Seven notes from Kentucky’s win at Missouri


Seven notes from Kentucky’s win in the Show-Me State:

1. Andrew Harrison smashed his slump. The sophomore point guard had not been playing his best basketball of late. That wasn’t he case Thursday. Andrew scored 15 points, dished three assists and came up with three steals. It was his first double-figures scoring game since he tallied 12 points in the OT win over Ole Miss. He got to the line a season-high 11 times, making nine. (His career-high is 17 free throws at North Carolina on Dec. 14, 2013.) For now at least, those calling for Tyler Ulis to be UK’s starting point guard can bite their tongues.

2. Going home isn’t easy. Devin Booker found that out Thursday. Missouri isn’t exactly home for the UK sharpshooter, but it is where his father, Melvin, was a star player during the 1990s. Mizzou wanted Devin to follow in his father’s footsteps. He picked UK instead, so the Tigers fans booed the freshman every time he touched the ball Thursday. Booker responded by making just three of seven shots and turning the ball over four times. Booker missed his only three-point attempt.

3. Kentucky isn’t settling for the three-pointer. The Cats took just seven three-point shots on Thursday, making two. That’s the third straight game in which Kentucky has taken fewer than 10 three-point shots. The Cats were four-of-six from beyond the arc against Vanderbilt and three-of-nine at South Carolina. Compare that to the previous three games in which the Cats fired up 63 three-point shots, making 25.

4. Offensive rebounding returned to its normal levels — almost. After a putrid offensive rebounding percentage of 12.0 at South Carolina, where John Calipari’s club managed to grab all of three offensive rebounds, UK posted a 35.5 percentage in that department at Mizzou. That’s not up to the Cats usual 40+ level, but the rebounding effort was much better in Columbia, Missouri than it was in Columbia, South Carolina.

5. In an ugly game, Kentucky put it on the line. UK shot 37 free throws, its second-highest total of the season. The Cats were 28-of-40 at the stripe in the overtime win over Ole Miss. They were 27-of-37 on Thursday. Better still, their “free throw rate” which is determined by free throw attempts divided by field goal attempts was 84.1 percent. Missouri’s was 46.5 percent.

6. Missouri was better Thursday. After shooting 27.1 percent and losing by 49 points to Kentucky at Rupp on Jan. 13, the Tigers shot 41.9 percent and fell by 16 on their home floor. As proof of their aggressiveness, the Tigers committed 31 fouls and made 10 steals. New coach Kim Anderson didn’t get the win, but he did get a better showing from his team.

7. Karl-Anthony Towns played better than his stats showed. The sophomore had just seven points and two rebounds in 19 minutes before fouling out. And yet, Towns was more active and aggressive than last Saturday at South Carolina where he earned just 12 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing only one rebound. Opponents are pushing Towns around and he has to adjust.

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Four Factors: Kentucky 69, Missouri 53

A look at basketball’s “Four Factors” from Thursday’s Kentucky-Missouri game.


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BBL: Andrew Harrison makes the plays at Missouri


Herald-Leader photo gallery from Kentucky-Missouri in Columbia

Big Blue Links for Friday:


Herald-Leader photo gallery from Kentucky-Tennessee women

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Liveblog: Kentucky-Missouri basketball

Live Blog Liveblog: Kentucky-Missouri basketball

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Duke dismisses Rasheed Suliamon

Duke has dismissed reserve guard Rasheed Suliamon, the school announced Thursday.

“Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a release. “It is a privilege to represent Duke University and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner. After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program.”

A junior guard, Suliamon averaged 10 points and 2.0 assists over his Duke career. He scored three points and grabbed one rebound in Duke’s 77-73 loss at Notre Dame on Wednesday night.

As a freshman starter, Suliamon scored 10 points in 33 minutes against Kentucky during Duke’s 75-68 win over UK in the Champions Classic in 2012.

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LSU joins the SEC basketball crowd at 5-2


LSU joined the traffic jam of SEC basketball teams with a 5-2 record thanks to a 64-58 win over South Carolina on Wednesday night at Baton Rouge.

The Tigers got 16 points off the bench from Tim Quarterman, the sixth man who plays starter’s minutes. Quarterman clocked 35 Wednesday. Coach Johnny Jones also got 15 points from Keith Hornsby and 14 from Jordan Mickey.

What Jones also received was terrific rim protection from his sophomores, 6-foot-8 Mickey and 6-10 Jarrell Martin. Mickey blocked six shots. Martin also blocked six shots. In fact, LSU blocked 13 shots for the game, the most of any team in an SEC game this year.

(Kentucky’s 11 blocked shots against Vanderbilt had tied LSU’s 11 against Texas A&M for the previous conference best in blocks.)

South Carolina is no juggernaut on offense, of course, and the Tigers kept Frank Martin’s rock throwers in check. The Gamecocks shot just 34.4 percent from the floor — up from 22.6 against Kentucky last Saturday — and averaged 0.904 points per possession.

SEC basketball results, schedules and leaders in Excel

secbkcstand0128LSU has now won five of its last six games, the lone stumble coming against visiting Texas A&M 67-64 back on Jan. 17 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU has ticked off three straight Ws since, including road triumphs at Florida and Vanderbilt.

