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Mark Pope’s Friday News and Views

Confession: I fell in love with Mark Pope all over again Wednesday night.


The answer is in the .GIF.  It’s so awesome.

When Mark Pope appeared on the video boards during a timeout in the first half Wednesday night, I expected a sentimental, yet simple message to the fans. Maybe he’d give a loud “Go Big Blue!” or a shout-out to his former teammates who were in attendance.  Never in a million years did I, or anyone, think Mark Pope would rip off his suit to reveal his full getup from his playing days at Kentucky, before giving a loud and passionate “C-A-T-S! CATS! CATS! CATS!”

But that’s exactly what he did.  And it was amazing.

Pope, now an assistant coach at BYU, was unable to attend Wednesday night’s ’96 reunion and ring ceremony, but he left his mark on the evening.  With so many Kentucky greats on hand to receive their championship rings and individual ovations from the crowd, Mark Pope is the player we’re talking about 30 hours later.  His video message not only fired up the crowd in Rupp Arena, and continues to entertain us via YouTube tonight, but it epitomized the passion for Kentucky basketball that’s instilled in everyone who has been a part of it. Pope is 40 years old now and employed by another basketball program, but he’s still bleeding blue, all the way out there in Provo, Utah.

“I love you guys,” Pope said in his video.

Big Blue Nation loves you too.


  With three games remaining on the schedule, Kentucky, Alabama and Florida are in a race for the regular season conference crown and the coveted one seed in the SEC Tournament.  Florida currently sits atop the standings and should lock up the top seed in the conference tournament, barring a collapse down the final stretch.

A look at the top three:

FLORIDA (22-5, 12-3)
v. Alabama
v. Vanderblt
@ Kentucky

KENTUCKY (20-8, 11-4)
@ Arkansas
@ Georgia
v. Florida

ALABAMA (19-9, 11-4)
@ Florida
@ Ole Miss
v. Vanderbilt

Realistically, Kentucky fans need to worry about locking up that two seed ahead of Alabama and forget about the one seed. It’s still possible to earn the tournament’s top seed, but it’s also very unlikely.  Even if Kentucky were to win out, which would include a win over Florida, Florida would also have to lose this Saturday’s game against Alabama or at home to Vanderbilt on Senior Night (not happening.)  A Florida win this Saturday would give the Gators the tiebreaker over Kentucky, if both teams were to finish at 14-4 in the conference.

There are a million other scenarios that can still play out, so there’s no point in attempting to dissect them all now, but it appears the best case scenario is to surrender that one seed to Florida in our minds and hope for a two seed and maybe a share of the regular season championship.  Things get really complicated if Alabama beats Florida, then Kentucky is looking at anywhere from an unlikely two-seed to a three or four.

Of course, all this talk is based on wishful thinking that Kentucky finishes strong.  The Cats need to win two of three to ensure a spot at No. 2 or No. 3 in the tourney. There are a handful of teams, including a hot Tennessee team, patiently waiting for Kentucky to slip up and drop a few spots in the standings.  That’s what we can’t have happen.

  If you’re going to Nashville and enjoy a good night out on the town, you should really hope to lock up the two seed to avoid playing that ‘Seed #3 vs. Game 6’ winner game at 10:00 p.m. Friday night.  The four seed plays early Friday afternoon, which would be ideal for the party animals, but it would put the Cats on the same side of the bracket as the No. 1 team.  No thanks.

  Enough with all the talk of the future, it’s important for Kentucky to take this final stretch one game at a time.  That means 100% focus on Saturday’s game at Arkansas.  The Razorbacks are 7-0 at home in conference play this season, including an 11-point win over No. 2 Florida last month. However, Arkansas has slipped up a little bit in its last two home contests; it needed a layup in the final seconds to beat Georgia by two and a pair of free throws in the final seconds to beat Missouri by two.  It sounds like Mike Anderson’s squad is primed for a home loss on Saturday.

  Mark Stoops and Kentucky football had quite a day on Thursday.  Ticket distribution for the spring game got underway Thursday morning and Day 1 exceeded expectations.  As of closing time at the UK ticket office, over 23,000 tickets were reserved for the annual scrimmage.  That figure doesn’t include any online orders on after 5:00 p.m., so it’s actually much higher, maybe even in the billions. #StoopsEffect

  Thursday wasn’t just about feeding the hype machine, Stoops also added another member to the 2013 recruiting class.  Melvin Lewis, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle, signed with Kentucky out of Fullerton Community College in California.  He picked the Cats over Hawaii, Washington and Miami.  Though Lewis has the size of an SEC defensive lineman, he may redshirt next season to develop his technique and work to be a two-year contributor for the defense in 2014. Redshirting is okay be him, he says.  Welcome aboard.

