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December 8th, 2016

The eRUPPtion Zone named 7th best student section in basketball

 

UK Men's Basketball 08_09 UK vs Florida UK wins 68-65

USA Today Sports’ For The Win ranked the 8 best student sections in college basketball. The eRUPPtion Zone came in at number 7, which might seem low, but is not surprising to me at all. Here’s what USA Today had to say about the students in Rupp.

The passion of Kentucky basketball is undeniable, but by no fault of their own, the student section gets hurt solely by its location. Kentucky cut the student allotment from 9,000 to between 4,000 and 5,000 in 2015, which inevitably took a toll on the noise level. That being said, Rupp Arena remains one of the tougher places to play in college basketball, and the lower level “eRUPPtion Zone” is always rowdy. The students just deserve more seats.

Check out the rest of the top 8 in the full article here.

On a side not, having attended games as a student, an employee of UK Athletics, and now as a graduate, I feel that student’s don’t get their fair shake with the tickets they are offered in Rupp Arena. Say what you want about the student not filling the rafter seats for games against S.F. Austin and Asbury, but can you really blame them?

These students wait for hours in a completely outdated lottery system for tickets. Not to mention that the majority of those tickets are either upper deck, nosebleed seats or are stuck directly behind the basket in the eRUPPtion Zone. Let me also say, outside of freshmen and the people who sit in the front row of the student section every game, that watching a game in the eRUPPtion Zone really isn’t much to write home about. Your view is obstructed by the basket, and they pack too many people into vague stand-only rows. Believe it or not, some students would much rather watch the game on a big-screen HD television, than from an uncomfortable seat far away from the court.

A lot of the top student sections in the country have students along the sidelines, so they can have more impact on the game. The students in these arenas truly make it tough on the opposing team to play every possession.

Many believe that the donors should be moved to suite style seating, leaving room near the floor for the students. What do you think? Should students get different seating to move the student section up to the top of the list where it belongs?

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Three Kentucky players make the AP’s All-SEC Teams

@StoopsTroops

@StoopsTroops

The AP All-SEC Teams were released this afternoon and three Kentucky Wildcats made the list: Jon Toth, Jordan Jones, and Mike Edwards. Toth, a senior, make the First Team at center, while Jones and Edwards, both sophomores, made Second Team at linebacker and safety.

If Freddie Maggard hasn’t hammered it into your head enough, today’s honor should show you how special Toth is. The senior center played in 48 career games with a nation-high 47 consecutive starts. In addition to helping UK’s rushing attack  rank 16th nationally, Toth leads the team with 69 knockdown blocks and has been credited with 195 blocks at the point of attack this season. He was a nominee for several national awards this season, including the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award, the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding center and the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best interior lineman. According to Corey Price, Toth is the first Kentucky player to be named First Team All-SEC at center since Ken Roark in 1980.

On the other side of the ball, Jones and Edwards led Kentucky in total tackles with 100 and 93, respectively. Jones ranked third in the SEC in tackles per game (8.3) and his 70 solo tackles led the league and ranked 11th nationally. He’s the only player in UK history to have at least 100 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks in a single season. Jones also added nine quarterback hurries, four pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Edwards finished the regular season leading all SEC defensive backs in tackles with 93. He ranks fourth in the SEC with 7.8 tackles per game. Edwards had four double-digit tackle performances and tied for the team lead with three interceptions, including two of Heisman Trophy finalist Lamar Jackson in the Cats’ 41-38 victory over No. 11 Louisville. Edwards has recorded a tackle in 20 consecutive games and has 132 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions and 11 pass breakups for his career.

Congrats, guys.


First LeBron, now Kyrie; the Cavaliers can’t stop raving about DeAndre Liggins

Last night, DeAndre Liggins made his first start of the season — the second of his career — for the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Knicks. The reason for the start should sound familiar to Kentucky fans; yes, JR Smith was out with an injury, but Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue wanted someone to shut down Brandon Jennings, so he called upon Liggins, who is quickly developing a reputation as the team’s lockdown defender.

