ESPN Does Not Include Kentucky In Top 10 of SEC

As Football season finally approaches, predictions are coming out daily. When SEC Media day began, I for one was hopeful we’d get an ounce of respect just because we went 5-3 in the league last season, but yet again I was wrong. The Louisville Courier Journal released their predictions for the SEC and had Kentucky ranked fourth in the East, behind Georgia, Florida, and Missouri…two teams Kentucky beat last season (on the road) and play at home this season but that’s not what is dumb. ESPN decided to run their ranking of SEC teams and well, Kentucky isn’t even in the top 10 and oh yeah, there’s only 14 if you forgot.

ESPN ranked the top teams in the following order: Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and then Missouri. To be fair, I do think the top three are accurate and there is no argument from probably anyone. Kentucky should fit in before or after Florida but with the game being at Kroger Field and Kentucky whooping their ass last season Kentucky should be fourth. We lost important parts to both our defense and our offense, beginning with Josh Allen and Benny Snell but we bring back our QB, a fantastic O-Line and D-line, and oh yeah Lynn Bowden who will probably get over 1,000 this year.

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Kentucky Football is going to be something special this season, all of Big Blue Nation knows that. The team will use this hate as motivation much like they did last season and our offense is going to be special. If Terry can be Florida game Terry, he could break some records and lead our offense to heights we haven’t seen since 22 held down the fort. AJ Rose and Smoke will be more than enough to balance the loss of Benny but Lynn Bowden will steal the show. We saw how special he could be last season, especially against Florida and Penn State, but I’d expect it much more often this season. Our defense will struggle at first, much like any new defense. But with the D-Line coming back in a big way, Stoops will get his defense back to top shape in no time.

As a Kentucky fan my entire life, we’re not used to being good at football. This is a special time in the Bluegrass and we need to take full advantage of it. Embrace the hate, just like this team will. And when it is all said and done, they’ll make the media look dumber than they did last season. For more Kentucky news, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook.

Could 2020 be Calipari’s Best Class Yet?

With the 2019 recruiting class coming to an end with only the possible reclassification from N’Faly Dante, it’s time to starting looking at 2020 and how they team could look. With expectations high in 2019, Kentucky could possibly lose: Hagans, Quickley, Montgomery, Richards, Maxey, Brooks, Juzang…there are endless possibilities. Realistically, we lose 2 out of 3 guards (Hagans, Quickley, Maxey), probably lose both our centers (Montgomery, Richards), and either Brooks or Juzang, and Sestina for sure due to being a graduate transfer. So we could be looking at another complete rebuild down in Lexington, but with Calipari at the helm it isn’t impossible to say the least.

To start, N’Faly Dante would be a nice addition to this class if he doesn’t reclassify. I do think his recruitment opens up a ton if he doesn’t reclassify, but I like Kentucky’s chances. I’ve written a ton on him as it is, so check it out here.

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Another name to keep an eye on is Brandon Boston Jr. The #10 player in the class and the #2 shooting guard, Boston is a very versatile player who many see as a lock to Kentucky but is also considering Duke and Auburn. He is an amazing shooter as well as a great rebounder but needs to work on his strength if he wants to make it in the long run, but Cal can bring so much out in him.

Jalen Green is another player Kentucky has their sights on as he is a top 5 player and would be Kentucky’s first since 2015. He is a heavy Memphis favorite but as we saw him in the Peach Jam, the dude can ball. Again, Memphis is the favorite but Calipari has been in touch with him a lot more recently so only time will tell. Penny could also fail big time this season which would lose him recruits and respect.

In terms of forwards, the class is stacked with virtually no one leaning anyway. Isaiah Todd was one that many people thought would reclassify to join Kentucky in 2019 but once he ruled that out he opened up a little bit. Many people still see Kentucky as a lock but North Carolina is also in the mix. Makur Maker is another one but with no offer from Kentucky it seems his interest will shift until he gets one. He has spoken very highly of Calipari and his staff but they’re focused more on N’Faly. Cliff Omoruyi would be a work in progress, but he’s coming from the same school Briscoe and Whitney came from so Cal has ties there.

