Kentucky raises the curtain on its 2015-16 basketball season Friday night at 7:00 against Albany. Join the liveblog to make comments, observations, ask questions or just rant. Sign-in with Facebook or Twitter and your comments appear automatically.
— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) November 13, 2015
It’s back. And not a moment too soon. College basketball returns for real Friday with an interesting slate of opening-night games, including both the AP’s No. 1 (North Carolina) and No. 2 (Kentucky) teams plus the defending national champion (Duke).
Big Blue Links for Friday:
A quick three-spot from Kentucky basketball’s media availability Thursday previewing Friday’s opener against Albany. In addition, we have videos from John Calipari on Jamal Murray’s shot selection; Marcus Lee calling the opening this team’s “Bahamas” and Murray responding to Albany’s coach saying Murray will be the best player in college basketball.
Time for this week’s podcast, where I talked to Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader and Adam Sparks of the Tennessean about Saturday’s Kentucky-Vanderbilt game in Nashville, which can be seen at 4 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Big Blue Links for Thursday:
SEC links for Wednesday:
LSU game was big, but matchup with Mississippi State is bigger, says Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News. Alabama travels to Starkville on Saturday for a meeting with the Bulldogs.
Alabama stands in the way of a clean sweep, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger. “And while my timing was a bit presumptuous, both Mississippi State and Ole Miss have helped me out since by going ahead and beating Auburn. That, combined with the Rebels’ September win against Alabama, has the state of Mississippi up 3-0 on our neighbors to the east. We’ve won the battle, so to speak, and when Alabama comes to Mississippi State on Saturday (2:30 p.m., CBS) the Bulldogs have a shot at making it a clean sweep. The last time that happened? Uh … never.”
Arkansas’ Alex Collins has a high ceiling, writes Eric Bolin of the Arkansas News. “Alex Collins is, at least, the third best running back in the Southeastern Conference. It is not a farfetched claim. Almost no one thinks differently. The Arkansas junior running back has the third most rushing yards of any player in the league. And because of an injury to Georgia’s Nick Chubb, Collins is the next most likely, behind LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Alabama’s Derrick Henry, to garner postseason superlatives.”
As you might expect, quarterbacks were a hot topic during the interviews after Kentucky’s Tuesday football practice. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said he has plan on how to use his quarterbacks on Saturday at Vanderbilt. Quarterbacks Patrick Towles and Drew Barker were also available for interviews.
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.”