Big Blue Links for Tuesday:
De’Aaron Fox is expected to pick Kentucky on Thursday, reports Ben Roberts of Next Cats. “Fox — the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2016 — has narrowed his college choices to Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas and Louisiana State. He visited UK for last month’s Big Blue Madness and is widely expected to announce his commitment to the Wildcats on Thursday.”
Kentucky’s starting quarterback job is up for grabs, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. Head coach Mark Stoops indicated Monday that Patrick Towles and Drew Barker will compete for the job this week. UK failed to score a touchdown last Saturday at Georgia. The Cats are at Vanderbilt for a 4 p.m. game this Saturday.
Mark Story of the Herald-Leader thinks the Vanderbilt game is the biggest of Mark Stoops’ UK tenure. “With home games remaining against Charlotte and Louisville, a Kentucky victory in Music City completely flips the script on what is becoming yet another discouraging football season. If UK beats Vandy for win number five, then Charlotte — a start-up college football program in its third season — becomes the Cats’ bowl-eligibility threshold.”
Ranking Kentucky’s toughest games this season, by Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “4. At Louisiana State. When: Jan. 5. Where: Baton Rouge, La. Why it’s so tough: Freshman Ben Simmons might be the best player in college basketball this season, fellow freshman Antonio Blakeney has the ability to be a one-and-done NBA draft pick, and the Tigers return several other talented and experienced players in the backcourt. LSU basketball fans can get crazy when there’s something to get excited about, and a realistic chance to knock off Kentucky should be more than enough to have the Maravich Center rocking for the Tigers’ SEC home opener.”
Vanderbilt’s defense rises as offense falls, reports Adam Sparks of the Tennessean. “The contrast between Vanderbilt’s ineffective offense and dominating defense was on full display in last week’s 9-7 loss at No. 11 Florida, and the gap has grown over the past month. It was the first time since 1968 that Florida won a game in which it scored less than 10 points. Afterward, Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said “this is not a house divided,” and players have emphatically echoed that sentiment.”
Drake visits ex-UK players after Kings blowout loss to Spurs, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. “It was an odd scene, but with the Kings, what’s odd has been the norm for years. If you’re familiar with rap superstar Drake and his sports fandom, it’s clear he’s usually around winning teams. But here was Drake, after being escorted to the Kings locker room by majority owner Vivek Ranadive, so he could chat with Kings players such as Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins, who both played for Kentucky, Drake’s favorite college basketball team.”
Patrick Towles is resilient, reports Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal. “I think Patrick will be fine,” Stoops said. “I think one thing about him is he’s been resilient and he’s had some good games and some bad games. Again, it’s not all on him. We need to play better around him. Certainly offensively when you put on that film and look at the play of the other 10 guys, it was not up to par as well.”