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NCAA Championship UK v UConnEditor’s note: Kentucky fan Kelsey Mattingly sent this to me about 2 a.m. Sunday after UK’s win over Wisconsin. I saved it for today to share to let each of you again relive the feeling she had Saturday — and you probably did, too.

By KELSEY MATTINGLY

With exactly 6:10 to go in the game I knew we were going to lose. My sister was laying in the floor, facing away from the television as she had through the entire second half of the Louisville game. But this time I just didn’t know if her mojo would be enough. I had experienced too many missed last second shots and the tell-tale pain of heartbreak was making its way when there was 7.5 seconds in the game. But then it happened.

AARON FREAKING HARRISON. It happened so fast and I’m certain my heart stopped when the ball left his hands and went through the net because Senator, I have no recollection of those events. Thank goodness for DVR. And say what you want, but if you didn’t cry the moment that thing went in for the third game in a row then you’re lying. Every residence, bar, and base containing members of the BBN erupted. The Clutch Cats had done it again.

But of course this isn’t news to any of you. If you’re reading this, you know what happened just as well as anyone…maybe even better. I’m merely writing this to say thank you. Words cannot express how incredibly blessed I feel to be able to experience this in my life time. Because nothing can compare to this. This run. This team. This chance. What we are witnessing will go down in history as the most amazing post-season experience to have ever been obtained by a team. A team that was catching a lot of heat mid-season. A team that starts five freshmen, five “one and done’s”.

To be able to one day tell my children that I saw Aaron Harrison hit the game winning shot (more than once), Alex Poythress completely take over, and Marcus Lee make amazing breakout plays, that will be the greatest moment. Maybe second greatest. Because how many times will you get to see Aaron Harrison hit a clutch three to win the game? Oh yeah…three.

So tonight while State Street is being burned to the ground and fans are up celebrating until the wee hours of morning, I will soak it all in and be thankful. When we all wake up the birds will sing My Old Kentucky Home and Louisville still won’t exist. Enjoy this Big Blue…this is it. We are it.

 

Julius Randle cuts down part of the net after Kentucky's Regional Title win over Michigan. (Victoria Graff photo/all rights reserved)

Julius Randle cuts down part of the net after Kentucky’s Regional Title win over Michigan. (Victoria Graff photo/all rights reserved)

By LARRY VAUGHT

When Kentucky lost to Baylor in Dallas earlier this season, UK freshman Julius Randle knew he “wanted to get back” to Dallas for the Final Four.

“I feel like that’s forever ago. It just shows how fast the season goes by but I wanted to get back there, whatever it took,” said Randle, who is from Dallas and will have family members and friends at Saturday’s game against Wisconsin.

“It’s fun, especially Cowboys Stadium. It’s huge and it’s just going to be fun. The atmosphere, the environment, so many people there. The last time it was an ice storm (when UK played Baylor), so it was a big arena but it wasn’t too many people. I’m just looking forward to this time playing in front of a big crowd and competing again.”

Randle went to the Elite Eight in Dallas last year after he had signed with Kentucky.

“I just wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to get back there. It’s just added motivation that it’s in Dallas, but any kid wants to play in the Final Four. I don’t care if it’s on the moon. You want to play in the Final Four. But for it to be in my hometown, it’s special as well,” Randle said.

“I can remember being a junior in high school, I was in study hall and I didn’t have anything to do and I found out it was here, the national championship (in) Dallas. It’s just where I wanted to be and it’s always been my goal.”

Randle said even then he could picture himself playing in the Final Four when it came to Dallas — and now he is.

Randle, UK’s leading scorer and rebounder, is happy his mother will be able to watch all of Saturday’s game. She had to leave Sunday’s win over Michigan in Indianapolis midway of the second half to catch a flight back to Dallas so she could be at work Monday.

“She’s really excited. I don’t know much she’s going to be around because I know she wants me to focus and stuff, but she’s really excited and so is the rest of my family,” Randle said. “I knew was going to have to leave (the Michigan game) so I just wanted to make sure we won so I could see her again.”

Randle appreciates the sacrifices his mother has made to get him to this point.

“Just seeing her every day get up, go to work and just take care of me and my sister and for her to do it by herself and for her not to have much and to make sure me and my sister felt like we had everything we needed and wanted just goes to show how strong of a woman she is. She did it all by herself,” Randle said.