Remember, Kentucky travels to Baton Rouge on Feb. 10, just three days after playing Florida in Gainesville.

Hornsby, the son of musician Bruce Hornsby, has turned into a consistent scorer. The 6-4 junior out of Oak Hill Academy is averaging 13.7 points per game over his last three games and has made eight of 15 three-pointers during that stretch.

Mickey has scored in double figures five straight games and has blocked 27 shots in LSU’s seven conference outings. After missing four of five free throws at Vanderbilt, the Dallas native was a perfect four-of-four from the foul line against South Carolina.

Martin scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Gamecocks for his second consecutive double-double and his third in SEC play this year. The six blocks by the Baton Rouge native were an added bonus considering Martin had not blocked a shot in any of the four previous LSU games.

Ken Pomeroy ranks LSU No. 34 nationally in overall efficiency. Pomeroy has the Tigers at No. 18 nationally in defensive efficiency, but just 92nd in offensive efficiency. One reason: The Tigers are 282nd in turnover percentage. They turned it over 14 times Wednesday night.

So Arkansas, LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M are all 5-2 in league play as Kentucky takes a 6-0 mark into Thursday night’s game at Missouri. Texas A&M is the only one of those four that UK has faced to date. The Cats survived a double-overtime struggle in College Station, 70-64. John Calipari’s club has two games left with Georgia (Feb. 3 at Rupp and March 3 in Athens), one with Arkansas (Feb. 28 in Rupp) and the one with LSU (Feb. 10 in Baton Rouge).

Actually, Pomeroy considers Georgia the best of the quartet. The Bulldogs are 27th in overall efficiency. After LSU at No. 34, Pomeroy has Florida at No. 35, Ole Miss at No. 39, Arkansas at No. 43, Alabama at No. 44 and Texas A&M at No. 46.

LSU is at Mississippi State on Saturday, by the way.

Photo of Jordan Mickey by AP.

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SEC/Big 12 Challenge to be held in January next season

The SEC announces that the 2015-16 SEC/Big 12 Challenge will be held on one day and will be later in the season than previously held. In fact, all the games will be played on January 30, 2016.

Here’s the release:

Birmingham, Ala. – The Southeastern and Big 12 conferences have announced that beginning with the 2015-16 men’s basketball season, both leagues will create a common open date during their league schedules to showcase the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016, with ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU combining to televise all 10 games of the event.

“Moving the Big 12/SEC Challenge later in the season will raise the profile of this event and give our coaches, student-athletes and fans the attention that it deserves,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.

All 10 of the Big 12’s teams and 10 of the SEC’s 14 member institutions will participate in the event. The four SEC teams not participating in the Challenge will be matched up in conference games on Jan. 30 that will be televised by the SEC Network. Each conference will host five games. The participants and matchups will be determined at a later date.

Looking beyond next season, both conferences will continue to create a common open date in early January or February to play the Challenge. The first year of the Challenge was played throughout November and December while this season’s Challenge was played December 3-6.

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College basketball on television: Jan. 29


Thursday night features a University of Kentucky basketball doubleheader.

The No. 10-ranked Kentucky women’s and No. 1-ranked Kentucky men’s basketball teams are both on the tube Thursday night. The UK women play No. 6 Tennessee at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network. The UK men play Missouri at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

ESPN had said earlier in the week that Joe Tessitore and Sean Farnham would be the crew for Thursday night’s UK-Missouri game. The UK and Missouri game notes both list Adam Amin as the play-by-plan announcer with Farnham doing color and Seth Greenberg handling sideline duties. We’ll have to see.

Paul Sunderland will handle play-by-play and Carolyn Peck is doing the color for the UK-Tennessee women’s game.

Also, CBS Sports has the Western Kentucky-Louisiana Tech game at 7 p.m. And Eastern Kentucky is on ESPNU at 9 p.m. as the Colonels travel to Murray State to take on the Racers.

Here’s the list of college basketball games on television Thursday:

Thursday, Jan. 29

  • 2:00 – DePaul at Providence (Fox Sports 1)
  • 6:00 – Michigan State at Rutgers (Big 10)
  • 7:00 – Tennessee at Kentucky women (SEC)
  • 7:00 – Dayton at Massachusetts (ESPNU)
  • 7:00 – Western Kentucky at Louisiana Tech (CBS Sports)
  • 7:00 – Maryland at Ohio State (ESPN)
  • 8:00 – Connecticut at Cincinnati (ESPN2)
  • 9:00 – UAB at UTEP (CBS Sports)
  • 9:00 – Eastern Kentucky at Murray State (ESPNU)
  • 9:00 – Kentucky at Missouri (ESPN)
  • 9:00 – Ole Miss at LSU women (SEC)
  • 9:30 – Colorado at USC (Fox Sports 1)
  • 10:00 – Utah at UCLA (ESPN2)
  • 11:00 – San Francisco at BYU (ESPNU)
  • 11:00 – California at Washington State (Pac-12)

