Sidelines with John Clay

Joel Berry’s status still uncertain; plus more Big Blue Links

North Carolina guard Joel Berry has been sidelined by an ankle injury. Coach Roy Williams said Thursday he’s still unsure if Berry will play Saturday against Kentucky.
North Carolina guard Joel Berry has been sidelined by an ankle injury. Coach Roy Williams said Thursday he’s still unsure if Berry will play Saturday against Kentucky. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Friday:

North Carolina unsure if Joel Berry will be ready Saturday

Stephen Schramm of the Fayetteville Observer reports, “North Carolina coach Roy Williams said he was still unsure whether injured junior guard Joel Berry would be available for Saturday’s showdown with sixth-ranked Kentucky. Williams, who said recruiting trips have taken him to eight different states in the last seven days, said the seventh-ranked Tar Heels (10-1) had Monday off and only did 45 minutes of running and shooting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Berry took part in the informal workouts.”

North Carolina’s pace and rebounding has UK’s attention

Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports. “North Carolina may be the easiest team in college basketball to prepare for,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said this week. “Everybody knows what they’re going to do. You just can’t stop it.”

Sean Woods resigns as Morehead State’s basketball coach

Reports Gary Graves of the AP, “Athletic director Brian Hutchinson on Thursday announced Woods’ resignation after the coach went 77-65 in four-plus seasons with the Eagles, including 2-2 this fall. Woods had been suspended since Nov. 22 and Morehead State began investigating unspecified “complaints received” about him. Police in Evansville, Ind., on Tuesday filed the battery charge against Woods. A hearing has been set for Feb. 9. “

Calipari says some Cats feeling anxiety over their futures

Kyle Tucker of SEC Country reports. “I sent them a text yesterday: ‘Anxiety is not going to change tomorrow, but it can change your fight today, your battle today, because you’re worrying about stuff that your anxiety is not changing,’ ” Calipari said. “Whatever will happen will happen. So I’m trying to get them to stay in the moment and try to get better. You cannot worry about six months down the road, two months down the road. You can’t worry about our game the following week, the league play, the league tournament.”

ESPN takes an early look at the Taxslayer Bowl

The site writes, “How Georgia Tech beats you: Of course the Yellow Jackets (8-4) like to run, run and run some more, as the triple-option attack led the ACC in rushing and was 10th nationally. But with three-year starting quarterback Justin Thomas under center, you can’t completely sleep on the passing game. Thomas threw for 164 yards in leading Tech back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit at rival Georgia in the regular-season finale.”

West Virginia’s full-court press is unrelenting

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports reports, “In its first nine games this season, West Virginia has harassed opponents into turnovers on a national-best 34.7 percent of their possessions. Not only is that better than the Mountaineers’ rate at this time the past two seasons, it’s also easily the highest rate in the 16 years that cover Ken Pomeroy’s database. “

Louisville’s game plan should be stopping cycle of scandal

Eric Crawford of WDRB writes, “Contrary to what you may have read, University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is not the Worst. Person. Ever. And contrary to many University of Louisville sports fans I have talked (and Tweeted) with today, he is not infallible. Jurich, in my experience at Louisville, hasn’t made many mistakes. He has made some. He made one when he hired that one football coach. And he made one on Wednesday, when he tried to address his football staff’s receiving of game plan information leaked by a Wake Forest radio analyst.”

Charlie Strong’s mansion in Texas for sale for $5 million

Reports Doug Samuels of Football Scoop, “Charlie Strong’s Mediterranean-style mansion on the west side of Austin is for sale, and it can be yours for just under $5 million The house comes in at just under 10,900 square feet, and rests on four acres of land. It includes 5-bedrooms and 7 and a half bathrooms and also has a pool, basketball court, a luxurious man cave, a really nice home theater and outdoor entertaining area set up. The inside of the house is absolutely immaculate, and the outside is impressive from top to bottom.”

Omer Yertseven debuts for North Carolina State

Writes Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer, “Short of 91 points, a series of increasingly impressive dunks and a barrage of halfcourt 3-pointers, there was almost no way Omer Yurtseven could have lived up to the expectations for his N.C. State debut on Thursday. And he did not live up to them, unfair as that may be. It was always going to be impossible, or nearly impossible. What Yurtseven showed, after sitting out a nine-game NCAA suspension, was an array of useful skills and flashes of the inside-outside game the 7-footer promises to deliver with greater fluidity later on.”

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returning to Georgia

Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph reports, “It seemed improbable not too long ago. It’s suddenly a reality. Four of Georgia’s top pro prospects — Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy — are all returning for their senior seasons. This is huge news for a Georgia program that just finished a 7-5 regular-season campaign and appeared poised to lose its two best skill-position players .”

Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball top 20

  • 1. Duke
  • 2. Villanova
  • 3. Kentucky
  • 4. Kansas
  • 5. Virginia
  • 6. North Carolina
  • 7. Louisville
  • 8. Wisconsin
  • 9. West Virginia
  • 10. UCLA
  • 11. Baylor
  • 12. Purdue
  • 13. Gonzaga
  • 14. Indiana
  • 15. Saint Mary’s
  • 16. Florida
  • 17. Creighton
  • 18. Wichita State
  • 19. Butler
  • 20. Xavier


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