Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kentucky Gets The Big Easy Win Over Wake Forest


(1) Kentucky 90
(9) Wake Forest 60

NCAA Tournament Second Round

Game recap by AllKYHoops.com:

Kentucky (34-2) looked the part of an impressive No. 1 seed in tonight's 30-point dismantling of Wake Forest.

The game went back-and-forth early and the score was tied at the 11:23 mark. Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins hit a short jumper to give UK a 21-19. Cousins' basket started a 25-9 run that sent the Wildcats into the halftime locker room with a 44-28 lead.

Wake Forest (20-11) was never able to mount a serious run as Kentucky rolled to an impressive second round victory.

Darius Miller led the way for Kentucky with a career-high 20 points on 7-9 shooting. He also pulled down a game-high 9 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 8 rebounds. John Wall contributed 14 points and 7 assists.

The Demon Deacons picked up 16 points and 8 rebounds from Al-Farouq Aminu.

Kentucky shot a blistering 38-63 (60.3%) from the field and won the rebounding battle 38-29. Wake Forest was only 21-64 (32.8%) from the field and 2-15 (13.3%) from long distance.

One problem area for Kentucky tonight was a lack of focus at the free throw line. The Cats were only 7-17 (41.2%) from the charity stripe.

With the victory, Kentucky advances to next week's Sweet 16, where they will do battle with the winner of Cornell and Wisconsin.

Mark Krebs with one of the many Wildcat highlights on the night (via WildcatWorld.com):




AP Photo: John Bazemore

Shelby Valley Brings Championship Back to the Mountains



Shelby Valley 73
Ballard 61

KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Championship Game

The Shelby Valley Wildcats have won the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen with a 73-61 victory over Ballard.

Ballard made a run to cut the Wildcats' lead to 3 late in the game, but were never able to get any closer.

Ashley Hatfield led the way for Shelby Valley with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Tournament MVP Elisha Justice and Taylor Newsome each added 17 points.

Ian Chiles led Ballard with 23 points.

Kentucky Bisons Win ABA Eastern Conference


The Kentucky Bisons defeated the Bluegrass Stallions 100-91 last night to capture the ABA's Eastern Conference championship.

The Bisons will advance to the championship series starting Tuesday against Southeast Texas. It will be a rematch from last season's ABA championship series, which was won by the Bisons.

Mike Wells led the Bisons with a season-high 33 points.

Scoring:

BISONS 100

Wells 33, James 17, Jones 16, Jackson 13, Grant 11, Eichelberger 3, Stockton 3, Owen 3, Haymon 1.

STALLIONS 91

Harris 18, Brown 15, Obrzut 12, Taylor 12, Murrell 8, McLeash 7, Dialls 7, Turner 5, Perry 4, Moss 3.

Daniel Orton Discusses Loyalty and Sacrifice at Kentucky



NewOrleans.com has a nice article about Kentucky freshman Daniel Orton and the story of his loyalty and sacrifice at Kentucky.

Here is an excerpt:

After a game this season, Calipari asked Orton a series of questions as he stood in front of his teammates in the winning Wildcats’ locker room.

Calipari: “Daniel, when you were recruited here, what did (Gillispie and his staff) tell you?

Orton: “They told me I would start.’’

Calipari: “Did they tell you that you’d be the man?

Orton: “Yes, they did.’’

Calipari then turned to his team. “Now all of a sudden, guys, he’s playing behind DeMarcus Cousins, and, you know what, all he’s done is helped our team.’ ’’

Complete Article

Breaking News: Down Goes No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks!

The No. 1 ranked and top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks have been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Northern Iowa.

Northern Iowa played the perfect game in defeating the Jayhawks 69-67.

The Kentucky Wildcat are now the top-rated team remaining in the NCAA Tournament. The Cats battle Wake Forest in second round action later tonight.

Dream Run Ends for Racers in Heartbreaking Fashion


(5) Butler 54
(13) Murray State 52

NCAA Tournament Second Round

Game recap by MSU:


Murray State got awfully close to a second straight bracket-busting upset before falling to Butler 54-52 Saturday at HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., in the NCAA Tournament West Regional.

The loss ended the Racers' run in the NCAA Tournament West Regional at 1-1 after their win two days ago over Vanderbilt.

Ronald Nored's three-point play snapped a tie with 25.4 seconds left, and Butler narrowly evaded a second stunner by the 13th-seeded Racers in three days, advancing to the regional semifinals.

The fifth-seeded Bulldogs (30-4), who extended the nation's longest winning streak to 22 games and the Racers ended their season 31-5, with a school and Ohio Valley Conference record for wins in a single-season.

"Give Butler a lot of credit, they have a great program and they did what they had to do to win the game," MSU head coach Billy Kennedy said. "We had way too many turnovers and didn't make our free throws."

Complete Recap

Louisville Ends Tough Season With Disappointing Loss


(8) California 77
(9) Louisville 62

NCAA Tournament First Round

Game recap by U of L:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -California's distractions seem about as distant now as the Pacific Ocean.

That disappointing loss in the Pac-10 tournament? Getting sent across the country to open the NCAA tournament? The suspension of a starter?

The Golden Bears overcame them all - and showed even more resiliency in the first round against Louisville.

Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson - Cal's senior stars - stole the show, carrying the eighth-seeded Bears to a 77-62 victory over the No. 9 seed Friday night and advancing to the second round for the first time since 2003.

Randle and Robertson scored 21 points apiece, Christopher added 17 and the Bears (24-10) responded to everything the Cardinals (20-13) could muster in the South Regional game at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Their reward? No. 1 seed Duke on Sunday.

The Bears don't want to think about that one just yet. They'd rather savor this victory. There was plenty to enjoy, too.

They jumped out to an 18-point lead, watched Louisville whittle it down to six, then pulled back out front by 14. They watched that lead get cut to 62-58 with 6:55 remaining, then stepped on the gas for good. Cal finished the game on a 15-4 run.

Rakeem Buckles led Louisville with 20 points. Samardo Samuels added 16.

But the inconsistent Cardinals had no answers early and even less late. Coach Rick Pitino tried to foul Max Zhang in the final minutes, attempting to send the 50-percent free throw shooter to the line, but officials called Kyle Kuric for an intentional foul that got the coach's blood boiling and led to a technical.

Randle and Zhang made their free throws, ending any thoughts of a late comeback.

Cal shot 51 percent from the field, even better from 3-point range (53.3 percent) and made 17 of 22 free throws. But the real damage came in the opening minutes.

The game was delayed 19 minutes because of a malfunctioning shot clock, but once it started, the Cardinals looked like the ones who needed repairs. They missed 11 of their first 13 shots and had no answer for the hot-shooting Bears.

Cal connected on seven of its first 10 shots, including four of six from 3-point range, and opened an 18-point lead with a little more than 6 minutes gone in the game.

Christopher, taking advantage of so much attention on Randle, hit three from behind the arc. Jamal Boykin dropped a couple of jumpers, Robertson chipped in five points and, all of a sudden, no one was questioning whether Cal would miss suspended forward Omondi Amoke.

Amoke was "temporarily suspended" for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Coach Mike Montgomery went with a three-guard lineup, starting Jorge Gutierrez. The move paid off, as Gutierrez hit a couple shots and dished out four assists in the first half.

Louisville, meanwhile, couldn't seem to do anything right.

The Cardinals had three turnovers in their first eight possessions, got called for an intentional foul and even had a band member yelling, "Don't be afraid to score."

Pitino even seemed to get into a heated confrontation with an assistant coach during one timeout. Pitino was equally short-tempered with his players.

But they responded. After trailing 22-4, the Cards started getting to loose balls, creating turnovers, grabbing offensive rebounds and hitting 3s.

They really got things turned around with a 12-0 run that made it 30-24 with 6:48 remaining in the half. Edgar Sosa hit a jumper in the lane, Buckles got a steal and a layup, Samuels got an easy one in the paint and then Jared Swopshire and Buckles hit 3-pointers.

