Tomorrow, Kentucky and North Carolina face-off in one of the better matchups so far in college basketball. The game is scheduled to tip-off around 5:15 PM on CBS.
North Carolina leads the series 24-15 and the most recent game in the series was in the 2017 Elite 8 where Kentucky lost 75-73. I’m not going to go into that game because I will become depressed again and I’m sure you will too.
North Carolina owned Kentucky in the early years, but since John Calipari got to Kentucky, the Wildcats have gone 5-3 against the Tar Heels.
This series has also brought us some pretty awesome games.
Kentucky 73 – North Carolina 75: 2017 Elite 8
This game is pretty depressing for UK fans. Kentucky was down late in the game and Malik Monk hit two crazy 3’s to tie the game. We all know what happened after that.
Watch this video at your own risk and there’s no need to watch the end.
Kentucky 103 – North Carolina 100: 2016 CBS Sports Classic
One of the better games, in my opinion, in a decade. Malik Monk dropped 47, including a last second three to give Kentucky the win.
Kentucky 73 – North Carolina 72: Anthony Davis’ block
This is the kind of game you don’t get a lot at Rupp Arena. Two top-five teams going down to the last second. Anthony Davis, I think became Anthony Davis in this game after blocking a jump-shot from John Henson in the final seconds to give Kentucky the win.
Kentucky 76 – North Carolina 69: 2011 Elite 8
After upsetting the best team in the tournament, Ohio State, Kentucky played North Carolina in the Elite 8. DeAndre Liggins hit a three with 35 seconds left in the game, which gave Kentucky the win and sent them to the Final Four for the first time since 1998.
Kentucky 68 – North Carolina 66: Kentucky basketball was back
John Calipari’s first game against North Carolina since taking the Kentucky job. The Cats were coming off five straight losses to the Tar Heels, including a 20 point blowout the previous year. This game put Kentucky basketball back on the map and the world was introduced to John Wall.
Kentucky and North Carolina have had one hell of a series since Cal arrived in Lexington. Hopefully the Cats can pull out a huge win against the Tar Heels tomorrow in Chicago.
Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio has been hinting at two potential transfers for Kentucky for a few weeks now. Yesterday it was announced that Miami freshman QB, Jarren Williams, was going to transfer. The destination was never said and now will never be as his father told 247Sports that Mark Richt and Jon Richt convinced Williams to stay.
They were talking to him yesterday and today about staying and competing through the spring. He felt as though he should had an opportunity to probably play more. He was frustrated by play time.” Williams’ father said.
With Williams now off the board, who is this mysterious transfer that Jones has been hinting at?
*I KNOW NOTHING WHEN IT COMES TO THIS*
Xavier Peters committed to Kentucky in July of 2017, then on signing day, he didn’t sign. Then in late January of this year, Peters flipped his commitment from Kentucky to Florida State during an official visit. He was ranked 173rd in the 2018 class by 247Sports and was UK’s highest-rated commitment in 2018.
Shocky Jacques Louis committed to Kentucky in late April of 2017, then in early June, Louis announced his de-commitment from Kentucky. He then committed to Tennessee in early August. After being committed to UT for several months, Louis de-committed from Tennessee after Butch Jones was fired. He then, in late December, committed to Pittsburgh.
Russ Yeast committed to Kentucky, then flipped his commitment to Louisville. With Louisville being in a mess, Yeast announced that he would transfer after their 77-16 loss to Clemson. His dad, Craig Yeast, played with Tim Couch at Kentucky, so would Yeast come back to his dads old stomping grounds?
Those are the three that I think are most likely. Remember, I know nothing when it comes to this, so I will find out when everyone else finds out. Other potential names would be Mac Jones and Alex Reigelsperger.
Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio has been hinting at two potential transfers to Kentucky for a few weeks now. Today’s news makes one of those potential transfers maybe a bit clearer.
On Wednesday it was reported by Steve Wiltfong of 247Sportsthat Jarren Williams, who committed to Kentucky twice but ended up de-committing both times, will be transferring from Miami.
Williams played in just one game this year for Miami, completing one pass for 17 yards against FCS Savannah State. This was done to preserve his redshirt.
Although he will be required to sit out the 2019 season, Williams would still be a great pick up for the Cats, especially after getting juked twice.
Wiltfong says it’s expected that Williams’ name will be in the NCAA Transfer Portal by Friday, December 21st.
“I will tell you, some of the dudes we lost in the 2018 class and even 2017 class, you’ll see them talking to some of our other players like, ‘Man I knew we should have went there.’ They saw it, but they didn’t believe it.” -Vince Marrow
While it adds suspense, we now know who one of the potential transfers could be. I wouldn’t mind having Terry Wilson AND Jarren Williams as QB options. Stay tuned.
