The End of a Long Streak

December 8, 2016

The Kentucky men hadn’t lost at home since February of 2014. And not too many people expected them to lose Saturday. But an excellent UCLA team came in and knocked off the Cats in Rupp 97-92, ending a streak of 42 in-a-row. Giving up 97 points was quite a shocker to fans that had thought UK had been playing pretty good defense so far this season.

The loss to the Bruins was not the end of the world but Ohio State did have a very embarrassing loss last night in the Schottenstein Center to an unheralded Florida Atlantic team, in overtime. As was the case last year, the Buckeyes seem to often play with little or no inspiration whatsoever.

Since last time, the Blue Jackets have two wins over Arizona, one of which was a shootout win. The Ohio State women had no trouble with in-state rival Cincinnati, but the Kentucky women lost a heartbreaker at Louisville.

Sunday the college football playoff seedings were announced. Ohio State is third and will take on Clemson. The winner of that game gets the winner of Washington-Alabama in the championship game.

The First Month of Basketball

December 2, 2016

November saw the end of the college football regular season but also the beginning of college basketball.

The Kentucky men are ranked #1 in the polls, have looked great and have been playing excellent defense. The current crop of Cats are unselfish and playing well together as a team. Big game tomorrow as UCLA visits Rupp Arena.

Ohio State has not been particularly impressive but was undefeated until last night. The Bucks visited Virginia as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. OSU was ahead by 16 in the first half, but the Hoos worked their way back on the strength of an early second half run, and ended up winning by 2.

The Kentucky women are recovering from the loss of a number of players but are playing well. They’ve won all their home games including last night’s 82-68 win over #12 Oklahoma. That was the first game I have been able to see. They visited Colorado in mid-November and lost 79-69, the only blemish on their record so far. The Cats travel to Louisville on Sunday.

As was the case last year, the Ohio State women have played a rugged early schedule and have losses to South Carolina, Baylor and Miami (Fla). They were ranked in the top ten in the last set of polls.

 

 

“A November to Remember”

December 2, 2016

They’re calling it a “November to remember” in Blue Jackets country, as Columbus went 9-2-3. Bobrovsky has been brilliant between the pipes, and the skaters have been scoring plenty of goals. Just ask the Montreal Canadians, who lost in Columbus 10-0! After last night’s win at Colorado, the Jackets are third in the Metropolitan division.

My big project in October was building a Little Free Library. With the help of my friend, Brad, the library was installed in my front yard early in November. A lot of books have been taken, and I’ve received a lot of donations as well. It’s been a great experience. Go here to learn more about the LFL project: http://www.littlefreelibrary.org. A Facebook page for my library is set up at: http://www.facebook.com/LFL45857/

Bonnie and I visited the Voice of America Museum outside Cincinnati. It is a work in progress, and currently they are only open to the public one Saturday a month for three hours. It is located on the site of the old VOA “Bethany Relay Station”. Pictures are here: flic.kr/s/aHskoH1GdL

We also went to EnterTRAINment Junction. I shot some video but haven’t had a chance to put it up on YouTube yet. It is a large model railroad layout and is well worth a visit. The Wikipedia page for EnterTRAINment Junction is here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EnterTRAINment_Junction

The Kentucky football team lost its last two SEC games to Georgia and Tennessee and finished the conference schedule with a 4-4 record. A win over Austin Peay gave the Cats 6 wins and bowl eligibility. But the biggest game of the season was an incredible 41-38 upset win at Louisville. UK was a 4-touchdown underdog going into the game, but the Cards had been slumping in the latter part of the season.

During November, Ohio State had 62-3 wins over Nebraska and Maryland, then slipped past Michigan State 17-16. Then, in a classic, the Bucks fell behind Michigan in Ohio Stadium before coming back to win 30-27 in overtime. OSU and Penn State finished with identical 7-1 conference records, but the Lions will represent the Big Ten East in the conference championship game on the strength of its win over the Buckeyes. The Bucks are currently ranked #2 in the college football playoff rankings.

October Wrap Up

November 1, 2016

There was a lot of optimism in Columbus for the start of hockey season, as the Blue Jackets had their first three games at home. But it looked like the same-old-same-old slow start, as the CBJ lost their first two games. But things turned around a bit as the Jackets beat Chicago, then collected 5 points on a 4-game road trip out west. That included shut-out wins at Dallas and Anaheim, and an overtime loss at LA. With 7 points, Columbus is in seventh place in the Metropolitan division. But the Jackets have played fewer games than everyone else in the division. Tonight the CBJ is at home to Dallas who will be looking for revenge..

