Best Elite 8 Game Ever

In honor of the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and one the best weeks of sports all year, I wanted to look back and remember the best Elite 8 game and possibly one of the craziest NCAA Tournament games of all time.

This game was so emotional for me, not only as a Kentucky fan, but also as a young sports fan. It was one of the very rare games that you knew was a timeless classic while it was still happening. The game I am speaking of is the March 27, 2005, matchup of Kentucky and Michigan State.

The setting: Austin, Texas. The stakes: a trip to the Final Four. The beer: I wouldn’t know; I was 9. I sat in my neighbor’s living room in my #10 Keith Bogans jersey that I converted into an Lukasz Obrzut kit since Bogans went pro. Surprisingly, I actually worried about what was going to happen in the game instead of worrying what a redshirt junior was going to wear.

This was Tubby Smith’s best team he had had since he won the title in 1998. Rajon Rondo, Kelenna Azubuike, Patrick Sparks, Chuck Hayes and Randolph Morris made up the starting line up. Probably the most impressive team Kentucky would have until John Calipari arrived. On the other side was Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad. Consisting of future NBA players like Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager and other names you haven’t heard in years, it easy to tell this was going to come down to the wire.

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And that it did. It was back and forth all game. No team pulling too far ahead before the other came storming back. It was going to come down to one team making an unbelievable shot at the buzzer. And Kentucky did just that.

Not only did the shot feel like it took a couple years for it to finally fall, but the replay review afterwards took an eternity. I have cheered louder very few times in my life then when they finally made the right call and sent the game to overtime.

It took two OT periods to decide a winner. Michigan State ended up the winner, 94-88. This was the first heartbreak I experienced as a Kentucky fan and it was certainly not the last.

Of course, Michigan State did not go on to win the NCAA Championship, because they were and still are coached by Tom Izzo. Titles just aren’t his thing.

It’s 11:30 and Kentucky Fans Are Jumpin’ Jumpin’ to Conclusions

Ladies leave your man at home 
The club is full of ballers and their pockets full grown 
And all you fellas leave your girl with her friends 
‘Cause it’s eleven thirty and Kentucky fans are jumpin’, jumpin’ to conclusions

Thank you, Destiny’s Child, for this banger.

Every sports fan loves to jump to conclusions. When the injured star player starts walking again, we immediately think they will be in the starting lineup that night.

PJ Washington has been giving us all of the mixed signals on Twitter and is even working out with the team, but there is no word on whether or not he will play. Fear not, sports world, Kentucky fans are here to jump to the conclusion that best suits them. Every random Kentucky “news” page is losing their mind, because PJ took a couple free throws.

Free throws are the one part of basketball that requires zero athleticism. And apparently they also negate injury reports. Now, here are the two things I don’t understand from what I’ve written above: why are my fellow Kentucky fans setting themselves up to be let down? AND who is actually allowed in the club? It sounds like everyone and no one at the same time.

PJ did tweet a video of him walking earlier this week which shut down Kentucky Twitter for about 45 minutes:

Doesn’t necessarily mean he will play, but he also may not be allowed in the club. The ladies are supposed to leave their man at home, but what if their man is one of the ballers that is supposedly filling said club? Then the fellas are supposed to leave their girl with her friends. Why? So the fellas can go to the club? I thought they weren’t allowed from the first line. Anyway, I digress.

Just because PJ can do that doesn’t mean that he can do this:

Kentucky may or may not need PJ for this game versus Houston. I actually have never watched them play so I have no idea if they earned their 3 seed or got it because they played in the AAC. I know they still couldn’t win their conference over Cincinnati so I am not too worried. PJ would definitely help, but every time I have ever jumped to conclusions about Kentucky Basketball, I have been let down with the exception of 2012.

Let’s take it down a notch, BBN. Lastly, if the third most talented member of Destiny’s child ever wants to get rid of Jay-Z and wants to get the group back together, I will request an updated version of “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” with a more clear set of rules.

Can Someone Please Remind Nick Richards He Is 7 Foot Tall?

All of John Calipari’s most successful teams have one thing in common: they have an elite shot blocker/rim protector. Coach Cal has had his fair share of 7 footers in his time at Kentucky and they have all served him very well. Names like Karl-Anthony Towns, Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein (who played football in high school) and Demarcus Cousins are just a couple that come to mind. Throw in Anthony Davis too cap off the list of incredible shot blockers.