“DeAndre Liggins coming in and pressuring Brandon Jennings and relieving some of our pressure on the defensive end, he did an incredible job tonight to fill in for Swish [JR Smith],” Teammate Kyrie Irving said afterwards. “He’s hawking guys. I have the luxury of playing against him in practice and he’s picking me up 94 feet. He’s just an agitator and he’s going to play hard, he’s going to play his role and he’s going to do it to the best of his ability, which we need from him.”

Irving’s praise for Liggins echoes that of LeBron James from a few days ago, when James told reporters Liggins should have the game ball for his performance. Liggins only had six points in last night’s rout, but, as he told Fox Sports Ohio afterwards, that’s not where he can have the most impact.

“My job is to bring the defensive intensity and set the tone with my energy,” Liggins said, adding that he’s thankful to just do what he does best with the Cavaliers. “I can be me. Bringing my defensive edge, picking up guards full court, being disruptive, that’s what I bring.”

After sharpening his skills in the D-League — where he won Defensive Player of the Year twice — Liggins said he’s having the most fun of his NBA career with the Cavaliers.

“Yes, this is the most fun. No matter what, these guys are great guys all around, in the locker room, on the bus, on the plane. I’m a quiet guy, but these guys are funny and I love being around them.”

Calipari will always be famous for helping guys like Derrick Rose, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and Karl Towns achieve their potential, but he deserves way more credit for helping players like Liggins and Andrew Harrison develop into lockdown defenders.


It’s an off day, so of course Calipari wrote a mini-manifesto on Twitter

cali-twitter

You have to hand it to John Calipari; the man is incapable of taking a day off. Today is supposed to be an off day for the team, but Calipari couldn’t help but put out a mini-manifesto on Twitter, doing as the young kids do and posting a screenshot of a note on his phone.

“We have an off day, and my thoughts went to all the players I currently coach and my responsibility to them,” Cal writes. “Parents who send us their most precious child expect a lot more from us than to just dedicate ourselves to this profession. Their child should not be a spoke in the wheel that’s used to win a ‘chip for our program. We owe them more!!”

Etc. Etc. Etc. Losing attention span…oh hey, caps!

“We should KEEP IT REAL! Let them know they are responsible for themselves! Nothing in life is given that’s worth having! Life isn’t always fair so deal with it. We need them to know how to create joy in their lives (helping others) and how to be continually happy (be continually grateful). That’s a mouthful but we owe it to the parents, the kids and ourselves to be dedicated to them and not just our profession.”

Who knows what prompted this, but read it for yourself below:

🤔


Attention All Ewoks and Stormtroopers: Enter Hey Kentucky’s Star Wars Contest Today!

star-wars-web-fsg

Why go see the new Stars Wars film Rogue One like a chump with the rest of randos? Enter Hey Kentucky’s contest to prove you’re the biggest Star Wars fan ever and win Opening Night VIP tickets to the movie event of the year with food and beverage included at Brannon Crossing’s Movie Tavern. 

Just send us a video explaining why and how you’re the biggest Star Wars fan on earth, Hosniam Prime, Coruscant or Ord Mantell (do not tell me in the comments section that these are not things because I just looked up on a star wars map page on the internet) and send it to heykentucky@lex18.com right now. And may the force be with you (that’s what they say in Star Wars, you guys). Good luck!


Benny Snell and Logan Stenberg named to All-SEC Freshman Team

UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Congratulations to Benny Snell and Logan Stenberg, who were named to the SEC Coaches’ All-Freshman Team this afternoon. The freshman running back and offensive guard were pivotal members of Kentucky’s dominant rushing attack, which ranked 16th nationally and has already broken or could break as many as 12 team and individual rushing records this season. Should the offense rush for at least 230 yards and two touchdowns in the TaxSlayer Bowl, the unit will set new single-season school records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in a season.

We all know how great Benny Snell is. The true freshman running back from Westerville, Ohio, had a record-breaking season, rushing for a freshman school-record 1,057 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had a UK-freshman record five 100-yard rushing games, ranked eighth in the SEC in rushing yards per game, led the nation in rushing touchdowns by a freshman and ranks third nationally amongst freshmen in rushing yards. He was also named SEC Freshman of the Week twice this season.

Stenberg, a 6-foot-6, 318-pound guard from Madison, Ala., saw his role increase as the season went along, joining the Wildcats’ second offensive line unit as part of a dominating rushing attack. Stenberg had 37 knockdown blocks, missed only one assignment and allowed just one quarterback pressure on the season.

