Saturday, March 21, 2009

Asbury Eagles Finish 5th in NCCAA National Tournament

Asbury 103
Oakland City 99

NCCAA Tournament - Fifth Place Game

The Asbury Eagles closed their season out with a fifth-place finish in the NCCAA national tournament. The Eagles (20-13) defeated Oakland City today behind 37 points from Michael Spann. Spann was 13-25 from the field, including 7 three-pointers. As a team, Asbury was 15-32 from the three-point line. The Eagles picked up 18 points from Phillip Morrison and 13 points form John Ensign.

Oakland City (13-15) was led by Brandon Hopf with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Hopf was an impressive 15-18 from the field. They also picked up 17 points and an outstanding 25 rebounds from Nathan Schumacher.

Box Score

Photo: Courtesy NCCAA

Louisville Cardinals Defeat Morehead State in NCAA

Louisville 74
Morehead St. 54

NCAA Tournament First Round

The Morehead State Eagles earned a great deal of respect from Louisville coach Rick Pitino and the rest of the nation, but they came up short against the tournament's overall number one seed. Morehead (20-16) trailed the Cardinals by only two points at halftime, but Louisville exploded in the second half to take control of the game. Pitino gave credit to the Eagles after the game. He stated, "Morehead State played terrific tonight. We didn't play bad in the first half, they just played terrific and stayed with us."

Louisville (29-5) struggled with Morehead in the first half but found another gear in the second, outscoring the Eagles 39-21 in the last twenty minutes. The Cardinals were led by Samardo Samuels with 15 points. Terrence Williams added 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Morehead wrapped up a terrific season in which they won the Ohio Valley Conference and earned a 20-win season. The Eagles were led by senior Leon Buchanan with 17 points. OVC Defensive Player of the Year Kenneth Faried earned his 25th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Maze Stallworth chipped in 14 points for Morehead.

Louisville will advance to play 9th-seeded Siena on Sunday at 5:20 p.m.

Box Score

Game Recap

Related Articles:

Q & A with Morehead State AD Brian Hutchinson

Morehead State and Louisville to Battle in NCAA Tournament

"High Level Meeting" Concerning Billy Gillispie

Several sources are reporting that there was a high level meeting yesterday involving Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart. Reportedly, the meeting's agenda was to determine the future of Kentucky Wildcats head coach Billy Gillispie. I had heard this rumor at the state tournament last night, but I shied away from reporting a rumor. This apparently had been confirmed by Larry Vaught. Matt Jones is passing along a similar report. We will hopefully find out what is going on with the Cats soon.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Championship Preview: Central vs. Holmes

Game 15: Central (19-14) vs. Covington Holmes (35-2) 8:00 p.m.

The 92nd National City Boys’ Sweet Sixteen championship game will be played tonight in Rupp Arena. The game will feature powerhouse Holmes being challenged by Central. Holmes will be considered a heavy favorite heading into the game.

The Yellowjackets started the season 0-8 and finished the regular season at 12-13. After losing the district championship game, they managed to get hot and win the 6th Region. They did not stop there and now they find themselves in position to win a state championship. Central held on to defeat West Jessamine in today's first semifinal.

Holmes has a 35-2 record and that speaks for itself. The Bulldogs ousted fan-favorite Elliott County in their semifinal matchup earlier today. Holmes is a heavy favorite to cut the nets down tonight based on their size, athleticism and tough defense. Ricardo Johnson has been very impressive for the Bulldogs.

My Thoughts: Holmes has a more talented roster and will be a difficult matchup for Central. I expect outstanding defensive pressure from the Bulldogs. For Central, they will need to establish Wilson and Patterson early to stay with Holmes.

Prediction: I predict that Holmes will cruise to victory and cut down the nets tonight.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Holmes vs. Elliott Co.

Game 14: Holmes (34-2) vs. Elliott County (32-2) 11:30 a.m.

What can we say about this one? If you have two teams playing against each other that boast a combined 66-4 record, you are probably in for a treat. This game conjures up memories of Richie Farmer and Clay County against Allan Houston and Ballard. Holmes has eased its way into the semifinals with impressive wins over Christian County and Lexington Catholic. Elliott County has been equally impressive in their victories over Anderson County and Shelby Valley.

The Bulldogs will have an advantage in this game with length and athleticism. They will be looking to present matchup problems with junior stars Elijah Pittman, Ricardo Johnson and Jeremiah Johnson. Senior Jamel Riley also figures to be a prominent part of Holmes' plans.

Elliott County is trying to become the first 16th Region team to make the finals since Ashland in 1996. The Lions have had a magical run of three 16th Region championships and this is their best team to date. They will be led by seniors Jonathan Ferguson, Ethan Faulkner and Evan Faulkner. The key to today's game may be sophomore big man Timmy Knipp's ability to contain the Bulldogs down low.

My Thoughts: Many people are calling this game a David vs. Goliath situation. I would caution that this is far from a heavy favorite taking on an underdog. Elliott County is 32-2 for a reason and they have a very good chance of winning the game today. Holmes will need to limit Elliott County's 3-point shooters from getting open looks. The key for the Lions will be to keep the athletic Bulldogs away from the rim. I think the winner will come down to Elliott's offense or Holmes' defense.

Prediction: The Lions are my team and I won't be changing at this stage of the game. I have said all season they can win a state championship and I'll stick with that prediction. I am a little concerned about Elliott's legs with their lack of depth, but I'll take Elliott by 3 points.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: West Jessamine vs. Central

Game 13: West Jessamine (28-8) vs. Central (18-14) 10:00 a.m.

Its championship Saturday at the Sweet Sixteen and two underdogs will be playing in the first semifinal. West Jessamine and Central have both made surprising runs to Saturday morning and will give us a true underdog to cheer for in tonight's championship game.

West Jessamine has arrived in the semifinals by defeating Hazard in the first round and Grayson County in the quarterfinals. The Colts are really making the most out of their first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance. They are led by Jarrod Polson who averages close to twenty points a game.

Central shocked most everyone, including myself, yesterday by defeating Eastern. Eastern had thumped Central just about a month ago by 23-points, but rebounded in a big way yesterday. Central came into their district tournament with a 12-13 record and now find themselves playing for a chance at the state title game. The Yellowjackets are led by future Kentucky Wildcat football player Ridge Wilson.

My Thoughts: West Jessamine will need to contain Central's speed and athleticism. They will also have to contain Wilson in the paint. For Central, they will have to find a way to stop Polson. I expect this to be a battle as both teams realize that they are playing for all the marbles.

Prediction: Well, both of these teams have proven me wrong several times in this tournament so I hate to pick against either. I'll call this game a toss-up. If I am forced to make a choice, however, I'll go with Central by 1-point.

Westminster Knocks Cumberlands Out of NAIA Tournament

Westminster 67
Cumberlands 62

NAIA Division I Tournament - Second Round

Cumberlands fought hard, but came up short against 6th-seeded Westminster this afternoon. Cumberlands (27-7) was the only Kentucky team remaining in the tournament.

The Patriots were not able to overcome Westminster's 56.5% shooting for the game. Westminster picked up 24 points from Geoff Payne on 11-14 shooting. Payne also contributed 9 rebounds.

Cumberlands was led by Travis Harvey with 18 points.

Box Score

Asbury Defeats Ecclesia in NCCAA Tournament

Asbury 96
Ecclesia 91

NCCAA Division I Tournament - Consolation Round

The Asbury Eagles recovered from yesterday's first round loss with a hard fought victory over Ecclesia this afternoon. The Eagles shot 64% in the first half to take a 10-point lead into the locker room. They never looked back, although Ecclesia fought hard to the end. Asbury was led by sophomore Jordan Hammonds with 20 points. Michael Spann contributed an all-around performance with 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists. T.J. Chinn came off the bench to score 16 points for Asbury.

Asbury (20-13) will move on to play Oakland City (13-15) Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the 5th place game.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Morehead State and Louisville to Battle in NCAA Tournament

(16) Morehead State Eagles (20-15) vs. (1) Louisville Cardinals (28-5)

NCAA Tournament First Round

Location: Dayton, Ohio
Time: 7:10 p.m.
At Stake: An NCAA Tournament first round victory
Television: CBS Sports

A 16-seed has never defeated a 1-seed in NCAA Tournament play. Tonight, the Morehead State Eagles will take their opportunity at accomplishing history. The Eagles defeated Alabama State on Tuesday night in the Opening Round game in Dayton. Their reward for that victory is a game against the overall top-seeded Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals, champions of the Big East, are a popular pick to reach the Final Four in Detroit.

Louisville defeated Morehead State 79-41 in November.

My Thoughts: As an MSU graduate, I'll be cheering for the Eagles and hoping for history. As a basketball realist, I think the Cardinals will win the game with no problems. That being said: Go Eagles!!!

ESPN Preview

Related Articles:

Q & A with Morehead State AD Brian Hutchinson

Bust Out the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets and Line Charts

The month of March is rolling along in the Bluegrass state and apparently nothing garners attention like the rumors surrounding Billy Gillispie and the Kentucky Wildcats. The traffic visiting my blog has been record-setting the last couple of days and the early returns show that today will continue the trend.