But Cal cranked it back up. Randle made two free throws, Christopher hit a 12-footer and then Randle drained a long-range 3 at the buzzer. He missed his first two shots from behind the arc, but this one swished the net and had Louisville's players shaking their heads as they headed to the locker room.

They never really recovered.

Wake Forest Devastated This Texas Fan

Keep an Eye on Chas McFarland Tonight



Keep an eye on Wake Forest's Chas McFarland tonight.

McFarland is well-known as one of the country's dirtiest players and he figures to lock heads with DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton in tonight's game.

Wake Forest headcoach Dino Gaudio claims he "plays with a lot of passion." Everyone else in the ACC, nation and even ESPN the Magazine call him the dirtiest player in the game.

Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes about McFarland:

In its Feb. 22 edition, ESPN The Magazine featured the Wake big man with a headline that asked "why does everyone, no, really, everyone, want to take a swing at Chas McFarland?"

Everywhere Wake goes on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference, fans boo McFarland. Longtime watchers of that conference say McFarland has become part of an unholy trinity of all-time fan villains that includes J.J. Reddick and Tyler Hansbrough.

The latter two, of course, were college superstars for mega-powers Duke and North Carolina, respectively. McFarland has gotten on that list as a role player simply by being annoying.

"Everywhere we go, people yell and scream at me, tell me how bad I suck," McFarland said Friday. "But they don't boo nobodies, so I must be somebody."


Complete Article

McFarland is so dirty, a Clemson fan recently performed a wrestling move on him:

Touching Base with JUCO Forward Ricardo Ratliffe



Ricardo Ratliffe, who was recruited by Kentucky and Louisville at one time, is considered the top-rated JUCO player in the nation.

He announced a list several weeks ago that did not include the Cats or the Cards. I touched base with him yesterday to see if anything has changed.

Ratliffe stated that he has taken visits to Alabama and Arkansas.

He still plans to visit Missouri, Clemson and Cincinnati. He will also take another unofficial visit to Florida.

It is unlikely that Ratliffe will add any other schools to his list.

Day 4: KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Schedule and Picks


Yesterday's 4-0 run makes me 10-2 for the tournament.. My two losses came at the hands of West Jessamine and Butler on Day 2.

Today is semifinal morning and championship night at Rupp Arena.

Here is the schedule for today's KHSAA Sweet Sixteen action and my picks:

Semifinal Round:

10:00 a.m. Ballard (31-4) vs. Scott County (29-6)

There will be so much talent on the court for this one that it will resemble a college game. Ballard has won 16 of 17 and Scott County has won 22 of 23 heading into this morning.

This one is very much a pick 'em. I took Ballard from the start to make it to the finals and I'm not going to veer now.

Pick: Ballard

11:30 a.m. Shelby Valley (30-4) vs. Mason County (25-6)

Again, it will almost be impossible for this one to be a bad game. Shelby Valley has looked as good as anyone the last two days and boast Mr. Basketball candidate Elisha Justice. I watched Mason County at a holiday tournament and actually thought they were a little down this season. Coach O'Hearn has done an unbelievable job of getting this team playing at a championship level.

There are two good teams, two good coaches and two talented rosters in this one. I played in the 15th Region and I picked Shelby Valley to win the whole darn thing a few weeks ago. I am sticking to my guns and taking the Wildcats.

Pick: Shelby Valley

Championship Game:

8:00 p.m. Championship Game

I will be out of town this afternoon and will not be able to make an updated pick. Rather than predicting the final game, I'm going to pick my Sweet Sixteen champs:

Pick: Shelby Valley to win it all

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wake Forest Wants to Run Kentucky Out of the Gym



Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu said, “We’re not going to change it up for nobody."

The Demon Deacons are a running team and they feel that they can not only run with the Wildcats, but can also run away from them.

Here is an excerpt from ESPN.com:

“We just have to do what we do, play the way we play, and come out and compete,” Wake Forest senior guard L.D. Williams said. “We can’t go out there in awe. If we do, we’ll get out butts kicked. We know Kentucky’s a good team, but we know we’re a good team as well.”

There was no lack of confidence in the Wake Forest locker room Friday as the once-forgotten-about Deacons –- suddenly revived thanks to Smith’s late-night heroics on Thursday -- prepared to hit the practice floor at New Orleans Arena.

This is the same team that had lost five of six games entering the tournament. But as Smith points out, it’s also the same team that was 18-5 at one point.

“We were the ones everybody was saying could do some damage,” Smith said. “We’re still that team, and now’s the time to do it.”

Complete Article

For the record, my favorite part of this article is:

"Getting into an up-and-down, shoot-'em-up game with Kentucky is like chumming off the coast of South Africa … and doing it while sitting in one of those blowup floats."

Rick Pitino Will Cheer for Two Sports this Weekend



Rick Pitino will coach his Louisville Cardinals in the first and hopefully second round of the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville (Fl.) this weekend.

Basketball will not be the only sport Pitino watches in Florida this weekend, however. Pitino, an avid horse racing fan and owner, has an entry in tomorrow's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park - 338 miles from Jacksonville.

Pitino is part owner of Soaring Empire, an entrant in the $750,000 race. He co-owns the horse with Outback founder Chris Sullivan and Ed and Clinton Glasscock, a father-son duo from Kentucky who are Louisville supporters.

Soaring Empire is considered a long shot at 20-1 odds in the field of 11.

Source

DeMarcus Cousins With Another Great Interview

First, he tried to hide (must have heard Tipton was coming):



When that didn't work, he gave another great interview:



Videos from KentuckyVids' YouTube channel

Tubby Smith Denies Auburn Rumors



Following Minnesota's NCAA Tournament loss this afternoon, head coach Tubby Smith denied reports that he is close to accepting the head coaching position at Auburn University.

Here is an excerpt from SportingNews.com:

"Obviously, that's just talk," Smith said after his team lost 65-54 to Xavier in a first-round NCAA Tournament game here. "I'm very pleased with what we've accomplished [at Minnesota]. I'm pleased with where we are in the program. I'm looking forward to coming back to Minnesota."

Complete Article

Shelvin Mack Leads Butler to NCAA Win Over UTEP



Lexington native Shelvin Mack led the Butler Bulldogs to a 77-59 NCAA first round victory over UTEP.

Mack led all scorers with 25 points on 8-13 shooting, including 7-9 from long distance. He also added 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Butler (29-4) will battle 13-seed Murray State on Saturday.

Mack starred for Bryan Station High School in Lexington.

Photo: IndyStar.com

At Least One Person in Memphis Still Likes Calipari


Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News writes today that there is at least one person in Memphis that does not hate John Calipari.

Here is an excerpt:

Memphis coach Josh Pastner at work. (CommercialAppeal.com)I found him. He’s as rare as Bigfoot, and some people think he’s a myth, but I actually found him.

There really is one person in the city of Memphis who doesn’t want John Calipari to crash and burn as soon as possible in the NCAA Tournament, then later in a much hotter environment.

It’s Josh Pastner.


Complete Article

Photo: CommercialAppeal.com

Brandon Knight to Kentucky?



Jeff Drummond of Kentucky Ink reported last night that Brandon Knight may have already committed to Kentucky, which would seem to solidify rumors from two weeks ago that he is coming to UK.

I just got off the phone with a good friend that is a journalist in the Miami-area and he confirms that the talk of South Florida is Brandon Knight to Kentucky.

He said: "don't expect an official announcement yet, but all parties involved are aware of Knight's intentions."

This is great news for Kentucky and should bring joy to Big Blue Nation when/if it is made official.

On Twitter, Evan Daniels of Scout.com says that while Knight may come to Kentucky, he doesn't feel a commitment has been given at this point:

@EvanDanielscout: Just received my 3rd text asking about a possible Brandon Knight to UK commit. That is completely bogus.

Daniels added: "Just to clarify, I'm not saying he won't eventually go to UK. I'm saying he hasn't made a commitment to anyone."

Photo: ESPN.com

NCAA Tournament: Day 1 Recap and Notes


Day 1 Scores/Notes:

- (7) BYU 99 vs. (10) Florida 92 F/2OT

Florida surprisingly gets into the tournament and then make a non-surprising swift exit. BYU's Jimmer Fredette scored 37 points to lead BYU to the double overtime victory. I will give Florida kudos for fighting back from a late deficit to get the game into the first overtime.

