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Wildcat Quickies: CBS Sports Classic Edition

Cats vs Buckeyes. Coaching staff changes. Towles transfers. Star Wars ROCKS! Reason behind Ulis' 3-point woes. More.

Kentucky and Ohio State square off on the hardwood as part of the second-annual CBS Sports Champions Classic.

Can the Cats claim their 10th win of the season and avoid a look-ahead to next week's big showdown with Louisville? Will Skal finally man up? Is the mythical Tai Wynyard playing today?

We shall see...

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Your Quickies

Kentucky vs. Ohio State: Storylines and Players to Watch
Kentucky coach John Calipari likes to call his team the most inexperienced in the country, but Ohio State’s Thad Matta might like to have a word about that. The Buckeyes’ roster consists of six freshmen, four sophomore and but one junior.

Tommy Mainord out as UK wide receivers coach
Tommy Mainord will not be retained at UK. Entering the season, WR was supposed to be one of the deepest positions on the field for the Cats, but dropped passes and erratic play plagued the group throughout 2015.

Kentucky’s New Offensive Coordinator’s Inheritance
As speculation of Eddie Gran being named as Kentucky’s new offensive coordinator grows, former Kentucky QB Freddie Maggard takes a look at what he’d be inheriting following a short move down I-75.

Patrick Towles will continue career at Boston College
From the time he started playing sports, Patrick Towles was never a me-first athlete. Now for the first time, he’s had to make a selfish decision and put what is best for him first, and that's led him from Lexington, KY to Chestnut Hill, MA.

Ulis' 3-point woes due to lack of post passing?
uke Winn of came out with his weekly power rankings with UK coming in at No. 6, but this nugget on Tyler Ulis' three-point shooting might help explain part of why he's struggling from beyond the arc this season:

As a freshman, 36% of Ulis’s shots in halfcourt situations were off the catch, and he scored an amazing 1.55 points per attempt, according to Synergy Sports Technology. As a sophomore, 28.6% of his shots in halfcourt situations are off the catch, and he’s scoring just 0.41 points per attempt. We’re still in the very-small-sample stage, but I’m curious if this huge change is, in some way, a result of how he’s getting his catch-and-shoot three feeds. Last season, Kentucky had post-up scoring threats in Karl Anthony-Towns, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson and (sometimes) Willie Cauley-Stein who could attract defenders and kick the ball out to the perimeter; this season, UK’s one frontcourt scoring threat, Skal Labissiere, is more of a face-up operator. I watched all 22 of Ulis’s catch-and-shoot attempts on film and just one has come on a post-up kick-out; all the others came on passes from fellow guards.

Miami Beach Bowl a great matchup even if Willie Taggart weren't facing his old team
The Miami Beach Bowl set the bar pretty high with its debut in 2014, a BYU-Memphis thriller. This year's matchup could be equally fun (minus the brawl) with interesting storylines, including Willie Taggart facing his old WKU squad.

UL vs WKU: The last of the rivalry for now?
Louisville basketball takes on in-state rival Western Kentucky at 12 p.m. Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. But unlike the contract for the ongoing rivalry series between Louisville and Kentucky, this one doesn't have the same "let's do this every year" vibe in the contractual agreement.

Oasis in the Desert
A great long-form piece on former Arizona State Brandon Sanders' rise and fall from grace.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shows the joys — and limits — of fulfilled nostalgia
The Verge discusses plot points and bits of fan-candy in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There are no major spoilers, so fear not. Disclaimer: I saw and loved it and would rank it ahead of all three prequels. It's not quite up to the level of the original three, but it does them justice.

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is best film since original trilogy
See. Told ya.

Tennessee high school football player killed shielding girls from gunfire
In the ultimate act of heroism, Zaevion William Dobson, a 15-year-old high school football player, was killed as he shielded three girls from gunfire as several men went on a shooting spree. I can't even begin to imagine the kind of courage it took for that boy to defend those girls. Our thoughts and prayers are with he and his family.