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It’s been a long and bumpy road, but we finally made it…maybe. Barring any last-minute cancellations (seriously, I’m nervous just typing this post), both the Kentucky men’s and women’s basketball teams will begin their 2020-21 seasons today. At 1 p.m., the ladies host Murray State at Memorial Coliseum, and at 6 p.m, the guys tip off the Bluegrass Showcase vs. Morehead State. It’s a busy, busy day, so let’s hop to it.
Men’s Basketball: vs. Morehead State, 6 p.m., SEC Network
This evening, Preston Spradlin will bring the Morehead State Eagles to Rupp for a 6 p.m. tip. Spradlin was a member of John Calipari’s staff for five years and is entering his fifth season as head coach at Morehead (46-69). This will be his first regular season showdown vs. Calipari; back in 2017, the Cats beat the Eagles 92-67 in an exhibition game.
The Eagles lost their top two scorers from last season, but have a pair of talented freshmen in big man Tyzhaun Claude and guard Ta’lon Cooper, along with several impact transfers. Brandon Ramsey will have a full scouting report for you later today, but I think we can all agree that Kentucky easily wins the personnel battle here, even without Keion Brooks, who is out of this week’s games with a calf injury.
In case you missed the big news Monday night, Detroit Mercy had to pull out of the Showcase due to COVID. Kentucky will not replace Friday night’s game in hopes of bringing Brad Calipari back to Rupp at a later date, but until then, his cardboard cutout will do:
If you’re part of the 15% going to Rupp or Memorial today, please be sure to review the new safety protocols. Concessions will not be sold, masks are required the entire time, and temperatures will be checked upon entry.
Paul Sunderland and Jimmy Dykes will be on the call for the SEC Network. Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will rock the airwaves for the UK Sports Network, and Goose Givens will make his Don Franklin Auto Countdown to Tipoff debut alongside Buzz Baker. You can listen on 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP, 98.1 WBUL, XM-190 and Sirius-137, or iHeart Radio.
The KSR Pregame Show gets the party started at 3:30 p.m. on 630 WLAP or iHeart Radio. You can also join us on the KSR LIVE BLOG starting around 5:45 p.m. You know how we do.
Opportunity knocks … pic.twitter.com/Pq05vAvced
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 25, 2020
Women’s Basketball: vs. Murray State, 1 p.m., SEC Network+
Before the men play, we’ll get our first look at the women’s team as they take on Murray State at Memorial Coliseum in Kyra Elzy’s debut as interim head coach. It’s not an exaggeration to say this could be the best Kentucky Women’s team in school history, led by National Player of the Year frontrunner Rhyne Howard. She’ll be surrounded by an incredibly talented cast, including 2020 SEC Sixth Woman of the Year in Chasity Patterson; veterans KeKeMcKinney, Tatyana Wyatt, Blair Green, and Emma King; impact transfers Olivia Owens, Robyn Benton, and Dre’una Edwards; and a top-15 recruiting class in true freshmen Treasure Hunt, Nyah Leveretter and Erin Toller.
Zack Geoghegan will be courtside at Memorial to bring you coverage, but you can stream it on SEC Network+ with Jeff Piecoro and Christi Thomas on the call. The action can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network on 630 WLAP in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Football: Mark Stoops, Brad White talk
Basketball’s got the spotlight today, but there will still be some football news. We’ll hear from Mark Stoops twice, first on the SEC Teleconference around lunch and later after practice. Brad White will also give us an update on the defense. In case you missed it last night, Eddie Gran responded to criticism about the playcalling at Alabama, including AJ Rose’s comments after the game.
“A.J. was reiterating what I said (in the locker room),” Gran told reporters. “I went to every position group after the game and said, ‘I gotta be better. I’m gonna do better. I’m gonna be a better play-caller. You guys keep continuing to grind.’”
For more of Gran’s comments, check out Nick’s post:
College Basketball on TV
It being opening day, there will be about a billion games on television (complete list here), but here are the ones in the Top 25 and SEC:
|TIME / TV||AWAY||HOME||VENUE|
|12:30 PM||Maine||#4 Virginia||Mohegan Sun Arena|
|2:00 PM, ESPN||Illinois St.||#23 Ohio St.||Value City Arena|
|2:00 PM, BTN||NC A&T||#8 Illinois||State Farm Center|
|3:00 PM, ESPN+||Lamar||#17 Houston||Fertitta Center|
|4:00 PM, BTN||NC Central||#5 Iowa||Carver-Hawkeye Arena|
|4:00 PM, ESPN 2||Bowling Green||#25 Michigan||Crisler Center|
|5:00 PM, SECN+||Columbus State||Georgia||Stegeman Coliseum|
|6:00 PM, BTN||E. Michigan||#13 Michigan State||Jack Breslin Student Events Center|
|6:00 PM||Charleston||#16 North Carolina||Dean E. Smith Center|
|6:00 PM, SECN||Morehead St.||#10 Kentucky||Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center|
|6:30 PM, SECN+||Coker||South Carolina||Colonial Life Arena|
|7:00 PM, SECN+||Oral Roberts||Missouri||Mizzou Arena|
|7:00 PM, ESPN 2||#15 West Virginia||South Dakota State||Sanford Pentagon|
|7:30 PM, SECN+||Mississippi Valley State||Arkansas||Bud Walton Arena|
|8:00 PM, SECN||Jacksonville State||Alabama||Coleman Coliseum|
|7:00 PM||Sacred Heart||#24 Rutgers||Louis Brown Athletic Center|
|7:00 PM, ESPN||Rhode Island||#18 Arizona State||Mohegan Sun Arena|
|7:00 PM, ESPN+||Northwestern State||#14 Texas Tech||United Supermarkets Arena|
|8:00 PM||UT-Rio Grande Valley||#19 Texas||Frank Erwin Special Events Center|
|8:30 PM, CBSSN||Clemson||Mississippi State||Titan Field House|
|9:30 PM, ESPN||#3 Villanova||Boston College||Mohegan Sun Arena|
|10:00 PM, BTN||E. Illinois||#7 Wisconsin||Kohl Center|
|10:30 PM, CBSSN||#22 UCLA||San Diego State||Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl|
KSBar: Let us do the Thanksgiving Eve cooking
Between basketball tonight and Thanksgiving tomorrow you’ve got enough to worry about. Let KSBar take care of dinner. Check out our updated Curbside Pick-Up Menu, and keep an eye out on social media (@KSBarAndGrille) for our carry-out special of the day (please be wings, please be wings):
KSR Dog of the Day: Deuce
Meet Deuce, the pup of former KSR writer Dustin Rumbaugh. Deuce and his Randall Cobb golden eyes are ready for tonight (and don’t worry, PETA, that’s just hypoallergenic Crayola clay).