Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.





May 21st, 2018

Buffalo Wild Wings vs. Outback (Monday Show Thread)

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the Monday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. Today, the whole gang is in studio for the finals of the KSR Food Bracket. Which chain restaurant reigns supreme: Buffalo Wild Wings or Outback Steakhouse? Tune in to find out.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.

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KSR Shop: 2 For $32 short sleeve tees!

The KSR Shop and Kentucky Branded are here to get your week off to a great start. Head to ShopKSR.com to take advantage of their 2 for $32 short sleeve tee sale! Be sure to check out all of the great new designs. Add some new KSR and other Kentucky apparel to your summer wardrobe.

All of these new t-shirt designs are available now until they are sold out. Sale ends Wednesday.

[KSR Shop: 2 For $32 tee sale]


Five Things to Look for this Week

Good morning.  Happy Monday.  For teachers and students around the state, congrats.  You’ve almost made it to summer.  Once you get to Memorial Day weekend, only a few make-up days stand between you and two months of bliss.  Luckily, there will be a few Big Blue distractions to help you get through your week.

1. Workout SZN

Now that the NBA Combine has concluded, teams will hold private workouts for prospective draft picks over the next two weeks.  Wenyen Gabriel is up first, working out with the Sacramento Kings this morning.  Kevin Knox, P.J. Washington, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo will surely follow.  If Jarred Vanderbilt is healthy enough to workout for a team, it will be a surprise.

The deadline for Vanderbilt, Washington and Gabriel to withdraw from the NBA Draft is three weeks from today, June 11, at 5:00 p.m. (The NCAA has a deadline on May 30, but that’s ultimately usurped by the NBA’s.) The workouts and interviews they conduct will carry plenty of weight in their decision-making process.  As of today, it looks like Washington might be UK’s only departure, but a lot can change between now and June 11.

2. UK Softball Advances to the Super Regional

I knew the UK softball team was good.  I didn’t know they were that good.

This weekend Rachel Lawson’s team outscored their opponents 28-1.  TWENTY EIGHT TO ONE.  Two regional games ended prematurely with grand slams resulting in run-rules.  Kentucky will take their incredible run to the west coast for a three-game Super Regional against Oregon, the No. 1 team in the nation that eliminated them a year ago.  The action begins Thursday night at 9:00 on ESPN2.

3. The SEC Baseball Tournament Begins

The Bat Cats’ season did not end according to plan.  Following a sweep on the road, Kentucky lost all hope of hosting a regional tournament.  There’s still a slight chance if they make a big run at the SEC Tournament, but it will not be easy as a 10-seed with an injury-plagued pitching staff.  UK’s first game in Hoover is Tuesday at 2:00 against Auburn.  

4. (Hopefully) A Close NBA Game

All we saw this weekend were Game Three blowouts.  Here’s to hoping there’s some kind of competition in the Conference Finals before the Warriors eventually win another NBA Finals.  The Cavs will try to even the series tonight at 8:30 on ESPN.  The Rockets will attempt the same tomorrow at 9:00 on TNT.

5. Food Bracket Finals

Who will take home the crown, Buffalo Wild Wings or the Duke basketball of chain restaurants, Outback?


May 20th, 2018

How Vince Marrow Convinced Chris Oats to Choose Kentucky over Ohio State

@ChristopherOats

Christopher Oats, the third highest ranked commit in Kentucky’s 2018 class, had an impressive offer sheet including big schools like Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, and Ohio State.

Ohio State was seen as the favorite to land Oats services as the school is just 106 miles away from his hometown. Vince Marrow believed otherwise.

“Everybody thought Chris was going to Ohio State,” Marrow said at the time. “But I kind of knew where he was going. I just kept it to myself. But until he signed the papers, I was nervous all the way until last night.”

Joe Mussatto of SEC Country recently visited with Oats at Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati to discuss his decision to play at Kentucky over Ohio State.

Persistence played a big role in Kentucky’s success, “They came to see me almost every week, stayed in touch, texted me every day and every night,” Oats said. “It got annoying, but that’s how I knew they really wanted me. Other colleges weren’t really doing that.”

At the end of the day Oats relationship with Marrow sealed the deal, “He keeps it real with you, he just wants the best out of us. You can tell that his loyalty is real. He’s never gonna give up on you.”

Oats, an outside linebacker in high school, is expected to play middle linebacker at the next level. The 6’5 230 pound athlete will certainly have a chance to earn playing time on special teams this year while competing with Jamin Davis for the backup middle linebacker spot.

Read the full story from Mussatto here.

