BBL: Kentucky basketball’s power-packed schedule

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Big Blue Links for Thursday:

- Kentucky faces a killer non-conference basketball schedule next season, with Kansas, UCLA, Texas, North Carolina and Louisville on the bill. Texas and North Carolina will both visit Rupp Arena.

- Former UK linebacker Avery Williams is nervous and excited about the NFL Draft, which starts Thursday night. Williamson is headed back home to Tennessee, where he will await “the call.”

- The CBS Sports Classic launches next season, with Kentucky playing UCLA and North Carolina taking on Ohio State. The only problem will be trying to figure out if you get the CBS Sports Network.

- Kentucky softball picked up a walk-off win in the SEC Tournament. The Cats beat Mississippi State 4-3.

- Who’s winning the off-season, Calipari or Pitino? asks Rick Bozich of WDRB. Keeping Kenny Payne is a pro for UK. “The next time you’re in Rupp Arena, follow the dynamics on the UK bench. After Calipari makes one of his dramatic in-game corrections, the player leaving the court generally sits next to Payne, who patiently explains what the head coach wants. Payne is the guy the players trust.”

- Former UK basketball player Perry Stevenson will be an assistant at Trinity High School.

- Kentucky is getting its money’s worth with Mark Stoops, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. “Perhaps the most persuasive argument for extending him, though, is as punctuation. Two seasons of sustained recruiting buzz has generated newfound optimism among UK fans, and they have responded with their wallets. Only the University of Washington experienced a larger per-game attendance increase than did UK during the 2013 season. With Commonwealth Stadium in the midst of a $110 million face lift and another $45 million price tag expected for a new practice facility, Stoops’ extension enhances the general perception of progress around Wildcats football. It’s a means of maintaining momentum in advance of the final push for season ticket renewals.”

- Kentucky is reportedly one of the schools that has contacted a West Virginia transfer. Eron Harris averaged 17.2 points a game last year for WVU as a sophomore.

- Latest notes on some UK football recruits, provided by Ben Roberts of Next Cats.

- Top prep prospect Damien Harris explains why he has interest in Kentucky. The Madison Southern running back had originally committed to Michigan.

- Cheick Diallo picks up a UK basketball offer.

SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Wednesday, Dec. 3

  • Auburn at Texas Tech

Thursday, Dec. 4

  • Arkansas at Iowa State
  • Baylor at Vanderbilt
  • LSU at West Virginia
  • TCU at Ole Miss

Friday, Dec. 5

  • Florida at Kansas
  • Missouri at Oklahoma
  • Texas at Kentucky

Saturday, Dec. 6

  • Kansas State at Tennessee
  • Oklahoma St. at S. Carolina

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