Saturday, March 7, 2009

Morehead State Eagles Are NCAA Bound

Morehead State 67
Austin Peay 65 (2OT)

The Morehead State Eagles are headed to the NCAA Tournament after their exciting win over Austin Peay tonight. Morehead (19-15) trailed by seven points at the half, but managed to fight their way back into the game. The Eagles tied the game late in the second half and then took a two-point lead with only seconds remaining. Austin Peay nailed a buzzer-beater to tie the game and send it to overtime.

In the first overtime, it was a back-and-forth battle with each team coming up with big plays. Maze Stallworth tied the game near the end of the first overtime. Austin Peay ran a perfectly executed play, but Kenneth Faried picked up a huge block on a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to double overtime.

The second overtime began with a Morehead State basket at the 4:29 mark. The score remained 65-63 until Peay's Drake Reed tied it with two free throws at 0:28. After an Eagle timeout, freshman Steve Peterson scored his only two points of the game on a 16-foot jumper from the baseline. The Governors' long heave came bounced of the backboard to end the game.

Morehead was led by Kenneth Faried with 15 points and 10 rebounds. This was Faried's twenty-third double-double on the season. Leon Buchanan and Demonte Harper also added 13 points for the Eagles. Maze Stallworth finished with 12 points and Brandon Shingles chipped in 11.
Austin Peay (19-13) was led by Drake Reed and Wes Channels with 16 points each.

This will be Morehead State's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 25 years. Head Coach Donnie Tyndall took the squad over after a 4-23 season and has them back on top of the OVC in only three seasons.







NIT Bracketology...Yes Kentucky Fans, It Has Came to This

Well, with the Kentucky Wildcats' debacle that has been the last month, they are left with one option - win the SEC Tournament or go to the NIT. With that being said, this NIT "Bracketology" has the Cats listed as a one-seed.

http://bracketproject.50webs.com/nit.html

Then, there is the NITology:

http://www.nitology.com/

Finally, there is confirmation from UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart that the Cats WOULD accept an NIT bid if it comes to that. The games would be played at Memorial Coliseum, due to the Sweet Sixteen being played at Rupp Arena:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3960803

Its a tough season in Lexington, folks.

Morehead State Returns to OVC Championship Game

Morehead State (18-15) vs. Austin Peay (19-12)

Location: Sommet Center - Nashville, KY
Time: 8:00 PM
Television: ESPN2
Radio: www.msueagles.com
At Stake: This will be Morehead's first appearance in the OVC title game in 25 years. Austin Peay is seeking to repeat.

The Morehead State Eagles have returned to the Ohio Valley Conference game for the first time in 25 years. They will battle Austin Peay for the OVC Tournament Championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Both teams played very well in quarterfinal action and tonight's game figures to go down to the wire. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 8:00 PM.

Louisville Cardinals Playing for Big East Regular Season Championship Tonight

(6) Louisville (24-5, 15-2 Big East) at West Virginia (21-9, 10-7 Big East)

Location: Morgantown, WV
Time: Tonight, 9:00 PM ET
Television: ESPN
At Stake: Louisville will earn the regular season Big East title and top seed in the Big East Tournament with a win. West Virginia is trying to solidify their NCAA Tournament bid Big East Tournament seeding position.

The Louisville Cardinals were handed a nice surprise by Pittsburgh this afternoon. Pitt defeated Connecticut in earlier action, paving the way for Louisville to claim the Big East's regular season championship. The Cardinals will have an opportunity to lockup the regular season title and top spot in the Big East Tournament tonight when they battle West Virginia.

Louisville beat West Virginia 69-63 on Jan. 31 by racing to a 20-point halftime lead then digging in when the Mountaineers made a late run.

Game Preview from ESPN

Mid-South Conference Semifinals Tonight

The top four teams in the Mid-South Conference will be playing in the tournament semifinals tonight in Frankfort. In the first game, Lindsey Wilson will battle Cumberlands. The other semifinal game will be Pikeville squaring off with number one seed Georgetown.

Mid-South Tournament Schedule

Tonight

(3) Lindsey Wilson vs. (2) Cumberlands 6:00 PM
(4) Pikeville vs. (1) Georgetown 8:00 PM

Sunday

Championship Game 3:30 PM


Tournament Brackets

Northern Kentucky, Bellarmine in GLVC Tournament Semifinals

Northern Kentucky and Bellarmine have advanced to the semifinals of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. The Norse will take on Rockhurst at 6:15 PM tonight and Bellarmine will battle Southern Indiana in the nightcap.

Northern Kentucky advanced with a 69-64 quarterfinal victory over Saint Joseph's. The Norse were led by Leslie Malone with 18 points. They also picked up 12 points each from A'Daeron Duncan and Billy Finnel. Andrew Helmer scored a game-high 20 points for Saint Joseph's.

Bellarmine crushed Quincy in their quarterfinal game by a score of 69-45. Justin Benedetti led the victors with 18 points and 5 rebounds.

Kentucky Wesleyan was also in the GLVC tournament, but they lost their quarterfinal game in a heart breaker to Rockhurst by only one-point (69-68). T.J. Smith exploded for a triple-double for Bellarmine. He scored a game-high 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

GLVC Schedule

Tonight

(1E) Northern Kentucky vs. (2W) Rockhurst 6:15 PM
(1W) Southern Indiana vs. (2E) Bellarmine 8:00 PM

Sunday

Championship Game 3:00 PM

Wildcats are Gator Bait: Florida 60 Kentucky 53

Florida 60
Kentucky 53

The Kentucky Wildcats completed another very disappointing game with a road loss to the Florida Gators this afternoon. With the loss, Kentucky (19-12, 8-8 SEC) will be playing in the NIT if they are unable to win the SEC Tournament. The loss drops Kentucky to the #4-seed in the East Division and will pair them with Alabama in the first round of the SEC Tournament. The winner of that game will face LSU.

Florida (22-9, 9-7 SEC) was in total control of the game today and the result never seemed in doubt. Kentucky shot only 2-11 from long distance and had 23 turnovers in the loss. Florida was led by senior Walter Hodge, who had 18 points and 3 steals. Kentucky picked up 16 points and 13 rebounds from Patrick Patterson. Jodie Meeks contributed 15 points for the Wildcats.

Kentucky may break a streak of 17-consecutive seasons with an NCAA Tournament appearance. The SEC Tournament will tip off on Thursday.

My Thoughts: It is a difficult time to be a Kentucky basketball fan. The Cats are showing signs of a team that has many problems behind the scenes. I see no reason to believe the Cats can make any sort of run in the SEC Tournament. This is as disappointing a season as I can remember in Lexington.

Game Recap from ESPN

Box Score

A Look Back at Billy Gillispie's Preseason Thoughts


With all the doom and gloom that has overtaken the Big Blue Nation recently, I thought it would be interesting to look at where we are now and compare it to where Billy Gillispie thought we would be. I dug out my copy of The Cat's Pause 2008-09 Kentucky Basketball Yearbook and did a little research. I have pulled Coach Gillispie’s preseason quotes on the team and regular players, displayed their current season stats and then added my two cents.

On the upcoming season:

“I don’t know how it’s going to work out right now but it’s a work in progress. I don’t want to play the style we played last year, but if we have to do whatever we have to do to win games then I’ll be OK with it.”

“I think we’ve got a really good high-low possibility because of our versatility at the ‘4’.”

“It comes down to every game in the conference is decided by how well you execute in the final two minutes and half court defense and that’ll be the big question for us – how well will we play in the final three or four minutes?”

Team Record: 19-11, 8-7 SEC

My Thoughts: My first thought after reading those quotes is wondering where all the versatility at the “4” has been. That, along with point guard, has probably been one of the team's biggest weak areas throughout the season. Stevenson has not been playing well at all, Harrellson rarely plays any and we never really know what is going on with Stewart.

As far executing in the final two minutes and how we’ll play in the final three or four minutes – well, we are 6-8 in games decided by 10 points or less, including 4-5 in SEC games. Many of those losses where games that could have easily gone either way and we squandered the win away in the crucial moments of the game.

On Patrick Patterson:

“Pat has worked like a beast all off-season long to rehab himself and, I mean, he’s just working like…I don’t know, with a hunger that I don’t know if you get a chance to see very often in your coaching career. Hopefully he’ll be able to remain injury free because he’s got so many special qualities.”

The Stats: 33.3 Min, 18.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.0 BPG

My Thoughts: Gillispie was spot-on with his thoughts on Patterson. He took off a little slowly, based on Patterson’s standards, but has turned into the go-to guy down the stretch. Patrick has All-American potential if he stays in Kentucky next season.

