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Kentucky Sports Report (week of May 7)

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Baseball
- The No. 3 Kentucky baseball team broke for finals and returned to action with a stiff test, hosting two-time defending Southeastern Conference Champion and College World Series participant No. 5 Florida in a three-game set. UK suffered losses in the first two games, before riding the dominating arms of Corey Littrell and Trevor Gott to a 2-1 win in the finale.
- Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana before returning home to host the final SEC series of the year at Cliff Hagan Stadium, welcoming Alabama Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET. UK will wrap up the regular season at Mississippi State the following weekend, before traveling to the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., May 22-27.
- The Wildcats have amassed the fifth-most wins in program history, with their 15 SEC wins checking in third-most in program annals. UK lost its lead in the SEC for the first time in a span of eight weeks during the weekend loss to the Gators, as UK had led the conference standings for seven-consecutive weeks. UK sits a game back of the league lead, behind South Carolina (16-8) and LSU (16-8), a pair of team UK owns series wins against, with the Wildcats sweeping the Gamecocks.
- UK has improved to 13-4 in one-run games, owning a 12-8 record against top-25 opponents and a 10-5 mark against top-10 foes. The Wildcats boast a 30-3 record in day games after posting the 2-1 win on Sunday vs. Florida, riding Littrell and Gott's pitching efforts.

Softball

- The Kentucky softball team concluded regular-season action with a sweep of No. 22 LSU this weekend to clinch the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament and become NCAA Tournament eligible. The Wildcats entered the weekend with a 4-13 record in one-run games and a 0-5 mark in league play. All three victories against the Tigers came with UK winning by just one tally. Furthermore, LSU had never lost a game in Lexington and had never dropped a series to the Wildcats in program history.
- The Wildcats needed the senior trio of Chanda Bell, Brittany Cervantes and Rachel Riley to lead them to victory yet again. In the opening game of the series, Cervantes carved up the NCAA leader in ERA (0.90) in Rachele Fico for three earned runs including a two-run double and a two-out, two-strike solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
- Bell worked the complete-game effort and struck out 10 in the win. On Saturday, Riley was the winning pitcher with Bell earning the save and Cervantes going yard in her second consecutive at-bat against the Tigers with a solo homer in the first frame. In the final game of the series, Bell notched the fifth no-hitter of her career while striking out six in the win. Cervantes was 1-for-2 with a double to mark all four of her hits in the series coming in extra-base fashion.
- With the series win the Wildcats earn the fifth-seed in the tournament, marking their highest finish in the league under Rachel Lawson and the highest since winning the East in 2000. The 15-13 record in league play is the second-straight winning record against league foes and just the third in program history. Kentucky, with an RPI of 39 entering the weekend, became NCAA Tournament eligible by ensuring a regular-season record of above .500 (29-27) to mark the fourth straight season the Wildcats will cap the regular season with a winning record - a program record.

Men's tennis
- The UK men's tennis team received an at-large selection into the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament. Kentucky was selected as one of 16 host sites for the event, marking the fourth consecutive season the Wildcats will host the first and second rounds of the tournament.
- UK, which is the top seed in the Lexington Regional and the sixth overall seed in the tournament, will be joined in Lexington by No. 27 Indiana (21-8), No. 37 Louisville (18-9) and No. 75 Radford (20-5).
- The Wildcats are making their 23rd showing in the NCAA Tournament, including 18 of the last 19 years. This is the ninth time since 2000 that UK has hosted the first and second rounds, including four consecutive years. All of UK's NCAA appearances have come under Emery's direction.

Track and field
- Seven UK student-athletes competed Friday at the Billy Hayes Invitational in Bloomington, Ind.
- Freshman Keffri Neal ran a season-best 800m time of 1:50.67 to finish third overall.
- Sophomore Matt Hillenbrand ran the second-best 800m by a UK runner all season, finishing fourth in the race with a time of 1:51.07.
- The Billy Hayes Invitational is UK's final regular-season race of the year. The Wildcats will compete next in the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Baton Rouge, La., beginning Thursday.

Upcoming schedule

Wednesday, May 9
Baseball at Indiana - 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 10
Softball vs. Georgia - 5:00 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.)

Friday, May 11

Men's tennis hosts Radford - 3:00 p.m. (NCAA Tournament)
Softball vs. Alabama/Mississippi State - 5:30 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Baseball hosts Alabama - 7:00 p.m.
Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.)

Saturday, May 12
Baseball hosts Alabama - 2:00 p.m.
Men's tennis hosts Indiana/Louisville - 2:00 p.m. (NCAA Tournament)
Softball SEC Championship - 8:00 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.)

Sunday, May 13

Baseball hosts Alabama - 1:00 p.m.
Track and field at SEC Championships (Baton Rouge, La.)

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


University of Kentucky sophomore Trevor Gott and junior Luke Maile were named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List Tuesday.

Making the 60-man watch list puts the Wildcat duo in contention for the most prestigious award in college baseball. USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award since 1978.

Football - Seahawks draft Guy; Broncos take Trevathan (Lexington Herald-Leader, Jennifer Smith)

He had started to drift off during the sixth round of the draft. He was nearing a dream-like state when his dream finally came true and his phone rang with a team official on the other end.

"Want to be a Seahawk?" the man on the phone asked.

"Yes, sir," was all Guy could reply.

Football - Five UK players sign NFL free-agent contracts (The Courier-Journal, Kyle Tucker)

The NFL draft is hardly the last chance college football players have to make their professional dreams come true. In the 24 hours that follow every draft, a frenzy of rookie free-agent signings happen - and several Kentucky players were part of that mad dash to snatch up less-heralded talent this year.

Along with the Wildcats' two draft picks - safety Winston Guy to the Seattle Seahawks with the 181st pick and linebacker Danny Trevathan to the Denver Broncos with the 188th pick, both in the sixth round - five former UK players have signed rookie free-agent contracts.


University of Kentucky's Eric Quigley, who has set the school record for most wins in a season (47 and counting), has been named the Southeastern Conference Tennis Player of the Year by league coaches.

Quigley is the second player in UK history to earn the title, joining former UK All-American Jesse Witten (2005).


The sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men's tennis team, which won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title with an undefeated record in league play, has received an at-large selection into the NCAA Tennis Tournament, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

Men's Basketball - Kentucky basketball team invited to White House on Friday (The Courier-Journal, Kyle Tucker)

The University of Kentucky basketball team is headed to the White House, by invitation of President Obama, and the Wildcats had better hurry up and pack. Word of the invitation came Tuesday -- with the visit scheduled for Friday.

UK's players and coach John Calipari will be honored by the president at 4:50 p.m. Friday for winning this year's NCAA championship, the program's eighth.


University of Kentucky senior and National Champion Eloy Vargas will conduct five area youth basketball camps during the month of May.

Vargas, who helped the University of Kentucky men's basketball program capture its eighth national championship earlier in the month, will hold five camps in as many days May 14-18. The Nation of Blue Championship Camp featuring Eloy Vargas will tip off on Monday, May 14 at Belfry High School. Each camp will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Women's basketball - UK's Mitchell, Winburn principal among teachers honored (Lexington Herald-Leader, Valarie Honeycutt Spears)

UK women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell said he was the program's spokesman this year because he sees himself as a teacher first and a coach second. But Mitchell didn't know that he would be among those honored as a teacher who made a difference.

Mitchell was presiding over the recognition ceremony at the UK Student Center when one of his players, senior guard Keyla Snowden, walked in to surprise him, representing the team.

Former Wildcats making Headlines


It was somewhat easy to forget amidst the controlled chaos that was the Clippers' 28-3 run to close Game 1 in FedEx Forum. But Bledsoe's hustle play along with several other moments from the second-year guard playing his first career playoff game, were essential to the 99-98 victory.

Or as Paul said about Bledsoe and the rest of his teammates efforts prior to Monday's practice at the arena, "Each one of those plays had to be made in order for us to have a chance to win."

Former UK standout Roger Harden to coach Williamstown High (Lexington Herald-Leader, Mike Fields)

Harden met with the Williamstown players on Monday and "was very impressed with their enthusiasm."

The Demons, who play in the 8th Region, haven't had a winning season since 2004-05, so Harden realizes the challenges ahead.

"It's going to be a building process, for sure," he said. "They've never had a strength or conditioning program, so we're going to introduce the players to that."


Chris Rusin walked from the Iowa Cubs' bullpen to the pitcher's mound Sunday, knowing the best thing he could do for his team was to work deep into the game.

But going deep as a batter?

"That one surprised me a little, too," the lefty said after a 2-1 Pacific Coast League victory against Cardinals affiliate Memphis at Principal Park

Johnson Tweet: Surgery a Success (WGRZ.com, Ben Hayes)

Bills receiver Stevie Johnson says the the groin surgery he underwent Tuesday in Philadelphia was a success.

Johnson tweeted the above picture he says after surgery, and the tweet read as follows:

"Thank Yall! Successful Op.  Still Pretty as Ever maybe a bit more from after the Surgery... Ha What?  RecoveryMode now."

News from UKAthletics.com






SEC Player of the Year Eric Quigley leads UK in the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament with a No. 3 singles ranking. (Steve Harp, UK Athletics) SEC Player of the Year Eric Quigley leads UK in the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament with a No. 3 singles ranking. (Steve Harp, UK Athletics)
The Kentucky men's tennis team will have a chance to add another chapter to an already memorable season beginning next week.

The Southeastern Conference champions received the No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships and will play host to first and second round matches for the fourth consecutive season and Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.

The Wildcats (26-5) will face Radford (20-5) in the tournament's opening round, while familiar foes await in a potential second round matchup. Indiana (21-8) and Louisville (18-9) will play in the first round, with the winner advancing to play UK or Radford with a berth in the Sweet 16 at stake. All rounds beginning with the Sweet 16 will be played in Athens, Ga.

Earlier this season, UK won a 7-0 decision over the Hoosiers in Lexington. In last year's NCAA Tournament, UK defeated U of L in a memorable second round showdown between the two rivals. The Cats beat the Cardinals en route to the Elite Eight, the best finish in school history. This year, UK will be looking to advance to the first Final Four in Dennis Emery's three-decade tenure.

We'll have plenty more coverage leading up to and during UK's 2012 NCAA Tournament run, so stay tuned. In the mean time, check out the full release on UKathletics.com for more information.

It didn't really sink in for me until this morning, but the end of the 2011-12 athletics year is not far off. I guess I probably should have realized it at the CATSPYs on Monday or with finals just around the corner, but for me it took seeing that this weekend is our first without a home event since Christmas.

Anyway, that's all to explain why it's been somewhat of a quiet week around here. Of course, baseball, men's tennis, softball and track and field all have their postseasons ahead, but things are starting to slow down a bit.

This morning is not without news though, so here are a few notes for your Thursday:

  • After the best regular season in school history and an undefeated run through Southeastern Conference play, it's perfectly appropriate that the men's tennis team should dominate the conference awards announced on Thursday. Eric Quigley, the senior who is the top player in school history, was named Player of the Year, while Dennis Emery won Coach of the Year. Quigley was also named First Team All-SEC and was joined by teammates Anthony Rossi, Alex Musialek and Panav Jha. Tom Jomby was a second-team selection. Congratulations to all the Wildcats on these honors. Now, we look ahead to May 1, when UK will learn its path in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Another Wildcat got some excellent news yesterday, as baseball's freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino was named to the USA National Team. He is the first UK player to earn a spot on the team since 1999 when Chad Green did it.
  • Learfield Sports released updated standings in the annual Directors' Cup, which recognizes the top-performing athletic departments in the nation. On the strength of great performances by men's basketball, rifle, women's basketball and swimming and diving, UK ranks 23rd in the final winter standings, just eight shy of the top-15 goal set forth by Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.
  • John Wall (21 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, seven steals) and Jodie Meeks (27 points) each helped lead their teams to victory last night as the NBA regular season approaches. All 16 playoff spots have been locked up, so we now know the following former UK players will be playing in the postseason: Kelenna Azubuike (Dallas Mavericks), Eric Bledsoe (Los Angeles Clippers), Josh Harrellson (New York Knicks), Enes Kanter (Utah Jazz), DeAndre Liggins (Orlando Magic), Meeks (Philadelphia 76ers), Nazr Mohammed (Oklahoma City Thunder), Daniel Orton (Magic), Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics). Good luck to all nine Wildcats!

2012 CATSPYs video: Champions

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It's time for another video from Monday's CATSPY Awards. This one features the four teams that have won conference and/or national championships this season: men's basketball, women's basketball, rifle and men's tennis.

Kentucky Sports Report (week of April 23)

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Baseball
- With No. 1 LSU coming to Cliff Hagan Stadium, No. 2 Kentucky won the series over top-ranked LSU with wins in the second and third game of the series. Kentucky's series win is the first over a No. 1 ranked team in the modern era of the program, with the Wildcats producing record crowds during the three-game set.
- UK leads the nation in wins, sits atop the SEC standings and owns a 12-3 record in one-run games and an 11-5 record in games against top-25 teams. The Wildcats have opened up the year with series wins over No. 2 South Carolina, at Tennessee, at No. 18 Georgia, No. 10 Ole Miss, at No. 9 Arkansas and No. 1 LSU. The Wildcats are off to the best start to a season in the over 100-year history of the program, with its SEC start the best in program annals.
- The Wildcats have been paced by a team offense that leads the conference in nearly every category, hitting .316 as a team, with a .488 slugging and a .403 on-base percentage, belting 47 homers in 41 games and stealing 36 bases. Individually, freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino leads UK with a .351 average, with a league-leading 17 doubles, seven homers and 34 RBI, stealing nine bases.

Football
- The Kentucky football team held its annual Blue/White Game Saturday evening at Commonwealth Stadium. The first teamers, who went by Kentucky on the scoreboard, won 35-28 over the second team (Wildcats). The first team outscored the second team 35-14 overall, as the Wildcats were spotted 14 points as part of the spring game format.
- Quarterback Maxwell Smith led Kentucky to victory, totaling 353 yards on 29-of-45 passing and two touchdowns.
- Wide receiver Demarco Robinson led Kentucky's receiving corps with nine catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The Wildcats' leading receiver was tight end Anthony Kendrick with three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown.
- On defense, linebacker Tyler Brause was the Wildcats' leading tackler with seven, while linebacker Avery Williamson charted a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss and one sack for the Kentucky squad.

Men's tennis
- The sixth-ranked Kentucky men's tennis team made its second consecutive appearance in the Southeastern Conference Tournament finals over the weekend before falling to fourth-ranked Georgia in the title match. This was Kentucky's third all-time appearance in the final match.
- Kentucky defeated No. 43 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Ole Miss to advance to the finals. The win over VU was Kentucky's 25th of the season, helping UK surpass the 25-win mark for three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
- Senior No. 3 Eric Quigley led Kentucky with a 2-0 record in singles action, helping him break the school record for most wins in a single season with a 47-6 record this year. Kentucky junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby were named to the SEC All-Tournament team after the final match.

