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Big Blue Nation Linkapalooza: South Carolina Edition

As we prepare to play the South Carolina Gamecocks tomorrow afternoon, there are a number of basketball and non-basketball related stories worth noting today. Penn St. has a new coach (or do they?), Ole Miss dismisses its leading scorer, and IU proves once again that they are tough in Bloomington.

Here we go:

SEC Hoops Power Poll Results: 1/1-1/7 // Garnet And Black Attack

Five-Star Basketball // Florida Looking to Go Big

Some interesting info in here concerning UK recruiting also.

Mississippi's Nelson dismissed after arrest //

Unwelcome news for Andy Kennedy.

Rondo finds new locker mate, mentor in Dooling

"I want to encourage him, I want to help him as well," said Dooling. "Though he’s 20-times the player that I will ever be, it’s lessons that you can learn in your approach, on your daily approach, the way I approach the game, the way I handle my teammates. Little things like that off the court can translate to better results on the court."

When Jim Calhoun Is Away, The Huskies Will Play (And Not Give Him Credit) //

I guess if it's good enough for Calipari, it's good enough for Calhoun.

LSU forward Johnny O'Bryant out with broken hand // The Republic

Bad luck for LSU. They were just beginning to show signs.

No. 15 Mississippi State piling up wins and confidence as SEC play approaches // The Washington Post

The smooth season is in direct contrast to last year, when a talented Bulldogs team was derailed by off-the-court issues, including fights, suspensions and ill-timed outbursts against the coaching staff on Twitter.

Now, instead of talking about drama, the conversation is about hoops.

The way it should be. MSU will be dangerous this year.

On foul front, which big men have best timing? //

Our own JLeverenz gets name-dropped in Luke Winn's latest.:

Who would you rather have anchoring your defense -- Anthony Davis or John Henson? As was pointed out in the Syracuse-section graphic, Davis blocks a higher percentage of shots, but fouls slightly more often. Davis also has a higher defensive rebounding percentage (25.8 to Henson's 24.1) and a bit more quickness and range. The last time defensive charting on UK was available (through nine games, from Jonathon Leverenz), opponents were shooting 27.8 percent against Davis, and 68.7 percent of the possessions he engaged in ended in stops.

Notion of ESPN having undue influence on college game refuted //

Yes, ESPN doles out hundreds of millions of dollars each year for the rights to televise games.

But no, Magnus said, ESPN, which has ties in varying degrees to all six BCS automatic-qualifying conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC), does not have unyielding influence over college football.

What do you think?

Mathies leads UK women past Arkansas, 84-72 // Lexington Herald-Leader

This was a close game up until the final minutes.

Recruiting Insider: Two Kentucky basketball signees will play in LexCath event // The Courier-Journal

There probably will be a convoy of University of Kentucky fans headed from Rupp Arena down Broadway toward Lexington Catholic after the Wildcats’ game against South Carolina on Saturday.

That’s because Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin, the highest-ranked members of UK’s 2012 recruiting class, will be playing with their high school teams in the four-game Dunkin Donuts Shootout that night.

Penn State plans to hire Patriots assistant // Bill O’Brien, the team’s offensive coordinator, will reportedly replace Paterno

According to an ESPN report late Thursday night, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien has agreed to succeed Paterno, who was dismissed in November after a child sex-abuse scandal rocked the Nittany Lions’ program he had built into a national symbol.

Seton Hall Basketball: Kentucky Transfer, G Stacey Poole Will Transfer to FIU, GT, Seton Hall or DePaul // South Orange Juice

Xavier University students forced to "reflect" on Crosstown Brawl // Searching for Billy Edelin

Okay, mandatory "reflection sessions" is a weird thing. Just weird. Maybe it's a good idea, but it's weird.

Did I mention that this is weird?

Kentucky Sports Radio // Calipari Tells Legislators to Keep Out

Heh. Welcome to Kentucky, coach.

Friday’s Shootaround: Wacky night in CBB // Beyond the Arc

No. 12 Indiana 73, No. 13 Michigan 71: I think its safe to say that if Indiana somehow managed to convince the NCAA Tournament committee to let them play every game in Bloomington, they would be the hands-down favorite to win the national title.

Cajuns played 6 men on final shot (yes, that’s cheating) // Beyond the Arc

"It’s a hard pill to swallow," Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald told afterward. "The refs made a mistake."

Yeah, how exactly do you get whole for that? It's not like it was controversial, or anything, it was just a pure, unadulterated epic fail.

Lavin May Not Coach Until 2012-13; Wood Decommits //

Ouch. This is going to hurt the Johnnies.

Calipari not a fan of the 18-game league schedule //

We understand where Calipari is coming from — coaches like having the ability to line up some pre-Christmas cupcakes. Everyone does it. But in this case, Coach Cal seems to be exaggerating the dangers of moving from 16 games to 18 (if that’s what the SEC eventually does).

I could not agree more.

Coach on Alex Poythress: "He was a can’t miss guy" for Kentucky, Calipari // vaughtsviews

"He’s an extremely gifted athlete that can really run. He has a huge wingspan and he really attacks the basket," Cooper said.

However, Poythress is also carries a 3.9 grade-point average and is what Cooper considers a model student-athlete.

Sounds good to me!