- (11) Old Dominion 51 vs. (6) Notre Dame 50

This is just another in a long line of disappointments for Notre Dame. They finally had a nice season and made the tournament with a respectable seed, then played like garbage and lost. Harangody, on of the greatest players in ND history, scored 4 points on 2-9 shooting.

- (2) Villanova 73 vs. (15) Robert Morris 70 F/OT

Lowly 15-seed Robert Morris took Villanova to overtime before suffering a heart-breaking loss and an historical upset. If you have Villanova going to the Final Four or even the Elite Eight in your bracket, I'm sorry. This team has fallen to pieces late in the season and is a classic example of a team that peaked too soon.

- (13) Murray State 66 vs. (4) Vanderbilt 65

Danero Thomas hit a buzzer-beater to stun the SEC's second-best team. Vanderbilt is officially a terrible NCAA Tournament team. Stallings may be the so-called coach of the year in the SEC, but he is terrible in the postseason. This is a huge win for the Ohio Valley Conference and shows me that teams like Murray State and Morehead State are a little better than many probably thought. This was the upset of the day (up to this point).

- (3) Baylor 68 vs. (14) Sam Houston State 59

SHSU led for the majority of the game and was in this one until late. Baylor finally created some space and held on for the win. Sam Houston State was in it late and they shot only 6-31 (19.4%) from the 3-point line for the game.

- (2) Kansas State vs. (15) North Texas 62

Kansas State rolled to an easy win over North Texas. In the process, they made a believer out of much of America and appear to be a legit threat for a Final Four run.

- (10) Saint Mary's 80 vs. (7) Richmond 71

After an NCAA Tournament snub a year ago, Saint Mary's made up for lost time by sending the 7-seed Spiders home early. This was the first tournament win for SMC since 1959. Omar Samhan had a coming out party for the Gaels as he scored 29 points and pulled down 12 rebounds - both game highs.

- (5) Butler 77 vs. (12) UTEP 59

So much for the infamous 5/12 upset in this one. Butler rolled to an easy victory over Conference USA's best team. Kentucky native Shelvin Mack led the way with 25 points, including 7-9 from long range.

- (9) Northern Iowa 69 vs. (8) UNLV 66

Northern Iowa nails a 3-pointer late to get a nice first round victory for the Missouri Valley Conference. This is a disappointing end for Derrick Jasper, who watched the UNLV loss from the sidelines following a mid-season injury.

- (1) Kentucky 100 vs. (16) East Tennessee State 71

Kentucky rolled to an easy win highlighted by a career high 29 points from freshman Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe set a Kentucky record by hitting 8 three-pointers and the Wildcats looked like a true threat for the Final Four.

- (14) Ohio 97 vs. (3) Georgetown 83

I stated earlier that Murray State's win was the upset of the day to that point and the reason for that was simple: Ohio University mopped the floor with Georgetown. This game was really not even close.

- (11) Washington 80 vs. (6) Marquette 78

I really though that Marquette would roll in this one and make a run to the Sweet 16. They managed to give up a lead late and allow Quincy Pondexter to hit a leaner for the win. This was a tough day for the Big East Conference.

- (1) Kansas 90 vs. (16) Lehigh 74

Kansas pulled away late in the second half but this one was surprisingly close for a long time. Midway through the second half, Lehigh had several shots to get it within a point or two. Kansas is loaded, but is this a sign of a pending upset?

- (6) Tennessee 62 vs. (11) San Diego State 59

Melvin Goins drained a 3-pointer late to fend off State. This was a big win for the Tennessee program and for the SEC. UT felt slighted for being dropped to a 6-seed and they helped earn a little respect by picking up a win.

- (9) Wake Forest 81 vs. (8) Texas 80 F/OT

UK fans have talked all week about a possible upset in the second round by a talented Texas team. It was a lot of concern for nothing, however, as the Longhorns failed to escape the first round. Ishmael Smith sped down court like a rocket and nailed a jumper to get the overtime win.

- (3) New Mexico 62 vs. (14) Montana 57

New Mexico and Steve Alford held on to defeat the Grizzlies. I hope Alford didn't scold any Montana players with expletives following the game.

Notes:

- Terrible day for the Big East; they really need good performances from Syracuse and West Virginia today

- What happened to Texas this season? They went from No. 1 in the nation to an 8-seed to a disappointing loss in the NCAA Tournament in a matter of weeks.

- Huge wins by Ohio University and Murray State; games like this help the argument that a 96-team tournament might not be that bad after all.

- I'm not a fan of painting every venue's court the same color; I like originality and while I'm sure it makes sense to put everyone on the same playing field, I still don't like it.

- Teams that impressed me on day 1: Kentucky, Kansas State, Ohio, Murray State, Butler and Saint Mary's

- Teams that did not: Kansas, Texas, Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova and Notre Dame

- 3 overtime games; 7 games decided by 3 or fewer points...great tournament so far.

Day 3: KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Schedule and Picks


I was 6-2 in the first round on my picks for the first round of the Sweet Sixteen. My two losses came at the hands of West Jessamine and Butler.

Quarterfinal action gets underway at noon today and there will be some great action at Rupp Arena this afternoon and evening..

Here is the schedule for today's KHSAA Sweet Sixteen action and my picks:

Session 1:

Noon Warren Central (23-8) vs. Ballard (30-4)


This will be a great game right out of the gate. Both teams are loaded with talent and the game should be fast-paced and filled with athleticism. There is no easy way to pick this one, but my gut feeling tells me to go with Louisville Ballard.

Pick: Ballard

1:30 p.m. Christian County (30-4) vs. Scott County (28-6)

The second game of the day is no different from the first. This is a battle of two really talented and really good teams. I look for Guyn, Jackson and Euton to carry Scott County to a narrow victory.

Pick: Scott County

Session 2:

6:30 p.m. West Jessamine (27-7) vs. Shelby Valley (29-4)

Talk about star power, there will be plenty of it in this one. This outcome of this game will be largely determined by Jarrod Polson of the Colts and Elisha Justice of the Wildcats. The advantage Shelby Valley has is that they have a better cast of supporting players, which I think propels the Wildcats into the semifinals.

Pick: Shelby Valley

8:00 p.m. Mason County (24-6) vs. Butler (20-11)

There isn't a team in the tournament that has pulled it together like Mason County has the last half of the season. The Royals finished the season by winning 15 of their last 16 games against instate competition and they have proven on a regular basis that they can win close games at the end. I'm taking the Royals to make a surprise return to the state semifinals.

Pick: Mason County

Auburn "Close to Hiring" Minnesota Coach Tubby Smith


Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting on his blog this morning that former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith may be heading back to the SEC.

Here is an excerpt from Dodd's blog:

Auburn is "close to hiring" Tubby Smith as its new basketball coach, a source that I trust told me Thursday night.


Charles Goldberg of The Birmingham News writes that Auburn is willing to increase pay for the head coaching position and is targeting Smith.

I was aware that Auburn hoped to make a minority hire for the position and had heard Oliver Purnell's name tossed around. I have to think Smith would be a better hire than Purnell and it would be great to see the Smith's back in the SEC.

Tubby working out a deal for a new job before his team plays in the postseason...where have I heard that before?

Photo: MLive.com

Bledsoe, Cousins Talk About the First Round Win





Videos by KentuckyVids' YouTube Channel

"Off Da Wall": A John Wall Song That's Actually Good

Here is a new (and actually pretty good) John Wall song to get you pumped for March Madness (definitely worth a listen):

Kentucky Will Play Wake Forest in Second Round



Wake Forest nailed a game-winning jumper near the end of overtime to defeat Texas 81-80 and earn a second round game against top-seeded Kentucky.

