Kentucky Wildcats

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Kentucky Basketball — Gators Chomped!

Gators Chomped—By John Huang

Way back in my dental school days, I had a classmate who was your typical obnoxious Gator fan. Granted, the guy had legitimate familial connections to the Florida program, but his incessant braggadocio about the team in orange and blue still rankles me to this day. Honestly, a lot of things about the visitors from Gainesville remain irritatingly bothersome. In addition to the misguided loyalties of my wayward nephew, there’s also Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow, Joakim Noah, Matt Walsh, the Gator chomp, and the whole Gator Nation bit. All together, they don’t quite generate enough vitriol to warrant wasting your precious time and daily energy, but you do have just enough dislike for them to cheer like heck against them whenever they’re playing the Wildcats.


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Kentucky Basketball — Senior Night, “Oh My”!

Senior Night, “Oh My”!—By John Huang

University of Kentucky senior night celebrations were once so poignant and unique that even television networks felt compelled to cover them live. I remember Dick Enberg’s voice quivering with his signature “Oh my” immediately after he witnessed the festivities for the first time. Nowadays, with everybody staging their own versions of these farewell moments, the occasion has lost much of its luster. There’s simply not as much sentimentality, emotion, and glamour to trigger our jaded excitement levels.


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Kentucky Basketball — It’s a Doggone Win

Photo by Brendon Miller                       

It’s a Doggone Win—By John Huang

During my stint in the military back in the late eighties, a couple of my best army buddies were hard core Georgia Bulldog fans. Armed with our comparable biweekly subscriptions to the Cats Pause and the Georgia Bulldogs magazines, we would frequently engage in heated Cats vs Dawgs debates regarding our beloved teams. We all accepted the fact that Kentucky always stunk in football and Georgia in basketball. The major difference, however, was that UK fans still cared about football while UGA fans didn’t even acknowledge that the sport of basketball existed.


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Kentucky Baseball and Softball — No Crying in Baseball

No Crying in Baseball—By John Huang

If the recent UK Softball and Baseball Media Day gathering was any indication, Wildcat fans are in for an exciting upcoming season. The annual event held in the media room at Commonwealth Stadium featured a catered lunch, selected player availability, and coaches Rachel Lawson and Nick Mingione dazzling reporters with an unusual dose of optimism, enthusiasm, and emotion as they described the anticipation in store for the 2017 versions of their respective teams.


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Kentucky Basketball — Toughness Defined

Toughness Defined—by John Huang

In his post-game press conference after the disappointing homecourt loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, John Calipari lamented how casually his young team had played. “We got out-toughed,” the frustrated UK coach exclaimed, adding quickly that the lack of toughness was something that he felt was readily curable. Two weeks later, after a well-publicized reboot and an ugly but refreshing 67-58 road victory over Alabama, I’m beginning to think Coach Cal may actually know what he’s talking about.


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Kentucky Basketball — Here’s the Scoop

Here’s the Scoop—By John Huang

During Kentucky’s recent slide toward “rock bottom,” everyone wants to know what’s wrong with the Cats. Anytime the team loses a single game, people invariably start asking questions. Whenever the team loses three out of four, then all of BBN immediately plunges into full panic mode. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the answers. That’s for others above my pay grade and security clearance to figure out. I’m here simply to give you a taste of what it’s like to report on the action.


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Kentucky Women’s Basketball — Maci, Maci, Maci!

Maci, Maci, Maci!—By John Huang

Like a vigilant sentinel standing guard over the county line, the roadside highway sign off US 25E in Southeastern Kentucky proudly proclaims “Bell County, Home of Macy Morris, Miss KY Basketball 2015.” Although her name is misspelled, the sentiment remains unmistakable. As a key player for the University of Kentucky Wildcats Women’s Basketball team, the hometown hoops heroine from Pineville carries with her the hopes, the dreams, and the pride of her tight-knit mountain community.


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Kentucky Basketball — Believe It

Believe It—By John Huang

Three minutes into the game versus Georgia last night in Rupp Arena, it was hard for anyone to believe what was happening on the court. After all, the Bulldogs had jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead before US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had even settled into his seat. The Wildcats were short-handed, with De’Aaron Fox and Sacha Killeya-Jones felled by the flu bug. Mychal Mulder was still recovering from his mystery illness, and thus also missing in action. Kentucky was turning the ball over, missing easy layups, and Bam was already in foul trouble. When Georgia went up 19-5 with fourteen minutes to go in the half, few in Big Blue Nation believed the Cats could come back to win.


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Kentucky Basketball — Rocked, Chalked, JayHawked!

Rocked, Chaulked, JayHawked!—By John Huang

I’m not a big fan of the Kansas Jayhawks. Their coach, Bill Self, seems like a decent enough chap, but his teams are known primarily for losing big time NCAA tournament games. In their past twelve tournament appearances under Self, the heavily favored Jayhawks have lost to the likes of mid-major schools such as Bucknell, Bradley, Northern Iowa, VCU, and Wichita State. I know they’ve also won their share of big games, but even when Kansas made the finals in 2012, they were kind enough to hand Anthony Davis and company the championship trophy. Generally speaking, Jayhawk players spend their entire college careers trapped in desolate wheat fields through the dead of winter with only nightmarish upset memories haunting them upon graduation. Given all that, I should feel sorry for the Kansas Jayhawks—and yet I can’t stand them. I want them to lose every game.


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Kentucky Basketball — Crushed by Orange

Crushed by OrangeBy John Huang

In 2017, a Tuesday night in January usually means another SEC road trip for the Basketball Wildcats. I’m tagging along as usual, negotiating the perils of Jellico Mountain to bring you all the action from Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, as the Cats take on the Tennessee Volunteers. Less than 12 months ago in this same building, UK pulled a Jekyll and Hyde–jumping out to a 21-point first-half lead and then watching helplessly—as their Big Orange rivals staged a comeback for the ages. My hopes are for a different outcome this time around but all Cat fans know that a date with the Vols is frequently wrought with uncharacteristic surprises.


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