Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Buyouts, departures and the coach-killer Nick Saban

Snapped: Fans at UK-Illinois State. It was an opportunity to catch a basketball clash between the ‘Cats and the ‘birds as Big Blue Nation turned out at Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington, Ky., on Monday evening, November 30, 2015.Top-ranked Kentucky hosted the Illinois State Redbirds in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Snapped: Fans at UK-Illinois State. It was an opportunity to catch a basketball clash between the ‘Cats and the ‘birds as Big Blue Nation turned out at Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington, Ky., on Monday evening, November 30, 2015.Top-ranked Kentucky hosted the Illinois State Redbirds in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Mark Stoops’ job is all but totally safe for two years, writes Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “According to the deal signed by Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and Stoops last Oct. 29, if UK were to fire the coach without cause before Dec. 1, 2017, it would owe him all the remaining salary in a contract that runs through June 30, 2020. So if UK fired Stoops now, it would owe him $15.5 million.”

Another player leaves UK women’s basketball team, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “Yet another Kentucky player has decided to leave Matthew Mitchell’s program. This time it’s former Marion County standout Kyvin Goodin-Rogers. Goodin-Rogers, who has played in five of the UK women’s basketball team’s six games this season, was averaging a team-low 11.4 minutes per game while contributing 5.6 points and 1.6 rebounds per game for the unbeaten Cats.”

Kentucky basketball beats Illinois State 75-63, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Kentucky’s 75-63 victory over Illinois State on Monday night was a get-well card to Tyler Ulis. Without the player John Calipari said might be the best floor general he’s ever coached, Kentucky struggled to subdue an opponent ranked No. 144 (six spots better than Morehead State) by numbers cruncher Ken Pomeroy.”

Kentucky found to be lacking without Ulis, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. The point guard hopes to practice with the team Wednesday in Los Angeles before Kentucky plays UCLA on Thursday night. Ulis hyperextended his elbow in UK’s win over South Florida in Miami last Friday.

AP college basketball poll week-by-week in a Google Doc

Kentucky makes a second-half surge, writes Derek Terry of Cats Illustrated. “This was a great game because they spread the court and had all five guys who could drive,” said Calipari of Illinois State.

Cats show Ulis’ worth, reports Jordan Ondrof the Kentucky Kernel. ““It was 31-31 at first half, so we looked at it as 0-0. We had to go in there and prove them wrong, but in the second half we picked up the defense,” Murray said. “(Junior guard Dominique Hawkins) did a great job of guarding. (Senior forward Alex Poythress) and Marcus did the same thing.”

Governor’s Cup stayed true to trend, a second-half disaster, writes Freddie Maggard for KSR. “Mark Stoops must evaluate his football program in its entirety. From coordinators to assistant coaches, practice schedules to calisthenics, the Kentucky Football program is in need of an overhaul; what that looks like lies within the mind of Mark Stoops. At no point in 40 years of fandom have I witnessed a team worsen more so than the 2015 Wildcats.”

Malik Monk scores 46 in high school game, reports Nation of Blue. The Kentucky signee and Arkansas native also had an incredible dunk caught on video.

LSU basketball drops its third straight game, reports Sheldon Mickles of The Advocate. “Maybe falling out of The Associated Press’ and USA Today coaches polls earlier Monday was an ominous sign for the Tigers, who rolled into TD Arena six hours later and dropped a 70-58 loss decision to College of Charleston in a game that wasn’t nearly that close.”

Is Nick Saban to blame for SEC coaches getting fired? asks John Talty of the Birmingham News. The Alabama coach weighs in on the subject.

Saban has definitely shaken up coaching in the SEC, writes Chris Low of ESPN. “Really, though, who in the SEC has beaten Saban with any consistency? In his last 40 games against SEC competition, he's 35-5. And as one veteran coach in the SEC told me last week, if Saban coaches another 40 games in the SEC, he'll probably be 35-5 again.”

In his last 40 games against SEC competition, Saban is 35-5. And as one veteran coach in the SEC told me last week, if Saban coaches another 40 games in the SEC, he'll probably be 35-5 again.

ESPN’s Chris Low

Kirby Smart thought to be leader for Georgia opening, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. The Alabama defensive coordinator, who played at Georgia, is believed to be first on the list to replace the fired Mark Richt.

Missouri takes a pass on a bowl game, reports Kellis Robinett of the Kansas City Star. The Tigers would have been one of the 5-7 teams eligible for a bowl but decided that, without a head coach, they would not participate in the post-season.

UK basketball game-by-game individual stats in a Google Doc

South Carolina’s search for a football coach continues, reports The State. Not a lot is known about who the Gamecocks are pursuing to replace Steve Spurrier, who retired on his team in mid-season. South Carolina finished 3-9.

Herald-Leader photo gallery from Kentucky-Illinois State

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