There continue to be rumors circulating all around the state, and even beyond, about Billy Gillispie's future at Kentucky. For now, he is the head coach of the Wildcats and the team is preparing for the second round of the NIT on Monday night. Gillispie was at Rupp Arena yesterday for several games. He was reportedly watching Lexington Catholic point guard Vee Sanford. I also noticed him on the sidelines during the Elliott County/Anderson County game last night.

Speaking of the Sweet Sixteen, there was a first round attendance record set last night during the Elliott County game. The Lions have really captured the attention of many folks. They were in USA Today yesterday and on today and it seems that the talk around the state tournament always centers around the young men from Sandy Hook. I am certainly very excited about watching a game of good 'ole mountain basketball tonight when Elliott battles Shelby Valley.

It is great to see so many good teams in the elite eight at the Sweet Sixteen. Eastern, Holmes, Shelby Valley and Elliott County are all top 5 teams, in my opinion. All of those teams have over 30 wins and all have equal opportunities to cut the nets down tomorrow night. Not to discredit West Jessamine or Central, but I think that Eastern will probably have an easy route to the final game. Anything is possible in the bottom bracket and tonight is going to be a great night of high school basketball.

In other basketball action around the state, Cumberlands has advanced to the second round of the NAIA Division I Tournament. The Patriots will take on Westminster at 5:30 p.m. today. The Georgetown Tigers saw their season end in disappointment as they lost the Mid-South title game to Cumberlands and then were upset Wednesday in the first round of the national tournament. It was strange to see Georgetown lose so early. Lindsey Wilson's season also ended in the first round of the tournament as they lost last night to Texas Wesleyan.

Of course, the Morehead State Eagles will battle top-seeded Louisville tonight in the NCAA Tournament. The game is scheduled to tip-off around 7:10 or so.

Asbury College is currently participating in the NCCAA national tournament. The Eagles lost their first round game yesterday, but will be playing in a consolation-round game this afternoon. They will play Ecclesia (AR) College at 2:00 p.m. today.

All I know is that it is March Madness in Kentucky and that makes for a beautiful month of blogging.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Shelby Valley vs. Elliott Co.

Game 12: Shelby Valley (31-4) vs. Elliott County (31-2) 8:00 p.m.

The final quarterfinal game will feature mountain basketball at its finest as two 31-win teams from the 15th and 16th Regions will square off. This game will be a rematch of the All A Classic semifinals when Shelby Valley handed Elliott County its only in-state loss of the season. In that game, Shelby Valley busted out of the gates to take a 16-3 lead. Elliott won the rest of the game on the scoreboard, but they hole was too deep to recover from. Tonight's game should be a classic.

Shelby Valley reached the quarterfinals by sending defending state champion Mason County home in the first round. The Wildcats are led by junior point guard Elisha Justice, who averages 17.1 points a game. Shelby Valley has tremendous size in their post players which produced some matchup problems against the Lions in their previous meeting.

Elliott County picked up an easy victory over Anderson County in the first round and figure to be very excited about tonight's rematch. The Lions have stated that they are gunning for a state championship and Shelby Valley presents a major hurdle in the way of that goal. The play of Justice and the Elliott County trio of Jonathan Ferguson and the Faulkner brothers (Ethan and Evan) should be some of the best guard play in the tournament.

My Thoughts: Just seeing this matchup on the schedule makes me proud to be an alum of the mountain basketball fraternity. Regardless of the outcome, both teams have had tremendous season and there will be a mountain team in the final four of the Sweet Sixteen. I think the game will come down to tempo and the matchup between Elliott's explosive offense and Shelby Valley's lockdown defense.

Prediction: I think the Lions will come out ready to play tonight and will be a little more prepared than they were in Richmond. I am going to take Elliott County to pull this one out by 8 points.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Lexington Catholic vs. Holmes

Game 11: Lexington Catholic (26-7) vs. Covington Holmes (33-2) 6:30 p.m.

The night session of the quarterfinals figures to be a great night of basketball. Last night's session was watched by a record number of fans for the tournament's first round. Tonight could be record-setting, as well. The first game of the evening will feature Lexington Catholic against Holmes. The Knights, winners of the 11th Region, have reached the quarterfinals by defeating Bowling Green behind Vee Sanfords 28 points and 12 rebounds. Sanford, who was being watched by Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie yesterday, averages 22.3 points per game.

Holmes continued a terrific season by holding off Christian County in the first round. The Bulldogs are exceptionally athletic and have plenty of size in their lineup. They play outstanding defense, which bodes well for tournament play. Holmes is led by 6'7" junior Elijah Pittman and his 14.2 points a game. Ricardo Johnson, another junior, averages 10.7 points a game and senior Jamel Riley adds 10.3 points for the Bulldogs.

My Thoughts: This should be one of the more entertaining games of the day. Both teams are playing really well and will challenge each other on both ends of the court. The key to the game will be whether or not Catholic can score against the tough Holmes' defense.

Prediction: Holmes doesn't always play beautiful, offensive basketball, but they always manage to score enough to get the job done. I feel that their defense will slow Lexington Catholic down and lead the Bulldogs to the semifinals. I'll take Holmes in a good ballgame.

Elliott County Lions Basketball on Today

Pat Forde of ESPN has written another article on the Elliott County Lions. Yesterday, they were in USA Today and today they are on Its great to see so much attention for the small school from Sandy Hook.

Check out Forde's article:

Elliott County four wins from history

A few quotes I pulled from the article:

"We rallied for about two hours," guard Evan Faulkner said. "It was pretty nice." (speaking about a pep rally)

The Lions' story has captured the attention of basketball fans around the globe, among them "Hoosiers" screenwriter Angelo Pizzo, an Indiana resident.

"Anything less than winning the state title will be a disappointment," said Faulkner, who along with twin brother Ethan Faulkner forms the go-go backcourt that pushes the pace for Mays. "We know what we're going down there to try and do."

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Central vs. Eastern

Game 10: Central (17-14) vs. Eastern (31-2) 1:30 p.m.

The second quarterfinal game features a matchup between Central and Eastern. Central will be a sizable underdog in the game and they lost to Eastern by 23 points a few weeks ago.

In the first round, Central held on to defeat Graves County by a bucket. Central relies on the strong inside presence of 6'4" Ridge Wilson, who averages 14.7 points a game. Senior guard Alex Morrison is Central's top scorer at 15.4 points a game.

Eastern sent a very good Corbin team home in the first round by a score of 75-61. Eastern will be most everyone's pick to advance to the championship game on Saturday night. In the Corbin game, Chris Dowe exploded for 27 points. Dowe averages 14.2 points a game for the Eagles.

My Thoughts: Eastern is clearly the favorite in this one. They already own a huge victory over Central and they are playing superb basketball right now. Central will need a huge game from Wilson and Morrison if they are to keep this one close.

Prediction: I would have a difficult time picking against Eastern in this one. I expect a double figure victory for the Eagles

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: West Jessamine vs. Grayson Co.

Game 9: West Jessamine (27-8) vs. Grayson County (26-6) Noon

The third day of the Sweet Sixteen tips off at noon with a quarterfinal battle between West Jessamine and Grayson County. Both teams picked up wins against teams that were probably favored in the first round. Now, the teams are playing for a shot at the state semifinals.

They are led by junior guard Jarrod Polson who averages 19.9 points, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals a game. Polson led the Colts with 14 points against Hazard in the first round. The Colts also rely on a nice contribution from 6'3" senior Jonathan Rehner, who goes for 12.2 points a game.

Grayson County has been playing very good basketball lately. The Cougars are led junior guard Travis Johnston, who averages 16.8 points and 6.0 assists a game. Johnston went for 11 in the first round victory over Adair County. Grayson County plays good, fundamental basketball and tough defense.

My Thoughts: I expect a low-scoring, defensive battle in this one. I would be surprised if it gets out of the 50's as far as points. Whichever team figures out the other's defense will likely advance.

Prediction: It has been a great run for West Jessamine, particularly inspirational with the loss of a student recently to MRSA, but I'm going to take Grayson County in this game. Grayson County's defense will be too much for West Jessamine to overcome, in my opinion.

Cumberlands Wins NAIA Division I Tournament Game

Cumberlands 81
Jarvis Christian 65

NAIA Division I Tournament First Round

The Cumberlands Patriots raced out to a 39-25 halftime lead and never looked back in winning their first round NAIA Division I Tournament game. Cumberlands (27-6) was led by Josh Phillips with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Travis Harvey added 15 points and 8 rebounds. Bernard Cherry contributed a solid double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Roderick Braden paced Jarvis Christian (26-8) with 13 points and 5 assists.

The Patriots, seeded 11th in the tournament, advance to play 6-seed Westminster (29-4) today at 5:30 p.m.

Two other Kentucky teams, Georgetown and Lindsey Wilson, were eliminated from the tournament with first round losses. Georgetown, seeded 4th, was upset by Central Methodist on Wednesday. Unseeded Lindsey Wilson lost to Texas Wesleyan, the 10-seed, last night.

Box Score

Game Recap

NAIA Tournament Schedule

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Advance in NCAA Tournament

(12) Western Kentucky 76
(5) Illinois 72

NCAA Tournament First Round

In the tournament's first major upset, Western Kentucky held on to defeat Illinois and advance to the tournament's second round. The 12th-seeded Hilltoppers (25-8) placed fiver players in double figures for the game. They were led by Steffphon Pettigrew with 17 points. Sergio Kerusch added a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. A.J. Slaughter chipped in 14 points and 4 assists for Western. The Hilltoppers were 9-19 from the three-point line.

