Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kentuckys Falls Short at No. 24 Vanderbilt


(24) Vanderbilt 81
(18) Kentucky 77

Final from Nashville, Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats put up another valiant effort on the road, only to lose 81-77 to No. 24 Vanderbilt.

Kentucky has now lost five Southeastern Conference road games this season.

John Jenkins led the Commodores with a game-high 32 points on 11-17 shooting. He as 6-10 from the three-point line. Festus Ezeli added 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Kentucky picked up 25 points and 9 rebounds from Terrence Jones. Brandon Knight added 20 points. DeAndre Liggins chipped in 10 points and several outstanding defensive plays for the Wildcats.

Vanderbilt (18-6, 6-4 SEC) shot 11-20 (55%) from long range and 20-23 (87%) from the free throw line.

With the loss, Kentucky (17-7, 5-5) is all but eliminated from the race for the SEC regular season title.

The Wildcats return to Rupp Arena to host Mississippi State on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.

No. 16 Louisville Squeezes No. 12 Orange


(16) Louisville 73
(12) Syracuse 69

Final from Louisville, Kentucky


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kyle Kuric scored 23 points, Preston Knowles added 22 and Peyton Siva dropped in the clinching free throws in the final moments to lead No. 16 Louisville past slumping No. 12 Syracuse 73-69 on Saturday.

The Cardinals (19-6, 8-4 Big East) continued their mastery of the Orange (20-6, 7-6) behind some hot 3-point shooting and just enough defense to beat Syracuse for the seventh straight time.

Brandon Triche led the Orange with a season-high 21 points and Scoop Jardine had 20 points and four assists but Syracuse couldn't quite erase a 20-point second-half deficit to lose for the sixth time in its last eight games.

The Orange pulled within three points twice in the final 2:10 but Louisville survived thanks to clutch free throws from Siva and Chris Smith.

Louisville was 13 of 27 from 3-point range to overcome Syracuse's distinct size advantage and shoot its way over the Orange's trademark 2-3 zone defense.

Coach Rick Pitino worried his team was on the verge of collapse after squeaking by with a patchwork lineup in recent weeks.

The Cardinals are as healthy as they have been all season after the return of power forward Rakeem Buckles, who missed six weeks with a broken left index finger. His return gave Louisville's frontline a much-needed boost following a draining overtime loss at No. 8 Notre Dame on Thursday.

Complete Recap

Kentucky Trails Vanderbilt at the Half


An entertaining first half in Vanderbilt has ended with the Commodores leading Kentucky 44-40.

The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the half with Vanderbilt using 7-12 shooting from the three-point line to take the lead.

Kentucky was forced to go to the bench late in the half after DeAndre Liggins, Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson each picked up two fouls.

Brandon Knight scored 12 points to lead Kentucky in the half. Terrence Jones added 8 and DeAndre Liggins chipped in 7.

John Jenkins, the SEC's leading scorer, led Vanderbilt with 14 points, including 3-5 shooting from long range.

Kentucky shot well, 15-28 (53.6%) from the field, but gave Vanderbilt to many good looks from long range.

Tyrone Shelley Adjusting Nicely at Georgetown College


San Diego State transfer Tyrone Shelley is adjusting to his new lifestyle in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Mark Zeigler of SignonSanDiego.com wrote Thursday about Shelley's circumstances and how he ended up playing for Happy Osborne's Georgetown Tigers.

Here is an excerpt:

Osborne greeted him upon his arrival at the quaint campus of shade trees and red-brick architecture set in a town of 21,589 that was named for George Washington. The light blue water tower says “Georgetown, A Kentucky Treasure.” There’s an “antique row” of shops in the three-block downtown. Freight trains regularly rumble through the east side of campus.

Osborne walked Shelley to Collier Hall. In San Diego, he had a car and shared a spacious off-campus apartment with Aztecs teammates. Osborne opened the door to an 11- by 16-foot room with two beds, two desks, two closets, two dressers and one window.

He’d have a roommate. Bathrooms are down the hall. It is a single-sex dorm, as they all are at Georgetown, and members of the opposite sex are allowed during specific visiting hours and only in common areas. Alcohol is strictly prohibited. The college abides by the city’s noise ordinance, which means you’re not playing your stereo after 11 p.m.

Shelley looked at the white cinderblock walls, at the lone window, and said: “Coach, you’ve humbled me.”

Osborne laughed and said in his syrupy Kentucky drawl: “Welcome home, baby. Move in.”


Complete Article

Seth Davis Picks Kentucky to Defeat Vanderbilt


Seth Davis of SportsIllustrated.com picks the Kentucky Wildcats to get an important road win at Vanderbilt today.

Here is his analysis:

No. 18 Kentucky (17-6, 5-4) at No. 23 Vanderbilt (17-6, 5-4)
Much of the discussion around Kentucky's supposed vulnerabilities has been misguided. People say the Wildcats can't win on the road, but their three road losses in the SEC came by a total of six points. People say they're too young, but the freshmen have actually been terrific. The older players are the ones who have been inconsistent, but they came to play against Tennessee on Tuesday night. Nor do I share the concerns about Kentucky's depth. Plenty of teams have gone deep into March playing six or seven guys. It's only a matter of time before the Wildcats break out, and I've got a feeling that time is coming fast.

Complete Article

Davis' Pick: UK 78 Vanderbilt 73

My Pick: UK 73 Vanderbilt 71

Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings Previews Today's Game

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings talks about his team's big win over Alabama, the quick turnaround for today's game against Kentucky and how dangerous the Wildcats are:

No. 24 Centre College Destroys Sewanee


(24) Centre 70
Sewanee 35

Final from Danville, Kentucky


The Centre men's basketball team recovered from their loss last weekend by beating Sewanee 70-35 on Friday, February 11 in Danville, Ky and in the process senior Alex Lloyd (Versailles, Ky.) set a school individual career record in blocked shots by recording his 135 blocked shot. Lloyd broke Rob King's record of 134 blocked shots. Centre improved to 16-4 on the season and to 11-2 in the SCAC with the win.

Junior Greg Ross (Cincinnati, Ohio) put the Colonels ahead 2-0 to start the game after Sewanee was unable to convert on their opening possession.

The Tigers wouldn't take long to respond, as Lewis Affronti hit a three pointer on their ensuing possession to go up 3-2 with 18:39 on the clock.

Complete Recap


Centre's Alex Lloyd dunks off a great pass from Greg Ross:



Dee Smith ends the half with a bang for the Colonels:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Kentucky Wildcats Discuss Trip to Vanderbilt


Before leaving for Nashville, Kentucky players Darius Miller, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins talked about everything from the importance of tomorrow's game at Vanderbilt to falling off the Memorial Gym elevated court.

Here are their comments (via UKAthletics.com):

#1, Darius Miller, G, Jr.


On the setup at Vanderbilt …
“It is kind of different. As you all know, the setup is different and it is going to be a pretty tough environment and a tough crowd. We are trying to get mentally ready and hopefully we can come out and have a good practice today.”

On transferring all the good things UK did against Tennessee on Tuesday night to the game Saturday …
“We definitely think about that. We played good at home pretty much all through conference play this year, but we have been struggling on the road. We don’t really know why. Maybe lack of intensity coming out letting the crowd in it. We need to come out and not let the crowd get involved. Like I said, it is going to be a tough atmosphere, so we have to come out ready to go from the beginning.”

On if UK would win more road games if they played on the road like they do at Rupp …
“Yeah, like I have said we have been playing pretty good at home. We have to come out focused from the beginning on the road. I don’t know why we have letdowns when we play away but I think that we are going to figure it out. Coach Cal is going to do a great job of getting us prepared today and have a good game plan as always. We have to come out and execute.”

On all the road games being close on the road …
“Yeah, that is true (they have been close), but we haven’t played a whole 40 minutes on the road. We feel like we haven’t played a whole 40 minutes through conference play, really. We have to work on coming out and playing the whole game and get prepared and ready.”

#3, Terrence Jones, F, Fr.

On the need to play well on the road …
“We have to, we have to play with the same energy and see the same confidence from a lot of guys like we do in the home games. We need to expect everybody to still play and keep the commitments they made to the team.”

