Last Night Really, Really, REALLY Sucked

As I sit here and try to type out words that go together and make sense, I cannot believe what just happened.  Let’s be honest, can any of us?

Now, I will be honest, I thought this team was good, but didn’t think they were worthy of the #1 ranking and maybe even the preseason ranking of #2.  They just beat the #1 team in the country and stomped EKU. Both good wins, but this loss undoes both of those wins.

I did not watch the first half. In fact, I forgot the game was even being played, but it’s Evansville. EVANSVILLE.

I came back to my dorm room, opened up the ESPN app and saw that we were down by four, I think. I thought, well damn, looks like the Cats have slept through the game so far.

I watched the game and looked at Twitter simultaneously (something I do a lot) and it never dawned on me that Kentucky could actually lose the game.  I thought this is Kentucky, they’re better, the game is at Rupp, things will naturally shift and Kentucky will comeback and win the game.

Well, that never happened.

Kentucky lost to Evans – wait.  Why am I repeating it? WE GOT IT! WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!

(Sorry I’m doing my best)

I’m young enough to not remember much of the Billy Clyde era, so forgive me if these kinds of terrible losses at home are new to me.

Kentucky got thoroughly outplayed tonight by a team that simply wanted it more and was ready when the ball was tipped.

Kentucky shot 23 percent from three, 37 percent from the field, got out-rebounded 38 to 35, and had 13 turnovers. Not going to win a lot of games playing like that no matter who you play.

This is a historically bad loss in college basketball history and Kentucky basketball history. The best program historically in the sport had a historically bad night.

Calipari said after the game that this team did nothing it did in the first two games, on both offense and defense. I watched the MSU game and EKU game in their entirety and can tell you the team that walked out onto the court in those games and the team that walked onto the court tonight are not the same. Not even close.

This loss hurts. It will hurt NCAA seeding. It will hurt Kentucky’s top-25 ranking.

It’s also funny that the one guy not to vote for Kentucky in the AP Poll this week, Dan Borges, who I have never heard of until tonight, is gloating over the Cats’ loss tonight, saying that AP voters are scared of the “BBN morons” and just vote for who they think they should vote for.  He writes for the New Haven register, which is something once again I had never heard of until tonight.

What now you ask?

Well, the Cats play Utah Valley next Monday in the first game of the BBN Showcase at 7 p.m. EST.  I expect them to come out poised and to win big.  This loss should do nothing but help them moving forward as they now know they cannot overlook anyone.

They don’t face a ranked opponent until December 21, when they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the CBS Sports Classic in Vegas.

That’s enough from me tonight. Goodnight and go Cats.

Where the Game Went Wrong for Kentucky

Tonight was a very tough night for the BBN. Tonight, Kentucky had Tennessee beat and let the game slip away.

It’s crazy to think, but the Cats have beaten the Vols only two times in my lifetime.

Kentucky had so many opportunities to win the game and didn’t convert on any of them, failing to score a point in the second half. Tennessee scored twice on their first two possessions of the second half and won, 17-13.

Here’s where the game went wrong for Kentucky.

Missed Extra-Point

I thought it couldn’t happen tonight, but it did. AGAIN.

Two weeks ago it was Matt Ruffolo, now it’s Chance Poore.

After Kentucky took advantage of a blocked punt and scored, Poore missed the PAT. Making the score 13-0 instead of 14-0. Completely changing the play-calling at the end of the game.

Lynn Bowden’s INT

Kentucky was on Tennessee’s side of the field with a chance to make it at least a 16-3 game.

Instead, Bowden under throws Justing Rigg and Nigel Warriors intercepts the pass and takes it to the house, but stepped out of bounds at mid-field, so no touchdown.

No, Tennessee did not score, but Kentucky would’ve if Bowden had just made a good throw.

Secondary

Kentucky’s secondary got destroyed in the second half. 50-50 balls and terrible coverage killed the Cats way too much tonight.

But, they’re freshman. They have been good, but they have their moments of terribleness.

Second Half Play-Calling

We’ve complained about play-calling in big games a ton in the Eddie Gran era, but tonight was really bad.

Kentucky needed to open up the playbook in the second half because Tennessee knew what was coming, but the coaches failed miserably.

They ran it up the middle too much. You don’t go deep on a 4th & 3, and you don’t run a QB option to the outside on 4th & 2 from the two yard-line needing a touchdown.

Blocking

The blocking for Lynn Bowden and the running backs was exceptionally awful tonight.

If your offense relies heavily on running the ball, then you have to have your offensive-line and receivers block well.

