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Web Wednesday: Sweet 16 edition

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Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.

Best on the 'net

Men's basketball: Kentucky basketball's Coach Cal downplays revenge factor vs. IU (Kyle Tucker, The Courier-Journal)

By Tuesday, though, Kentucky coach John Calipari was trying to tone down the talk of payback and focus his players on tightening up any remaining weaknesses, of which there appear to be very few.

"He's the youngest freshman in the country," Calipari said of Kidd-Gilchrist, who recently turned 18. "They say stupid things. I don't ever teach anger, because the physiology of that is really close to fear. So if you try to make your team angry ... and it doesn't go right, it turns into fear within their own bodies. So I don't do that.
"We're worried about us being our best."

Men's basketball: Four key factors led to Kentucky's loss at Indiana (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Most everyone remembers Christian Watford's shot -- ESPN has made it impossible to forget -- and Terrence Jones' no-show and the raucous, red-clad Indiana faithful storming the home floor at the end of the Hoosiers' upset of No. 1 Kentucky earlier this college basketball season.

"That was four months ago," UK Coach John Calipari said Tuesday.

Predictably, the question came to John Calipari the other day about his interest in the suddenly vacant New York Knicks job. And, just as predictably, Calipari repeated the line he's been using for the past few weeks: "I've got the best coaching job at any level of basketball. Why would I want another one?"
Why indeed?

Women's basketball: Kentucky women's basketball avoids total collapse against Green Bay (Mike Malloy, The Courier-Journal)

Behind the clutch play of Keyla Snowden, the second-seeded University of Kentucky avoided a stunning collapse in a 65-62 win against Green Bay in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament .

The win puts Kentucky into the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years. Kentucky will face No. 11 seed Gonzaga (28-5) on Sunday in Kingston, R.I.

Women's basketball: Kentucky women's one-for-all mentality has carried them to NCAA Sweet Sixteen (Jennifer Smith, Lexington Herald-Leader)

"As a coach, there wasn't much you could do," Mitchell explained. "There's no play you can run against that defense. You just have to trust your players that they can make enough plays to win a game like this."

"Trust" was the exact word he wrote in big, bold letters on the dry erase board before the game.

But the players already had that, they said, thus the show of unity as they walked into Hilton Coliseum on Monday night.

The Kentucky baseball team's undefeated start to the season, including a three-game sweep of two-time defending champion South Carolina this past weekend, landed them the No. 2 spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll and the 16th spot in Baseball America's rankings, both of which were released on Monday.

The Wildcats (21-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) trail only Florida in the Collegiate Baseball poll and advanced from 16th last week. They weren't ranked in the previous Baseball America poll.

Baseball: Baseball sweeps shakes up rankings (Eric Sorenson,

This choice is almost as big of a no-brainer as could be found in college baseball. The Wildcats played a series of cream puffs prior to welcoming in two-time defending national champion South Carolina and then summarily vanquished the Gamecocks in three straight games: 4-3, 4-3 and 6-3. Yep, nobody saw this coming, especially after the Wildcats' rich recent history of incredible starts followed by horrible finishes.

Football: Kentucky football coaches excited about young talent (Mark Maloney, Lexington Herald-Leader)

"... The way we played at Georgia, which came up short (a 19-10 loss), and also the way we played against Tennessee (a 10-7 win), the thing that makes you really excited is seeing those young guys out there flying around. When you look out there, there was a ton of young, true freshmen that were making plays for us on both sides of the football. The majority of them were on defense, but just getting back to see some of the young guys."

While most in the commonwealth are consumed with the University of Kentucky basketball team's march through March Madness, today also marks the beginning of an important period for the football team: spring practice.

UK is coming off a 5-7 season. Thanks to graduation and offseason dismissals, Kentucky will spend this spring - and preseason camp in August - trying to find replacements for six starters on defense, five on offense and one of the nation's top punters.

Track/cross country: Monaca's Nadzam has been a character study (Mike Bires, Beaver County Times)

The latest honor for Nadzam, a 2007 graduate of Monaca, was his recent nomination as one of five finalists for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. The award, named after UCLA legend John Wooden, recognizes a student-athlete's leadership, character and contribution to sport and society.

"He has never fallen short of the standard of excellence he has established for himself," UK track coach Don Weber said. "He excels in every facet of the ideal student-athlete. He is driven to perfection in everything he does. He has absolutely no chinks in his armor. I marvel at him, I really do."

Former Wildcats Making Headlines

"The most important thing about this bottle is that the proceeds from it will go to help my fellow Kentuckians fight and win the battle of heart disease - especially in eastern Kentucky," Couch said. "Winning this is very near and dear to my heart and more important than any football game. My father passed away from heart disease, and everyone has a family member that this terrible disease has affected."

Postgame notes: KG praises Cousins (Chris Forsberg, 

While Garnett is often limited in his praise of younger players, especially ones that tend to spar with him on the floor (say, Chicago's Joakim Noah), Garnett was highly complimentary of both Cousins and the Kings as a whole after Friday's loss. 

"Man, you know, he's crafty," Garnett said of Cousins. "He's better. His antics and all that stuff, that come with him, it's just part of the game. He was aggressive, he got looks with being aggressive. The times when he had a chance to score, he took advantage of them.

Collin Cowgill's on-base streak ends at 11 for A's (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)

Collin Cowgill is riding such a hot streak, it appears it has lifted him onto the Opening Day roster.

"Without tipping my hand, I don't know how he's not on the team at this point," manager Bob Melvin said after Cowgill extended his streak of reaching base safely to 11 plate appearances before lining out in his final at-bat Friday.

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Video of the Week - Final Four court time lapse

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