On Jodie Meeks:

“Jodie has been by far this fall three, four, five or 10 times better than I’ve ever seen him and hopefully that continues because it’s all based on him being healthy. I don’t know if he was ever healthy last year and I’m talking about this time of year when we first started because he doesn’t look like what he looked last year. He’s in phenomenal condition.”

The Stats: 34.5 Min, 25.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 105-253 3PT

My Thoughts: He has been 3, 4, 5 or 10 times better than we’ve all seen him, as well. He is definitely in phenomenal condition. He scored 54 points at Tennessee, averages 25 PPG and he should be an All-American this season.

On Jared Carter:

“Jared has been a little bit up and down but I think he’s finally starting to see the hunger he is going to need to play with to be what he can be. We need him. He needs to be like Perry Stevenson was last year when nobody might have expected for him to be able to produce what he did but he kept getting better and better.”

The Stats: 3.3 Min, 1.0 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.4 BPG

My Thoughts: Carter has had a very disappointing career. I’m not sure what “he can be,” but he hasn’t reached that level.

On Ramon Harris:

“Ramon had a very, very good year and this year I think he will build upon that. He’s a quiet leader, a hard-hat guy that brings it every day and goes to work. He leads by example and he’s growing into a third-year player.”

The Stats: 21.4 Min, 5.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 APG

My Thoughts: Harris has been somewhat of a disappointed this season. He has his moments, but I haven’t seen that he’s progressed any since last season. If anything, he may have played a little better last season, especially on the defensive end. I do think Harris plays a very important role on the team and if they are to make any kind of tournament run, he’s an integral part of the plan.

On Michael Porter:

“I’ve never been more excited about Michael. He’s working into a leadership role and I think he’s always had that ability but he’s deferred to others, but I think he’s taking more leadership responsibility than he ever has. He looks 100 times more comfortable out there to me.”

The Stats:
22.5 Min, 4.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.7 APG, 26-76 3PT. 2.5 TO

My Thoughts: I’m not sure I would say he has looked 100 times more comfortable on the court. Many times this season, I have thought that Porter looked very uncomfortable and almost timid. Most of Porter’s problems, however, are due to the fact that he would be better suited as a role player that comes off the bench as a shooting guard. He is probably out of position in terms of a lead guard in the SEC.

On Perry Stevenson:

“He’s a totally different person. It used to be you’d see him and to walk a block from the Lodge to the corner it would take him about two-and-a-half weeks, but now he’s got it down to a week. He walks differently, he talks differently, he looks different and he’s a very, very confident person.”

The Stats: 27.1 Min, 7.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.0 BPG, 2.0 TO

My Thoughts: Stevenson might be the biggest enigma on the team this season. There were several games early in the season where I thought Perry was going to be the perfect third option behind Meeks and Patterson. As the season went forward, though, it almost seems like Stevenson’s play has digressed. I would have to say that I expected more from Stevenson this season. I’m not sure what it means to go from a two-and-a-half week walk to a one-week walk, but it seems to me like Stevenson is far from a very, very confident person on the court.

On A.J. Stewart:

“A.J. is a guy that has to continue to grow up. He’s a good athlete and we’re hopeful he’s going to be able to give us something. I thought he played well toward the end of the year but he’s got to continue to grow and continue to get better skill-wise and those kinds of things but there not too many athletes like him.”

The Stats: 6.1 Min, 2.2 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.6 BPG

My Thoughts: I keep hearing how Stewart is a great athlete but it never seems to translate to effective playing time. Stewart has shown a lot of potential, but he rarely plays and one might think he lives in Gillispie’s doghouse rather than the Wildcat Lodge.

On Darius Miller:

“I think he’s one of the most mature incoming freshmen, as mature as any freshmen I’ve been around and hopefully that equates into being the type of player I think he’s going to be. We’ve always thought he has tremendous upside and tremendous ability and I think he has all the intangible things that will make him a special player.”

The Stats: 21.2 Min, 5.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 15-46 3PT

My Thoughts: I agree with Gillispie that Darius has the potential to be a great player for Kentucky. He showed some freshman jitters throughout much of the season and his shot was lacking confidence, but he has picked it up lately. I expect really good things out of Miller in the future.

On DeAndre Liggins:

“Liggins has been much better than I thought he would be and I thought he would be really good. When they play pickup they say his team always wins and that means a lot, especially in the position he is going to attempt to play.”

“He’s shooting the ball much better than I thought he would probably shoot it at this point.”

The Stats:
18.1 MPG, 4.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.5 TO

My Thoughts:
If Liggins has been much better than Gillispie thought, I’m not sure what has happened to him. I haven’t been very impressed with his shooting and he seems to have some issues with staying under control. DeAndre’s attitude has been questioned several times throughout the season, as well (Las Vegas?). The jury is still out on Liggins, in my opinion.

On Josh Harrellson:

“Josh has probably been better than anyone could have ever imagined. I really liked him when we recruited him because he has great hands and great skills and the ability to post up with his back to the basket and the ability to face up and shoot.”

“He’ll be a very important part of the puzzle.”

The Stats: 10.0 Min, 4.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.7 BPG

My Thoughts: He actually hasn’t been an important part of any puzzle, especially in SEC play. Harrellson has played in a few key situations, but we haven’t seen him nearly as much as expected. He has shown a nice touch on his jump shot, but has had trouble keeping up with the athletic SEC big men.

On Kevin Galloway:

“He’s been exciting for us. He’s more athletic than I had imagined and I think he’ll grow into being a really good guard for us out there. He’s done nothing but win pretty much for his entire career, even last year they only lost twice.”

The Stats: 9.3 Min, 1.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.0 TO


My Thoughts: The Galloway/Gillispie situation has been a hot topic most of the season. He has been the subject of questionable substitution patterns throughout the season and more than a handful of fans feel that he should be playing big minutes. I personally think the offense flows much better with Galloway in the game. He is an excellent passer and he plays very hard. It’s hard for me to understand his lack of development during the “developmental” portion of the schedule. It seems to me that many of the minutes that Galloway and others should have received were given to other players. One has to wonder why Galloway has had such a difficult time earning playing time.


Final Thoughts: It has been a bizarre season in Wildcat land. We opened with great expectations, only to lose to VMI in the first game of the season. Then, we picked up big wins over West Virginia and Kansas State and appear headed in the right direction. We did lose to Miami (FL) and Louisville, but we seemed to be rolling. Then, we laid an egg at Ole Miss and the train has been off-track ever since. Since that Ole Miss debacle, the Cats have won 3 games and lost 7. They went from apparent NCAA locks to apparent NIT status in a matter of 5 weeks. I am left scratching my head with this team and this coach. Each game, I feel that they will turn it around and right the ship and each game I am disappointed and left with more questions.

We have had major issues at the point guard position and have shown no source of scoring outside of Meeks and Patterson. That being said, however, I still feel that this team is talented enough to win more games than they’ve won. All I know is that we have “just been whipped…” a few more times than I can deal with as a true blue fan. As I prepare for the Florida game this afternoon, I am starting the cycle of hope once again.

My favorite sets of Gillispie quotes come when he states something along the line of the tougher things get, the more he likes it. One thing is for sure – if the Cats continue playing a losing brand of basketball, it is going to get very tough for Billy Gillispie.


Image: Ed Reinke, AP

Can the Kentucky Wildcats Get it Done at Florida?

Kentucky (19-11, 8-7 SEC) at Florida (21-9, 8-7 SEC)

Location: Gainesville, FL
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Television: CBS
At Stake: The winner of the game will still have a small glimmer of hope for an NCAA At-large bid. The loser will be left the task of winning the SEC Tournament or playing in the NIT. The winner will be the #3-seed from the SEC East Division and the loser will drop the #4 spot.

The Kentucky Wildcats will travel to Gainesville this afternoon to take on the Florida Gators. Both teams have stumbled upon hard times in the past couple of weeks and are both in desperation mode. Most experts are calling this an elimination game from the NCAA bubble. Kentucky is coming off a terrible stretch of basketball in which they have lost seven of their last ten games, capped off by an embarrassing home court loss to the lowly Georgia Bulldogs. The Gators have been playing just as poorly as they have lost six of their last nine games.

