Big Blue Madness 2020 Tonight at 8 pm CST on SEC Network: Streaming on ESPN: Played at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky
After tonight’s Big Blue Madness event, the first regularly scheduled ballgame is Wednesday, November 25 against Morehead State at Rupp Arena. To add to the excitement, Kentucky will play again on Friday and Sunday. What a ‘slam dunk’ for Kentucky fans and a great beginning to the holiday season. Fans won’t be in attendance since COVID-19 is sweeping through Kentucky and the nation but Big Blue Nation will be able to watch it ‘live’ on the SEC Network for a 90 minute telecast.
One of Kentucky’s local fans, Zac Willis and sports writer for WKY Community Living shared his take on the 20-21 Kentucky Wildcat season in an informative Q&A.
What do you think about this year’s Kentucky team potential?
Willis: Every year I believe in the Cats and this year’s team is no different. Gonzaga, Kansas, Baylor, Villanova and Duke will be good too. You can’t deny the Kentucky roster. The majority of the team is young but the Cats have some excellent transferred players suiting up this year. I’m excited to see what the 7’0 Olivier Sarr brings to the table. We weren’t sure if he would be eligible to play, but once approved, the players, Kentucky fans (myself included) were ecstatic!
What can you tell us about the players?
Willis: Kentucky has one returning player, Keion Brooks. I believe Brooks has leadership qualities that will be showcased this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if two or three of the freshmen are part of the starting five or at least get a lot of minutes. B.J. Boston, Terrance Clarke, and Devon Askew are a few notable freshmen.
Davion Mintz is a graduate transfer student that is eligible to play this season after missing last season at Creighton due to an ankle injury. Olivier Sarr is a transfer from Wake Forest. He put up great numbers against Duke in the ACC last year. He and Jacob Toppin were both recently announced as being eligible to play. Toppin is a sophomore transfer from Rhode Island. His brother Obi was named 2019-2020 National Player of the Year.
What will the competition be like in the SEC?
Willis: Tennessee will be really good. LSU, Florida, Alabama and Auburn will be in the mix. It would be nice to see Kentucky win this year. They haven’t won since 2018. However, they do have 31 SEC Championship titles. Alabama is second with six.
What do you think about Kenny Payne’s replacements?
Willis: Kenny Payne will be missed. Bruiser Flint was an assistant coach with Calipari at UMAS. He’s known for his college recruiting and player development. I’m excited about assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Jai Lucas. He’s a former McDonald’s High School All American and the new recruits will really connect on his level. He’s already been successful with some big recruit signings over the next two seasons.
What do you think about Coach Calipari’s connection with the players?
Willis: Coach Cal is a player’s coach. He cares about the success of the players before the university. He wants to see them succeed in life, make it to the NBA, and then, win a National Title. Coach Cal’s been a head coach for 23 years and he’s seen it all. He knows how players should live their lives on and off the court. This year, Calapari made sure all of his players were registered to vote. He stood by their side as they stood for racial equality. Like I said, he’s a player’s coach.
Big Blue Nation will be waving banners, chanting 'Go Big Blue', and proudly wearing royal blue apparel. And the venue will be at home, in front of a big screen tv, with family or a close friend or two. 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger.' The fans may not be able to cheer in person but I have no doubt they’ll be cheering all the same.