The second-greatest sports weekend of the year is upon us. The 2021 edition is even better than usual.
The NFL changed this year’s playoff format, adding another team from each conference to give us back-to-back triple-headers to open the playoffs. As soon as we catch our breath, Alabama will play Ohio State in the National Championship Game on Monday. For Kentucky fans it’s an even greater time to be a sports fan with the Wildcats receiving a Saturday evening tip-off against Florida before we are weened off football Tuesday night with a game at Rupp against Alabama.
There are so many reasons for sports fans to be excited today. First and foremost, Keion Brooks will suit up for the Kentucky Wildcats when they travel to Gainesville today at 5 pm ET on ESPN. Remember the last time he played at Florida? He had 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and narrowly missed a game-winning shot that was ultimately tipped in by E.J. Montgomery.
285 days ago we went down to Florida and came out with an epic comeback victory. It was our last game of the 2019-20 season.#TBT x #TheJourney | PS that was @KeionB_12‘s last game ? pic.twitter.com/KRpZdHaHbg
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 8, 2021
Yes, Brooks is back and clear to play, however, it’s hard to tell exactly how much we will see him in action. With only one day of full contact practice under his belt in months, UK assistant Jai Lucas said they will slowly work Brooks back into the rotation.
“We’re kind of just wait-and-see,” Lucas said. “I do think he’ll get in the game a little bit, but we’re not expecting much from him.”
Even though No. 12 may not provide much in the box score, having him available to play will certainly lift the spirits of the team and the entire BBN as they prepare for a test that is passed would improve the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament resume.
Terrence Clarke likely Out
Clarke only had UK’s point guard duties for two games when he rolled his ankle against North Carolina. Since he limped through the Louisville game we have not seen the freshman. That will probably not change today. Lucas left the door open for Clarke to play in his remarks, but I wouldn’t get overly optimistic.
A Spot for “Coach Key”
Tragedy struck Florida’s basketball program last month when preseason SEC Player of the Year Keyontae Johnson suddenly collapsed on the court. Fortunately, after a long hospital stay he is well enough to be back with the team. The Gators have saved a spot for him on the sideline.
Welcome back, Coach Key ?#GoGators pic.twitter.com/6wweOq1sfe
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 2, 2021
Vegas, TV, Radio
The Wildcats are 4.5-point underdogs at Florida. The total for over/under bettors is set at 141. The Gators covered the spread in two straight games before being blown out by Alabama earlier this week.
Bob Wischusen and Dick Vitale are on the call for ESPN at 5 pm ET. If you can’t watch all of the action, you can hear the Voice of the Wildcats, Tom Leach, on a variety of platforms.
- AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
- FM: 98.1 WBUL
- Satellite: XM-381
- Online: iHeart Radio
Listen to the KSR Pregame Show
The KSR crew will have everything to prepare you for the Cats and the Gators. Turn your radio dial to 630 WLAP or stream the hour-long show on iHeart Radio beginning at 2:30 pm.
SUPER Wild Card Saturday
Is Super Wild Card Weekend a lame way to describe the triple-header? I initially thought so, until I realized we get three games in a row. Throw the marketing cliches out the window. This is going to be awesome.
It opens with arguably the best game of the entire weekend when the Buffalo Bills (-6.5) host the Indianapolis Colts on CBS at 1:05 pm ET. Liam Coen’s LA Rams (+3.5) could be without starting quarterback Jared Goff when the play the Seahawks at 4:40 pm ET on Fox. Tom Brady will take the primetime spotlight at 8:15 on NBC against the NFC East underdogs from Washington (+8).
Kentucky tight end Justin Rigg will have his focus on one game in particular, but he isn’t cheering for his new play-caller.
On the latest Behind Kentucky Football @justinrigg1 might have gotten himself in trouble with his new offensive coordinator @LiamCoen.
Hear more on the full podcast: https://t.co/eVQtZUpdDr pic.twitter.com/1WS6UvKDoJ
— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) January 9, 2021
College Basketball on TV
The excellent NFL action will overshadow what’s happening on the hardwood, but there are still a few games you don’t want to miss.
— Noon: Ohio State at #15 Rutgers on CBS
— Noon: Alabama at Auburn on ESPN2
— Noon: St. John’s at #7 Creighton on FS1
— 1:00: #4 Texas at #14 West Virginia on ESPN
— 2:00: #9 Tennessee at Texas A&M on ESPN2
— 3:00: #2 Baylor at TCU on ESPN
— 4:00: #18 Texas Tech at Iowa State on ESPN2
— 6:00: Oklahoma State at Kansas State on ESPN2
— 7:00: #19 Clemson at North Carolin on ESPN
Jamin Davis Departs for the NFL Draft
Kentucky’s most productive player on defense is taking his talents to the professional ranks. Friday afternoon the junior inside linebacker announced he will forego his remaining eligibility to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. The Wildcats’ leading tackler finished third in the SEC with 102 tackles. He also forced a fumble and had three interceptions, returning one for an 85-yard touchdown at Tennessee. What does his absence mean for UK in 2021? I’ll discuss in more detail later today.
KHSAA Basketball Scores
Not everyone is playing across the state, but there was still plenty of exciting action on the hardwood Friday night.
— Clark County 95, Montgomery County 79
— Collins 61, Shelby County 57 (2OT)
— Covington Holy Cross 86, CAL 85
— Madisonville North-Hopkins 62, Caldwell County 56
— Scott High 58, Covington Holmes 53
— Bardstown 71, Marion County 62
— Ashland Blazer 58, Russell 42
— Buckhorn 69, Lee County 63
— Bowling Green 83, Greenwood 47