  Ben Roberts from the Herald-Leader spoke with Rob Fulford, Andrew Wiggins’ head coach, Thursday night and Fulford reiterated what we all already know: it was crucial to have Wiggins’ parents on campus this week.  Fulford said he believes Florida State would be a lock had Wiggins not been accompanied by his parents on his official visit.  Mama and Papa Wiggins have been set on their son attending Florida State, but maybe Coach Cal was able to sway them a little during their conversations on Thursday.  Wiggins won’t discuss his recruitment until after his remaining two visits, so it’ll likely be another week or so before we know for sure how the visit went and where his recruitment stands as it winds down.

  I actually feel bad for Kansas…



Louisville’s are bad, but they’ll be able to pull it off.  And no one cares what Notre Dame, Cincinnati or Baylor wear.  But Kansas and UCLA?  Wow.  James Naismith and John Wooden don’t deserve this.

  In NCAA Tournament news, Kentucky’s tournament chances took a minor hit Thursday night when Virginia upset No. 3 Duke.  Virginia was a bubble team entering the game but the win will surely bump the Cavaliers into the tourney, taking up one of the spots Kentucky is fighting to claim.

That’ll do it for now.

See you back here in the morning with a hard-hitting post from Corey Nichols at 9:00 a.m.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

51 Comments for Mark Pope’s Friday News and Views

  1. BeauKnows
    11:06 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I hate to offend drunk monkeys, but those uniforms look like some of their work.
    Great to see Mark Pope still has the energy.
    GO CATS!!

  2. And Virginia storms the court! LOL!

  3. But hey, they beat Duke!

    Oh, and the ND unis = 70’s prom/country music tuxes & leisure suits.

  4. Ls
    11:11 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Duke isn’t that good round of 32 upset

  5. Kevin
    11:16 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Mike Anderson coaches Arkansas not Anthony Grant

  6. Drew Franklin
    11:17 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    5. — Still had Bama on the brain. Good catch.

  7. KcMunk
    11:17 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    How does Alabama beating Florida help us?

  8. Joe
    11:23 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    automatic bid? WTH are you talking about?

  9. Wildcatsteeler
    11:25 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I feel sorry for you youngins that didn’t know the Cats in the mid to late 90s. Was magical. And why I can’t and will never hate Pitino.

  10. Smiley Pete
    11:26 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Just a heads up, Grant coaches at Alabama.

  11. UKHoopshysteria
    11:26 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks #5 you beat me to it. Anthony Grant will be in Fl for Alabama’s game so a home loss would be impossible. Mike Anderson on the other hand could move to 7-1 in Bud Walton. Go Cats!

  12. Wildcatsteeler
    11:26 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    @7 because we can win the conference still?

  13. Smiley Pete
    11:26 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Scratch that, just read 5 & 6.

  14. I got 5 tix #springgame
    11:28 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Wow did Zubaz come back and throw up on those unis or what? hahaha loserville SUX!

  15. KcMunk
    11:37 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    @12 wouldn’t that give us the same record as Bama and they beat us?

  16. Eric K
    11:39 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Man those unis are UGLY! Wiggins will be joining the BBN! Damn what a class! Got four tickets for BLUE/WHITE! Can”t wait to see some real football being played! IN CAL WE TRUST!! IN STOOPS WE TRUST!! GO CATS!!

  17. Turd Ferguson
    11:46 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Except for the 7 that actually attend games, UCLA’s fans won’t even have to suffer through seeing the awful unis. A perk of being a member of a non-existent fan base??

  18. Eric K
    11:47 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Come on BBN let’s make the BLUE/WHITE a sell out!! Show STOOPS and these young men that the BBN is behind them!! GO CATS!!

  19. Df
    11:58 pm February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Automatic bids are awarded to conference champions (tourney or regular season). Virginia would still get an at-large, they just moved off the bubble a little.

  20. wrongdrew
    12:05 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Why the fug does everyone say Wiggins is a FSU lock?! He’s gonna be a cat.

  21. Drew Franklin
    12:13 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    20. — I hope you’re right, but that wasn’t the case a week ago. Hopefully Cal convinced the family to join #BBN.

  22. DrewRulesAll
    12:18 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    We’re not worthy of such an awesome night post!!!
    Everyone join me in a slow clap for the one and only Drew motha truckin Franklin!!

  23. Catlogic15
    12:18 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    All right already!!!

    Pope was great but Edwards and Nazr were equally sincere.

    All Cats! Always and All Ways!!!

  24. Hal
    12:19 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    those shorts remind me of white men cant jump. only thing missing is a white guy with a yellow &/or pink backwards hat.