Ohio State looked fine in football until the 24-21 loss in Happy Valley. Last Saturday, a pretty good Northwestern team came to the ‘Shoe and only lost by 4. With Michigan still undefeated, the Bucks are a game out of the lead. Big game Saturday night as Nebraska comes to Columbus.

Kentucky is playing better than it has in years. After an expected big loss at Alabama, the Cats have won close ones against South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Missouri. At 4-2 in the SEC, UK is a half-game behind Florida at 4-1. The Gators already own a big win over Kentucky earlier in the season. The Cats looks solid, except in the turnover department, where they are one of the worst teams in Division I in net giveaways.

Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington remain undefeated in college football. So, those are the playoff teams if they win out. But it’s early yet, a lot can happen, and many teams, including Ohio State, stand ready to take over one of the top spots. The first official playoff rankings will be announced tonight.

Football Underway

September 19, 2016

My girlfriend is pretty well recovered from the broken ankle. She has finished her physical therapy and mostly walks without a cane. She has resumed visiting me in Lexington.

We’re a few weeks into college football season. Ohio State looks pretty good on both sides of the ball. The latest conquest was a 45-24 win at Oklahoma Saturday night. JT Barrett looks fine at quarterback, and the Bucks seem solid at most all positions.

Obviously it’s early yet, but if I had to predict the four teams for the playoffs it would be Ohio State, Alabama, Louisville and Houston (not necessarily in that order). One has to be impressed with Louisville’s 63-20 blow out of Florida State Saturday.

As usual, Kentucky’s season started out with lots of optimism, but the reality was more of a flop. After taking a 35-10 lead over visiting Southern Mississippi, the Cats lost their opener 44-35. A trip to Gainesville resulted in a lopsided loss. Saturday, UK picked up a 62-42 home win over New Mexico State. There may be a change at quarterback for the Cats, as backup Stephen Johnson looked good in coming off the bench to lead UK to the win.

 

Closing Out The Spring

June 20, 2016

My girlfriend is starting to make some progress in recovering from her broken ankle and surgery. Her incision got infected but the infection seems to have cleared up. And, she developed a blood clot in her lung from being so sedentary during her recovery. They got the clot to dissipate fairly quickly. She is currently in physical therapy, and they say she is doing well. I’ve been making a lot of trips to her house to ferry her around to various medical appointments.

I don’t follow the NBA but I’m only too happy to enjoy the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship. The Cleveland minor-league hockey team is the Lake Erie Monsters, and they won the Calder Cup this year. They are affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets. So it’s been a big year in northeastern Ohio.

The Kentucky women’s team has been bringing in some new assistant coaches in an attempt to rebuild after all the departures. The Kentucky men seem to be in some epic recruiting battles against Duke (and other teams). They win some and lose some.

The summer brings band openings on six meters, and I have made some nice contacts. Otherwise, the ham bands in general have not been that good. Saturday, there was an antique radio show and a hamfest in Cincinnati. I attended both with a friend of mine. My main acquisition was parts. So many, that it will take hours to sort them.

 

A Program In Turmoil

May 5, 2016

I hope all readers had a good April. We had our usual mix of warm and cold weather. On about the last icy day of the winter, my girlfriend slipped on some ice on her porch and broke her ankle. She had to have surgery to rebuild it, and won’t be able to put weight on it until at least June. Fortunately, her recovery is going well.

I haven’t made a lot of ham radio contacts recently, but I have posted a bunch of radio-related videos on YouTube. Check out my channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ku4a

Note that there are a bunch of videos demonstrating antique radios in my collection. There is also a program I gave on the history of the Zenith Trans-Oceanic to the Bluegrass Amateur Radio Society. Also, our QRP club (KY-QRP) had a field event at a park in Frankfort that was well attended.

Another excellent NCAA tournament went into the books. Obviously, Villanova’s basket as time expired made for an exciting championship game.