No Points in the Second Half

I had no idea what to title this, so forgive me.

Tennessee scored with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. After that, they punted once and fumbled it once. Kentucky had the ball three times inside Tennessee’s 40 and failed to come away with points.

Now, part of that is not having a field goal kicker. But, Kentucky had three great opportunities and four chances to score from the six yard-line.

Nothing.

Sawyer Smith?

The play-calling in the second half got too predictable, which is one reason why I think Kentucky failed to move the ball. If you’re the coach, you have to see that and make adjustments, but whatever.

I love Lynn Bowden at QB and he’s kept the season alive. But, I don’t think a Sawyer Smith experiment would’ve hurt at all in the second half.

The Final Play

After all of that, Kentucky had four chances from the six yard-line to score and take the lead.

The final play:

Here’s Stoops’ comment on the play:

Should he have pitched it?

“I thought Lynn made a really good play, I’ll never argue with Lynn about taking it right there. He stretched it to the perimeter. We’ll look at it and probably feel like if he pitched it, it would have been a footrace to the pylon. It probably had a chance, but I’m not going to argue with that kid and how he had a chance to pull the ball down and try to drive it in there for that one yard. Credit them for a nice stop.”

What Now?

Vanderbilt, UT Martin, and Louisville are left on the schedule. You have to win 2/3 to make a bowl game. Of course winning out would be nice, but that’s tough to see right now.

This loss really stings, especially since it’s to the Orange.

Goodnight and go Cats.

Former UK Target and Potential No. 1 Pick James Wiseman Has Been Ruled Ineligible

For over two years, Kentucky recruited heavily for the No. 1 overall player in the 2019 class, center, James Wiseman.

For the majority of his recruitment, Kentucky was seen as the heavy favorite and Wiseman was assumed to be a write-in Kentucky commit. That all changed when for NBA All-Star, and Wiseman’s AAU coach, Penny Hardaway was hired at his alma-mater Memphis in March of 2018.

Soon after, Memphis began stealing Kentucky’s momentum and Wiseman committed to play for his AAU coach in November of 2018.

At the time, Kentucky lost it’s best chance at a big for 2019. Now it looks like it may have been a good thing Wiseman didn’t become a Wildcat.

NBA Insider and “Know All”, Adrian Wojnarowski, reported that Wiseman has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA per his lawyers.

A Memphis sports reporter says that Hardaway helped Wiseman and his family move back in high school.

While we as fans don’t ever see losing players as a good thing, it looks like it was a blessing in disguise.

In recent years, it seems like Cal knows when to walk away and there have been several recruits that Kentucky walked away or pulled back from that have rumored to have taken money or other benefits such as Bol Bol, Zion Williamson, and now James Wiseman.

Former Cat Devin Booker Becomes 8th Youngest Player to Score 6,000 Points

Devin Booker is no stranger to putting up a lot of points, scoring 70 points back in his 2017 sophomore season. On Monday, as the Phoenix Suns took on the last unbeaten team in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers, Booker put on a scoring clinic.

Prior to the game, the Phoenix Suns accepted the challenge to take down the 76ers.

They came. They Saw. They Conquered. Beating the 76ers 114-109.

Devin Booker scored in every way possible and finished the game with an ultra-efficient stat line 40 points (15-19 FG, 3-4 3P), 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.

With the performance, Devin Booker became the 8th youngest player in NBA history to reach the 6,000 point mark, only behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Andrew Wiggins, and Shaquille O’Neal.

That’s some pretty elite company.

When asked about hitting the 6,000 point mark, Booker had this to say:

Every day I wake up, I get another chance to come play the sport I love in the city I love. I try to take full advantage of it. I know it’s cliche, but when people say it’s the first time somebody is watching, it could be the last time somebody was watching you also. I take that in. Every day I wake up and step in here and I know I can affect people’s lives and in positive ways. Everybody’s excited, everybody’s happy. So, you know, I just gotta keep working.

Keep working Book. 😈

It Looks Like Kentucky Finished Second for Five-Star Cade Cunningham

Coach Calipari and Company are putting together one of the best recruiting classes in his tenure at UK for 2020.

With Terrence Clarke, BJ Boston, Lance Ware, Cam’Ron Fletcher, and 2021 potential reclassification Devin Askew, the Cats are in good shape before the Spring recruiting period has even started.

Before the Champions Classic on Tuesday, 2020 No. 2 overall recruit and UK Target, Cade Cunningham, announced he was committing to Oklahoma State and would join his brother who was hired as an assistant coach.

