Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Kentucky-Louisville basketball; UK football assistant stays put

Louisville's Donovan Mitchell, right, goes to the basket past UMKC's Darnell Tillman during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 75-47.
Louisville's Donovan Mitchell, right, goes to the basket past UMKC's Darnell Tillman during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 75-47. The Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Kentucky and Louisville will be a battle of the boards, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “When asked to define ‘real’ rebounding, ESPN analyst Len Elmore said, ‘Rebounding is all about desire. Certainly, there are fundamental skills you have to master. But it begins with the desire. If you don’t desire to stick your nose in there, if you don’t desire to command that real estate, you’re not going to be a very good rebounder. You’re going to get pushed out of the way. You’re going to be knocked out of the way. And you’re going to get intimidated.’”

John Calipari believes in a Christmas break, reports WKYT. ""This is a great time," said Calipari. "As you all know, I give my kids four or five days off for Christmas, eventhough we have tough games coming up. They need to be with their family, I need to be with my family. We'll come back together and we'll figure it out."

The challenge is about to shift for Louisville, writes Rick Bozich of WDRB. "In the comfortable cocoon of a home environment, it was mostly a footnote that UMKC was the program where Andre McGee resigned his assistant coaching job last fall after Powell identified him as her connection for the strippers and prostitutes she said she provided to players and recruits at U of L, where McGee played and worked for Pitino. McGee was not in the building."

Louisville shifts its lineup and thumps Missouri-Kansas City, reports Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal. Trey Lewis scored 17 points and Damion Lee added 14 as the Cards rolled to a 75-47 win.

UK football coach Mark Stoops says assistant turned down a coordinator’s job.

One and done for Shannon Dawson leads my random notes column. “Hey, even Ron Hudson, Kentucky’s unpopular offensive coordinator the first two years of the Rich Brooks era, got a longer shelf life than Shannon Dawson, the now-former Wildcats play-caller who was kicked to the curb after one season.”

Patrick Towles talks with KSTV about his decision to complete his collegiate career in Beantown.

Foul trouble hurts Vanderbilt in loss to Purdue, reports Steven B. Brooks for the Tennessean. “Already down a big man after Vanderbilt’s 7-foot-1 Luke Kornet tore the MCL in his left knee two weeks ago, the Commodores found the going even tougher with their other most reliable inside player spending most of Tuesday’s 68-55 loss to No. 14 Purdue on the bench.”

South Carolina makes believers of St. John’s, reports AP. Frank Martin's Gamecocks, now ranked No. 25 in the AP poll, beat the Storm 75-61 in Connecticut on Tuesday night.

Kareem Canty's big shot helps Auburn win in Hawaii, reports AP. “Kareem Canty was eager to put the past behind him. Canty scored 27 points, T.J. Dunans 20 and Cinmeon Bowers 12 to help Auburn to a 83-78 win over New Mexico in a quarterfinal game of the Diamond Head Classic Tuesday morning. The win helped the Tigers (6-3) rebound from a 24-point loss at Xavier just three days prior.”

Ole Miss closes out the Tad Pad, reports Clarion-Ledger. The Rebels needed overtime to beat Troy 83-80 in the final game at the Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels move to a new arena on Jan. 7.

LSU turns up Benny and the Jets, writes Ron Higgins of NOLA.com. “The two-win Eagles of the Patriot League were eventually overwhelmed by LSU’s parade of long, athletic bodies in a 79-51 Tigers’ victory. But anybody wearing a purple-and-gold uniform, including freshman phenom forward Ben Simmons who had a smooth 23 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals, couldn’t deny it took awhile to pluck every last feather of the determined Eagles.”

Tennessee knocks off East Tennessee, reports Grant Ramey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “You’ve got to give Tennessee credit,” said ETSU coach Steve Forbes, a former UT assistant coach under Bruce Pearl. “They didn’t go away. The last couple minutes ... we just didn’t execute like we needed to.”

Kinglsey's double-double leads Arkansas past North Florida, reports AP. “Moses Kingsley had 22 points and 10 rebounds as Arkansas led throughout on its way to a 97-72 win over North Florida.”

Florida rolls over Jacksonville, reports Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “Florida coach Mike White was worried this week about what he called ‘Christmas-itis’, the tendency for players to look ahead to the holiday break and not take an overmatched opponent seriously. After a lackluster defensive effort in the first half, Florida pulled away for an 89-65 win over Jacksonville before an announced crowd of 9,083 at the O’Connell Center.”

Georgia shuts down Clemson, reports Taylor Deman of the Macon Telegraph. “Offensive fireworks there were not, but Georgia worked the floor and pulled out a 71-48 basketball victory over Clemson on Tuesday. A good defensive effort from Georgia (6-3) had Clemson's offense sputtering in the first half. Clemson (7-5) went through a six-minute dry spell in the first half, opening up a 13-point run for Georgia to give the Bulldogs a 28-16 lead.”

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