Final Four - Louisville v Kentucky

Did Kentucky play its ‘title game’ on Saturday?


As the final seconds ticked off the clock in Kentucky’s 69-61 win over Louisville on Saturday night, Anthony Davis fired the ball up at the rafters. As the buzzer sounded, he looked up at the Kentucky fans and started screaming: “This is my stage!”* Five seconds later, he was getting bear-hugged by fellow freshmen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. All this happened just a few minutes after Davis screamed in the ear of Terrence Jones after Jones threw down a powerful dunk in traffic.

Why is this significant?

Because Davis is as stoic as they come. He said all the right things to the media afterwards, but it was quite clear to anyone watching the game that this game meant more to Davis — and to the Wildcats — than just a ‘typical’ Final Four game.

They beat Louisville. They ended their archrivals season on the sports biggest stage. That is significant. But the emotional response from the Wildcats begs the question: was the win too big?

Kentucky will face Kansas, a team they already beat back in November, on Monday for the national title, but one has to wonder whether or not Kentucky already played their ‘title game’, so to speak. With all the buildup leading into their date with Louisville and with all the hype that surrounded that game in the state of Kentucky, will there be a letdown on Monday?

Kentucky looked like a team on a mission on Saturday night. And while it is easy to say that their mission is a national title, the rare emotional response from Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist makes you wonder.

(*He may or may not have actually said a four-letter word that starts with ‘s’ and ends with ‘hit’ instead of stage, but he told reporters at the press conference that he said stage and not, well, the other word.)

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.