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Big Blue Links: Kentucky basketball looks to bounce back against Alabama

Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis (3) and Texas A&M guard Jalen Jones (12) eyed the ball in the second half of the Kentucky at Texas A&M mens basketball game at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, on Feb. 20, 2016. The Aggies beat UK 79-77 in overtime.
Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis (3) and Texas A&M guard Jalen Jones (12) eyed the ball in the second half of the Kentucky at Texas A&M mens basketball game at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, on Feb. 20, 2016. The Aggies beat UK 79-77 in overtime. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Kentucky and Isaac Humphries are ready to move on, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “This team has a pretty strong resolve,” said Barbee, who substituted for UK Coach John Calipari at a Monday news conference. “We were all crushed in that immediate first 24 hours after the game. We’ve since moved on to Alabama.”

SEC gives statement on Humphries technical, reports Tipton. “The NCAA rule book does not contain specific language saying that a technical foul shall be assessed when a player slams the ball to the court. The wording of the rule does not prohibit a referee from assessing a technical foul when a player slams the ball to the court.”

Cats see SEC title as proof of grit, writes Tipton. “When asked about an SEC title, assistant coach Tony Barbee recalled the dispiriting losses at UCLA and to Ohio State in December. ‘It’s big,’ he said of a 47th SEC crown. ‘Particularly how we came out of non-conference play. I think there were question marks for everybody about the season.’”

Bama and UK both hungry for a win, says Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News. “You know what, though?” Kentucky coach John Calipari said on Monday’s SEC teleconference. “For some reason, nobody is crying for Kentucky. We’ve got a tough schedule. Alabama is playing as well as anyone in the conference lately, so we’ve got to get prepared and play.”

Alabama’s NCAA title hopes hanging in the balance, writes Matt Zenitz of “Because of how they played in getting road wins at Florida, getting another really great road win at LSU, beating Texas A&M at home,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. “Those are quality wins. They’re deserving. They played a great non-conference schedule. They have, I think, four wins over top-25 opponents. That’s what I think.”

Tyler Ulis could take UK to the Final Four, says Myron Medcalf of “He’s helping Jamal Murray (19.3 PPG, 40 percent from the 3-point line) blossom into a freestyling wing who just gets buckets. If his bigs stay alert in the half court and get back on defense consistently, he’ll help them, too. He’s the No. 1 reason Kentucky could make a run in the tournament and possibly represent the SEC in Houston.”

Jason Hatcher dismissed from UK football team, reports Michael McKay and Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “Jason Hatcher’s turbulent University of Kentucky football career ended Monday with a short statement from the school saying the linebacker had been dismissed from the team. The dismissal came hours after Hatcher was charged with two felonies when he was arrested with a pound of marijuana, according to the Franklin County sheriff.”

Kentucky quarterback commit shines in Orlando, reports the Cats Pause. “By the time all 25 quarterback invites go out for the 2016 Elite 11 National Quarterback Competition (to be held in Los Angeles in early June), 247Sports figures there is a good chance Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles signal-caller Mac Jones will have one. At Sunday’s Elite 11 Regional in Orlando, the first Elite 11 competition of the camp season, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Kentucky commit was one of the top passers on the field.”

Next Cats has all the UK football and basketball recruiting headlines and news.

Does Charlie Strong practice what he preaches? asks Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. The former Louisville football coach has been asked to testify in a divorse case involving a high-profile U of L booster.

LSU basketball’s season is on the brink, writes Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. “This is it for LSU basketball. No, really, this really is it. LSU’s season really wasn’t on the brink before, but it is now. Butch and Sundance are on the cliff looking down at the rocky river with the posse of “those guys” closing in from the heights above.”

Florida is in need of a run, reports Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “The stretch run of the season is here. Florida has put itself in position to return to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence due to a strong non-conference schedule and a winning record in SEC play. But the Gators have more work ahead of them, beginning with a critical home game tonight against Vanderbilt.”

SEC men’s basketball games this week

Tuesday, Feb. 23

7:00 - Alabama at Kentucky (ESPN)

7:00 - LSU at Arkansas (ESPNU)

7:00 - Vanderbilt at Florida (SEC)

9:00 - Missouri at Ole Miss (SEC)

Wednesday, Feb. 24

7:00 - Georgia at Auburn (SEC)

7:00 - Mississippi State at Texas A&M (ESPN2)

9:00 - Tennessee at South Carolina (SEC)

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