Former UK All-American Johnny Cox named SEC Legend

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Former Kentucky men’s basketball All-American and National Champion Johnny Cox will represent the Wildcats as a member of the 2019 Southeastern Conference Legends at the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.

Past greats from all 14 SEC member institutions will be honored at the league tournament March 13-17 at Bridgestone Arena. Cox will be honored at halftime of UK’s first game of the tournament.

Cox helped lead UK to the 1958 national championship, its fourth in school history. He averaged a double-double with 14.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game for the 23-6 national title team. He also guided the Cats to the SEC Championship in 1958 and 1959.

UK Basketball: Any chance UK still has a purple and gold hangover

Keldon Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

Kentucky needs to be very careful going into Saturday’s game with the Tennessee Volunteers. They don’t want to let LSU beat them twice.

You know what I mean. So many times an unexpected, emotional loss can carry over into the next game. Especially a game as important as this one with the Volunteers.

It happens all the time in college basketball. Auburn is a prime example.

Jamal Murray’s former high school teammate helps Tennessee play its best

By LARRY VAUGHT

If you sometimes wonder why I enjoy going to Marshall County Hoopfest so much, let me take you back to December of 2014.

That was the first time I saw Jamal Murray play when he was with Orangeville Prep. A few months later he signed with Kentucky.

Murray had 32 points in a game against then UK recruit Malik Newman, who eventually signed with Mississippi State. Of course, Murray had a fabulous freshman season for UK and is now one of the rising stars in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets.

Rick Barnes says Vols “should be able to handle a lot” if they play well

Rick Barnes (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

When No. 1 Tennessee plays at Kentucky Saturday night, no one has to tell Tennessee coach Rick Barnes what the game means.

“I think we all realize that every game is important this time of the year. Regardless of the rankings I think we are all concerned about seeing how well we can play,” Barnes said Wednesday after Tennessee beat South Carolina to stay unbeaten in league play.

“This time of year, there is still a lot of basketball to play. I know we have Kentucky next, but we have to start out next with what we did not do well tonight.”

UK signee Tyrese Maxey will play in Hoop Summit

Tyrese Maxey

PORTLAND, Ore. – The spring all-star circuit is quickly shaping up to be a busy one for Kentucky men’s basketball signee Tyrese Maxey.

The fall signee, who is already slated to play in the McDonald’s All American Game on March 27 in Atlanta, has been selected to appear in the 22nd annual Nike Hoop Summit on April 12 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.

The annual international all-star game features the USA Basketball Men’s Junior Select Team against a World Select Team of international players.

No. 3 Oklahoma beats Kentucky

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to knock off the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats in the opening game for both teams at the inaugural ESPN St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational, 9-1.

Lauren Johnson scored the game’s opening run, as she launched a home run to right field to lead off the game.

The Wildcats carried the 1-0 lead into the fourth, where a ball found the grass for a triple for the Sooners offense, and after a walk – Sydney Romero homered to left to get the Sooners on the board.

Don’t overlook what point guard Jordan Bone does for Vols

Ashton Hagans (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky faces a SEC showdown with Tennessee Saturday night in Rupp Arena. The Volunteers have been terrific all season and many believe that junior Grant Williams is the top contender for SEC Player of the Year and senior Admiral Schofield is the other Tennessee player that gets the most national attention.

But don’t overlook guard Jordan Bone. Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says the junior has “improved as much as anyone I’ve coached” and some even are making a case that Bone might be Tennessee’s most important player.

Admiral Schofield on UK: “”I think this year their camaraderie is at a whole different level.”

Tennessee’s defense will test UK Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Tennessee senior Admiral Schofield had another double-double in Wednesday night’s win over South Carolina for the No. 1  Vols that keeps Tennessee unbeaten in SEC play going into Saturday night’s game at Kentucky.

The Vols won at Rupp Arena last year and also in Knoxville before losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament title game in St. Louis.

Vols don’t have recruiting rankings but “they don’t beat themselves”

P.J. Washington and Tennessee’s Grant Williams will square off again Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari has heaped praise on Tennessee all season … and that certainly hasn’t changed now that the game is almost here.

“Tennessee is just so good,” the UK coach said. “They don’t beat themselves. They play efficient on both sides. They’re physical. They’re experienced. They’ve got older players.”

Tennessee became the first team to be ranked No. 1 without a top 100 recruit since Oklahoma during the 2015-16 season. Oklahoma reached the Final Four that season. Tennessee’s highest ranked recruit is freshman D.J. Burns at 108 — and he’s being redshirted.

Use of replays in college sports is a no-brainer – or is it?

Vicky Graff Photo

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

First, the trio of officials working the UK-LSU game Tuesday night did not cost the Wildcats the 73-71 loss. Also the block/charge call that was overturned in the UofL-Duke game also was not the reason Duke was able to pull out a 71-69 victory after trailing the Cardinals by 23 points midway through the second half.

In the Kentucky-LSU game the Tigers played an extremely physical game and the Wildcats wilted down the stretch. UK cost itself any chance at a victory by hitting only 16 of 23 free throws — and some of those misses were the front end of a 1 and 1 — and letting the Tigers steal the ball eight times. That’s what cost UK the game.