Sidelines with John Clay

Alabama responds for Avery Johnson; more college basketball notes

Links and college basketball notes for Friday:

John Calipari says Reid Travis will play against Alabama. The graduate transfer from Stanford missed Kentucky’s final five games of the regular season. The Cats went 4-1 during that stretch, but could certainly use the 6-foot-8 power forward in the post-season.

Alabama’s players welcome UK’s wish for a rematch. The Crimson Tide beat Ole Miss 62-57 on Thursday night in the SEC Tournament to earn a matchup with No. 2 seed Kentucky at 7 p.m. ET Friday. Bama beat the Cats 77-75 in Tuscaloosa way back on Jan. 5.

With Avery Johnson under fire, Alabama responds. The Tide got 21 points off the bench from Tevin Mack to rally and beat the Rebels. Bama executed down the stretch to put away the Rebels and reach the tournament quarterfinals.

Will Keion Brooks pick Kentucky? The high school star is scheduled to make his college choice announcement on Friday night. Kentucky and Indiana appear to be the top two choices for the 6-foot-7 swingman from Fort Wayne, Ind.

Billy Kennedy may have coached his final game at Texas A&M. The Aggies lost 80-54 to Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week that Kennedy would not return as Aggies coach. Kennedy said Thursday he had not been told that by the school’s administration.

Florida ends skid with win over Arkansas. Mike White’s team bounced back after losing its final two games of the regular season. The 66-50 win over the Razorbacks send the Gators to Friday’s quarterfinal against No. 1 seed LSU. It’s a 1 p.m. ET start on ESPN. The two teams split a pair of overtime games during the regular season.

Will Wade wants to be re-instated. But until the LSU basketball coach talks to school officials, he will remain on indefinite suspension. Tony Benford is LSU’s interim coach.

Auburn shakes off Missouri. Bryce Brown scored all 17 of his points in the second half as Bruce Pearl’s Tigers advanced to a Friday game with No. 4 seed South Carolina. It’s an approximate 3:20 p.m. ET start on ESPN. Auburn has now won five straight games.

South Carolina believes it will have its point guard back. Freshman A.J. Lawson has missed the last three games after spraining his left ankle against Alabama on Feb. 26. Gamecocks coach Frank Martin told the media Thursday night that Lawson should play Friday.

Louisville falls to North Carolina in ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels take the rubber match with Chris Mack’s team in Charlotte. Carolina jumped to a 13-point lead early in the quarterfinal game and cruised into Friday’s semifinals against Duke.

Zion Williamson will be available for Round 3. Duke’s star blew out his shoe and sprained his knee the first matchup in Durham. (North Carolina won.) He did not play in the second matchup in Chapel Hill. (North Carolina won.) Williamson was perfect 13-of-13 from the floor and scored 29 points with 14 rebounds in Duke’s 84-72 win over Syracuse on Thursday.

Zion has a new shoe, by the way.

A flawed Kansas still beats Texas. The Jayhawks beat the Longhorns 65-57 at the Sprint Center to earn a semifinal matchup with West Virginia, who upset Texas Tech on Thursday. Iowa State plays Kansas State in the other Big 12 semifinal. Both games are on ESPN2 starting at 7 p.m.

Friday’s college basketball schedule

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