That feeling in your stomach right now? It’s SEC FEVER and, yes, you caught it. Many of you may not even know you caught it, but you caught it. The fever spread far and wide this morning on the first official day of the best conference tournament in all of college basketball, maybe even the best and most exciting five days in all of sport.
It’s SEC tournament time and it all gets underway tonight when two of the fourteen best teams in the league, LSU and Mississippi State, tip off at 7 pm in the grand opening. After that, two more of the fourteen best teams will go head-to-head when Auburn and Missouri showcase their basketball abilities in a city known for its basketball first, music second.
So get excited, Big Blue Nation, and embrace that fever, don’t fight it. We hope to see you down there.
1. Malik Monk has a message for anyone in Kentucky’s way.
When asked how he feels coming off his worst game of the season at Texas A&M, Monk said, “It’s bad news for every team coming up because I think our team is focused. We’re all focused and we’re coming in focused from the jump. I think it’s going to be a new team the whole tournament.”
You’ve been warned, America.
2. Monk won more awards on Tuesday.
In yesterday’s round of postseason awards, Kentucky’s star freshman was named SEC Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press, and SEC Rookie of the Year by the league. South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell edged him out for the league’s SEC Player of the Year honor.
Monk also landed a place as First Team All-SEC, along with De’Aaron Fox. Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo was named Second Team All-SEC, and all three made the All-Freshman Team.
Oh, Monk won the United States Basketball Writers Association’s District IV Player of the Year award, too. And was named one of five finalists for the Jerry West award.
I think that’s all.
3. Dirk Nowitzki joined the 30,000-point club last night.
Last night Dirk Nowitzki became only the sixth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points in a career, joining the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain in that club.
Now let’s celebrate with a photo of Dirk in a UK shirt:
Remember, he almost became a Wildcat before jumping straight to the league out of high school.
4. There is some great afternoon basketball today for all you degenerates out there.
Be sure to get ahold of your bookie before noon when Syracuse and Miami tip off the day’s action in the ACC Tournament. That one is followed up by Duke and Clemson in Game 2 from Brooklyn, which, I believe, will move Duke to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament if Clemson wins. That’s how it works, right? Duke loses, moves up.
5. Today is also NFL Pro Day at the University of Kentucky.
Boom Williams and Jon Toth will once again work out in front of NFL scouts, this time in their own facility, not at the NFL Combine. Williams and Toth are the players to watch at UK’s NFL pro day, along with eight of their 2016 Wildcat teammates who will also participate: Will Tom Collins, Tanner Fink, JD Harmon, JoJo Kemp, Marcus McWilson, Blake McClain, Courtney Miggins and Ryan Timmons.
Former UK defensive end Jason Hatcher and former quarterback Maxwell Smith will also use the UK Pro Day to show out in front of scouts from all 32 NFL teams.
The event will be streamed live on UKathletics.com and SEC Network+ beginning at 9:30 a.m.
6. Auto-correct really messed up this headline from WFIE in Evansville, IN.
Speaking of shit fired…
7. Jonny Jones is out at LSU after the season.
See what I did there?
8. I’m going to share some stories from this past weekend’s Bourbon Classic in Louisville.
I know it’s tournament time, but I have a recap of all the Bourbon Classic fun coming up this morning. If you like bourbon, read it and I hope you enjoy it. If you’re more of a stick-ta-sports KSR viewer, scroll right on past it and read all the other great stuff that will flood the site today.
9. We’re going to have some fun with tonight’s SEC opening round games.
We haven’t decided what we will do, but we do plan to take on the impossible task of making tonight’s games entertaining. Got a suggestion? Let us know and we may do it. If not, we’ll report from Bridgestone Arena in some form or fashion from that exciting nighttime double-header.
10. You didn’t think I’d forget the Northern Kentucky Norse, did you?
They’re going to the Big Dance!
NKU won the Horizon League Tournament last night, fighting off Milwaukee to punch the school’s first ticket to the tournament.
That will likely come with a first-round matchup against Kentucky or Louisville, but they’re in.