Softball
- The Kentucky softball team traveled to the state of Mississippi for a five-game road swing. UK began the week well with a sweep of Ole Miss, which marked the fifth consecutive time the Wildcats had earned a series from the Rebels.
- Both senior pitchers in Chanda Bell and Rachel Riley earned victories, while freshman Griffin Joiner led the bats with an .800 average against the Rebels.
- Mississippi State took all three against UK during the weekend series, winning all three outings by just one run each game. The final two wins came in walk-off fashion.

Track and field
- Junior Luis Orta finished ninth in the 3,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., running the third-fastest 3,000m run (8:49.45) in school history.
- Sophomore Brandon Bagley ran a career-best time in the 400m hurdles Saturday, clocking in with a 53.93 to finish third.
- The women's 4x100m relay team finished first with a time of 45.62, Andrew Evans won the men's discus with a 176-02 and Terri-Ann Grant won the women's high jump at 5-10.50.
- Jennifer Svoboda threw a season-best mark in the women's shot put with a mark of 50-08.75.

Women's tennis
- The women's tennis team traveled to Oxford, Miss., for the SEC Championship. The 11th-seeded Wildcats faced 6th-seeded South Carolina in the first round of the tournament.
- In doubles play, the 82nd-ranked team of Jessica Stiles and Caitlin McGraw took on No. 37 Dijana Stojic and Jaklin Alawi in a highly-competitive match. UK mounted a late comeback to hold off Stojic and Alawi from taking match-point on multiple occasions, holding the score at 7-6. Ultimately, Stojic and Alawi were able to barely edge out Stiles and McGraw to take the 8-6 win and the doubles point.
- In singles play, multiple Wildcats found strength in their second set. Unfortunately, the late surges were not enough to grab the singles wins. South Carolina secured its win as the No. 4 and No. 5 matches ended simultaneously to give the Gamecocks a 5-0 victory.

Women's golf

- The University of Kentucky women's golf team placed ninth at the 2012 SEC Championship.
- Senior Ashlee Rose led the Wildcats, finishing in a tie for 12th at 14-over-par 230. Rose led Kentucky with 35 pars, the second most by an individual on the weekend.
- Junior Betsie Johnson finished in a tie for 29th at 21-over-par 237.

Men's golf
- Kentucky finished seventh at the SEC Championship, going 6-under-par in the final three holes to finish at 26-over-par total.
- Joseph Barr and Stephen Powers led UK, tying for 19th at 4-over-par.
- Kentucky's final team score of 868 was its second-best score at the conference tournament since 2006.

Upcoming schedule

Tuesday, April 23
Softball hosts Morehead State - 4:00 p.m.
Baseball at Louisville - 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 25

Track and field at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Friday, April 26
Softball at Florida - 6:00 p.m.
Baseball at Vanderbilt - 7:30 p.m.
Track and field at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Saturday, April 27
Softball at Florida - 1:00 p.m.
Baseball at Vanderbilt - 3:00 p.m.
Track and field at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Sunday, April 28
Softball at Florida - Noon
Baseball at Vanderbilt - 2:00 p.m.
Track and field at Payton Jordan Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.)


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It can be hard to keep up with everything going on in the University of Kentucky's 22 varsity sports. With that in mind, we will highlight the best from around Kentucky sports each week. We'll recognize the best performances from Wildcat teams and players, we'll show you the coolest videos and photos that you may have missed and we'll mix in some new stuff along the way. Here are your award winners for this week:

Team of the Week: Baseball wins three of four, takes series from No. 1 LSU

In what could be considered one of the biggest weeks in UK baseball history, the No. 2 Wildcats came through in a big way. After taking down UC earlier in the week 7-0, Kentucky fell to No. 1 LSU in Friday's opener of the three-game series. 

Per usual, Kentucky bounced back and took the final two games of the weekend as it has in every SEC series since sweeping defending national champions South Carolina in the opening weekend of SEC play. The Wildcats dominated the top-ranked Tigers 8-1 on Saturday to even the series, and won a nail-biter in the finale, 7-6.  

Kentucky (35-6, 13-5 SEC) has yet to lose an SEC series this season, and with the two wins over LSU, holds a one game lead in the conference. The big weekend, despite less than ideal weather conditions, broke a weekend series record for attendance with 9,496.

Players of the Week - Rossi, Jomby named to SEC All-Tournament team

Kentucky junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby were named to the All-Tournament team this weekend. The Wildcats fell to Georgia in the final of the SEC Tournament, losing their first match in conference play.

Rossi recorded big wins this weekend in the tournament, defeating Jeff Offerdahl 6-4 to take the set and clinch the match against Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals. He was also in position to win his match against Mississippi's Jonas Lutjen, leading 5-1, when play was suspended and Kentucky had clinched a birth into the tournament championship. 

Jomby was key in doubles play all weekend, getting wins along side Alejandro Gomez against Vandy and Ole Miss. The sophomore also won singles matches Vanderbilt's Blake Bazarnik (6-3, 7-6) and Mississippi's William Kallberg (6-3, 6-3) before falling in the championship to Georgia's Ignacio Taboada.

Game of the Week - Baseball takes series over LSU with 7-6 win in rubber match

The top two teams in the country and SEC split the first two games of their weekend series in Lexington, Ky. this weekend, forcing a decisive game three for conference superiority. Both Kentucky and LSU entered the series with an 11-4 mark in the SEC, and the winner of Sunday's game would hold a one-game lead in the conference.

In a see-saw battle, the Tigers and Wildcats exchanged jabs with some of the best talent in the country, but despite LSU's best effort, Kentucky came out on top. It was a total team effort for the Cats, as a balanced offensive attack along with a huge bullpen effort staved off the Tigers while earning a 7-6 win. 

After Kentucky had fallen behind 5-4 in top of the sixth inning, they answered with three runs on four doubles in the bottom of the frame. Zac Zellers, Matt Reida, J.T. Riddle, and Austin Cousino each recorded doubles that inning. Meanwhile, the bullpen duo of Tim Peterson and Alex Phillips combined for 3.1 innings of one-run baseball to close the game out and finish of the Tigers. 

Photo of the Week - Cousino elevates
Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) Photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

Video of the Week - Highlights from baseball's series clincher



Alumnae of the Week - Brandon Knight scores career-high 28 in win over Cleveland

Brandon Knight, one of a long line of successful point guards to play for John Calipari, put up a career-high 28 points in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night.

In Detroit's 116-77 blowout of the Cavs, Knight shot 11-of-12 from the field while adding 7 assists. In an up and down season for the first-year point guard, Knight is ending the season on a high note. Knight is averaging 18.3 points and 5.5 assists in the last six games and 15.1 ppg and 3.8 apg in his rookie campaign.







Recent Comments

  • Guy Ramsey: The song is "The Mighty Rio Grande" by the band This Will Destroy You. read more
  • Griffin: What's the name of the song that this video starts playing when describing Cal getting ejected and Aaron talking about read more
  • Quinn : It was an amazing run! I hope you all return and make another stab at it. read more
  • Sandy Spears: I completely with the person's comment above. So proud of all the young men and their accomplishments. They have everything read more
  • BJ Rassam: The Cats came so close to winning another NCAA basketball championship. read more
  • chattyone: Congratulations to our Wildcats! They are terrific. All of us just like these young men are disappointed in the loss, read more
  • clint bailes: Such a great season! You guys fought hard til the end. Loved watchin the season! Can't wait til next season. read more
  • Andrea Boyd: you guys are AMAZING! as individuals and as a team. thank you for your tremendous playing and work and attitudes. read more
  • laura n: What an honor and privledge to watch all of you grow into incredible young men. Never enjoyed a season more. read more
  • Amy Carnes: Very proud of you cats you have really grow as a team .You proved all the doubters wrong. And have read more