Wake Forest (20-10, 9-7 ACC)

Nickname: Demon Deacons

Last 10 (5-5):

February 6 at Virginia W 64-61
February 9 Boston College W 92-85
February 13 No. 20 Georgia Tech W
February 16 at Virginia Tech L 87-83
February 20 at North Carolina State L 68-54
February 27 North Carolina L 77-68
March 3 at Florida State L 51-47
March 7 Clemson W 70-65
March 11 vs. Miami (FL)* L 83-62 (ACC Touurnament)
March 18 vs. Texas* W 81-10 (NCAA Tournament)

RPI: 39

vs. Top 25: 3-3 (W: North Carolina, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech; L: Georgia Tech, Purdue, Duke)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kentucky Overwhelms East Tennessee State in New Orleans


(1) Kentucky 100
(16) ETSU 71

NCAA Tournament First Round

Game recap by AllKYHoops.com:

When Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe swished his first 3-point basket, Kentucky took a 12-10 lead at the 15:35 mark of the first half. A school record seven 3-pointers later and Kentucky was shaking hands following a 100-71 sleeper over East Tennessee State.

The Wildcats (33-2) simply overwhelmed ETSU with an array of size, speed and talent.

Kentucky scorched the nets for 15-33 (45.5%) from long range and 31-60 (51.7%) overall.

Bledsoe led the way with a career high 29 points on 9-11 shooting. He added 4 steals and 3 rebounds. John Wall contributed a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists. Patrick Patterson, who finally made his NCAA Tournament debut, scored 22 points and pulled down 5 rebounds.

East Tennessee State (20-15) was led by Micah Williams with 19 points. Justin Tubbs added 15 for the Buccaneers.

Kentucky advances to play the winner of Wake Forest and Texas. Officials have announced that the second round game will be played 30 minutes after the 5:50 (EST) game on Saturday evening.

NOTES:

- Not much to say about this one; it was all Kentucky all the time

- I will point out that Cousins had a quiet night with 5 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks; his production is nothing to be concerned over as ETSU's gameplan was clearly to shut Cousins down; they double-teamed him all night long - even when it was a 30+ point lead

- Kentucky, who has been called a bad shooting team all season, was 15-33 from long range; they are now shooting right at 35% on the season from the 3-point line

- I'm a little surprised at the low attendance for a UK tournament weekend; especially since it's been a few years since we actually have a chance to do something; when thinking about it though - the Sweet Sixteen is this weekend, UK fans just unloaded for the SEC Tournament and it is likely assumed that UK will advance to next weekend; my guess is that UK fans will invade Syracuse with a win Saturday

- I am so happy for Patrick Patterson; he finally gets to the dance and makes the most of his first game

It's Official: March Madness is Here


Pair of UK Recruits Invited to Team USA U18 Training Camp


USA Basketball has announced 21 commitments from players that will participate in the Men's U18 Nation Team training camp.

Kentucky recruits Quincy Miller (2011) and Terrence Jones (2010) are in the group.

USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team training camp invitees:

Tracy Abrams – Chicago, Ill. (Mount Carmel)
Keith Appling – Detroit, Mich. (Pershing)
Vander Blue – Madison, Wis. (Madison Memorial)
Michael Chandler – Indianapolis, Ind. (Lawrence North)
Trevor Cooney – Wilmington, Del. (Sanford)
Abdul Gaddy – Tacoma, Wash. (Bellarmine Prep/University of Washington)
Joshua Hairston – Fredericksburg, Va. (Montrose Christian)
P.J. Hairston – Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley)
Tobias Harris – Brookville, N.Y. (Half Hollow Hills West)
Mikael Hopkins – Hyattsville, Md. (DeMatha)
Joe Jackson – Memphis, Tenn. (White Station)
Terrence Jones – Portland, Ore. (Jefferson)
Meyers Leonard – Robinson, Ill. (Robinson)
Sheldon McClellan – Pearland, Texas (Bellaire)
Quincy Miller – Winston-Salem, N.C. (Quality Education Academy)
Jereme Richmond – Waukegan, Ill. (Waukegan)
Austin Rivers – Winter Park, Fla. (Winter Park)
Joshua Smith – Kent, Wash. (Kentwood)
T.J. Taylor – Denison, Texas (Denison)
Amir Williams – Detroit, Mich. (Detroit Country Day)
Patric Young – Jacksonville, Fla. (Providence)

First Round Shocker: Murray State Sends Vanderbilt Home


(13) Murray State 66
(4) Vanderbilt 65

NCAA Tournament First Round

Game recap by MSU:


San Jose, Calif. --- The President called this one right.

Murray State needed every last chance and every last second to get back in the NCAA tournament win column. This had been more than two decades in the waiting for basketball fans back in Murray, Ky., and it was as dramatic as they get.

Danero Thomas hit a 15-footer as the buzzer sounded and 13th-seeded Murray State stunned No. 4 seed Vanderbilt 66-65 on Thursday in an NCAA tournament opener in the West Regional.

"That shot was bigger than he could imagine," Murray State's B.J. Jenkins said. "It wasn't just a game-winning shot. We'll remember this for the rest of our lives."

President Barack Obama was onto something picking these revved-up Racers (31-4) to get past the first round. It was the school's first victory in the NCAA tournament since a 78-75 win over North Carolina State in 1988.

For the second time in as many appearances, Vanderbilt (24-9) bowed out early as the higher seed. The Commodores were also a first-round upset victim by Siena in 2008 when seeded fourth.

Murray State, which came in with a 1-13 all-time NCAA tournament record, will play again Saturday at HP Pavilion against the winner of UTEP-Butler.

Complete Recap

Game-winning shot:


MSC Out of NAIA Tournament with Cumberlands Loss

Azusa Pacific 72
Cumberlands 68

NAIA DI Tournament First Round

Game-winning shot:




Game recap by UC:

Kansas City, Mo. – (Box Score) Junior forward Reggie Owens scored on a lay-up with 2.6 seconds remaining to lift Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) to a 72-68 win over the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) in first-round action Thursday at the 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship at Municipal Auditorium.

The lay-up capped a career-high performance of 28 points for Owens, who also pulled down seven rebounds in the contest. The Cougars, seeded No. 13 in the 32-team field, won its seventh consecutive game to improve to 25-9 on the year. Azusa Pacific will play in Friday's second round at 2:15 p.m. CT against either fourth-seeded Westminster College (Utah) or Evangel University (Mo.).

Senior guard Dominique Johnson added 11 points in the win for Azusa Pacific, while sophomore guard Marshall Johnson and junior guard Mike Caffese each connected for 10 points. Caffese, who threw the pass to Owens on his game-winning shot, dished out a season-high 10 assists for the Cougars. Caffese also had three steals in the opening-round win.

Cumberlands, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, tied the score at 51-51 on a basket by senior guard Travis Harvey with 9:36 to play. The Patriots then took their first lead of the contest at 56-55 on a shot by senior guard Nathaniel Mitchell at the 7:10 mark. From there, the lead changed hands five times until a basket by senior guard Chad Byron enabled Cumberlands to tie the game at 68-68 with 42 seconds left.

Azusa Pacific ran the game clock down for a final shot, but could not convert with five seconds left. Cumberlands grabbed the rebound, but turned it over with 3.6 seconds left. The Cougars called timeout to set up a final shot, and Caffese threw a lob from in front of the Azusa Pacific bench in the lane to Owens. He banked the shot off the glass to give the Cougars a 70-68 lead. "That play worked hook, line and sinker," said Azusa Pacific head coach Justin Leslie. "I keep telling the guys that this is the time of the year where you have to draw upon good things that you use throughout the course of the season. We drew up that play late in the first half of a game in November, and we hadn't run it since."

The Patriots then committed another turnover after a timeout, and Marshall Johnson was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play. His two free throws with 1.3 seconds left sealed the victory for Azusa Pacific.

In the first half, Azusa Pacific controlled the tempo and reeled off 10 consecutive points to build a 29-16 with 3:44 remaining in the period. Owens scored all 10 points during the spurt for the Cougars. He had 16 points during the first 20 minutes of play.

Cumberlands had a balanced offensive attack in Thursday's contest, led by 14 points and nine rebounds from senior forward Brandon Russ. Harvey and senior guard Dustin Fothergill each posted 13 points, while Byron finished with 12 points. Mitchell rounded out the list of double-digit scorers for the Patriots with 10 points. Cumberlands ends its season with a record of 21-11.

