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December 4th, 2016

Mark Stoops on TaxSlayer Bowl invite: “It’s a bowl with a rich tradition and we’re honored to become part of it.”

@UKStoopsTroops

@UKStoopsTroops

In a release to the media, Mark Stoops gave his first comments since the official TaxSlayer Bowl announcement this afternoon, obviously extremely excited about the opportunity for he and the program:

“We’re extremely excited and proud for our team, our university and our fans, to be invited to the TaxSlayer Bowl,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “It’s a bowl with a rich tradition and we’re honored to become part of it. We’re also excited about the opportunity to play Georgia Tech, an outstanding team that will be a great challenge.”

Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart also voiced his pleasure in the bid:

“Accepting a bid to the TaxSlayer Bowl is a well-deserved reward for a team and coaching staff that showed remarkable resilience this season,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are building a program and playing in a bowl this prominent is an important step in that process. We look forward to our time in a great city and being joined there by a large contingent of the Big Blue Nation.” 

The official TaxSlayer Bowl twitter account seems to be excited about the matchup, as well.

Pack your bags, BBN. We’re going bowling.


Boogie Claus gives underprivileged family the Christmas of a lifetime

Last week, Sacramento Kings superstar and former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins gave a local family in Sacramento the experience of a lifetime.

Mari Hill and her son, Marion, were flown out to New York City, where Cousins took them on a tour of all of the biggest landmarks in the Big Apple, a trip to the NBA Store for a shopping spree, and the Kings game against the New York Knicks that night.

The family chosen was found through the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Sacramento, as the Hill’s have had a life of overcoming adversities. Mari overcame a serious drug addiction several years back, an issue that left her jobless and in a rough position to raise her son, Marion. They found the Boys and Girls Club, where Cousins regularly visits to help as much as he can, and the opportunity blossomed from there.

The Hill’s were joined by several underprivileged children in NYC, a gesture that was obviously appreciated by all parties involved.

Check out just a few quotes from the Sacramento big man in this NBA.com article:

“Any little gesture, any little way I can help, I’m all for it,” the Kings superstar said following the shopping spree. “Making somebody else’s life easier, why wouldn’t I do it?

“I’m just glad I can help put a smile on somebody’s face,” Cousins added.

Cousins has an intense schedule of charity events coming up in Sacramento, including one where he plans on giving away over 4,000 bikes to local children for the holidays.

Santa Cuz just being Santa Cuz.

@JackPilgrimKSR


Tommy Tuberville steps down at UC. What does it mean for Kentucky?

@GoBEARCATS

@GoBEARCATS

Though the writing has been on the wall for a while now, Tommy Tuberville has officially resigned from his head coaching position at Cincinnati. With a massive decrease in production from last season and plenty of head-scratching finishes, the veteran head coach decided to step away after four years with the team.

So what does this mean for Kentucky?

Well, it depends on who takes the open position.

Let’s look at the options:

Jeff Brohm

Under Bobby Petrino, Brohm developed into an absolutely brilliant offensive mind at Western Kentucky, and it certainly showed when he was given the head coaching duties after Petrino cried out to UK for the job moved on to Louisville. Brohm has become a hot name in college football after leading WKU to one of the most high-powered offenses in America, and many believe this may be the time he decides to take the next step up to a bigger school. The Bearcats are right up the road from home, and Brohm would be able to pick up where Eddie Gran left off in bringing a dominant offense to Cincy. Rumors are circulating that Brohm will be interviewing with Baylor, among some other big names, so I guess we’ll have to see how Cincy stacks up to the competition. He’s a hot commodity, and rightfully so, as Brohm is a stud head coach in the making. If his school of choice ends up being right up the road from Lexington, expect to see some major recruiting battles in the near future.

Neal Brown

The former Kentucky offensive coordinator has absolutely dominated after taking over the head coaching position at Troy, and interest is starting to build from several schools across the country, including both Western Kentucky (should Brohm move on) and Cincinnati. After going 9-3 this season and cracking the top 25, he has proven he can get the job done at smaller programs and is ready to take the next step up. Both Western and Cincinnati would give allow him to be closer to home and build his own brand similar to what Brohm is currently doing at WKU. Should Cincinnati offer him the gig, he’d be able to go heads up with Kentucky in many recruiting battles in Ohio. If Brown gets the job at Cincy, you’d have to think UK would be adding them to the schedule in the immediate future, right? Brown vs. Gran would be fun to watch.

