Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Kentucky’s post play issues, plus lots of SEC news

Alabama forward Riley Norris, right, scrambles for a loose ball with Oregon forward Dillon Brooks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Oregon won 72-68.
Alabama forward Riley Norris, right, scrambles for a loose ball with Oregon forward Dillon Brooks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Oregon won 72-68. The Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Kentucky is lacking low-post scoring, but can it get by without it? asks Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Most teams don’t have a low-post scorer to throw it in to,” said ESPN analyst Fraschilla said. “Those guys have gone the way of the buffalo.”

Is Rick Pitino poised to beat UK at a version of its own game? asks Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “The twist is that, unlike John Calipari’s reliance on freshman players who play one year at Kentucky and then turn pro, Damion Lee and Troy Lewis are taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows players with both remaining eligibility and a college degree to transfer without sitting out a year.”

Picking Louisville, even at Rupp, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal.

John Calipari knows his freshmen need to get tougher, just not sure when it will happen, writes Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate-Messenger.

Rick Pitino talks injuries, scheduling, the Kentucky rivalry, and Cardinal Chronicle has the transcript.

There is a psychology in coaching Skal Labissiere, says Darrell Bird of the Cats Pause.

Vanderbilt gets big road test at Purdue, reports Adam Sparks of the Tennessean. “This was supposed to be a battle of college basketball’s most blessed frontcourts, with each team touting two standout 7-footers. But since 7-1 junior Luke Kornet tore the MCL in his left knee two weeks ago, Vanderbilt has only one big man, All-SEC center Damian Jones, in the starting lineup. Josh Henderson, a 7-foot senior reserve, could see increased time to try to fill Kornet’s role. Purdue leans on 7-2 sophomore Isaac Haas and 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, who have combined to average 25.8 points, 13.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game.”

The SEC needs to realign its divisions, writes John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Let's start with the conference's most recent additions, Texas A&M in the West and Missouri in the East. Do you really think the Tigers will consistently be better than the Aggies in football? Texas A&M has a much better recruiting base and better facilities. My guess: Missouri has already peaked in SEC football.”

Four key Florida players decide to declare for NFL Draft, reports Jesse Simonton of the Miami Herald.

Kevin Sumlin must fix trust issues with Texas A&M football, writes Robert Cessna of the Bryan/College Station Eagle. “Now that Aggies have gotten over the initial shock of Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferring, the biggest issue with the football program isn’t who replaces them, but how Texas A&M prevents it from happening again. More specifically, how does head coach Kevin Sumlin fix it? Even without knowing the specifics, there’s plenty of blame to go around, starting with Allen, Murray, Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. They expected to make magic together, but instead created a mess.”

Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine is out 2-3 weeks after a minor knee procedure, reports Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press.

Alabama falls to Oregon despite big game from Justin Coleman, reports Matt Zenitz of AL.com.

Anthony Davis has a new endorsement deal, reports Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Auburn’s Tahj Shamsid-Deen may need surgery on his shoulder, reports Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Georgia’s J.J. Frazier can score points in bunches, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph.

Florida is not looking past Jacksonville, reports Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun.

Expect the three when North Florida visits Arkansas, reports Eric Bolin of the Arkansas News.

LSU is looking to match its longest win streak of the season, reports Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times.

Missouri women’s basketball makes AP poll for first time since 2006, reports Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star.

Mississippi State’s women are off to an 11-1 start, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

At 11-0, Dawn Staley is setting special goals at South Carolina, reports David Cloninger of the The State.

Mississippi State football is looking to the future in its bowl prep, reports Logan Lowery of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal.

Tennessee football expects a stern challenge from Northwestern, reports Patrick Brown of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia quarterback Brice Ramsey has impressed in bowl practices, reports Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.

SEC basketball

W

L

SOS*

South Carolina

10

0

290

Kentucky

9

2

161

Ole Miss

9

2

248

Texas A&M

9

2

72

Alabama

7

3

32

Florida

7

3

21

Vanderbilt

7

3

106

Auburn

5

3

109

Georgia

5

3

82

LSU

6

4

238

Arkansas

5

5

153

Miss State

5

5

188

Missouri

5

5

94

Tennessee

5

5

67

* Via Sagarin Ratings

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