On talking about every player’s specific commitments to the team …
“It put more pressure and higher expectations on everyone from the team by saying you’re going to do this for everybody on the team. There are a certain amount of things and if everybody’s doing everything then we’ll do well as a group.”

On the importance of (DeAndre) Liggins to the team …
“He’s very important. He always has the toughest job on defense guarding the best player on the other team and he did a good job [in the Tennessee game]. He was just playing with energy on offense and defense and he usually passes up shots, but instead he was being aggressive with the ball.”

On Coach Cal being on the other side of the court for half of the Vanderbilt game …
“I don’t like that, I like hearing him because he tells us what to do and sometimes we need that. He helps us call the plays. We’re going to have to talk out there on the court as a team and be more focused on what Brandon (Knight)’s saying and have everybody repeating it and just getting all the calls right.”

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G, Jr.

On dealing with the different set up of the Vanderbilt gym …
“The coach gets away from us so it’s pretty weird because he has to yell from in the end zone. We just have to make sure we communicate on every call we make.”

On the difficulty of communicating without Coach Cal around …
“It’ll be very difficult but we just have to keep [communicating] and keep our eye on Coach [Cal] to see what he wants and go from there.”

On Coach Cal’s comments that Liggins deserves the ball more on offense …
“Everybody’s been working hard and deserves the ball but my role is to help us win and if I need to be scoring then that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

On Cal saying offense should be like a reward for playing good defense …
“I think the same way. Of course I like to touch the ball sometimes but I love playing defense so it doesn’t matter as much about my offense.”

On worrying about falling off the gym floor at Vanderbilt …
“It’d be weird to see someone fall off, but if I’ve got to do that to win the game then I’ll do it. I’m just trying to come out with a win.”

Wyoming is a Place Billy Gillispie "Would Probably Consider"


A source who knows former Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie said the Wyoming job "would be a place he (Gillispie) would probably consider."

According to WyomingNews.com, the source also added, "I think he'll be interested."

Here is an excerpt:

Stuart Campbell, the attorney for former UTEP, Texas A&M and Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie, offered no comment when asked if his client is interested in the UW job.

Gillispie has been out of coaching since he was fired from Kentucky in 2009 and has a 140-85 career record.

A source who knows Gillispie told WyoSports Thursday that the UW job "would be a place he would probably consider." The source later added: "I think he'll be interested."

Messages for Gillispie were not returned.

Complete Article

John Calipari's Pregame Quotes for Vanderbilt


Kentucky head coach John Calipari spoke to the media this week about Saturday's game at Vanderbilt.

Here is what he had to say (via UKAthletics.com):

On if playing at Vanderbilt with the ‘end zone’ coaches’ box will be a challenge …
“I don’t think they listen to me much on the road, so I don’t think it really matters. But, I do know they will have to listen to each other. Maybe that will help them. Historically, our teams have always played better on the road because they were always supposed to win every game on the road, so when they went on the road, they loosened up a little bit and they played. With this team, part of it is that we haven’t played together. I tried to figure this out myself. Why do guys play so poorly at Florida, and then turn around and play so well against Tennessee? You know guys that stunk the gym up, and some of them gave up 30 points; so how do those guys come back? I think part of it is that they did it together, so that makes the game easier. If you try to play by yourself, the game is really hard. It’s hard on offense, you don’t get any space, guys are up in you, no one gives you an easy shot, and no one frees you. And on defense, it’s just you and that man. If he is a little better than you, or quicker, oh my goodness gracious, you are just looking to come out of the game. One of the things you do is foul to get you out of there. But if you are together, even a young man that is faster and quicker, you can guard him. And offensively, a guy is trying to smother you. That doesn’t matter. My teammate will get me something. That’s something that I come back too. Usually a crisis brings that around. The guys say ‘man we have to do that together’.”

On if this team is rebounding better …
“We will see. That’s an ongoing issue. The biggest thing is the rebound attempts against Tennessee and Florida are so glaring. Just attempting, listen to me… attempt. All we are asking is for you to attempt to get the ball. We had guys rebounding 25-30 percent of the time, and they were our three, our four, and our five. Think about what I just said. Now, this game, Tennessee, they were all in the eighties. That means a shot went up on offense. If I’m on offense, and I’m a three, four, or five I try to tip it in and go play. If it went up on defense, all five guys went to rebound the ball. Well now we have a chance to out-rebound the other team. Before, we didn’t even have a chance. So again, it is on them? No. That’s why I put those (rebounding) rims up. Every shot we take, none of them were going in. ‘Why didn’t you go after that rebound?’ ‘Because I thought it was going to go in.’ Unless you can get it through a pinhole, it’s not going in. There’s a rim in there. So, we are trying to get them to develop some different habits.”

On Vanderbilt’s make-up …
“They are a good team. We all know that if (John) Jenkins gets going he can beat you by himself. You know, inside, (Festus) Ezeli is really good. He is really physical. They put four guys around him. The other guys are veteran guys, and they are good players. They have got a good group, and they have got a good bench. They lost at Florida, but a kid got fouled on a 3-point shot. The kid after the game said, ‘I fouled him’, so I’m not making it up. Against Tennessee, a kid drove middle, and got tripped. They didn’t call it. They lost both of those games. Kind of what I told you about Mississippi. What’s their record now? They were one and whatever; they have won every game since we have played them. They are not a bad team. They are a good team. This is a really good team. This is one of the better teams in our league.”

On if he will watch the Vanderbilt game tonight …
“I will not. I was thinking about having the team over to watch. Maybe they will watch it over in Wildcat (Lodge). I usually just watch the tape. And the reason is I will try to get the remote and try to stop it, when it’s a real game, so I can’t do it.”

Pikeville College Holds Off Campbellsville

(24) Pikeville 71
Campbellsville 69

Final from Pikeville, Kentucky


PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Playing its first game as a ranked team in exactly a year weighed heavily on No. 24 Pikeville College, but the Bears escaped with an 81-79 win over Campbellsville University Thursday night at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

The win completed the regular-season sweep and improved the Bears to 21-5 on the season and kept them tied with St. Catharine College for third place in the Mid-South Conference standings at 10-4. The Patriots are next up for the Bears, when they travel to Pikeville on Saturday afternoon for a 4 p.m. tip.

Campbellsville fell to 14-11 on the season, 7-7 in the league.

Complete Recap

Pikeville's Quincy Hankins-Cole slams in an alley oop pass against Georgetown College last week:

Peck Nets No. 200 as Lindsey Wilson Wins


Lindsey Wilson 68
West Virginia Tech 59

Final from Montgomery, West Virginia

MONTGOMERY, W. Va. -- A three-game losing streak came to an end after the Lindsey Wilson College men's basketball team put together an exciting second-half comeback to beat the West Virginia Institute of Technology 68-59 on Thursday at the Neal Baisi Athletic Center.

Junior Chase Spreen led the Blue Raiders with a career-high 25 points and his classmate Justin Archie added a career-high as well with 19 points. Spreen hit 12-of-14 free throws and Archie knocked down 10-of-12 attempts from the stripe.

Joseph Morgan paced the Golden Bears with 12 points and Josh Arnold added 10 points and 11 rebounds as the only player in the game with a double-double.

Blue Raider head coach Paul Peck -- who picked up his 200th win at Lindsey Wilson -- said he was happy with the way his team responded from being down most of the game.

Complete Recap

Alabama Basketball Gets Hosed by SEC Officials


If the Alabama Crimson Tide somehow find themselves in the NIT this postseason, they will point to last night's controversial loss at Vanderbilt as the proverbial beginning of the end.

With 'Bama down 2 points and looking to tie the game, the whistle blew and JaMychal Green was ruled out of bounds by the referee - who was seemingly right on the top of the play.

There was one problem, however, as instant replay clearly shows that Green never stepped on the baseline and it wasn't even close.

As a result, the Tide will likely end up on the bubble in a couple of weeks and Vanderbilt escaped with a big SEC win.