My Thoughts: I am a huge Kentucky fan and I have no shame in bleeding blue. I am also a realist and I just haven't seen anything to convince me that the Cats can go into Gainesville and get a win. They were in a must win situation against Georgia and they played one of the worst, if not the very worst, games that I have watched the Cats play in the last 10 years. My hope as a Wildcat fan is that Coach Gillispie has managed to mend team chemistry, get the players back on the same page and formulate an effective game plan. My fear, largely based on what I've heard from sources close to the program, is that Coach Gillispie has been unsuccessful in pulling the team together since the Georgia loss and that things are not looking good for the team. I hope things have changed and I'll tune in this afternoon and support the Cats just like I've done for every game since I can remember. Go Cats!


Game Preview from UKAthletics.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Look Back at Billy Gillispie's Preseason Quotes

With all the doom and gloom that has overtaken the Big Blue Nation recently, I thought it would be interesting to look at where we are now and compare it to where Billy Gillispie thought we would be. I dug out my copy of The Cat's Pause 2008-09 Kentucky Basketball Yearbook and did a little research.

Morehead State 63 UT-Martin 55; Eagles to OVC Championship Game


Morehead State 63
UT-Martin 55

The Eagles defeated the top-seeded Skyhawks at the Sommet Center in Nashville to advance to the OVC Tournament Championship game tomorrow night. Morehead (18-15) will play either Murray State or Austin Peay in tomorrow night's final.

Tonight's game was further proof of the old adage that one player cannot defeat a good team by himself. Two-time OVC Player of the Year Lester Hudson led all scorers with 34 points, but he failed to get any supporting help from his teammates in the loss. Kenneth Faried led the Eagles with his 22nd double-double on the season. Faried scored 22 points on 9-14 shooting and hustled for 17 rebounds. Morehead as a team out rebounded the Skyhawks by a margin of 40-27. The Eagles picked up 18 second-chance points on 18 offensive rebounds. Maze Stallworth chipped in 13 points for Morehead.

The championship game will be tomorrow night at 8:00 PM and it will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Game Recap from ESPN

Photo: MSU Sports Information

http://allkyhoops.blogspot.com

Eagles and Racers Hunting for OVC Title, NCAA Bid


The Morehead State Eagles and Murray State Racers are both in the hunt for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship and accompanying NCAA Tournament automatic bid. The teams will be playing in tonight's semifinal games at the Sommet Center in Nashville.

Morehead State (17-15) will be squaring off against a very tough Tennessee-Martin team. UT-Martin (22-8) will be led by two-time OVC Player of the Year Lester Hudson. Hudson, who is second in the nation in scoring average (27.1 PPG), and teammate Marquis Weddle combined for 57 points in a 79-65 victory over the Eagles just one week ago. Morehead defeated the Skyhawks by nine points the first time they met earlier in the season.

The Murray State Racers (19-11) will battle a familiar foe and rival in the other semifinal as they match up against Austin Peay. The Governors (18-12) and Racers share one of the most intense rivalries in the OVC and tonight's game is expected to be fiercely competitive. This will be the twenty-third consecutive season that one of these two teams has reached the OVC Championship game. Austin Peay won both of the regular season games against the Racers, each by four points.

Both OVC semifinal games will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 7:00 and 9:00, respectively.


OVC Tournament Schedule

Friday, March 6

Semifinal #1: Morehead State (17-15) vs. UT-Martin (22-8) 7:00 PM (ESPNU)
Semifinal #2: Murray State (19-11) vs. Austin Peay (18-12) 9:00 PM (ESPNU)

Saturday, March 7

Championship Game: Semifinal #1 vs. Semifinal #2 8:00 PM (ESPN2)








Mid-South Conference Tournament Begins Tonight

The Mid-South Conference Tournament opens play tonight at the Frankfort Civic Center and features five Kentucky teams. Georgetown (26-3), Cumberlands (24-6) and Lindsey Wilson (22-7) should be locks to make the 32-team NAIA Division I tournament, but several other teams are fighting for at-large bids and their postseason lives in the Mid-South tourney. Pikeville (19-11) will most likely need to pickup an additional win or two to receive and at-large bid. Likewise for West Virginia Tech (20-10). That will make tonight's game between the two bubble teams a very critical matchup. In the other game tonight, Lindsey Wilson will compete against Campbellsville (10-18). The winners tonight will advance to play Georgetown and Cumberlands, both of whom have a first-round bye.

Mid-South Tournament Schedule

March 6

Game 1: (3) Lindsey Wilson vs. (6) Campbellsville 6:00 PM
Game 2: (4) Pikeville vs. (5) West Virginia Tech 8:00 PM

March 7

Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. (2) Cumberlands 6:00 PM
Game 4: Game 2 Winner vs. (1) Georgetown 8:00 PM

March 8

Game 5: Championship Game 3:30 PM

Complete Tournament Bracket

Mid-South Conference Men's Basketball



http://allkyhoops.blogspot.com

Asbury Eagles Qualify for NCCAA National Tournament

Asbury College 94
Cincinnati Christian 60

Asbury (19-12) has qualified for the NCCAA National Tournament that will be held March 19-21 in Oakland City, Indiana. The Eagles will represent the Mid-East Region in the tournament.

Asbury cruised to an easy victory over Cincy Christian. They were led by Michael Spann with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Phillip Morrison added 14 points for the Eagles. Asbury was 10-22 from the three-point line in the victory.

Announcement from Asbury College




http://allkyhoops.blogspot.com

Kentucky Teams Ready for NCAA Division III Tournament

The Bluegrass state will be represented by three teams in the NCAA Division III Tournament that gets underway tonight. Transylvania and Centre will open tournament play in Danville tonight as Centre College will host two first round games. Thomas More travels to Capital University where they will face the hosts.

First and Second Rounds at Centre

Friday

Averett (20-8) vs. Centre (23-4) 6:00 PM
Transylvania (21-5) vs. Guilford (21-5) 8:00 PM

Saturday

Second Round Game 7:00 PM

First and Second Rounds at Capital University

Friday

Wooster (22-6) vs. Gettysburg (18-8) 6:00 PM
Thomas More (19-8) vs. Capital (24-4) 8:00 PM

Saturday

Second Round Game

Complete Tournament Bracket


http://allkyhoops.blogspot.com

Former Kentucky High School Stars Making Names for Themselves in the Horizon League

Two former Kentucky high school players have received honors for their respective teams in the Horizon League. Shelvin Mack, who starred at Bryan Station High School, plays for Butler and has been named to the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team. Former Lexington Catholic player Will Graham, a senior at Wright State, has been named to the the league's All-Defensive Team.

The Horizon League is a ten-team NCAA Division I conference made up of Butler, Green Bay, Cleveland State, Wright State, Milwaukee, Illinois-Chicago, Youngstown State, Loyola (IL), Valparaiso and Detroit.

Wright State Basketball

Butler Basketball

Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament Set to Begin


The GLVC Tournament is scheduled to begin today at 1:00 PM with the East division's top-seed Northern Kentucky facing Saint Joseph's. The Norse enter the tournament at 21-6 overall and finished conference play at 14-4. In the tournament's second game, Kentucky Wesleyan (19-7, 11-7 GLVC) will play Rockhurst. Bellarmine (22-5, 13-5 GLVC) will battle Quincy in the final game of the day.


GLVC Tournament Schedule

March 6

Game 1: (1E) Northern Kentucky vs. (4W) Saint Joseph's 1:00

Game 2: (2W) Rockhurst vs. (3E) Kentucky Wesleyan 3:30

Game 3: (1W) Southern Indiana vs. (4E) Lewis 7:00

Fame 4: (2E) Bellarmine vs. (3W) Quincy 9:30

March 7

Game 5: Semifinal #1 6:15

Game 6: Semifinal #2 8:30

March 8

Game 7: Championship Game 3:00








Kentucky Region Tournament Scores From Last Night

1st Region: Calloway County 52 Heath 47
1st Region: Graves County 58 Fulton County 44
2nd Region: Henderson County 43 Fort Campbell 34
2nd Region: Trigg County 85 Madisonville-North Hopkins 73
3rd Region: Grayson County 60 Ohio County 38
5th Region: Adair County 63 Bardstown 56 (OT)
5th Region: John Hardin 70 Larue County 58
7th Region: Ballard 85 Atherton 70
7th Region: Eastern 60 DuPont Manual 41
7th Region: Jeffersontown 67 Male 60
7th Region: Louisville Trinity 47 Moore 45
8th Region: Henry County 59 South Oldham 54
8th Region: Shelby County 42 Simon Kenton 39
9th Region: Holmes 41 Ryle 34
9th Region: Newport Central Catholic 43 Dixie Heights 41
11th Region: Lexington Catholic 65 Henry Clay 62
11th Region: Madison Central 70 Western Hills 52
12th Region: Lincoln county 67 Casey County 46
12th Region: McCreary Central 76 East Jessamine 47
13th Region: Corbin 65 Harlan County 41
13th Region: North Laurel 74 Knox Central 71
14th Region: Perry County Central 56 Knott County Central 54 (OT)
14th Region: Wolfe County 75 Estill County 73
15th Region: Lawrence County 80 Phelps 60
15th Region: Prestonsburg 76 Pike County Central 71

Great Lakes Valley Conference Awards Announced

Several players from Northern Kentucky, Bellarmine and Kentucky Wesleyen have been honored with GLVC awards. Braydon Hobbs of Bellarmine was named the league's Freshman of the Year. Hobbs also earned a spot on the All-GLVC Third Team. Bellarmine senior Chartrael Hall was named to the conference's first team. Northern Kentucky placed Dustin Maguire and Leslie Malone on the All-GLVC Second Team. DeAaron Williams of Northern Kentucky made the third team. Kentucky Wesleyen's T.J. Smith was named to the All-GLVC Second Team.

