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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 tennis - UK courting the men's cup for best overall athletic program (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader)

When it comes to "best players," there has been a lot of that this year with UK men's sports. At present, Kentucky ranks second behind North Carolina in the Capital One Men's Cup standings for the best overall athletic program.

If Emery's squad could find its way into the Final Four this weekend, that may clinch the Cup title for the Cats.

"Thanks for telling me that," said Emery, smiling.


The rematch is a chance for UK to rinse their mouths of that ill-tasting loss.
 
"We definitely want to get some revenge," said senior Eric Quigley, the 2012 SEC Player of the Year. "They're definitely a good team but I think we can play a little better. But it's not going to be easy. Stanford's a great team, and Stanford's always good, every year."
 
Revenge is not the Wildcats' primary goal, just a step in the process of bringing home a national title, a feat the team has fallen short of the past three seasons.

Men's tennis - Tennis, optimism helping former UK player Emery fight off cancer (Jennifer Smith, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Now, at age 28, Matt is enduring his second bout with cancer within the past year.

But the smile never wanes.

"Matthew is somebody who 100 percent of the time finds the positive in any situation," Dennis Emery said. "And he's always been that way. He's someone who is just really optimistic."

Baseball - Bat Cats hope road trip lasts a while (Mark Maloney, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Next up, UK will close the Southeastern Conference regular season with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Mississippi State.

From Starkville, the Cats will travel to Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., where the SEC Tournament will take place May 22-27. The better they do in the 10-team, double-elimination tournament, the longer their stay will be in suburban Birmingham.

UK, No. 4 in the latest Baseball America poll, will have a first-round bye at stake when it meets Mississippi State and former Wildcats Coach John Cohen.

Baseball - Kentucky baseball knows what's at stake (Kyle Tucker, The Courier-Journal)

Kentucky has the best record in the league by half a game over South Carolina (17-9), which had its series finale against Georgia canceled last weekend due to weather, and a full game over LSU (17-10). The Gamecocks and Tigers close the regular season with a series against each other.

The Cats, who lead the nation in wins and already have their second-most victories in school history, are looking for just their second SEC regular-season title. They can also clinch a bye in the SEC Tournament by finishing with the East Division's best record. Once UK leaves for Paducah today, it won't return until it has been eliminated -- or has won -- the league tournament.

Softball - Breaking down the softball regionals (Jessica Mendoza, ESPN.com)

This is the most exciting and up-for-grabs regional in the entire tournament. And the regional I will be covering starting Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. You have three teams in this regional that could advance in almost any regional, and they are all together. Louisville has the best record in the tournament with only three losses. However, the Cardinals have yet to be challenged with teams from the stronger conferences (Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC). This will be the biggest challenge of the year for them as they face an SEC team in Kentucky that made it all the way to super regionals last year and a former national champion in Michigan. The first matchup between Kentucky and Michigan will be the most anticipated, as these teams faced off in last year's Ann Arbor regional with Kentucky walking away with the upset.

Football - Kentucky spring wrap (Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com)

Finding more playmakers: Coach Joker Phillips feels like he has more firepower to work with on offense again. After struggling mightily to find consistent playmakers on offense in 2011, Phillips left spring with more confidence about players he felt he could rely on going forward. The biggest standout was receiver Demarco Robinson. He became one of the most consistent players at practice and caught nine passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. Also, freshman receiver Daryl Collins surprised coaches with his playmaking ability. Tight ends Ronnie Shields and Tyler Robinson also stepped up and should help take pressure off of Kentucky's running game. 

Former Wildcats making headlines

Ex-UK QB Mike Hartline with Patriots, learning from Tom Brady (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Former Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline spent part of last season with the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. This spring he's working out with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady.

Signed by the Patriots to a futures contract on Jan. 12, Hartline said he is trying to make the most of hanging out with some of the NFL greats.

Ex-Cat Alex Meyer back in town pitching against Legends (John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader)

An announced crowd of 6,656 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark heard Meyer introduced as "University of Kentucky graduate Alex Meyer."

"It was great being back in Lexington where I went to school," Meyer said. "Not too many people get to go back to the town where they played in for school."

Knee injury a 'setback' for ex-Kentucky star Joe Crawford (Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Former Kentucky basketball player Joe Crawford tore a knee tendon Sunday while playing for a team in Israel. The ill-timed injury, which is expected to sideline him for four to six months, comes as interest from other teams, including some in the NBA, has grown, the player's agent said Tuesday.

"It's a setback," agent Aaron Mintz said. "But if there's anyone who has shown time and time again he'll get through this, it's Joe."


On Thursday afternoon, he was just another former University of Kentucky football player trying to adjust to the real world. On Friday morning, he was a Cincinnati Bengal.

"I got the call night before to come in," said Smith, a Dunnellon High School graduate. "I reported the next day and had to go through all the physicals."

News from UKAthletics.com







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