Here is video footage of the call:


No. 18 Northern Kentucky Rolls Against Kentucky Wesleyan


(18) Northern Kentucky 76
Kentucky Wesleyan 60

Final from Highland Heights, Kentucky

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Josh Tabb scored 16 points to lead No. 18 Northern Kentucky University to a 76-60 win against Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday night.

Dennis Gagai added 15 points as NKU extended its winning streak to six and improved to 19-4 overall, 12-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Malcolm Eleby finished with 13 points and five assists for the Norse, who have won 11 of their past 12 games.

Tabb, a senior guard, netted 10 points in the first half as NKU built a 36-30 lead at the break. The Norse took advantage of 11 Kentucky Wesleyan turnovers in the first half and were 5-for-14 from 3-point range before the break.

Anthony Young scored 22 points to lead Kentucky Wesleyan. Young’s 3-pointer early in the second half cut NKU’s lead to 40-39, but the Norse responded with a 15-6 run to extend their advantage to 55-45 on Gagai’s 3-pointer with 9:16 left in the game.

Complete Recap

Middle Tennessee Rides Huge Run to Win Over WKU


Middle Tennessee 69
Western Kentucky 60

Final from Bowling Green, Kentucky

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Middle Tennessee outscored WKU 25-3 in the final four minutes of the first half and the first seven minutes of the second half, which proved to be the difference Thursday night as the Blue Raiders defeated WKU, 69-60. The win is Middle Tennessee's third-straight in the series and moves its record to 13-12 overall and 8-4 in Sun Belt Conference play. WKU drops to 10-13 on the season and 5-6 in league play.

Steffphon Pettigrew led WKU with 18 points and also grabbed eight rebounds, and Juan Pattillo led the team with 13 rebounds. Kahlil McDonald added 10 points, and Teeng Akol was a force defensively with four blocked shots in 13 solid minutes. Middle Tennessee's James Washington led all scorers with 24 points, thanks in part to five three-pointers.

The Blue Raiders capitalized on 23 WKU turnovers to the tune of 28 points off miscues, but WKU won the rebounding battle, 46-33. Twenty of WKU's rebounds came on the offensive end.

Complete Recap

Kentucky's Doron Lamb: Best Shooter in the SEC?


In a fan poll on SECDigitalNetwork.com, a fan poll is being conducted online that asks, "who is the best outside shooter in the SEC?"

Kentucky freshman Doron Lamb is currently running away with the voting as he holds 55% of the total votes.

Lamb's primary opposition is John Jenkins of Vanderbilt who has 23%. Chris Warren of Ole Miss has 12%. Erving Walker of Florida and Rotnei Clarke of Arkansas are barely noticeable in the overall results.


Statistically speaking, Lamb is doing his part to support his backers. Lamb is and SEC-best 45-93 (48.4%) from long range on the season.

Jenkins is 64-158 (40.5%) and Warren is 65-185 (35.1%).

Gators Inch Ahead of Kentucky in Yahoo's SEC Rankings


Jason King of Yahoo! Sports has dropped Kentucky (17-6, 5-4 SEC) behind Florida (19-5, 8-2) in his weekly SEC rankings.

Here is how King ranks the conference this week:

1. Florida
2. Kentucky
3. Vanderbilt
4. Alabama
5. Tennessee
6. Georgia
7. Mississippi State
8. Ole Miss
9. Arkansas
10. South Carolina
11. LSU
12. Auburn

King also writes about John Calipari's "boxing strategy" to toughen up his young Wildcats.

Last week in practice, Calipari had his team utilize punching bags that were stationed on the practice court.

Here is an excerpt:

Calipari said it was one of the key issues in Saturday’s overtime loss at Florida. Three days later – after only a few sessions with the boxing gloves – Calipari’s squad played with a different mentality in Tuesday’s 73-61 victory over Tennessee.

“You’ve got to be rough,” Calipari said he told his team. “You’ve got to be willing to fight.”

Calipari’s ploy worked, as the undersized Wildcats outrebounded Tennessee 38-28 in a game it led by as many as 19 points.

“It made us tougher,” guard DeAndre Liggins said of the boxing. “We’re just going to try to continue to be tough and make plays down the stretch like we did [against Tennessee]. We need to do it on the road.”

Unfortunately, King labels Arkansas head coach, and former Kentucky player, John Pelphrey in the "not hot" category this week:

John Pelphrey – The Arkansas coach can’t seem to establish any sort of consistency in Fayetteville. One week the Razorbacks are beating Vanderbilt or Alabama. The next they’re losing to LSU, South Carolina or Ole Miss. Pelphrey’s job security is enhanced by the fact that he’s got a great recruiting class coming in next season.

Complete Article

Murray State Wins Ugly Game Against Tennessee Tech


Murray State 55
Tennessee Tech 44

Final from Murray, Kentucky


The Murray State Racers earned a hard-fought 55-44 win over Tennessee Tech Thursday at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.

The win enabled the Racers to keep their first place spot in the Ohio Valley Conference at 11-3 as they moved their overall mark to 19-3 and stretched their current win streak to a season-best seven straight.

The Racers played a stellar defensive game in holding the Golden Eagles to 32 percent shooting on the night and 0-of-7 from three-point range, marking the first time MSU held an opponent to zero threes since 1989 when they did it to Middle Tennessee.

MSU also held TTU’s Kevin Murphy to two points, far below the 31 he scored against them in the first meeting between the two.

Complete Recap

Future Wildcat Gilchrist to Play in Prime Time Shootout


Future Kentucky Wildcat Michael Gilchrist and St. Patrick (NJ) will play in this weekend's Prime Time Shootout.

Here is an excerpt about Gilchrist's game:

ST. PATRICK VS. ST. THOMAS MORE (Conn.) 4:30 p.m.
The Connecticut school, which takes on Union in tomorrow’s last (9 p.m.) game, faces a quick and difficult turn-around when it takes on the nation’s top-ranked team less than 18 hours later. St. Thomas More boasts 6-10, 275-pound Andre Drummond, rated as the nation’s top junior by both espn.com and rivals.com. St. Patrick boasts one of the nation’s top-two rated seniors in Kentucky-bound Michael Gilchrist and has been getting great play of late from guard Derrick Gordon, who will attend Western Kentucky.

The event will feature some of the nation's top high school players, including Tyrone Johnson, Myck Kabongo, Shaquille Stokes, Anthony Fields and LaQuinton Ross.

Here is a schedule:

*All games at Kean University’s Harwood Arena, Union

TODAY
Pennington Prep vs. St. Joseph (Met.), 5
Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.) vs. Plainfield, 6:30
Montrose Christian (Md.) vs. Linden, 8
Middle Township vs. Middletown North, 9:30

TOMORROW
Half Hollows (N.Y.) vs. Neptune, 12
Lakewood vs. Rancocas Valley, 1:30
St. Andrew's (R.I.) vs. Trenton Catholic, 3
Life Center Academy vs. Quality Education Academy (N.C.), 4:30
Hotchkiss School (Conn.) vs. St. Anthony, 6
Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. Montrose Christian (Md.), 7:30
St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Union, 9

SUNDAY
Montgomery vs. Point Pleasant Beach, 12
St. Raymond’s (N.Y.) vs. Lincoln (N.Y.), 1:30 p.m.
Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. Newark East Side, 3
St. Patrick vs. St. Thomas More (Conn.), 4:30
Our Savior of New American (N.Y.) vs. St. Peter’s Prep, 6
Roselle Catholic vs. Shabazz, 7:30

Source

Morehead State Destroys Eastern Illinois


Morehead State 81
Eastern Illinois 65

Final from Morehead, Kentucky

MOREHEAD, Ky.—Morehead State men’s basketball wanted to prove that its lack of offense in the January game at Eastern Illinois was a fluke.

The Eagles did so by scoring more points in Thursday’s first half (43) than they did the entire game at EIU (40), winning the rematch with the Panthers 81-65 at Johnson Arena in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

The win was Morehead State’s sixth straight and it kept the Eagles, at 18-8 overall and 10-4 in the OVC, one game behind league-leader Murray, who won at Tennessee Tech Thursday. It also marked the fourth straight year MSU has reached at least 10 conference wins. Eastern Illinois fell to 8-16 overall and 4-10 in OVC play.