C.J. Leslie's Word of God Coach is Terminated


NewsObserver.com verifies that Word of God Christian Academy head coach Erasto Hatchett, a native of Lexington (Ky.), is no longer at the school.

Hatchett has been terminated as guidance counselor at the school and school administration contends that it was not a basketball-related decision.

Hatchett states he has received positive evaluation and was given no reason for his termination.

Here is an excerpt of Hatchett's comments:

"I have been in education since 1998, and I was the teacher of the year last year [at Cannon School in Concord]," he said. "My professionalism and my work in education has never been questioned. I have had no dialogue with the school about my performance. I was completely blind-sided by this decision.

"But I know it is the school's decision." Source

Hatchett was C.J. Leslie's head coach during the past season.

Photo: Chuck Liddy, Kentucky.com

Kentucky is a "Different Kind" of Fab Five


Johnette Howard of NBC Sports compares the youthful Kentucky Wildcats to the legendary Michigan Fab Five.

Here is an excerpt:

Kentucky’s freshmen know they’ll ultimately be judged by this postseason run. And they would deserve to replace Michigan’s Fab Five as the best recruiting class of all time if they win the NCAA title, even if their stylistic impact on college basketball is nothing close to what those 1991-93 Michigan teams of Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson wrought with their novel oversized shorts and black socks, shaved heads and big personalities.

The goal of the original Fab Five was to do things that had never been done before, and they did it with an rollicking mix of originality and exuberance, wit and entertainment skills that yanked the game back from the celebrity coaches that are usually the focus in college basketball. The original Fab Five were fun and loud and refreshing to watch, even if they lost both NCAA title games they played in their two seasons together, and it came out years later that a few of them had taken under-the-table perks that resulted in their achievements being wiped from the record books.

This Kentucky team isn’t groundbreaking in those ways. The similarities are that Kentucky is just very, very good and very, very young — two themes that Calipari has milked relentlessly in what’s been a tortured running monologue all season.

Matt Pilgrim Finally Finds a Path to the Big Dance


Former Kentucky Wildcat Matt Pilgrim has finally found a path into the NCAA Tournament.

His career started at Hampton, travelled through Lexington and has now continued at Oklahoma State.

Here is an excerpt of an article from NewOK.com:

From Hampton, Pilgrim moved to Kentucky, where he sat out last season as an NCAA requirement to get eligible. But when then-UK coach Billy Gillispie was fired, John Calipari took over and ramped up recruiting. By the time he was done adding players, the Wildcats were four players over the limit, meaning four would become former ’Cats.

Calipari sat Pilgrim down and informed him he’d no longer be needed.

The road out of Lexington led Pilgrim to Stillwater, where the Cowboys were in dire need of a big man, yet one more detour remained: getting the NCAA to waive its transfer requirement of a season on the sideline.

Complete Article

Photo: NewOk.com

Pilgrim's Season Stats:

29 GM 18.1 MIN 8.3 PTS 6.8 REB 0.6 AST 1.6 TO 0.9 STL 0.7 BLK

Brandon Knight Named Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida


Kentucky recruit Brandon Knight has been named Florida Gatorade Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

It is the first time in the history of the award in Florida that a player has won it back-to-back.

The only players nationally to accomplish that feat are LeBron James in Ohio and Greg Oden in Indiana.

Knight led his team to a Class 3A championship and averaged 31.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals.

Most people feel that Knight will commit to Kentucky, but he still contends that he has not made a decision yet. His list includes UK, Kansas, UConn, Florida and Syracuse.

More Honors for Centre College's Danny Noll


Centre College's Danny Noll has been named to the All-South Region Team and the NABC Division III All-District Team.

Here is the press release for the NABC honor:

Centre senior Danny Noll (Ft. Mitchell, Ky.) has been selected to the 2010 National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-District Team. Noll was named to the South Region Second Team.

The senior was an asset for the Colonels as he finished the season eighth overall in scoring and field goal percentage in the conference, where he averaged 14.1 points per game and shot 45.2% from the floor. He averaged 7.4 rebounds a game, which was good enough for sixth overall in the conference. Noll was fourth in defensive rebounds, averaging 5.9 per game.

Noll helped lead the Colonels to an overall record of
18-9 and a conference record of 14-5. Centre repeated as Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference champions and the team took part in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

In his final season Noll has been named to the 2009-10 All-SCAC First Team, the D3hoops.com All-South Region Third Team, and the 2009-10 ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All District Men's Basketball Team. He was also a finalist for the Jostens Trophy.

The NABC was founded in 1927 by Forrest "Phog" Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. All approximatly 5,000 members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being Guardian of the Game by brining attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today's student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education.

Morehead State Nets CBI Win, Approaches School Record


Morehead State 74
Colorado State 60

CBI Tournament First Round

Game recap by AllKYHoops.com:

Morehead State (24-10) won a shootout over visiting Colorado State in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) tournament. The Eagles shot a dazzling 55.3% from the field, including 9-15 (60.0%) from long range, to pull away from the Rams and grab a 74-60 victory.

Kenneth Faried dominated the post from start to finish and ended with 23 points and 15 rebounds, both game highs. It was Faried's 24th double-double on the season. Terrance Hill came off the bench to score 13 points, including 3-4 from beyond the 3-point line. Demonte Harper added 12 points for the Eagles.

Colorado State (16-16), who competes in the tough Mountain West Conference, earned 13 points each from Andy Ogide and Adam Nigon. Ogide, an athletic transfer from Ole Miss, also added 7 points, but was thoroughly outplayed by Faried.

After the game, Faried said, "He's (Ogide) a good player. During the game, he's posting hard. I'm posting hard. It was a good matchup."

In addition to their hot-shooting the Eagles also won the rebounding battle 31-21, including 10 on the offensive end. The Rams were 25-46 (54.3%) from the field, but only 3-11 (27.3%) from the free throw line. Free throw shooting and Colorado State's inability to control Faried around the rim were deciding factors.

With their 24th victory, the Eagles are one shy of tying the school record for wins in a season. They will have an opportunity to tie that record Monday when they travel to Boston University for a quarterfinal matchup.

"We don't dwell on losses," Morehead State senior Maze Stallworth stated when asked how the team was able to refocus following the disappointing loss to Murray State. "Tonight was one more chance to play at Johnson Arena. It was easy to get pumped up. All night long we fed off of energy plays like Kenneth's dunks."

Faried added, "We are focused on breaking the MSU wins record."

MSU's CBI win combined with last season's NCAA opening round win equals the first time in school history that Morehead State has won postseason games beyond the OVC Tournament in back-to-back seasons.

Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall explained after the game, “This team has accomplished so many things. Back-to-back 20-win seasons, 15 Ohio Valley Conference wins, first time with wins in two straight non-conference postseason tournaments and we have a chance to tie the school record for most wins.”

NOTES:

- The crowd numbers were below average for MSU due to Spring Break, but the fans were very energetic and into the game; it helped that Faried had something like 8 dunks during the game

- The officials probably called 8-10 illegal screens during the game; in all the basketball I've watched in my lifetime, I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a game that had more the 3-5 illegal screens called; I guess it was a one night only point-of-emphasis

- Ogide was an impressive athlete, but Faried was better

- If MSU can escape a road game at Boston University, there is a possibility of hosting a semifinal game

- After the game, Tyndall was complimentary of CSU: "CSU is a good team. They're well-coached and physical. Our team played with a great energy level tonight."

- Tyndall was also pleased with the performance of Sam Goodman and Terrance Hill off the MSU bench: "Both those kids are very good players. They are also great people that are easily coached. They love basketball. We don't drop offensively of defensively when they are in the game. They give us great energy off the bench."

