Archive for March, 2014

Early Exit

March 22, 2014

Ohio State and Dayton were the first teams to go into action Thursday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In a game played in Buffalo, Dayton’s Vee Sanford, who hails from Lexington, hit a layup with 3.8 seconds to go to give the Flyers a 60-59 win over the Buckeyes. So, OSU became the first victim of the upset bug in this year’s tournament.

Kentucky beat Kansas State last night 56-49 in a grind-it-out affair. Next up for the Cats is Wichita State, the first team in college basketball history to go 35-0.

Jenn O’Neill had 21 points as Kentucky opened up tournament play with a 46-point win over Wright State. For the first time, NCAA women’s tourney games are being played in Lexington. Monday night, the Cats will play the winner of the Chattanooga-Syracuse game.

Fell Just Short

March 16, 2014

The Kentucky men entered the season with high expectations. Some thought they would go undefeated. They were ranked #1 in many polls. But the regular season was a nightmare as the Cats lost 9 games and disappointed most everyone.

In the SEC tournament, though, the Wildcats came alive and had big wins over LSU and Georgia to earn a spot in the championship game against regular-season champion and #1-ranked Florida. Kentucky fell behind by 16 in the second half, but fought back and only lost by 1. The Cats had the ball with less than 10 seconds to go, but was unable to get a shot off, as James Young lost his balance and slipped.

In the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State came from 18 down to beat Nebraska in the quarterfinals. In the semis, the Bucks played well but lost to regular-season champion Michigan by 3.

Some unfinished business from last weekend: The Kentucky women played well but lost the SEC tournament championship to Tennessee 71-70.

As I type this, the NCAA men’s tournament pairings will be announced in a few minutes, and the women’s pairings will be announced tomorrow night. The Kentucky women will likely start the tournament on their home court.

A Couple Nice Top-Seed Upsets

March 9, 2014

There is no question that the Kentucky women’s team has underachieved this year, relative to expectations. And Ohio State is rebuilding after a long, moderately successful tenure by former coach Jim Foster. But both teams picked up nice conference tournament wins.

Kentucky opened in the quarterfinals by beating Florida, 75-70. DeNesha Stallworth had early foul trouble, but ended up scoring 13 points. The Gators had won both regular season meetings on the strength of a strong transition offense. But the Cats played well down the stretch to earn a semifinal meeting against top-seed South Carolina.

The Gamecocks had also swept the regular-season series over Kentucky, but the Cats prevailed this time 68-58. Stallworth and Linnae Harper each had 12 points for the Big Blue. South Carolina came into the game ranked fifth, and might have garnered a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament had they won the SEC playoff. But they will watch Sunday as the Cats play in their fourth SEC tournament championship in 5 years. Kentucky has not won this tourney since 1982. The opponent will be Tennessee who beat Texas A&M in the other semifinal.

I saw a regular season game between Penn State and Ohio State earlier in the year, and the Buckeyes were no match for the conference champion Lions. But in the Big Ten tournament, the Bucks turned the tables with a 99-82 quarterfinal rout. In the semifinals, Ohio State lost another close one to Iowa. The Bucks finished the season one game below .500.

The Blue Jackets were routed in Chicago Thursday night, but also beat Dallas and Nashville. They currently hold down the second and final wildcard playoff spot, but there is a lot of hockey yet to be played.

The Kentucky men managed to edge Alabama on Senior Night but then lost big yesterday in Gainesville, as expected. Florida became the first team to go 18-0 in SEC conference play. The Ohio State men host Michigan State this afternoon on Senior Day.

I have not had much time for ham radio lately, but the upper bands have been good. A lot of great DX is being worked on the 10-meter band.


It Just Gets Worse

March 2, 2014

They say it is always darkest right before the dawn. But this season it is looking more and more like the dawn is just never going to get here.

On January 29th, Ohio State suffered probably its most embarrassing loss of the season as Penn State visited Columbus and left with a 71-70 overtime victory. Last Thursday, the two teams met again, this time in Happy Valley. But the result was about the same, with the Lions winning 65-63. The Buckeyes had some pretty good looks at the basket down the stretch, but PSU, a team that will be lucky to make the NIT, held on to complete the season sweep. Today the Buckeyes visit Bloomington, then finish the regular season next Sunday with Michigan State on Senior Day. In the Big Ten, Michigan is in the driver’s seat, being about the only team that hasn’t suffered embarrassing losses.

The world doesn’t look any better for Kentucky. The Cats hosted Arkansas last Thursday, looking to avenge an earlier loss in Fayetteville. The Hogs are notorious for playing poorly on the road, but they left Rupp Arena with a 71-67 overtime win. Last night the Cats visited South Carolina, the worst team in the SEC, and lost again. Calipari was ejected in the second half. UK rallied down the stretch, but just don’t play with enough intensity for enough time to win.

And then there is the weather. We are expecting a fairly major ice/snow storm starting this afternoon. The only thing that is good about long, cold winters is that it delays the start of lawn mowing :-).