Kentucky Wildcats Athletics complete a "Big Blue Bounceback" year

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Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The year of the Cardinal? It’s officially dead.

I think that the biggest fear of most Kentucky Wildcats fans was that the much hyped Year of the Cardinal would dare extend into another year, but it proved to be an anomaly as Kentucky firmly grasped control of college athletics across the Commonwealth. Don’t call it a comeback. Call it a Big Blue Bounceback.

 

So far this school year, however, at least when it comes to head-to-head meetings between teams representing our two most prominent athletics programs, ours has been a (Big) Blue state.

UK has swept Louisville two games in men’s basketball, baseball and women’s softball. The Wildcats have gone 1-0 against the Cardinals in women’s basketball, women’s soccer and volleyball, too.

Overall, in 12 showdowns between Kentucky and Louisville in sports where teams face each other head-to-head (in other words, no multi-team events), UK has won nine of them. The Cats are 4-2 vs. the Cards in men’s sports and 5-1 against U of L on the women’s side.

Louisville’s only victories so far in 2013-14 over Kentucky have come in football and in both men’s and women’s swimming.

That’s a big turnaround from last season, when Kentucky men’s teams went 2-4 against Louisville and 3-3 vs. the Cardinals in women’s sports for a 5-7 record.

UK’s success against Louisville is only a part of what, by one standard, is shaping up as the best all-around sports year in recent Wildcats history.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcat fans already know that John Calipari is one of the most fascinating basketball coaches in the nation. But with so much negativity towards him by the media, it’s nice to read a good, honest assessment of him. And we also learn that his book “Players First” transcends basketball.

 

As a real basketball junkie, I was completely enthralled with this book. I loved the stories, the strategy, and the thoughts behind his decisions.

And then I realized that I was reading a book about so much more than basketball. Calipari has incorporated a variety of business and life lessons that will resonate with sports fans as well as those who don’t know a slam dunk from a grand slam.

For example, he makes lists and advises readers to write things down and give themselves a deadline. Business people know the importance of being organized and setting goals. Take it from me: If you don’t have a good game plan, how do you expect to win?

 

 

Even though the returning members of the basketball team will get a lot of attention, it will be hard to ignore the impact that Karl Towns will have. Towns is the only member of the incoming class that will have the “one and done” tag associated with him, but it seems that Towns is not really worried about that. He is however, one of the Courier Journals “Super Five” prospects in this class and the analysts tell us why he is so special.

 

Evan Daniels, Scout.com: “He’s long. He’s mobile. He’s really learning how to be an effective rebounder and effective on the defensive end. Offensively he’s versatile. He can step out and shoot the three. He can score in the low post. He can pass pretty well from the block. Of the elite guys, Karl did the most to help himself late in the season (in terms of player rankings).”

 

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