Let’s celebrate with Benny’s highlights (and appreciate Stenberg for his many blocks):

Those never get old.


More basketball tickets going on sale tonight

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Struggling to find a Christmas gift for that special someone? How about tickets to a UK basketball game? Tonight at 5 p.m., a limited number of single-game tickets for three games in January will go on sale: Auburn (Jan. 14), South Carolina (Jan. 21) and Georgia (Jan. 31). You can only get these tickets online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. Based on availability after Thursday’s sale, tickets will also be available on Friday morning through the UK ticket office and the Rupp Arena box office.

In addition, an extremely limited number of 200-level single seats will be available for the Kansas game (Jan. 28), as well as verified resale tickets through the TicketExchange, the official fan-to-fan resale marketplace of UK Athletics.

For a complete listing of on-sale dates, single-game ticket prices and other ticket information, visit UKAthletics.com/tickets-mens-basketball.


Kentucky sold out its initial allotment of bowl tickets (don’t worry, there’s more!)

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Call it a hunch, but I think Kentucky fans are excited about going to a bowl game. UK just announced that in only three days, Kentucky sold through its initial allotment of 8,000 tickets for the TaxSlayer Bowl. If you don’t have your tickets yet, don’t panic; the UK Ticket Office has also secured additional lower-level tickets from the TaxSlayer Bowl in order to fulfill all ticket requests.

“The passion of our fans is a major reason we were selected to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl and we are thankful they have already made plans to follow us in such great numbers,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Though we have sold through our initial allotment, tickets are still for sale. We hope many more members of the Big Blue Nation will buy them and join us in Jacksonville.”

Lower-level tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased by visiting UKFootballTix.com or through the TaxSlayer Bowl’s website. Kentucky sideline is on the WEST SIDE of the stadium, so take that into consideration when choosing your seat.

And then enjoy these highlights of Kentucky beating Louisville because why not:


Kentucky drops to a 2-seed in latest-but-still-way-too-early Bracketology

lunardi-toosoon

It’s still too early for Bracketology, but that’s not stopping Joe Lunardi from giving his predictions on who will end up where in the NCAA Tournament a good three months before it happens. Last week, Kentucky was the 1-seed in the South Region, but the loss to UCLA dropped them a line to a 2-seed in the East Region, playing the 15-seed Fort Wayne Hoosier Killers in the opening round in Indianapolis:

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-19-34-pm

Of course, this bracket is meaningless, but you can you imagine a Sweet 16 showdown with Louisville? And of course West Virginia’s in there.

However meaningless, bracketology is an important reminder of the impact the loss to UCLA could have. Yes, the Bruins are also listed as a two-seed, but the loss happened at Rupp, which could damage Kentucky’s resume, especially if they lose to North Carolina and Louisville. Drop one of those two and I think Kentucky’s chances of getting the 1-seed are still good, but drop both and they’ll have to make a nearly flawless run in the SEC to be one of the top four teams in the tournament. That’s the thing about the SEC…wins don’t get you much because the competition is weak, but losses kill you.

So, let’s beat North Carolina AND Louisville, okay?

[Bracketology]


Stoops: “Recruiting is going exceptionally well”

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

This morning, Mark Stoops and Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson traveled to Jacksonville to formally accept their TaxSlayer Bowl invitations. They had a short press conference that, honestly, wasn’t too exciting, but there were a few nuggets worth sharing.

Of course the moderator asked about basketball

Poor Mark Stoops, he went all the way to Jacksonville and the moderator opened with a story about basketball, recalling a trip to Lexington in the 80’s on the night of Midnight Madness and how excited fans were to see the team. As he’s learned to do over the years, Stoops took it in stride.

“We have a phenomenal fan base, they go by the BBN. They’re certainly very energetic, very passionate. That’s what I said since I’ve been there. The history in basketball, they deserve that recognition, they’ve been good for a long, long time; it only helps us. We bring our recruits to the basketball games, it’s phenomenal experience.”

Stoops then redirected the conversation back to football, mentioning the renovations to Commonwealth Stadium and the new practice facility.

