McDonald’s game tonight; Cats leave for Houston

Some Big Blue Links and notes before heading out to Houston:

– The UK basketball team will leave the Craft Center for Blue Grass Airport at 3:45 p.m. today. The team is scheduled to arrive at Hobby Airport in Houston at 5:30 p.m. Central Time.

The McDonald’s All-American game is tonight at 10 p.m. on ESPN. Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer, all UK signees, all will be playing. Next Cats has all your links.

– Nation of Blue reports that a Kansas assistant visited with Stan Simpson on Tuesday.

– Pinch-hit for Larry Glover on WVLK-590 in Lexington last night, and somehow the second hour turned when one caller knocked the paper for running stories about the university planning to examine how it handles athletics. That prompted a call from noted politician and former Republican candidate for Governor Larry Forgy. Hopefully, it was an entertaining hour.

– Brandon Knight was on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday. You can here the audio clip by clicking here.

– At Kentucky’s basketball media opportunity yesterday afternoon, the players fielded several questions about the effect Enes Kanter has had at practice. When you look back on it, one of John Calipari’s better accomplishments was having Kanter deemed a student assistant so he could participate in team activities, such as practice. To a man, Brandon Knight, Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins praised Kanter for how the 6-foot-11 center had helped the team prepare this year.

– DeAndre Liggins said he knows he can’t stop Kemba Walker, but he hopes to make the UConn star work for his points.

– Brandon Knight said the team has had a little bit of a “chip on its shoulder” from the tough losses, and things started to turn with that first win over Florida.

– Josh Harrellson said he liked the nickname “Payback Cats.”

– Steve Eubanks of Fox Sports South calls Harrellson the most underrated player in college basketball.

– A caller on the radio show last night mentioned “Redeem Team,” and over on WHAS-840 in Louisville I heard Lachlan McLean say that “Redeem Team” seemed to be the choice among fans on his show.

– Asked for his favorite game, Harrellson said, “Hopefully, my favorite will be Monday night if we get that far.”

– Harrellson said that he thinks the Cats may have underestimated Connecticut when the two teams played in Maui back in November. He said that won’t happen again on Saturday.

– Knight on Kanter, “He’s one of our brothers.”

– Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes that Kentucky is boasting a six-pack of inspiration.

– Kentucky fans will find much to do in Houston.

– Knight also talked yesterday about practicing game-winning shots in his driveway as a kid.

– As for Walker, Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News writes that Connecticut didn’t always want the guard who turned out to be the Huskies’ star.

– You can say it has been 13 years since Kentucky went to the Final Four. But the Cats went 12 seasons without a Final Four.

– Ethan Levine of the Kentucky Kernel on reports on the UK baseball team’s win over Tennessee Tech.

– I laugh when Mick Cronin at Cincinnati and Matt Painter at Purdue say they want to make sure their schools are making a commitment to basketball. Because, after all, you need a huge budget and basketball practice facility, like Butler or VCU, to get to the Final Four. Right?

– Painter is reportedly waiting to choose between Missouri and Purdue.

– Meanwhile, there was a very, very low turnout for one rally to keep Painter at Purdue.

– Liggins said yesterday he thought the team was playing selfish during that first game with UConn.

– My man Jason Whitlock slams the NCAA again. He writes, “PBS and HBO, television networks with no financial ties to the NCAA, are airing hour-long shows Tuesday and Wednesday that will examine and put into perspective the hypocrisy and immorality of NCAA schools generating untold billions under the guise of amateurism. PBS’s “Frontline” and HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” both use former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon’s historic lawsuit against the NCAA as the jumping-off point to hammer the NCAA. O’Bannon’s lawsuit challenges the contract the NCAA forces its athletes to sign that forbids the players from ever earning a dime from their college careers.”

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