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Tuesday night notes: UK to meet Western Kentucky in tourney opener

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LOUISVILLE - Late in the second half, Kentucky appeared all but set to face off against "Unforgettable" Sean Woods and his Mississippi Valley State team. The Delta Devils led Western Kentucky 53-37 with less than five minutes in a "First Four" matchup.

The Hilltoppers had other plans.

Western Kentucky closed the game on a 22-5 run to overcome the big deficit and 28 turnovers forced by MVSU. The Toppers hit just 19-of-63 (30.2 percent) from the field but grabbed 26 offensive rebounds en route to a 60-32 edge on the glass.

T.J. Price had 11 points, as did Derrick Gordon, who was a high school teammate of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick's. Gordon, a freshman, also had 11 rebounds to post a double-double in his first-career NCAA Tournament game.

UK is 3-2 all-time against Western, with the last matchup coming in the 2001-02 season opener. WKU won that game 64-52 in the NABC Classic over the fourth-ranked Wildcats. Interestingly, it was the first collegiate game for Patrick Sparks, who would transfer to Kentucky after his sophomore season. He had four points and five rebounds for the Hilltoppers.

As you get geared up for an in-state matchup in Louisville's KFC Yum! Center on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. on TBS, here are a few notes to close down your Tuesday evening:

  • I am already in Louisville getting ready for UK's 2012 NCAA debut and Eric Lindsey and I will once again have plenty of coverage for you starting tomorrow. Coaches and players are available to the media and we'll have video and written content on the blog Wednesday. Additionally, UK's practice at 4:25 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center will be open to the public.
  • There's no shortage of tournament-related content out there today, but give Andy Katz's piece about Anthony Davis making UK the favorite for the national title if you haven't already.
  • Keeping it with ESPN, President Barack Obama will unveil his complete bracket on Tuesday's 11 p.m. SportsCenter. We do know his Final Four picks, and he has Kentucky winning the South Region.
  • UK rifle fell short of its goal to win a second-consecutive national championship, but the Cats' second-place finish at this past weekend's NCAAs allowed Kentucky to take a step forward in the Capital One Cup standings. The finish earned six points on both the women's and men's side. With the points, UK moves up to 27th in women's standings and 35th in men's.
  • The 16th-ranked baseball team kept it going on Tuesday, defeating Wright State 9-1 at Cliff Hagan Stadium. A.J. Reed was the story as the Cats moved to an NCAA-best 17-0. Reed become the first player in the modern era to start on the mound and bat fourth, and he rewarded coach Gary Henderson's decision. The freshman tossed six innings of one-run ball, striking out six in moving to 3-0 on the season. At the dish, he added three hits, three RBI and a home run. Not a bad day at the ballpark, huh?

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