- There was a loud cheer in the arena when the PA guy announced "College of Charleston 82 Eastern Kentucky 79..."; can't take away that OVC rivalry

- MSU at Boston University - Monday - TBA

Other First Round CBI Scores:

Boston U. 96 Oregon State 78
IUPUI 74 Hofstra 60
Princeton 65 Duquesne 51
Charleston 82 EKU 79
VCU 79 George Washington 73
Green Bay 70 Akron 66
Saint Louis 63 Indiana State 54

Photos: Morehead State vs. Colorado State

I'm not a professional photographer by any means, but here are a few shots I snapped during Morehead State's 74-60 victory over Colorado State in last night's CBI Tournament game.

Kenneth Faried gives the pregame look of someone that is going to terrorize you on the post

One of the game's stories: CSU was only 3-11 (27.3%) at the free throw line

MSU mascot "Beaker" was pleased with the Eagles' performance

Morehead State cheerleaders pose for a group shot following the game

Faried and Maze Stallworth discuss the game and focusing on Boston University

Day 2: KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Schedule and Picks


I'm coming off a 4-0 day on my picks for yesterday as Warren Central, Ballard, Christian County and Scott County earned first round wins. There are some excellent games on tap for today.

Here is the schedule for today's KHSAA Sweet Sixteen action and my picks:

Session 1:

Noon West Jessamine (26-7) vs. Muhlenberg County (20-10)

I don't know a lot about Muhlenberg County, but I do know that they have played a tough schedule and still racked up 20 wins. West Jessamine is led by one of the most underrated players in the state in Polson.

I would call this one a pick 'em, but since I'm forced to take a pick I'll go with Muhlenberg County. I am basing my pick on Muhlenberg's tough schedule and competitive losses to the likes of Christian County and Warren Central.

Pick: Muhlenberg County

1:30 p.m. Paducah Tilghman (27-6) vs. Shelby Valley (28-4)

Tilghman is a very good team but Shelby Valley is one of my favorites to win the whole tournament. Shelby Valley also has Gatorade Player of the Year Elisha Justice who will surely bring his "A" game to Rupp Arena. This one should be a good game, but I'm taking the Wildcats.

Pick: Shelby Valley

Session 2:

6:30 p.m. Mason County (23-6) vs. North Hardin (27-4)

Mason County is a well-coached team that's peaking at the right time and the Royals have plenty of Sweet Sixteen experience. Most would say the smart pick is North Hardin, but I'm going with Mason County.

Pick: Mason County

8:00 p.m. Butler (19-11) vs. Knott County Central (26-6)

Butler is a hard team to figure out. They lost 6 of 8 to end the regular season, but reeled off 5 straight wins in District and Region action. Central has been consistent - consistently good. I'm going with Knott County Central.

Pick: Knott County Central

Kentucky's Wall, Cousins Talk NCAA Tournament





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Breaking: Oklahoma Freshman Took Money from Agent


TMZ.com is reporting that Oklahoma freshman Keith "Tiny Gallon accepted thousands of dollars form a guy "who appears to have been courting him."

According to documentation obtained by TMZ, Gallon reportedly took a $3,000 wire transfer last August from Jeffrey Hausinger, a Merrill Lynch financial advisor who reps several professional athletes.

There will be much more to come of this story. Stay tuned.

Eastern Kentucky Drops Close One to Charleston


Charleston 82
Eastern Kentucky 79

CBI Tournament First Round

Game recap by EKU:


RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team fell to the College of Charleston, 82-79, Wednesday night at McBrayer Arena in the opening round of the 2010 College Basketball Invitational. Matt Sundberg’s three-pointer with 28 seconds on the clock broke a 75-75 tie and gave the Cougars a lead they would not relinquish.

EKU finishes the season with a record of 20-13 while Charleston (22-11) advances to play VCU in the CBI quarterfinals Monday night.

Senior Josh Taylor scored a career-high 28 points and connected on 4-of-8 three-pointers in the final game of his Colonel career. The native of Pittsburgh, Pa., concluded his Eastern career with 1,058 points. Junior Justin Stommes contributed with 13 points while senior Papa Oppong tallied 11 points.

Andrew Goudelock led a very balanced Charleston scoring attack as five Cougars scored in the double figures. Goudelock recorded 17 points, Tony White, Jr. and Donavan Monroe had 15 apiece, Sundberg scored 13 and Jeremy Simmons chipped in with 12.

Both teams shot the ball well as the Colonels shot 59 percent (31-of-52) from the field and 50 percent (9-of-18) from three-point range. The visiting Cougars, out of the Southern Conference, shot 57 percent (29-of-51) from the field and 48 percent (13-of-27) from three point range.

Charleston, however, was a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line while EKU was 8-of-13 from the charity stripe, including four crucial missed free throws in the last three minutes of the game.

A bucket in the paint by Taylor tied the game at 75-75 with 1:30 remaining, but White, Jr. responded on the ensuing possession with two free throws to put the Cougars ahead, 77-75. Taylor scored on the opposite end and was fouled, but missed his free throw allowing the game to stay tied at 77-all.

Sundberg then nailed a three-pointer from the left wing with 28 ticks on the clock to break the tie for good. Stommes brought the Colonels back to within one point on a put-back with12 seconds left only to see Goudelock push the advantage back to three points with two free throws.

EKU was able to get Taylor one final look at a tying three-point attempt, but the shot was slightly off target.

Already leading 10-9 at the 15:25 mark of the first half, the Colonels went on a 12-2 run over the next five minutes – capped by a fast break Oppong three-pointer – to take a commanding 11-point lead midway through the first half.

The Cougars rallied behind Goudelock, though, as the guard drained consecutive long-range threes to pull Charleston to within one, 31-30, with 3:16 remaining in the half. Another three by Goudelock with barely more than a minute left in the half gave the Cougars their first lead since it was 2-0.

Oppong’s second trifecta, however, sent EKU into the locker room at halftime with a narrow three-point lead, 40-37.

Charleston took its first lead of the second half when White, Jr. hit a baseline floater to make the score 60-59 with 11:53 showing on the clock. After Charleston’s lead eventually grew to six, the Colonels rallied behind Taylor and Stommes to even the game at 75-all with 1:30 showing on the clock.

Finally: My NCAA Tournament Picks


(click on brackets to enlarge)

I have had a couple of e-mails asking for my NCAA Tournament picks and here they are.

First Round Schedule (my picks bolded):

Today:

9:30 PM (16) Lehigh vs. (1) Kansas
7:15 PM (16) East Tennessee State vs. (1) Kentucky
2:40 PM (15) North Texas vs. (2) Kansas State
4:45 PM (12) UTEP vs. (5) Butler
12:30 PM (15) Robert Morris vs. (2) Villanova
9:40 PM (14) Montana vs. (3) New Mexico
9:45 PM (11) San Diego State vs. (6) Tennessee
7:25 PM (14) Ohio vs. (3) Georgetown
12:20 PM (10) Florida vs. (7) Brigham Young
2:45 PM (14) Sam Houston State vs. (3) Baylor
2:30 PM (13) Murray State vs. (4) Vanderbilt
7:10 PM (9) Northern Iowa vs. (8) UNLV
2:50 PM (10) Saint Mary's vs. (7) Richmond
12:25 PM (11) Old Dominion vs. (6) Notre Dame
7:20 PM (11) Washington vs. (6) Marquette
9:35 PM (9) Wake Forest vs. (8) Texas

Tomorrow:

7:25 PM (16) Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. (1) Duke
9:30 PM (16) Vermont vs. (1) Syracuse
12:15 PM (15) Morgan State vs. (2) West Virginia
9:35 PM (15) UC Santa Barbara vs. (2) Ohio State
2:30 PM (13) Siena vs. (4) Purdue
7:20 PM (12) New Mexico State vs. (5) Michigan State
12:30 PM (12) Cornell vs. (5) Temple
2:45 PM (14) Oakland vs. (3) Pittsburgh
7:10 PM (9) Florida State vs. (8) Gonzaga
2:50 PM (13) Wofford vs. (4) Wisconsin
9:40 PM (13) Houston vs. (4) Maryland
4:45 PM (12) Utah State vs. (5) Texas A&M
7:15 PM (10) Georgia Tech vs. (7) Oklahoma State
2:35 PM (10) Missouri vs. (7) Clemson
12:25 PM (11) Minnesota vs. (6) Xavier
9:45 PM (9) Louisville vs. (8) California

Shelby Valley's Justice Named Gatorade Player of the Year



I was just informed that Shelby Valley's electric point guard Elisha Justice has been named Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky.

