John Clay

Kentucky basketball’s non-conference schedule hard to knock

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari talked about last season and thoughts on the upcoming season on Wednesday May 11, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. UK released its non-conference schedule, which includes games against North Carolina, Michigan State, UCLA, Kansas and, of course, Louisville.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari talked about last season and thoughts on the upcoming season on Wednesday May 11, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. UK released its non-conference schedule, which includes games against North Carolina, Michigan State, UCLA, Kansas and, of course, Louisville. Lexington Herald-Leader

Random notes:

▪ Some national types have knocked Kentucky men’s basketball’s non-conference schedule for its lack of “true” road games. It’s difficult to knock a schedule that includes games with North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State, Louisville, UCLA, Arizona State, Valparaiso and Stephen F. Austin, which came within a basket of reaching the Sweet 16 last season.

▪ FYI: Bengals training camp opens July 29 at Cincinnati’s practice field. First exhibition game is Aug. 12 against Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings.

▪ Thanks to Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer for this stat: In games against ACC teams not named Clemson, Florida State is 26-2 over the past four years. In games against ACC teams not named Florida State, Clemson has gone 27-1 over the past four years.

▪ Congrats to Rich Brooks (football), Chuck Hayes (men’s basketball), James Johnson (wrestling), Molly Johnson-Belcher (softball), Bernadette Madigan-Dugan (track and cross country) and Wesley Woodyard (football) for being this year’s inductees into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.

▪ Not sure about the new NCAA rule allowing the No. 1 overall seed in the men’s basketball tournament to pick the site where it wants to play its first two rounds. Didn’t the No. 1 seed usually go to the closest site anyway?

▪ Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta on what he told his team during what was a disappointing year for the Buckeyes (outside a win over Kentucky): “Some of you are going to transfer. You don’t know it yet, but whatever you do — don’t come see me. Just shoot me a text, because I’m tired of looking at you.”

▪ The Reds are 4-2 since the All-Star break. Just saying. Of course, the six games have been against the Brewers and Braves, at home. Still, the Reds are 4-2 since the All-Star break.

▪ More positive Reds stuff: Don’t look now, but after hitting .319 in June, Joey Votto is hitting .405 in July. His batting average is now up to .271 on the season. He’s also drawn six walks in his last four games.

▪ Good move by ESPN moving David Pollack out of the booth on its Thursday night college football telecasts. Pollack and Jesse Palmer had similar observations, but Palmer seemed to dominate the conversation at times. He’s not made for a three-man booth.

▪ For next year’s SEC Network takeovers, where each team gets 24 hours of programming, they should take a school’s toughest losses and through the magic of video editing turn them into wins.

▪ Reports say the Big 12 is seriously considering expanding. It would be nice if the league could find someone for West Virginia to play without having to travel halfway across the country.

▪ The more compelling question at Big 12 Media Days was whether you could characterize Mike Gundy’s hairstyle as a mullet.

▪ I for one am glad Paul Finebaum and Nick Saban have kissed and made up.

▪ The website SEC Country recently ranked the homes of the 14 conference schools by craft beer. Lexington (UK) came in fourth.

▪ Drake wore Kentucky basketball apparel as he walked through Texas’ basketball facilities. That would be a no-no.

▪ Have you ever seen a prospect visit a school and then publicly say, “I hated it”?

▪ So the ACC is getting its own cable network, through ESPN, by 2019. But will everybody have cut the cable cord by then?

▪ If college football does eliminate kickoff returns, as has been discussed, Missouri might celebrate. Mizzou was dead last out of 127 teams last season, averaging 15.1 yards per return.

▪ Cincinnati’s United Soccer League club FC Cincinnati drew 35,061 to Nippert Stadium last Saturday for a friendly against Crystal Palace of the English Premier League. That was 10,000 more than any MLS game last weekend.

▪ OVC media picked Eastern Kentucky football to finish second in the league behind Jacksonville State. Not that there’s any early pressure on new coach Mark Elder. Actually, I’m guessing Elder welcomes it.

▪ Best news we’ve heard all day: Tulane is bringing back its “Angry Wave” logo.

2016-17 UK NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

(Home games in capital letters)

Oct. 14: BIG BLUE MADNESS (SEC Network)

Oct. 21: BLUE-WHITE SCRIMMAGE (SEC Network)

Oct. 30: a-CLARION, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)

Nov. 6: a-ASBURY, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)

Nov. 11: STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

Nov. 13: b-CANISIUS

Nov. 15: c-Michigan State

Nov. 20: b-DUQUESNE

Nov. 23: b-CLEVELAND STATE

Nov. 25: b-TENNESSEE-MARTIN

Nov. 28: d-Arizona State

Dec. 3: UCLA

Dec. 7: VALPARAISO

Dec. 11: e-Hofstra

Dec. 17: f-North Carolina

Dec. 21: at Louisville

Jan. 28: g-KANSAS

a-Exhibition; b-Bluegrass Showcase; c-Champions Classic (Madison Square Garden in New York); d-Atlantis Showcase (Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas); e-Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival (Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.); f-CBS Sports Classic (T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas); g-SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

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