Tue May 14 06:35pm EDT
Kentucky's game against Baylor in Cowboys Stadium will headline the newly created Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Times and networks are to be determined -- they'll all be on an SEC platforms of some kind -- but we do know the matchups.
The full slate of games:
Nov. 14 - Texas Tech at Alabama
Dec. 2 - Vanderbilt at Texas and Auburn at Iowa State
Dec. 5 - Ole Miss at Kansas State, West Virginia at Missouri and TCU at Mississippi State
Dec. 6 - Kentucky vs. Baylor and South Carolina at Oklahoma State
Dec. 10 - Kansas at Florida
Dec. 21 - Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
Tue May 14 10:54am EDT
Student-athletes at the University of Kentucky posted a 3.14 combined GPA, the highest mark in Mitch Barnhart's tenure.
It comes on the heels of a 3.03 GPA in the fall semester.
"When I established the goal of a 3.0 overall GPA for our department, I knew I was setting the bar high," Barnhart said in a release. "To reach it for an entire athletic year for the first time is an accomplishment our student-athletes should be very proud of. I commend and thank them for their hard work."
Sixteen of 20 UK teams posted a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The men's basketball team posted a 3.39, highest of any men's sport.
“I’m proud of the hard work our guys have put in both on and off the court,” Calipari said in a release. “When you come to Kentucky, you are either going pro or getting a degree — or both. We call it the success rate, and right now we’re batting 100 percent. When you run a players-first program, it’s not just about loving to play basketball; it’s about teaching our kids the love of learning.”
Here's the full list, per UK:
Mon May 13 08:43am EDT
Think of Neal Brown as a Texas gunslinger, rolling into town from Lubbock. You've heard that he's a pretty quick trigger, but you've never seen it for yourself. You see his offense, and it leaves you to wonder... Just how fast is he?
Brown is pretty quick. He's the fastest playcaller in college football.
Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com ran the numbers, and over the last three seasons, Brown's Red Raiders averaged 80 plays a game. That was the most in the country in that time among offensive coordinators he was tracking. You can find the full list here.
Brown averaged 80 plays a game, the most in the nation in the last three years. Assuming his teams had the ball for an average of 30 minutes a game, that comes out to a play every 22.5 seconds on the play clock.
As you might expect, there are lots of other Air Raid coaches on the list. Tony Franklin, a former UK offensive coordinator and Brown's predecessor as Troy's offensive coordinator, was near the top of the list. So were some guys with less direct ties to the Air Raid, like Oklahoma's Josh Heupel, Texas A&M's Kliff Kingsbury, and West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen. All of them ran over 75 plays a game.
But Brown has earned his reputation. And his offense, nicknamed "NASCAR," is every bit as fast as it claims to be.
Sun May 12 09:15pm EDT
Andrew Wiggins has kept us waiting.
Finally, it's coming to a close, in one of the strangest planned manners of announcement and at one of the latest dates possible (the end of the spring signing period is Wednesday, one day after his scheduled decision).
It's still not the latest commitment date for a Rivals No. 1 overall player. Here's the full list going back to 2005, the earliest year Rivals kept top rankings.
-- Andrew Wiggins: May 14
-- Shabazz Muhammad: April 11
-- Austin Rivers: September 30
-- Josh Selby: April 17
-- John Wall: May 19
-- B.J. Mullens: Dec. 15
-- Michael Beasley: June 23
-- Greg Oden: June 29
-- Gerald Green: June 28
Fri May 10 03:50pm EDT
Kentucky landed a huge commitment when Drew Barker, an in-state quarterback ranked No. 6 at his position nationally, picked up a Wildcats hat on Friday.
The media knew it. Fans knew it. And the school's coaching staff knew it.
Here are the online reactions of UK assistant coaches, all coming minutes after Barker's decision. Got to give them massive credit for being able to publicly celebrate the occasion without actually naming names (due to NCAA rules on unsigned recruits).
From wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord:
From running backs coach Chad Scott:
From safeties coach Bradley Dale Peveto:
From defensive coordinator DJ Eliot:
From offensive line coach John Schlarman:
From tight ends coach Vince Marrow:
From cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley:
Considering how much ground this staff made up to land one of the nation's top recruits -- and one of the best quarterbacks to complement the No. 24 wide receiver and No. 22 running back -- they deserve to go wild over this.
Return of the Air Raid is underway.
Thu May 09 06:13pm EDT
Former UK point guard Amber Smith will join the Tennessee women's basketball staff as a graduate assistant, the Volunteers announced on Thursday. She'll assist with on-campus recruiting duties and other work around the program.
"We are very excited to have Amber join our program," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said in a press release. "She knows the commitment required at this level, she has great passion for the game and has leadership qualities you would expect from someone who has played point guard. I look for her to be a strong liaison with our players and a nice addition to our staff."
