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No. 4 Kentucky upset at the hands of Rick Barnes, Tennessee


Robert Hubbs scored 25 points and Grant Williams chipped in with 13 points, six boards, six assists, four steals and three blocks as Tennessee picked off No. 4 Kentucky in Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday night, 82-80.

It’s the third time in the last four games that the Wildcats have lost to UT on the road.

The loss is Kentucky’s first since they fell at Louisville in late-December, and it opens the door for South Carolina to make a run at the SEC title. The Vols, who nearly beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill earlier this season, are now 4-4 in the SEC.

Here are four things to take away from this game:

1. This is why Kentucky’s perimeter shooting is a concern: The Wildcats finished the night shooting 6-for-24 from beyond the arc. Malik Monk was 3-for-13 by himself. A number of those misses were good looks from three in critical moments – off the top of my head, Derek Willis missed one late in the second half that would have put Kentucky after 67-66 – and a handful of them were bad shots forced by Monk. The Wildcats have gotten better shooting the ball from the perimeter after a slow start to the season, and to me, this was more of an off-night when a showdown against No. 2 Kansas on the horizon than anything.

But it was something of a wakeup call. I didn’t think Monk, Fox or Briscoe played particularly well, and when those three don’t play well, this team is beatable.

2. Kentucky’s interior defense got worked: The Vols scored 42 points in the paint. Admiral Schofield had 15. Grant Williams had 13 points and six assists. Robert Hubbs did much of his damage as the Vols ran inverted offense, posting up the big, physical wing against UK’s freshmen back court. Bam Adebayo was terrific offensively, good enough that Kentucky’s inability to get him the ball was a noticeable issue, but he didn’t do much to discourage Tennessee from going at the rim.

Bam wasn’t the only issue, either. Wenyen Gabriel and Derek Willis were outmuscled by Tennessee’s big men as well. All in all, it’s not going to be fun for those big men when they watch the film on this one.

3. All that said, Kentucky lost by two: This just wasn’t Kentucky’s night. They were not good. And they lost a league game on the road by two points. That probably says more about this team than anything else.

4. Good for Rick Barnes and Tennessee: Looking at their record, you might think that this Tennessee team has had a disappointing season. And they have, but it’s not so much because they’re a bad team and more an issue of struggling to close out winnable games. They lost to Oregon in overtime in Maui. They lost at North Carolina by two points. They gave Wisconsin, and Florida, and Gonzaga a fight.

And the finally have a season-defining win to show for it. Hell, they might be the only team to beat these Wildcats in the SEC this season.

So while I’m not sure that even this is enough to get Tennessee into bubble contention, it is enough to keep their season from being a total loss. And it is the kind of win that a program with some promising young talent can build off of.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.