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.



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!

Semifinal Slaughters

March 8, 2016

I had high hopes for the Kentucky and Ohio State women’s teams, as they entered conference tournament play last week.

The Wildcats completed the regular season on a 6-game win streak, with impressive wins over teams they had struggled with earlier in the year. As the #5 seed, UK had nice wins over LSU and Florida which sent them into the semifinals against South Carolina.

The Gamecocks ran the table in the regular season going 16-0. In fact, in SEC regular-season play over two years, Carolina only had one loss which was to UK last season. This year’s regular season wins over Kentucky were solid but not routs.

But in the tournament the Cats fell apart and ended up losing 93-63. South Carolina went on to win the tournament with a win over Mississippi State.

Since my last post, the Ohio State women had a heartbreaking end to their regular season. The Bucks lost at Minnesota by 2, then at Michigan State by 2 in triple overtime. Finishing the Big Ten schedule at 15-3 was a game behind Maryland at 16-2. Since entering the Big Ten, Maryland still hasn’t lost any conference games other than the two losses to Ohio State this year.

In the Big Ten tourney, OSU disposed of Rutgers before facing Michigan State again. This time it wasn’t close, as the Spartans prevailed 82-63. MSU met Maryland in the tournament championship game, but lost as the Terps won the title for the second straight year.

So, now it is on to the NCAA tournament, with pairings to be announced Monday night. Any team seeded fourth or higher will host first and second round games. Ohio State and Kentucky will probably qualify.


A Taste of Spring

February 24, 2016

It’s cooling off in Central Kentucky today, and we have a chance of an inch or so of snow Thursday. But the weekend was nice as we had sunny skies and 72 degrees here Saturday. My three youngest nephews all had hockey tournaments in the Cincinnati area. I was able to see all three of them play and do some visiting. Pretty rare to be able to drive around southwestern Ohio with the top down on the convertible in mid-February:-).

As I type this, the Kentucky men are in command in Rupp Arena over Alabama. If they wrap up a win, they will continue all alone in the lead in the Southeastern Conference. This despite a 2-point overtime loss at Texas A&M Saturday night. The Cats have games with Vanderbilt, Florida and LSU to wrap up the regular season.

The Ohio State men are 4-0 since my last post, and are now 10-5 in the Big Ten. The Bucks play host to Michigan State tonight. A win over the Spartans would do a lot to enhance OSU’s tournament resume. Indiana and Iowa are at the top of the Big Ten with 3 losses each.

The Kentucky women are out of the running for the SEC regular season title, but are playing better lately. They have won four in-a-row since the loss to league-leading South Carolina, and those four games have not be very close. The Cats have an excellent chance of making some noise in the SEC tournament.

The Ohio State women are the crown jewel of the winter. They are leading the league at 15-1, with the one loss on the road at Northwestern. OSU swept Maryland who is right behind at 14-2.

I’ve had some time to work on old radios here lately. I have cleaned up a couple sets of Drake “twins”. These go back to the days when receivers and transmitters were separate units. I also just received an order of electrolytic capacitors to rebuild some power supplies for Heathkit equipment.

All Alone In First Place

February 9, 2016

The Ohio State women completed a regular-season sweep of powerhouse Maryland last night with a 94-86 home win. Kelsey Mitchell had 33 points in a fast-paced entertaining game. With the lone blemish being a loss at Northwestern, the Buckeyes currently lead the Big Ten at 11-1. Of the remaining six games, four are on the road, including visits to Minnesota and Michigan State, currently the #4 and #3 teams in the league.

The Kentucky women have had a head-scratching season, and are currently 5-6 in the SEC. The Cats are 2-4 since my last post. UK had 30 turnovers in a loss at Florida, and I think their biggest weakness this season is an inability to take care of the basketball.

Despite bad losses at Auburn and Tennessee, the Kentucky men are only a game out of first place in the SEC. At UK, there is no such thing as a moral victory. But taking Kansas into overtime in Lawrence was impressive. The Cats are still in control of their destiny.

It looks like the OSU men will probably finish around .500 in the league. But with the freshmen and sophomores getting better, it will be interesting to see if the Bucks can make some noise in the Big Ten tournament.