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Lastly, wing Scottie Barnes. Scottie was the first one offered in 2020 from Kentucky. Cal offered him when he was a sophomore in high school which is super rare for Calipari. Barnes could be a special player and could be a (healthy) Jarred Vanderbilt when he arrives. Great rebounder, great passer, great defender, but scoring could improve. With Kenny Payne taking the helm on his recruiting, if we want him we’ll get him. Oregon is considered the favorite but with a year, so much can change.

There is still so much time to figure out the 2020 class and I’ll provide updates when I can. But with 4/5 of these guys, Calipari can bring him maybe his best class with it headlining N’Faly Dante or Scottie Barnes. I think we’ll be just fine after we win #9 this season. For the latest updates, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook.

The Most Important Series of the Year

Well the series after All-Star break can tell you a lot, but one thing it showed us is that this team is still not in sync. With the offense exploding for 28 runs in three games, the pitching struggled and allowed 23. Unfortunately for the Reds, the only solid pitching they had all weekend was Sonny Gray but they lost due to 2 home runs given up by Hernandez in a wildly disappointing 2-3 loss. Which brings us to now. The Reds march into Wrigley with a lot riding on this series. Sitting at 42-48, if the Reds get swept they could be 9.5 games out with all hope lost and with the deadline coming up, it could be a selling fest. But, they they win two or even sweep the Cubs, they’ll be 4.5 or 3.5 games out and that changes the narrative. Let’s take a look.

Tonight we’ve got our ace, Luis Castillo on the mound going up against Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks is 1-1 against the Reds this season while Castillo sits at 1-1 as well. By all means, this will be the lowest scoring game of the season as Hendricks knows how to pitch the Reds, but he is 0-1 at home against them this year. Castillo is just about the same, he’ll find a way to shut down the Cubs offense as he has this season it just depends whose offense shows up first. Personally, I think the Reds win this game because there is a chip on their shoulder and they need to prove themselves before it is too late.

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Game two we got DeSclafani going up against Alec Mills who is making his first start of the 2019 season. DeSclafani is 2-0 against Chicago this season while Mills beat the Reds last season. It will more than likely be a high scoring game but the Reds need it. Game three will be between Sonny Gray and Yu Darvish. Gray is 2-0 against the Cubs, while Darvish is 1-1. The Reds have the pitching advantage all series. It will come down to the offensive side of the ball but with it being it Wrigley, the Reds scored 24 runs back in May. The Reds need a sweep to remain relevant, but will they get it?

By all accounts the Reds have shown they have what it takes to beat the Cubs this season. Winning 6 of 9 from the Cubbies, they need these next 3 as their season may depend on it. If they lose all three or even 2, they’ll be 8.5 or 9.5 back with all hope pretty much gone. With the deadline coming up, the Reds could sell and get a plethora of prospects especially if Castillo goes on the market. So let’s sit back and just watch the most important series of the year…let’s go Redlegs.

What are Your Realistic Expectations for Kentucky

Coming off the best season in Kentucky Football history, well since I’ve been alive, expectations are high in the Commonwealth. This offseason Kentucky has been the subject of tons of hate, including Terry Wilson being ranked last in the SEC, our buddy Phil Steele projecting Kentucky to miss out on a bowl game, and lastly tons of national media just setting Kentucky’s over/under anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5. With the schedule released, let’s take a look and walk it through.

First, let’s begin with Toledo. Opening day at Kroger Field, Cats win easily and they win the second week against Eastern Michigan as well. Those are two locks. Then Kentucky enters possibly the most important three weeks of the season involving Florida, @Mississippi State, and and @South Carolina. Kentucky needs 2 of the 3 if they want to be special. Personally, I think Kentucky will best Florida again, especially with Touchdown Terry showing up in a big way and the crowd just behind them. Mississippi State is much improved from last season and so is South Carolina. I think our best bet is Mississippi State and we’ll start the season 4-0 with our first potential loss the following weekend at South Carolina. So 4-1 entering the Arkansas game.

