When I think of Kentucky/Kansas, I always picture the final seconds of the 2012 National Championship; while there have been plenty of great games between the two blue bloods over the years, this one will always take the cake. Even though I wasn’t there to see the Cats cut down the nets in person (one of my few regrets in life), thanks to YouTube, we can relive it any time we want:
What a great way to start a Friday, right? Never gets old. Let’s carry that energy through today’s agenda, which will be Jayhawk heavy…
1. John Calipari will preview Kansas this afternoon
Calipari and select players will share their thoughts on tomorrow’s matchup this afternoon. We’ll have a live stream mid-afternoon and a recap after.
Yesterday, Calipari described Kansas as having “a lot of bullets in the gun.”
“It’s gonna be a hard game for us. What I’ve seen, barring that last game, they’ve been able to figure out every kind of situation, play a man-to-man that’s stingy, play a 2-3, go to a triangle and two if they have to. They’ve got a lot of bullets in the gun, they’ve got veteran guards, and boy, they’re making threes right now. [Josh] Jackson is a breakdown kind of player that can go get his and they’ll post it when they need to. They’re very worthy of their ranking and I think the West Virginia game was just a one-off. Tough place to play, very physical game, scramble it up kind of game. They’re a legit #1 ranked team.”
2. Kansas’ Carlton Bragg has been suspended
In case you missed the news late last night, Kansas forward Carlton Bragg has been suspended for a violation of team rules and will miss the Kentucky game. Bragg backs up Landen Lucas and is averaging just 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 15 minutes per game, but he is the Jayhawks’ sixth man, so the suspension is significant. Bragg was suspended earlier this season after being charged with misdemeanor battery in December, only to have those charges reversed shortly after. Self said the violation of team rules is not connected to the alleged rape that took place in the Kansas basketball dorm last month. Freshman Mitch Lightfood will now be Lucas’ only backup in an already vulnerable post.
3. What will the spread be?
This is a tough one. Ken Pom’s game predictor has Kentucky winning by seven, and although I don’t think Vegas will be as confident, the rape investigation and Bragg’s suspension are huge distractions for Kansas. If I was setting the line, I’d put Cats by four or five.
4. John Calipari liked what he saw in practice yesterday
Cal’s been tough on his team the past few weeks, especially after the loss to Tennessee, but judging by his tweets, his players responded in practice yesterday.
“Just got done with practice. Really focused on us. The guys were really moving the ball and playing today. Gets me excited!!! I always come back to what you demand is what you get. Today was a great practice.”
Here’s a little of that practice if you want to see for yourself:
Back at it today with a renewed focus. Time to get better. pic.twitter.com/18XVnnpF8M
– Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 26, 2017
5. Paul Finebaum will be live from the Rupp Arena lobby this afternoon
Finebaum will host his show from 3-7 p.m. in the Rupp Arena lobby, just off High Street, and fans are encouraged to attend. Our own Matt Jones will apparently be on during the show for thirty minutes to an hour as well. If you can’t make it to Rupp to see the show in person, don’t worry; I’ll post any highlights.
6. ICYMI, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were named NBA All-Star Reserves
We already knew Anthony Davis was voted a starter in the NBA All-Star Game, but last night, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were named reserves by the league’s coaches. Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, and Jamal Murray will also take part in the Rising Stars Challenge, bringing the total number of former Cats participating in All-Star Weekend to seven. Believe it or not, the festivities are only a few weeks away, taking place in New Orleans February 17-19.
7. A reminder of tomorrow’s schedule
Between GameDay and all of the festivities, tomorrow will be one of the busiest days of the season. Here’s a quick rundown of the schedule as we know it:
- 9:00 a.m.: Doors open at Rupp for “College GameDay” (admission is free)
- 11:00 a.m.: “College GameDay” airs on ESPN
- Noon: “College GameDay” ends
- 3:30 p.m.: The KSR Pregame Show begins
- 4:30 p.m.: Doors open at Rupp
- 6:15 p.m.: Kentucky vs. Kansas on ESPN
In addition to all of that, famed ring announcer Michael Buffer will be back in Rupp to do the introductions and a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to see if UK fans can set a new record for the loudest indoor crowd cheer. Tickets are the most expensive they’ve been on the secondary markets since 2013, so if you’re lucky enough to be in the building, BE LOUD.
8. Thinking of making a sign for GameDay?
Earlier this week, Funkhouser’s Megan Suttles posted this awesome rubric to help you make the perfect sign. Check out her full post for more, and please, be clever.
9. We’ll hear from the football early enrollees this morning
Need a football fix? Nick Roush is already at Commonwealth Stadium to meet the football team’s seven mid-year enrollees: Danny Clark, Quarterback; Jamin Davis, Linebacker; Cedric Dort Jr., Defensive Back; Lonnie Johnson Jr., Defensive Back; Bryant Koback, Running Back; Clevan Thomas, Wide Receiver; and Walker Wood, Quarterback. Follow @RoushKSR for immediate updates or the site a bit later for the highlights.
Speaking of football…
10. Joshua Paschal reaffirms his commitment to Kentucky
With only a few more days left until Signing Day, the UK Football staff got some huge news last night when four-star defensive end Joshua Paschal put an end to speculation he would flip to Penn State:
— Joshua Paschal (@JPaschalx) January 27, 2017
Phew. Paschal is the third-highest ranked commitment in a stacked 2017 class, so keeping him on board is a big, big deal.
Radio in an hour. Until then, enjoy the floppiest flop of all time, which, surprisingly, didn’t come from a Dukie: