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Web Wednesday: Non-conference schedule addition

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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

A state that has just under 4.4 million people according to a 2011 estimate -- which is the 26th highest total population in the U.S. -- is able to generate enough interest in Kentucky basketball to sustain a number of websites, newspapers, radio shows and TV shows. It is no secret that Kentucky fans drive college basketball traffic on the Internet.

How is that possible from such a small state? Why does the Big Blue Nation have such a powerful online presence?

Men's basketball - Breaking down UK's schedule from Massimino to Pitino (Mark Story, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Overall, a schedule with games against Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor and Louisville, plus quality mid-major foes Long Island and Marshall is respectable. The Rupp Arena part of the schedule, especially in a season in which UK raised ticket prices for some fans, leaves a lot to be desired.

The University of Kentucky has announced its 2012-13 men's basketball non-conference schedule, including games against Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor, Morehead State and the traditional Christmas week game against Louisville on Dec. 29.

University of Kentucky senior Matt Smith has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which annually honors the best center in college football.

Smith, a Louisville native who was also on the Rimington watch list last season, has played in 29 games in his career with 22 starts.

In 2011, Smith missed the first two games because of injury but bounced back strong with nine starts. Two years ago, Smith helped anchor a UK offensive line that ranked in the top 25 in the nation in fewest quarterback sacks allowed.

Football recruiting is far more an inexact science than baseball and basketball, for obvious reasons. There's no way of knowing if a kid who physically dominates at the 12th-grade level will keep doing the same every year. And, like it or not, AAU basketball gives recruiters the opportunity to see the nation's most highly-touted players clash with each other.

The difference is - and it's huge - one great player still can change the fortunes of any quality basketball program. Two can prompt your fans to start squirreling away money for a trip to the post-season. Three? Assuming they get along and play well together, well, they can make history.

It takes dozens of players, arriving every year, to make it happen in football. And even though you're bringing in around 25 per year, if you're Kentucky, you can't make many mistakes.

Track & Field - Kentucky hires Stanford's Floreal to coach track and field (Mark Maloney, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Floreal, a UK assistant from 1995 through 1997, returns after a highly successful run at Stanford University, where he was an assistant from 1998-2005 and director of track and field for the past eight seasons.

He soon will be heading to London as the Team USA jumps coach at the Summer Olympic Games.

That Floreal would leave national-power Stanford for Kentucky prompted Track & Field News magazine to label one of its tweets "a coaching shocker."

Baseball - Cuba claims Game 4 against Team USA (

The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team couldn't find an answer for Cuban starting pitcher Freddy Alvarez who struck out eight and allowed just two hits in 7.1 innings to lead Cuba to a 5-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Latin American Stadium.

Team USA fell behind early and played catch-up all game. Trailing by four with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the U.S. put together a two-out rally, getting a single from Kyle Farmer (Georgia), a double by Austin Cousino (Kentucky) and another two-bagger, which drove in both runners, by Johnny Field (Arizona).

Former Wildcats making headlines

Alex Meyer did not get his turn to pitch in the Futures Game until the eighth inning, when USA led the World by 12 runs. He waited and waited, and he only threw six pitches, but Meyer packed into his impressive performance all the reasons why he is considered the Nationals' top pitching prospect.

The biggest loss is Harrellson, a versatile power forward who rebounds well, defends solidly and can shoot the three-pointer. His skill set should translate to a solid career in the league. But on this current Knicks team, his minutes were likely to be eaten up by Steve Novak, Jared Jeffries and Camby himself, who is a far better fit for backup center than Harrellson.

Trevathan making his mark with Broncos (Frank Jolley, The Daily Commercial)

Danny Trevathan is proving that he belongs in the National Football League.
The former Leesburg High School and University of Kentucky linebacker, a sixth round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, became the team's first rookie from the Class of 2012 to crack the starting lineup.

The team announced Saturday that forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky signed a deal worth about $4 million for his first season, according to the union negotiated rookie pay scale. Kidd-Gilchrist averaged nearly 12 points and more than seven rebounds in his only season with the Wildcats.

The Bobcats chose Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall rick. Kidd-Gilchrist's Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis was chosen first overall by New Orleans.

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