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Tom Leach: Belk Bowl puts Cats on list of special UK teams, Calipari’s Cats should be fine by March

Tom Leach believes the Belk Bowl win has endeared team to UK fans. (Vicky Graff Photo)


It was a pretty terrific 72 hours for UK Radio Network play-by-play announcer Tom Leach when John Calipari’s Wildcats beat Louisville 78-70 in overtime Saturday and then UK rallied to beat Virginia Tech 37-30 in the Belk Bowl Tuesday.

“The football team missed a chance to get signature wins other than maybe what they did to Louisville to end the regular season,” Leach said Thursday on WPBK-FM.. “That’s why I wanted to see them get this win so much because I think fans already really liked this team and now like it even more.

“Virginia Tech has been to 27 straight bowls and has a legendary defensive coordinator (in Bud Foster). I think this team will be on the list of really special Kentucky teams because of this win. There was juice, choppiness that added some spark to the matchup and it was definitely there early in the game. Guys were jawing at each other but after a little time passed they gained respect for each other and the game the last three quarters was just a really good game. And the ending could not have been better for UK.”

It was the same type of script for the basketball team’s win over Louisville where Nick Richards had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 11 drawn fouls in perhaps his best game in three years at UK after being less than stellar in losses to Utah and No. 5 Ohio State the previous week.

“Nick was playing with a lot of emotion in a good way. He enjoyed plays he was making,” Leach said. “The previous game against Ohio State I thought he was focused when the game started. He was moving, trying to defend and then got two quick fouls  and maybe let that take him out for the rest of the day. It wasn’t that he didn’t show to play, though. It just came down to foul trouble and against Louisville when he got in foul trouble, he didn’t let it bother him.”

Leach said playing two top five teams  — Ohio State and Louisville — in consecutive games was something no UK team had done since 1974.

“They hung in with one team, beat the other one,” Leach said. “Kentucky is not close to being as good as it is going to be in March. If they are doing that now, they should be fine by March as far as at least being a (national title) contender.”


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  1. THAT was one long, tiring drive (Danville-Charlotte).
    ‘Course age may have a little to do with it.
    What a game!!!!!!!!! As exciting as any other I’ve ever seen. I’ll accept the Leach opinion long before one or two others who spout off on this site. I have a theory on the Bobsey twins if I may. Why, when one leaves the other disappears as well? Same guy with two different screen names? Just a thought.

  2. Tom Leach is like Cawood Leford a master of calling the. UK football games. Love listening to him!!

  3. PK – I have the same suspicion that those 2 “negative nellies” are one & the same. The writing style is identical. Much of the terminology is the same. Whether it is one person or two, I’m glad they , “he” has left. Thank you & L. Pup for standing up for the
    Rah Rah team. Always enjoy your posts.

    1. What two are you talking about. I can check to see if it is one person doing double duty

      1. The Bobsey Twins are Catmandoo & Mike. I may be wrong -Catmandoo will typically have a longer post but they both say the same things. Go back & read their posts from 12/20 to 12/23. Attacking Cal, Coach Stoops, Nick, E.J. Harrison twins & others. They select a player(s) each season to constantly bash. Hateful. I enjoy reading opinions of others on this site , but these two take the cake.

  4. I for one am happy that they/he are gone for a while. This was a magical fb season IMO. What Lynn did was IMO the best I have ever seen in the Blue and White. Flat out the Best ever. What the team did should be the stuff of legends but letting UT and Fla slip away taints it for some but not me! Best 8 win season ever IMO.

    I love this BB team. I love the “process” of them getting better. I am in full support of Cal and his player 1st system. My reasoning for the support of the player 1st system is simple. None and I mean absolutely none of the university 1st coaches that we have had since I became a UK fan in 1972 have done any better. Not a single one. So I actually don’t see the issue. And for those who don’t like the one and done system you should be fully behind Nick, Ashton, Quickly and E J. They are still here trying to get better. Especially Nick. They don’t like the one and done but put down those players that take time to develop. So I just don’t get it. I am all in with Cal and Stoops because they are exactly what UK needs IMO. Rah Rah Rah

    1. What makes this football season so special to me is the horrific way it started, Losing TW three games in. Losing to Florida like they did, to USC, and Miss State, and UT like they did, but then insert Bowden at QB. It was like the sky turned blue, the sea parted, and he galloped into history as the best running QB ever in a single season. Record after record fell with his performances. The destruction of arch rival Louisville, and Satterfield’s much ballyhoo. The destruction in the rain to teams who came a calling, and finally a Belk bowl win to a team that tried to bully the wrong BULL. Say what you will, punch or no punch, UK got some respect in that one thanks to Lynn Bowden. I doubt I will ever see another Lynn Bowden in my lifetime remaining, and the only thing that will be better than this season on the gridiron for UK is to win an SEC Championship. Standby!!!!!

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