Illinois (24-10) made a valiant comeback in the second half, but failed to get over the proverbial hump. The Illini were led by Trent Meacham with 24 points.

Former University of Kentucky player Alex Legion was 0-3 from the field and failed to score in limited minutes. Legion transferred to Illinois midway through his freshman season.

The Hilltoppers advance to take on Gonzaga (27-4) in the next round.

ESPN Box Score

Virginia Commonwealth Falls Short Against UCLA

(6) UCLA 65
(11) VCU 64

NCAA Tournament First Round

Eric Maynor's shot fell just short at the buzzer and UCLA survived VCU's upset bid. UCLA was up ten at halftime, but VCU came roaring back in the second twenty minutes. The Bruins (26-8) placed five players in double figures, led by Josh Shipp's 16 points. UCLA will move on to play Villanova in the second round.

VCU (24-10) was led by Maynor with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Big man Larry Sanders picked up a double-double for the Rams with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Virginia Commonwealth has a pair of Kentucky natives on their bench. Former Kentucky Wildcats' player Allen Edwards and former Newport Central Catholic player John Brannen are both assistant coaches on the Rams' staff.

NCAA Bracket

Related Article:

Virginia Commonwealth Bench Has Strong Kentucky Ties

Nice Game for Shelvin Mack of Butler in NCAA Tournament

(8) LSU 75
(9) Butler 71

NCAA Tournament First Round

The Butler Bulldogs came up just short against the LSU Tigers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. LSU allowed SEC Player of the Year Marcus Thornton to carry them to victory. Thornton exploded for 30 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals and the Tigers (27-7) managed to hang on.

Butler (26-6) was led by Matt Howard with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Lexington native Shelvin Mack scored 18 points for the Bulldogs.

Mack played his high school basketball at Bryan Station High School. He completed a very successful freshman season in which he averaged 11.7 points, 3.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game. Shelvin also shot 32% from the three-point line on the season. He was named to the Horizon Conference's All-Newcomer Team.

NCAA Bracket

Related Article:

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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Minnesota Golden Gophers and Tubby Smith Lose To Texas

Texas 76
Minnesota 62

NCAA First Round

A nice run for former Kentucky Wildcats coach Tubby Smith and his Minnesota Golden Gophers came to an end today against the Texas Longhorns. Texas star A.J. Abrams scorched the nets for 26 points, including 8 three-pointers in the victory. Texas (23-11) moves on to the next round where they will face the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils.

Minnesota was led by Lawrence Westbrook with 19 points. Their season ends with a record of 22-11.

My Thoughts: Tubby is a great coach and it was good to see him guide Minnesota to the tournament. Kudos to Tubby Smith!

NCAA Bracket

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen First Round Recap

Game 1: West Jessamine 51 Hazard 40

Game 2: Grayson County 45 Adair County 33

Game 3: Central 53 Graves County 51

Game 4: Eastern 75 Corbin 61

Game 5: Lexington Catholic 70 Bowling Green 62 (OT)

Game 6: Holmes 72 Christian County 61

Game 7: Shelby Valley 51 Mason County 44

Game 8: Elliott County 74 Anderson County 61

Friday Schedule:

Game 9: West Jessamine (27-8) vs. Grayson County (26-6) Noon

Game 10: Central (17-14) vs. Eastern (31-2) 1:30

Game 11: Lexington Catholic (26-7) vs. Holmes (33-2) 6:30

Game 12: Shelby Valley (31-4) vs. Elliott County (31-2) 8:00

Saturday Schedule:

Game 13: Semifinal #1 10:00 a.m.

Game 14: Semifinal #2 11:30 a.m.

Game 15: Championship Game 8:00 p.m.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Elliott Co. vs. Anderson Co.

Game 8: Elliott County (30-2) vs. Anderson County (24-5) 8:00 p.m.

The final game of the first round should be a great one. The Elliott County Lions from the 16th Region will compete against Anderson County from the 8th Region. Elliott County comes into the tournament hoping to complete a storybook ending and make a magical run to the finals. The Lions have earned the attention of local and national media this season - appearing in such places as ESPN and USA Today. The Lions are led by a tremendous group of players. Jonathan Ferguson leads the Lions in scoring at 24.7 points a game. Twin brothers Ethan and Evan Faulkner put in 15.9 and 15.4 points a game, respectively. Sophomore Timmy Knipp adds 13.3 points and his brother, Chris, contributes 9.1 a game. Elliott County is one of the teams that has a real shot to win the championship. Their only losses on the season were to nationally ranked Cedar Hill (TX) and Shelby Valley.

Anderson County will be able to go as far as Senior C.J. Penny can take them. The 6'5" Penny is averaging 22.3 points a game and he pretty much put the Bearcats on his back in leading them past Shelby County in the region championship. Jacob Russell adds 15.7 points a game for Anderson County. The Bearcats took the Lions to overtime in a meeting earlier this season.

My Thoughts: These teams played a tremendous game earlier in the season, which the Lions pulled out by four points. In that game, Elliott was cold and had to make a large comeback to win. If the Lions are shooting well, they should advance. If they are missing shots, Anderson and Penny are definitely capable of advancing.

Prediction: Well, I have been watching Elliott County for 10 years now and they are my favorite team. I can't turn my back on them now. I'll take the Lions by 10.

Here are my thoughts on Elliott county:

Elliott County Lions Basketball – A Special Team Through the Eyes of an In-Law

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Mason Co. vs. Shelby Valley

Game 7: Mason County (24-6) vs. Shelby Valley (30-4) 6:30 p.m.

Tonight should be one of the best sessions of the tournament to this point. There are four top 20 teams in the state playing in the two games tonight. The first game will pit 10th Region champs Mason County against Shelby Valley of the 15th Region. Shelby Valley has rattled off a 23-game winning streak heading into tonight's game with the Royals and they have exploded for 100+ points six times this season. The Wildcats have looked impressive this season behind the play of junior point guard Elisha Justice. Justice is averaging 17.1 points per game and is a tremendous floor leader. Add Shelby Valley's size to the mix and the Wildcats become a difficult team to deal with. They start 6'10" Deven Adams, 6'6" Ashley Hatfield and 6'3" Taylor Newsome.

Mason County returns to Rupp Arena to defend its state championship from a year ago. The Royals lost some players from last season's squad, but they are still a very good team. Mason County is led by senior Russ Middleton, who averages 15.9 points a game. They also get 12.5 points a game from 6'8" sophomore Treg Setty.

My thoughts: This is a very interesting first-round matchup, in my opinion. I think both teams have top-level high school coaches and both teams will be very prepared for tonight's game. It should be a very exciting game between two really good teams.

Prediction: I played in the 15th Region, so I'll follow my heart and take the Wildcats by a bucket.

Elliott County Lions Article in USA Today

The Elliott County Lions have earned more national coverage with a nice article appearing in USA Today. Check out the article here:

A 'Hoosiers II' in Kentucky keeps county captivated

Some quotes I pulled from the article:

"We've said all year that we won't be satisfied if we're not playing Saturday night at Rupp Arena,and we're not going to back down from that now," Evan (Faulkner) says.

"We don't have a lot of students but that doesn't mean we don't have players," says Elliott County coach Rick Mays who played at the school when it was called Sandy Hook High.

"We try to put a lot of mental and physical stress (on opponents), and create situations we want," Mays said.

"We have kids with high basketball IQs," Evan says

Elliott County has a devoted following. Superintendent John C. Williams says one fan drives nearly two hours to watch the Lions play, and the school sold all of its tickets for the Sweet 16 in 90 minutes.

KABC All Star Rosters Announced

KABC All Star Rosters

Rosters for the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches East-West Senior Boys Charity All-Star Game, to be played Saturday at 3:15 p.m. at Transylvania University:


Coaches — Don Lane, Chris O'Hearn

9th Region — Jamel Riley, Holmes; Stephen McFarland, Boone Co. 10th — Russ Middleton, Mason Co.; Brandon Rash, Montgomery Co. 11th — Richie Phares, Scott Co.; Charles Ashford, Bryan Station. 12th — Ethan Spurlin, Lincoln Co.; Trevor Edgington, Lincoln Co. 13th — James David Strange, Pineville; Josh Crawford, Corbin. 14th — Andy Blank, Buckhorn; Aaron Charles, Lee Co. 15th — Matt Clevenger, Pikeville; Ian Welch, Johnson Central. 16th — Ethan Faulkner, Elliott Co.; Jonathan Ferguson, Elliott Co.


Coaches — Jason Mays, David Henley.

1st Region — Aaron Wilson, Fulton City; Scott McKenty, Marshall Co. 2nd — Jon Hood, Madisonville; LaBryce Williams, Webster Co. 3rd — Tommy Oates, Muhlenberg North; Ty Dillingham, Muhlenberg North. 4th — Byron Ellis, Russell Co.; Tevin Barksdale, Bowling Green. 5th — Darren Ballou, Adair Co.; Jordan Hickman, Bardstown. 6th — Corey Jackson, Shawnee; Cameron Clemons, Doss. 7th — Chris Dowe, Eastern; Dayvon Sloan, Waggener; 8th — C.J. Penny, Anderson Co.; Drew Kraemer, South Oldham.