All-GLVC Awards

GLVC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Aaron Hill, Rockhurst, Jr.,Guard
GLVC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Braydon Hobbs, Bellarmine, Fr., Guard
GLVC COACH OF THE YEAR: Bill O'Connor, Rockhurst

First Team

Brandon Dagans, Sr., Lewis
LaVontay Fenderson, Sr., UW-Parkside
Chartrael Hall, Sr., Bellarmine
Aaron Hill, Jr., Rockhurst
Jamar Smith, Jr., Southern Indiana

Second Team

Chris Ijames, Sr., Drury
Dustin Maguire, So.,Northern Kentucky
Leslie Malone, Sr., Northern Kentucky
Anthony Pimble, Sr., Southern Indiana
T.J. Smith, Sr., Kentucky Wesleyan

Third Team

Billy Baptist, Jr., Quincy
Justin Brock, So., Quincy
Phillip Collins, Fr., Saint Joseph's
Jason Genova, Sr., Lewis
Braydon Hobbs, Fr., Bellarmine
Brandon Mayse, Sr., Saint Joseph's
Keith Radcliff, Sr., Indianapolis
Brandon Russ, Jr., Southern Indiana
Alden Smith, Sr., Rockhurst
DeAaron Williams, Sr., Northern Kentucky

Announcement from Bellarmine

Kentucky State Advances to SIAC Quarterfinals

Kentucky State 64
Albany State 59

SIAC Tournament

Tenth-seeded Kentucky State picked up a victory to advance in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Thorobreds will play second-seeded Benedict tomorrow (Friday) night at 6:00 PM.

SIAC Tournament Bracket

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mid-Continent Loses in TransSouth Tournament Quarterfinals

Martin Methodist 87
Mid-Continent 74

TranSouth Athletic Conference Quarterfinals

Mid-Continent was unable to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit against Martin Methodist in the quarterfinals of the TSAC Tournament. The Cougars placed four players in double figures and were led by Kenny Thomas with 12 points. Martin Methodist was led by Aubre Bodison's 24 points.

It is often used as a cliche, but tonight's game was literally decided at the free throw line. Martin Methodist was an eye-opening 37-50 from the charity stripe while Mid-Continent was only 13-21. There was an overwhelming 37 fouls whistled against the Cougars. That 24-point advantage at the free throw line was more than enough to propel Methodist into the semifinals.

The Cougars end their season at 15-15. Kenny Thomas was named to the All-TSAC First Team prior to the game.

TranSouth Basketball

Box Score

Ohio Valley Conference Announces Basketball Awards

Morehead State's Kenneth Faried has been named the OVC Defensive Player of the Year and has earned a spot on the league's All-OVC First Team. He was joined on the first team by teammate Leon Buchanan and Eastern Kentucky's Mike Rose. Ivan Aska of Murray State has been named the league's Freshman of the Year and has made the OVC's All-Newcomer Team. Danero Thomas of Murray State made the league's ALL-OVC Second Team and fellow Racer Isacc Miles joined Aska on the All-Newcomer Team.

OVC Awards:

OVC Player of the Year: Lester Hudson, UT Martin
OVC Defensive Player of the Year: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
OVC Freshmen of the Year: Ivan Aska, Murray State
OVC Coach of the Year: Bret Campbell, UT Martin

ALL-OVC FIRST TEAM

Lester Hudson, UT Martin
Mike Rose, Eastern Kentucky
Drake Reed, Austin Peay
Leon Buchanan, Morehead State
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State

ALL-OVC SECOND TEAM

Wes Channels, Austin Peay
Gerald Robinson, Jr., Tennessee State
Romain Martin, Eastern Illinois
Danero Thomas, Murray State
Daniel Northern, Tennessee Tech

ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM

Isacc Miles, Murray State
Delrico Lane, UT Martin
Parker Smith, Tennessee State
T.J. Marion, Eastern Illinois
Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech
Ivan Aska, Murray State

Announcement from OVC Sports

NABC Announces All-District Teams

Several players from the Bluegrass state have been honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Players from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Murray State University and Eastern Kentucky University have been selected to the NABC All District Teams. The districts that represent Kentucky teams are:

District 5

First Team

Hasheem Thabeet Connecticut
Jerel McNeal Marquette
Terrence Williams Louisville
Luke Harangody Notre Dame
Jonny Flynn Syracuse

Second Team

DeJuan Blair Pittsburgh
Sam Young Pittsburgh
Dante Cunningham Villanova
Da’Sean Butler West Virginia
Jeff Adrien Connecticut

District 19

First Team

Lester Hudson Tennessee-Martin
Drake Reed Austin Peay
Mike Rose Eastern Kentucky
Kenneth Faried Morehead State
Wes Channels Austin Peay

Second Team

Danero Thomas Murray State
Gerald Robinson Jr. Tennessee State
Daniel Northern Tennessee Tech
Leon Buchannon Morehead State
Romain Martin Eastern Illinois

District 21

First Team

Nick Calathes Florida
Jodie Meeks Kentucky
Devan Downey South Carolina
Marcus Thornton Louisiana State
Tyler Smith Tennessee

Second Team

Jarvis Varnado Mississippi State
Patrick Patterson Kentucky
Tasmin Mitchell Louisiana State
David Huertas Mississippi State
Michael Washington Arkansas

District 24

First Team

Desmond Yates Middle Tennessee
Brandon Hazzard Troy
AJ Slaughter Western Kentucky
Shane Edwards Arkansas-Little Rock
Orlando Mendez-Valdez Western Kentucky

Second Team

Domonic Tilford South Alabama
Nate Rohnert Denver
Brandon Davis South Alabama
Steven Moore Arkansas-Little Rock
Richard Delk Troy

The 240 student-athletes, from 24 districts which were realigned this season, are now eligible for the State Farm Coaches' Division I All-America teams to be announced on Saturday, April 4, at Hoop City in the COBO Center at 10 a.m. as part of the 2009 NABC Convention in Detroit.


Announcement from NABC

List of Selected Players

Jon Hood Will Miss Rest of Season With Stress Fracture

Future Kentucky Wildcat Jon Hood has suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and will miss the remainder of the season. This particular injury normally requires 4-6 weeks of recovery time and Hood's doctors expect a full recovery within that time frame.

Hood was averaging an impressive 29.5 PPG, 13 RPG, 4 BPG, 3 APG and 1.5 SPG.

Article from True Blue Kentucky Blog

Article from Jody Demling's Blog

Interview with Coach Merle Kidwell of the Russell Red Devils


I had the opportunity this week to discuss Russell basketball with head coach Merle Kidwell. Coach Kidwell is a highly respected coach in the 16th Region and beyond. Merle played for Lewis County, where he scored over 1,000 points. He played at Shawnee State and began his coaching career there as an assistant. He was a graduate assistant at Morehead State before becoming the head coach at Lewis County. After seven years at Lewis County, he moved on to Russell. After being an assistant for the boy's program at Russell, he took over the girl's team and had a very successful five-year run. This is his first season at the helm of the Russell boy's program.

The Red Devils are a very young team this season, but they picked up a huge district tournament win over top-seeded Greenup County. Russell is now preparing to face the Elliott County Lions in the first round of the 16th Region Tournament. Here is my discussion with Russell head coach Merle Kidwell:

Coach Kidwell, first let me say that it was great to see you pick up a huge win in the first round of district play. Coach, you're one of the 16th Region's most well respected coaches. You have a great reputation of implementing strong fundamentals, tough defense and getting the most out of your teams. You came into a situation where you took over a very young team and that can be a difficult environment for a new coach to step into. Did you meet any challenges in implementing your coaching philosophy when you took over the Russell program? If so, what were some of the bigger issues you had to overcome in getting the team headed in the right direction?

