Fast-break points from Chris and Sturgill’s SNL after-party:
21. Kentucky stuns West Virginia. UK’s 83-76 road upset of the then-No. 7 Mountaineers Saturday night seemed to captivate a Wildcats fan base that has been slow to warm to the 2017-18 Wildcats.
20. Butts in seats? Will that post-WVU enthusiasm show up at the Rupp Arena turnstiles for UK’s final five home games, starting with Tuesday’s 9 p.m. tip-off against Vanderbilt?
19. Attendance still down. Even with sellout crowds in Rupp to see UK face Louisville (24,228) and Florida (24,354), Kentucky’s average home attendance this season through 13 games (21,608) is down 1,853 from last year’s full-season average (23,461).
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18. Mississippi State. The 20,609 fans who watched UK vanquish Mississippi State 78-65 in Rupp Arena on Jan. 23 is the smallest Kentucky home crowd for a Southeastern Conference game since Jan. 15, 2002, when 20,540 saw UK beat Mississippi 87-64.
17. Hard to get above 23,000. In its first four SEC home games, Kentucky has been below 23,000 fans three times. The last time UK has had that many league games in Rupp fail to exceed 23,000 in attendance was 2003-04 — when there were four such contests.
16. Late tips a problem? The sparsely attended Mississippi State game (on a relative scale) last Tuesday started at 9 p.m. The good news for Kentucky fans is that Vanderbilt is the final 9 p.m. home tip of 2017-18.
15. Attendance down at U of L, too. A season ago, Louisville averaged 20,846 fans for 17 dates in the KFC Yum Center. This year, the Cardinals are averaging 17,517 through 14 home games, down 3,329 from 2016-17.
14. Opposing impulses? At U of L, one suspects the decline is fueled by two opposite forces. Some fans may be fed up by the repeated scandals that have engulfed Cardinals basketball. Other Cards backers, loyal to the deposed Tom Jurich and Rick Pitino, may be protesting the fall of the old order.
13. Attendance up at WKU. The attendance story is different at Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers have sold out their past two home games — 7,759 fans for Middle Tennessee, 7,362 versus Marshall — and are averaging more than 5,000 fans a game (5,170 through 11 dates) in E.A. Diddle Arena for the first time since 2008-09 (5,138).
12. Rick Stansbury. Therefore, it was not surprising to hear that Western Kentucky has rewarded its second-year men’s basketball coach with a $150,000 a year raise that bumps his base salary to $650,000 a year.
11. Taveion Hollingsworth. With Western trailing Marshall 74-70 Saturday, the freshman guard from Paul Laurence Dunbar scored five late points and drew two crucial charges to spark the Hilltoppers (15-6, 7-1 Conference USA) to an 85-74 win.
10. Game of the Year. The state of Kentucky’s most significant college hoops game of the 2017-18 regular season will be Feb. 12 when Jeff Walz leads the No. 4 Louisville women (22-1) to Storrs, Conn., to face Geno Auriemma and No. 1 Connecticut (20-0).
9. Greg Todd. A women’s hoops coach in the state quietly having a good year is Morehead State’s Todd. MSU (16-7, 7-3 OVC) has won five of its last six and is tied for third in the Ohio Valley Conference.
8. Rhyne Howard. The University of Kentucky women’s basketball signee from Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn., had her heart set on making the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game.
7. Passed over. When the rosters were announced, there were three players from the state of Tennessee in the game — but not Howard.
6. “Thought I should have made it.’’ “My heart like dropped,” Howard told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “I thought I should have made it, but I guess other people didn’t think so.”
5. Proving a point. In the three games since the McDonald’s All-American rosters were revealed, Howard, a 6-foot-2 point guard, has scored 41 points, 38 points and 39 points.
4. Wenyen Gabriel. As the guy bringing energy off the bench for the Kentucky men, the sophomore forward is having a heck of a year.
3. Bob Huggins. When John Calipari became Kentucky coach, his record against teams coached by Huggins was 1-7. As UK coach, Calipari is 3-1 against Huggins-coached West Virginia.
2. Rick Pitino. When John Calipari became Kentucky coach, his record against teams coached by Pitino was 5-8. As UK coach, Calipari went 8-2 against Pitino-coached Louisville.
1. Moral of the story. It’s good, really good, to be the coach at Kentucky.