Then there is Nick Richards. Gotta love the kid, but instead of reminding us of AD and Boogie, we get reminded of guys like Skal Labissiere. Maybe that is a little harsh, especially since Nick Richards has had his moments of greatness with 15 boards against Arkansas and 19 against SIU.

Creds: UK Athletics

Disappointingly though, he only averages 1.3 blocks per game. AD averaged 4.7 blocks, Nerlens had 4.4, Willie (who played football) and Towns got 2.2 and 2.3 respectively. He is having a little bit of a problem and I think I know what it is. Nick Richards legitimately forgets he is 7 foot tall.

We have seen Nick Richards play extremely well. He dominated in those two games I mentioned above and ran everyone out of the gym in the Bahamas this past summer. I assume those were the time that he became lucid and showed us what he was really capable of.

UK Athletics

Someone needs to remind him of how tall he is before tonight’s game versus Houston. With no PJ and Reid Travis battling a knee injury, Nick Richards knowing that he is 7 foot tall will be crucial to Kentucky’s success.

Yes, I realize he is listed at 6’11”, but that doesn’t flow as well. Close enough.

Hate Is Learned, Especially in College Basketball

College basketball fans are the most passionate fans in America. Whether you went to that school, grew up cheering for them, or have no connection to them and just like them because they are good (Duke fans); one thing is for certain: you have learned to hate your rival school.

As a UK alum and born and raised Kentuckian, I grew up a Cats fan. I cried every year we lost in the tournament until I was about 13 and then again when we won in 2012. But with my love for Kentucky basketball came something else. I developed a deep hatred for teams like Louisville, Tennessee and, above all, DUKE. But here is the thing, I really don’t know why I hate them.

When it comes to Louisville, it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense why I hate them. I mean, I have lived my whole live, excluding college, in that city. I don’t hate any other college there, just the University of Louisville. I have friends that go there (humble brag I have friends), have had a good time at UofL parties (humble brag I go to parties), and the Yum! Center has never disappointed. So, do I really hate that school because they beat Kentucky every now and then? YUP.

Then, there is Tennessee. No idea why I hate them. I never even gave that color orange a chance. It doesn’t deserve one, but still.

Then we have Duke. If you want to talk irrational, my hatred for Duke is definitely falls under than category. If you don’t know specifically why Kentucky fans hate Duke, I will bring you up to speed. In the year of our Lord 1992, Christian Laettner hit a last second turnaround jumpshot to put Duke in the Final Four and Kentucky out of the tournament.

That’s it. One shot that was entirely Kentucky’s fault for not guarding the inbounder or playing defense. Not only do I hate Duke because of this, I also hate Christian Laettner. And here is the worst part: I wasn’t even alive for this game. So something I did not experience nor was I able to understand until much later has left a lasting impression on me and left me with an irrational hatred of a school I never could have gotten into anyway.

I am not sure how rival schools work where you are from, but for me, a loss for Duke feels as good as a Kentucky win. Maybe as good as sex. I’m not sure though, I’ll let you all know when it happens to me.

Brad Swag: Ranking Brad Calipari’s Outfits

Brad Calipari’s outfits are taking the college basketball world by storm. Every time Kentucky hits the court, Brad is first thing fans want to see. Usually we want an ill advised three pointer so deep that it would make LaMelo Ball proud, but this season we want to see what amazing outfit Brad has graced us with today. He has had so many great outfits that I needed to rank them.

#6. RIPIP to when Brad Cared
If you have kept up with Brad Calipari, you know that the ever so rational Kentucky fans did not like his outfits too much. Brad definitely got the swaggy Cal gene, because this is right out of his dad’s playbook.

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#5. Oversized plaid hoodie
I don’t actually know if it is oversized, but it makes him look like he is a solid 220 when I know he is 180 soaking wet.

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Lexington Herald Leader

#4. Straight Outta Pleasant Park
Not sure if this is a Fortnite reference or if he actually lived in a bougie paradise called Pleasant Park. I love this picture, because of how uncomfortable he looks on a basketball court.

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Kentucky Sports Radio

#3. Brad $wag
Not hating on any of these outfits especially, because I know each article of clothing cost more than what I pay in rent.

Creds: Kentucky Sports Radio

#2. Thanos Travis
Wouldn’t exactly call someone who averages 11 and 7 Thanos, but this is still pretty sick and I want one.

