Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Kentucky women’s basketball continues perfect start

Kentucky forward Evelyn Akhator (13) stole the ball from Tennessee State forward Jayda Johnson (25) during the first half Monday, Dec. 28, 2015 in Lexington.
Kentucky forward Evelyn Akhator (13) stole the ball from Tennessee State forward Jayda Johnson (25) during the first half Monday, Dec. 28, 2015 in Lexington. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Kentucky women match best start in school history, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “Kentucky’s coach couldn’t have scripted it better. Closing out 2015 and heading into Southeastern Conference play, Matthew Mitchell got just what he wanted from the Cats’ 81-39 victory over Tennessee State on Monday night. It was a ‘team win’ for No. 7 Kentucky with six players — including all five starters — scoring in double figures, but none scoring more than 14 points.”

UK expected to name Eddie Gran offensive coordinator, reports Smith. “Kentucky’s Mark Stoops went for familiarity in his next offensive coordinator hire, this time in Cincinnati’s Eddie Gran. The UK coach and his new offensive coordinator have a long history together, including coaching side by side at Florida State for three seasons.”

John Calipari beat Rick Pitino off the court, too, says Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “If our state aspires for the Kentucky-Louisville men’s basketball series to replace North Carolina-Duke as the nation’s premier college hoops rivalry, one thing has to happen. Pitino has to step it up.”

Rick Pitino deserves respect, writes Mark Coomes for Louisville Insider. “Anyone who’s lived more than a year in this state knows the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game means way too much to way too many, as if a two-hour athletic contest among teenagers from Egypt, Haiti, Canada, Sudan, Cleveland and California proves that one clan is superior to the other here in the 120 counties of the dark and bloody ground. The game clearly means too much to Rick Pitino.”

Kentucky basketball individual game-by-game stats

A look at how top Class of 2015 recruits are doing, from Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “The college basketball recruiting class of 2015 has been underwhelming — for the most part — so far this season, with many of the country’s top-rated freshmen struggling to get adjusted to the next level. Still, plenty of highly touted newcomers are putting up big numbers — most notably, Louisiana State’s Ben Simmons — and the most recent DraftExpress.com mock draft for 2016 places seven freshmen among the top 10 picks.”

Five New Year’s resolutions for Kentucky basketball, by Rob Goldberg of Bleacher Report. “Obviously, not everyone keeps their resolutions, so even the discussion alone doesn't mean much, but there are certainly goals for this team to try to accomplish if it wants to contend for a national championship. Here is a look at some target areas for the Wildcats to improve as we change calendars.”

South Carolina basketball is loving the undefeated life, writes David Cloninger of The State. The two basketball teams in Columbia are a combined 23-0 so far.

Kentucky men’s basketball SEC schedule

1/2/16

Ole Miss

1/5/16

@LSU

1/9/16

@Alabama

1/12/16

Miss State

1/16/16

@Auburn

1/21/16

@Arkansas

1/23/16

Vanderbilt

1/27/16

Missouri

1/30/16

@Kansas

2/2/16

@Tennessee

2/6/16

Florida

2/9/16

Georgia

2/13/16

@South Carolina

2/18/16

Tennessee

2/20/16

@Texas A&M

2/23/16

Alabama

2/27/16

@Vanderbilt

3/1/16

@Florida

3/5/16

LSU

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