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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23) @ Kentucky Wildcats (17): Big East/SEC Invitational Open Game Thread — Second half

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Play some tough D, shoot the ball with confidence and this game should be ours.

Let’s Go ‘Cats!!


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Barnhart applauds Champions Classic, Maui Invitational

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Although UK Coach John Calipari expressed as recently as Tuesday his reservations about returning to the Maui Invitational, Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart gushed about the experience the fan base had in Hawaii Thanksgiving week.

“You literally had people talking to you, ‘I planned for four years to come’ and ‘We cashed in all our Frequent Flyer miles to come back,’ ” Barnhart said.

He noted that UK fans travel far and wide to watch the Wildcats play.

But when asked if the trip to Maui held a special place in a fan’s itinerary, Barnhart’s eyes widened and he said with a smile, “I think they really enjoyed that (trip to Maui) based on what they said. They REALLY enjoyed that.”

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Barnhart: UK hopes to buy bowl tickets for Birmingham fans

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Dubbing UK’s appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl as “Operation Thank You,” Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said the school hoped its fans would buy tickets to give children, military veterans and senior citizens in the Birmingham area.

Barnhart acknowledged that tickets sales might not be brisk for the Jan. 8 bowl in which Kentucky plays Pittsburgh.

“The date’s a little more difficult” when compared to UK’s bowl trips the past four years. “We’ve sold a few thousand tickets so far, which is good.”

“Operation Thank You” was intended to “show the players this is not about them,” Barnhart said. “This is about the (Birmingham) community.”

One woman recently bought 40 tickets for an organization named “Wounded Warriors.”

In previous bowls, UK might have thought game organizers should grateful to have Kentucky’s team, Barnhart said. “This time, it’s a privilege to be there.”

Winning will be important, too, Barnhart said. A bowl victory makes the off-season “immensely better,” he said.

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Pelphrey embraces first win ‘in state’

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

John Pelphrey, one of UK’s “Unforgettables,” embraced his Arkansas team’s 71-62 victory over Seton Hall Wednesday night.

Asked if he could blockout this return to his home state, Pelphrey said, “I’d like to sit here and tell you I don’t think about it. But when you walk into the building, moments of time flash back.”

Pelphrey called the game in Freedom Hall “very humbling.”

And, he added, “the task at hand becomes even more valuable to me. I want to do well. This was the first win in state (for Pelphrey) as a head coach.”

A moment later, Pelphrey added, “It’s not about me. I had my time and my day.”

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Barnhart: One game in Louisville each season is important

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

University of Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said the men’s basketball program should continue the tradition of playing a game in Louisville each season.

“We want to continue to play over here,” Barnhart said before the Cats played Notre Dame. He noted the many alumni that live in the Louisville area and the potentially rich recruiting ground.

Earlier this week, the Kentucky State Fair Board said it paid between $10,000 and $12,000 to re-paint the Freedom Hall court blue. Spokesman Edward Brown said part of the reason was to try to entice UK to play more than one regular-season game in Freedom Hall each season.

“I haven’t had that conversation,” Barnhart said with a smile. ” . . . We do have an arena back in Lexington. We have to make sure we play enough games there.”

UK owed it to the students and city of Lexington play its home games in Rupp Arena, he said.

Last season, UK Coach John Calipari floated the idea of playing several games in Louisville as a recruiting tool. At the time, Barnhart said flatly that one game in Louisville each season was enough.

When asked if he still believed that, Barnhart said, “I think that’s probably accurate.”

But Barnhart seemed a bit more open to the idea of more than one game, if only because he did not want to rule out any possibility.

“I don’t want to pin ourselves in a corner,” he said.

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Barnhart: Cats will return to Louisville

Kentucky
Content provided by Kentucky Wildcat sports beat.

Kentucky’s men’s basketball program will continue to play an annual game in Louisville if athletic…

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Neutrality is the aim at UK-Notre Dame game

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

I just ran into Patrick Whitmer, the public address announcer at Rupp Arena for Kentucky home games. He will be doing the P.A. duties in Freedom Hall tonight when UK plays Notre Dame and Arkansas faces Seton Hall.

Whitmer said that organizers of the SEC-Big East Invitational told him to be neutral in his announcements. So there will be no references to “The greatest tradition in the history of college basketball!!!!!!” Nor will Whitmer exclaim, “Three by Knight!!!!!!”

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23) @ Kentucky Wildcats (17): Big East/SEC Invitational Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

What a mouthful.

Anyway, I will be attending the Big East/SEC Invitational tonight in Rupp Arena West Freedom Hall here in Louisville as the Arkansas Razorbacks take on the Seton Hall Pirates in the first game, and the Kentucky Wildcats battle the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the nightcap.

Naturally, this open game thread may be used for either game if you like, as I plan on posting it in time for both, but the real game of interest to us Kentucky fans is the nightcap.  Here are the particulars, via UKAthletics.com:

Notre Dame @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Notre Dame Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Dec. 8, 9:30 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Text Updates
Location Freedom Hall
Louisville, Ky.

After an unpleasant visit to the North Carolina Tar Heels last weekend on Tobacco Road, the chastened ‘Cats of Kentucky need to rediscover the winner’s circle versus the Little Green Leprechauns of Notre Dame.

The South Bend Celtics have known nothing but victory so far this season, but the competition hasn’t been up to the quality of the Bluegrass State Felines.  That’s going to result in a culture clash, where a seasoned Notre Dame bumps up against the youngest, quickest, most athletic team they’ve seen this year.

Here’s what I hope to see:

  • A track meet.  Notre Dame is playing at a lower pace than last year, and Kentucky needs to find a way to get this game as up-tempo as they can, consistent with their thin bench.  Speaking of the bench, we need
  • Another bench player.  Last weekend, the Wildcats managed to play only six Wildcats as many as ten minutes.  In as much foul trouble as Kentucky has been in so far, we need to have at least eight playing ten minutes or more.
  • Better defensive pressure.  UK did not put enough pressure on Carolina’s turnover-prone guards, and that’s a big reason why we lost.
  • Less fouling.  UK has to find a way to play better defense without a prodigious number of whistles.
  • Keep lighting it up.  Good shooting cures a lot of ills.

Here’s what I don’t want to see:

  • Notre Dame dominating the offensive glass.  That’s a sure loser for UK.  Kentucky needs to continue to be competitive there.
  • A parade to the free throw line for Notre Dame.  That’s how the Tar Heels won.
  • Lack of defensive intensity.  That’s how the Connecticut Huskies won.
  • Lack of Terrence Jones.  That’s also how the Tar Heels won.

Let’s get this done.  Go ‘Cats!


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Cal on Champions Classic

Kentucky
Content provided by Kentucky Wildcat sports beat.

As you probably read earlier, Kentucky has signed on to tip off the college basketball season in…

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SEC basketball comparisons (so far)

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

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