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Chat Sports

#1. Night at the Roxbury
The all time crowd favorite and the outfit that started it all. The chain and the turtleneck sweater that stole the hearts of millions.

Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @soft7sports and follow us for more BBN updates.

Tyler Herro Doesn’t Care about Your $110K Sports Bets

The most heavily bet matchup on the first Saturday of the NCAA Tournament ended in heartbreak for one very unlucky fan.

As Kentucky closed as a 5.5 point over Wofford just before tipoff, an overly confident bettor placed a $110,000 bet on Wofford to cover the spread. The final score was 62-56 Cats. Because of two late free throws, Wofford failed to cover and this angry sports bettor has only one person to blame.

Well, two. One is wrongly to a Kentucky player and the other is himself. I am all for the “go big or go home” mentality, but this may have been so big that he no longer has a home to go back to. Imagine explaining to your significant other that you lost $110k because you really thought the WOFFORD TERRIERS had it. Regardless, I am sure this person is deflecting all his blame to a specific Kentucky player.

That player is Tyler Herro. Add another to his long list of haters. As it turns out, Herro could not possibly care less about your sports bets. He played a near perfect game defensively and stepped up when Kentucky needed him to close out the game with free throws.

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From Tyler Herro’s Twitter @raf_tyler. Creds: Lexington Herald Leader

Herro held Wofford’s best shooter, Fletcher McGee, to 0/11 from 3-point range. He was in that dude’s shorts from the second he crossed half court to the time he shot an off-balance 30-footer. Then, to close the game out, Herro knocked down two free throws to make it a 6-point game. The guy with $110k on the line probably felt his heart sink when he saw the second best free throw shooter in the nation get fouled. He needed a miracle.

Moral of the story: don’t bet against my Cats.

Morning Juice, Tournament Edition

Welcome back to the Morning Juice, yesterday we went 5-3 in the SEC so let’s get better. 56-26-1 which is 67%. I’m due for a big day, so let’s ride.

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#22 Auburn vs Florida

This is the first semifinal in the SEC today. In a way, it’s a disappointment because we were supposed to have LSU and Auburn. Anyway, this should be a defensive game. Florida scores 65.8 points per game while only allowing 63.6. Auburn on the other hand scores near 80 each game while only allowing 68.4. The last time they met, Auburn won 76-62. Auburn was hot from 3 and very aggressive on the boards and never really gave Florida a chance. I do not think it will be a fun game but it leads into the best game of the day, maybe the tournament. Auburn wins this one easily, 68-59. Take Auburn -3.5 but take the under 140.

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#19 Wisconsin vs #6 Michigan

Big 10 basketball, so you know the drill. UNDER. This is probably the best game we could have gotten in the Big 10. We have a surging Wisconsin team starting to show their worth against a recovering team that could fall at any moment. Look, Michigan State is overrated, they always are. They’ll eventually disappoint in the tournament. They average 79.6 points per game and only allow 66. Wisconsin averages 69.5 points per games while allowing 61.3. This will be a very low scoring, boring game. Wisconsin will need a huge game from Ethan Happ. If he shows up early, they have a shot. I’m taking Wisconsin +6 and the under 130.

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#8 Tennessee vs #4 Kentucky

The game of the weekend. Because the media only says what Zion and Duke do or have to do, this game will be underlooked on the schedule today. These are two teams who honestly hate the other. Tennessee players all said they feel like Kentucky doesn’t respect them. Kentucky players have a ton to prove after their pathetic performance in Knoxville. For Kentucky to win, Ashton Hagans is going to have to play so much better than last night. Also, Reid Travis is back. He played decent last night, playing high higher intensity every second. Nick Richards also played very well last night. If Richards can provide some solid minutes in relief and Hagans plays a smarter game, Kentucky wins this game. Both of the last matchups were blowouts, I think this one stays a little closer. Kentucky 73-69. Take Kentucky -1 and the over 140.

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#12 Florida State vs #5 Duke

Well, the ACC has underperformed in their tournament and cost themselves from possibility getting three one seeds. Virginia did typical Virginia stuff and lost before the championship. North Carolina needed to win to get a one and Duke beat them. But this game will still be entertaining. The last time they played Cam Reddish drained a last second shot to beat Florida State. Florida State averages 75.3 points per game while Duke averages 83.8. I think it will be a offensive game and that favors Duke. Reddish and Barrett will combine for 60, while Zion piles on another 15 and 15 game. Duke wins this one easily, 87-77. Duke -8 and over 144.