Eddie Gran

I mentioned it a few nights ago, but Eddie Gran will absolutely be getting some looks at head coach in the near future. Is that time now? Gran came from Cincinnati, where he was the offensive coordinator under Tuberville from 2013-2015, putting up record-setting numbers for the Bearcat offense. In 2013, Gran led the Bearcats to the best offensive production in the AAC with 471 yards a game, including 170 on the ground, and their most total yards in program history with 6,137. He’s a seasoned veteran, he knows the school inside and out, and has proven he can get the job done there. As awful as it would be for Kentucky, Gran may very well end up getting a hard look from his former school. Let’s just hope the Bearcats find their guy elsewhere.

BONUS:

Charlie Strong

I don’t know if there are any legs to these rumors, but a few outlets have reported that former Texas and Louisville coach Charlie Strong may be an option for the opening. He’d obviously be a pretty massive hire there, and would likely make Cincinnati contenders in the AAC in just a few years. He’d be able to recruit fairly well, and it’d make for some big headlines for sure, but it likely wouldn’t affect Kentucky much. It’d be fun to see though, at least.

If Cincinnati manages to grab one of these guys, things are going to get a lot more interesting in recruiting and scheduling in the next few years. Anyone but Gran, please.

@JackPilgrimKSR


BREAKING: 3-star DE Chris Whittaker flips commitment to Kentucky

@Chriswhitt_99

@Chriswhitt_99

Just a few minutes ago, Hollywood, Fla. and UCF commit Chris Whittaker flipped his commitment to the University of Kentucky.

Whittaker, a three-star prospect, is listed as the 55th strongside defensive end in the nation and the No. 148 prospect in Florida in the 2017 class according to 247Sports. He held offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, Notre Dame, and Georgia, among others.

Whittaker was on an official visit to Kentucky this weekend, and informed Mark Stoops of his commitment this afternoon.

Check out his interview with 247Sports following the decision:

“When I told coach Stoops in person (at the end of my trip) he jumped out of his seat and was so excited,” Whittaker said. “He asked me if I wanted to be a Wildcat and I told him yes.”

Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh served as the recruiters.

“They did a perfect job,” Whittaker said. “He told me exactly what I wanted to hear and how they are going to do it. They have a spot for me if I work for it. I especially like coach Brumbaugh’s philosophy with what he does with the defensive linemen.”

Whittaker said he’s now done with official visits. He informed UCF’s staff of his intentions just now as well.

This is Kentucky’s 15th verbal commitment of the 2017 recruiting class.

Watch him work:

Today just keeps getting better and better.


EKU Basketball’s Jaylen Babb-Harrison arrested on 1st degree rape charge

Madison County Detention Center

Madison County Detention Center

Early this morning, EKU basketball’s Jaylen Babb-Harrison was arrested and brought into the Madison County Detention Center on a 1st degree rape charge in Richmond, KY.

According to the initial reports, Babb-Harrison told investigators he had crossed the line with a female at his residence and should be held accountable for his actions, saying “I should have stopped, it happened so fast.”

The female was brought to Baptist Health Richmond ER for evaluation.

The senior out of Ajax, ON was averaging 12.7 points, five rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.

EKU has not made an official announcement on the incident.

Read the rest of the report on LEX18.com

 


TaxSlayer Bowl Hype Video

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Our friends at KYwildcatsTV have created a fantastic hype video after the announcement of Kentucky heading to the TaxSlayer Bowl. Kentucky plays Georgia Tech in Jacksonville on December 31st at 11am. It will be the 20th all time meeting between the Cats and the Yellow Jackets with Georgia Tech leading the series 11-8-1. Be sure to check it out below:


First Pass: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Kentucky will face Georgia Tech in the Taxslayer Bowl on New Year’s Eve. Jacksonville, here comes the BBN; prepare accordingly. At quick glance this matchup is not favorable for Mark Stoops and his youthful Wildcats. But, the more I research and analyze the more I like the Wildcat’s chances in Jacksonville.

Let’s dig in:

HEAD COACH: Paul Johnson

RECORD: 8-4
COMMON OPPONENTs: 28-27 win over Georgia, beat Vanderbilt 38-7.

OFFENSE

Scoring: 27.8 points per game

Rush: 257.4 yards per game (ACC-1st)
Pass: 131.2
Total: 388.6
3rd Down: 42%

Red Zone: 84%, 24/38 touchdowns

Fumbles: 25, lost 11

Three Best Players

  • QB Justin Thomas: 73-134, 54%, 1454 yards, 8 TD’s, 2 INT’s, 132 yards per game. On the ground: 128 carries, 562 yards, 5 TD’s.
  • RB Clinton Lynch: 35 carries, 2 TD’s, 11 yards per carry. As a pass catcher: 16 receptions, 490 yards, 6 TD’s.
  • RB Dedrick Mills: 121 carries, 602 yards, 11 TD’s, 75.2 yards per game.