[SEC Country]

@EMitchKSR

 

 

 


Three Takeaways from this Weekend for UK Softball

What was a special weekend in Lexington resulted in Kentucky sweeping the regionals and outscoring their opponents 28-1. There was a lot to take in after the hectic weekend, but here are three takeaways from a great Regional in Lexington as the Cats head into the super regionals against Oregon.

1. The Pitching Staff Performing at a High-Level

One of the biggest takeaways from this weekend in Lexington was the stellar performance of UK’s pitching staff. Kentucky only threw two pitchers this weekend, senior Erin Rethlake and Freshman Grace Baalman. The two pitchers combined for five hits and no earned runs all weekend. In this tournament, great pitching can take you deep into the postseason, and with these two keeping runners off base and Autumn Hums waiting in the wings as well, this pitching staff should create problems for Oregon next week.

Coach Lawson talking about her pitching staff said, “I felt this weekend I could go to Erin or Grace for sure based on what they’ve done the last few weeks. I even felt comfortable going with Autumn, even though she hasn’t been given an opportunity…I felt great about Erin and going with her moving forward.”

2. The Offense is Dangerous All the Way Through

This weekend Kentucky scored 28 runs in just 16 innings a play, which is a rarity this late into the season, but Kentucky doesn’t produce that many runs if their whole line-up isn’t hitting. One through nine, everyone in the line up is contributing. In the top third of the lineup, Jenny Scharper had 5 RBIs this weekend, and Abbey Cheek had a big double last night, then, the walk-off home run today. While the two-hole hitter, Katie Reed may not have produced a lot of numbers this weekend, she did a lot outside of the box score such as laying down a few sacrifice bunts and working a few walks.

The middle part of the order produced seven RBIs and a home-run for Alex Martens. Mallory Peyton had a massive weekend in the six spot, having four RBIs this weekend and going 5-8. Although Hinz didn’t produce a lot of RBIs this weekend, she was also a good bet to get on base going 5-8, as well, and accounting for several runs.

Then the bottom half saw some production from Lauren Johnson as she drove in a few RBIs this weekend from the seven spot. Although there wasn’t an extreme amount of production from Rethlake and Vick at eight and nine, Metzger stepped in their roles and produced 7 RBIs from the bottom two spots of the lineup.

3. The Kentucky Faithful Showed Out

Of course, the big perk in hosting a regional is the home-field advantage the team can draw from their fans, and the BBN did their part this weekend. After several weather issues and time changes, the Kentucky crowd stayed true, packing John Cropp every game. Even last night’s impressive crowd for a 9:42 start time.

Rachel Lawson said, ” We had such a cool crowd. This is my tenth year now, and we’ve hosted four or five regionals, and we have such a good fan base we have such a good core of fans, and that keeps building and building. This year, more than any year you could feel the stadium. You could feel our team was more energetic and the reason we were more energetic was feeding off such a cool fan base. So, I want to thank them for showing out. That’s what being in the Big Blue Nation is all about.”

Last, but certainly not least, I want to give a massive shout out to the great work of the UK grounds crew making this field look, not just playable, but perfect. They did a stellar job this weekend, and they definitely deserve the gratitude of the BBN.

The Universtiy of Kentucky has made us proud once again, by putting on such a great event.


Kentucky Baseball Pre-SEC Tournament Postseason Update

UK Athletics

The BatCats dropped their final three games of the regular season and will most likely have to travel for next week’s NCAA Tournament. Kentucky was a projected host team throughout the season, but a rough conference season hurt the Cats’ chances of hosting a regional for the second consecutive year. UK’s RPI and SOS are strong enough to be a host team, but their 13-17 conference record will drop them out of the hosting picture.

UK began to slip out of the hosting picture two weeks ago. Baseball America and D1 Baseball had the Cats traveling across the country to Oklahoma State or Oregon State two weeks ago, but it appears that UK might stay closer to home. In last week’s projections, it was predicted that UK would be the two seed in North Carolina’s Regional. UNC, NC State, Stetson, Minnesota, and Florida State are all potential host teams that could see UK join them in their four-team bracket.

D1 Baseball’s latest projections.

No team wants to see a healthy UK team in their regional. The Cats were a top ten team before they lost so many contributors due to injuries. It is expected that designated hitter T.J Collett will be out for the remainder of the season with a hip issue. The big question mark will be the health of the pitching staff. Justin Lewis, Carson Coleman, Zach Haake, and Chris Machamer were all out for last weekend’s series at Vanderbilt. If all four of UK’s injured arms return in some capacity, the Cats will be a sleeper pick as a two seed.