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Arkansas is Arkansas. They’ll have their usual ups and downs but at Kroger Field for the first time in weeks, this Kentucky team will eat them alive and come 5-1 coming up on the possible SEC East Championship in Athens. I’ll be blunt, I’d be shocked if Kentucky even comes close in this game so I’ll put us at 5-2 and then a win against Missouri to make us bowl eligible. Tennessee demolished us last season, for no reason. I see it as a revenge game and we’ll be 7-2, 8-2 after Vanderbilt. 9-2 after Tennessee Martin and I think Kentucky absolutely obliterates Louisville again making us 10-2. This is my prediction.

Obviously a lot can change. Defensively we are much weaker than last season, but Stoops has set the bar high and this team can play higher. The offense will be the show, if Terry can be Florida Terry all year then this team attains this easily, possibly setting Kentucky scoring records. The one game I look at that could change…Mississippi State. That three game stretch is brutal and Kentucky needs 2 of the 3. Otherwise, we could end up 9-3 or worse. It’ll set the tone for the season.

So I ask you, what are your predictions?

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And Now the N’Faly Dante Watch Begins

As the Peach Jam finally ends with N’Faly’s team winning it, the official watch can actually begin. The whole time we knew he’d delay his process until at least now so he could showcase his skills during this elite tournament and with it finally done…we wait. There is still so much to unwrap in his reclassification and his recruitment in general, but what I do know is that he needs to decide quickly to avoid being far behind in his conditioning because man, it was awful to watch today, but even when he’s tired he scored 22 and brought in 18 boards, so…

With the Peach Jam being essentially 8 games in three days, N’Faly is bound to be tired. But watching his game today there were multiple occasions where he couldn’t even make it across half court. Again, so many games can do that to you and he still made such an impact on the court as he led his team to the win, but he needs to decide quickly in order to ramp up his conditioning. Being a 6’11” center, N’Faly is expected to be a little behind in conditioning as it is but when you can’t make it up the court it’s just embarrassing. NCAA is a much faster, more intense game than any AAU game will ever be, especially when you get to March. I have no worries he’ll be fine once he reaches that point and I’ll tell you what…even with him out of shape at points, he controlled the game and that is who I want representing the University of Kentucky. With the game winning free throws being hit by N’Faly, I like this kid more and more.

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N’Faly is such an athlete and would add so much talent to this current team. With an obvious “weak” spot at the center position, N’Faly would allow EJ and Nick more rest as well as a huge defensive asset. He is going to cause so many issues inside the paint and the one thing that has come out of the Peach Jam is the dude is “100% NBA ready.” N’Faly told KSR if everything works our academically, he’ll be reclassifying but he’s waiting on a few test as well as finishing classes. He is considering Oregon, LSU, and Kentucky but honestly if he reclassified, Kentucky is the leader. He also said Calipari told him they have a spot either this year or next, meaning they want him to be a Wildcat regardless.

As a refresher, Dante is 6’11” and he has a wingspan of 7’5” which just makes him a beast. Watching some of his highlights, I feel like Dante is the closest to Bam. Bam was an absolute tank but he wasn’t the best shooter. His defense will set him apart from the others as he is a complete package with shot-blocking and rebounding and the ability to switch off the pick. The issue Dante may have is his outside shot. While he drains threes in his videos, his shot is just so inconsistent. With his height, he has the ability to again rebound and dunk but he’ll need to develop an outside shot and it will take patience from everyone. He has the peak of a Karl Anthony Towns with his athleticism and he can grow into a shot and with Kenny Payne, this is possible.

I think he’ll be a Wildcat soon enough, especially once he gets cleared to reclassify. For all BBN updates, opinions and much more, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports now!