Sidelines with John Clay

Big Saturday for Kentucky basketball, volleyball; more links

Kentucky’s Madison Lilley (3) and Emily Franklin (11) defend as UK defeated BYU 3-2 hosted BYU in the round of 16 on Friday Dec. 8, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky plays Nebraska on Saturday for a trip to tournament’s Final Four.
Kentucky’s Madison Lilley (3) and Emily Franklin (11) defend as UK defeated BYU 3-2 hosted BYU in the round of 16 on Friday Dec. 8, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky plays Nebraska on Saturday for a trip to tournament’s Final Four. Lexington Herald-Leader

Links and notes for Saturday.

Kentucky basketball is in the Big Apple

▪ Kentucky basketball plays Monmouth at Madison Square Garden on Saturday at noon. ESPNU has the telecast. The game may test each team’s resilience, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader.

▪ Five things to know about Monmouth basketball, from yours truly. The Hawks are 3-6 but two of those losses came in overtime.

▪ Playing in the Garden is just one focus for Monmouth, reports Josh Newman of the Asbury Park Press.

▪ Trae Young is off to a fast start Oklahoma, reports Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, who also gets into why Young did not end up at Kentucky despite being thrilled when John Calipari visited.

▪ John Wall practiced for the first time in two weeks with the Washington Wizards, reports Candace Buckner of the Washington Post.

▪ Nerlens Noel is out indefinitely after thumb surgery, reports the AP. Noel hasn’t played for the Dallas Mavericks since Nov. 22.

▪ Devin Booker will be on NBA’s Inside Stuff with Kristen Ledlow on Saturday, reports NBA.com.

Kentucky volleyball’s Comeback Kids playing for Final Four berth

▪ Kentucky volleyball beats BYU in five-set thriller to reach the Elite Eight, reports Chris Leach for the Herald-Leader. Craig Skinner’s team will play Nebraska at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four in Minneapolis.

▪ Kentucky advances after yet another comeback, reports Keyera Jackson of the Kentucky Kernel.

Kentucky football starts prep for Music City

▪ UK football is getting some R&R (&R) before its Music City Bowl game against Northwestern, writes Chase Campbell of the Kentucky Kernel.

▪ Stephen Johnson threw for just one touchdown in the final six games of the regular season. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader looks at what happened.

▪ Kentucky’s quarterbacks are getting a head start on their 2018 competition during bowl prep, reports Derek Terry of the Cats Pause. With Johnson graduating, several will compete to be his successor, including Drew Barker, Gunnar Hoak, Danny Clark and Walker Wood.

▪ Recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow gave an update on the early signing period, reports Joe Mussatto of SEC Country. Much of the news has centered around junior college quarterback Terry Wilson, who after some fits-and-starts is apparently visiting UK this weekend.

Kentucky women’s hoops fall in Florida

Kentucky lose on the road at Florida Gulf Coast, reports the Herald-Leader. Matthew Mitchell’s team dropped to 8-2 just after the coach received a new contract.

Louisville plays host to Indiana on Saturday

▪ Rick Pitino sensed he had lost support long before he was fired, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal.

▪ Louisville plays visiting Indiana at 2 p.m. on Saturday. It’s not the game we thought it would be, says Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal.

▪ Indiana needs a win and Louisville needs to avoid a loss, says Rick Bozich of WDRB.

▪ Ex-Louisville star Donovan Mitchell is a rookie sensation for the Utah Jazz, says Matt Moore of CBS Sports.

Lamar Jackson is also in the Big Apple

▪ Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is in New York as one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Last year’s Heisman winner says he is ignoring those urging him to skip U of L’s TaxSlayer Bowl game against Mississippi State, reports Jake Lourim of the Courier-Journal.

▪ The Heisman hates sequels, but Jackson’s encore has been a hit, says Eric Crawford of WDRB.

Open arms for Jeremy Pruitt and more SEC football news

▪ New Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt has a tougher plan in mind for the Vols, says John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. At his introductory press conference, Pruitt talked like a coach who doesn’t believe you can trick the opposition.

▪ Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press writes that Pruitt sounded like a coach who will more than the press conference.

▪ Pruitt brings confidence and a plan, says Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean. As to how Pruitt will do, Rexrode says, “I have no idea.”

▪ Clenched jaws have turned to open arms at Tennessee, says Jason Kersey of The Athletic.

▪ Pruitt is not a bad hire, but he is risky, says Mark Bradley of the AJC. Pruitt’s time at UGA was not without controversy.

▪ Here’s what I wrote about Pruitt.

▪ Ex-Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and former Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudsepth are joining new coach Joe Moorhead’s staff at Mississippi State, reports Logan Lowery of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal.

▪ Florida receiver James Robinson’s career is over because of a heart condition, reports Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel.

▪ Missouri coach Barry Odom did a terrific job bringing the Tigers back from a 1-5 start, writes Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star.

Florida, Alabama face tough challenges and more basketball news

▪ In the midst of a three-game losing streak, Florida basketball travels to New Jersey to play Cincinnati on Saturday. The Gators are trying to get their offense back on track, says Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun.

▪ The Gators are also focused on rebounding in more ways than one, says Ethan Bauer of the Miami Herald.

▪ Cincinnati has issues of its own, reports Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Bearcats lost last Saturday to cross-town rival Xavier in the Cross-town Shootout.

▪ Arizona’s Rawle Alkins appears ready to return from injury just as Avery Johnson, Collin Sexton and Alabama pay a visit, reports Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star.

▪ C.J. Jones is making an impact for Arkansas basketball, says Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The 6-5 sophomore has scored more points in the past four games than he did all of last year. Arkansas plays Minnesota on Saturday.

▪ The South Carolina State basketball player who collapsed during a game has now been released from the hospital, reports Steve Wiseman of the Durham Herald Sun.

▪ Wendell Carter is hoping to stay out of foul trouble as Duke opens ACC play against Boston College, reports Joe Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer.

▪ Will Marvin Bagley’s stardom translate into the NBA? asks ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz. Despite Bagley’s fast college start, there are questions about the next level.

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