Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Cats-Gators preview and that Louisville basketball penalty

From left; C.J. Conrad, Courtney Love and Jojo Kemp modeled new uniforms at an unveiling event in the new recruiting room at Commonwealth Stadium at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky, on Feb. 5, 2016.
From left; C.J. Conrad, Courtney Love and Jojo Kemp modeled new uniforms at an unveiling event in the new recruiting room at Commonwealth Stadium at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky, on Feb. 5, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Saturday:

▪ Kentucky basketball is losing leads, but not its belief that it can still win. After blowing a 21-point lead in Tuesday’s loss at Tennessee, the Cats play host to Florida at 4 p.m. Saturday on CBS.

▪ Foul disparity won’t make Kentucky less aggressive, say the Cats. Foul trouble has been a chronic condition for this team.

▪ John Calipari says that every day is a new challenge with this team. The UK coach also admitted he’s tired and has gone back to exercising.

▪ Florida wants to know which team will show up at Rupp on Saturday. The Gators are 2-5 on the road this season but have lost some tough games, including a 60-59 decision at Vanderbilt.

▪ Florida coach Mike White already has a win at Rupp as a player. White was the point guard on the Ole Miss team that beat Kentucky in Lexington in 1998.

▪ Breaking down the Kentucky-Florida matchups. Maybe the most intriguing features the two point guards: UK’s Tyler Ulis vs. Florida’s Chris Chiozza.

▪ Every time it looks like Kentucky has turned a corner, here comes another one. After a stretch of three strong performances, the Cats have lost two in a row.

▪ Louisville is following the lead of others with its self-imposed NCAA ban for basketball. Syracuse and Missouri are two schools who have issued the same punishments ahead of NCAA sanctions.

▪ Louisville grad transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis held a press conference to voice their displeasure with the school’s decision to enact a ban.

▪ The sanctions may signal more bad news for the Louisville basketball program. If this is indeed a negotiation process with the NCAA, U of L showing how far it will go to accept responsibility.

▪ Louisville announced its penalty without revealing much about what the joint internal and NCAA investigation has found. Tom Jurich said that the school found out Thursday that it had a problem.

▪ Dana O’Neil of espn.com agrees the worst is probably yet to come for the Cards. As she points out, Syracuse had already appeared before the NCAA Committee of Infractions when it imposed its post-season ban.

▪ Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News calls Louisville’s ban cynical and says it punishes the players more than the school. DeCourcy took a similar stance when Syracuse issued its ban.

▪ Gary Parrish of CBS Sports writes that Louisville is selfishly punishing its seniors with its ban. Shame on the school’s administration, he says.

▪ Kentucky basketball fans can get a sneak peak at a future Cat in Sacha Killeya-Jones in Somerset on Saturday. Killeya-Jones signed with UK in the early signing period.

▪ Bobby Petrino hires his son to replace wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas, who left to join Mark Stoops’ staff at Kentucky. Nick Petrino was on Jeff Brohm’s staff at WKU.

▪ South Carolina will be looking for a key road win Saturday at Texas A&M. The host Aggies have lost their last two SEC games, including a 77-60 defeat at Vanderbilt on Thursday.

▪ LSU is trying to keep its NCAA hopes afloat. Ben Simmons and Company takes on Mississippi State on Saturday.

▪ Vanderbilt picked up some momentum from a clear-the-air meeting and win over Texas A&M. It wants to keep it going against Ole Miss.

▪ Kenny Paul Geno has embraced his role for Georgia basketball, which plays host to Auburn on Saturday. The Bulldogs knocked off South Carolina on Tuesday.

▪ Tennessee wants to build on its Kentucky win when the Vols play at Arkansas on Saturday. The Vols say they have taken on a team mentality.

▪ Alabama won’t be at full strength against Missouri on Saturday. Shannon Hale and Michael Kessens are both expected to miss the game.

▪ Florida quarterback Treon Harris may move to wide receiver. Harris struggled again last year as a sophomore after replacing the suspended Will Grier.

▪ Sacramento Kings reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl. After all, hasn’t firing coaches fixed the Kings problems before?

▪ Kentucky revealed new football uniforms for 2016 and a special one-time-only basketball uniform for this season. Not everyone is crazy about the “crooked K” logo and open-mouth Wildcat secondary logo.

▪ Ex-UK football coach Blanton Collier being inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame. Collier continues to be the last coach at UK to post a winning record. He won an NFL title in 1964 as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

SEC MEN’S BASKETBALL GAMES SATURDAY

12:00 - Missouri at Alabama (SEC)

4:00 - Florida at Kentucky (CBS)

4:00 - South Carolina at Texas A&M (ESPNU)

4:00 - Auburn at Georgia (SEC)

6:00 - Mississippi State at LSU (ESPN2)

8:00 - Tennessee at Arkansas (SEC)

8:00 - Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (ESPNU)

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