Before thinking about the NCAA Tournament, UK needs to worry about the first round of the SEC Tournament. The Cats take on Auburn in the single elimination round of the most talented conference tournament in the country. If UK gets past Auburn, they will play Ole Miss in the double-elimination portion of the tournament on Wednesday. The Cats’ postseason run will begin Tuesday at 2 ET against Auburn. KSR will have coverage from Hoover and beyond for the BatCats.

@TreyHuntsmanKSR


Wishing a Big Blue Birthday to former Cat Enes Kanter!

Everyone’s favorite zero-and-done player, Enes Kanter, is celebrating his 26th birthday today! After being ruled permanently ineligible prior to his first season at Kentucky, Kanter has remained loyal to the Kentucky program in his time in the NBA.

While he may be known for his ongoing social media feud with LeBron James, Kanter has quietly turned into a really solid NBA big man. This season was the best of his career, averaging 14.1 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting nearly 85% from the free throw line for the New York Knicks.

He had a coming out party on Christmas Day against the Philadelphia 76ers, as he totaled 31 points, 22 rebounds, and 7/8 from the charity stripe.

Big Blue Nation, go wish our favorite Turk a happy birthday on Twitter @Enes_Kanter!

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Why Kentucky Should Legalize Sports Gambling

There was no joy in Vegas this week…nor in the Bada Bing back rooms of the American underworld.  An unholy monopoly shared by Nevada and organized crime was blown to smithereens Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states could now legalize and regulate sports gambling.

The ruling also provides an unprecedented — and extremely timely — opportunity for the Commonwealth of Kentucky to help fix its urgent financial mess.

If we don’t blow it, of course… like we usually do.

===

Although my personal poison is poker, sports gambling is deeply ingrained into my genetic makeup.  As I elaborated here, my great-grandfather, A. Morgan Frumberg, served as counsel to several of the gamblers charged in the infamous Black Sox Scandal, where mobsters paid Chicago White Sox players to fix the 1919 World Series.  This was early pro sport’s nadir, with baseball saved only by Babe Ruth’s cult of personality and a new anti-gambling regime imposed by the sport’s first Commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

In the succeeding decades, athletic leagues, policymakers, and law enforcement targeted sports wagering with special contempt and zero tolerance — with the axe usually falling on the athletes themselves. The iconic Adolph Rupp UK teams of the 1940s were rocked by a point-shaving scandal that shattered the careers of the young players involved.  In the late 1970s, another point-shaving conspiracy — this one orchestrated by Goodfellas‘ Henry Hill — destroyed the lives of Boston College cagers caught up in the controversy.  And, of course, Pete Rose became illegal betting’s poster boy when he was banned for life from baseball for betting on his own team.

In the meantime, wagering on athletics has exploded into one of the nation’s leading economic engines.  On top of the legitimate sports books in Nevada, illegal sports gaming exceeds an estimated $400 billion a year.  More recently, fantasy sports — which Congress exempted from legislative bans on online wagering — have proliferated:  What began as a collection of friend and family affairs has become professionalized and exceedingly monetized via same-day and one-week online leagues.

Reflecting the spirit of the times, many leading Big Sport figures have seen the light (and the Benjamins). In 2014, newly-minted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the legalization of sports gambling, writing that “Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.” More telling, the modern successor to Mountain Landis, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, has been bullish lately on the idea of forever forgiving the game’s Original Sin, arguing that gambling could re-inject life into the fading sport: “There is this buzz out there in terms of people feeling that there may be an opportunity here for additional legalized sports betting.”

The truth is that there’s little downside to legalization.  As my great-grandpa’s contemporaries can attest, prohibition not only doesn’t work; it backfires.  It doesn’t take more than a couple episodes of The Sopranos to understand how gambling’s illegality forces it into the shadows, denying proper public protection, and empowering and enriching the underworld, as thugs administer “justice” through usurious loans and violent collections. As those of us who played on-line poker in the early days can testify, cheating is rampant when the game is unlawful; and there’s little resource for gamblers who find themselves the victim of fraudulent arrangements. Just as our policymakers often treat sex with a public farce of Victorian morality that shields a private culture of consensual, sometimes flawed, human behavior, the hypocritical treatment of gambling creates a serious public policy problem where none would otherwise exist.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a whole lot of money that can be directed from the pockets of mobsters to essential public needs, like education, infrastructure, and health care.

