UK – Live Breathe Blue

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Kentucky Basketball — Sign of the Apocalypse

Sign of the Apocalypse—By John Huang

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – What in the world is going on with attendance at Rupp Arena? Cast your eyes up to the rafters and you’ll see rows and rows of blatantly empty bleachers. Downstairs in the lower levels, pockets of premium seats also appear visibly vacant. When the hallowed student eRUPPtion Zone looks embarrassingly anemic night after night, you know the basketball world has tilted off its axis. Bringing in stand-ins because students don’t show, or throwing in the Louisville game as part of a promotional ticket package? You gotta be kidding me!


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Kentucky Volleyball — Thrills, Chills, and Kills

Thrills, Chills, and Kills—By John Huang

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — The matches I just witnessed during the first and second rounds of the 2017 NCAA Volleyball Tournament weren’t anything like the games our moms used to play. They weren’t the backyard variety we batted around at summer picnics nor were they the recreational version we played in church or intramural leagues. They were nothing like the two-man game invented on California beaches, and they certainly didn’t resemble the testosterone laden variation I participated in while serving in Uncle Sam’s Army.


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Kentucky Football — Jacob Hyde

Jacob Hyde Senior Day Interview—By John Huang

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday that Jacob Hyde stepped on campus for the very first time to play football for the University of Kentucky. Now, on Saturday, the 6’2”, 320-lb defensive lineman from Manchester will be suiting up in the blue and white for the final time at home. I’ve been a fan of the Wildcats for over half a century and I can’t remember any player who has been more of a joy to be around. Jacob’s positive attitude, infectious smile, and ever-present faith serve as an inspiration to all. We’re all going to miss #36 on the football field, but as you’ll see, he’s sticking around to make the rest of the world a heck of a whole lot better place for all of us.


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Kentucky Women’s Basketball — High Character

High Character—By John Huang

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell believes in new beginnings. He’s mentioned on several occasions his time as a troubled youth and as a less than upstanding young adult. He talks freely of his early failures, difficulties, and pain. The lessons he’s learned along the way have undoubtedly contributed to the recent success of the program he aims to build.


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Kentucky Basketball — Talking Your Talk

Talking Your Talk—By John Huang

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — When speaking with this year’s version of the Basketball Wildcats, I get the feeling that collectively, they’re a likable bunch. Thus far—at least during media interview opportunities–everyone sports big smiles, engages freely with reporters, and generally seems to be happy with their lives as rock stars in the UK fishbowl. With a couple of exceptions, most of these players will talk your ear off. I’ve had conversations about shoe fashion with Quade Green and Poutine with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Kevin Knox seems to be the type who will ramble on endlessly about anything and everything. So, I was quite perplexed when Coach John Calipari told me he can’t get these guys to talk to each other on the court.


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Kentucky Football — What If?

What If? —By John Huang

(ATHENS, Ga.) — For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.” When John Greenleaf Whittier authored those famous lines from his nineteenth century poem, he could have easily been referencing Kentucky’s 2017 football season. Although the Wildcats sported a glossy 7-3 record heading into Georgia, many in BBN found themselves still lamenting those heartbreaking last-second defeats from earlier in the year.


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Kentucky Basketball — Agony or Ecstasy

Agony or Ecstasy—By John Huang

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — I’m staring at Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari up on the podium. He looks weathered, fatigued, and burdened, as if he’s aged a hundred years in the past six months. He jokingly calls them “dog years,” as if the time at the Kentucky helm has been somehow magnified by the overwhelming mantle of suffocating responsibility. With apologies to Sylvester Stallone, Calipari’s bruised spirit, bloodshot eyes, and furrowed brow reminds me of a bloated version of a fading Rocky Balboa. I’m transfixed by his image. I can’t stop staring at him, unable to fully grasp either the reality or the significance of what I’m seeing.


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Kentucky Football — Brawn Over Brains

Brawn Over Brains—By John Huang

NASHVILLE, Tn. — Vanderbilt University touts itself as an elite academic institution. There are a lot of smart people at Vandy with a haughtiness that’s probably rightfully deserved. With ACT scores soaring through the stratosphere, this “Harvard of the South” is pervasively known for kicking academic sand in the face of its fellow SEC brethren.


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Kentucky Basketball — Blue Poison

Blue Poison—By John Huang

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Opening night at Rupp Arena for this year’s version of the UK Basketball Wildcats was surprisingly unsettling. At halftime, Mark Pope’s Utah Valley University Wolverines led Kentucky 34-25. The young, but talented kiddie Cats looked disorganized, disjointed, and shell shocked. Despite Coach John Calipari doing all he could in the preseason to intentionally set the bar low for his squad, no one could have limboed lower than the Cat’s first half performance.


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