The main thing we wanted to emphasize to our players was being accountable on and off the court. I really feel the players now understand that. We really had to get the kids to believe they could be competitive on a nightly basis. Though we have only won five games we have been competitive in the majority of our games and we have tried to play an exciting style of basketball.

Ok Coach, you have a very young team and you're sitting at 4-22 heading into the district game against Greenup County. You had already lost to Greenup County twice during the regular season. Of course, your team came out of that game with a 66-64 win that most would say was very unexpected. Can you talk a little about the preparation for that game? Were you able to formulate a successful game plan based on anything you had noticed from Greenup earlier in the season? Was there any in-game adjustments you can think of that helped you pick up the victory?

We watched the film from our second game with Greenup County and our kids saw how poorly we blocked out that game. I think it showed them if we held our own on the glass and took care of the basketball we would have a good chance to win in the district. We also decided to spread the floor and use our ability to put the ball on the floor to our advantage. We did just that and made some timely threes. I just think our kids did the little things like taking charges, making the extra pass, etc to pull the upset.

How did you approach the team's overall mentality heading into that game with Greenup? Most 4-22 teams would feel they had little to no chance of winning a district game. What strategy did you use to change that mentality with your team?
We set a goal at the beginning of the year to play in Morehead in the regional tournament. We felt that was a realistic goal for our young team. We never quit talking about that throughout the season. All of the credit goes to our players for keeping the faith in our coaching staff and themselves.

Coach, you drew the Elliott County Lions (27-2, 18-0 in the region) in the first round of the region tournament. I intend no disrespect, but its no secret that you are going into this game as a heavy underdog. This can be a tough stage for a young team. What are your thoughts on this Elliott team?

Elliott County plays so hard and with such a passion. They epitomize what Kentucky high school hoops are all about. They handle it well and shoot it well. They make up for a lack of overall size with tremendous ball pressure from their perimeter guys and the Faulkners probably rebound as well as any two guards in the state. They are winners. Ferguson is in one word a SCORER. Chris Knipp is very underrated as a player and Timmy is probably the key to their state title run. I am very happy for Coach Mays and that community. My father coached against Coach Mays and I have both played and coached against him also. He is a class act who has been loyal to that school for a long time.

What will you say to your team leading up to that game and in the locker room?

I will just tell our kids to compete. I want them to not back down and play hard every second they are on the floor. Plus I may read to them the story of David and Goliath.....haha.

Can you share any of your game plan as to how you'll attack/defend the Lions? Will you attempt to take some of the air out of the ball and slow the tempo?

We have discussed slowing it down but Elliott makes it very tough to do that. You have to attack them or they will eat you up with their traps. We obviously don't want the game to become a track meet but we have to take the open looks when we have them. We have some kids who can shoot the three well. Defensively we cannot allow second shots and transition baskets, which is a lot easier said than done.

Ok, let's talk a little about the future of Russell basketball. I have been hearing great things about several of your younger players. Can you talk a little about what you have coming back next season and how the future looks for your team?

We return all of our players from our rotation next season. We have five juniors who have played major minutes this season. All were instrumental in our win over Greenup County. Freshman post Justin Davidson and 8th grader Kyle Skaggs were both All District selections and have great futures. We feel like we are moving in the right direction with our program. Our B team was 15-6 and we have some kids that will be varsity ready next season.

How important do you think it is for your underclassmen to get the experience of playing on the big stage at Johnson Arena?

This experience hopefully will be a big confidence booster to our kids. I think any time you can play over at Morehead it better prepares for your next trip and hopefully we will be making more trips in the future with teams that can compete for the region title. I think with hard work and perseverance our dream of playing at Rupp Arena someday can become a reality.

It certainly sounds like you have Russell basketball headed in a very positive direction. Merle, I really appreciate your time and best of luck in Morehead this weekend.

Legendary Coach Lake Kelly Passes

I just heard some very sad news that legendary coach Lake Kelly has passed away. Coach Kelly has been the head coach at Austin Peay University, assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, head coach at Clark County High School and head coach at Fleming County School. He is well known for his defensive schemes and philosophies and its with great sadness that I pass along this news.

Funeral Arrangements for Lake Kelly (from MSUEagles.com):

Lake Kelly, a Morehead State University alumnus and successful college and high school basketball coach, died this morning (March 5) in Flemingsburg, Ky. His funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST on Sunday (March 8) at Fleming County High School in Flemingsburg. Visitation also will take place at the high school after 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m. until time of service on Sunday.

Kentucky Region Tournament Scores From Last Night

1st Region: Marshall County 65 Carlisle County 45
1st Region: Paducah Tilghman 61 Mayfield 58

2nd Region: Christian County 58 Webster County 50 (OT)
2nd Region: Hopkins County Central 65 Lyon County 51

5th Region: North Hardin 84 Green County 45
5th Region: Taylor County 59 Nelson County 50

6th Region: Central 73 Iroquois 70 (OT)
6th Region: Fairdale 65 Western 58 (OT)
6th Region: PRP 58 Southern 44
6th Region: Shawnee 65 Doss 51

8th Region: Anderson County 52 North Oldham 42
8th Region: Owen County 57 Grant County 56 (OT)

9th Region: Boone County 59 Beechwood 52
9th Region: Highlands 71 St. Henry 52

11th Region: Lafayette 60 Franklin County 58
11th Region: Scott County 77 Madison Southern 47

12th Region: Wayne County 73 Rockcastle County 55
12th Region: West Jessamine 68 Danville 61

13th Region: Middlesboro 82 Barbourville 55
13th Region: South Laurel 51 Clay County 49

14th Region: Hazard 63 Lee County 44
14th Region: Letcher County Central 79 Breathitt County 65

15th Region: Johnson Central 71 Belfry 58
15th Region: Shelby Valley 83 Betsy Layne 37

Joe Lunardi Says Cats Are in the "Last Four Out" Group

No shocker, but just passing along that Joe Lunardi has moved the Kentucky Wildcats to the "Last Four Out" category on his ESPN Bracketology. It is almost unbelievable, but it seems that the demise of many other bubble teams still leaves a small opening for Kentucky to get an automatic birth to the tournament. That, of course, would require a victory at Florida on Saturday and probably at least two SEC Tournament wins.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good NITe to NCAA Dreams: Georgia 90 Kentucky 85


Georgia 90

Kentucky 85


In what can only be described as one of the most disappointing games in recent Kentucky basketball history, the Georgia Bulldogs (12-18, 3-12 SEC) came into Rupp Arena and ruined Senior Night. The loss likely ends any hope of Kentucky getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and caps off a bizarre stretch of games that has watched the Cats lose seven of their last ten. The Bulldogs were a scorching 11-16 (68.8%) from the three-point line and 27-54 (50.0%) overall. Terrance Woodbury led all scorers with 30 points, including 12-12 from the free throw line. Corey Butler chipped in 13 points for the Bulldogs.

Kentucky (19-11, 8-7 SEC) was led by Jodie Meeks with 23 points. Michael Porter had one of his best shooting nights as a Cat, nailing five shots from behind the arc for 15 points. Patrick Patterson had 14 points, 9 rebounds and 8 blocks for the Cats.

This game most likely eliminates Kentucky from the NCAA bubble. Unless they win the SEC Tournament, the Cats will probably miss the tournament for the first time since 1991.

My Thoughts: As a lifelong UK fan, I should probably sleep it off and post my thoughts tomorrow, but that wouldn't be nearly as fun. I have been watching the Cats as long as I can remember and this is probably the most pathetic, disappointing display of basketball that I have ever witnessed. As a kid, I laid in the floor beside of a small radio listening to a Kentucky team that was on probation. I listened to Cawood Ledford describe every minute of every game. I even tuned into the call-in shows and listened to every caller. Back then, it was "Kentucky" basketball and I loved it. Watching tonight's game leaves me wondering exactly what has happened to Kentucky basketball. I am disappointed and I have no answers.

The entire season was riding on tonight's game and we welcomed in arguably the worst team in the conference to our house on senior night. There is no excuse to lose this game and as a matter of fact, I don't particularly want to hear any excuses. Fair or not, I am placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the coach. I will be cheering for the team until the very end, but this season has really headed south in a hurry. I have to ask myself what Tubby Smith is thinking tonight? Mitch Barnhart? Mike Casey?