Congratulations to Justice on a great season and a great career.

Georgetown College Falls at NAIA Tournament


Park University 83
Georgetown College 75

NAIA DI Tournament First Round

Game recap by NAIA.org:

Kansas City, Mo. – Park University (Mo.) overcame double-digit deficits in each half to post an 83-75 victory Wednesday against Georgetown College (Ky.) in the first round of the 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship at Municipal Auditorium.

Senior Herschel Rodgers netted 22 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to lead the unseeded Pirates into second-round play on Friday. Rodgers also grabbed nine rebounds in the contest. Park will meet the winner of the Biola University (Calif.)/Belhaven College (Miss.) contest Friday at 6:15 p.m. CT. Park improves to 23-9 overall while Georgetown, the No. 11 seed in this year’s national championship, closes its year with a record of 26-7.

Junior forward Kyle Rausch added 17 points and nine rebounds in the victory for Park. Senior guard Terrell Dyer chipped in 11 points and a team-leading seven assists for the Pirates. Park shot 64.3 percent in the second half (18-of-28) to rally for the win.

“Herschel is a warrior,” said Park head coach Jason Kline. “He got some big rebounds for us and went strong to the basket. That’s all you can ask out of him. He is a competitor. I’m very proud of him and the rest of our guys.”

Park scored the first seven points of the contest, but Georgetown quickly took control, using a 13-2 run to grab a 13-9 lead with 12:20 remaining in the opening period. The Tigers eventually stretched the margin to 31-18 on a three-pointer from Eddie Gray at the 6:10 mark. Park battled back and capitalized on a Georgetown turnover to pull within single digits at the half. Sophomore guard Reco Anderson hit a 15-foot jumper just before the first-half buzzer to bring the Pirates within 40-32 at the break.

Georgetown scored the first basket of the second half to regain a double-digit advantage, but Park slowly began to chip away at the deficit. The Pirates reeled off 10 consecutive points to tie the contest at 42-42. The teams continued to battle back and forth until Park used an 8-2 run to take the lead for good, 62-56, with 9:05 remaining. Park then took its biggest lead of the night, 72-62, on a shot in the lane from junior guard Derrick Howard with 5:28 to play.

The Tigers made one final run at Park, scoring 10 of the next 13 points to pull within 75-72 with 2:28 left. Rausch then scored on a put-back for the Pirates, and Rodgers hit four free throws in the final 34 seconds to seal the victory for Park.

Sophomore forward Vic Moses led Georgetown with 23 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Vincent Crutcher and senior guard Hollis Giles each added 11 points, while junior guard Matt Walls came off the bench to register 10 points. Gray dished out a game-high eight assists for the Tigers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UK Recruit Enes Kanter Named to World Select Team


Kentucky 2010 recruit Enes Kanter has been chosen for the World Select Team that will participate in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 10 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.

2010 World Select Team

Jason Cadee G Australian Institute of Sport Australia
Duje Dukan G Deerfield H.S., Illinois Croatia
Cory Joseph G Findlay Prep, Nevada Canada
Enes Kanter F Stoneridge Prep, California Turkey
Mael Lebrun F Entente Orleans, France France
Robert Loe C JTB/Breakers, New Zealand New Zealand
Nikola Mirotic F Faymasa Palencia, Spain Spain
Dejan Musli C FMP Zeleznik, Serbia Serbia
Sui Ran G Shandong Flaming Bulls, China China
Tristan Thompson F Findlay Prep, Nevada Canada

Kentucky recruits Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones will compete for the USA Junior Select squad in the event.

Source: USABasketball.com

Ex-Cat Ramel Bradley is Released in France



Former Kentucky guard Ramel Bradley has been released by JDA Dijon in the French ProA League.

Bradley averaged 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists for Dijon.

He is now a free agent.

Source: EuroBasket.com

DeMarcus Cousins Featured on SI NCAA Preview Cover



Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins will join a handful of other college basketball players that will be featured on the Sports Illustrated NCAA Tournament preview magazines.

Campbellsville Bows Out of NAIA Tournament Early


Fresno Pacific 74
(9) Campbellsville 61

NAIA DI Men's Basketball Tournament First Round

Game recap by NAIA:


Kansas City, Mo. - In a physical seesaw battle Fresno Pacific University (Calif.) defeats Campbellsville University (Ky.) 74-61 in the first round of the 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship Wednesday at Municipal Auditorium.

In the first half of the contest there were five ties which saw Fresno Pacific take an early lead of nine points (10-19) at the nine minute mark, only to see that evaporate with a 18-1 run by the Tigers to post a 28-20 lead. Junior forward JaVaughn Espritt helped lead Campbellsville to a halftime lead of 32-30. He led all scorers with eight points and added a big block in the closing seconds of the first half to preserve the halftime edge.

With 14 minutes left in the contest and with the games sixth tie at 41, then the Sunbirds took off on a 21-3 run and took a commanding lead of 62-44 with 5:16. "Defensively, we took Nestor (Colemenares) out. That's what we wanted to do. We frustrated them and made them try to make jump shots and they couldn't," Fresno coach Jim Saia commenting on the second half run.

The Sunbirds had three players finish in double digits scoring. Senior guard Alex Davenport had 18 points with seven rebounds, three assists and one steal, and senior guard James Lewis added 14 points, six rebounds, four steals, and was perfect from the free throw line making all five attempts. Senior forward Craig Ash made five of six field goal attempts and finished with 11 points.

Campbellsville, winners of the Mid-South Conference, also had three players in double digits. JaVaughn Espritt finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and a game high 3 blocked shots. Senior guard T.J. Bishop finished with 10 points and junior guard Caleb Harris added 13 points. Senior center Nestor Colmenares brought down 10 rebounds.

Fresno Pacific will play the winners of the John Brown University (Ark.) versus McKendree University game that will be played at 2:15 p.m. CT.

NOTES: Fresno pacific is now 2-2 in tournament play and 2-1 in first round games ... Campbellsville drops to 5-8 in tournament action and snapped a three game winning streak in first round games ... Campbellsville was leading at the half but Fresno Pacific outscored them 44-29 in the second half ... For the third straight tournament the no. 9 seed has been upset in the first round ... Fresno Pacific used a 16-0 run in the middle of the second half to take control of the game ... With Campbellsville's 28 three-point attempts they attempted at least 11 in every game this season.

Morehead State Excited About CBI Opportunity


Morehead State (23-10) will welcome Colorado State (16-15) to Johnson Arena tonight for a first round game in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) tournament.

The Eagles would obviously prefer to be playing in the NCAA Tournament, but make no mistake, an opportunity to host a postseason game is exciting for the Morehead State program.

"When you consider how bad off our program was several years ago, to be in any type of postseason play is phenomenal," explained Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall this afternoon. "We are ecstatic to have this opportunity."

Tyndall is correct when he alludes to the painful state of the program before a coaching change was made. In 2005-06, under former head coach Kyle Macy, the Eagles were a miserable 4-23 and arguably the worst team in Division I college basketball. One of those victories was a beat down of a low-level NAIA team.

Under Tyndall, the MSU program has witnessed a significant turn-around in talent, victories and fan support.

Last season, the Eagles won their first Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship in 25 years and had a positive showing in the NCAA Tournament. To follow that up with a runner-up finish in the conference and a second-consecutive postseason appearance is outstanding.

Tyndall added, "when you consider our starting point and where we are today, it feels incredible to actually earn an at-large bid into a postseason tournament of any kind."

The Eagles actually earned two postseason invites following the loss to Murray State in the OVC title game. The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) also extended an invite to Morehead State.

Tyndall said the Eagles went with the CBI because "they offered us a guaranteed first round home game, which is very important to our program."

It will not only be an opportunity to play at home, but the Eagles are also welcoming in a recognizable name in Colorado State. State, a member of the Mountain West Conference, is a team that Tyndall respects greatly.

