Big Blue Links and the Sugar Bowl surprise

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Big Blue Links for Friday:

– Andrew Gribble of the Birmingham News writes on Alabama’s 45-31 loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

“Trevor Knight, of course, was exceptional,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of the redshirt freshman, who completed 32-of-44 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns after attempting only 90 passes all season before Thursday night. “I think he showed the whole country what we’ve been watching for two years … that the game has started to slow down for him where he’s really starting to feel comfortable in what he can do.”

– Mark Stoops was on the Oklahoma sideline at the end to see his brother Bob get a Gatorade bath.

 

– Travonte Valentine, a four-star defensive lineman from Florida who has committed to Miami, will visit LSU, Kentucky and Miami before signing day. He switched a planned Alabama visit for Kentucky instead.

– South Warren baseball pitcher Cameron Shyrock has committed to Kentucky. Prep Baseball Report ranks Shyrock as the fourth-best prospect in Kentucky.

– Mark Story of the Herald-Leader writes that the coaching carousel could do big favors for Kentucky football. Charlie Strong’s name is associated with Texas. James Franklin’s name is associated with Penn State.

The word out of Austin was that Texas has eyes for UCLA coach Jim Mora. And Penn State may be targeting Miami coach Al Golden.

– Jen Smith of the Herald-Leader writes about the UK women’s 85-63 win at Alabama:

When Samarie Walker can get her coach leaping into the air and furiously clapping his hands, she knows she’s had a pretty good day. Thursday turned out to be one of those days for the senior forward and her Kentucky teammates, who opened Southeastern Conference play with a dominant 85-63 win at Alabama. UK Coach Matthew Mitchell was the first one to run on the floor and greet Walker after she got a steal and then assisted seconds later on a Kastine Evans three-pointer at the other end of Foster Auditorium.

Kentucky Wildcats TV has the highlights.

– Former UK linebacker Avery Williamson was among those watching last night’s Sugar Bowl.

Is wingspan a problem for Julius Randle’s NBA draft status. SB Nation seems to think so.

Randle is built like a Tyrannosaurus Rex: all torso and no arms. He has a 6’11 wingspan, per Draft Express, which is enormous in most contexts, but not the super-sized world of the NBA paint. When matched up against the best power forwards in the world, he’s going to have a significant length disadvantage, a problem that could impact his game on both sides of the ball. In almost any basketball context, having longer arms than your opponent is helpful. The guy with the longer arms can shoot over the top of of his defender.

– Glenn Logan of A Sea of Blue comes to Randle’s defense.

– And as far as the NFL Draft, Greg Bedard of Monday Morning Quarterback gives the breakdown on former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

That just begins to tell the tale of the football goodness that resides in the body of Bridgewater, who could land with the Texans as the top overall pick. Former Penn State coach and Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien will be the next coach in Houston, and he’ll get his pick of the quarterback litter. O’Brien, from being around Tom Brady, knows what greatness is and what it takes to get to that level. Expect O’Brien to like what he sees in Bridgewater. The more you learn about the Cardinals quarterback, the more you realize he shares may of the same qualities that made Brady, another skinny prospect who lacked the prototypical measurables, one of the greatest ever.

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John Wall is playing his best basketball with the Washington Wizards, writes Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

He has virtually no chance of being elected by fans to the all-star game — he’s a distant fourth, trailing Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving by more than 300,000 votes for second among guards — but he should make the coaches’ list of reserves later this month. Wall leads all Eastern Conference point guards in assists and ranks second among point guards in the conference in scoring behind only Irving. But he also is shooting a slightly better percentage from the field than Irving and has the edge in team victories.

– Remember Baylor’s Odyssey Sims? She scored 40 points last night as the Baylor women routed Kansas State.

– There are reports that Ohio offensive line prospect Marceyls Jones has signed financial aid agreements with both Ohio State and Kentucky.

– Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who hopes to win the last BCS title game on Monday, met former UK assistant Tee Martin, who won the first BCS title as quarterback at Tennessee.

– Tommy Tuberville is reportedly parting ways with a couple of assistant coaches at Cincinnati. One is his defensive coordinator.

– Doron Lamb is having trouble finding minutes in Orlando.

– No. 1 Arizona held Washington State to seven points in the first half on the way to a 60-25 win last night in Tuscon.

– Despite losing Glenn Robinson III, Michigan held off Minnesota 63-60.

– Western Kentucky opened Sun Belt play with a win at South Alabama. Chad Bishop of the Daily News in Bowling Green reports:

Western Kentucky’s dramatic win Thursday came from one of its newest players – Chris Harrison-Docks and his Big Red socks. A redshirt freshman guard who transferred from Butler in January 2013, Harrison-Docks made his sixth game in a WKU uniform one to remember with a game-winning floater with 4.3 seconds to play at the Mitchell Center, giving WKU a 58-56 win over South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.

Alabama-Oklahoma photo and John Wall photo both by Associated Press

Links of interest

 

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