“She’s always telling me just to enjoy being a college student, not to worry about her, not to worry about taking care of her. She says to enjoy being a college student because she doesn’t want to put that type of pressure on me and there’s no need to. I’m just blessed to be here, play basketball at Kentucky and that’s all I can really focus on.”

Randle said he is also letting his mom deal with the numerous ticket requests he has for the Final Four. His focus is on winning the national championship that brought him to Kentucky.

“When you realize you’re going to the Final Four of course you’re going to celebrate, but, look, guys are in the gym working right now. So we’re not done yet,” Randle said before Tuesday’s practice.

By LARRY VAUGHT

INDIANAPOLIS — He had just played his final game of a legendary career at Louisville and missed a potential shot that could have forced overtime, but Louisville senior Russ Smith was as gracious in defeat as any All-American could be here Friday.

“I don’t hold grudges. I don’t hate anybody,” said Smith after Louisville’s 74-69 loss to Kentucky when the Cardinals blew a seven-point lead in the final 4 1/2 minutes. “I’m a positive person. At the end of they day, this was a loss. I just empathize with the fans. I wish I could’ve given them the win. I’m so sorry. But for me, we lost to a great team. And I have great respect for them.”

Several reports indicated that Smith went to the UK locker room to congratulate the Cats, a classy move after his 23-point, three-assist performance.

“I’m just glad that I have a lot of respect around the state and people respect my craft and my body of work. I love my teammates. I’m glad that I’ve gotten to meet all the people I’ve met. And I’m glad I have coach (Rick) Pitino in my life. He’s helped shape me into a man. He’s made me the player I am,” Smith said.

“I was looked at as kind of a clown basketball player. Everyone thought I was a joke. And he transformed me into an All-American basketball player. Without him in my life, I’d be upset right now, off crying, or yelling or making excuses. But I’m here in front of you, manning up. I take this loss like a man and I’ll go out like a man.”

He praised Kentucky.

“Those are a great group of guys. They show great love. You respect someone when you see a competitor out there on the court,” Smith said. “From each class, from my sophomore year on, Kentucky’s guys have shown me the same love. And these are new waves of classes, not the same people. So I’ve gotten great respect from them, potential NBA guys, and that’s great.

“The (Harrison) twins are fantastic and they’re going to keep getting better. All those guys. (James) Young, (Julius) Randle. Dakari (Johnson), I’ve known him since he was little and I’m excited for what he’s becoming, and you have to love that.

“If my career had to end, I’m okay with it ending to Kentucky. Those boys play hard. They deserve everything that’s coming to them. I respect everything about their program and their coaching staff. For me, I just want people to remember me as a great competitor, a great sportsman, someone who respects the game a lot, and whatever it is, I just want it to be a positive legacy.”

Charles Matthews photo courtesy Gary De

Charles Matthews photo courtesy Gary DeCesare.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Chicago junior guard Charles Matthews said playing in a high level league in Chicago has enabled him to “face a variety of teams and styles” during his career. He also thinks playing for coach Gary DeCesare, a former college coach, gives him an edge.

“He’s helped me a lot. I am used to coaches getting into me. We watch hours of film, go through walk-throughs, pick up tendencies. I am prepared already for doing all that in college,” Matthews said.

That’s why Matthews, who has verbally committed to UK, had no problem with John Calipari’s technicals and ejections in a game at South Carolina this year.

“That just showed me he gets fired up and wants to win and see his team do well. As a player, you like that,” Matthews said.

Matthews plays for the same AAU program that former UK star Anthony Davis did.

“I saw how well he played at Kentucky and won a championship and then was the first pick (in the NBA draft). All that impressed me,” Matthews said. “I also like how all the Calipari guys stay connected. It’s a good family atmosphere.”

He’s heard that from Chicago senior point guard Tyler Ulis, who signed with UK in November.

“We speak every week. I think he will be real good at Kentucky. He is a good defender, gets teammates to play for him and he plays for his team,” Matthews said. “It will be a tremendous chance for me to play with him at Kentucky, but it will also be very competitive. But we work well together. He can get in gaps and I am good with dribble penetration. He’s great at throwing lobs. We can both create plays for each other. Playmakers can always play with other playmakers. That works out well.”

He could see himself fitting well, too, with Mississippi guard Malik Newman, the top recruit in the 2015 class.

“We could play well together. He is a combo guard, too. He hit me up once I committed. So did a few other guys,” Matthews said.