"They're a very efficient team that plays good, solid basketball," Tyndall said of the Rams. "Their point guard is very talented and he made the All-Freshman team in their league. They have a nice inside post player that transferred from Ole Miss. They do a nice job of making sure the right guys take the right shots. They are a solid, well-coached team."

The game tips at 9:00 p.m. tonight in Morehead's Johnson Arena. Tonight will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

NOTE: AllKYHoops.com will cover this event live

Morehead State Under Donnie Tyndall:

2006-07 12-18 Lost in first round of OVC Tournament
2007-08 15-15 Lost in first round of OVC Tournament
2008-09 20-16 OVC Tournament Champs; NCAA Tournament First Round
2009-10 23-10 OVC Tournament Runner-Up; Currently in CBI Postseason Tournament

California Without Starting Forward for Louisville Game



California starting forward Omondi Amoke, a 6-7 sophomore, has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of undisclosed team rules.

Amoke is not expected to play Friday night against the Louisville Cardinals.

He is averaging 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds on the season and has started the last 6 games for the Golden Bears.

Thomas More's McKeehan Named Student-Athlete of the Month


(WEXFORD, Pa.) - The Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) announced today (Tuesday, March 17, 2010) that Thomas More College's Daniel McKeehan (Maineville, Ohio/Little Miami) has been named December's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Male Scholar-Athlete of the Month.

McKeehan's career on the basketball court has been very successful during his two years at Thomas More. This season alone, he led the Saints with a 15.6 points per game, while also picking up 4.9 rebounds per contest. For his efforts on the court, McKeehan was named PAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week three times this season and named to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week (January 22, 2010).

McKeehan is just successful outside the basketball arena as well. As a business administration and economics major with a 4.0 grade point average, he was recognized as the 2009-2010 College Division ESPN The Magazine All-America Men's Basketball Player of the Year. In addition to being a student-athlete, McKeehan is also a youth basketball camp volunteer, a volunteer aid for the Thomas MOre Sommerkamp Tutoring Center and a weekend volunteer at Brookside Extended Care in northern Kentucky.

Each month, SAAC members at a PAC school nominate a student-athlete to highlight based on academic and athletic accomplishments. Honorees must be a varsity member in their respective sport(s) and must be at a junior or senior class status. Scholar-Athletes of the Month must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and be actively involved on his or her campus community.

Source: Press release by TMC

2010 KABC High School Baskeball Awards


The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches has released its 2010 basketball awards.

Boys Coach of the Year

1 Burlin Brower - Heath
2 Bev Hart - Webster County
3 Ben Murphy - Owensboro Catholic (co-Coach of the Year)
Paul Decker - Ohio County (co-Coach of the Year)
4 Blane Embry - Greenwood
5 Ron Bevars - North Hardin
6 Brad Morgan - Beth Haven
7 Mike Szabo - Trinity
8 Steve Simpson - South Oldham
9 Dave Faust - St. Henry
10 Scott Humphrey - Clark County
11 Shane Buttry - Madison Southern
12 Robert Jones - McCreary Central
13 Tony Pietrowski - Corbin
14 Doug Noble - Breathitt County
15 Jason Booher - Shelby Valley
16 Brandon Baker - East Carter

Boys Player of the Year

1 Caleb Hardy - Carlisle County
2 Shaquille Wilson - Christian County
3 Travis Johnston - Grayson County
4 Cameron Hall - Glasgow
5 Bryton Taylor - Campbellsville
6 Thomas Blakemore - Butler
7 Josh Sewell - Trinity
8 Jacob Russell - Anderson County
9 Ricardo Johnson - Holmes
10 Jacob Rieger - Bishop Brossart
11 Will Evans - Lexington Christian Academy (co-player of the year); Vance Hall - Franklin County (co-player of the year)
12 Aaron Watts - McCreary Central
13 Isaac Wilson - Corbin
14 Stuart Stamper - Knott County Central
15 Elisha Justice - Shelby Valley
16 Colt Barnhill - East Carter

Dimemag.com to Randolph Morris: You're Lucky to be Here


Remember the famous line in the movie Top Gun when Cmdr. Tom Jordan (Callsign: Stinger) screams at Goose: "And you @#$%^^, you're lucky to be here!"

Goose (Anthony Edwards) responds, "Thank you, sir."

Dimemag.com feels that former Kentucky Wildcat Randolph Morris is very similar to Goose.

The site has released a list of the 10 Luckiest Players in the NBA and Morris makes the list. Here is what they say about the ex-UK big man:

RANDOLPH MORRIS — From what I can tell, Morris basically has a job because he’s homeboys with Josh Smith. And getting to play/live in his native Atlanta, Morris doesn’t even have that far to travel if he gets waived.


Later in Top Gun, a pilot named Slider looks at Goose and says, "First the MiG...now this..."

We can now look at Morris and say, "First Tubby's fax machine...now this..."

Southeastern Illinois College Prospers on Kentucky Pipeline


Southeastern Illinois College (22-9) enters the 63rd NJCAA DI Men's Basketball Championship this afternoon against highly touted Howard College (29-2).

Southeastern, fresh off a 79-67 District 16/Region 24 championship game win over No. 16 Wabash Valley (Ill.), sees significant production from a host of Kentucky natives.

Kentuckian Issac McClure (Paducah Tilghman) is the team's second leading scorer at 13.3 points per game. McClure adds 6.6 rebounds and a team-leading 2 blocks per contest.

Head coach Todd Franklin says of McClure, "Isaac (McClure) is a sophomore who is having a big finish to his career here. As our power forward, he is a big, physical kid that has the ability to play at a mid-level DI program soon."

Charles Ashford (Bryan Station) has taken over the point guard position and has been playing as well as anyone in Southeastern's league for the last half of the season according to Franklin.

"Ashford has came on strong," Franklin says. "He started a little slowly but has really taken over the point guard position for us. He is playing as well as anyone in our league."

Normally, the first man off the bench of Coach Franklin is Daquan Brown (University Heights), who averages 6.8 points and shoots over 37% from the three-point line.

Franklin states, "Daquan is our first rotation guy off the bench. He has full scholarship level potential someplace. Hickman and Jackson play the 6-7 man roles for us. They will be mainstays in our program next season and both will have chances to be DI players."

Hickman and Jackson are Jordan Hickman (Bardstown High School) and Corey Jackson (Shawnee High School). Both freshmen, Hickman contributes 2.9 points and 2.6 rebound while Jackson adds 3.9 points and 3 rebounds.

Those that are aware of Southeastern Illinois know that it's not a surprise to see heavy contributions from Kentucky kids in their lineup.

"We've had 13 years of bringing in Kentucky kids," says Franklin, who happens to be a Central City native himself. "I grew up in Central City over in Muhlenberg County, went to Austin Peay as an assistant, spent some time at Missouri Rollo as an assistant and then took this job."

Franklin noted Donta Smith and Tyrone Green as a pair of Kentucky kids that he brought in, sent off to DI program and that eventually went on to professional careers. Smith committed to Louisville after his Southeastern career, but opted to back out of that commitment and was actually taken in the 2004 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

"At our school, we run our program to help guys get to the next level," adds Franklin. "We take very talented kids that don't qualify or that have other setbacks and we develop them. We do it as if they are already in NCAA Division I. That is just how we run our program here."

Coach Franklin feels that it's unfortunate that there's no junior college programs in Kentucky, but he acknowledges that many Kentucky kids find a path to Southeastern as a result.

"Everybody in our league has DI and DII level kids. I was a coach in the Ohio Valley Conference at Austin Peay and I can say that the level of play in our league is an OVC-level or higher," Franklin explains.

As for today's game, Franklin realizes that the competition is going to be stiff.

"We play the top-ranked team that's left in the nation," he points out. "Down here, it's all about the draw and not necessarily the seed. After today, there will be 8 teams remaining in the entire country. We know that Howard will present a tough challenge but I think it will be a very good matchup. We have really picked it up over the last 4-5 weeks and I feel our team is playing as well as anyone."



Today's Game:

1:00 Southeastern Illinois (22-9) vs. #2 Howard, Tex. (29-2)

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