Richie Phares of Scott County to Walk On at Louisville

Mike Fields is reporting that Scott County big-man Richie Phares has accepted an invitation to walk on at Louisville next season.

Richie Phares averaged 18 points and 8.8 rebounds for No. 1 Scott County before tearing his ACL in the region semifinals against Lafayette. He had to sit out the region finals, and Lexington Catholic knocked off the Cardinals.

Congratulations to Richie Phares.

Fields Notes

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Holmes vs. Christian Co.

Game 6: Covington Holmes (32-2) vs. Christian County (21-6) 1:30 p.m.

The second game of the day features one of the state's top teams in Covington Holmes, the winners of the 9th Region. They will do battle with a very tough Christian County team from the 2nd Region. Holmes started the season at 1-1. They have went 31-1 since and are favored by many to win the Sweet 16. The Bulldogs have became known not only for their talented lineup, but also their lockdown defense. In postseason play, their opponents have averaged just 33.6 points a game. If the old adage about defense winning championships is true, the Bulldogs should be happy on Saturday. Holmes is led by talented division I prospect Elijah Pittman. The 6'7" junior is averaging 14.2 points a game. Ricardo Johnson, another junior, averages 10.7 points a game and senior Jamel Riley adds 10.3 points for the Bulldogs.

Christian County enters the tournament winning twelve of their last thirteen games and finding their stride at the right time. Their season took off when the football players found their basketball legs after a deep playoff run. The Colonels are led by senior Corey Wilford and his 17.6 points a game. They also get 11.9 points from DaQuan Murden and 11.3 from Shaquille Wilson.

My Thoughts: These teams play very differing styles. Christian County loves to score points and get up-and-down the court. Holmes, on the other hand, plays lockdown defense and doesn't mind if the final score is in the 30's. It will be very interesting to see which tempo prevails in this matchup.

Prediction: Holmes is 32-2 heading into this game. I will have to pick the Bulldogs to win in a close one.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Lex. Catholic vs. Bowling Green

Game 5: Lexington Catholic (25-7) vs. Bowling Green (26-6) Noon

In the first game of Day 2, Lexington Catholic from the 11th Region will be taking on Bowling Green from the 4th Region. Catholic is making what many consider a surprise visit to the Sweet Sixteen after they upset top-ranked Scott County in the 11th Region championship game. The Knights are in a stretch of good basketball that has watched them win ten of their last eleven games. They are led by All-Stater Vee Sanford and his 22.3 points per game. Sanford has scholarship offers from UAB, Bradley, Charlotte, Indiana State, Nebraska, SMU, St. Louis, Toledo and Wyoming. He's also on the radar of UK, Georgetown University and Virginia.

The Purples will combat Sanford with a team effort. Bowling Green normally plays 10 or more players during the course of a game and rely on the contributions of many. The Purples are deadly from the outside as they shoot 40% as a team from the 3-point line. Tevin Barksdale leads Bowling Green with 14.2 points a game from his guard position.

My Thoughts: Drawing the 11th Region in the first round is always a daunting task this season is no exception. Most thought Scott County would be playing in this game, but don't discredit Lexington Catholic. The Knights are playing very good basketball right now and are going to be a tough out in the tournament. The key for Bowling Green will be containing Sanford and hoping that the other Knights can't beat them.

Prediction: I think Sanford is a player in his own league in this one and he will carry the Knights to victory. I'll take Catholic by 8 points.

The Fire Billy Gillispie Rumor Mill is Churning

It seems that everywhere I turn lately, there is a new (and improved) rumor about the future of Billy Gillispie, what sealed his fate and who his replacement will be. I went to a church meeting last night and the preacher was telling a story about what he had heard about the situation. His version was an oldie, but a goodie - Billy Donovan to Lexington. I have read that Rick Pitino was prepared to make a triumphant return to the basketball heavens, aka Kentucky basketball. Another version tells of the great, depending on who you talk to, John Calipari waiting on line 2 for his chance at Wildcat glory. Then, there is the tale of the homegrown favorite, Travis Ford, coming back home to play a style that we have longed for since Pitino's departure in 1997.

I have heard rumors of bankers, airplane pilots, cameramen, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, step mothers, AAU coaches and even Jesus (yes Him) passing along "secret" messages of who Kentucky has lined up to replace Billy Gillispie. Apparently, Jesus, through several signs, has hinted to an Eastern Kentucky woman (no joke) that Billy Gillispie has already been told of his future and that Pat Riley will be the next coach of the Big Blue. Now, I am a Christian and I would never go against Jesus, but that is definitely an interesting story. Of course, we may see record numbers in Kentucky churches soon if Pat Riley is soon announced as Kentucky's next head coach.

All kidding aside, my website has blown up the last couple of days. I thought I was just doing something right, but after hearing similar reports from other site owners, I really believe that it might just be the Big Blue Nation that is blowing up. Matt Jones at Kentucky Sports Radio reports this morning that his site received the "most visits for a day ever here at Kentucky Sports Radio." I will add to that as yesterday was the most visits ever on my blog.

My thoughts on the Gillispie rumors are that everyone has an opinion and they are all backed by "sources." I would guess that 99% of those rumors are completely false and while they are fun to talk about, it is probably wise to dismiss them and be patient. I doubt very seriously that anyone with privileged information is leaking it to bankers or airplane pilots. I also have my doubts that Jesus is sending premonitions out to random fans, although if anyone knows the truth, it would be Him. So, Wildcat Nation, let's try to relax and enjoy what we hope is a run to Madison Square Garden and the building of a strong foundation for the future of the program.

By the way, a private plane just left an airport in Miami and is headed to Lexington. The passenger list contains the following: "L. Todd" and "P. Riley." A bank VP in Lexington told my cousin's girlfriend, who happens to be related to Anthony Epps, that they have just cut eight very large checks to one "Billy Gillispie" and the Memo line of each reads "Severance." I don't see any way that this could all just be a coincidence. I'm going to go pray for confirmation.

UPDATE: Matt Jones passed along this morning that Dick Gabriel feels that Gillispie could be leaving. According to Jones, Gabriel is a very reliable source and that when he speaks on such matters, we should listen. Here are Matt's thoughts on Kentucky Sports Radio. Stay tuned.

UPDATE #2: Matt Jones is now reporting that Rick Bozich thinks Gillispie is in trouble. Here were Bozich's quotes today on his blog: Put me in the camp that now believes there will be a new coach at Kentucky next season. Just a hunch, but a hunch formed from talking to folks close to the heartbeat of the program

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Q & A with Morehead State AD Brian Hutchinson

I spoke to Morehead State University Athletic Director Brian Hutchinson tonight. Brian became Morehead State's ninth Director of Athletics on March 1, 2005 after spending five years as Associate Director of Athletics and six months as interim director. He is one of the youngest athletic professionals to ever serve as a Division I Director of Athletics. He has spent his entire professional career at his alma mater.

Tonight, Brian is in Dayton enjoying the Eagles' run to the NCAA Tournament. I spoke to Brian tonight for a quick Q & A about Morehead State Basketball.

Brian, let me start by saying thanks for taking a few minutes to talk with me. Obviously, the hot topic around Morehead State right now is the men’s basketball team. How does it make you feel to see the Eagles back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years?

It feels rewarding. We spent a lot of time getting our program right and getting it competitive. The key was hiring Coach Tyndall. He and I worked together to decide what we needed to do to be a successful, competitive Division I program. There has been so much going on behind the scenes that most people do not see. It is very rewarding.

What were your thoughts on being selected to open the tournament in the play-in game last night in Dayton?

For me, playing in this game offered some real advantages. Number one, it means we are playing in the NCAA Tournament and that speaks for itself. Secondly, it was easy for our fans to travel to the game as it is only about a two-and-a-half hour trip to Dayton from Morehead. We also had many fans and alumni in the Northern Kentucky and Ohio area that came to the game.

Also, coming into this game as a conference champion gave our team the confidence that comes with being a champion. It was an opportunity to play on Tuesday as the only tournament game being aired nationally. The media exposure was have been very positive and we have gained invaluable exposure on television and radio.

Opening against Alabama State gave the Eagles an opportunity to pick up an NCAA Tournament win. Do you feel that the play-in game was an advantage for the program as opposed to playing a North Carolina or a Pittsburgh in the first game?

Just having an NCAA Tournament opportunity is a great chance for our team to embrace the experience. It is just so meaningful to the players, coaches, fans and staff members. We have gone all out and treated our players like they would treat them at Connecticut. We have treated our kids with first class the whole way.

I have noticed a significant increase in fan interest and support in Eagle athletics lately, particularly following the success of the basketball team. What has this team meant to the university and the town of Morehead this season?

There is nothing like having a successful Division I basketball program to boost interest in your programs. Nothing can generate a high level of fan support like the basketball team. There has already been a tremendous interest level in season tickets for next year. We hope to see a spike in MSU enrollment and giving. We will be measuring such numbers as applications and giving levels. Those are things that we can really put a number on and evaluate.

