As we continue the long wait until 9 p.m., some 5:00 notes and links:
– Officials tonight for Kentucky-Mississippi State, via @jerrytipton, will be Doug Shows, Ted Valentine and Bert Smith. That’s TV Ted Valentine. This is the third game Valentine has worked this season, but first SEC game. He also worked the Indiana and Arkansas-Little Rock games. This is the sixth UK game Shows has worked this year. The first five: Kansas, St. John’s, Loyola-Maryland, Alabama and Tennessee. This is Bert Smith’s third Kentucky game this year. He worked the Samford game and then the South Carolina game in Columbia.
– Word is there could be as many as 20 NBA scouts at Humphrey Coliseum tonight.
– USA Today talked to Anthony Davis, who says the team is not bothered by the pressure of being No. 1. “We like the attention, but at the same time, we know we have to get out there and focus to win ballgames. There are always a lot of people at our practices. We don’t get bothered by it. (Calipari) always tells us, like when we had practice on ESPNU, ‘It’s just practice. We’re still running through all we do like it’s a normal practice. There’s no point in trying to do anything fancy or out of character just because there’s a crowd here.'”
– Willie Cauley talked to Nation of Blue about sharing a visit to UK with Nerlens Noel last weekend. A highlight quote: “”We can land Nerlens, Shabazz Muhammad, and Anthony Bennett for sure. We may could get another one, too. I think Kentucky will bring in four more players, but I think at least three.”
– Brad Nessler was on our flight from Atlanta to Columbus, Mississippi. He, Jimmy Dykes and Shannon Spake are doing the game for ESPN tonight. No, Dykes was not on our flight. It must not have been Jimmy’s Jet.
– Tweet from Birmingham News’ Kevin Scarbinsky: “Must-win games tonight for old rivals Mark Gottfried and Rick Stansbury? N.C. State gets UNC, Miss State has Kentucky, both at home.”
– The New York Times says Josh Harrellson could return to practice next week. Jorts has been out of the New York Knicks lineup since he fractured his right wrist on Jan. 21.
– According to Rick Bozich, ex-UK All-American Kevin Grevey believes John Calipari is one of the nation’s most underrated coaches. “You think these kids ever played defense like this in AAU ball? Or shared the ball? Or helped one another? Or looked out for the other guy?,” Kevin said. “It was all about them. He gets these star players who have all been pampered all the way through and been told they’re going to be NBA superstars and he puts them together and they average 12 or 13 points. But they do the little things. They make the extra pass. They get on the glass. They hunt down long rebounds. They play with passion.”
– UK’s A’dia Mathies answered five questions from ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo.
– Good news from Arizona, the Reds say they will test Aroldis Chapman as a starter during spring training.
– Alabama will get Nick Jacobs back for Thursday’s game at Arkansas, but will not have JaMychal Green.
– Could former Trinity football star Jordan Whiting be transferring to Louisville?
– Charles Barkley says the Wizards are “struggling like black people in the 60s.”