DEFENSE

Scoring: Allows 25 points per game

Rush: 174.2 yards per game
Pass: 233.9
Total: 408.1

3rd Down: 50% (126th nationally)

QB Sacks: 16 (ACC-13th/last)

Tackles for Loss: 53 (ACC-13th)

Red Zone: 81%, 27/43 touchdowns

Three Top Players

  • DT Patrick Gamble: 47 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 QB sacks.
  • Safety Corey Griffin: 79 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 QB sack, 2 interceptions.
  • OLB PJ Davis: 70 tackles

What does all this mean?

Coach Paul Johnson’s flex-bone, option offense has given opposing coaches headaches at all three of his head coaching stops: Georgia Southern, Navy, and Georgia Tech. The Rambling Wreck’s leading rusher, RB Marcus Marshall, announced that he intended to transfer following the Yellow Jacket’s win over Georgia in its final regular season game.

Tech’s defense allowed opponents to convert 50% on 3rd down which ranks 126th nationally. It also ranks last in the ACC in QB sacks (16) as well as tackles for loss (53).

The Kentucky offense should present Georgia Tech with significant personnel and schematic problems. Furthermore, UK prepared for Louisville’s Lamar Jackson in its last regular season game. The pending Heisman Trophy winner challenged the Wildcats to maintain disciplined gap responsibility. That same concept will apply as the Cats attempt to slow QB Justin Thomas and the triple option.

Much, much more to follow. 


Five things from the Cats overtime loss to the Cards

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

For the first time in five years, No. 7 Louisville tops No. 17 Kentucky, 69-67 in an overtime win in the KFC Yum! Center. While the Cats first top-ten test of the season resulted in a loss, there was still much to learn from today’s matchup:

Mackenzie Cann is ready

For the first time in her Wildcat career, Cann earned her spot in the Wildcats starting lineup. Cann has been getting significant minutes off the bench, playing 38 in the Cats rout over Oklahoma on Thursday where she scored 10 points compared to Alyssa Rice’s 14 minutes and 0 points. Tonight, Cann played every minute of the game, coming out with only 3 points, but did a great job on the defensive end, grabbing four rebounds but staying on her mark.

A little adversity doesn’t scare them

The Cats spent almost all of the game trailing Louisville, not gaining the lead until a Makayla Epps and-one with 3:56 left in the game for a two point lead at 52-50. Kentucky fought to keep their lead, but Louisville came back to tie with four-seconds left. It was Rice however, who gave the Cats a chance to tie the game, stealing the ball and handing it off to Epps, who missed the shot for the win.

Coming into overtime, Kentucky looked gassed, but continued to battle after getting down early, loosing only because Taylor Murray wasn’t able to get a shot off in time.

“We responded to that well,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I though we came back and really battled.”

Josh Allen’s sister is good

Kentucky Football’s own Josh Allen sister, Myisha Hines-Allen, starts for the Cards and is pretty dag-on good. Hines-Allen led the Cards with 26 points in 27 minutes and was crucial in forcing several of the Cats turnovers.

I bet their house was interesting last weekend.

This team doesn’t work without Evelyn Akhator

An off night for Akhator led to an off-night for the Cats. The senior spent quite a bit of time on the bench because of foul trouble, but the time she spent on the court, was not productive. STATS HERE. In order for this team to work, Akhator has to have a solid presence in the middle, rebounding and making the shots down low. Akhator sat out for almost the entirety of OT, coming in only with less than fifteen seconds left to guard the in-bound pass, fouling the recipient before she crossed half-court.

TURNOVERS

Kentucky’s problems started in the first period with six turnovers, a number high for Mitchell’s team. Unfortunately, that trend would stick throughout the rest of the game, coming out with 19 overall. Louisville was able to turn the Cats turnovers into 18 points. If Kentucky had just committed one less turnover, that would’ve been the difference in the game. A good portion of Kentucky’s turnovers came off inbound plays, which Mitchell says are 100% because of coaching.