There is plenty of talk throughout the media and general public about how hard Donnie Tyndall works to make his program succeed. As the Athletics Director, how impressed have you been with what Coach Tyndall has accomplished in his three years as the Eagles’ coach?

I hired him so I had a certain level of expectations for what he would accomplish for us. I think that he and I both would tell you that three years would have been a little ambitious for getting back to the NCAA Tournament. We had to find the players to do what we wanted to do and we had to set the tone for what Morehead State basketball needed to be. We’re tickled to death to be in the NCAA Tournament in only three years. This is also only the third time ever that our program has won twenty or more games.

Kenneth Faried is another Eagle name that has been mentioned numerous times across local and national media. He is one of the top rebounders in the nation and the OVC’s Defensive Player of the year. What has Kenneth meant to the Morehead program?

Kenneth has been the cornerstone of our quick rebuilding efforts. He plays with a tremendous level of heart, energy and skill. Coach (Tyndall) put the sale on him to get him to Morehead all the way from New Jersey and it worked. Kenneth has really embraced the opportunity to come to our school and succeed. He is just a great young man.

What type of potential do you think Kenneth has for next season and beyond?

He has a great opportunity to finish second in the nation in rebounding this season behind Blake Griffin. If Griffin goes pro, that will give Kenneth two seasons to potentially lead the nation in rebounding. He is going to be the top-returning player in the OVC next season and will have the opportunity to be the OVC Player of the Year for two more seasons. He will have two more seasons to be nationally recognized.

What do Eagle fans need to do if they would like to travel to Dayton Friday night to watch the game?

They will most likely have to look at a ticket reseller. The game is sold out at this point as far as I know. We have sold all of our allotment of 500 tickets. It is going to be doubly difficult because of all the local teams that will be playing here. You have Ohio State, Louisville, Morehead State and East Tennessee State all playing here and they are all bringing plenty of fans. You can probably find them on the Internet or maybe just enjoy the game on television.

Brian, it has been great talking with you. This is a very exciting time for the Morehead State Eagles. Let me finish by saying that I think you’re doing an excellent job directing the school’s athletic programs. As a Morehead State graduate, I can say that I am proud to be an Eagle supporter. Good luck against the Louisville Cardinals Friday night.

Thank you for the interview and thank you for doing your blog. It is great to have a blog that keeps track of all the schools in the state and not only the two big schools. I think it looks great and I haven’t seen anyone that does it any better.

Kentucky Will Travel to Creighton on Monday

Creighton pulled out a late 73-71 victory over Bowling Green tonight which sends the Kentucky Wildcats on the road Monday night for the second round of the NIT. Creighton University is located in Omaha, Nebraska (in case you were wondering).

Source: Konner Tucker Commits to Kentucky

I just learned that Konner Tucker has committed to the Kentucky Wildcats. Tucker is a JUCO point guard that will be eligible to play next season.

Here is the link from Jody Demling

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Eastern vs. Corbin

Game 4: Eastern (30-2) vs. Corbin (29-3) 8:00 p.m.

The nightcap of the first day could very well be the game of the day. Eastern and Corbin are two of the top teams in the state and both have a legitimate chance of advancing to Saturday. Eastern enters the game as champions of the always tough 7th Region and many people expect Eastern to be playing in the Sweet Sixteen championship game. The Eagles have a balanced offensive attack and their flaws are few and far between. They are led in scoring by 6'3" senior Chris Dowe who scores 14.2 points a game. Dowe also leads the team in blocks (42) and is second in rebounds (153), assists (70) and steals (47). Junior Delquan Thomas adds 13.2 points and sophomore Remy Abell adds 11.2.

Corbin won the 13th Region and comes into the game with only three losses on the season. Two of those losses came in December and the Redhounds are 26-1 since December 21st. Corbin gets 16.1 points from Madison Johnson and 14.4 from Josh Crawford. The Redhounds like to play a tough pressure, man-to-man defense to go along with their high scoring offensive attack.

My Thoughts: This has the potential to be the game of the day as both teams are very good. Corbin has the size to matchup with Eastern, but they will have to find ways to overcome the Eagles' athleticism. This game could go either way and will almost certainly be a treat for those in attendance.

Prediction: I expect a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle in this game. My heart wants me to go with the mountain team, but it is just too hard to go against Eastern. The Eagles went 30-2 in the 7th Region and have to be considered one of the favorites to win the whole tournament. I'm going to take Eastern in a nail-biter.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Central vs. Graves Co.

Game 3: Central (16-14) vs. Graves County (23-9) 6:30 p.m.

The night session of the tournament's first day kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with Central taking on Graves County. Graves County close the season out with a nice stretch of winning ten of their last eleven games. The champions from the 1st Region average slightly under 60 points a game and when they lost this season, it was generally because they had trouble scoring. The Eagles have a balanced scoring attack that is led by senior guard Tevin Hill and his 11.8 points a game.

Central comes into the Sweet Sixteen at 16-14, but their record is very deceiving. They lost the first 8 games of the season when they were playing without football players. Since the arrival of the football athletes, the Yellowjackets have gone 16-6. They finished the season up with eight wins in their last nine games. Central relies on the strong inside presence of Kentucky Wildcat football signee Ridge Wilson. The solid 6'4" senior averages 14.7 points a game and is a difficult assignment to keep off the boards. Senior guard Alex Morrison is Central's top scorer at 15.4 points a game.

My Thoughts: I think Central will be a little too athletic for Graves County. Graves County is the lowest rated team in the tournament according to Cantrall's ratings and they will have their hands full with Ridge Wilson down low. Central is a much better team than their record would indicate.

Prediction: I am going with Central to win this game by double figures.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: Grayson Co. vs. Adair Co.

Game 2: Grayson County (25-6) vs. Adair County (26-7) 1:30 p.m.

In the second game of the Sweet Sixteen, Grayson County from the 3rd Region will do battle with Adair County from the 5th. Adair County should create problems down low with their nice size advantage. The Indians have three starters averaging in double figures and another that averages 9.0 points per game. They are led by future Morehead State Eagle Darren Ballou. The 6'7" Ballou leads the team with 19.1 points a game. He is an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker, as well. The guard tandem of seniors Corey Helm and Nick Fudge add 10.6 and 10.8 points per game, respectively.

Grayson County is known for playing smart fundamental basketball. They excel in taking care of the ball and making good decisions throughout the course of a game. The Cougars are led junior guard Travis Johnston, who averages 16.8 points and 6.0 assists a game.

My Thoughts: This will be an intriguing first-round matchup. On paper, it would seem that Adair County should advance, but Grayson County does many things correctly that do not show up on stat sheets. The Cougars come into this game as winners of nine in a row and are playing good basketball at the right time. Still, I expect Ballou to take the game over in crunch time and lead Adair County to the second round.

Prediction: I think it will be a great game, but Ballou will be too much of a force down low. I'm taking Adair County in this one.

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Preview: West Jessamine vs. Hazard

Game 1: West Jessamine (26-8) vs. Hazard (26-8) Noon

In the first game of the tournament, West Jessamine from the 12th Region will be taking on Hazard from the 14th. West Jessamine lacks size and like to move the ball up-and-down in a transition game. They are led by junior guard Jarrod Polson who averages 19.9 points, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals a game. The Colts also rely on a nice contribution from 6'3" senior Jonathan Rehner, who goes for 12.2 points a game. This will be the first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen for the Colts.

Hazard is the classic small school playing in the big tournament. The 14th Region school has an enrollment of 286 students. The Bulldogs are led by legendary 14th Region coach Al Holland, who will be coaching in the Sweet Sixteen for the ninth time. Hazard will have a bigger lineup than West Jessamine with 6'5" senior Justin Jones playing down low. The scoring leader for Hazard is junior guard Josh Whitaker with 15.6 point a game.

My Thoughts: I expect similar styles of play in this game. Both teams like the transition game and they should provide plenty of excitement. There will most likely be early-game jitters, but both teams will settle down and be very competitive.

Prediction: I'll take Hazard to win the game in a close one

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kentucky Trips UNLV Late to Win in NIT

Kentucky 70

NIT First Round

The Kentucky Wildcats (21-13) appeared ready to run away with the game, but then UNLV heated up from the outside and managed to cut Kentucky's twenty-point lead down to only three in the second half. Down three, with the ball, a UNLV perimeter player was inadvertently tripped by Kentucky freshman Darius Miller. The UNLV player fell to the floor and lost the ball out of bounds. The officials failed to call the foul and Kentucky closed the game out with a basket that triggered a late run.

Kentucky was led by Jodie Meeks with 19 points. Patrick Patterson contributed a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Perry Stevenson added 10 for the Wildcats.

UNLV (21-11) picked up 14 points from guard Wink Adams. Joe Darger scored 11 points, include three from long range. The Rebels were 10-33 from the three-point line for the game and only 11-21 from inside the arc.

The Wildcats shot 50% from the field and had 20 assists on their 26 made field goals. Kentucky advances to face the winner of tomorrow night's game between Creighton and Bowling Green. If Creighton wins, the Cats will travel to Creighton. If Bowling Green pulls the upset, the game will be in Lexington.