“I thought our team was much more efficient tonight than we were the first time we played them at their place,” MSU coach Donnie Tyndall said. “When you think about it, we had 40 for the entire game when we played them before, we had 43 at the half tonight, so we were much more crisp at the offensive end of the floor.

Four of the five starters scored in double figures, none of which reached double figures in the first meeting. Kenneth Faried had the same number of rebounds Thursday, 13, as he did at EIU, but he had 13 more points this time to lead the Eagles with 18. Demonte Harper had 15 points and a team-high four assists. The team-leading performance for the seniors occurred in the first of a pair of home games that mark their final appearances in Johnson Arena for regular season games.

Terrence Jones, Kenneth Faried Make Naismith Midseason Top 30 List


Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones and Morehead State senior Kenneth Faried were named to the Naismith Midseason Top 30 list as announced by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club this morning.

Jones is one of only two freshmen (Jared Sullinger, Ohio State) on the watch list, which will be trimmed following a vote in March.

The midseason top 30 list, which is based on player performances during the 2010-11 season, was complied by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded to the college basketball player of the year at the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four in Indianapolis.

Here’s the complete top 30:

Alec Burks, Colorado
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
Marcus Denmon, Missouri
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Austin Freeman, Georgetown
Jordan Hamilton, Texas
Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame
Tu Holloway, Xavier
Rick Jackson, Syracuse
Charles Jenkins, Hofstra
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
Demetri McCamey, Illinois
Mickey McConnell, Saint Mary’s
E’Twaun Moore, Purdue
Marcus Morris, Kansas
Kyle Singler, Duke
Chris Singleton, Florida State
Nolan Smith, Duke
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Isaiah Thomas, Washington
Trey Thompkins, Georgia
Klay Thompson, Washington State
Kemba Walker, UConn
Brad Wanamaker, Pittsburgh
Derrick Williams, Arizona
Jordan Williams, Maryland

Terrence Jones Named Top High School Athlete in Oregon for 2010


Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones has won Oregon Sports Awards' top honors for 2010 as the top male high school athlete from class 6A/5A.

Here is an excerpt about Jones from MaxPreps.com:

The 6-8 Jones led Jefferson of Portland to three-straight 5A titles and was a member of the U.S. Junior National Select Team and a McDonald's and Parade All-American. As a freshman, Jones is the leading scorer for the University of Kentucky.

Complete Article

St. Catharine College Wins Big at U.Va.-Wise


St. Catharine 85
U.Va.-Wise 62

Final from Wise, Virginia

Wise, Virginia-The University of Virginia's College at Wise was unable to fight off the visiting St. Catharine College Patriots, as the Cavaliers were defeated 85-62 in Mid-South action Thursday. The first half was a back and forth affair, with the Cavaliers falling in an early 12-1 hole but battling back and pulling within a bucket near the midway point of the first half. But the Patriots used their depth and athleticism to extend the lead to 18 points at the end of the half, leading 45-27. The visiting Patriots shot 50% from the field for the game, while the Cavs struggled from the field and finished at 35%. St. Catharine guard Kashiff Carr was the high scorer, scoring 22 points on 15 shots.

Forward Sam Eligwe was the leading Cavalier scorer with 17 points. Josh Jordan added 15 points and five rebounds for UVa-Wise, while Norris Gaskins was the only other Cavalier in double digits with 11 points. Jermaine Wright led the Cavs in rebounds with eight while freshman guard Darius Smith led in assists with four.

St. Catharine was paced by Kashiff Carr's 22 points and three rebounds, with Antonie Watson scoring 17 points and Xavier Keeling adding 10. Watson was also the game's leading rebounder, pulling down 11, including six on the offensive end. Terrance Withers led the Patriots in assists with four.

Complete Recap

St. Catharine's Xavier Keeling dunks in a recent win over Rio Grande:


Former Kentucky Wildcat George Vulich Dies at 85


Former Kentucky basketball player George Vulich died Tuesday night at the age of 85 after a battle with cancer.

Here is an excerpt from KyKernel.com:

But his son, Steve Vulich, 63, said his father’s death could not have come in a more fitting manner.

“He was watching Kentucky the other night when we beat Tennessee,” he said. “Just before the end of the game, he closed his eyes and went to sleep. The Lord must have said, ‘Come on.’”

George (May 11, 1925 – Feb. 8, 2011) modeled his life after two of the most successful and inspirational figures in basketball history — Hall of Fame coaches Adolph Rupp and John Wooden — Steve said.

“Playing for Rupp, he thought the guy was just crazy. But as he grew older in life, he realized it’s those lessons they teach you is what makes you have the strength to move and be a successful person.

“Life to him was bigger than him. I think a lot of Rupp’s and Wooden’s teachings brought that out. That’s how he lived his life.”

Complete Article

I would like to ask all readers to pray for the Vulich family.

Eastern Kentucky Pulls Away from SEMO


Eastern Kentucky 77
Southeast Missouri 64

Final from Richmond, Kentucky

RICHMOND, Ky. – Seniors Josh Daniel, Spencer Perrin and Justin Stommes combined for 54 points as the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team pulled away from Southeast Missouri in the second half and defeated the Redhawks, 77-64, Thursday night in McBrayer Arena.

Perrin scored 14 of his 20 points and grabbed five of his team-high nine rebounds to lead the Colonels in the first half. Stommes took over in the second half, connecting on four three-pointers and scoring 18 of his 20 in the final 20 minutes of play. Daniel, meanwhile, contributed with 14 points.

Leading by only three at halftime, EKU (14-11, 8-6 OVC) shot 64 percent (16-of-25) from the field and 75 percent (6-of-8) from deep in the second half. The Colonels’ efficient and balanced performance was illustrated by a season-low seven turnovers and 15 three-point attempts.

Complete Recap

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Can Calipari's Kids Handle Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium?


Kentucky's young players will discover what is likely the most bizarre gymnasium they have ever played in on Saturday when the Wildcats battle Vanderbilt in Nashville.

Memorial Gymnasium cannot be accurately described by words. Some words that come to mind, however, include: bizarre, different, strange, weird, ugly, old and unusual. Unfortunately for Kentucky fans, a phrase associated with Memorial Gym is "a difficult place to win."

For Kentucky, a team that has already lost four conference road games, it may be a very difficult place to win.

It will be interesting to see how Kentucky handles the adversity of playing at Vanderbilt. It's an opportunity to pick up a huge Southeastern Conference road win but the threat is there of another disappointing loss.

Can the young Wildcats overcome the "Memorial Magic"?

Some Notes on Memorial Gymnasium:

- Built in 1952

- Seating capacity of 14,316

- Was dedicated as the campus memorial to students and alumni killed in World War II

- The floor was built up above the rest of the arena; almost appearing as a stage

- Benches are located on the ends of the court, rather than the sidelines

- Has been called the "Fenway Park of College Basketball"

- Vanderbilt is 12-1 at Memorial Gym this season (currently holding a halftime lead on Alabama)

John Calipari Discusses Vanderbilt Game

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari spoke to the media today about this weekend's game at Vanderbilt.

Here are Coach Cal's comments (via bluenationblog on YouTube):

Dick Vitale Says Kentucky is a Dangerous Team


ESPN's Dick Vitale says Kentucky is a dangerous team, despite it's youth and the loss of five players to last summer's NBA Draft.

Vitale says, "Look at those six Ls and realize that they came on the road, in hostile environments where Big Blue had a target on its back."

He adds that Kentucky will be ready for the NCAA Tournament and will be a difficult team to handle.

Here is an excerpt of Vitale's thoughts:

For Kentucky to win and make a solid run come tournament time, it must look back at the film of the game against Tennesse. In order to beat quality teams, the veteran players, or maybe I should simply say the upperclassmen, have to step up and contribute.

Against the Vols, Kentucky spoiled the SEC return of Vols coach Bruce Pearl, who came to Lexington in the orange jacket! DeAndre Liggins had a career-high 19 points. Josh Harrellson came through as well with 16 points on the interior. Liggins and Harrellson don't have that much playing experience, especially compared to Darius Miller, but they are key to the Wildcats' success.