Boy, could Kentucky use the cash!  This past session of the General Assembly serves as Exhibit A.  Legislators arrived with a bi-partisan consensus that our broken pension systems and antiquated tax structures needed serious overhauls.  But intra-party squabbling and historically passionate protests resulted in only cosmetic changes, while proposals that could provide desperately needed infusions of revenue — marijuana legalization, casino gaming — received only token consideration.  It’s no wonder that just this past Friday, Standard and Poors downgraded Kentucky’s issuer credit rating, due in part to “increased budgetary strain from rising costs associated with pension obligations.” A lower credit rating means that the state must borrow money at higher interest rates, meaning larger debt payments…meaning the vicious cycle accelerates.

Sports gaming is no panacea, but the many millions, if not billions, of tax dollars it could generate could provide the Bluegrass State a significant economic shot in the arm.

The good news is that there appears to be a political path.  Most of the arguments against casino gaming — increased crime pockets, preying on the poor and elderly — don’t apply to merely taking sports wagering away from the mob and regulating it.  It’s thus no wonder that the Commonwealth’s most powerful casino opponent, Governor Matt Bevin, has expressed openness to sports gaming proposals.

Further, there’s growing bi-partisan support in Frankfort.  State Rep. Jason Nemes, a rising young GOP star, plans to introduce legislation soon. “Government should not be in the business of telling people how to spend their entertainment dollars,” Nemes argues.  “We have a need for revenues in Kentucky to fund critical needs for our citizens, like education.”  Nemes’ bill would include wagering on pro sports, and exclude youth and high school sports.  Before any bill is introduced, he’s consulting with constituents and stakeholders about whether to involve college athletics as well.

Unlike casinos, legalization won’t require legislative supermajorities or a ballot initiative. Kentucky’s foremost constitutional law expert (and my law partner), Sheryl Snyder, believes that the issue can be resolved by a simple law, not a constitutional amendment:  “The Kentucky Constitution does not prohibit gambling; it prohibits lotteries, with the exception of course of the Kentucky Lottery,” explains Snyder.  “A lottery is a game of pure chance, while sports gambling, or gambling on horse races, requires some skill.  So while you need to pass a constitutional amendment for pure games of chance like roulette or craps, a simple law could legalize sports gaming or poker.”

As Rep. Nemes argues, “It’s time to seize the moment.” Indeed, Kentucky must act quickly, instead of falling behind its neighbors as we’ve seen with casinos, watching our gambling dollars pay for Ohio schools, Indiana roads and West Virginia health care.  By acting conscientiously, we can also develop a national model by helping build in protections that have been proposed by thoughtful proponents:

  • The use of new geo-blocking and age-verification technology to ensure that sports wagering is conducted only in places where it is legal, and not by minors;
  • The development of strict licensing procedures and the monitoring of especially big and unusual betting practices in order to protect the integrity of gambling operations and crack down on cheating;
  • Meaningful educational programs that foster responsible gambling, complimented by protocol that can identify problem gamblers and prevent them from incurring further debt; and
  • Working with professional and college sports leagues to develop rules that shield athletes and referees from improper involvement.

I readily admit that thousands of lives every year are ruined by compulsive gambling and its collateral damage.   But that’s precisely why sports gambling should be legalized and regulated.  Sunlight is always the best disinfectant; only when we take it out of the shadows and monitor it closely can we protect those who are at risk.

The time is now.  The states that are the first movers will reap the biggest rewards.  Urge your legislators to support sports gaming today.


Kentucky Softball SWEEPS the Region

Credit: Gary Moyers

Today Kentucky beat Notre Dame 8-0, with another stellar performance in all phases of the game. Rethlake had the Fighting Irish’s number all day, only surrendering one hit and allowing three base runners all day. Kentucky’s pitching staff only gave up five hits this weekend and allowed zero earned runs.

Rachael Metzger once again had another big moment in today’s game. After last night’s pinch-hit grand slam, she was once again brought in to pinch-hit with the bases loaded. Although, this time she didn’t hit a grand slam, she did hit a 3 RBI double to put the game out of reach and to give the Cats a 7-0 lead in the fifth.

Alex Martens also played a big role in today’s game as her two-run home run in the 1st inning got thing going for Kentucky in the 1st inning.

Abbey Cheek, who was almost seemingly due for a home run, came up with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. She launched one over the left field wall and off the scoreboard to walk things off in Lexington as the Cats run-ruled the Irish to sweep the regional round to advance to play Oregon in the Super Regionals next weekend for the sixth time in school history.

Oregon is the number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament, so that will be no easy task for the Bat Cats. But, Kentucky is firing on all cylinders, outscoring their opponents 28-1 this weekend. It should be a fun weekend next week to watch Kentucky try to pull a 16 over one upset.