My Thoughts: The Cats showed signs of inspired basketball that we haven't seen in a long while for a period of time in the second half. Shortly after that, they gave the momentum to UNLV and allowed the Rebels to nearly get the comeback win. UNLV started nailing long range shots and Kentucky failed to make any defensive adjustments. I am happy to see the Cats get a win tonight, but this is still not a very good team. I look for them to have a tough time on the road at Creighton (assuming there's no upset). On a side note, the atmosphere was electric in Memorial Coliseum tonight. It was loud and had a very nice feel throughout the game.

Game Recap from ESPN

Box Score from ESPN

Related Articles:

Alan Cutler Reports That Billy Gillispie Has Been Fired

Some Thoughts from the UNLV Folks

Derrick Jasper is Staying in Vegas

President Barack Obama Has Louisville in the Final Four

President Obama filled out a bracket for ESPN and his Final Four is:

(1) Louisville
(2) Memphis
(1) North Carolina
(1) Pittsburgh

"President Obama made his picks as a sports fan, not as a politician," (Andy) Katz said. "He was knowledgeable about the teams and was even up to date on the latest injuries involving the contenders. He was confident with his picks and delivered an on-camera pep talk for the team he picked to win it all. It was clear that he enjoyed filling out his bracket like the rest of America."

Article from ESPN

Morehead State Earns an NCAA Tournament Win

Morehead State 58
Alabama State 43

NCAA Opening Round

The Morehead State Eagles have picked up an NCAA Tournament win in their first NCAA appearance in 25 years. The Eagles seemed to be in control of the game from the tip and the outcome was never seriously in doubt. Kenneth Faried dominated the paint and virtually eliminated Alabama State's seven-footer Chief Kickingstallionsims.

Faried led Morehead State (20-15) with his 24th double-double of the season. He finished with 14 points and 21 rebounds. The Eagles picked up 14 points and 8 rebounds from senior Leon Buchanan. Maze Stallworth chipped in 11 points and Demonte Harper contributed 10.

Alabama State (22-10) was led by Andrew Hayles with 14 points, but he was only 5-17 from the field. Brandon Brooks added 10 points but he also struggled from the field, shooting 5-13.

Morehead State controlled the glass in out-rebounding the Hornets 47-26. The Eagles had 13 assists on 18 made field goals.

Morehead advances to the 16-seed position to face overall number-one seed Louisville on Friday night. That game will also be played in Dayton.

My Thoughts: Morehead State looked very good tonight. They didn't shoot the ball great (36%), but they dominated the paint and simply out-hustled Alabama State. Kenneth Faried is a game-changing performer and a monster in the paint. I love a player that works his tail off and actually goes to get the ball, rather than just hoping it bounces in his direction. As an MSU alum, I'm very pleased. Watch out Cardinals!

ESPN Game Recap

ESPN Box Score

Related Links:

Nice Article About Morehead State's Kenneth Faried

Morehead State In the NCAA Tournament

Alan Cutler Reports That Billy Gillispie Has Been Fired

Alan Cutler of LEX18 reported this evening that Billy Gillispie is coaching his last game tonight. I can find no confirmation of this and I have seen no official announcements. It has been reported that he made these statements during the 5:00 p.m. newscast, but retracted a little during the 5:30 edition.

It would seem that Cutler either broke a story that he was supposed to keep quiet or he jumped the gun a little and reported a false story. Stay tuned...

LEX18 Website

UPDATE: I watched the video and Cutler said that Seth Davis has an inside source that tells him "the decision has already been made to fire Billy Gillispie..."

Go here and watch the video on the right

Morehead State In the NCAA Tournament

Morehead State (19-15) vs. Alabama State (22-9)

NCAA First Round

When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dayton, Ohio
Television: ESPN
How They Got In: Morehead State (OVC Tournament Champions); Alabama State (SWAC Tournament Champions)
At Stake: NCAA First Round victory and opportunity to play against top seed Louisville

The Morehead State Eagles and Alabama State will open the NCAA Tournament tonight in Dayton. For the Eagles, this will be their first NCAA Tournament game in 25 years. Alabama State's last appearance was five years ago.

Alabama State will be led by Brandon Brooks, who averages 13.8 points and 6.8 assists.

Morehead State will rely on OVC Defensive Player of the Year Kenneth Faried and senior forward Leon Buchanan.

Tonight's winner will move on to play overall number one seed Louisville on Friday night. That game will also be played in Dayton.

ESPN Game Preview

Morehead State Basketball

Check out the Eagles as they prepare for the Big Dance

Nice Article About Morehead State's Kenneth Faried

The Morehead State Eagles will have a national ESPN audience tonight as they take on Alabama State in the NCAA Tournament. One Eagle that has been noticed on a national level is sophomore big-man Kenneth Faried. Faried has jumped onto the national scene by finishing third in the nation in rebounding average and leading the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years.

Mark Story of the Lexington Herald Leader has published a nice article about Faried and his transition from the city of Newark, New Jersey to the hills of Kentucky. Check it out:

Morehead star's family kept him safe

Some Thoughts from the UNLV Folks

First, some Shark Bytes from legendary Runnin Rebel's coach Jerry Tarkanian:

As a college basketball fan, I admire someone that has as much basketball knowledge and experience as Jerry Tarkanian. In his Shark Bytes column in the Las Vegas Sun, the Shark talks about the Kentucky/UNLV game tonight. He recalls some memories of playing against the Cats in the 1980's and his love for former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall. As always, Tarkanian alludes to some of the, how shall we say this, less-than-ethical occurrences from the Wildcats of old. Here is an enjoyable read from Jerry "The Shark" Tarkanian: The Bluegrass State and the Wildcats

Then, there is this wasted space that made its way to the Las Vegas Sun:

Here is the opening sentence of an article by Rob Miech that can only be classified as off-base: I will not be surprised if C.M. Newton sends limousines for Kentucky players tonight to transport them from their dorms or apartments to Memorial Coliseum.

This "author" (used loosely in this instance) feels that former Kentucky athletics director C.M. Newton took care of the Cats by giving them a home game they did not deserve. He throws in there this great statement: "In these parts, they take care of their own." He adds that it's difficult to tell how the Cats will be supported tonight. Well, guess what Rob, the game is sold out and you can prepare yourself for a lesson in spelling:

"C-A-T-S... Cats! Cats! Cats!"

Check out this great piece of writing: Newton takes care of UK by making UNLV travel

2009 AP High School All-State Team

AP Player of the Year: Jon Hood, Madisonville-North Hopkins

First Team All-State:

Jon Hood, Madisonville-North Hopkins
Jonathan Ferguson, Elliott County
Vee Sanford, Lexington Catholic
Richie Phares, Scott County
Elijah Pittman, Covington Holmes

Second Team All-State:

Elisha Justice, Shelby Valley
Ricardo Johnson, Covington Holmes
Chad Jackson, Scott County
Ethan Faulkner, Elliott County
Josh Crawford, Corbin
C.J. Penny, Anderson County

Honorable mention:

Darren Ballou, Adair Co.; Aaron Cosby, Lou. Jeffersontown; Tate Cox, Knott Central; Chris Dowe, Lou. Eastern; Dakotah Euton, Scott Co.; Ge-Lawn Guyn, Scott Co.; Cameron Hall, Glasgow; Madison Johnson, Corbin; Timmy Knipp, Elliott Co.; Daniel Linder, Central Hardin; Russ Middleton, Mason Co.; Cody Miller, Knox Central; Eric Mosley, Lou. Moore; Demarco Phillips, Bardstown; Matt St. John, South Laurel; Josh Smith, Corbin; Robbie Stenzel, Clark Co.; James David Strange, Pineville; Corey Wilford, Christian Co.; Aaron Wilson, Fulton City; Vinny Zollo, George Rogers Clark

Happy St. Patrick's Day Basketball Fans

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on March 17.

The day is the national holiday of Ireland. It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Montserrat. In Canada, Great Britain, Australia, the United States, and New Zealand, it is widely celebrated but is not an official holiday.

St. Patrick's feast day was placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early part of the 17th century, although the feast day was celebrated in the local Irish church from a much earlier date. St. Patrick's Day is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. The feast day usually falls during Lent; if it falls on a Friday of Lent (unless it is Good Friday), the obligation to abstain from eating meat can be lifted by the local bishop. The church calendar avoids the observance of saints' feasts during certain solemnities, moving the saint's day to a time outside those periods. St. Patrick's Day is very occasionally affected by this requirement. Thus when March 17 falls during Holy Week, as in 1940 when St. Patrick's Day was observed on April 3 in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday, and again in 2008, having been observed on 15 March.

Source: Wikipedia

On This Day In Kentucky Basketball History:

Kentucky vs. Duke: On March 17, 1978 Kentucky’s Jack ''Goose'' Givens put on one of the finest individual performances in NCAA Championship history and led the Kentucky Wildcats past the Duke Blue Devils 94 to 88 for the school’s fifth NCAA title.