The Kentucky women’s basketball program has had a lot of success lately under coach Matthew Mitchell, who is now the program’s winningest coach. But last autumn saw the beginning of what has turned out to be a mass exodus of players, assistant coaches and recruits. The article below details it all. A couple of popular assistant coaches have been hired back in the hope of rebuilding the program. Only time will tell if more departures will occur.

http://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/kentucky-sports/uk-basketball-women/jen-smith-on-basketball/article75696187.html

 

Abrupt End to the Season

March 30, 2016

The Ohio State and Kentucky women saw their seasons come to an end in the Sweet 16, despite playing lower seeds. But at least I mentioned that the respective matchups were scary.

I don’t know how Washington could have finished fifth in the Pac-12. They came into Rupp Arena and shot the lights out, beating Kentucky 85-72. In the Lexington region, Stanford upset Notre Dame, setting up an all-Pac-12 final. The Huskies won that, giving them their first Final Four appearance, ever. Oregon State came out of another region after knocking off #1-seed Baylor, to also earn it’s first Final Four trip. Looking at teams around the country other than Connecticut, the Pac-12 seems to have been the toughest conference. Or, at least, they had teams who really came on in March.

Ohio State was beaten fairly handily by Tennessee in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But the Volunteers lost the regional final to Syracuse who had upset #1-seed South Carolina. The Orange are another Final Four newcomer.

Speaking of Connecticut, I saw the other day where an eastern pundit said that Connecticut is “killing” women’s basketball. I don’t think that is accurate. I WILL say that the dominance of UConn makes the sport somewhat less interesting to me. But in a time when “success” and “achievement” are rapidly becoming dirty words to a lot of people, I’m not comfortable disparaging  Connecticut’s amazing accomplishments.

 

The Sweet Sixteen

March 25, 2016

The Kentucky and Ohio State women’s teams were both seeded third in their respective regions in the NCAA Tournament. So, both had first and second round games on their home floors.

Kentucky beat UNC-Asheville by 54 in the first round, then broke open a close game with Oklahoma to win by 21. It just so happens that the regionals are in Rupp Arena. So, the home stand continues. Tonight the Cats face 7th-seed Washington. The Huskies pulled off what I consider to be a big upset in knocking off #2 seed Maryland on their home floor.

Ohio State beat Buffalo by 19, then held on for an 88-81 win over West Virginia in a great game. The Bucks are in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota region and play Tennessee tonight. Tennessee, like Washington, is a scary matchup as the Vols are playing much better now than they did earlier in the year.

After winning the SEC Tournament with an overtime win over Texas A&M, the Kentucky men beat Stony Brook despite some lackluster play early. But then in a 4-5 matchup, the Cats fell to Indiana. Front-line play has been inconsistent all season, and it wasn’t good enough to beat the Hoosiers.

The Ohio State men had two home games in the NIT, but were lethargic on the court. It took overtime to beat Akron. Then the Bucks fell to Florida. With everyone coming back next year, it will be interesting to see if OSU can get back to competing for the Big Ten title.

 

Moving On To The Men’s Conference Tournaments

March 8, 2016

Since my last post, Ohio State picked up a nice win over Iowa. But this was followed by yet another big loss to Michigan State. So, the Buckeyes finished the regular season 19-12 and 11-7 in the Big Ten. OSU plays Penn State Thursday in the Big Ten tournament. It would be nice to see the Bucks pick up a 20th win. If they do, they would play Michigan State for the third time in 18 days.

Ohio State is clearly on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, assuming they don’t win the championship. As an OSU fan, we’re used to being on the bubble a lot. My theory is, especially in the case of a team as young as the Buckeyes, is that you’re actually better off going to the NIT, and giving the freshmen and sophomores some tournament experience. I look for OSU to be better next year as this team matures.

Since my last post, Kentucky lost at Vanderbilt (an easy place to lose), but then won a share (with Texas A&M) of the SEC regular season championship with wins over Florida and LSU. As the #2 seed, the Cats will play Friday night in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament.

Other than a brief spate of cold shooting by Tyler Ulis, Kentucky’s guard play has been excellent and will be a huge help to the Cats in the NCAA tournament. The front-line play has been a different matter. But Derek Willis is back from an injury, and Skal Labissiere has played much better of late. Alex Poythress has been inconsistent. But if everyone plays well, Kentucky is as good as anybody in the NCAA field.

Speaking of the NCAA tournament, it seems as wide open this year as it ever has been. Should be a lot of fun.

We are expecting temperatures in the mid-70s this week. Last year we had a foot of snow in March. Doesn’t seem likely so far this year!