Lookin’ Like A Long Winter

January 19, 2016

After a much milder-than-normal December, and even early January, winter has arrived here. The low temperature yesterday was 6F. Significant snow is expected tomorrow and Friday. Could get close to a foot if we end up on the high-side of estimates.

It’s been rough for winter sports here lately. The Blue Jackets’ woes have been well documented here. They are still the worst team in the league.

The road has been unkind to the basketball teams. The Ohio State men appeared to have the corner turned with a win over Kentucky, part of a streak of 7 wins in-a-row. But road trips continue to be disastrous. Saturday, the Bucks lost by 35 at Maryland. This after big road losses at Indiana and Connecticut earlier. With two conference losses, OSU is tied for fourth in the Big Ten. Indiana and Iowa are 5-0.

The Kentucky men had won 18 straight games over Auburn, a streak that went back to 2000. But after having a decent second-half lead on The Plains Saturday, the Tigers came storming back and won 75-70. After the earlier big loss at LSU, the Cats have 2 conference losses and are tied for fourth in the SEC. Texas A&M is 5-0, coming off a huge rout at Georgia.

Speaking of Auburn, the Kentucky women did manage to avenge their loss at Auburn with a 54-47 home win over the Tigers Sunday. But the Cats were no match for #2-ranked South Carolina even in Memorial Coliseum last week. With two conference losses, UK is in a 4-way tie for third. The Gamecocks are 5-0.

Even the Ohio State women could not avoid an embarrassing road loss in Evanston last week. Maryland, Purdue and OSU are currently tied for first in the Big Ten with 5-1 records.


Happy New Year!

January 7, 2016

Happy New Year to all readers. I hope 2016 is your best year ever!

I had a wonderful holiday season. Got to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend’s granddaughter.

Over the holidays, craziness abounded in Columbus. The Jackets lost a bunch of games but also managed victories over Dallas and Washington, the best teams in the West and East respectively. Goaltenders Bobrovsky and McElhinney are both hurt, so Columbus is dependent on minor-league goalies. Ryan Johansen has been traded to Nashville in exchange for defenseman Seth Jones.

SEC play hasn’t been kind to the Kentucky men and women so far. The women beat Duke and finished out the non-conference schedule unbeaten. But the Cats opened up SEC play at Auburn and lost 66-61. I did not get to see the game, but Auburn has not traditionally been an SEC power.

The men beat archrival Louisville, then easily handled Ole Miss in the SEC opener. But Tuesday the Cats went to LSU and lost by 18. UK is not getting much effort out of its players right now.

On the other hand, the Ohio State men are turning things around. The win over Kentucky seemed to be the turning point. After a couple more non-conference wins, the Bucks won their first three conference games over Minnesota, Illinois and Northwestern. A big game against Indiana comes up Sunday on CBS.

The Ohio State women are ranked #5 nationally with wins over Virginia, Michigan State and Maryland. The nationally-televised contest on the Terps home floor was their first ever Big Ten loss since they joined the league. Kelsey Mitchell could be the player of the year.

The stock market has certainly had a horrible start to 2016. I have continued to add stocks to my portfolio on down days. No idea how low we go. But the Fed raising rates and the economy slowing down can be a one-two punch to the financial markets.


Happy Holidays To All Readers!

December 20, 2015

I want to take a minute to wish all readers a joyous holiday season! It’s been a warm December here so far, so there is essentially no chance of a White Christmas around these parts. In fact, I suspect some people will be having backyard cookouts:-).

The Blue Jackets are undefeated since my last post (which must not have been too long ago:-) ) after a 7-5 win at Arizona, and last night’s shootout win over Philadelphia in front of the home fans. Joonas Korpisalo has looked pretty good between the pipes, and he finally picked up his first win last night. Sergei Bobrovsky is improving faster than thought, and may be back in the lineup fairly soon.

Ohio State and Kentucky don’t get together very often. I wasn’t expecting much out of the Buckeyes in yesterday’s game in Brooklyn, given the slow start this season. But the Bucks surprised everyone with a 74-67 win. After taking leads of as much as 16 points, the Cats made a furious comeback. But it fell short. The loss is disappointing for UK fans, of course, but the win was a real boost to the young Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see if yesterday’s game was a fluke, or if OSU can now make a run at the Big Ten title.


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