Any time you recruit the quality talent that John Calipari does, and you have that changeover in personnel, people have to understand that it takes a little time for familiarity to set in.

Complete Article

Future Kentucky and Louisville Stars in McDonald's Game


The 2011 McDonald's All American Game will have a Bluegrass flavor as four future Kentucky Wildcats and two future Louisville Cardinals will play in the game.

Kentucky will be represented by Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer.

Chane Behanan, the only Kentucky high school player on the team, and Wayne Blackshear are future Cards in the game.

Here is a complete roster breakdown:

2011 McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Team

EAST TEAM

Name Pos Hgt High School (Hometown) College
Brad Beal G 6-5 Chaminade College Prep, MO (St. Louis, MO) Florida
Chane Behanan F 6-7 Bowling Green, KY (Bowling Green, KY) Louisville
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope G 6-5 Greenville, GA (Greenville, GA) Georgia
Michael Carter-Williams G 6-5 St. Andrew’s, RI (Barrington, RI) Syracuse
Rakeem Christmas F 6-10 Academy of the New Church, PA (Bryn Athyn, PA) Syracuse
Quinn Cook G 6-0 Oak Hill Academy, VA (Mouth of Wilson, VA) Duke
Michael Gilchrist F 6-7 St. Patrick, NJ (Elizabeth, NJ) Kentucky
P.J. Hairston G/F 6-6 Hargrave Military Academy, VA (Chatham, VA) North Carolina
James McAdoo F 6-8 Norfolk Christian, VA (Norfolk, VA) North Carolina
Johnny O’Bryant III C 6-10 Eastside, MS (Cleveland, MS) LSU
Marshall Plumlee F/C 6-10 Christ School, NC (Arden, NC) Duke
Shannon Scott G 6-2 Milton, GA (Alpharetta, GA) Ohio State

Head Coach: Bob Cimino, Mt. Vernon, NY (Mt. Vernon High School)
Asst. Coach: Brian Pritchett, Mt. Vernon, NY (Mt. Vernon High School)

WEST TEAM

Name Pos Hgt High School (Hometown) College
Khem Birch F/C 6-9 Notre Dame Prep, MA (Fitchburg, MA) Pittsburgh
Wayne Blackshear G/F 6-5 Morgan Park, IL (Chicago, IL) Louisville
Anthony Davis F/C 6-9 Perspectives Charter, IL (Chicago, IL) Kentucky
Branden Dawson G/F 6-5 Lew Wallace, IN (Gary, IN) Michigan State
Myck Kabongo G 6-1 Findlay Prep, NV (Henderson, NV) Texas
LeBryan Nash F 6-7 Lincoln, TX (Dallas, TX) Oklahoma State
Austin Rivers G 6-3 Winter Park, FL (Winter Park, FL) Duke
Marquis Teague G 6-1 Pike, IN (Indianapolis, IN) Kentucky
Adonis Thomas G/F 6-7 Melrose, TN (Memphis, TN) Memphis
Amir Williams C 6-10 Detroit Country Day, MI (Beverly Hills, MI) Ohio State
Kyle Wiltjer F 6-10 Jesuit, OR (Portland, OR) Kentucky
Cody Zeller F 6-10 Washington, IN (Washington, IN) Indiana

Head Coach: Gene Pingatore, Westchester, IL. (St. Joseph High School)
Asst. Coach: Bill Riley, Westchester, IL. (St. Joseph High School)
Asst. Coach: Daryl Thomas, Westchester, IL. (St. Joseph High School)

DeMarcus Cousins Ejected from NBA Game


Former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins was ejected for the first time of his young NBA career on two bizarre technical fouls in last night's 102-100 loss to Dallas.

I hate to point the finger at officials, but it is pretty clear that Cousins did not deserve either technical, particularly the second.

On the second call, Cousins earned a technical after being elbowed in the face by an opposing big man.

Cousins had 19 points and 15 rebounds in the game.

Here is video evidence of both technicals that were called on Cousins - you be the judge:




More on Betsy Layne's All "A" Classic Championship

Mackenzie Bates of WYMT with more on Betsy Layne's All "A" Classic state championship:

USA Basketball Profiles Future Wildcat Anthony Davis


USABasketball.com profiles future Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis today. Davis will participate in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit as a member of the USA team.

The 6-10 Davis has grown approximately eight inches since his sophomore year of high school.

Here is an excerpt from the profile:

Partly due to his growth spurt and more likely a result of impressive performances with Meanstreets AAU and at the 2010 Nike Global Challenge, Davis went from a 6-2 relatively unknown guard to Scout.com’s No. 1 player in the class of 2011, ESPNU’s No. 2 player and Rivals.com’s No. 3 prospect. In fact, it was at the Nike Global Challenge where Davis first played under FIBA rules, although he was limited to a game-and-a-half due to an ankle injury.
And while his body continues to grow and mature, so does his game. Davis told USABasketball.com that post moves are his priority as he learns to capitalize on his new-found height.

Complete Article

Photo: Rivals.com

Billy Clyde Gillispie: A Possible Savior?


BackingthePack.com, a North Carolina State blog, has taken a look at former Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie. They label the article "Profile of a Possible Savior: Billy Clyde Gillispie."

Here is an excerpt:

As touched on in Akula’s profile of Tubby Smith, the Kentucky roster was relatively destitute when Gillispie took over. UK made the NCAAs in year one and had a 12-4 SEC record, but were only 18-13 overall. It speaks volumes about the dearth of talent inherited by BCG that this performance earned him Co-SEC COY honors.

In year two, they slid back to 8-8 and an NIT bid. After the season Gillispie was more or less fired. The reasons why are murky and were in fact the subject of litigation, which was settled with Gillispie getting almost $3 million. Somewhat bizarrely, he signed a “memorandum of understanding” after being hired but never signed a formal contract, and Kentucky tried to not pay his buyout.

It’s clear that his results the first two years were not up to UK standards, however, it seems that his firing had as much or more to do with off-court problems as those on the court. Specifically, he clearly had an awful working relationship with his AD, and he also had problems dealing with the media. If you look at the Kentucky blog linked in Akula’s post on Tubby at the entries from that time period, you’ll see that opinions were very divided on Gillispie as the time but a sizeable faction thought he deserved more time and that the AD/Admin botched the situation badly. Of course, all was well when they hired Calipari.


My Thoughts: I'm all for Billy Gillispie earning another chance to coach college basketball. If I were making a hiring decision, however, I would prefer to see Gillispie work at a mid-major program and prove himself (on- and off-the-court) before I pulled the BCG trigger.

Pikeville Game Times Adjusted for Television Tonight

Pikeville College men's basketball
PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Thursday night’s basketball doubleheader will see both games starting at times not ordinarily used for Mid-South Conference games.

Pikeville will host Campbellsville University on Thursday. Pikeville’s women are receiving votes in the poll this week and will play the Tigers, who moved up to No. 3 in the country this week. The men’s team will feature the newest member of the Top 25, the Bears, who are 24th this week.

The women’s game will begin at 5:45 p.m., while the men will commence at 8:07 p.m.

Mid-South doubleheaders during the week typically have women’s starting times at 6 p.m., with the men at 8. But Thursday’s game, much like last Thursday, will be adjusted to accommodate WYMT-TV, which will carry the men’s game live.

Complete Article

Kentucky State to Host Go Red Event Tonight


FRANKFORT, Ky. – On Thursday, February 10, 2011 Kentucky State University's Department of Athletics invites fans to attend their game against LeMoyne-Owen College and “Go Red” for Heart Disease and HIV/AIDS Awareness.

The Go Red game, sponsored by KSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is to encourage people to, not only be aware of, but to also have regular checkups to prevent heart disease and test for HIV/AIDS. Heart disease is still the number one killer of women, while reports of African-Americans with HIV/AIDS continue to rise.

On July 13, 2010, the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). This plan is the nation's first-ever comprehensive coordinated HIV/AIDS roadmap with clear and measurable targets to be achieved by 2015. The vision for the NHAS is that “the United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.”

