Big Blue Links: NBA draft decisions, quarterback decisions


After a day off to try and shake a post-Final Four cold, Big Blue Links are back:

The man who coached the Harrison twins in high school expects the duo to enter the NBA Draft, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “UK has called a news conference for 2:30 p.m. Thursday. UK players who are ready to announce their NBA Draft decisions, as well as Coach John Calipari, will be at the news conference.”

Harrison twins will enter draft, reports Gary Parrish of CBS Sports. “Kentucky sophomores Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison have decided to enter the 2015 NBA Draft and are expected to formally announce their plans soon, a source told on Wednesday afternoon.”

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TV ratings for NCAA final best since 1997

This from CBS:

CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ exclusive coverage of Monday night’s NCAA Tournament men’s national championship between Duke and  Wisconsin on CBS scored a 17.1/27 HH rating/share to deliver the highest overnight rating for the NCAA men’s national championship in the metered markets in 18 years (1997; 18.0/28, Arizona-Kentucky), based on Nielsen metered market ratings.

The broadcast’s 17.1/27 is up 33 percent over last year (12.9/21; Connecticut-Kentucky) and peaked with a 20.1/34 from 11-11:30 p.m. ET.

Overall, 2015 NCAA Tournament coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 7.8/16 overnight rating/share, up 13 percent, and is the best overnight rating in 22 years (7.9/17 in 1993).

Top five rated metered markets for Monday night’s game:

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Coaches with multiple NCAA basketball titles


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Big Blue Links: Duke adopts UK model and wins title

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Duke, Coach K figured out how to rule a new world, writes Dana O’Neil of

Calipari says at least five Kentucky players will enter NBA draft, reports Jerry Tipton of Herald-Leader.

The great Krzyzewski works one of his greatest games, says Mark Bradley of AJC.

Krzyzewski borrows the Calipari playbook, writes Rick Bozich of WDRB.

Coach K turns the one-and-done into his fifth title, writes Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports.

For Kentucky fans, Wisconsin will be remembered as worse than Laettner, says Mark Story of Herald-Leader.

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Videos: John Calipari on Hall of Fame and Wisconsin game

INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky coach John Calipari was officially introduced as a Class of 2015 member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In a press conference afterward, Calipari talked about the Wisconsin loss and the controversy over the way some of his players took the defeat.

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Big Blue Links: Nate Silver says John Calipari blew it


Big Blue Links for Monday:

Coach Cal blew it, says Nate Silver of “A lot of credit must go to Wisconsin’s stout defense, which looked a lot better than its Pomeroy rating (just 55th best in the country). But the Wildcats didn’t help themselves Saturday night with three shot-clock violations down the stretch. Those violations were symptomatic of a larger problem: Kentucky’s torpid pace down the stretch helped doom them.”

My column argues that Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin was one of the three most painful in Kentucky history. “Rupp’s Runts remain among the most beloved Kentucky basketball teams because it was unique among Kentucky basketball teams. It had no starter over 6-foot-5. It was a surprise. (Its predecessor finished 15-10.) It was wildly successful, carrying one loss into the national final against Texas Western, which started five African-Americans.”

Kentucky’s tournament exit was less than graceful, writes Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “I remember I got switched onto Trey Lyles,” Gasser said Sunday. “(Lyles is) a lot bigger and he’s stronger than me. So I was just trying to block him out any way I could (on) I think an air ball and shot clock violation. I just kind of turned around to walk back (downcourt) and I just remember getting a forearm. I didn’t know if it was on purpose.”

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Reports: John Calipari makes Hall of Fame

INDIANAPOLIS — Several news outlets are reporting that Kentucky coach John Calipari has received enough votes to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

ESPN reported that Calipari received the necessary votes and will be among those announced as inductees during a presentation Monday at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Indianapolis.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who also was a finalist, did not receive enough votes.

Calipari will become the sixth active coach to reach the Hall of Fame, joining Jim Boeheim, Larry Brown, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Roy Williams. Chris Mullin, just named head coach at his alma mater, St. John’s, is in the Hall as a player.

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Kentucky-Wisconsin ratings were the best in 22 years

Turner Sports says that the Kentucky-Wisconsin game on Saturday night drew the biggest audience for a semifinal in 22 years.

Here’s the news release:

“Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ exclusive coverage of last night’s NCAA Tournament National Semifinal between Kentucky  and Wisconsin across TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 13.3/24 overnight rating/share to deliver the highest rating for a college basketball game in the history of cable television and the highest rating for a Final Four game in 22 years (13.8/24 in 1993).  The networks’ collective coverage of Kentucky-Wisconsin peaked with a 16.4/30 overnight rating/share from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. The game telecast is up 48% over last year, based on Nielsen metered market ratings.

“The NCAA Final Four national semifinals doubleheader – including Duke vs. Michigan State – averaged an 11.4/22 overnight rating/share to register as the highest average overnight rating for the doubleheader in 20 years (11.6/22 in 1995).  Last night’s national semifinals are up 39 percent over last year.

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Big Blue Links: Kentucky-Wisconsin review


Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Wisconsin’s quest for redemption trumps Kentucky’s quest for perfection, says my column. “If Kentucky had gone 38 straight games without a loss, Wisconsin had gone a whole year thinking about a loss. In 2014, it was Kentucky that broke Wisconsin’s heart with a last-second shot to win a national semifinal of the NCAA Tournament and proceed to the national title game. In 2015, it was Wisconsin that broke Kentucky’s heart — and a 38-game winning streak — with a 71-64 victory in a national semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium.”

Wisconsin was loose and can’t lose, writes Brian Hamilton of “Wisconsin had the size and the right brew of offensive skill and patience to neutralize Kentucky’s typical advantages of a monstrous frontline and waves of athletic players coming off the bench. As Notre Dame did in nearly upsetting Kentucky in the Elite Eight, the Badgers spread the floor, stationing players around the three-point arc, only occasionally posting up while drawing the Wildcats’ big men away from the rim.”

Kentucky’s shining season goes splat, writes Mark Bradley of the AJC. “John Calipari is a really good coach. Let’s get that out of the way. He recruits better than anybody, Nick Saban included. He gets McDonald’s All-Americans to play as a team. He has won one national championship and has taken teams to six Final Fours. That said … He’s not the world’s greatest tactician.”

Kentucky finally falls apart, writes Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. “Done, just like that, was a late four-point lead, melting into a complete mess, with half the Kentucky bench leaving the floor without shaking hands, the Wildcats coaches trying to corral them back. In the stands there were tears streaming down in blue, and jump around, jump around on the other end, before all those Badgers fans — the Grateful Red –went out and tried to drink all the beer in Indiana between now and Monday’s national title game against Duke.”

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Andrew Harrison apologizes to Frank Kaminsky for remark

Update: At Sunday press conference, Frank Kaminsky was asked about Andrew Harrison’s comment. “He reached out to me,” Kaminsky said. “We talked about it. We’re over it. Nothing more needs to be made of it.”

INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison used his Twitter account to apologize to Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky for a remark he made into an open microphone during the press conference after UK’s 71-64 loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four.

During a question directed to Karl-Anthony Towns about Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Andrew Harrison apparently makes an explicit remark under his breath that is picked up by the mic.

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