.
Cinderellas — Is there any team more lovable than Florida Gulf Coast (besides Oregon tonight)? Not only are they fearless and fun, but one of their assistants is a Kentucky graduate–Michael Fly. The Eagles are truly America’s team right now, and during tonight’s game, look for Fake Barney, who flew to Dallas to support his friend. Go birds! Except for those with teeth!
Nerlens Noel’s draft stock — Nerlens Noel is back in consideration to be the #1 pick in the NBA draft. Nelens is recovering from ACL surgery, and if all goes well with his rehab, NBA GMs have said they are comfortable taking him first. That’s pretty hard to turn down.
Falling like snow on cedars
Certainty — Today was supposed to be the day Dominique Hawkins found out if he gets a scholarship from Kentucky. Unfortunately, that decision has been pushed back since there seems to be some uncertainty remaining over Kentucky’s current roster. Cal met with Alex, Archie and Willie last night to discuss their futures, and if he hasn’t already, will meet with the rest of the players soon. I have a feeling next weekend will be a busy one in BBN.
Minnesota — Minnesota fired Tubby Smith this week after six seasons. Tubby brought Minnesota back to relevancy after the program was in shambles due to an academic cheating scandal, but never reached the heights that their AD, Norwood Teague, wanted. Shaka Smart has already turned down Teague, who is now setting his sights on Flip Saunders, while Tubby is in talks with Texas Tech. All in all, a bad week for both parties.
Depth at wide receiver — Almost all of the reports from spring practice have been great, except for one area: wide receiver. Even worse? The wide receivers we do have are still dropping passes. Silver lining: it’s spring, which means there’s plenty of time to work on the fundamentals, and some talented freshmen are on their way.
TREND OF THE WEEK: Ducks
It’s a good week to be a duck. Not only is Easter on Sunday, meaning some lucky little kids across the world will wake up with baby ducklings in their Easter baskets, but the Oregon Ducks have the chance to knock off the Tournament’s #1 overall seed, Louisville, tonight. Plus, the “Duck Dynasty” guys renegotiated their contracts so that they’ll make $200,000 per episode. Can I get a “Quack, quack”?