Other Basketball History on March 17:

1988 Loyola-Marymont 119, Wyoming 115 (Was highest scoring game ever until last week's Big East Tournament)

More Notable Events on March 17:

1997 CNN begins Spanish broadcasts
1995 U.S. approves 1st chicken pox vaccine, Varivax by Merck
1969 Golda Meir becomes Israel's 4th Prime Minister
1966 U.S. submarine locates missing H-bomb in Mediterranean
1959 Dalai Lama flees Tibet for India

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Bright Idea for the NIT

I have been pondering a way to make the National Invitational Tournament actually mean something. The way things are currently, the NIT invites 32 teams that the NCAA Tournament closed the door on. For the true basketball junkie or dedicated fan, it is still an interesting tournament albeit a far cry from the Big Dance. Outside that circle of basketball crazies, however, the NIT goes on barely noticed.

As a Kentucky Wildcat fan, I have never spent a great deal of time being concerned about anything other than the NCAA Tournament. That thought process has shifted a little this season as the Wildcats have had a very discouraging season and will find themselves hosting an NIT game tomorrow night. Like any True Blue fan would do, I started developing ways that would have still given Kentucky a chance to make the Big Dance. I came up with this little plan that would serve a dual purpose. First, it would make the NIT interesting and give it some validity and value. Secondly, it would leave me with a little hope and give my Cats another opportunity to make the NCAA tourney.

Here is my Einstein-esque plan:

I think there should be no changes made to the conference season and tournaments. When the conference tournaments conclude, I think Selection Sunday should continue as planned. The only changes I make here are to scrap the play-in game and only select 60 teams. The 60 teams will consist of conference tourney champions, NCAA locks and the top-tier bubble teams. There will be four spots left blank on the 64-team bracket. There will be a 10-seed, a 12-seed and two 13-seed spots left open; or something along those lines.

Immediately following the NCAA Selection Show, the national audience tunes in to the NIT Selection Show. The NIT Selection Committee chooses 32 teams consisting of regular season conference champions that did not win their tournaments and all NCAA bubble teams that failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

Are you with me so far?

Ok, now 92 teams have been selected, including all conference regular season and tournament champions, all NCAA locks and all bubble teams. This selection method would actually get every bubble team and even a few that would be less-than-deserving into post-season play.

Beginning the Tuesday after the selection shows, the NIT tips off at the higher-seeded campus sites. The tournament is played as it is now, with a twist. The four teams that make it to Madison Square Garden not only compete for the NIT Championship, but also earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NIT Championship team will earn the empty 10-seed slot in the NCAA Tournament. The runner-up will be placed in the 12-seed position. The other two semifinalists will be pushed into the two remaining slots - perhaps as 13-seeds.

The following week, on Thursday, the NCAA Tournament tips off as always.

The advantages I can think of in this proposed plan:

- All bubble teams will have a fair opportunity to play their way into the NCAA Tournament
- All conference regular season and tournament champions earn at least a chance, making the regular season games even more important
- The NIT becomes critical and increases in popularity
- The tournament would actually consist of 64 quality teams that earned the right to be there
- More television exposure for teams that would be left out using the current system
- More quality, or at least important, basketball games for the fans
- Less is more with Lunardi and the other "Bracketologists"
- No complaining by Dick Vitale that ______ was totally overlooked and wronged
- Teams like Kentucky this year would still have a shot, even though they had a disappointing season

Potential disadvantages:

- There would be a week-long delay before the NCAA Tournament would begin
- If the NIT Champion were to make a magical NCAA run, they could potentially play 11 extra games which could be pushing it
- There would still be bickering about the original at-large teams and the teams that felt they deserved to make the original cut
- *The NIT just becomes another part of the NCAA tournament and loses its own prestige. The NIT would no longer be its own entity.
- *Playing this many games would give teams with depth a definate competitive advantage.

Well, that's my brainstorm for the week. What are your thoughts on this idea?
* Thanks to Westsider on for adding these thoughts!

Derrick Jasper is Staying in Vegas

( UNLV's Runnin Rebel Lodge)

According to Jerry Tipton, Derrick Jasper will not be travelling to Lexington with his UNLV teammates. That's unfortunate as I was hoping to thank him for ruining Kentucky's season. Did I say that out loud? Just kidding Derrick, I'll be cheering for you to do well next season.

Problems With Kentucky Wildcats: Coaching or Talent?

The Advocate Messenger's Larry Vaught takes a look at the Kentucky Wildcats basketball program and dives into a discussion of what has been going wrong lately. Vaught feels that Kentucky'd administration must decide if what is wrong and make some critical decisions for the program's future. Here is article from Larry Vaught:

Vaught's Views: Coaching or talent? UK administrators must decide what's wrong

I have pulled a few interesting quotes from the article.

Albert Jackson of the Georgia Bulldogs:

"It's not a secret how to beat Kentucky. I think they understand it, too. It's just one of those things they can't do anything about because of the talent they have. They really only have two good players (Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks)," said Georgia senior Albert Jackson, a Kentucky native.

"Besides Patterson, the rest of Kentucky's players are not as physical as Gillispie would like or he needs for the style of play he likes. That's why he is out recruiting hard to get people that fit his style of play and can help immediately because they need help inside," Jackson said. "Patterson can't do it all by himself like he has had to do this year. I can see that easily, so I am sure coach Gillispie knows it."

Former Kentucky Player Bobby Perry:

"I think they should have more wins," former player Bobby Perry said after watching the Cats lose to LSU in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Tampa Friday. "There are games we just gave away. We know for a fact the Georgia game and VMI game, we were better. There were other games where we just got our tails smashed.

"I think we definitely could have a better record, and should have. Everybody would agree with that. The talent is not that bad."

Junior Wildcat forward Ramon Harris:

"The last few weeks have been embarrassing. We have lost games we should have won. We just didn't play very well, or like you would expect Kentucky to play," Harris said.

Memorial Coliseum Sold Out for NIT Game

I think its a true testament to the Big Blue Nation that Memorial Coliseum is sold out for the NIT first-round game against UNLV. It would be difficult to find a fan base that cares more for its team than Kentucky's fans.

Kentucky Signee Jon Hood Named AP Player of the Year

Kentucky signee Jon Hood has been named Kentucky's AP Player of the Year. The 6-foot-6 swingman averaged 29.4 points and 12.9 rebounds a game for Madinsonville-North Hopkins this season.

Shelby Valley head coach Jason Booher was selected as the AP Coach of the Year. Booher has led his team to a 30-4 record and a 15th Region Championship.

Article from WLEX TV

John Clay's Poll About Billy Gillispie's Grade

John Clay over at the Lexington Herald Leader ran an online poll titled:

What grade would you give Billy Gillispie this year?

The results:

A - 13 votes
B - 13
C - 67
D - 136
F - 164

Visit John Clay's Blog

My Thoughts: How did Coach Gillispie find 26 different computers to vote from? Ok, I'm kidding, but I can't see how anyone could seriously give anything about this season an "A" or "B".

Jodie Meeks Named Second Team All-American by USBWA

Jodie Meeks has became Kentucky's first USBWA All-American since Tayshaun Prince in 2001. Meeks was heading for a first team spot, in my opinion, but that was lost when Kentucky took a late-season slide. It is still very nice to have a Wildcat back on the All-America Team:

USBWA Announcement

Jodie Meeks of Kentucky led the SEC in scoring in earning all-conference honors. His 54-point game vs. Tennessee on Jan. 13 set a school record. Meeks led the SEC with 24.2 points per game and shot 89.4 percent from the free-throw line to lead the league. He is the first Kentucky player to make the USBWA All-America Team since Tayshaun Prince in 2001.

2008-09 USBWA Men's All-America Team

First Team

DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, F, 6-7, 265, So., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Stephen Curry, Davidson, G, 6-3, 185, Jr., Charlotte, N.C.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, F, 6-10, 251, So., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, F, 6-9, 250, Sr., Poplar Bluff, Mo.
James Harden, Arizona State, G, 6-5, 218, So., Los Angeles, Calif.

Second Team

Sherron Collins, Kansas, G, 5-11, 200, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, F, 6-8, 255, Jr., Schererville, Ind.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky, G, 6-4, 208, Jr., Norcross, Ga.
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest, G, 6-2, 180, So., Indianapolis, Ind.
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, C, 7-3, 263, Jr., Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Some Notes from ESPN's Forde Minutes

I just wanted to pass along a few references made by Pat Forde in his latest edition of Forde Minutes:

The mandatory Ashley Judd reference:

Welcome to Forde Minutes, Big Dance Edition. Sixty-five names, games, teams and minutiae making news in the NCAA tournament (Ashley Judd's (1) NIT tickets sold separately):

Herb Sendek gets Arizona State in the Dance:

"Raising Arizona State." Thanks to the restorative powers of coach Herb Sendek (18) and star James Harden (19), the Sun Devils are back in the Big Dance for the first time since 2003, and just the fourth time since 1981.

A couple of local coaches will be in the NCAA's for the first time:

"No Country for Old Men." Eight guys are taking their clipboards into the tournament for the first time as head coaches: Dino Gaudio of Wake Forest; Greenberg of Radford; Lewis Jackson of Alabama State; Ben Jacobson of Northern Iowa; Ken McDonald of Western Kentucky; Saul Phillips of North Dakota State; Donnie Tyndall of Morehead State; and Buzz Williams of Marquette

The slap to Kentucky's face:

"Intolerable Cruelty." It's bad enough for Kentucky fans to be on the outside looking in for the first time in 18 years. It's far worse to have bitter rival Louisville among the favorites to win it all under their former coach, Rick Pitino (25).