Kentucky Region Tournament Games Tonight

Region 1

Carlisle County (20-5) vs. Marshall County (19-9), 6:00; Paducah Tilghman (21-5) vs. Mayfield (14-11), 7:45

Region 2

Christian County (18-6) vs. Webster County (12-14), 6:00; Hopkins Central (22-8) vs. Lyon County (21-6), 7:30

Region 5

North Hardin (20-9) vs. Green County (13-15), 6:00; Taylor County (23-6) vs. Nelson County (14-12), 8:00

Region 6

Fairdale (18-10) vs. Western (11-14), 3:30; Iroquois (19-7) vs. Central (13-14), 5:00; Shawnee (14-14) vs. Doss (11-17), 6:30; Pleasure Ridge Park (22-7) vs. Southern (16-12), 8:00

Region 8

Owen County (14-14) vs. Grant County (19-12), 6:30; Anderson County (21-5) vs. North Oldham (19-10), 8:00

Region 9

Boone County (24-4) vs. Beechwood (22-5), 6:00; St. Henry (15-11) vs. Highlands (20-8), 8:00

Region 11

Scott County (26-3) vs. Madison Southern (13-13), 6:30; Franklin County (21-4) vs. Lafayette (10-18), 8:15

Region 12

Rockcastle County (13-16) vs. Wayne County (16-14), 6:00; West Jessamine (23-8) vs. Danville (12-13), 8:00

Region 13

Middlesboro (21-7) vs. Barbourville (15-12), 6:00; Clay County (19-12) vs. South Laurel (21-8), 8:30

Region 14

Letcher Central (21-7) vs. Breathitt County (13-15), 6:00; Lee County (14-11) vs. Hazard (23-8), 8:00

Region 15

Belfry (10-17) vs. Johnson Central (21-7), 6:30; Shelby Valley (27-4) vs. Betsy Layne (16-10), 8:00

Big Night for Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats

Louisville and Kentucky both have critically important games tonight, but they are important for different reasons. For the Cardinals (23-5, 14-2 Big East), tonight's game is critical in keeping pace with the Connecticut Huskies in the race to win the Big East's regular season championship. They are also in the running for a number one or two seed in the NCAA Tournament, which could be crucial if they are to make a deep run through the tournament.

Over in Lexington, the game tonight is a must-win if the Wildcats (19-10, 8-6 SEC) are to earn an automatic birth to the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky hosts Georgia, which is only 2-12 in the SEC, and a loss to the Bulldogs would most likely spell NCAA Tournament doom for the Cats. Kentucky has tonight's game, a final regular season game at Florida and the SEC Tournament remaining to impress the selection committee. Most experts feel that Kentucky is still holding onto a bid at this point, but the best advice for the Cats would be to win some more games.

Seton Hall at (6) Louisville 7:00 PM (ESPN360)

Georgia at Kentucky 8:00 PM (ESPN360, WKYT)

Transylvania's Joey Verax and Coach Brian Lane Receive Honors

Transylvania basketball added two honors recently as Joey Verax was named Heartlands' Conference Player of the Year and head coach Brian Lane was named the conference's Coach of the Year.

Verax picked up the honor after leading the team in scoring (16.2 PPG) and rebounding (5.8 RPG). This is the third straight season that he has been on the All-HCAC First Team. Verax was joined by teammate Aaron Cash on the First Team. Fellow Pioneers Brock Jones and Tim Tierney where selected as honorable mention picks.

Transy Coach Brian Lane was named Heartlands' Coach of the Year after leading his squad to a 21-5 record, tournament championship and NCAA Division III tournament birth. This is the third time that Lane has received the honor.

Press Release from Transylvania

Transylvania Basketball

Western's Orlando Mendez-Valdez Named Sun Belt Player of the Year

Western Kentucky's Orlando Mendez-Valdez has been named the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Year for 2008-09. Mendez-Valdez averages 14.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game and ranks in the top 10 in the Sun Belt in six major statistical categories including leading the league in three-pointers made per game at 2.89. He also earns a spot on the Sun Belt All-Conference First Team. Mendez-Valdez becomes the fifth Sun Belt Player of the Year for Western Kentucky University in the past nine seasons.

The Hilltoppers' other guard, A.J. Slaughter, has been named to the conference's Second Team. Slaughter leads Western in scoring at 15.7 PPG.

Announcement from WKU

Morehead State Defeats Eastern Kentucky in OVC Tournament

Morehead State 91
Eastern Kentucky 72

The Morehead State Eagles earned a win over rival Eastern Kentucky last night and have moved on to the OVC Tournament semifinals in Nashville. Morehead used a series of three-pointers, alley-oop dunks and offensive rebounds to pull away from the Colonels in the second half at Johnson Arena. The Eagles (17-15) took a commanding 14-point lead at halftime, only to see Eastern shoot themselves back into the game. The Colonels actually took a lead in the second half before Morehead went on a monumental 16-0 run and put the game out of reach.

The stat that essentially determined the outcome of the game was rebounding. Morehead gathered 45 rebounds against only 16 for the Colonels. Morehead's Kenneth Faried, who is third in the nation in rebounding average, actually out-rebounded Eastern Kentucky's team by himself (17-16). Faried picked up his 21st double-double on the season with 15 points and 17 rebounds. Maze Stallworth led the Eagles in scoring with 21 points and Leon Buchanan added 20, including a barrage of monstrous dunks in the second half. Demonte Harper was two rebounds short of a triple-double as he had 16 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.

Eastern Kentucky picked up 26 points from Josh Taylor, who shot 10-15 from the field and nailed six three-pointers. Mike Rose wrapped up his outstanding OVC career with 12 points. The colonels finish their season with a record of 18-13.

The Eagles now move on to Nashville's Sommet Center, where they will meet UT-Martin and superstar Lester Hudson on Friday night at 7:00 PM. The teams split their regular season games with each picking up a win at home. The game will air on ESPNU.

My thoughts: My wife and I attended the game in Morehead last night and it was an electric atmosphere. It was easy to see why the Eagles were near unbeatable at home this season. As a graduate of MSU, I was proud to be an Eagle last night. Kenneth Faried plays with the heart of a lion and is a real joy to watch. Coach Tyndall is a top-notch individual and an outstanding basketball coach. The Eagles will have a battle on Friday night against UT-Martin, but they are legitimate contenders to win the OVC Championship.

Recap from MSUEagles.com

MSU Ticket Information for Nashville

Box Score

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Begins Tonight


Kentucky will be well represented in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, which begins tonight. Morehead State will host Eastern Kentucky in Morehead's Johnson Arena at 7:30 PM tonight. Murray State will be hosting Tennessee State at 8:30 PM tonight. The first round games will be hosted by the top four tournament seeds. The semifinals and finals will be held on Friday and Saturday at the Sommet Center in Nashville.

OVC Tournament Schedule:

Tuesday, March 3

(8) Tennessee Tech (12-17) at (1) Tennessee-Martin (21-8) 7:00
(5) Eastern Kentucky (18-12) at (4) Morehead State (16-15) 7:30
(6) Tennessee State (12-17) at (3) Murray State (18-11) 8:30
(7) Eastern Illinois (12-17) at (2) Austin Peay (17-12) 7:00

Friday, March 6

7:00 Semifinal #1 (ESPNU)
9:00 Semifinal #2 (ESPNU)

Saturday, March 7

8:00 Championship Game (ESPN2)

Tournament Information

OVC Tournament Bracket

My Thoughts on Each Team:

(1) UT-Martin: Led by Lester Hudson, one of the nation's most prolific scorers, UT-Martin has to be considered the tourney favorite. The Skyhawks have won 13 of their last 14 OVC games and 19 of their last 22 overall heading into the tournament.
(2) Austin Peay: The Governors appeared to be fading fast when they suffered a 3-game OVC losing streak to end January and begin February. They fought back to finish 5-1 in the conference and earn the #2 seed. Austin Peay assumes their usual position as one of the favorites to win the automatic bid.
(3) Murray State: The Racers are another team that has heated up at the right time. They have won 10 out of their last 11 OVC games. They will be hosting an equally hot Tennessee State team, which should make for a very interesting game.
(4) Morehead State: The Eagles were at or near the top of the league standings most of the season. They closed out by losing 3 consecutive league games, however, and slid to the 4-seed. They were 11-1 at Johnson Arena this season and playing rival EKU at home sets up the perfect recipe for the Eagles to find their way to Nashville. I expect great energy from Kenneth Faried and Leon Buchanan.
(5) Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels will be slight underdogs on the road at MSU, but their outlook is pretty simple - they will go as far as Mike Rose can take them. Rose is one of the most talented players in the OVC and the Eagles will certainly have to contain him if they hope to defeat EKU.
(6) Tennessee State: The Tigers lost 7 of 8 and fired their coach. Since the change, they have won 6 consecutive game and look like an entirely different team. They will have their work cut out for them on the road at Murray State, but the Tigers are certainly hot at the right time.
(7) Eastern Illinois: The Panthers were once sitting at 8-4 and looking solid in the OVC race. They followed that up with a 6-game OVC losing streak and found themselves hanging on to the 7-seed. EIU has a lot of work to do if they are to pick up a win at Austin Peay.
(8) Tennessee Tech: Tech had a disappointing season and finished up by losing 7 of their last 8 games. That 8th game, however, was a "play-in" game to the OVC tournament and they defeated Jacksonville State to claim the 8th and final spot. They have the difficult task of trying to stop Lester Hudson on his home floor. The Golden Eagles did play competitively at UT-Martin a few games back, but it would be a major upset if they were to win tonight.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Former Wildcat Mike Casey Speaks His Mind on Billy Gillispie


Here's an excerpt from A Sea of Blue taken from a recent interview with former Kentucky Wildcat star Mike Casey:


ASOB -- Coach Gillipsie has now coached 60 games at UK. What type of job do you think he's doing so far?