In the post-game press conference on Saturday after Kentucky’s 88-61 win over Utah, John Calipari said that Rick Pitino needs to come back to Lexington and be honored by UK fans.
“He was with family and he had things going on,” Calipari said. “I just said, ‘Look, you need to get up here. This will be respectful here.’ What that program did to change this back, we should recognize it. You may be mad he went to coach at Louisville. So, what? When he was here and when we needed this program on a different track he put it (there).”
Pitino Tweeted about the ’93 team that morning and thanked Cal for reaching out:
As we all remember, things didn’t end well the last time Pitino was at Rupp Arena as he flipped us the bird on the way out:
I always knew that while Pitino was at Louisville, he would never get any sort of applause. He would just be met with loud boo’s.
But now with Pitino out of coaching and not having been in Rupp Arena since 2015, can we all be respectful and honor the man for what he did while he was at Kentucky? Let’s look at both sides.
Yes, because he brought Kentucky back from hell and won a title
In 1989, Kentucky was put on three years of probation for recruiting and academic violations while Eddie Sutton was here. They also banned Eric Manuel from NCAA competition and banned Chris Mills from Kentucky. This banned Kentucky from post-season competition in 1990-91 and from televised games in-season. UK was also limited to 3 scholarships per year and had to return the $350,000 gained from their appearance in the 1988 NCAA Tournament. Basically (at the time) the hammer.
In the summer of ’89, C.M. Newton, who was in his first year as UK A.D., hired Pitino, who was coming off his job with the New York Knicks.
In his career, Pitino went 219-50 (81%) with 3 Final Fours and won the title in 1996.
He brought Kentucky back from rock bottom and did something most coaches couldn’t have done. We aren’t where we are as a basketball program without Pitino.
No, because he coached Louisville, flipped us off, he’s a traitor, etc.
In the summer of 1997, after Kentucky’s title game loss, Pitino jumped ship and went to the NBA to coach the Celtics. Then in 2001, Pitino did something most Kentucky fans have never forgiven for, took the Louisville job.
In Pitino’s time at Louisville, he went 420-143 (74%), with 1 Final Four (2012 Final Four, 2013 title, and 123 wins vacated).
In 2015, Louisville travelled to Rupp Arena and lost 75-73. This game happened right when the Katina Powell allegations were occurring. When Pitino walked to the tunnel, he flipped us UK fans the bird as you saw in the picture above. He hasn’t been back to Rupp since.
He should be honored
With both cases being made, I think Pitino should be honored for the 30th anniversary of the 1992 “Unforgettables” team. He did so much at Kentucky and put our rival in the grave.
The anniversary for the ’92 team would take place sometime in 2022, which is four years from now and when this would happen. Make it happen.
As we all know by now, Quade Green announced that he would be transferring. It isn’t great news, but it isn’t deflating either. We thought Quade, being one of the more experienced guy, was the potential leader of this team. But, with his playing time declining and already having requested a transfer in the summer, his days were numbered at UK, and today he decided that he wanted to wear another teams uniform.
The guy above, Jemarl Baker, committed to Kentucky in April of 2017, after being released of his National Letter of Intent at Cal when Cuonzo Martin left. Baker came to UK as a four-star recruit, who was ranked in the top 20 at his position and in the top 100 overall.
After injuring his knee in October of last year, which the staff at UK originally thought was only a minor injury, turned out to be more severe than expected. This resulted in Baker missing the entirety of his freshman year.
Us Kentucky fans thought that Baker would play in the Bahamas, but Cal told us that was unlikely because Baker had missed four to five days of practice because of swelling in his knee.
Baker has been kind of a mystery this year, and at times I didn’t know if he still existed, but we finally saw him briefly this past Saturday against Seton Hall. He didn’t play much at all, but we at least got to see what he looked like on the court.
Now that Quade is transferring, does that mean we see more Jemarl Baker? And if not immediately, in the future?
With the departure of Green, Kentucky only has four guards, but with Tyler Herro not living up to hype, we may see Jemarl Baker jump into one of those spots. I don’t see this happening immediately, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cal slowly adds him to the rotation in case there’s a freak injury or Herro doesn’t get it going. I do think we see more Baker in the future though.
Baker is also a great three-point shooter as Shai Alexander noted on Kentucky Sports Radio, saying that he was the “best shooter” on UK’s team last year.
In Baker’s senior year of high school, he averaged 17 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 4 APG. He could be a key piece to this team. Maybe not now, but definitely in the future.
Since we haven’t seen much of him at UK, here are some of his highlights from high school: