Kentucky faces Nebraska at 2 p.m. Friday on ESPNU

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Ready to make its second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance, the No. 10 seed Kentucky volleyball team will face the Nebraska Cornhuskers inside Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota at 2 p.m. ET on Friday on ESPNU.

UK is coming off back-to-back sweeps in the first and second rounds at home in Memorial Coliseum against Murray State and No. 12 Purdue.

Kentucky and Nebraska met in the NCAA Regional Finals a season ago before the Cornhuskers went on to win the National Championship. With a win, UK will match its longest win streak in program history of 24 (1987).

Moore defensive end Kalon Howard accepts preferred walk-on offer from UK

Kalon Howard, left, with UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow and UK commit/Moore teammate J.J. Weaver. (Traci Morris Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky added a preferred walk-on to its 2019 recruiting class Wednesday when 6-4, 195-pound Kalon Howard of Louisville Moore — a teammate of Kentucky commit J.J. Weaver — announced he would play for the Wildcats.

He had 87 tackles in 12 games, many probably because teams were not wanting to run at Weaver. But he had eight quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions — with one going for a touchdown return.

Commitment from 4-star Ballard linebacker Jared Casey will help restore some luster to UK recruiting class

Jared Casey

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky could help restore some in-state luster to its in-state recruiting class this afternoon when four-star Louisville Ballard linebacker Jared Casey makes his college choice.

Coach Mark Stoops lost four-star all-purpose player Wandale Robinson of Western Hills Wednesday when he flipped his commitment from UK to Nebraska. Adding Casey — especially after getting a verbal commitment from Lousville Moore four-star defensive end J.J. Weaver last week — would be another defensive building block for Stoops.

Casey had 70 tackles in the 11 games he played, including 15.5 for loss. Ballard finished 8-5 with two losses to Trinity and one each to Manual, Male and Boyle County.

Matthew Mitchell wants less standing on offense, better defensive rebounding

Maci Morris with a steal against Morehead. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky (8-0) is off to its best start since the 2015-16 season when the Wildcats began 10-0 going into tonight’s home game against Rhode Island, which has won three straight games.

The Wildcats have moved them up to No. 19 in The Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches Top 25.

Howdoes coach Matthew Mitchell hope to see his team grow the most before Southeastern Conference play starts?

Mark Stoops, Josh Allen Earn Top Honors from SEC Coaches

SEC Coach of the Year Mark Stoops (UK Athletics Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and senior linebacker Josh Allen were named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, by the league’s coaches, it was announced Wednesday. The duo also earned those honors from the Associated Press, making it a clean sweep for the Wildcats.

Wandale Robinson follows his heart to Nebraska, flips on commitment to Kentucky

Wandale Robinson with coach Don Miller Tuesday. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

If you had told me in August or September that the state’s most highly touted football player, Wandale Robinson of Western Hills, would play his college football at Nebraska, I would not have been surprised.

It seemed like every time I talked to him, his affection for Nebraska coach Scott Frost got stronger and stronger. He never said anything negative about Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio State, Purdue or any other school recruiting him, but he always seemed to just light up talking about Frost and the offense at Nebraska even though the Cornhuskers were struggling to win games this year.

Mark Stoops “systematically” took steps to build program that Mitch Barnhart hoped he would

Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mitch Barnhart obviously thought he made the right hire when he picked Mark Stoops to run the Kentucky football program. But he also knew there was no guarantee. After all, he thought he made the right move promoting Joker Phillips to head coach when Rich Brooks retired.

I don’t think you’re ever confident when you go — you hope. And that’s the thing. You don’t want to lose hope. And for our fan base, for a long time, they’ve been hoping. And we’re not there yet,” Barnhart said.

Schedule now gives John Calipari time to “figure stuff out” with his team

Kentucky’s defense put the stop to UNC Greensboro late in Saturday’s win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For a team that coach John Calipari says needs improvement in a lot of areas, Kentucky has a stretch now where it plays just one game a week for the rest of this month.

Is that a good or bad thing?

“We need to figure stuff out. We need to press a little bit, so now how are we going to do it? Now I have time. We just had so many games, we just had to worry about us,” Calipari said. “We’re worried about staying in front of everybody. We’re worried about closing out with high hands. We’re worried about helping the helper and rotating and anticipating.

Will Wandale Robinson flip to Nebraska like some think even though he says he plans to be at Kentucky?

All-American Wandale Robinson with coach Don Miller. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

He’s climbed into the top 100 rankings by some recruiting services and Tuesday received his jersey for being selected as one of only 100 players to play in the Jan. 2 All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

However, Western Hills’ star Wandale Robinson made more news Tuesday with a reported likely flip of his college commitment to Nebraska over Kentucky maybe as soon as today.

Rivals.com Justin Rowland and 247’s Steve Wiltfong both indicated a Robinson flip to Nebraska seemed likely.

Four Named All-Region: Madison Lilley Player of the Year, Craig Skinner Coach of the Year

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced on Tuesday that four Kentucky volleyball players earned All-Southeast Region honors, with senior Brooke Morgan, junior Leah Edmond and sophomores Gabby Curry and Madison Lilley each on the 14-player list. Lilley was named the region’s Player of the Year – Edmond claimed the honor last season – while Craig Skinner was named Coach of the Year. Alli Stumler was named honorable mention.

Under Skinner, UK has earned 40 All-Region awards. Edmond has now won the honor three times while Lilley appears on the list for the second-straight season. Morgan and Curry pick up their first-career All-Region honors.