Casey -- "First of all, I think he's in over his head. I think he has no clue as to what's going on in the game."
"I just don't think he knows what it means to coach at UK. I hate to say it, but a change has to be made, and soon, or we're going to lose what UK is all about. Ask (Richie) Farmer, or (John) Pelphrey, or (Deron) Feldhaus what it means to play at Kentucky. Ask them what that "Kentucky" across their chests means. Somehow we've let that go. If we lost we came out fightin' mad; we weren't going to lose two in a row. It's beyond me why (Mitch) Barnhart and (Lee) Todd put up with it."


ASOB -- With the way the season is turning out, can you tell us what type of pressure the players are under?


Casey -- "They're under tremendous pressure because of the prestige ... getting embarrassed on national TV. This (the South Carolina game) isn't the first time."




My Thoughts: I greatly respect Mike Casey as a Wildcat legend and I'm not shocked to hear such a strong opinion from someone that truly loves Kentucky basketball. I am a little disappointed that he made his opinion so public. I have found myself extremely frustrated at many aspects of this season, but I think it does the team no favors to have this kind of stuff floating around publicly. I think its fair for Big Blue Nation to ask questions, have concern and show disappointment. However, I also think its fair to give Coach Gillispie a fair chance and that extends past only two seasons. Besides that, there is still a lot of basketball to be played THIS season. Its is hardly time to circle the wagons at this point.

Louisville Cardinals' Star Earl Clark Likely Going Pro

It appears that Louisville junior Earl Clark will likely go pro after the season.

According to Rick Bozich

NCAA Rankings and Joe Lunardi's Latest Bracketology

The new rankings are out and Louisville (23-5) sits at #6 in both polls. LSU (25-4) is the SEC's only ranked team and they come it at #12 in the AP Top 25 and #11 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. The Big East, on the other hand, has six teams in the top 25 and three of the top six teams in both polls.

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology has been released and he projects Louisville as a 2-seed in the South Region. He has Kentucky (19-10) in the tournament as a 10-seed and facing California in the first round of the Midwest Region. He projects Western Kentucky (21-8) to win the Sun Belt's automatic bid and make the NCAA Tournament as a 13-seed. He has four teams from the SEC making the tournament, with Florida dropping off the bubble after their loss over the weekend. Finally, he projects that one-fourth of the tournament will consist of teams from the Big East and the ACC - eight teams from each conference.

AP Top 25

1. Connecticut (67) 27-2 1,792
2. North Carolina (3) 25-3 1,678
3. Pittsburgh (1) 26-3 1,612
4. Oklahoma 26-3 1,576
5. Memphis (1) 26-3 1,543
6. Louisville 23-5 1,462
7. Duke 24-5 1,340
8. Michigan State 23-5 1,302
9. Kansas 24-5 1,190
10. Wake Forest 22-5 1,158
11-25. Villanova, LSU, Marquette, Gonzaga, Missouri, Washington, Xavier, Clemson, Purdue, UCLA, Arizona St., Butler, Illinois, Florida St., Syracuse

ESPN/USA Today Poll

1. Connecticut (27) 27-2 769
2. North Carolina 25-3 711
3. Memphis (4) 26-3 698
4. Pittsburgh 26-3 667
5. Oklahoma 26-3 653
6. Louisville 23-5 630
7. Duke 24-5 597
8. Michigan State 23-5 557
9. Kansas 24-5 509
10. Wake Forest 22-5 480
11-25. LSU, Missouri, Washington, Gonzaga, Marquette, Villanova, UCLA, Xavier, Clemson, Purdue, Arizona St., Butler, Illinois, Florida St., Syracuse

Complete Rankings

Joe Lunardi's Latest Bracketology

Division III Tournament Field Announced

Three Kentucky teams are in the field of sixty that have been chosen for the NCAA Division III Basketball Tournament. Centre College, Transylvania University and Thomas More University will represent the Bluegrass state in the tournament that gets underway on Thursday. The tournament will consist of thirty-nine teams that received automatic bids, three independent teams and eighteen other at-large teams.

Centre (23-4) will be the host school in their four-team group. They will host the first two rounds in Danville on Friday and Saturday. Centre will play Averett (20-8) in the first round game. In the other first-round game hosted at Centre, Transylvania (21-5) will play Guilford (21-5).

Thomas More (19-8) will travel to Indianapolis to take on Capital (24-4). Capital is the host school for the first two rounds and were a perfect 13-0 on their homecourt this season. In the other first-round game at Capital, Wooster (22-6) will play Gettysburg (18-8).

The tournament gets undeway on Thursday and will eventually conclude in Salem, Virginia on March 20 and 21.

Tournament Bracket

NCAA Press Release

Centre Announcement

Transylvania Announcement

Former Cats Crawford and Daniels Using NBDL to Chase Dreams

"Patience and fortitude conquer all things"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Joe Crawford and Erik Daniels are patiently waiting for the opportunity to make an NBA team. The two former Kentucky Wildcats have found themselves working hard to earn that break by way of the NBA Development League (NBDL). The NBDL is essentially a minor-league "farm" system for the NBA. Crawford and Daniels appear to be on the correct paths as both are enjoying very successful seasons for their respective NBDL clubs.

Erik Daniels was undrafted out of Kentucky in the 2004 NBA Draft. He was signed by the Sacramento Kings as a free agent, but saw very limited playing time and was released on October 17, 2005. He was then signed by the Fayetteville Patriots of the NBDL where he averaged 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 46 games. The stint with the Patriots earned Daniels a contract with Angelico Biella of the highly regarded Italian Serie A League. In the summer of 2007, he was signed by Lottomatica Roma, which is also an Italian Serie A club. His successful two-year run for Lottomatica Roma was noticed in the United States and he was selected as the 7th pick in the 2008 NBDL Draft by the Erie BayHawks. Daniels is currently averaging 20.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the BayHawks. Last month, Daniels became the first BayHawk player to be selected for an NBDL All-Star game when he was chosen as an alternate for the blue team.

Joe Crawford has taken a different path to the NBDL. Crawford caught fire for Kentucky late last season and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the NBA Draft. The Lakers were excited at Crawford's ability and it appeared as if he would make the Lakers' regular season roster. In fact, he was signed by the Lakers and was listed on the roster. Then, due to an unfortunate injury to one of their regulars, the Lakers had to take a different course of action. Crawford was cut and assigned to the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBDL. Disappointed but determined, Crawford has played well the entire season for the D-Fenders. He is currently averaging 21.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He scored 44 points earlier in the season against Utah and was named the NBDL Player of the Week for the week of January 27th.

Both Joe Crawford and Erik Daniels continue to play hard in hopes of being noticed. They are both living the dream of making an NBA club and enjoying a long, prosperous career. For now though, they are working relentlessly for their meager NBDL checks (an average NBDL salary is about $35,000 annually). They are working hard for their dreams. A dream that may, or may not, materialize.

Joe Crawford at NBA.com

Erik Daniels at NBA.com

Crawford Named NBDL Player of the Week

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thomas More Saints Celebrate First PAC Basketball Championship


Thomas More 91

Bethany 65


The Thomas More Saints are celebrating their first ever Presidents' Athletic Conference Tournament championship. The Saints (19-8) defeated second-seeded Bethany College (17-11) to earn the title and automatic bid in the NCAA Division III Tournament.


