Keith Taylor: North Carolina all that’s standing in the way of return trip to Final Four for Cats, Calipari

MEMPHIS — Kentucky coach John Calipari is along for the ride, a joyful journey that has his Wildcats within one game of reaching the Final Four for the third time in the past four years. In order to get one of four elusive tickets to the national semifinals next week in Phoenix, Kentucky will have to get past top-seeded North Carolina in the South Region finals Sunday in what figures to be another...

NCAA stands by allegations that Louisville’s Pitino should have known about improper activity

The NCAA is standing by its allegations against the Louisville men’s basketball program and Rick Pitino, saying the coach failed to notice “red flags” in activities by a former staffer who an escort says hired dancers for sex parties with recruits and players. “If Pitino saw no red flags in connection with (Andre) McGee’s interactions with then prospective and current...

Oscar Performance, Mongolian Saturday top nominations for Keeneland opening week

Two Breeders’ Cup winners – 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Oscar Performance and Mongolian Saturday, winner of the 2015 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland – headline the list of horses nominated to five graded stakes that are part of seven stakes to be run during the April 7-9 opening weekend of Keeneland’s 2017 Spring Meet. The 15-day season, from April...

Fox scores career-high 39 points to lead Cats past UCLA and into South Region finals

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer MEMPHIS — Kentucky got revenge against UCLA and will have to beat North Carolina for a second time this season to reach the Final Four. De’Aaron Fox scored career-high 39 points to lead the Wildcats to an 86-75 win over the Bruins Friday night in the South Region semifinals at FedExForum. Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox gets a hug from Isaiah Briscoe...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: The time has come! Here’s your spring wild turkey season preview

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward Spring turkey hunting is slipping into position before daybreak and sitting still as the sun eases over the hills. It is breaking the silence with a call and getting a response that sends a shock of excitement down your spine. It is coaxing a love-struck gobbler closer and keeping your wits as it struts into range. “There’s something about that drumming, spitting,...

Morehead State outfielder Mike Patrick overcomes hearing loss to excel on the diamond

By Mark Maloney MSUEagles.com As a Morehead State outfielder, Mike Patrick must be able to respond at the crack of the bat. One problem. Patrick can’t hear that crack. He is deaf. Not totally deaf, but deaf enough. Patrick describes himself as “like 90 percent deaf.” What little he can hear comes through his right ear. He says doctors think he may have been born with the condition....

Knights comeback falls short in season-ending loss to Fairmont State in NCAA semifinal round

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—One bad half doomed the Bellarmine Knights in the NCAA Division II national semifinals Thursday as top-seeded Fairmont State sprinted to a 23-point lead in the first period then held off the Knights for a 79-68 victory. In the opening 20 minutes, the Knights went 0-for-8 from three-point range and committed 12 turnovers while the Fighting Falcons drained eight of 17 triples and...

Calipari talks about his time at Memphis, but he’s more concerned about matchup against UCLA

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer MEMPHIS — John Calipari hasn’t forgotten his time at Memphis. Calipari, who compiled a 214-68 record in nine seasons as coach of the Tigers, had a reception with a “couple hundred people,” many of them close friends, Wednesday night and reminisced about the good times as his Kentucky team prepares to take on UCLA in the South Region semifinals...

By the Numbers: A side-by-side comparison of UK-UCLA, two of college basketball’s bluebloods

By Guy Ramsey Special to KyForward Kentucky-UCLA comes rife with storylines, all of which will be explored in great detail when the two teams arrive in Memphis, Tennessee, to address what promises to be a massive media contingent. Between the blueblooded nature of the two programs and the personalities involved, those storylines might even overshadow the game itself at times. But when the Wildcats...

Bellarmine charges into NCAA Division II semifinals with convincing win over Colorado Mines

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—In one of its most convincing wins of the season, No. 2 Bellarmine trounced No. 11 Colorado School of Mines 92-72 in the NCAA Division II Championship Tournament national quarterfinals at the Sanford Pentagon. The Knights now move on to the play the top-seeded Fairmont Fighting Falcons in Thursday’s first semifinal game that will tip at 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. EDT). Fairmont thrashed...

