ABig Blue Links for Saturday:
▪ Kentucky baseball took the opener of a three-game series with a 5-2 win at Mississippi State on Friday night, reports Will Sammon of the Clarion-Ledger. Zach Reks’ two-run, two-out triple in the ninth inning was the big hit for the Cats, who are now 8-2 in SEC play.
▪ Mississippi State blew opportunities, reports Logan Lowery of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal. The Bulldogs had won six straight, but fell in front of 9,256 at Dudley Noble Field.
▪ Here’s the report on the UK win from UK Athletics.
▪ UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart discusses Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament draw and the fans’ threats against official John Higgins with Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader.
▪ Kentucky fans could face felonies and lawsuits for those threats, reports Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal.
▪ Will five-star forward Kevin Knox turn down Kentucky and follow Larry Porter, Jr. to Missouri? asks Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He’s not the only one asking, of course.
▪ Malik Monk won the Jerry West Award as the nation’s best shooting guard, reports the Herald-Leader.
▪ Kentucky pursuing multiple options at guard, reports Kyle Tucker of SEC Country.
▪ Kentucky taking a hit but will be loaded again next season, says Keith Taylor of KyForward.
▪ Bobby Petrino has pulled up stakes and left jobs with little or no consideration for his former employer. That hasn’t stopped the Louisville football coach from slapping restrictions on players wishing to transfer from his program. Shaq Wiggins is the latest example, reports Gentry Estes and Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal.
▪ Kentucky women’s basketball may be rebuilding, but that’s not the way Matthew Mitchell is looking at next season. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader has the report.
▪ Keeneland’s big race for three-year-olds, the Blue Grass, runs Saturday afternoon. It’s one of three Derby preps on tap on Saturday. I preview the Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass and the Santa Anita Derby. The Kentucky Derby is May 6.
▪ The battle for Romeo Langford is on, reports Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star. The 6-foot-5 guard from New Albany, Indiana is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect for 2018 by the 247Sports composite.
▪ New Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey promises that the Tigers will throw the football, reports Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser. Lindsey was the OC at Arizona State last season. Before that, he called plays at Southern Miss. His successor there was none other than former UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
▪ Kansas’ Frank Mason wins the John Wooden Award, reports Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star. The senior guard is named the nation’s best player for 2016-17. Kansas lost to Oregon in the finals of the Midwest Region.
▪ Feleipe Franks has pulled ahead of Kyle Trask in the quarterback competition at Florida, reports Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun. Franks will enter the offseason as the clear No. 1 for the Gators, who open Sept. 2 against Michigan at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
▪ Franks looked the part, reports Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. A crowd of 48,000 turned out for the Orange and Blue Game under the lights at The Swamp.
▪ Tennessee football’s Justin Martin has a lot to prove to his teammates and to himself, reports Rhiannon Potkey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The four-star recruit out of Northeast Oklahoma A&M is trying to live up to expectations.
▪ Jonathon Kongbo has the name that screams football at Tennessee, writes Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean. The junior defensive end looks the part, but can he play it?
▪ Terry Godwin has a better understanding of the offense at Georgia, reports Ryan Black of the Macon Telegraph. Godwin is coming off what was considered to be a disappointing sophomore season. He caught 38 balls for 397 yards.
▪ Arkansas looking for safety help in its 3-4 setup, reports Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
▪ Cuonzo Martin continues to fill out his staff at Missouri, reports Daniel Jones of the Columbia Daily Tribune. Nicodemus Christopher and Marco Harris have been added to staff positions.
▪ The legal battle between LSU and its former defensive coordinator John Chavis rolls on, reports Ross Dellenger of The Advocate in Baton Rouge. LSU is suing Chavis, who is now defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.
▪ UK softball lost 9-0 to visiting Tennessee on Friday night, reports Josh Sullivan of the Herald-Leader. The Cats suffered their second consecutive shutout. The two teams meet again Saturday at 3 p.m.