Over the past few years, the Kentucky Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins have had some epic battles against each other. Two of the most historic programs in college basketball have made it a point to play one another and it’s been extremely entertaining.
This match up was set to be another dandy, but UCLA has fallen on tough times. At the beginning of the season, three Bruins were arrested in China for shoplifting. All three players were eventually freed and returned home. But the fall-out is still reverberating.
Freshman LiAngelo Ball left the team and will play professional basketball in Lithuania. Yesterday, the news broke that freshmen Jalen Hill and Cody Riley will remain suspended for the entire season due to their part in the shoplifting scandal.
The Bruins are 8-3 and haven’t looked particularly good this season, but they still have enough talent to give the Wildcats trouble on a neutral court.
Tweets of the Day
Another hint was dropped by Jarred Vanderbilt. He is number 2 and he can be seen working out with the team. Will he see some minutes against UCLA before playing against Louisville? It would be perfect timing.
Space X launched one of their craft over LA last night and freaked a lot of people out. With all of the UFO footage going around, people were worried the arrival was finally happening.
Kentucky vs. UCLA match ups and predictions | Herald Leader- Kentucky has the upper hand at almost every position on the floor and Mark Story is looking for a healthy win against a Power 5 opponent.
How did Calipari help in football recruiting? | Courier-Journal- Having John Calipari on campus has paid off in dividends for all of the athletic programs, not just basketball. Vince Marrow knows that Cal is a star and he makes sure to bring football recruits around to meet the basketball coach. “When they get down there and see (John Calipari), they look at him like he’s a God or something,” Marrow said Wednesday. “Then you see how down to earth he is.”
Kentucky’s freshmen both a promise and an unknown | Washington Post- While in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season, John Calipari is figuring things out on the fly in regards to his guys. They passed the first test against Virginia Tech with flying colors.
5 things you need to know about the Bruins | KSR- UCLA expert Aaron Torres gives us a breakdown of Steve Alford’s team. Top takeaway: Thomas Welsh is still on the team and he’s still hitting that jumper.
Too quiet on the Kentucky front? | CBS Sports- A main story line about this team is how little national love it’s getting. The Cats are 9-1 and have two lottery picks in Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo but they aren’t cracking the discussions about the best teams in college basketball.
It won't be much longer without Kentucky in the headlines, but it has been weird to see this team live outside the margins for the first six weeks. Not having a consensus top-10 draft pick on the roster, which is uncommon in the Cal-at-UK era, also explains it.
Brian Bowen didn’t know anything | WDRB- Expelled Louisville Cardinal Brian Bowen is finally telling his side of the story and just like everyone else involved with the 100K FBI scandal, he’s claiming ignorance. But in his defense, he was the kid in this scenario and he could have very well been a pawn in all of this. But I’m not buying that he and his father have not talked about what happened.
NCAA should let Brian Bowen play | Sporting News- I usually agree with Mike Decourcy on a lot of things but this isn’t one of them. Money exchanged hands whether Bowen knew it or not and the NCAA put in a special rule because of what happened with Cam Newton and his dad years ago at Auburn.
Wyoming QB Josh Allen will declare for NFL Draft | ESPN- After dazzling in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Josh Allen has decided to skip his senior year and declare for the draft. He is projected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken.
Kyrie Irving doesn’t think Christmas is a holiday | CBS Sports- Irving doesn’t understand why Christmas is a holiday. He also thinks the world is flat.
The Last Jedi’s grosses are collapsing | Forbes- The Last Jedi is turning into one of the biggest disappointment in the Star Wars franchise. It will still make a ton of money but it is falling way short of financial expectations.
I saw the movie and I didn’t care for it. In fact, the more I thought about it after and the more I talked to people about it, the more I disliked it. There really wasn’t much of a plot, the plots that were there didn’t make sense or were pointless, one off characters were made the focal point over established characters that we care about, and it didn’t follow up on hardly anything from The Force Awakens in a satisfying manner if it followed up at all.
I feel like JJ Abrams set up the new trilogy in the Force Awakens with likeable characters, intriguing questions, and a worthy plot for future films. And then Rian Johnson came in and peed all over it. I think there’s a reason why Johnson has been replaced by Abrams to finish out this story line.
The bad news is that Johnson has been given the keys to another Star Wars trilogy all his own. I’ll be skipping those.
Sorry for the rant, but I had to get that off my chest.
Spacex dazzles | USA Today- The Falcon 9 from Space X was launched last night to the awe of those in the LA area. Founder Elon Musk had some fun with the unannounced launch:
Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea pic.twitter.com/GUIHpKkkp5— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 23, 2017
And don’t forget that I’ll be on for the UK postgame show on ESPN 680 immediately following the game. Here is how to listen:
You can also listen via iHeartRadio.