Matthews admits he would like to be a one-and-done player in college, but he knows that’s not easy to do.

“Everybody’s goal and dream is to make the NBA, and Calipari has accomplished that with many players and hopefully I can be another one,” Matthews said. “But I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. I would be okay staying two years or getting it done in three years. But of course my goal is to be one-and-done just like it is for most players.”

By LARRY VAUGHT
If you are old enough to remember Ray Stevens’ “The Streak,” then I think you will really like “The Tweak” by Scott Collins, president of Collins Dental Equipment in Nicholasville and a long-time UK fan. He has played music all over the United States as well as other countries.
Collins, who wrote and recorded the song in his basement, is a part-time worship leader and played with Eastbound (Bluegrass Gospel). Other UK songs he has written are Big Blue Train, Battle of Blue Orleans, Great Wall of Basketball(John Wall song) and Jam by Jam (Championship song with 36,000 plus Youtube hits).
Enjoy!!!

 

By LARRY VAUGHT

Why was John Calipari so upset with the officiating at South Carolina that he got two technical fouls and ejected from the game?

“You would have to ask him,” said assistant coach John Robic, who also added that he did not know why Calipari did not come to the media room and he came because he was told to.

It was Robic, not Calipari, who came to the media room after UK’s shocking loss to South Carolina coming after UK fell in overtime at home to Arkanas Thursday.

“I realize he is not here,” Robic said. “Guess a call didn’t go our way here and there. But nothing to do with that (on why UK lost). It was our team’s performance. As coaches and players, we have to own up to it.”

Robic was asked if a freshman-dominated team — how often has Calipari said this is the nation’s youngest team — needed the head coach on the court for guidance and not in the locker room the final 10 minutes of play because he lost his poise.

“I am not going to answer that,” Robic said.

So how are the players?

“The game just got over. I am sure they are disappointed and mad and upset,” Robic said.

University of Kentucky sports fans can plan to enjoy plenty of baseball, softball and football action on the UK campus during “Big Blue Weekend” April 25-27.

The Blue/White Spring Football Game will be held Saturday, April 26, at 3:30 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium.  The Blue/White Game will be conclude spring practice and will be the fans’ first look at the 2014 Wildcats.  Tickets will be free of charge and a distribution plan will be announced later.

The Kentucky baseball team will play host to Ole Miss in a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium.  Friday’s game is set for 6:30 p.m., followed by 1 p.m. contests on Saturday and Sunday

The softball series will be a matchup of teams currently ranked in the nation’s top 10 when Kentucky, currently ranked No. 7 in the country, takes on top-ranked Tennessee.  The teams will tangle at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at John Cropp Stadium, followed by a 2 p.m. Sunday finale.

Single-game tickets for baseball and softball cost $5 for adults and $2 for age 6-18.  UK students and persons age 5 and under are free.

Here is the composite scheduleof games for the weekend:

Friday, April 25

Softball vs. Tennessee, 6 p.m.

Baseball vs. Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 26

Baseball vs. Ole Miss, 1 p.m.

Blue/White Spring Football Game, 3:30 p.m.

Softball vs. Tennessee, 6 p.m.

Sunday, April 27

Baseball vs. Ole Miss, 1 p.m.

Softball vs. Tennessee, 2 p.m. 

UK Alumni Association to Host Tailgate Event at Blue/White Game as part of Alumni Weekend Activities
1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Commonwealth Stadium Red Lot near Gate 4 – $8 per person, $5 for UK Alumni Association members. Join fellow alumni and fans for food prior to the scrimmage. Enjoy music, games, and giveaways. Then head into Commonwealth Stadium to watch the Blue/White game.

2014 SEC Baseball Schedule

(all times Eastern)

