Welcome to the dog days of summer, Big Blue Nation.
Tonight the ESPYs will air on ESPN in prime time, but that usually means one thing — we have a barren sports calendar. When pulling up our dependable score tracking apps to double-check, that is confirmed.
The NBA Finals do not pick up until Sunday. MLB is about to head into the All-Star break. There is a ho-hum weekend on the PGA Tour before the fourth major of the season occurs next weekend across the pond. College football is still seven weeks away. The NFL is nine weeks away. This is the worst time on the sports calendar.
However, not all is bad. There is plenty to get caught up to speed on plus an interesting UFC card tonight with a big name looking for revenge. Let’s get this party started.
Reed Sheppard gets the Kentucky offer
Well, it finally arrived. Yesterday, Kentucky issued an offer to 2023 combo guard and legacy recruit Reed Sheppard.
Blessed to have received an offer from The University of Kentucky! pic.twitter.com/MJltkExf2n
— reed sheppard (@reed_sheppard) July 9, 2021
The London (Ky.) North Laurel product is down in Alabama at the Adidas 3SSB event and has impressed showing his wide array of skills playing in front of college coaches. Our Zack Geoghegan points out that Sheppard 100 percent looks the part of a big-time college basketball prospect.
“Sheppard has that “it” factor, or whatever you’d like to call it. It comes back to his patient and deliberate approach to the game. He plays like anything but a 17-year-old with two years of high school left. The game comes easy to Sheppard and he makes it look even easier.”
Now the waiting game occurs as Kentucky looks to land the biggest in-state recruit we’ve seen in a long time.
Dare Rosenthal addition is made official
On Thursday, LSU transfer Dare Rosenthal finally ended the speculation with a verbal commitment to transfer to the Kentucky football program. On Friday, the Wildcats made it official.
“We are excited to welcome Dare to our team,” said head coach Mark Stoops. “He has SEC experience and is a tremendous talent. He will be a great addition to the Big Blue Wall.”
Our own Nick Roush caught up with Rosenthal after the commitment to get an update on his recruitment. The high-profile transfer is willing to play wherever Kentucky needs him and gives thanks to Kelvin Joseph for helping him pick Kentucky. The Wildcats are set to have one of the best offensive lines in college football.
Kentucky’s non-conference schedule is coming together
As first reported by iconic radio talk show host T.J. Walker, Kentucky will be hosting NIT nemesis Robert Morris on Nov. 12. Yesterday, Twitter legend Jon Rothstein reports that Kentucky will host a multi-team event that will include Bobby Mo, Ohio, and Mt. St Mary’s. The schedule is coming together quickly:
— Nov. 9 vs. Duke (Champions Classic)
— Nov. 12 vs. Robert Morris
— TBA vs. Ohio
— TBA vs. Mount St. Mary’s
— TBA vs. Albany
— TBA vs. North Florida
— Dec. 4 at Michigan
— Dec. 11 vs. Notre Dame
— Dec. 18 vs. Ohio State (CBS Sports Classic)
— TBA vs. Louisville
— Jan. 29 at Kansas (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
Playing in what should be a very talented SEC in 2021-22, the Wildcats will once again face a gauntlet on the hardwood.
Skyy Clark injured
Thursday also included some bad news as five-star class of 2022 point guard commit Skyy Clark announced that he has a partially torn ACL.
— Skyy Clark (@skyyclark) July 9, 2021
First reported by Travis Branham of 247Sports, Clark later confirmed to have suffered a partially torn ACL and meniscus in his left leg. The blue-chip prospect will be unable to participate in the Peach Jam later this month.
This is a tough blow for the high-profile player.
Poirier vs. McGregor III
Out in Las Vegas, the biggest sporting event of the night will take place at UFC 264 when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor meet for the third time inside the octagon. The main card starts at 10:00 p.m. on ESPN+ pay-per-view while prelims can be found before that on ESPN.
In the lightweight division, Poirier (27-6) is the No. 1 contender while McGregor (22-5) comes in at No. 5 overall. Back in January, these two met and Poirier delivered a TKO in the second round. In 2014, McGregor knocked out Poirier in the first round.
It’s not UFC’s best card ever, but the main event packs a major punch. Here are tonight’s betting odds:
— Dustin Poirier (-125) vs. Conor McGregor (+105), lightweight
— Stephen Thompson (-160) vs. Gilbert Burns (+135), welterweight
— Tai Tuivasa (-150) vs. Greg Hardy (+125), heavyweight
— Irene Aldana (-120) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (+100), women’s bantamweight
— Sean O’Malley (-900) vs. Kris Moutinho (+600), bantamweight
— Max Griffin (-200) vs. Carlos Condit (+170), welterweight
— Michel Pereira (-180) vs. Niko Price (+155), welterweight
— Dricus Du Plessis (-120) vs. Trevin Giles (+100), middleweight
— Ilia Topuria (-230) vs. Ryan Hall (+190), featherweight
— Jennifer Maia (-195) vs. Jessica Eye (+165), women’s flyweight
— Brad Tavares (-170) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+145), middleweight
— Zhalgas Zhumaglov (-310) vs. Jerome Rivera (+250), flyweight
— Alen Amedovski (-130) vs. Hu Yaozong (+110), middleweight