Smith wasn't as celebrated as forward Victoria Dunlap, who arrived in the same recruiting class in 2007. But she was a critical part of the program's turnaround in her career, playing from 2007-2012. She started 14 of 21 games as a freshman before tearing her right ACL late in the season (she was first team All-SEC freshman anyway). She came back that fall and started 30 games as a sophomore to lead the team in assists and steals.
Her junior year was even stronger, as she helped lead UK to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament while averaging 9.2 points and 4.5 assists, but she suffered another setback when she tore her left ACL that summer. She missed what would have been her senior year, but came back as a veteran presence in 2011-12 to help UK to another NCAA tournament.
Those ACL injuries would have been devastating to some players, but Smith kept bouncing back. She was as fiery as any athlete I've covered, and was always the first player to dive on the floor for a loose ball.
UK head coach Matthew Mitchell got his start in college coaching as a GA in Knoxville also. He was with the Volunteers during the 1999-00, when the Vols' lost in the national championship game.
Thu May 09 05:53pm EDT
John Calipari already has a Hall of Fame athlete signed up for his Fantasy Experience.
Now he's trying to get a former President.
Now the invite's out to Bill Clinton.
"Let me make this clear: I don’t know if [Clinton] can come, but he has been invited and I’m hoping he can come if his schedule is open," Calipari wrote. "If he comes, I told him he HAS to bring his 2012 national championship ring with him."
Calipari is in with Clinton's social circle, speaking at his global initiative event and taking pictures with him at tuxedo parties.
Here's to hoping we get to see what kind of basketball game Clinton has this fall.
Thu May 09 05:46pm EDT
The NCAA is looking to open up scoring with new rule changes.
They're trying to stop the slide of offensive production that's occurred in recent years. Per-game scoring has dipped in each of the last four years, with last year's average of 67.5 points per game the lowest in 31 years.
Two major rule changes would be to the block/charge call and hand-checking by defenders.
The proposed block/charge rule change states that "a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass," according to the NCAA website. "If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul. The current rule calls for a defender to be in legal guarding position before the offensive player lifts off the floor."
The potential change won't eliminate the controversy over the calls. It's still a blurry line and there will be plenty of whistles that go disputed.
But it tilts the call a little more toward the offensive player -- the officials should consider the start of his upward motion, not his actual jump -- and that's a good thing.
The committee also wants more strict enforcement on calls on physical defensive players, including the use of hands and forearms to impede the offensive player.
All proposed rules must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which next meets June 18.
John Calipari has been in favor of changing the rules to help the flow of the offense. Here's a sample from earlier this season on how college basketball could improve its scoring numbers:
Q. There’s a lot of talk now about physical play and scoring being down and what can be done about it. What can be done about it?
JOHN CALIPARI: Call the fouls. Call the fouls. Call them all. 60, 70, call them all. Call them on us.
Q. Is there a correlation between the physical play being allowed and the lower scores?
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, when you get body checked and you miss a one footer when your team misses 17 one footers, unless they totally stink, they probably got body checked. Well, we’re not calling that, his hands are up. It’s still a foul. It’s a foul. I keep saying you shouldn’t this shouldn’t be about who wins in the weight room, this is about movement and spacing and that kind of stuff. But it’s where it’s going, and it’ll take time to change. I mean, people have to get together and say if you put this on a guy, it’s a foul. If you hip check a guy in transition or it’s body to body in transition, it’s a foul.
Wed May 08 11:49am EDT
UK Athletics brought in more than $88 million in revenue in 2012, according to USA Today, the 19th-highest income total in the country.
After expenses, UK made a profit of $3,443,633 for the year.
Merchandise rights and ticket sales were the two biggest components in UK's revenue stream, with contributions making up a slightly lower but still substantial percentage. This graph, via USA Today, shows the full breakdown, as well as depicting how the revenue stream has grown since 2005 (it's jumped about $33 million in seven years):
On the expenses side, coaching salaries and facility costs are the biggest components of the picture:
The expenses have risen along with revenues and is most evident in those salaries and facilities, each of which have essentially doubled in seven years.
Wed May 08 11:26am EDT
Kentucky may be losing its best frontcourt player to the NBA as the possible No. 1 pick, but UK will have even more options to replace Nerlens Noel's production next year.
"We're going to be much stronger physically at all positions," Calipari said of UK's frontcourt. "Our post presence will be there with Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee. He's a lot like Nerlens in terms of blocking shots and going after balls. He's bouncy with great energy, but he's not as big. Willie is coming back with one thought in mind: He wants to do something on the basketball court and in the tournament. He's got something to prove to himself. He's got a great frame of mind. He understands he's got to do it and do something different.''
You can read the full article -- Calipari goes into having more depth, how that might affect UK's playing style, and Noel's injury -- here.