Complete Article

ESPN's Bubble Watch: UK a Lock, U of L on Bubble


In ESPN's latest "Bubble Watch", the Kentucky Wildcats are listed as a lock for the NCAA Tournament while Louisville is still considered to be on the bubble.

Here are excerpts on both:

Kentucky

In the meantime, we'd feel a lot more comfortable about those locked-in Wildcats if they could stack a few more road wins in conference play. But we'll save our freak-outs for Friday's Watch, after we see what Kentucky does against Tennessee at Rupp tonight.

Louisville

Louisville [18-5 (7-3), RPI: 23, SOS: 50] Louisville dropped a road game at Georgetown after Peyton Siva's last-second 3-point attempt drifted left last week, but that loss didn't do much to affect this impressive and surprising team's strong at-large bid status. A loss at DePaul on Saturday would have. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they escaped Allstate Arena with a four-point win, a downtick in their strength-of-schedule column, but no major harm done to their at-large status. The Cards have five wins against the RPI top 50, including last Saturday's marquee double-overtime win at Connecticut, and thanks to the DePaul escape they don't have any sub-100 losses to speak of. Barring a catastrophic February meltdown, Rick Pitino's team will be dancing again in March.


My thoughts: Kentucky obviously picked up a much-needed win against Tennessee and will have a big opportunity to really seal the deal at Vanderbilt this weekend.

For Louisville, I think the Cardinals are a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but U of L fans won't be able to relax until the Cards pick up a few more wins.

Centre College is No. 7 in Regional Rankings, No. 24 Nationally

The Centre College Colonels (15-4) are ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Division III South Region rankings.

The Colonels have dropped to No. 24 in the D3Hoops.com National rankings following a disappointing loss to DePauw.

South Region Rankings:

1 Virginia Wesleyan 19-1 16-1
2 Randolph-Macon 19-3 17-3
3 Ferrum 19-2 16-2
4 Mary Hardin-Baylor 17-4 17-4
5 Texas-Dallas 16-5 15-4
6 Emory 16-4 15-4
7 Centre 15-4 13-4
8 North Carolina Wesleyan 15-6 10-4

Centre College's Donovan Whiteside drains a halftime buzzer-beater recently:

Interview with 2012 Recruit Shabazz Muhammad


According to several posts (unconfirmed for now) on Twitter, John Calipari visited 2012 recruit Shabazz Muhammad last night.

Muhammad is one of Kentucky's top targets in the 2012 class. He is a 6-5 shooting guard from Bishop Gorman (Nev.) who ranks No. 3 on the Rivals.com list for 2012.

Here is a recent Muhammad interview:

Transylvania Runs Away from Mt. St. Joseph


Transylvania 87
Mt. St. Joseph 72

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Transylvania overcame a five point halftime deficit to defeat Mt. St. Joseph 87-72, in men's Heartland Conference basketball action at the Beck Center.

The win improved Transy to 16-6 overall, 10-5 HCAC, while the Lions are 4-18, 2-13 in the conference.

Five Pioneers shot in double digits for the contest. Barrett Meyer led the attack with 19 points, three rebounds and four assists. Ashley Hatfield and Brandon Rash both finished with 17 points. Hatfield pulled down five rebounds, while Rash finished with four rebounds. Also in double digits was Ethan Spurlin with 12 points and Chris Owens with 10.

The Pioneers took the lead for good with 16:05 left in the second half with a jumper from Rash. Transy shot 55.6 percent in the second half, while holding Mt. St. Joseph to 30.4 percent. The Pioneers also forced the Lions to turn the ball over 14 times which they turned in to 22 points off turnovers.

Complete Recap

Thomas More College Pastes Waynesburg


Thomas More 105
Waynesburg 82

Final from Crestview Hills, Kentucky

(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) - Five Saints reached double-figures as the Thomas More College men's basketball team defeated Waynesburg University, 105-82, tonight (Wednesday, February 9, 2011) in a Presidents' Athletics Conference (PAC) game at the Connor Convocation Center in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.

With the win, the Saints improve to 12-10 overall and 8-3 in the PAC. With the loss, the Yellow Jackets fall to 5-17 overall and 2-10 in the PAC.

Thomas More jumped out to an early 13-4 lead when freshman point guard D'Carlo Hayes (Louisville, Ky./Male) made a lay-up with 14:51 to play in the opening half. The Yellow Jackets answered with a 4-2 run to cut the lead to 15-8 with 13:46 to play in the first half when Steven Iser made a jumper. The Saints closed out the half on a 35-21 run capped by jumper by senior shooting guard Aaron Miller (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay) with three-seconds to play in the half to take a 50-29 halftime lead.

Complete Recap

Montreat Holds Off Union College in AAC Action


Montreat 76
Union 71

Final from Barbourville, Kentucky

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. -- Montreat's Tyler Buff scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 76-71 win over Union in Appalachian Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Wednesday night at Robsion Arena.

With the loss the Bulldogs fell to 11-14 overall on the year, 5-6 in the AAC, while Montreat improved to 8-17 overall and 3-8 in the AAC with the win.

In the first half, Union raced out of the locker room, taking an early 12-2 lead in the game's first five minutes. Montreat, however, battled back in just three minute, racing off an 11-0 run to take 13-12 lead.

Complete Recap

Happy Birthday Coach Cal

Today is John Calipari's birthday. Big Blue Nation, join me in wishing Coach Cal a Happy Birthday:


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Legend of Kenneth Faried Continues to Grow


The spotlight on Morehead State senior Kenneth Faried is growing in intensity as the OVC's best player proves that he is one of the top big men in the entire nation.

Faried, who I have thoroughly enjoyed watching during his Morehead State career, is currently third on the all-time NCAA Division I rebounding list. Let me repeat that - he is third ALL-TIME in NCAA Division I rebounding.

Kenneth recently surpassed Ralph Sampson and Malik Rose on the all-time list. He sits 17 rebounds behind Derrick Coleman's career total of 1,537. Heck, he may pass Coleman tomorrow night against Eastern Illinois.

He is only 50 behind Tim Duncan's all-time record of 1,570 rebounds. It's not out of the realm of possibility for Faried to break the all-time mark Saturday against Southeast Missouri State.

Here is some advice for fans: if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Morehead, Kentucky, you need to get to the game tomorrow night or Saturday and watch a future NBA star do work. Those will be the last two opportunities to watch Faried in action at home.

NCAA Division I career rebound leaders (since 1973):

1,570 - Tim Duncan, Wake Forest
1,537 - Derrick Coleman, Syracuse
1,520 - Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
1,514 - Malik Rose, Drexel
1,511 - Ralph Sampson, Virginia

Faried is making national headlines this week:

- Michael Grant of the Louisville Courier-Journal talks about Faried going for all-time marks. Grant says two longtime college coaches said Faried is the best rebounder they've ever seen.

- Mark Adams says on ESPN.com: "Kenneth Faried is my choice as a first-team All-American." He adds that Faried averaged 14.9 rebounds per game in January.

- Dana O'Neil of ESPN.com has written an outstanding article about Faried. Here is an excerpt:

"If you like hiking, biking, swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, canoeing, bird watching, camping or just the solitude of nature, then Morehead is your ideal destination," reads a Morehead tourism website, offering up a slew of action verbs that are not typically associated with Newark, N.J.

The main street in Morehead, Main Street, is a few blocks long. There are a couple of banks, a florist, a handful of tiny restaurants and trinket shops.

The biggest space is allotted to Holbrooks Embroidery Plus. There are no office parks within sight, no subways, no horns honking, not really any noise at all.

The nearest mall is in Lexington, an hour's drive away, and only recently did a Super Wal-Mart come to town.

"Of course I questioned whether he could adapt," Tyndall said. "You don't know. It's different, but Kenneth is different. A lot of inner-city kids, and I don't mean to stereotype, but they're very often sullen or pouty, they don't trust easily. Kenneth was, 'Hey! Here I am!' There's no such thing as a stranger to him. He was here two days on his visit and everyone in Buffalo Wild Wings knew who he was."

