UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky basketball seeks improvement, plus more Big Blue Links

Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox (0) and Northern Kentucky forward Jeff Garrett (4) collided as Fox loses the ball during UK’s 79-70 win over the Norse in a first round NCAA tournament game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, In., Friday, March17, 2017.
Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox (0) and Northern Kentucky forward Jeff Garrett (4) collided as Fox loses the ball during UK’s 79-70 win over the Norse in a first round NCAA tournament game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, In., Friday, March17, 2017. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Saturday:

Kentucky survives and advances with win over Northern Kentucky, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Kentucky built and then frittered away most of a double-digit lead inside the first 11 minutes. This inspired Coach John Calipari to walk a few steps onto the court and bellow, ‘Throw it to Bam!!!!’ UK presumably pays Calipari handsomely to dispense such sound coaching advice. Bam Adebayo’s domination propelled Kentucky to a fast start. Not so coincidentally, he did not see the ball much for several minutes and Northern Kentucky rallied.”

Everything (and it wasn’t much) John Calipari said after UK beat Northern Kentucky, from the Herald-Leader.“We’ll be fine. I mean, you get up 18 and, you know, again, it’s (12:30) in the morning, and we’re playing. And then you have to give Northern credit. The thing they did all season is make 3s. And what I said at halftime, the one thing I’m worried about is they missed a bunch of 3s that they normally make, or the game would have been closer. And then late in the game, they made them all. So they made the game close. “

My three take-aways from UK’s worrisome NCAA debut. “The final margin ended up as just nine points. Kentucky was one-of-nine from three in the second half. Maybe the late starting time – tip was at 10:07 p.m. – had something to do with Kentucky’s second-half malaise. Or maybe, as Calipari told his team afterward, the first game is always the hardest.”

Wichita State relishes shot at revenge, writes Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “Shaquille Morris has never forgotten the feeling. Now a 6-foot-8, 265-pound wide body, the Wichita State post player was a redshirting freshman when the Shockers’ dream of an unbeaten NCAA championship died at the hands of Kentucky in the 2014 round of 32. ‘What I remember is how bad I felt when we lost,’ Morris said. “

Wichita State overcomes Dayton’s defense in win, reports Paul Sullentrop of the Wichita Eagle. “WSU coach Gregg Marshall went to a long, rangy defensive lineup with Shamet, Brown, Kelly, Markis McDuffie and Rauno Nurger to shut down the Flyers late in the second half. Nurger provided a mobile big man to guard Dayton’s mobile bigs. The other four are agile enough to switch and move through screens. “

NKU savors tournament even in defeat, reports Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Cole Murray leaned against the wall in the tunnel that ran out to the court of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The music, cheers and squeaks from the court action between Wichita State and Dayton tumbled over him. This was it. The one moment for the senior from Delphi, Indiana who helped transition the Northern Kentucky University Norse from Division II to Division I, from one coach to another, from the depths of a 20-loss season to that edge of carpet, 3-point distance away from history.”

South Carolina whips Marquette to advance for first time in 44 years, reports David Cloninger of The State. “They weren’t playing to end any streak. They were playing for themselves. So consider South Carolina’s 93-73 NCAA Tournament win over Marquette on Friday a thank you to everybody that came before, a sigh of relief for those that will follow – but most of all, a round of applause for the 2016-17 team. The Gamecocks are moving on. “

Arkansas steals one from Seton Hall, reports Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “One second Jaylen Barford was stealing the ball from Seton Hall guard Khadeen Carrington on the Pirates’ end of the court. The next second -- actually four seconds later -- Barford was catching a pass from Manny Watkins and scoring on a layup during the pivotal sequence of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ 77-71 victory Friday over Seton Hall in a first-round NCAA Tournament game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.”

NCAA Tournament television schedule

Saturday

12:10: West Virginia vs. Notre Dame (CBS)

About 2:40: Villanova vs. Wisconsin (CBS)

5:15: Gonzaga vs. Northwestern (CBS)

6:10: Florida State vs. Xavier (TNT)

7:10: Butler vs. Middle Tennessee State (TBS)

About 7:45: Arizona vs. St. Mary’s (CBS)

About 8:40: Florida vs. Virginia (TNT)

About 9:40: Purdue vs. Iowa State (TBS)

Sunday

12:10: Louisville vs. Michigan (CBS)

About 2:40: Kentucky vs. Wichita State (CBS)

5:15: Kansas vs. Michigan State (CBS)

6:10: North Carolina vs. Arkansas (TNT)

7:10: Oregon vs. Rhode Island (TBS)

About 7:45: Baylor vs. Southern Cal (TruTV)

About 8:40: Duke vs. South Carolina (TNT)

About 9:40: UCLA vs. Cincinnati (TBS)

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