No middle ground in Kentucky-Louisville sports rivalry. In every sport in which the Wildcats and Cardinals compete head to head, one school or the other currently boasts a moderate to longish winning streak
The installation of the new racing surface at Kentucky Speedway is in its latter stages. For the venue whose marketing identity had been built around the bumpiness of the old racetrack, it is the dawn of a new era
Both North Carolina and Louisville were under NCAA investigation during the 2015-16 men’s basketball season. Both cases, from the outside, appear severe. In reaction, U of L self-imposed an NCAA Tournament ban and its players, including its seniors, stayed home for the postseason. UNC, conversely, took no action, and its seniors played in the national title game. That scenario is unfair, and makes NCAA ‘justice’ seem inconsistent at best.
Tyler Ulis swept SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors and won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard. Jamal Murray (20 points per game) became the second UK player of the 21st Century to average that much in a season (Jodie Meeks scored 23.7 per game in 2008-09). In the future, will all of that be enough for either player to see their jerseys retired and hanging in Rupp Arena’s rafters?
The conventional wisdom on the 2016 Kentucky Wildcats football season is that Mark Stoops’ fourth team faces a much more difficult schedule than it did in 2015. Yet there is a realistic window for Stoops and UK to pass through and earn Kentucky’s first bowl bid since the 2010 season. How the Cats fare against four SEC foes is likely to determine their fate.
In the latest edition of three and out, Herald-Leader Sports Columnist Mark Story, ex-Kentucky Wildcats basketball sharp-shooter Cameron Mills and former Herald-Leader Sports Editor Gene Abell weigh in on the coaching carousel - especially Tubby Smith to Memphis and Rick Stansbury to Western Kentucky.
Allen Edwards was a part of a golden era of Kentucky Wildcats basketball, playing in three straight NCAA championship games (1996-98) and winning two titles (1996, ’98). As the newly named head coach at Wyoming, Edwards plans a playing style “somewhere in the middle” of what his former UK coaches, Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith, used in Lexington.
After two straight years in which the boys’ Sweet Sixteen drew the smallest crowds it’s ever drawn in Rupp Arena, KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett is organizing a study group which will seek to answer why the high school state basketball tournament has not had the drawing power it has traditionally boasted.
Notes column includes items on Karl-Anthony Towns; Louisville men’s basketball adding another transfer; UK women’s basketball not being alone in losing players to transfer; and looks at the track record so far of Kentucky football’s recruiting push into Ohio.
After Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit a buzzer-beating, three-pointer to win the 2016 NCAA title, many in Kentucky had the same reaction: At last, the NCAA Tournament had produced a shot of such consequence and drama that it would supersede Christian Laettner’s dagger to the heart of Big Blue Nation in 1992. On reflection, however, there is reason to think that won’t happen.
All four of our state’s marquee college hoops coaches — John Calipari and Rick Pitino, Matthew Mitchell and Jeff Walz — will enter the 2016-17 season needing to make the Final Four. In reverse order (least to most), let’s rank the coaches on who faces the most pressure to get there.
In Monday’s stellar NCAA Tournament men’s basketball championship game, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch, three-pointer to tie the game with 4.2 seconds — only to see Villanova’s Kris Jenkins answer with a buzzer-beating trey to win the game. Ex-Kentucky guards Sean Woods (1992) and Anthony Epps (1997) both met a fate similar to Paige
After Wisconsin ended Kentucky’s 2015 men’s basketball season in the Final Four, Jonathan Krueger implored his fellow Kentucky Kernel photographer Michael Reaves not to blow off covering the 2015 NCAA championship game. ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can’t get this back,’ he said. Twelve days later, Krueger’s life ended when he was shot and killed in a robbery attempt.
Kentucky’s 2015 come-from-ahead loss to Wisconsin in the men’s NCAA Tournament Final Four marred what had been a perfect season. For followers of UK basketball, that defeat is often described as “an open sore.” But should the loss to the Badgers be remembered as “worse” than Duke’s overtime defeat of Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight on Christian Laettner’s last-second jumper?
In the swirl that is March Madness, not all the winners end up in the Final Four. For instance: On the hot seat in December, Indiana’s Tom Crean ended up getting his third Big Dance victory over Kentucky.
For the second season in a row, Coach Matthew Mitchell’s UK women’s basketball team lost an NCAA Tournament game in Lexington. This time, Washington did the honors, 85-72 in the Sweet 16. In Mitchell’s nine seasons as coach, UK has yet to reach a Final Four.