Complete Article (Highly Recommended)

Louisville Falters in Overtime at Notre Dame


(8) Notre Dame 89
(16) Louisville 79 F/OT

Final from South Bend, Indiana


SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Ben Hansbrough scored 25 points and Carleton Scott had nine of his 16 points in overtime Wednesday night to lead No. 8 Notre Dame to an 89-79 win over No. 16 Louisville.

Tim Abromaitis added 23 points for the Fighting Irish (20-4, 9-3 Big East), who extended their overall win streak to six games and their home streak to 17.

This was the fifth overtime game in the last nine meetings between the two teams. Louisville beat the Irish at home last year in double-overtime.

Kyle Kuric scored a career-high 28 points and Terrence Jennings added 14 for Louisville (18-6, 7-4) before fouling out in overtime.

Preston Knowles, the Cardinals' leading scorer at 14.9 points a game, returned to the starting lineup after missing a home win over DePaul on Feb. 5. and finished with 13 points.

Notre Dame scored the first 14 points of overtime after Scott hit a 3-pointer to start the extra period. Scott added a three-point play to put the Irish up by eight with 3:12 left.

Complete Recap

Kentucky Rivalries with UT and U of L are Two of the Best


FanHouse.com has attempted to rank the top ten rivalries with college basketball and they have developed a pretty solid list in my opinion.

Duke vs. North Carolina tops the lists as the most intense rivalry and while I have an extreme dislike for both teams, I can agree with them topping this list. The proximity of the schools, combined with residing in the same conference and the amount of hype placed on the games annually are valid reasons this rivalry should be on top.

Next, is Kentucky vs. Louisville.

Here is an excerpt:

2. UK-Louisville -- As if Rick Pitino's treacherous ways didn't ignite this intra-state rivalry enough, Kentucky went and got Pitino's biggest personal rival to coach its team. Though the bitterness between Calipari and Pitino is certainly overblown, it remains safe to assume that they don't care for one another too much. With both teams currently trending upward, the battles will only become more intense -- and more important. -- Evan Hilbert

The Cats and Cards rivalry is followed by Kansas vs. Texas, Syracuse vs. Villanova and Syracuse vs. Georgetown.

Pitt vs. Villanova, Kansas vs. Missouri and Indiana vs. Purdue are numbers five-eight on the list.

Coming in at number nine is Kentucky vs. Tennessee.

The site says:

9. Kentucky-Tennessee -- Bruce Pearl's arrival in Knoxville only further ignited this longtime rivalry between two border states and conference foes. It didn't hurt, of course, that Pearl has used two Kentuckians -- Scotty Hopson and Chris Lofton -- to key much of his success. Tennessee's, and to a lesser extent, Pearl's, swagger is a perfect foil to Kentucky, the SEC's most dominant program historically. -- EH

BYU vs. San Diego State rounds out the top ten.

Open Letter to Morehead State University Fans


An open letter to the Morehead State community...

Almost 13 years ago now, I began a journey that would allow me to witness over 1,000 athletic contests, numerous practices, and countless meetings with coaches, student-athletes, nervous recruits, and others that all culminate in a really simple idea---as long as I was going to work at Morehead State and in the Eagle Athletics program, I wanted to see it made better. It takes a lot of good fortune and luck to make that happen, and a whole bunch of people that are all part of that journey.

Kenneth Faried and Chynna Bozeman came to Morehead in the summer of 2007 with similar goals. They were told by Coach Tyndall and Coach Mitchell (at that time) that they would have a huge part in making these basketball programs a tremendous source of pride for the institution and the countless people that we touch or influence in so many ways. We all wanted to change our basketball fortunes, and with that, shed a positive light on a great University. We needed them to help tell the story. Have they ever….

Both Chynna and Kenneth are the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Players of the Year and went into the season predicted to follow up on those honors with winning them again. Nothing to date has us thinking they won’t be recognized similarly in a little less than a month at the OVC Basketball Championship in Nashville. I hope you’ve been able to join me throughout the course of this season in witnessing arguably two of the greatest to ever don the blue and gold.

Please take this letter as a challenge. We will close a chapter in Eagle Basketball history this weekend with the final two home games for these outstanding young people as the Eagles take on Eastern Illinois this Thursday and Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. If you have season tickets, please use them. If you can’t be in Johnson Arena, let someone else use them. If you don’t have tickets, you can visit the athletics website, www.msueagles.com, to get them. For Saturday’s Senior Night doubleheader, we’re offering a special online-only ticket discount. Enter the code goeagles during your ticket purchase to get $1 bleacher tickets and a limited number of $2 reserved tickets. This offer is only available online and can’t be purchased on game day Saturday, so get them early. Once they’re sold out, no more are available, so don’t wait!

It’s a special weekend as we pay tribute to Chynna and Kenneth, along with fellow standout seniors Demonte Harper and Sam Goodman. They’ve meant so much to the basketball community and in putting Eagle Basketball on a national map…and we owe it to all of them for one last tribute at home. Let’s sell out Johnson Arena and witness a memorable moment in the history of these storied programs. For more information, visit the online ticketing page or call 606-783-2386.

Brian Hutchinson
MSU Director of Athletics

Source: Morehead State University

Video: Betsy Layne Bobcats win All "A" Classic

Here is a video tribute to the Betsy Layne Bobcats - the 2011 All "A" Classic champions:

Kentucky High School Basketball's 6th and 7th Regions are Realigned


The KHSAA Board of Control voted Monday to realign the Sixth and Seventh Regions.

The Sixth Region will now be considered a "North region" while the Seventh Region will be a "South region."

Here is how the new alignment will look:

6th Region

- Kentucky Country Day
- Christian Academy
- Eastern
- Ballard
- Walden
- Waggener
- Trinity
- Sacred Heart
- Atherton
- Assumption
- Seneca
- Male
- Collegiate
- St. Xavier
- Manual
- Portland Christian
- Shawnee
- Central
- Brown
- St. Francis
- Presentation

7th Region

- Butler
- Western
- Holy Cross
- PRP
- Beth Haven
- Valley
- Doss
- Iroquois
- DeSales
- Fairdale
- Evangel Christian
- Mercy
- Southern
- Moore
- Whitfield Academy
- Fern Creek
- Jeffersontown
- Bullitt Central
- North Bullitt
- Bullitt East

Transylvania's Spurlin Named HCAC Player of the Week


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Transylvania sophomore guard Ethan Spurlin, who led Transylvania to a pair of league wins, has been named Player of the Week by the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for the week ending Feb. 6.

Spurlin, a Lincoln County High School graduate from Stanford, Ky., averaged 19.5 points a game as Transy posted HCAC wins over Franklin and Defiance. He had 19 points in the victory at Franklin and 20 at home in the win over Defiance.

He combined to shoot 15 of 23 from the field to go with seven rebounds. Spurlin joined sophomore Brandon Rash as the only Pioneers to win Player of the Week honors this season.

The wins improved Transy's record to 15-6, 9-5 in the HCAC, good enough for fourth place in the league standings. The Pioneers host Mt. St. Joseph on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Beck Center.

John Wall is Back at Work After Visit to Rupp Arena


John Wall was back at Washington Wizards shoot-around today following a brief trip to Lexington to watch his former team defeated the Tennessee Volunteers.

When asked how he was able to make the trip and get back in time, Wall said, "I'm smooth."

Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post:

"It was a great feeling, felt like home," Wall told reporters after the game. "It's tough watching. I wish I was out there, but I reached my dream and I'm happy for these young guys to seem to do good."

He then hopped on a private jet and made it back home late Tuesday night.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari said that Wall still follows Kentucky games and offers tips to the players. "I talk to them as mostly throughout the season, as much as possible," Wall told reporters. "I know they are busy and I have a busy schedule. Whenever they need advice or need me to tell them something, I'll tell them about it. If I can't watch it, I record it. I watch DVR a lot."

Complete Article

Pikeville College's Record-Breaking Night

Pikeville College defeated Georgetown College last week in front of 4,196 fans, an NAIA national record.

