Kentucky Earns Preseason No. 4 Ranking in USA Today Coaches Poll

Wenyen Gabriel (Vicky Graff Photo)

Wenyen Gabriel (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the eighth consecutive season under head coach John Calipari, the Kentucky men’s basketball program will begin the season ranked among the top 25 teams in the country, as voted on by a collection of the nation’s coaches for the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Kentucky will begin the 2016-17 campaign as the country’s No. 4 rated team. The Wildcats also received two first-place votes. Duke will begin the season at No. 1. Kansas and Villanova are just ahead of the Wildcats, while Oregon rounds out the top five. All top-five ranked teams received at least one first-place vote.

SEC Network returns, Peach Bowl team to be recognized

SEC Network’s traveling football pre-game show, SEC Nation, will take place on the University of Kentucky campus from 10- noon ET prior to the Mississippi State at Kentucky football game this Saturday.

The show is live from a new location this year, William T. Young Library. Host Maria Taylor will be joined by Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum. Reporter Laura Rutledge is live from Alabama and will be providing updates from that campus throughout the show.

Guest post: Are this year’s running backs the best ever at Kentucky?

JoJo Kemp (Vicky Graff Photo)

JoJo Kemp (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL

In thinking about the upcoming football game Saturday night with Mississippi State I believe one of the critical factors in determining the winner \will be which team can effectively run the ball.

In its two wins over SEC foes South Carolina and Vanderbilt, UK moved the ball effectively on the ground and controlled the clock for most of the second half. Watching Boom Williams, JoJo Kemp and Benny Snell, Jr. run the ball made me wonder how well those three players stack up with other groups of running backs at UK from past decades. Let’s take a look.

Calipari: Monk will probably take most shots on team

Malik Monk (Vicky Graff Photo)

Malik Monk (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

NASHVILLE — Malik Monk is going to take the most shots for Kentucky this year. Or at least Kentucky coach John Calipari expects it to work that way with his freshman guard.

“Malik is a guy that can get his own shots. It’s just defining what that shot is,” Calipari said Wednesday here during the SEC Media Day.

Calipari explained last week at UK’s Media Day what adjustments Monk faced.

Boom Williams has learned to handle adversity

Boom Williams (Vicky Graff Photo)

Boom Williams (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the second half of Kentucky’s football season is the way Boom Williams handled the adversity from UK’s win over Vanderbilt.

The junior running back is UK’s leading rusher, but he fumbled early in the second half and Vandy returned it for a score. After that, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran went with running backs JoJo Kemp and fan favorite Benny Snell.

Last year that would have infuriated Williams. This time he seems to have taken it in stride.

Alabama coach says he has “little bit of an idea” what NBA is all about, too

Former UK All-American Kyle Macy shares a laugh with Alabama coach Avery Johnson Wednesday. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

Former UK All-American Kyle Macy shares a laugh with Alabama coach Avery Johnson Wednesday. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

NASHVILLE — Given an opportunity to explain why a top recruit should come to his program instead of a more nationally known program, Alabama coach Avery Johnson was ready with his best sales pitch at the SEC Media Day here.

Of course, Alabama is battling Kentucky for five-star shooting guard John Petty of Huntsville, Ala., who will make an official visit to UK Oct. 28.

Mike Edwards could now be the best player in UK’s secondary

Mike Edwards is UK's second leading tackler. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Mike Edwards is UK’s second leading tackler. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Going into the season not a lot of attention was paid to safety Mike Edwards even when the Kentucky secondary was being praised. Instead, it was sophomore cornerbacks Chris Westry and Derrick Baity drawing praise.

But at the midpoint of the season, Edwards might be UK’s best and most important defensive player. He’s second on the team with 51 tackles, leads the team with eight pass breakups and has three tackles for loss.

Frank Martin likes having Kentucky as ally for other SEC teams

Frank Martin holding court at the SEC Media Day. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

Frank Martin holding court at the SEC Media Day. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

NASHVILLE — South Carolina won 11 Southeastern Conference games last year to finish third in the league and also won 24 games overall. However, the Gamecocks did not get a NCAA Tournament bid.

Coach Frank Martin still is not happy about that — and made it clear at SEC Media Day here Wednesday — but he also is not about to complain about Kentucky overshadowing other SEC programs because of its success.

Ryan Lemond, Maria Montgomery to join Cat Calls Thursday at Mallard’s

Maria Montgomery at Big Blue Madness with Ravi Moss. (Tim Letcher Photo)

Maria Montgomery at Big Blue Madness with Ravi Moss. (Tim Letcher Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Can Kentucky beat Mississippi State Saturday night?

That’s going to be a main conversation topic Thursday night on Cat Calls on WKYB (107.5 FM) from 6-7 at Mallard’s on the Danville Bypass with myself and regular co-hosts Dave Hopewell and Olivia Prewitt.

However, this week’s show is going to be a little extra special because we will also be joined by Kentucky Sports Radio icon Ryan Lemond and former Miss Kentucky USA Maria Montgomery. They will go one-on-one in a little contest answering high level questions and we will let the audience at Mallard’s vote on the winner.

Media Picks Kentucky As Favorite To Win 2017 SEC Men’s Basketball Championship

Birmingham, Ala. – Kentucky was predicted to win the 2017 Southeastern Conference men’s basketball championship in voting by a select panel of both SEC and national media members.The Wildcats are the overall preseason favorite for the 12th time since the 1998-99 season.

Arkansas senior forward Moses Kingsley was the choice of the media for SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. Georgia’s J.J. Frazier & Yante Maten; Kentucky’s Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox & Malik Monk; and Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis also received votes in the Player of the Year voting.