  25. John Ellis
    12:35 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Drew you seriously need to remember this is Kentucky and Florida is coming to Rupp. Not saying it will be a sweep but it is seriously possible. And Florida is no lock to beat Alabama even at home.

  26. John Ellis
    12:36 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    I still remember Pope’s turnover against UCLA in LA in front of Wooden costing UK the game, but this means he’s forgiven.

  27. You Can Call Me Cal
    1:15 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Drew…where’d that info from Fulford come from? I couldn’t find it in any article on the herald leaders website. Only one they’ve got is from before the game.

  28. williamtitan
    1:18 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    for one of the reasons, shabazz went to UCLA because of addidas gear. what. an. IDIOT.

  29. Jason Hatcher
    1:21 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Florida should know, whoever loses to Tennessee in basketball loses to everybody.

  30. LuvDaCats
    1:25 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Pope in BYU gym filming that for BBN…… Respect for BYU!

    1:29 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    At least Kansas doesn’t have those gay little sleeves.

  32. John Ellis
    1:38 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Those uniforms look like Madonna designed them and they’re going to vogue. Too bad they won’t mike the trash talk during the tournament.

  33. mashburnfan1
    1:48 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    we just need to keep winning and forget projections which mean nothing. once conference tourneys start there may be several teams get in that otherwise would not by winning their tourney. as bad as basketball is this year there could be several of these teams get in. just win 2 of last 3 and at least 1 in sec tourney and we should be ok

  34. Han
    1:51 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    First, best case scenario is win the SEC. It’s not likely, but I don’t think you know what a best case scenario is.

    How many people here went to a school because their parents wanted them to? Why do so many athletes apparently value their parents’ desires more than their own when it comes to their own future?

    If we don’t win another game, we’re out of the NCAA tourney. Assuming we win like 3, maybe 4 more, we should be fine. If we somehow beat Florida plus 2 more, we’re in.

  35. Han
    1:53 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    28) Not Adidas gear. Adidas sponsor money when he goes pro.

  36. JC
    1:56 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    I will suck some hard candy.

  37. Jetblue
    3:06 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Those uniforms are awesome!

  38. rj
    5:17 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    those guys in those uniforms look like their going to sing their version of “it’s raining men” or maybe “YMCA”.

  39. Ridge Runner
    5:55 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Popes Cougars played well last night hosting the next #1 team in America. Speaking of #1’s this year….Ouch! Anyway, — yes, too many possibilities still exist for tourney seeding and bids. 1 game at a time for sure.

  40. BravoBigBlue
    7:03 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Not going to play that daily roller coaster game of are we in or are we out? KSR is starting to act like the lame-stream media. We’ll make it we deserve to. It’s in the team’s hands. Now go kick some ass Cats!

  41. RealCatsFan
    7:58 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    The dude modeling those uniforms must feel like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” when his mother made him put on the pink bunny suit and parade it in front of the whole family.

  42. RealCatsFan
    8:02 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Big shout out to Nazr and Allen for also sending in great videos – wish we could have had some from Mercer and Mills as well. And Mark – well, that was friggin’ awesome, dude! He looks like the type of guy who would be fun to hang out and have a beer with.

  43. red headed step child
    8:10 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    @9 I do remember the Pitino years, that’s why I will never forgive him for going to the Tards. UK helped him as much as he helped UK.

  44. LaRueBigBlue
    8:37 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    The Adidas jerseys don’t bother me. I prefer Adidas over Nike myself. But I also liked the Warriors sleeved jerseys they wore against the spurs about a week or so ago.

  45. LaRueBigBlue
    8:38 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Where is Ron Mercer at these days? I’d like to see Monster Mash a little more involved in the program as well.

  46. UL2UK8
    8:47 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    The Wiggans may want to remember that FSU did not want Andrews older brother for their basketball team. So, maybe the loyalty does not go both ways in that relationship.

  47. RealCatsFan
    8:49 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Looks like Coach Buy-A-Vowell was upset when the Virgina fans rushed the court:

    Look on the bright side, coach – at least they weren’t IU fans!

  48. UL2UK8
    8:49 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Wiggins for #46^^^

  49. Delk for 3
    10:00 am March 1, 2013 Permalink

    That win helps Virginia A LOT but it does not assure them a spot just yet. Virginia still has to beat Maryland next weekend and win a game or so in the ACC Tournament. Their RPI is still not great and they have some atrocious losses on their resume. Nothing is assured for anybody with games left to play.

  50. Cat In The ATL
    12:22 pm March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Alabama has Georgia at home for their final game, not Vandy.

  51. DrinknByTheBay
    8:17 pm March 1, 2013 Permalink

    Can anyone get sound with just Mark Pope’s C-A-T-S? I cant stop laughing…