Today could be a turning point for the 2016-17 Kentucky Wildcats. After losing consecutive games for the first time all year, the Cats got a hard-fought win over Georgia at home. Today is their most difficult SEC test remaining. Will they fight through adversity and carry some momentum into March, or will they succumb to the pressure and drop three out of four? You’ll have to wait until 8:15 to find out. Until then…
1. Fox is in Florida
After missing Tuesday night’s game against Georgia, many were worried De’Aaron Fox would miss Kentucky’s road test in Gainesville. No updates were given during yesterday’s press conference, but Fox did reveal on Snapchat that he made the trip to Gainesville. John Calipari told Andy Katz Fox will be a game-time decision.
There’s been a lot less scuttlebutt about Mychal Mulder, who hasn’t played since the January 17th road trip to Starkville, but according to KSR sources, Mulder is closer to returning to the court than Fox. Both players participated in Thursday’s practice.
2. Cats Opened as a 2-Point Favorite
The opening line in Las Vegas gave the Cats two points. Since then the script has flipped; the Gators are now two-point favorites in most Las Vegas sports books.
It’s Kentucky’s first trip to the renovated O Dome, now officially known as the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center after the university invested $64.5 million for improvements. It re-opened in December. Today’s game will without a doubt be the biggest stage the renovated arena has seen.
3. Kentucky’s Poor GameDay Record
The Cats have been the featured game on ESPN’s premier pregame show 13 times, but things rarely go their way. The Cats are 5-8 on GameDay and have lost three consecutive games. Kentucky’s last win in front of a GameDay audience was actually in Gainesville, when Willie Cauley-Stein was charged with first degree murder.
That was the only time Kentucky has even taken down Florida in a GameDay showdown. Florida is 5-1 vs. UK since they first met on GameDay in 2006.
4. Drew Franklin will be in the Building
We know at least some blue will get in today. Make sure you’re following Drew on all the social media platforms (@DrewFranklinKSR, drew_franklin on Snapchat and Instagram) to see what he is seeing in Gainesville.
5. Coach Cal Watched Kevin Knox
John Calipari and Kenny Payne made the short two-hour trip from Gainesville to Tampa to see five-star 2017 small forward Kevin Knox. Knox didn’t disappoint, scoring 26 points in a ten-point victory. Cal saw him do this…
– Overtime (@overtime) February 4, 2017
– Prep Hoops Florida (@prephoopsfl) February 4, 2017
6. Trae Young Sets Commitment Date
Five-star point guard Trae Young revealed on Twitter he will announce his college decision at his high school on Thursday, February 16 at noon. Even though he was the first point guard Calipari pursued in the 2017 class, the chances of landing Young dropped dramatically after Quade Green signed with Kentucky. According to the 247 Crystal Ball, Oklahoma and Kansas are the favorites (tied at 36%) with UK not far behind (20%).
7. Booker’s Buzzer-Beating Bank-Shot
There are rumors around the league that Boogie could be traded to Phoenix. I’m sure Cousins is much more open to the move after watching Devin Booker silence the Sacramento crowd, for the win.
Devin Booker hits game-winning buzzer-beater to defeat Kings pic.twitter.com/0T76D7aJeP
– Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) February 4, 2017
Booker finished the night with 33 points. Now with 15 straight games with 20 points or more, he’s only the second player to do so before turning 21. The first? LeBron James.
8. Podcast Plugs
Yesterday we were delighted to record the Depth Chart Podcast at Jack Kain Ford. It will hit the iTunes feed within the hour. Until then, you can keep your ears busy by listening to a pair of podcasts from the KSR archives, with postgame shows from Kentucky’s 2012 Final Four and National Championship. Even though many will say the championship show is better, I prefer the one following the win over Louisville. The relief is real and the championship game predictions couldn’t be more incorrect.
Subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or listen on the KSR app.
9. The Unforgettable Fairytale
Author Temple Stites has an exciting treat for UK fans that he would love to share with you today.
25 years ago, The Unforgettables inspired us all. That season, and the Greatest Game Ever Played, inspired a young father, who is a lifelong member of the BBN, to want to pass this story of grit and determination on to his young son.
Problem was, the little guy couldn’t yet follow basketball. He was more interested in knights, duels, and castles. So his dad decided to write an epic knight’s tale inspired by the Unforgettables.
“The Unforgettable Fairytale” is a new children’s book filled with heroic knights, jousts, a Tournament of Knights, honor and ultimately, redemption.
This is our story and I think you’re going to want to share this book with your kids and grandkids. And you’ve got to see how beautiful this thing is.
10. Today’s College Basketball Schedule
- Noon: No. 23 Purdue at No. 17 Maryland on ESPN
- Noon: No. 9 Virginia at Syracuse on ESPN2
- 1:00: Pitt at No. 21 Duke on CBS
- 2:00: Georgia at No. 19 South Carolina on ESPN2
- 2:00: Iowa State at No. 3 Kansas on ESPN
- 3:00: Xavier at No. 22 Creighton on Fox
- 4:00: No. 5 Arizona at No. 13 Oregon on ESPN
- 4:00: UConn at No. 14 Cincinnati on ESPN2
- 5:00: Oklahoma State at No. 7 West Virginia on ESPNU
- 6:00: Ohio State at Michigan on ESPN2
- 6:00: No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 12 North Carolina on ESPN
- 9:00: Exas A&M at LSU on ESPNU