Kitten’s Cat installed as the 4-1 morning line favorite in Saurday’s Spiral Stakes at Turfway

Oddsmaker and national racing commentator Mike Battaglia has made Kitten’s Cat the 4-1 morning line favorite in the Grade 3 $500,000 JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes Saturday at Turfway Park. The draw was held at the casino Wednesday as the featured event of the annual Call to the Post luncheon. Trained by Joe Sharp for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Kitten’s Cat will break from post eight in the 12-horse...

Jamie Vaught: UK Hoops season comes to a sudden, emotional end for seniors Epps, Akhator

After Kentucky women lost to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Lexington, finishing its remarkable campaign with a 22-11 mark after last year’s turmoil involving several player departures, it sure was a very emotional time for two Wildcat senior stars Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator. Even some reporters at last Sunday’s postgame press conference, including yours truly, were...

UK announces two-year contract extensions, pay increases for both Calipari and Stoops

Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari and football head coach Mark Stoops have each agreed to two-year extensions to their respective contracts, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced on Wednesday. The amendment to Calipari’s contract extends his deal from March 30, 2022 to March 30, 2024. Calipari’s total guaranteed compensation – including base salary, media/endorsement...

Four of nation’s best teams gather in Rupp Arena for NCAA Women’s Regional tournament

Notre Dame, Stanford, Ohio State and Texas – all ranked among the nation’s top-14 teams – are headed to Lexington for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional, set for Friday and Sunday in Rupp Arena. Sweet 16 action begins with a doubleheader Friday. Notre Dame takes on Ohio State in the opener at 7 p.m., followed by Stanford vs. Texas, 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game. ...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Nine-banded armadillo a curious critter — and an unwelcome exotic species

Their appearance is comical — a compact body, with the profile of a loaf of bread, covered by bony plates and scales. The legs seem way too short, but have grotesquely long “toenails.” The head is small with a pointed pig-like snout. The ears are pointy and erect, like the ears on a Chihuahua dog. They have a hairy belly, which is exposed when they stand upright on their hind legs. But this...

Bearcats’ coach likes UCLA’s chances, Cats focused on themselves going into powerhouse showdown

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin believes UCLA has the right tools in place to make a run at the national title. The Cincinnati coach came away impressed with the Bruins following a 79-67 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday night. Even though UCLA coach Steve Alford has been mentioned as a possible successor to Tom Crean at Indiana, Cronin...

Looking Ahead: Mitchell’s return could be a key for Cards as plenty of veterans, top recruits raise hopes

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — Donovan Mitchell sat in front of his locker in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis Sunday afternoon patiently answering questions while trying to process the fact that Louisville’s college basketball season had ended three games short of its NCAA Final Four goal. “This hurts. This sucks,” Mitchell said. “We...

Recalling poor finish last season, Petrino eager to get his Louisville squad back on practice field

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — By his own admission, Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino has had a difficult time dealing with the collapse of his team in the final three weeks of the 2016 season when the Cardinals lost consecutive games to Houston, Kentucky and LSU (in the Citrus Bowl) after being included in playoff conversation for most of the season. “I probably...

NCAA Rematch: Kentucky gets a second chance to take down UCLA, Alford in NCAA Sweet 16

By Keith Taylor KyForward senior sports writer The competition will only get tougher for Kentucky when the Wildcats resume their chase for a ninth national title this weekend in Memphis. The Wildcats (31-5) won their first two games in the NCAA Tournament by a combined margin of 12 points, defeating Northern Kentucky University (79-70) and escaping with a 65-62 triumph over Wichita State Sunday in...

Barn Notes: Toyota Blue Grass undefeated hopeful McCraken gets early work at Keeneland

Whitham Thoroughbreds’ undefeated graded stakes winner McCraken, who arrived at Keeneland on Thursday to begin preparations for the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) on April 8, worked five furlongs in one minute flat Monday with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. The time was the fastest of seven works at the distance. Keeneland clockers caught McCraken in fractions of :12.60, :26.20, 37.20, :48.20...