Date Game Time Network

Saturday, March 15 Mississippi State at Georgia Noon FSN

Saturday, March 15 LSU at Vanderbilt 3:15 pm FSN

Friday, March 21 Vanderbilt at Mississippi State 7:30 pm CSS

Saturday, March 22 South Carolina at Kentucky 2:00 pm FSN

Saturday, March 22 Auburn at Tennessee 4:00 pm CSS

Saturday, March 22 Vanderbilt at Mississippi State 8:30 pm ESPNU

Thursday, March 27 Missouri at Auburn 7:30 pm ESPNU

Friday, March 28 LSU at Florida 7:30 pm CSS

Saturday, March 29 Missouri at Auburn 1:00 pm FSN

Saturday, March 29 Ole Miss at Alabama 7:00 pm CSS

Sunday, March 30 Kentucky at Vanderbilt 2:00 pm ESPNU

Thursday, April 3 South Carolina at Arkansas 8:00 pm ESPNU

Friday, April 4 Mississippi State at LSU 7:30 pm CSS

Saturday, April 5 Florida at Kentucky 1:00 pm FSN

Saturday, April 5 Vanderbilt at Tennessee 7:00 pm CSS

Saturday, April 5 Mississippi State at LSU 7:30 pm ESPNU

Sunday, April 6 Auburn at Ole Miss 2:30 pm CSS

Thursday, April 10 Tennessee at Georgia 7:30 pm ESPNU

Saturday, April 12 Arkansas at LSU 1:00 pm ESPN2

Saturday, April 12 Ole Miss at Mississippi St 4:00 pm FSN

Thursday, April 17 LSU at Ole Miss 7:30 pm ESPNU

Friday, April 18 Georgia at Florida 7:30 pm CSS

Saturday, April 19 LSU at Ole Miss 2:00pm FSN

Saturday, April 19 South Carolina at Auburn 5:00 pm CBSCSN

Sunday, April 20 Georgia at Florida 12:00 pm ESPNU

Sunday, April 20 Vanderbilt at Arkansas 1:00 pm ESPN

Sunday, April 20 South Carolina at Auburn 2:00 pm CSS

Thursday, April 24 Texas A&M at Mississippi State 7:30 pm ESPNU

Saturday, April 26 Missouri at Florida 12:00 pm FSN

Saturday, April 26 Ole Miss at Kentucky 1:00 pm CSS

Saturday, April 26 Alabama at South Carolina 2:00 pm ESPN

Saturday, April 26 Texas A&M at Mississippi State 3:15 pm FSN

Saturday, April 26 Georgia at Vanderbilt 4:00 pm CSS

Saturday, April 26 Tennessee at LSU 7:30 pm CST

Sunday, April 27 Alabama at South Carolina 1:00 pm ESPN

Thursday, May 1 Kentucky at Tennessee 7:30 pm ESPNU

Friday, May 2 Florida at Alabama 7:30 pm CSS

Saturday, May 3 Kentucky at Tennessee 12:00 pm FSN

Saturday, May 3 LSU at Texas A&M 1:00 pm ESPN2

Saturday, May 3 South Carolina at Georgia 1:00 pm CSS

Saturday, May 3 Arkansas at Ole Miss 3:15 pm FSN

Saturday, May 3 Mississippi State at Auburn 7:00 pm CSS

Sunday, May 4 LSU at Texas A&M 2:00 pm ESPNU

Sunday, May 4 Arkansas at Ole Miss 2:30 pm CSS

Thursday, May 8 Vanderbilt at Florida 8:30 pm ESPNU

Saturday, May 10 Vanderbilt at Florida 12:00 pm FSN

Saturday, May 10 Alabama at LSU 1:00 pm CSS

Saturday, May 10 Missouri at South Carolina 3:15 pm FSN

Saturday, May 10 Tennessee at Mississippi State 7:00 pm CSS

Saturday, May 10 Texas A&M at Arkansas 7:00 pm CST

Sunday, May 11 Alabama at LSU 2:00 pm CSS

Thursday, May 15 SEC Wildcard Game 7:30 pm ESPNU

Friday, May 16 Ole Miss at Texas A&M 8:00 pm ESPNU

Saturday, May 17 Florida at Tennessee 1:00 pm CSS

Saturday, May 17 LSU at Auburn 2:00 pm FSN

Saturday, May 17 Mississippi State at Alabama 4:00 pm CSS

By LARRY VAUGHT

Here is what Kentucky coach John Calipari had to say today on the SEC coaches teleconference about games against Mississippi and Mississippi State this week:

“You’re talking about two teams that have players that can break you down and score when they need to. Mississippi State was up four on us when they played us here and we kind of wore them down with a little bit of our depth, but I’m not sure we’ll be able to do that down there. Mississippi, Andy (Kennedy) has them playing so well. They’re running their stuff, they’re executing, they’re playing through the people they need to play through, they’re playing zone, they’re scrambling it up a little bit, and putting out a 1-3-1 (zone) and a little bit of half-court trap stuff. They’re doing great stuff. Both teams are being well-coached and both teams are in position to win games because of how they’re being coached and players are playing their roles well.”

Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

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