Here are some videos from a great night at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center:





Rick Pitino Previews Louisville at Notre Dame


Louisville at Notre Dame

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 9
Time: 7:02 p.m. ET
Site: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, South Bend, Ind. (9,149)
TV: ESPNU will televise the game, with Rece Davis (play-by-play) and Digger Phelps (color) calling the action.
Radio: WKRD (790 AM, 101.7 FM) will broadcast the game on radio, with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (color) calling the action.
SIRIUS: Game will be available on SIRIUS Channel 159 and XM Channel 117.
Series History: Louisville leads the all-time series, 16-9 (11-1 in Louisville, 4-5 in South Bend, 1-3 neutral).
Officials: John Cahill, Pat Driscoll, Jeff Clark
Next U of L Game: Saturday, Feb. 12 vs. Syracuse at KFC Yum! Center, Noon ET (ESPN)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino and junior guard Chris Smith met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Wednesday's BIG EAST road contest against No. 8/7-ranked Notre Dame on Feb. 9 in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The game is set for a 7:02 p.m. ET tip, and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU, with Rece Davis (play-by-play) and Digger Phelps (color) calling the action.

The No. 15/15-ranked Cardinals (18-5, 7-3 BIG EAST) improved to 5-0 at home in conference play, with a 61-57 victory over DePaul on Feb. 5. Kyle Kuric had a game-high 19 points, while Peyton Siva registered six points and 10 assists in the victory. Terrence Jennings (10 points, eight rebounds) and Chris Smith (10 points) also finished in double digits in points. As a team, the Cardinals out-rebounded the Blue Demons, 34-25, including 13 offensive boards. Defensively, Louisville forced 12 turnovers and scored 19 points off the change of possession. DePaul was led by Brandon Young's 15 points.

Winners of five straight, Notre Dame enters Wednesday's contest with a 19-4 overall mark, going 8-3 in conference play. The Fighting Irish have a perfect 14-0 home record and defeated Rutgers in their last game, 76-69, on Feb. 6. Ben Hansbrough had a game-high 25 points, including an 11-of-13 stint from the charity stripe. Three other Notre Dame players finished with double-digit point totals, including Carleton Scott, who had 12 points and 11 boards. The Fighting Irish won the rebounding battle, 36-31, and shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field in the first half.

Complete Preview

Union College Basketball to Host Think Pink Game Tonight


Union College men's and women's basketball will host the school's annual "Think Pink" Night during tonight's doubleheader against Montreat.

Here is a release from the school:

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The Union College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will host "Think Pink" Night at the men's and women's basketball doubleheader against Montreat (N.C.) Wednesday.

The "Think Pink" Night is designed to bring awareness to cancer and how to recognize and prevent the spread of the disease.

The Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs will add pink to their uniforms and the students will have a 'pink out.'

Game times are set for 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Source: Union College

Kentucky Target Trevor Lacey Talks Recruiting


Kentucky recruit Trevor Lacey, a 2011 shooting guard from Butler (Ala.) High School, spoke to Greg Ostendorf of the Alabama Basketball Recruiting Blog recently.

Lacey still lists Kentucky on his final list of five school and insists that he won't be making any decisions until after the high school season.

Here is an excerpt:

Despite reports, Lacey’s list hasn’t changed. He’s still looking at Alabama, Auburn, Connecticut, Kansas and Kentucky and plans on taking all of his visits before making a decision.

With most of the talk regarding Alabama and Kentucky, Lacey talked a little about Connecticut and why they made his top five.

“UCONN came onto me this summer,” Lacey said. “(Former Connecticut guard) Kevin Ollie was my NBA coach at camp, and he told me how UCONN is a school where a lot of guards get drafted, and they get a lot of guards who can play.”

New schools are still showing interest. Oklahoma coaches came to Lacey’s game last night and watched him score 24 points in a 55-53 win over Columbia High School.

He has no timetable set for when he might make a decision.

Western Kentucky to Honor 1970-71 Final Four Team


BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since the 1971 Western Kentucky University basketball team capped off that stellar year with a trip to the Final Four in Houston’s Astrodome.

But, that anniversary is just what WKU fans will be celebrating with the members of that great Hilltopper team in E.A. Diddle Arena Saturday (Feb. 12) afternoon. At halftime of the current Hilltoppers’ Sun Belt Conference matchup with North Texas — set for a 3 p.m. (CST) tip-off on ESPN2 — fans will be treated to a trip down memory lane when players, coaches, support staff and cheerleaders from that magic season gather on the floor of The Arena. The half-time ceremony will culminate a special day for the legendary group, as they will also be treated to a reunion luncheon on Saturday and then visit with all current Hilltopper players and coaches in the WKU locker room at 1:45 p.m.

Eight athletes from the ‘71 Toppers are expected to attend, including four of the starting five — guard Rex Bailey, forward Jerry Dunn, forward Clarence Glover and consensus All-America center Jim McDaniels (the fifth starter, Jim Rose, passed away last year).

Other players on the guest list are guards Terry Davis, Jeff Eckel and Danny Johnson; and, forward Chuck Witt. And, from the coaching staff, graduate assistant Mike Kitchens, assistant coach Jim Richards and head coach John Oldham with join their ‘71 club on The Arena floor. Add to that members of the freshman team, support staff and cheerleaders. It all shapes up as a moment to remember!

Complete Article

Photo by WKU

John Calipari Talks About Win, Praises DeAndre Liggins

Here are John Calipari's postgame comments following an important victory over Tennessee last night at Rupp Arena:





* Videos by bluenationblog on YouTube

Asbury Holds of Cincinnati Christian's Late Surge


Asbury University 97
Cincinnati Christian 89

Final from Wilmore, Kentucky

WILMORE, Ky. – Asbury shot 63% from the field in the first half and knocked down 11 threes but had to hold on to beat Cincinnati Christian 97-89 on Tuesday night in the Luce Center. The Eagles shot only 2-for-10 from long range in the second half.

Six of the eight players that saw the court scored in double digits for the Eagles (17-7, 8-2 KIAC), led by Adam Delph who poured in 16 of his game-high 20 in the second half. Delph just missed out on his first career double-double with nine rebounds. He also added two assists and three blocks.

Flip Crawford scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Crawford also dished out a team-high five assists, four in the first half. Brock Hurtle knocked down four of his five threes in the first half as the Eagles built a 12 point halftime lead. Hurtle finished with 15 points.

Asbury took their largest lead of the game at 17 with 9:30 left and were promptly out-scored 22-8 over the next six minutes to cut their lead down to three. Asbury made all seven free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory, they were only 12-of-21 from the line in the game.

Complete Recap

Future Kentucky Wildcat Kyle Wiltjer Selected for McDonald's All-American Game

Future Kentucky Wildcat Kyle Wiltjer has been selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game.

Wiltjer will join future teammates Marquis Teague, Michael Gilchrist and Anthony Davis in the game.

Here is a video of Wiltjer from OregonLive.com:

Video: John Wall in the Kentucky Locker Room

Here is a video interview of former Kentucky star John Wall, who was in the UK locker room last night:



* Video by bluenationblog on YouTube

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kentucky Ruins Bruce Pearl's SEC Debut


(18) Kentucky 73
Tennessee 61

Final from Lexington, Kentucky


The Kentucky Wildcats started the game on fire and then cruised to a convincing 73-61 victory over Tennessee.

Kentucky (17-6, 5-4 SEC) led by as many as 19 points in the first half, but allowed Bruce Pearl's Volunteers to cut into the first half lead. A late three-pointer sent Tennessee into the halftime locker room with some momentum, trailing only 35-28.

DeAndre Liggins has his best offensive game of the season as he led Kentucky with 19 points on 5-6 shooting. Liggins was 7-8 from the free throw line and added a game-high 5 steals.

Josh Harrellson added 16 points for Kentucky. Terrence Jones had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Tennessee (15-9, 5-4) was led by Melvin Goins with 16 points. Josh Bone added 13 off the bench.

Kentucky out-rebounded the Volunteers 34-24.

The win moves John Calipari's team into a second place tie with the Volunteers in the SEC East. Kentucky returns to action Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Vanderbilt.

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