Prior to Cunningham’s decision, all the momentum was with Kentucky, even with recruiting guru, Evan Daniels, logging a prediction for the Cats back in October. This now making him 56/57 on his 2020 predictions. 

Now, it looks like Kentucky was right there and Cunningham was extremely close to being a Wildcat.

Tipton Edits, a popular social media account, creates the edits for nearly every top recruit when they commit.

Meaning, he definitely has some inside information as he communicates with the recruits prior to their commitment and he posted this.

It looks like he is very confident in saying Kentucky was right there for landing Cunningham’s services.

Even without Cunningham, Kentucky is good shape with five-star guards Devin Askew and BJ Boston.

In recent years, Kentucky has finished second on several elite of the elite recruits including James Wiseman and Jaden McDaniels among others. While some of these recruits have committed due to special connection such as having family on the staff or their high school coach becoming a head coach.

While Kentucky is not struggling for recruits and we are spoiled as fans with the No. 2 ranked class, I want to regain that spot at the top and have the top recruiting class once again, and to do that we need to close the deal on the elite of the elite recruits.

Twitter’s Reaction to Tyrese Maxey’s Epic Performance

We’ve seen a lot of great performances by Kentucky freshman in the Calipari era. A few that come to mind are John Wall’s 25 point game against UCONN at Madison Square Garden back in 2009, Malik Monk’s 47 point game in Las Vegas, and most recently Tyrese Maxey’s 26 point game last night at Madison Square Garden against Michigan State.

Even though Monk set the record for most points in one game by a freshman at Kentucky, last night’s performance for Maxey came in his first official game, against the #1 team in the country, at a historic place like Madison Square Garden.

Pretty awesome.

Many big names were at the game, and even more people weighed in on Twitter.

Malik Monk:

Jarred Vanderbilt:

Donovan Mitchell, former Louisville Cardinal:

PJ Washington:

NBA Champion and former Spartan Draymond Green:

Hamidou Diallo:

Dick Vitale who called the game:

Kentucky legend Rex Chapman:

What a game it was!

Looking Back at Kentucky’s Champions Classic Performances

Folks, it’s finally here. Opening night in college basketball and the first official game for our University of Kentucky Wildcats. Tonight, they will take on the top-ranked team in the country, the Michigan State Spartans, in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Kansas will take on Duke in the first game at 7 p.m. EST and Kentucky will play Michigan State in the second game at 9:30 p.m. EST

Kentucky has been participating in the Champions Classic since 2011, so let’s take a look at the Wildcats’ previous performances.

2011: #2 Kentucky 75 – #12 Kansas 65

Little did we know this was just a preview for that years National Championship game, which Kentucky took home.

The leading scorer that night was Doron Lamb with 17 points including three three-pointers. The National Player of the Year, Anthony Davis, 14 points, six rebounds, and SEVEN blocks.

2012: #3 Kentucky 68 – #9 Duke 75

This might be the best game Alex Poythress ever played at Kentucky considering he was projected to be the number one pick in mock drafts days after.

Poythress recorded 20 points with eight rebounds. And, Nerlens Noel had 16 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and three blocks.

2013: #1 Kentucky 74 – #2 Michigan State 78

This game is basically a reverse of what we’ll see tomorrow night in terms of rankings, but this game ended the 40-0 talk quickly and showed us that one of the best recruiting classes ever, wasn’t quite worth all the hype.

After a terrible start, the Cats fought all the way back to tie the game in the second half, but Michigan State got a tip-in bucket late to seal the game.

James Young had 19 points and four rebounds. And, Julius Randle had 27 points, 13 rebounds, and eight turnovers.

2014: #1 Kentucky 72 – #5 Kansas 40

Crazy to think, but we had no idea as to what was ahead for this season. It ended bad, but got off to one hell of a start.

“It’s like trying to play frisbee in the Redwood Forest.” – Jay Bilas

Willie Cauley-Stein had seven points and 10 rebounds. And, Karl Anthony Towns had nine points and eight rebounds.

2015: #2 Kentucky 74 – #5 Duke 63

Always a great game when you thump the Blue Devils. Might be one of the best games this team played all year.

Marcus Lee had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jamal Murray had 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Tyler Ulis had 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals. And, Alex Poythress had nine points and seven rebounds.

2016: #2 Kentucky 69 – #13 Michigan State 48

This is definitely one of the most impressive opening games in the John Calipari era. I think we were all thinking #9 after this game.

