Kentucky Wildcats: Afternoon Quickies - SEC Tournament Edition

Barney? Is that you? - Kevin C. Cox

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Kentucky defeats Florida, moves temporarily off NCAA Tournament bubble. UK women face defeat Georgia, face Texas A&M in SEC Tournament final. Baseball loses. More.

The SEC tournament begins Wednesday in Nashville, but the Wildcats don't play until Friday. They get the winner of Vanderbilt and Arkansas. Either team will be a challenge for Kentucky, but at a neutral site, UK's chances appear better.

Tweet of the Morning:

What a great game for him to see. It was an unofficial visit, in case you are wondering.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
  • The clamor behind a coach's hiring // The Courier-Journal

    This is a really well-done article on the UK coaching search. Consider this for a second:

    "Your selection is a great opportunity to have a new start after nine straight losing coaches and fifty years of losing," [former Kentucky governor John Y.] Brown wrote to Barnhart on Nov. 8. He attached Davis’ coaching credentials and references, which Brown received from Davis’ wife and included the Miami president and NFL commissioner. "You got a chance to be a hero again so go get the best and give our fans something to be proud of."
    Brown told The Courier-Journal he received no response from Barnhart. So Brown went over his head.

    I’m not really surprised that Brown tried to go around Barnhart to get Butch Davis hired. A guy in Brown’s position has to figure he still has some clout.

    But it didn’t work, and tellingly, Brown later changed his mind about Davis. This is about as good a look into the high-pressure life of an athletics director during a coaching change as you are ever likely to see.

  • Ohio teammates WR Thaddeus Snodgrass and LB Davonte James have genuine interest in Kentucky // vaughtsviews

    "UK’s football program is impressive for high school kids," the coach said. "There are some bigger name schools, but what Kentucky has to offer is impressive. Kentucky’s new staff is doing a good job selling the program and has brought in a new enthusiasm. Kentucky is a basketball school, but when kids from this area hear UK they are excited about it. Kentucky has some lustre to it in part because it plays in the SEC and in part because of the (Mark) Stoops’ name."

    What can you say? (Hank)

Kentucky basketball
  • Kentucky's Archie Goodwin on NCAAs: 'They better put us in' // The Courier-Journal

    "I think we’re in," Goodwin said after the game. "I don’t know what those committee guys are thinking about, but they better put us in there."

    Let me help you with that, Archie. They are thinking, "Is this team good enough?" Keep winning and they’ll have their answer.

  • Cats talk Florida upset, new NCAA life // Kyle Tucker – UK Beat

    [Julius Mays] ON WHERE THOSE FREE THROWS RANK IN HIS CAREER: "It’s up there. I had a lot of big moments in my college career, but that one was probably my biggest one cause we need that win more than we needed anything to keep our hopes alive. I told coach going into the timeout that I wanted the ball. He actually didn’t draw the play how I ran it, but I wanted that ball, and I wanted to shoot the free throws."

    That is what leadership looks like.

  • Livin’ on a Prayer // Chris Diggs – UK Fan Blog

    Yes…yes… I just referenced a Bon Jovi song in a sports blog.

    Bon Jovi, Bonnie Tyler, what’s the big deal? :-)

  • Kentucky basketball signee Derek Willis says Julius Randle is 'a lock' to join Cats // The Courier-Journal

    Willis, the Bullitt East forward, said Friday at the Sweet 16 that he thinks five-star Texas power forward Julius Randle "is a lock" to commit to the Cats.

    Let’s hope the kid knows something we don’t.

  • UK’s scholarship situation for the 2013-14 season // NextCats

    I’ve already discussed the scholarship situation in the comments, but Ben Roberts does a good job of talking about it here, for those of you worried about available rides next year.

  • 2013 W Hoops Bracket_Layout 1 // SEC Digital Network

    Just in case you didn’t know it, the SEC Tournament brackets are set.

  • Kentucky 61, Florida 57: The definition of insanity // Alligator Army

    (And the doubters virtually never talk about what Florida’s opponents do in those games, so forget talking about the spine and hustle Alex Poythress showed in grabbing 12 boards, or the superb play of Archie Goodwin, who scored 16 points despite missing six free throws: Florida lost this game, obviously, and Kentucky had nothing to do with Florida’s collapse.)

    Well, I think this is wrong. Kentucky had a lot to do with it. It matters when you think every post shot is going to be blocked – it makes you tentative.

    Did Florida play well? No, not particularly, but on the road, they played well enough to win most games. Kentucky just refused to let them. Most of Florida’s last 11 shots that were missed were challenged heavily, although there is no excuse for blowing a couple of layups, like the one Patric Young missed.

    So yes, Florida made critical errors that contributed to their demise. But they also came back from two significant deficits. So let’s give credit where it is due, on both sides.

  • Kentucky-Bound Towns Jr. Wins Second Straight State Title // ZagsBlog.com

    Many think Towns Jr.’s 34 point, 15 rebound performance against Spotswood with future coach John Calipari watching was has been his best game this season.

    It never hurts to play well in front of your college coach when you are still in high school.

  • John Clay: Cauley-Stein delivers on Calipari's bet // Kentucky.com

    Calipari called timeout. He put Cauley-Stein back in the game. He gave one instruction.
    "A basket doesn’t kill us," Calipari told his big man. "You fouling out can kill us."
    Cauley-Stein didn’t foul out. Instead, he rebounded. He hustled. He made steals. He blocked shots. He provided the anchor to a Kentucky defense that held the Gators scoreless on their final 14 possessions.

    WCS did great job handling the fouls. He even took a charge right in the chest. Bold. Maybe a little foolish. But it worked out.

  • Kentucky-Florida notes: Strong finish shows Poythress better with age // Kentucky.com

    "There was one spell that he [Alex Poythress] gave up," Calipari said "He’s done that throughout the year. … Took him out. His teammates got all over him. And he said, ‘Put me back in.’ He grew up today because he went back in and finished those last seven minutes and was a beast."

    He was pretty beastly on the boards. His teammates need to dog him more often. Whatever works

  • Calipari and Goodwin praise Kentucky fans for help against Gators // vaughtsviews
  • With one chance left, UK comes through // ESPN

    But that does not mean the troubles are over. The SEC tournament awaits. Kentucky will still have to navigate through a minefield of fellow bubble teams — Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama and even Arkansas will be looking for a late push — as well as the lower portions of this ugly SEC, any of which could torpedo your season in one 40-minute burst. We could also see the bubble tighten up nationally. Anything can happen.

    That is so. Which is why if UK wants to be selected, they must continue to win. If they do, they will not need to be selected – they’ll claim the autobid for their own.

  • 10 observations from Saturday afternoon // ESPN

    This is why I can’t stand Myron Metcalf, and perfectly illustrates his anti-Kentucky bias. If UK wins, it must be because there is something wrong with Florida.

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