Before the season began, nobody would have circled the trip to Tuscaloosa as one of the most important games of the year. The Cats have slogged through the last five games to reveal a variety of problems, most noticeably on defense.
After Calipari’s reboot failed to solve the problem Tuesday, he’s put his team on lockdown, kept them away from the media and put them through the gauntlet at practice. Will today be a turning point, or will they once again struggle to defend on the road?
1. Road Test in Tuscaloosa
The road has not been kind to the Cats this year. They are 3-3 in true road tests this season and they haven’t won on the road since their seven-point win in Starkville on January 17.
After being embarrassed last Saturday underneath the bright lights of College GameDay, this road test will have broadcast television treatment on CBS. Spero Dedes and Bill “ONIONS” Raftery will have the call at 1:00. Still, in Vegas Kentucky is the eight-point favorite.
2. Somebody Pulled the Fire Alarm
Bam Adebayo snapped a video of him leaving the hotel to the tune of obnoxious sirens at 3:30 a.m. CT (4:30 ET). It’s easy to speculate the cause from an 8-second video, so I’ll lay out four likely options:
- There was a fire.
- The fire alarms malfunctioned.
- A random prank from a random punk kid.
- A premeditated fire alarm prank from a drunk Alabama fan.
Is the last option seem a bit outlandish? Yes, until you remember a drunk Patriots’ fan did it just three weeks ago before the AFC Championship.
3. DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE, YEAH
The basketball team needs to hear Kentucky Joe’s song about the football team. In the last five games Kentucky has given up an average of 83 points. Cal’s solution to the problem: if you don’t play defense, you won’t play.
“If you really want to get better defensively, you play your best six defenders and that’s it,” Calipari said at yesterday’s press conference. “I’m not going to play as many guys. You’ve got to deal with it.”
The Crimson Tide couldn’t come at a better time for a team that struggles to stop its opponent from scoring. Alabama averages just 70.3 points per game. Against South Carolina, they only scored 90 points in four overtimes, the equivalent of 30 points per half.
4. Cats Shoot for 1,000
Kentucky has hit a three-pointer in 999 straight games. The last time they left a game without a three in the box score, it was November 26, 1988. Two days later against California, the Cats started “The Streak.”
For some, it’s just a nice little trivia question. For others, I’m talking to you Gary, they can’t relax until Kentucky hits a three-pointer.
Of all the fantastic three-point performances, I’ve narrowed it down to eight. Who’s the best of the best?
5. The Last Time Kentucky Lost to Bama
John Calipari has an 11-3 record vs. the Crimson Tide. Kentucky hasn’t lost to Alabama since they made the trip to Tuscaloosa in 2013, falling by four in UK’s NIT year.
6. Today’s Tale of the Tape
7. An NCAA Tournament Preview
Before CBS goes live from Tuscaloosa at 1:00, starting at 12:30 CBS will air the first selection show preview, formally known as the NCAA March Madness Bracket Preview Show. The tournament preview is the first of its kind in the men’s game, following the lead of the college women. On the show they’ll reveal the top 16 seeds as of today. Expect to see Kentucky somewhere in the nine to thirteen range.
8. Did Calipari Fart During Yesterday’s Presser?
The video below caused quite the stir yesterday afternoon. At least an hour of Tony Vanetti’s show was dedicated to the alleged fart and the best fart stories from the Louisville area (arguably the finest hour of radio). UK said it was a squeaky door, not a fart. You be the judge:
– Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) February 10, 2017
Even if it was a fart, it’s Cal’s birthday, he can fart if he wants to.
9. Baseball and Softball Season is Here
In case you couldn’t tell, KSR isn’t filled with a lot of baseball people. Still, we know you’re out there and we’re willing to accommodate. If baseball is a thing you like to watch on a nice day, then you’re in luck. Today the BatCats will scrimmage at 2:00. They’ll return to The Cliff with another scrimmage tomorrow at 1:00.
It’s already gotten real for the softball team. Their season started in Orlando yesterday. You could say the first game went well, ending with a walk-off homerun from Alex Martens.
– UK Softball (@UKsoftball) February 10, 2017
After beating Florida A&M 4-2, they fell to Pitt 3-1. They have a chance to avenge their loss to Pitt at 10:00 a.m. and will play UCF at 3:30.
10. Today’s College Basketball Schedule
- Noon: Texas A&M at No. 17 Florida on ESPN2
- Noon: Kansas State at No. 13 West Virginia on ESPN
- Noon: Marquette at Georgetown on Fox
- 2:00: Miami at No. 4 UofL on ESPN2
- 2:00: TCU at No. 6 Baylor on ESPNU
- 2:00: No. 3 Kansas at Texas Tech on ESPN
- 2:30: No. 2 Villanova at No. 24 Xavier on Fox
- 4:00: Georgia at Tennessee on ESPNU
- 4:00: Ohio State at No. 21 Maryland on ESPN
- 6:00: No. 14 Florida State at Notre Dame on ESPN
- 8:00: No. 19 South Carolina at Miss. State on ESPN2
- 8:15: No. 1 Gonzaga at No. 20 St. Mary’s on ESPN
- 10:00: Cal at No. 9 Arizona on ESPN2