Thomas More placed five players in double figures in a balanced attack. They were led by Daniel Ellis with 16 points and Brian Muse with 13. Lance Beckwith led the Bison in scoring with 16 points


Centre Wins SCAC Championship for Second Time in Three Years

Centre College 72
Southwestern (Tx.) University 67

The Centre College Colonels are Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament champions for the second time in three years. Centre was led by senior Kris Bentley who scored a game-high 31 points. Bentley also tied an SCAC Tournament record by nailing eight three pointers. The Colonels (23-4) also picked up 16 points from T.C. Thomason and 11 from Danny Noll.

Southwestern was led by Andrew McDonald with 21 points and Anthony Cox, who had 16 points and 7 assists.

All-Tournament Team:

Andrew King - Hendrix
Andrew McDonald - Southwestern
Anthony Cox - Southwestern
Kris Bentley - Centre
Danny Noll - Centre

Tournament MVP - Danny Noll

Boxscore

Kentucky High School Basketball Region Tournament Schedule

Region 1

March 4: Carlisle County (20-5) vs. Marshall County (19-9), 6:00; Paducah Tilghman (21-5) vs. Mayfield (14-11), 7:45
March 5: Graves County (20-9) vs. Fulton County (10-15), 6:00; Calloway County (22-6) vs. Heath (11-15), 7:45
March 9: Semifinals, 6:00 and 7:45
March 10: Finals, 7:00

Region 2

March 4: Christian County (18-6) vs. Webster County (12-14), 6:00; Hopkins Central (22-8) vs. Lyon County (21-6), 7:30
March 5: Henderson County (22-5) vs. Fort Campbell (5-18), 6:00; Trigg County (17-13) vs. Madisonville (11-12), 7:30
March 9: Semifinals, 6:00 and 7:30.
March 10: Finals, 7 :00

Region 3

March 3: Apollo (17-11) at Grayson County (22-6); Ohio County (13-15) at Meade County (16-11); Breckinridge County (9-18) at Owensboro (19-6); Whitesville Trinity (11-14) at Muhlenberg North (21-5). All games at 7:00
March 5: Upper bracket semifinal, 7:00
March 6: Lower bracket semifinal, 7:00
March 9: Finals, 7:00

Region 4

March 7: Cumberland County (13-100 vs. Bowling Green (23-6), 1:00; Allen County-Scottsville (21-10) vs. Russellville (19-9), 2:30; Warren Central (25-4) vs. Russell County (22-6), 7:30; Franklin-Simpson (22-8) vs. Barren County (5-24), 9:00
March 9: Semifinals, 7:30 and 9:00
March 10: Finals, 8:00

Region 5

March 4: North Hardin (20-9) vs. Green County (13-15), 6:00; Taylor County (23-6) vs. Nelson County (14-12), 8:00
March 5: Bardstown (22-6) vs. Adair County (23-7), 6:00; LaRue County (23-5) vs. John Hardin (20-8), 8:00
March 8: Semifinals, 2:30 and 5:30.
March 10: Finals, 7:00

Region 6

March 4: Fairdale (18-10) vs. Western (11-14), 3:30; Iroquois (19-7) vs. Central (13-14), 5:00; Shawnee (14-14) vs. Doss (11-17), 6:30; Pleasure Ridge Park (22-7) vs. Southern (16-12), 8:00
March 9: Semifinals, 3:30 and 5:00
March 10: Finals, 6:00

Region 7

March 5: Moore (23-7) vs. Triniity (21-7), 3:30; Manual (15-12) vs. Eastern (27-2), 5:00; Ballard (24-6) vs. Atherton (13-12), 6:30; Jeffersontown (25-4) vs. Male (16-11), 8:00
March 9: Semifinals, 6 and 8:30.
March 10: Finals, 8:00

Region 8

March 4: Owen County (14-14) vs. Grant County (19-12), 6:30; Anderson County (21-5) vs. North Oldham (19-10), 8:00
March 5: South Oldham (13-14) vs. Henry County (21-8), 6:30; Simon Kenton (9-16) vs. Shelby County (14-14), 8:00
March 9: Semifinals, 6:30 and 8:00
March 10: Finals, 7:00

Region 9

March 4: Boone County (24-4) vs. Beechwood (22-5), 6:00; St. Henry (15-11) vs. Highlands (20-8), 8:00
March 5: Newport Catholic (17-10) vs. Dixie Heights (13-16), 6:00; Holmes (29-2) vs. Ryle (17-10), 8:00
March 8: Semifinals, 2:00 and 4:00
March 10: Finals, 8:30.

Region 10

March 7: Scott (22-8) vs. Deming (19-10), 10:00 AM; Clark County (23-6) vs. St. Patrick (12-15), Noon; Harrison County (17-13) vs. Montgomery County (13-16), 2:00; Mason County (21-6) vs. Bishop Brossart (18-9), 4:00
March 9: Semifinals, 6:00 and 8:00
March 10: Finals, 6:00

Region 11

March 4: Scott County (26-3) vs. Madison Southern (13-13), 6:30; Franklin County (21-4) vs. Lafayette (10-18), 8:15.
March 5: Madison Central (18-11) vs. Western Hills (13-12), 6:30; Lexington Catholic (22-7) vs. Henry Clay (17-14), 8:15
March 7: Semifinals, 2:00 and 3:45
March 10: Finals, 8:00

Region 12

March 4: Rockcastle County (13-16) vs. Wayne County (16-14), 6:00; West Jessamine (23-8) vs. Danville (12-13), 8:00
March 5: McCreary Central (19-11) vs. East Jessamine (20-10), 6:00; Lincoln County (19-9) vs. Casey County (9-19), 8:00
March 9: Semifinals, 6:00 and 8:00
March 10: Finals, 7:30.

Region 13

March 4: Middlesboro (21-7) vs. Barbourville (15-12), 6:00; Clay County (19-12) vs. South Laurel (21-8), 8:30.
March 5: Knox Central (16-8) vs. North Laurel (12-17), 6:00; Corbin (26-3) vs. Harlan County (13-14), 8:30.
March 9: Semifinals, 6:00 and 8:30.
March 10: Finals, 7:00

Region 14

March 4: Letcher Central (21-7) vs. Breathitt County (13-15), 6:00; Lee County (14-11) vs. Hazard (23-8), 8:00
March 5: Perry Central (23-5) vs. Knott Central (22-8), 6:30; Wolfe County (11-14) vs. Estill County (13-15), 8:00
March 9: Semifinals, 6:30 and 8:00
March 10: Finals, 7:00

Region 15

March 4: Belfry (10-17) vs. Johnson Central (21-7), 6:30; Shelby Valley (27-4) vs. Betsy Layne (16-10), 8.
March 5: Lawrence County (20-9) vs. Phelps (16-9), 6:30; Prestonsburg (17-12) vs. Sheldon Clark/Pike Central winner, 8:00
March 7: Semifinals, 4:30 and 6:00
March 9: Finals, 7:00

Region 16

March 7: Lewis County (16-15) vs. Fairview (16-10), 1:00; Bath County (19-6) vs. West Carter (20-7), 2:45; Ashland Blazer (16-13) vs. Rowan County (11-16), 6:30; Elliott County (27-2) vs. Russell (5-23), 8:15
March 9: Semifinals, 6:30 and 8:15
March 10: Finals, 7:00

Louisville Escapes Marquette - Big East Title Hopes Still Alive

(6) Louisville 62
(8) Marquette 58

Louisville (23-5, 14-2 Big East) picked up a very important win at home today against the Marquette Golden Eagles (23-6, 12-4 Big East). Marquette played well despite playing without the injured Dominic James and with Jerel McNeal having an off day. McNeal was only 3-19 from the field, including 2-10 from the three-point line. They had opportunities late in the game, but could never get over the hump. The Cardinals played passionately throughout the game and made the big plays necessary to win.

Louisville had a balanced offensive attack, placing four players in double figures. Andree McGee and Terrance Williams led the way with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Samardo Samuels scored 12 points and Earl Clark picked up a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Golden Eagles picked up a game-high 19 points from Wesley Matthews. Lazar Hayward chipped in 16 for Marquette.

Statistically, the game was a pretty even match up. The deciding factor was field goal shooting. The Louisville defense held Marquette to only 19-56 shooting (33.9%), including 7-23 three-point shooting. The Cardinals did not shoot great, but they did go 24-55 (43.6%) and 9-26 from behind the arc.

The Cardinals still have a shot at the Big East regular season championship. They have games remaining with Seton Hall at home and on the road at West Virginia. Connecticut, who leads the standings by a half game, has one game remaining - on the road at top-ranked Pittsburgh.

ESPN Boxscore

Game Recap

Louisville Cardinals Basketball

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