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Monday morning notes: Post-Big Blue Madness edition

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Another edition of Big Blue Madness has come and gone and there were plenty of memorable moments. With the pomp and circumstance out of the way, John Calipari and Matthew Mitchell's team can now get down to business. With full in-season practice time now available to them, the men's and women's teams are hitting the courts hard with college hoops season just a few weeks away.

Once basketball does get going in November, one of the busiest times of the college sports season will begin. Fall sports will be wrapping up while winter sports will just be getting going. Things will be even crazier around Kentucky because so many of UK's fall teams are well positioned to reach the post-season, especially volleyball, men's soccer and women's soccer. We'll have a more detailed post-season primer later this week, but here is a quick update on UK's fall sports from the last week:

  • Jon Lipsitz and the women's soccer team had an extremely eventful weekend, playing two SEC matches that came down to the wire at the UK Soccer Complex. On Friday, the Cats pulled an upset of No. 14 Tennessee with a goal in the 106th minute from Natalie Horner. UK turned around to play another match on Sunday against Georgia. Still regaining their legs from the double overtime win, UK let in an early goal to the Bulldogs before Arin Gilliland netted the equalizer in the 76th minute. With another overtime affair looking inevitable, Alexa Newfield, the SEC's leading scorer, dribbled almost half the length of the field and slid one past UK goalkeeper Kayla Price to break the Cats' hearts. The loss dropped UK to 11-5 on the season, 4-4 in SEC play. The Cats, though, still are in good shape to secure a berth in the SEC Tournament and their high RPI ranking has them very much in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament berth.

  • UK volleyball won its biggest match of the season on Wednesday of last week, knocking off No. 18 Tennessee in a five-set thriller to pull the Cats into a tie atop the SEC standings. Just two days later, Craig Skinner's bunch traveled to Starkville, Miss., to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a match that figured to be very difficult. A part of the university's "Bulldog Madness" event, the match set an attendance record for the school. The Cats couldn't overcome the raucous crowd, falling in straight sets. With 10 matches left in SEC play, the Cats (17-4, 8-2 SEC) are in third place just a game behind Tennessee. Next up are two road games this week against Georgia and Auburn on Friday and Sunday.

  • Following a 3-1 win over Tulsa last Wednesday in a performance coach Ian Collins called the team's best of the season, men's soccer got a much-needed break this weekend. UK has just four matches left in its regular season, three of which are in conference play. First up, though, is a trip to face Indiana in the final non-conference game of the season on Wednesday. The Hoosiers are among the nation's elite programs and should prove a major test. More importantly, the Cats play three Conference USA matches to finish up the season after the match against IU. At 1-4 in conference play, UK needs a strong finish to make a push for one of six berths in the conference tournament. If UK is able to reach the C-USA tournament, the Cats' strength of schedule could help them make a strong case to be included in the 48-team field for the NCAA Tournament.

Later this morning, I will head over to Joker Phillips' weekly press conference ahead of Saturday's matchup against Jacksonville State. We will have video of Phillips' comments and interviews with selected players as well as reports on the most notable happenings this afternoon.

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