Some Louisville hype:

Louisville (29). Cardinals fans have been waiting for a team this good since Pitino became their coach in 2001 and shot expectations into the stratosphere. The 2005 team overachieved to reach the Final Four; the current Cards could win it. (Four Pitino teams have been No. 1 NCAA seeds and most lived up to the billing -- one national champion, one runner-up, another Final Four team and a regional finalist.)

The Slipper reference for Western Kentucky:

Western Kentucky (44). Not even a coaching change from Darrin Horn to McDonald could interrupt the winning in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers make hay with veteran guards Orlando Mendez-Valdez and A.J. Slaughter and have the experience of a Sweet Sixteen run a year ago.

It's been a long time for Morehead State:

Morehead State (53). Last time the Eagles were in: 1984. Since then they've had six 20-loss seasons and been through four coaching changes before Tyndall arrived to work magic at his alma mater.

Earl Clark is ready to bust out for the Cardinals:

Earl Clark (57), Louisville. An occasionally maddening talent, the 6-foot-10 junior appears to be on the same flight plan as last season: blowing up in the postseason. If it weren't for Flynn's ironman performance, Clark would have been the MVP of the Big East tourney after averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and 4.7 assists in Madison Square Garden.

Louisville is one of the nine teams that can win it:

Louisville. Nobody plays better defense than the Cardinals, who disrupt dribblers with their quick hands and alter shots with their length. Nobody has a more versatile player than senior forward Terrence Williams. Nobody has the perfect player to match up with Clark. And nobody has a better tournament coach than Pitino.

The team that WILL win it is:

Louisville. Pitino becomes the first coach to win NCAA titles at two schools. And the intolerable cruelty only intensifies in Lexington.

My thoughts: Only if the Cardinals get past Morehead State! (Go Eagles!!!)

Pat Forde's Minutes

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kentucky Native Darrin Horn Finalist for Jim Phelan Award

Kentucky native Darrin Horn has been named as a finalist for the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year Award. Horn is currently the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Horn led the Gamecocks to a 21-8 record in his first season at the helm. He coached at Western Kentucky University for five seasons before moving on to South Carolina. Horn's career coaching record is 132-56.

Darrin Horn's Coaching Record:

1) Western Kentucky 15-13
2) Western Kentucky 22-9 (NIT 2nd Round)
3) Western Kentucky 23-8 (NIT 1st Round)
4) Western Kentucky 22-11
5) Western Kentucky 29-7 (NCAA Sweet Sixteen)
6) South Carolina 21-8 (NIT)

Jim Phelan Award Announcement

Darrin Horn Postseason Basketball Tournament Announced

I'm passing this along for three reasons:

1) I'm a huge basketball fan
2) There's an OVC team in the field and I'm an OVC fan
3) Former Kentucky Wildcat Kyle Macy is on the Selection Committee Postseason Tournament Schedule

Tuesday, March 17

Rider (19-12) @ Liberty (22-11)
Kent State (19-14) @ Oakland (22-12)

Wednesday March 18

The Citadel (20-12) @ Old Dominion (21-10)
Mount St. Mary's (19-13) @ James Madison (19-14)
Austin Peay (19-13) @ Bradley (18-14)
Belmont (19-12) @ Evansville (17-13)
Portland (19-12) @ Pacific (19-12)
Drake (17-15) @ Idaho (16-15)

· The first round will be played on Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18.· Quarterfinal games will be played on Monday, March 23.· Semifinal games will be played on Wednesday, March 25.· Championship game played on Tuesday, March 31.

Here are some thoughts from Kyle Macy
Here is the selection committee

Bellarmine Rolls Into NCAA DII Sweet Sixteen

Bellarmine 92
Lake Superior St. 83

NCAA Division II Tournament 2nd Round

The Bellarmine Knights (26-6) extended their school record for most wins in a season with a victory over Lake Superior State in the second round of the NCAA DII Tournament. The Knights were led by Chartrael Hall, who tied his career high with 27 points, and Justin Benedetti, who set a new career high with 25 points. Braydon Hobbs added 18 points in the victory.

Lake Superior State (22-9) was led by Scott Perkins with 19 points and Mark Morse with 18.

Bellarmine advances to the Sweet Sixteen, where they will face top-seeded Findlay (32-0) on Tuesday night. Findlay is ranked #1 in NCAA Division II basketball and Bellarmine is #18.

Box Score

Game Recap

Complete NIT Field Announced

I never thought I would have to fill out NIT Brackets this season, but I'm obligated as a Kentucky fan. Here is the complete 32-team field:

(1) San Diego St. (23-9)
(8) Weber St. (21-9)
(4) Kansas St. (21-11)
(5) Illinois St. (24-9)
(3) South Carolina (21-9)
(6) Davidson (26-7)
(2) St. Mary's (26-6)
(7) Washington St. (17-15)

(1) Auburn (22-11)
(2) UT-Martin (22-9)
(4) Tulsa (24-10)
(5) Northwestern (17-13)
(3) Baylor (20-14)
(6) Georgetown (16-14)
(2) Virginia Tech (18-14)
(7) Duquesne (21-12)

(1) Creighton (26-7)
(8) Bowling Green (19-13)
(4) Kentucky (20-13)
(5) UNLV (21-10)
(3) New Mexico (21-11)
(6) Nebraska (18-12)
(2) Notre Dame (18-14)
(7) UAB (22-11)

(1) Florida (23-10)
(8) Jacksonville (18-13)
(4) Miami, FL (18-12)
(5) Providence (19-13)
(3) Niagara (26-8)
(6) Rhode Island (22-10)
(2) Penn State (22-11)
(7) George Mason (22-10)

NIT Brackets

Kentucky To Host UNLV in NIT Tuesday Night

Just announced...

The Cats will play host to UNLV on Tuesday. The game has a 9:30 p.m. tipoff time. It will be televised by ESPN.

It's Official - Kentucky is Headed to the NIT

The NCAA has selected its field and Kentucky is not invited. The Wildcats will be announced in the NIT field tonight at 9:00 p.m. on ESPNU.

Breaking News: NCAA Tournament Selection Show

Western Kentucky: #12 seed; South Region; vs. Illinois

Louisville: Overall #1 seed; Midwest Region; vs. Morehead State/Alabama State

Morehead State: Play-in game, Midwest Region; vs. Alabama State

Kentucky to the NIT...


(1) Louisville
(16) Alabama St/Morehead St.
(8) Ohio State
(9) Siena
(5) Utah
(12) Arizona
(4) Wake Forest
(13) Cleveland St.
(6) West Virginia
(11) Dayton
(3) Kansas
(14) North Dakota St.
(7) Boston College
(10) USC
(2) Michigan State
(15) Robert Morris


(1) Connecticut
(16) Chattanooga
(8) BYU
(9) Texas A&M
(5) Purdue
(12) Northern Iowa
(4) Washington
(13) Mississippi State
(6) Marquette
(11) Utah State
(3) Missouri
(14) Cornell
(7) California
(10) Maryland
(2) Memphis
(15) Cal. St. Northridge


(1) North Carolina
(16) Radford
(8) LSU
(9) Butler
(5) Illinois
(12) Western Kentucky
(4) Gonzaga
(13) Akron
(6) Arizona State
(11) Temple
(3) Syracuse
(14) Stephen F. Austin
(7) Clemson
(10) Michigan
(2) Oklahoma
(15) Morgan State


(1) Pittsburgh
(16) East Tennessee State
(8) Oklahoma State
(9) Tennessee
(5) Florida State
(12) Wisconsin
(4) Xavier
(13) Portland State
(6) UCLA
(11) Virginia Commonwealth
(3) Villanova
(14) American Univ.
(7) Texas
(10) Minnesota
(2) Duke
(15) Binghamton

Kentucky Players Have Billy Gillispie's Back

There is an intriguing article in the Courier Journal today where several Kentucky players offer support for embattled head coach Billy Gillispie. In a sea of negativity that has engulfed the Kentucky program, it is interesting to hear some of the comments made by Michael Porter and Patrick Patterson.

"I think Coach has done a great job," Porter stated. "I think he's done everything he could have possibly done. It's all on us."

"If the fans think they can coach, come out one game and try," Patterson said. "Coach knows what he's talking about. He's the person who knows the most about basketball. He knows what he's doing out there.

Find the rest of the article here:

UK players back Gillispie

Bellarmine Knights Advance in NCAA Division II Tournament

Bellarmine 76
Kentucky Wesleyan 65

NCAA DII First Round

Bellarmine (25-6) held off Kentucky Wesleyan to advance to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Bellarmine jumped out to a nine-point halftime lead and never looked back in the victory. The Knights were led by Nick Holmes with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Justin Benedetti came up big with 18 points. Braydon Hobbs and Kevin Allen chipped in 11 points, each. Hobbs added 7 of the team's 16 total assists.

Kentucky Wesleyan finishes its season at 19-9. The Panthers picked up 24 points from T.J. Smith and 15 from Trey Harris.

Bellarmine advances to play Lake Superior State in the second round. The Knights set a school record for most wins in a season. The win was the team's first in the NCAA tournament for the since 1989.

Box Score

Game Recap

Complete NCAA DII Bracket

Blog Archive