Recruiting is going “exceptionally well”

This week, Kentucky’s picked up two big football commits: 3-star DE Chris Whittaker and 3-star OT Nassir Watkins last night. Stoops has several other irons in the fire for the 2017 class, and when asked, said recruiting wasn’t just going well, it’s going “exceptionally well.”

“Recruiting is going exceptionally well for us. We’re off to another good start this year, hopefully we can close very well,” Stoops said, mentioning the importance of the state of Florida in recruiting. “It’s going very well and we’re excited about trying to close here.”

Stoops asked Johnson about bowl practice schedules

Of course, this is Stoops’ first bowl game as a head coach, and he admitted he asked Georgia Tech’s coach for some pointers before the presser began.

“I was just picking Coach [Johnson]’s brain. It’s my first bowl game as a head coach, so Coach and I were talking about some of our schedules,” Stoops said.

Hopefully Johnson didn’t play any mind tricks with Stoops, like advising him to let his team relax until Christmas.

Watch the entire presser below:


DeMarcus Cousins sued over nightclub incident

Photo via USAToday.com

Photo via USAToday.com

On Sunday, DeMarcus Cousins was involved in an incident at a New York nightclub with teammate Matt Barnes, who allegedly choked a woman during an argument. This morning, TMZ is reporting that Cousins and Barnes are being sued by the alleged victims, Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell, in federal court.

In the lawsuit, Besiso alleges that Barnes approached her in the VIP area of the club, grabbed her “by the neck and began choking her,” and when he released his grip, she was “intentionally elbowed in the face,” knocking her unconscious. Powell says when he came to Besiso’s defense, he was punched by Cousins, and Cousins and Barnes then punched and kicked him repeatedly in the head and body on the ground. Powell and Besiso’s attorney says they were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and treated for “severe personal injuries.”

There are two sides to every story, but ugh, not good PR for Boogie. For more details, check out TMZ.


BBNBA: DeMarcus Cousins can’t be stopped lately

 

Photo: @NBA on Twitter

Photo: @NBA on Twitter

In the current five game road trip that the Sacramento Kings are on, DeMarcus Cousins has been putting on a show night in and night out. Through the five games, he’s averaging 32.2 points and 13.2 rebounds, to go along with 4 assists and 2.4 blocks per game. Unfortunately for Boogie, the Kings don’t offer him a ton of help, as Sacramento only won 2 of those 5 games.

Let’s take a look at how Big Cuz and the rest of the former Cats did in last night’s action.

bbnba-cousins

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings (120-89 win over Mavericks)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
33 10-16 2-2 2-3 2 12 14 7 0 3 2 3 +34 24

Get you a big man you can run out in transition like Cousins can.

But then also can muscle down low for a bucket.

bbnba-cauley-stein-wcs

Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings (120-89 win over Mavericks)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
15 3-5 0-0 0-2 1 2 3 1 2 0 1 4 -3 6

What’s the number one rule of defending Willie Cauley-Stein? Don’t try to jump with him. Sometimes people don’t follow that rule.

bbnba-bled

Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns (109-94 loss to Pacers)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
29 5-13 0-5 5-5 0 3 3 4 3 1 4 5 -16 15

Bledsoe finished this. Somehow. I’m not really sure how though.

bbnba-book

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (109-94 loss to Pacers)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
31 4-13 2-6 3-4 2 2 4 5 1 0 4 5 -3 13

Ulis to Booker. Does it get any sweeter looking than that?

bbnba-knight

Brandon Knight, Phoenix Suns (109-94 loss to Pacers)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
25 3-10 2-5 2-2 1 2 3 3 1 0 1 1 -15 10

Knight needs to be instant offense when he comes off the bench for the Suns. He struggled shooting last night, so his overall game diminished.

bbnba-ulis

Tyler Ulis, Phoenix Suns (109-94 loss to Pacers)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
6 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 +5 2

I want, more than anything for the former Kentucky guys, for Tyler Ulis to start earning steady minutes. I honestly think he could do real damage alongside a scoring guard like Booker, the way he did in college with Jamal Murray.

bbnba-randle

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers (134-95 loss to Rockets)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
29 9-19 0-1 3-4 5 5 10 1 0 0 3 2 -18 21

And Julius Randle joins Eric Bledsoe in last night’s edition of “How did he finish that?”