WATCH : The Inspirational Story of Oliver White

@universityofky

A few weeks back a story that is worth your attention occurred during the University of Kentucky’s graduation ceremony as former Kentucky tight end Oliver White (1981-84) received his degree in community leadership and development.

Drafted in the 10th round of the 1985 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, White only lasted a year in the NFL. After working for years in manufacturing as a supervisor and plant manager White knew he could do more.

“It was something I always wanted to finish,” he said last week. “It was always in the back of my mind.”

White is one of more than 150 Ex-Cats who have returned to UK to finish their degrees in what UK calls “The Post-Eligibility Program”. The program allows any former athlete to return to school to finish their degree with their tuition and books paid for.

The program was originally implemented by Athletic Director C.M. Newton in 1989, Mitch Barnhart has continued the practice as well.

Congrats to Mr. White!

#4for40


Introducing ‘KSR Stories’ (and a blast from the KSR past)

Have you ever listened to a caller on KSR and wondered what their life is like after Matt appreciates the call? Where does Kentucky Joe produce his albums? How did Fake Barney’s career change after his ill-fated Jurassic Park audition? Can Harvey see your aura, like, right now? Well, my friends, I’m here to try to answer questions just like those. (Ok maybe not just like those. Fake Barney doesn’t like to talk about his Jurassic period. Darkest time of his life since the meteor.)

Anyway, this is KSR Stories, my almost certainly doomed attempt to chronicle, on the KSR website, some of the larger than life people and personalities that make the Kentucky Sports Radio radio show so, you know, whatever it is exactly. I’m going to try to meet, interview and help you, The Fan, get to know some of those folks a little better. I have a few of KSR’s most recognizable voices in mind to start – if I can get a hold of them and they for some reason decide to talk to me – but I also want to hear from you. Which radio personalities do you want to see profiled here on the site, as I cross the streams of the KSR empire? Should I visit Eugene’s collie farm? Get an in-person pep talk from Chester? Tell me in the comments or @HunterCampbell on the Twitter machine. (Shameless Twitter follow request: I’ve mainly been radio silent on there, but If I’m going to be a Blogger™ there are strict regulations about being on Twitter and having some followers. I probably don’t need to tell you how bad it is to end up on the wrong side of blogging regulations. The lashings are terrible, and they make you rewrite Buzzfeed comments on a chalkboard over and over. Help me out.)

You may feel like, even after that sweet intro which will definitely lead to you giving me ideas for stories and following me on Twitter, there are still questions left unanswered. Did Fake David Beckham go to the Royal Wedding? Is Fake David Beckham actually the real David Beckham? Who in the frank is Hunter Campbell? I can help with the last one.

Way back when KSR was just a plucky little website where people came to see Kige Ramsey teach free throws and BTI wrote, well, pretty much the exact same posts he writes today, I won the world’s first “Who Wants to be a KSR Blogger?” contest. I did some enjoyably mediocre posts, and like six good ones, over the better part of four years before stepping away shortly after the 2012 championship to be with my father during his last few months. Over the intervening years, I got married, bought a house, had a son, bought another house, and seven weeks ago my wife and I welcomed our second son into the world. I somehow even got a real job or two along the way. I also recently got the renewed itch to tap on my keyboard and make words about sports stuff come out, so here we are.

Maybe it’s the exhausted delirium of new-again fatherhood. Maybe it’s because doing this means I can spend more time not watching PJ Masks or changing diapers. Either way, I figured now seemed like a good time to get back to the world of writing. What could possibly go wrong?

That’s my story. Now it’s time to tell the stories of the people who have entertained all of us on the KSR airwaves over the years. Let me know the ones you want to read. I can’t wait to bring them to you.


What Was Cal Up to Yesterday?

One person who seems to be enjoying the offseason is Coach Cal. Last night Cal was spending his time in Newport Beach, California after being in Chicago with his players at the combine, Hami, PJ, Kevin, and Shai.

Cal seemed to be enjoying his time speaking out west and catching up with two of his former players, Karl Anthony-Towns and Julius Randle, even teasing KAT by posting this picture on his Instagram.

Yes, that’s @karltowns. LOL. How old do you think he is in this pic?

A post shared by John Calipari (@ukcoachcalipari) on

At one point, Coach gifted a lucky fan with all of his Hall of Fame coins, just because the fan guessed Cal’s whereabouts.

After the amount of recruiting he’s done since March, it’s nice to see Cal taking some time off to enjoy himself while catching up with his former players and mentors.

He also wanted to let everyone know that he’s still not golfing due to his surgery… if you ask me, I think he’s just afraid to compare golf scores with Rich Brooks.

This has been your weekly Cal update.