Fingers crossed, today is the last day you will have to endure without Kentucky basketball. Keep those fingers crossed, folks. At seemingly any moment another UK opponent may temporarily shut down the program due to COVID-19 positive tests and contact tracing protocols.
Before teams began traveling to their respective destinations, news broke fast and furiously of positive tests. In the SEC three programs — Ole Miss, Florida and Tennessee — had to delay the start of their seasons. According to Jon Rothstein 35 college basketball teams have been forced to press pause. As the COVID-19 postponements piled up, one finally hit Kentucky. Brad Calipari’s scheduled return trip to Rupp Arena will not be played this Friday. Detroit Mercy hopes to reschedule that game, but it’s uncertain when that could potentially happen.
The good news is that with less than 48 hours to go, the Wildcats are still a go to open the season as scheduled at Rupp Arena Wednesday night against Morehead State. It’s not all great news though.
One Awful Scrimmage
Calipari was actually pleased to share some bad news during his pre-Bluegrass Showcase press conference. In the final preseason scrimmage of the season at Rupp, the Wildcats were BAD.
“It was our worst scrimmage since I’ve been the coach here. I’ve got both feet and hands on the panic button right now,” Calipari said. “I’m just hoping that they needed to play against somebody else and they just got tired of each other. Because if not, I’m going to have to be the most patient soul on the earth when we start the season like 0-6.”
Was it actually that bad? Of course not. Coach Cal is doing what he can to get his team’s attention and pump the brakes on lofty expectations from the fanbase. That’s not what worried me most from yesterday’s media opportunity.
Brooks is OUT
Kentucky’s top returning contributor is expected to miss the opening week of the season. Keion Brooks has been dealing with a calf injury that sidelined him for the first month or so of preseason practices. He returned to running in full-court drills but he has yet to participate in a live 5-on-5 setting. Sigh. Hopefully these are just precautionary measures to make sure he’s good to go against Kansas one week from today in the Champions Classic.
No Excuses for Stoops
Kentucky’s head coach has more than a handful of excuses to use after the embarrassing loss at Alabama, but Mark Stoops is biting his tongue and going back to work.
“What’s that word you put in front of show? It’s a blank-show,” Stoops said to refrain from explicitly calling this season a shit-show. “I don’t have coaches, whatever. I don’t even want to say it because I don’t want anybody attacking me for excuses. It sucks. It’s very difficult and it’s very difficult to pick your players up each and every day but we’re going to try our best and we’re going to continue to fight and again, we will be there. We’ll play. There’s issues that we’re dealing with, but we’ll be there.”
Stoops is hoping for a relatively normal week, but the team will still be missing some significant pieces to the puzzle.
Reshuffled Depth Chart
Chris Rodriguez and Justin Rigg are still absent from Kentucky’s two-deep after they were ruled out of last Saturday’s game at Alabama. Luckily, Jamin Davis, Max Duffy and Luke Fortner are expected to return while J.J. Weaver makes his first start ahead of the injured Jordan Wright. Brad White and Anwar Stewart also did some serious shuffling on the defensive line with the twos. You can see who is all moved where right here.
New KSR Football Podcast
Even though the Cats lost by 60, there was still much fun to be had on the KSR Football Podcast. We highlighted Matt Ruffolo’s marvelous athletic feat, terrible play by traditional college football powerhouses, Drew Franklin’s Thanksgiving turkey problem and much, much more. Subscribe and listen to all of the hi-jinx right now.
Hilarious Bad Beat
Gambling on sports is a beautiful, painful experience, particularly in the silly sport of college football. Few things have ever been sillier than the ending of Virginia-Abilene Christian.
— Funhouse (@BackAftaThis) November 24, 2020
First CFB Playoff Rankings Released Tonight
Will the Cats land a spot in the final four? Find out tonight at 7 pm ET when the first CFB Playoff rankings of the season are released on ESPN.
Watch the UK Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon
The Louisville alumni association’s annual event with John Calipari has gone virtual and you can see all of the action unfold online right here today at noon.