Malik Monk had 23 points and six rebounds, including seven threes. De’Aaron Fox had 12 points, four rebounds, and six assists. And, Isaiah Briscoe had 21 points, four rebounds, and two assists.

2017: #7 Kentucky 61 – #4 Kansas 65

This game was tight until the very end. A Malik Newman (what happened to him?) three in the final minutes is probably what sealed the game for the Jayhawks. Well, that and the fact Kevin Knox tried a floater over the backboard to tie the game.

Kevin Knox had 20 points and seven rebounds. Hamidou Diallo had 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists. And, Sacha Killeya-Jones had eight points and nine rebounds.

2018: #4 Duke 118 – #2 Kentucky 84

How about we pretend like this game never happened?

Should the BBN Be Worried About Losing Mark Stoops?

Since Florida State fired Willie Taggart on Sunday, UK Coach Mark Stoops has had his name tossed around and there are reports Florida State has already reached out.

From 2010-2012, Stoops was the defensive coordinator under Jimbo Fischer, and was a big part of a 31-12 record in that three-year span.

In his short but impressive tenure, Stoops impressed and became respected in Tallahassee.

With the being said, he is not Florida State’s first option, which gives Kentucky a little more sense of security.

I have been told that Florida State is one of the few jobs that intrigues Mark Stoops, however, with the help of Vince Marrow, he has completely changed the culture at Kentucky.

It ultimately comes down to one thing, does Stoops want to continue creating history in Lexington, or does he want to try to recreate history at Florida State?

Personally, I think there is a 65% chance Stoops is on the sideline next season with one of the greatest recruiting classes in school history.

Kentucky is 4-1-1 against Florida State, and if it comes down to it, hopefully Mitch Barnhardt and the Cats can win this battle too.

Are We Ready for Lynn Bowden at QB for the Rest of the Year?

I never thought that I would write the words above in a sentence, but here we are. I believe I sent a tweet during a game this season saying that Lynn Bowden should never play QB. Boy, was I wrong.

With just four games remaining on the schedule, it sounds like Lynn Bowden, if he continues his recent play, may be playing QB a lot more.

“Well, I think you can see what’s going on out there. It’s pretty hard to take him out. So I don’t know. I don’t think guys we play, the defensive coordinators aren’t stupid. They’re pretty bright in this league. Next up is Tennessee and Derrick Ansley, so these guys know what’s going on. Sawyer is getting better and it’s nice to have the option to go to both guys.” Stoops said.

The three games Bowden has played have all been different. The Arkansas game was cold. The Georgia game was windy, rainy, and of course against a really good defense. And, last Saturday’s game against Missouri was a monsoon against a mediocre defense.

So, you’ve seen three different levels of teams with different weather conditions. As of now, it will be very cold when Tennessee comes to town on Nov. 9 and there defense isn’t the best.

“We felt like had the conditions stayed dry we would have had some opportunities in the passing game because of what they were doing.” Stoops said.

The word around the program was to play both Lynn Bowden and Sawyer Smith against Missouri, but due to the conditions, it made more sense to play Bowden, which was obviously a good decision.

In eight games, the Volunteers have allowed 1,368 rushing yards with 14 touchdowns.

In three games, Bowden has had 62 rushing attempts for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

Does Bowden want to keep playing QB this season?

“If I got to I will. I stay prepared at all times. I’m a playmaker, that’s what Coach Stoops and Coach Marrow brought me here to do and wherever it’s at that’s what I’m going to do for them.”

With the cold temperatures and the fact teams haven’t been able to stop Bowden, I would say you stick with him. Don’t fix something that’s not broken.

UK Five-Star Target, Isaiah Jackson, Making Decision in Two Weeks

There’s more buzz in the recruiting world today and once again it involves Kentucky.

According Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers.com, 2020 five-star forward Isaiah Jackson will announce his college decision in two weeks. He is reportedly deciding between Kentucky, Alabama, and Syracuse.

Jackson told Weingarten that he will be deciding on either Nov. 15 or 16 and will have the time and location confirmed this weekend.

The five-star forward is 6-9, 200 pounds, and attends Waterford Mott High School in Waterford Township, Michigan.

He is ranked as the 25th best prospect in the 2020 class, third among power-forwards, and the best prospect in Michigan, according to 247Sports.

Jackson holds offers from Kentucky, Alabama, Syracuse, Connecticut, and Creighton. According 24/7 Sports’ Crystal Ball, Michigan State and Alabama are the leaders, with UK having an 11% chance.

Check out some highlights of Jackson: