Sidelines with John Clay

Reviewing Kentucky-North Carolina, plus more Big Blue Links

Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo (3) dunked for two of his 13 points in UK’s 103-100 win over North Carolina on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas.
Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo (3) dunked for two of his 13 points in UK’s 103-100 win over North Carolina on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

The freshmen are no longer freshmen in UK’s win over North Carolina, Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports. “The freshmen are no longer freshmen,” UNC Coach Roy Williams said. “I can remember 100 years ago, I’d recruit a kid and say, ‘Once every four years, I will take you to Hawaii.’ And now, high school teams go to Hawaii. I mean, Jesus. They get more exposure. Play better competition. I recruited a kid who played 61 games in a summer. You never see that. So freshmen, they are freshmen because of their age and how many classes they’ve gone to. But their basketball ages are much higher than they used to be in the old days.”

Malik Monk did not listen to his coach. Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, “If he had listened to his coach, Malik Monk would not have taken the shot. But the freshman guard was forgiven, because the shot won the game. Monk’s go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 16 seconds remaining capped his 47-point outburst and lifted No. 6 Kentucky to a 103-100 victory over No. 7 North Carolina on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic at T-Mobile Arena.”

Kentucky-North Carolina was the wildest game of the year so far. Matt Norlander of CBS Sports writes, “The best game of the season in college basketball transpired in Las Vegas on Saturday. It might not even be topped in March. It was that good, that riveting, that entertaining -- that near-perfect -- and so we’ll be talking about this one well into next week and referencing it over the next three months of what’s shaping up to be an awesome season for the sport.”

Malik Monk proves he’s ready to carry Kentucky, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports. “There were concerns entering the season about whether Kentucky coach John Calipari had a go-to guy, someone who could take over a game, a bona-fide star within this talented group. Malik Monk answered that with an exclamation point on Saturday when he exploded for 47 points and knocked down 8 of 12 3-pointers -- something that Buddy Hield, Doug McDermott and Kevin Durant were never able to accomplish in their storied college careers.”

North Carolina comes up short. Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer reports, “North Carolina this year was already involved in one of the great college basketball games in history, the national championship game more than eight months ago that Villanova won with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. For a non-conference game in December, though, it’s never been better than it was on Saturday in the CBS Classic between UNC and Kentucky, two bitter non-conference rivals, two of the most storied programs in the history of the sport, the game not decided until the final buzzer. “

Malik Monk was the difference. The AP reports, “Monk hit 18 of 28 shots, including 8 of 12 3-point attempts, scoring in various ways in an electric performance that was the most points in Division I this season. Only Duke’s Dick Groat (48 points) in 1952 has scored more against the Tar Heels. And Kentucky needed Monk’s huge effort to offset (Justin) Jackson’s four 3s and 10 free throws in a game played at a furious pace.”

ACC fines Louisville and Virginia Tech in Wakey-leaks scandal. Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal reports, “The Atlantic Coast Conference has fined the University of Louisville and Virginia Tech $25,000 each -- the maximum amount the conference can levy -- for the roles of their football programs in accepting game-plan information about Wake Forest from radio analyst Tommy Elrod.”

Louisville basketball cruises past Eastern Kentucky. Gary Graves of the AP reports, “Week-long breaks for final exams initially created different results between No. 11 Louisville and visiting Eastern Kentucky, which seemed much sharper from the layoff. The Cardinals shed their early rust to post the all-around effort they will need for a daunting quartet of ranked teams, including an archrival. “

There’s a new film on the 1996 Kentucky basketball team. Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes, “If your holiday vibe runs toward a Big Blue Christmas, you are in luck. On Christmas Day at 5 p.m., Lexington’s WKYT-TV will debut the documentary film “The Team.” The brainchild of former Kentucky guard Cameron Mills and produced with WKYT producer Dick Gabriel and filmmaker Jason Epperson, it tells the story of the University of Kentucky’s 1995-96 NCAA championship team. “


Malik Monk rewards John Calipari’s faith

After win over Eastern Kentucky, Louisville turns its attention to Kentucky

Defense fails Indiana in loss to Butler

Possible tourney sleeper Purdue beats Notre Dame

Alex Montgomery finds a way to keep living life

Missouri basketball falls to Eastern Illinois

Dozier soars as South Carolina beats South Florida

Steve Sarkisian’s second chance at Alabama not the same as Lane Kiffin’s second chance

Southern Miss beats Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl

Vanderbilt rallies to beat Chattanooga

Tennessee’s John Fulkerson out six weeks with elbow injury

Florida closes out time away from campus with win before returning to new O-Dome on Wednesday

Yante Maten paces Georgia over Charleston Southern

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