The University of Kentucky takes on Mississippi State tonight (9:00PM, ESPN) hoping that Quade Green and Jarred Vanderbilt’s respective re-integrations into the lineup combined with playing in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena will be enough to overcome the Bulldogs. State shot out to a 12-1 start to the season (thanks to a schedule ranked #144 in RPI) but have found conference play more difficult with a 2-4 record so far. Their best hopes for stealing a victory from the Wildcats hinge on the play of the Weatherspoon brothers Quinndary and Nick, but let’s be honest: predicting with any level of confidence the outcome of any Kentucky game this season has been the crappiest of crap-shoots. The sample size of Jarred Vanderbilt’s in-game influence thus far has been too small to really know if he can be a difference maker or not. This year’s team remains shrouded in a fog of questions, and with no consistency we never know who will be the shining light even on a game to game basis. That said, I will keep Coach Cal’s worry meter for tonight’s matchup at a 2/5.
•Coach Calipari had a lot on his mind yesterday. His thoughts ranged from telling fans not to hit the panic button quite yet to giving his thoughts on how UK’s problems could be fixed with better 3-point shooting and fewer turnovers. He also found the time to belittle Duke’s recruiting approach. Have to be honest: the UK/Duke squabble smacks of the Red Sox calling the Yankees the ‘Evil Empire.’
•Guard Jemarl Baker’s chances of playing this season are not looking good after Coach Calipari said “I haven’t seen him jump at all yet, so I don’t think he’s close.”
•Future Wildcat Tyler Herro was bumped up to 5 star status, continuing his rise up the rankings over the last year. The Wisconsin native is now the 25th overall prospect (4th best SG). Guards Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley are ranked 6th and 17th, respectively.
•Basketball recruits weren’t the only ones to experience a rankings spike: Xavier Peters is a now a 4 star linebacker ranked 174th nationally.
•Former UK offensive lineman Larry Warford was named to the Pro Bowl, becoming the 15th former Wildcat to receive the honor in the NFL.
•The baseball team will start its season ranked 8th in the country. It is the highest pre-season ranking in the team’s history.
•It appears more and more likely that the new redshirt rule is going to pass. That is, until Nick Saban decides he doesn’t like it and then the rule will be stamped out like a burning paper bag of poop left on the NCAA’s doorstep.
•Five Star Center Moses Brown committed to UCLA. The 17th ranked player in the 2018 class was once considered a heavy Kentucky lean but never received a scholarship offer.
•DeMarcus Cousins reminded everyone why he’s in the conversation for best big man in the league with 44 points, 24 rebounds, and 10 assists in a triple overtime win. The last player to produce that kind of stat line was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar… in 1972. Wilt Chamberlain accomplished the 40/20/10 feat six times. Makes you wonder what kind of damage Boogie would’ve done back in those days. His dominance would be like if Wilt, Godzilla, and Rob Gronkowski had a baby and bottle-fed it a mix of steroids, testosterone, bad attitude, and Mountain Dew.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 23, 2018
•Speaking of Gronk, the Patriots are hoping he can clear concussion protocol in time for the Super Bowl on February 4th.
•If they really need him pumped and up for the big game, they should have someone read him the erotic novel series based on him. Seriously, this is a thing that exists! “A Gronking to Remember” and “A Gronking to Remember 2: Chad Goes Deep in the Neutral Zone” are ‘novels’ you can use your eyeballs to put into your brain-meat! And, after reading the first one, I can promise I have no dain bramage.
In a world where you’re either the “Gronker” or the “Gronked,” stay safe out there.
Image courtesy of UKAthletics.com