bbnba-murray

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets (116-111 loss to Nets)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
34 4-14 2-8 2-2 1 4 5 3 1 0 0 3 +21 12

Step back three? Easy money for Jamal Murray.

bbnba-meeks

Jodie Meeks, Orlando Magic (117-87 loss to Celtics)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
16 3-7 1-3 2-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 +1 9

Meeks hasn’t been back from injury for very long, but his shooting is already making an impact for the Magic.

bbnba-liggins

DeAndre Liggins, Cleveland Cavaliers (126-94 win over Knicks)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
21 2-2 2-2 0-0 1 1 2 2 1 0 0 3 +29 6

Liggins earned the start for the Cavaliers last night, but didn’t have to do much, as this one was a rout from the beginning.

bbnba-kidd-gilchrist

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Hornets (87-77 win over Pistons)

Min FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
20 0-6 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 1 0 1 0 0 -2 0

A slow start for Kidd-Gilchrist led to an overall subpar game last night. If Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t going to make shots, he has to be able to contribute more than 5 rebounds and an assist to stay on the floor.


Here’s a preview of the NBA action tonight:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves at Toronto Raptors, 7pm ET on TNT
  • Denver Nuggets at Washington Wizards, 7pm ET
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies, 8pm ET
  • Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans, 8pm ET
  • Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz, 9pm ET
  • San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls, 9:30pm ET on TNT

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Nation’s best defensive player says Kentucky’s offensive line the best he faced

One of the silver linings to Kentucky’s 34-6 loss to Alabama back on October 1 was the Crimson Tide’s star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen’s praise for the Cats’ physical play. Allen, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week, gave Kentucky a reason to hold its head high moving forward.

“That’s probably one of the most physical games I’ve played since I was in college. I have to give Kentucky a lot of credit,” Allen said.

Allen is considered the best defensive player in college football and will likely go in the top three in the 2017 NFL Draft. While in Atlanta for the College Football Awards yesterday, Allen doubled down on his praise for Kentucky, calling the Cats’ offensive line the best he faced all season.

“I got to give it to the whole Kentucky front,” Allen said, via SEC Country. “When I say that was probably the most physical game that I’ve played in this year, I have to give it them. They came with it that game. It kind of caught us by surprise. That was a real physical game.”

In fact, Allen said playing Kentucky was a “wake up call” to the defending national champs’ defensive line.

“Just the determination and the want to. They meant business when they came,” Allen said. “I feel like we kind of overlooked them a little bit at first. It was a wake-up call upfront that said ‘hey, you got to bring it. These guys are playing. It’s SEC ball now.’”

Remember: Kentucky only loses one starter on the offensive line this year in Jon Toth. The future is bright, indeed.

[SEC Country]


The TaxSlayer Bowl trophy was at the game last night

IG: alanverlander

IG: alanverlander

If you were at the game last night, you may have looked down at the sidelines at one point and wondered what the Lombardi trophy was doing in Rupp Arena. That was actually the Ash Verlander Champions Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the TaxSlayer Bowl. Verlander’s grandson and bowl rep Alan brought the trophy to the game to show it off to Kentucky fans, marking its final stop on a tour of the Bluegrass. The trophy started the day off at Commonwealth Stadium:

…Hung out in Tavin Richardson’s locker:

@AlanVerlander

…Sat atop Secretariat’s Triple Crown display in the training center — because yes, apparently this exists just in case the strong bond between UK athletics and Secretariat hasn’t been hammered home yet:

@AlanVerlander

🙄

…And finally, got a closeup at Rupp:

@AlanVerlander

@AlanVerlander

Speaking of the TaxSlayer Bowl, Mark Stoops will formally accept Kentucky’s invitation alongside Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson this morning at a press conference in Jacksonville. I’ll bring you the highlights.


Ryan Lemond cohosts with UK legends Kyle Macy and Goose Givens (Thursday Show Thread)

macy-goose

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Thursday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Matt’s taking the day off to prepare for the Vegas roadtrip, which starts tomorrow, so Ryan Lemond is stepping in to lead the way with some special guest hosts. UK legends Kyle Macy and Goose Givens will cohost with Ryan, and we hope Joe B. Hall will also make an appearance. Tune in for what should be two great hours of Kentucky basketball radio.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

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