UK Hoops Falls to Louisville

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

For the first time in five years, No. 17 UK Hoops loses to No. 7 Louisville 69-67 in overtime. The Cardinals fanbase showed up in full force and the true road game was a bit rattling for the Cats in the beginning. In the first half the Cats were really out of sync. Mitchell tried a 2-3 zone and it didn’t work – the Cats got severely out-rebounded in the first half. In the post game press conference Mitchell stressed the importance of the rebounding issue and apologized for his mistake.

“That’s on coaching, that’s my mistake.We gotta grow in that area, we are on this zone defensive journey together,” said Mitchell.

But, once Makayla Epps went full on Lebron and took her headband off things got rolling. Epps had her first double-double of the season with 22 points and a career high 16 rebounds. Taylor Murray also had a career high 21 points. Epps stressed the importance of this game last Thursday after a win against Oklahoma saying that she grew up with this rivalry and needed the win. At the end of regulation, Epps fell short on a jumper that could’ve won the game but continued to play her heart out in OT playing the full 45 minutes of game time.

“Makayla Epps is one of the best guard’s in the country,” said Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz.

Even though UK Hoops didn’t get the win, Matthew Mitchell isn’t worried – he’s ready to get back and correct the mistakes that were made and continue to get better.

“Louisville played hard, but I’m happy to be driving back to Lexington with my team,” said Mitchell.

Next Friday, UK Hoops takes on Middle Tennessee State at Memorial.

 


Live: UK Athletics Bowl Reaction Special

 

@UKSportsNetwork

@UKSportsNetwork

Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro will be hosting the official bowl game announcement show from the UK recruiting room at Commonwealth Stadium. They are expected to be joined by Mitch Barnhart and members of the UK Football team. Watch live here:


Reactions from the Announcement

cy3n5ynwiaealda-jpg-large

Following the announcement of the bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida, UK players took to Twitter to give their reaction to the big game!

TaxSlayer Bowl

UK Athletics

DeWayne Peevy

Jeff Badet

Stephen Johnson II

Denzil Ware

Blake Bone

Kash Daniel

 


Get your TaxSlayer Bowl shirts at the KSR Shop!

ksr_bowling_2016

IT’S BOWL TIME, #BBN! The Kentucky football team is heading to Jacksonville to take on Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Now you need a special t-shirt to celebrate this huge accomplishment! Head to ShopKSR.com right now to get your TaxSlayer Bowl officially licensed shirt!

 

[BOWL SHIRTS AT THE KSR SHOP]


BREAKING: Kentucky-Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl

kentucky_wildcats_logo-svg__2_-0

For much of the past week, the rumor has been Kentucky to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Now, it is official, Kentucky will face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on December 31st at 11:00am. An official release from the school will be coming soon. Georgia Tech finished the season at 8-4. This will be the 20th matchup between the Cats and the Yellow Jackets, but the two teams have not played since 1960. Georgia Tech leads the series 11-7-1.

Bowl Information

Tickets: http://bit.ly/16TSBtix

Hotels: http://bit.ly/16TSBhotels

Travel Packages: http://bit.ly/2gVDskp

Events: http://bit.ly/16TSBevents

Surrounding Area: http://bit.ly/16TSBjax

 

Stay tuned as UK Athletics will be hosting a Bowl Special soon. We will have a link to that video on here!


DraftExpress Analysis of De’Aaron Fox from UCLA Game

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Yesterday’s game is one that none of us want to relive, but DraftExpress put together a great analyzation of DeAaron Fox’s matchup with Lonzo Ball. Fox finished the game with 2o points on 8-20 shooting. He also finished with 9 assists and 2 rebounds. The video breaks down almost every play the Fox made or was involved in. They settled with this as the final analysis:

DraftExpress on Fox

Be sure to check out the entire video, DraftExpress did a great job in giving examples for all of their positives and negatives on Fox’s game.


Rick Pitino has officially lost it

Kentucky? Nope.

Duke? Nope.

Grand Canyon University is the school that has the toughest crowd Slick Rick has ever faced in his 40+ years of coaching. Their guards had one of the best performances he has ever faced. Their enthusiasm was one of the best he had ever seen. Heck, they’ll be in contention for a final four spot by years end. Shoe em in, Pitino believes.

Ultimately, this speaks more to the quality of Louisville’s team that it does anything else. Road games can be tough, and we’ve seen some doozies ourselves, but come on man. Grand Canyon? That’s the one you’re going with? That’s laughable. It’s almost as bad as Jay Bilas comparing this Louisville team to our 96 National Title team during the Purdue game.

What in the world is going on in Rick Pitino’s head? Put him on your prayer list next to Kanye, he’s clearly not right.