Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Kentucky basketball’s Tyler Ulis earns more praise

Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Ulis (3) went for a steal on South Carolina Gamecocks forward Mindaugas Kacinas (25) during Kentucky’s 89-62 win at South Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.
Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Ulis (3) went for a steal on South Carolina Gamecocks forward Mindaugas Kacinas (25) during Kentucky’s 89-62 win at South Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links:

Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes that, by one measure, Derek Willis is the most important player to UK’s title hopes. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports that the coaches love Tyler Ulis as a candidate for SEC Player of the Year. Tipton also writes that a longtime UK fan was irked by John Calipari’s early ejection.

With UK playing Tennessee on Thursday, Kevin Ryan of the Cats Pause reports that Calipari had huge praise for Vols’ coach Rick Barnes during Monday’s SEC teleconference. WKYT reports Kentucky climbed to 14th in the AP college basketball poll. Here is the AP poll week-by-week in a spreadsheet.

Myron Medcalf of think Kentucky could be a scary team in the NCAA Tournament. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports thinks Kentucky is on a similar trajectory to its 2014 team, which reached the NCAA final.

Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal writes that one key official is opposed to Louisville’s basketball sanctions. On the court, Jeff Greer of the C-J reports that Louisville has lost Anas Mahmoud for the season with an ankle injury.

Dan Fleser of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Tennessee women hit new SEC low with loss to South Carolina. David Cloninger of The State reports that South Carolina wrapped up its third straight SEC women’s title. The C-J also reports that Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz responded to reports he would be a candidate should Tennessee change coaches.

Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star says Missouri has more pep in its step after snapping a nine-game losing streak. Micheal Bonner of the Clarion-Ledger reports that Mississippi State’s Malik Newman has found hope through his recent shooting struggles. Parrish Alford of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Ole Miss has a Texas-sized challenge on the road. Adam Sparks of the Tennessean writes on Vandy center Damian Jones’ rebounding surge.

Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun reports that Florida needs point guard Chris Chiozza to return to form. Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel reports Florida heads to Georgia with its NCAA hopes hanging in the balance. Seth Emerson of the AJC asks if Georgia has run out of time? Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph reports that Georgia is hoping for a better performance against Florida.

Scott Rabalais of The Advocate writes that LSU is still eyeing an SEC basketball crown. Richard Croome of the Bryan/College Station Eagle reports that Texas A&M is looking to rebound against Ole Miss.

Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star reports that No. 2 Kansas ran away from Oklahoma State on Monday night. Lorenzo Perez reports for the Raleigh News and Observer that North Carolina State was blown out in second half at Virginia. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reports that Maryland’s Diamond Stone is suspended for Thursday’s game.

Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser reports that former Auburn wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig says move to LSU was a professional decision. Michael Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that Auburn has hired Kodi Burns to fill Craig’s spot.

David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel thinks Peyton Manning should moon his tormentors.

SEC men’s basketball


7:00 - South Carolina at Missouri (SEC)

9:00 - Florida at Georgia (ESPN)

9:00 - Ole Miss at Texas A&M (ESPNU)

9:00 - Vanderbilt at Mississippi State (SEC)


7:00 - Auburn at Arkansas (SEC)

9:00 - Alabama at LSU (SEC)


7:00 - Tennessee at Kentucky (ESPN)