How Top 25 fared Wednesday

  • No. 4 Duke lost 77-73 at No. 8 Notre Dame
  • No. 6 Arizona beat Oregon 90-56
  • No. 9 Kansas won 64-61 at TCU
  • No. 10 Louisville won 81-72 at Boston College
  • No. 12 Wichita State beat Loyola (IL) 58-47
  • No. 19 Northern Iowa won 59-52 at Southern Illinois
  • No. 22 Indiana lost 83-67 at Purdue
  • No. 23 Miami lost 70-50 to visiting Georgia Tech
  • No. 24 Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 81-36

Jeff Sagarin’s Top 20

  • 1. Kentucky
  • 2. Virginia
  • 3. Gonzaga
  • 4. Wisconsin
  • 5. Duke
  • 6. Arizona
  • 7. Utah
  • 8. Villanova
  • 9. North Carolina
  • 10. Notre Dame
  • 11. Kansas
  • 12. Louisville
  • 13. West Virginia
  • 14. Wichita State
  • 15. Oklahoma
  • 16. Ohio State
  • 17. Iowa State
  • 18. Butler
  • 19. VCU
  • 20. Texas

Source: Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings

Related link: Kentucky women take a selfie as Tennessee comes to town

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Louisville releases 2015 football schedule


Louisville has released its completed football schedule for 2015, which starts with a game against a tough SEC foe.

The Cards open the season on Sept. 5 against Auburn at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It will be the debut for new Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, the former Florida head coach who landed back in Auburn after being fired by the Gators.

Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino was once the offensive coordinator at Auburn. In fact, while coach at Louisville in 2003, and his former boss Tommy Tuberville was still coach at Auburn, Petrino participated in a clandestine interview with Auburn officials about its head coaching job.

Another highlight is Sept. 17 when the Cards will play host to Clemson for an ESPN Thursday Night game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Clemson edged Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals 23-17 last season in Clemson.

The UK-U of L game will be Saturday, Nov. 28 at the new and improved Commonwealth Stadium. Kickoff time and TV coverage are to be determined. Louisville won last season’s game 44-40 at U of L.

In other Louisville football news, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is staying in the ‘Ville after interviewing to be defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. Grantham came to the Cardinals last season after being the DC at Georgia.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed for the defensive coordinator position with the Oakland Raiders, but I’m committed to the University of Louisville,” Grantham said in a release by the school. “I said when I came to Louisville that I thought we could win a national championship, and we are building toward that goal with the success we had this season.”

Louisville went 8-5 after losing to Georgia in the Belk Bowl.

2015 Louisville Football Schedule

  • Sept. 5 vs. Auburn in Atlanta – Georgia Auburn leads 1-0
  • Sept. 12 Houston in Louisville, Ky. – Louisville leads 8-7
  • Sept. 17 (Thur.) Clemson in Louisville, Ky. – Clemson leads 1-0
  • Sept. 26 Samford in Louisville, Ky. – First Meeting
  • Oct. 3 at NC State in Raleigh, N.C. – Louisville leads 4-1
  • Oct. 17 at Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State leads 13-2
  • Oct. 24 Boston College in Louisville, Ky. – Louisville leads 4-3
  • Oct. 30 (Fri.) at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. – Louisville leads 2-0
  • Nov. 7 Syracuse in Louisville, Ky. – Louisville leads 7-6
  • Nov. 14 Virginia in Louisville, Ky. – Virginia leads 2-1
  • Nov. 21 at Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa. – Series tied 8-8
  • Nov. 28 at Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. – Kentucky leads 14-13

Related link: Kentucky finds its fight in slugfest with Louisville

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BBL: Kentucky women’s, men’s basketball in action


As UK travels to Missouri on Thursday night, Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader writes on Missouri coach Kim Anderson, a former Mizzou player and assistant now in his first year as head coach of the Tigers. Anderson is starting a rebuilding job — the 49-point loss at Kentucky was proof. He appears to be a good, solid coach the fan base will get behind.

The Kentucky women play host to arch-rival Tennessee on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum. The Cats are coming off a win at Missouri on Sunday. Meanwhile, UT is a perfect 7-0 in league play. Jennifer Smith has the advance.

For my Thursday column, I wrote on UK’s deputy director of athletics, DeWayne Peevy. The 41-year-old Birmingham native didn’t set out to be an AD, but he’s put himself in position where that could happen in the near future.

The Richmond police chief has released more information on the alleged bar fight that apparently happened over the weekend in Richmond, reports Greg Kocher of the Herald-Leader. UK and EKU football players may have been involved.

UK men’s and women’s teams each will have one current signee in the McDonald’s All-Star Games, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader.

Kentucky won’t be bored with its Missouri rematch, says Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal. Missouri does have a couple of players back it was missing for the 86-37 beatdown at Rupp Arena.

If it’s the Bleacher Report you know it’s going to involve some sort of list. Bobby Reagan offers five burning questions for the remainder of the UK basketball season. No. 1 is whether Devin Booker will be a one-and-done?

Photo from 2014 SEC Women’s Tournament title game between Kentucky and Tennessee by Associated Press.

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