Kentucky shows improvement with 3-1 SEC start


Kentucky shows improvement with 3-1 SEC start

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Now that John Calipari's young Kentucky squad has shown it's capable of playing with the intensity and teamwork needed to dominate a conference opponent, the Wildcats coach would like his team to do it consistently.

Kentucky (12-5, 3-1) is looking for its third consecutive win in Tuesday night's Southeastern Conference game at Alabama. The Crimson Tide (11-6, 3-1) is shooting a league-best 46 percent on 3-pointers in SEC games using a four-guard lineup that plays physical.

The Wildcats are still learning how to play physical but Saturday's 75-53 rout at Auburn shows their improvement. Kentucky shut down the cold-shooting Tigers in the second half. The Wildcats pushed Auburn around on the boards, increased their defensive pressure and turned a five-point halftime lead into a blowout.

``I'm trying to convince them that the wins and losses, they come and go,'' Calipari said Monday. ``You're not going to be judged just by that. You're going to be judged by your effort, your fight, your scrappiness. ... Believe me, 20 years from now they're going to say, `are you a competitor or not? Were you a battler ... played hard, made great decisions.'

``That's how you define yourself. I'm trying to get them more on process and less on results because we're so young.''

Encouraging signs emerged in the second half of Kentucky's 75-65 win over Tennessee last Tuesday, when the Wildcats held the Volunteers to 38 percent shooting. But Calipari said the absence of 7-foot freshman forward Willie Cauley-Stein at Auburn following a ``minor procedure'' on his left knee might have ignited Kentucky's second-half performance against the Tigers.

``This team, I hope learned some stuff and I think Willie being out put a sense of urgency in the team; that sometimes happens,'' Calipari said.

In the final 20 minutes against Auburn, the Wildcats shot 67 percent, outrebounded the Tigers 19-11 while holding them to 12 of 32 shooting (38 percent).

Kyle Wiltjer's 17 points led five players in double-figures for Kentucky, which has won both of its SEC road games so far. And despite foul trouble, Wildcats freshman forward Nerlens Noel finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. That follows his 12-point, nine-rebound, six-block, four-steal performance against Tennessee and earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Monday.

Calipari didn't say what Cauley-Stein's availability would be against Alabama but Kentucky's objective will be containing the Tide's guard contingent. They're led by junior Trevor Releford, who averages 16.2 points per game overall but ranks third in SEC contests at 18.7. He's helped by sophomores Trevor Lacey (12.5), Rodney Cooper (11.6) and Levi Randolph (8.3). They're long and athletic, ranging from 6-3 to 6-6.

Lacey and Releford combined for 29 points in Alabama's 50-49 win over Texas A&M on Saturday, the Crimson Tide's third victory in a row.

To slow down Alabama's backcourt, the Wildcats will need strong defensive efforts from Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress. Both had 12 points and seven rebounds against Auburn, drawing praise from Calipari. The coach said Goodwin's shot selection was better on Saturday while Poythress showed more effort offensively and defensively, adding that he needs to sustain it longer.

In the backcourt showdown, Goodwin and Poythress will need help from Ryan Harrow, Julius Mays and Jarrod Polson to keep Alabama from getting in an offensive flow.

``They are pretty much a typical SEC school. They have really good guards,'' Polson said of Alabama. ``Coach Calipari says it will be a big test for our guards. Their bigs are physical, so we have to be physical and come out and compete for 40 minutes.''

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NFL Draft 2019 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

NFL Draft 2019 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

The 2019 NFL Draft is finally upon us. You can trash the mock drafts and take a break from the Twitter rumors as we'll soon know what each team is really planning.

Tonight, Thursday, April 25, NFL teams will look to find their next franchise player in the form of the most talented college prospects in the country.

Taking place in Nashville, Tennessee, this year's draft promises to be as exciting as ever with numerous storylines dominating the event. Will Kyler Murray go No. 1? Where will the other QBs fall, and will a team move up to grab one? What defensive players go first? All these questions and more will be answered soon enough.

The Arizona Cardinals will kick off the festivities at 8:00 p.m. ET as they possess the first overall pick in the draft.

As for the Redskins, they'll be picking at No. 15, though there has been no shortage of rumors that a move could be made to climb up the order.

Once the commissioner takes the stage, all predictions go out the window. Luckily, we'll have you covered with all the picks, trades and moves here in the live blog and draft tracker.

NFL Draft 2019 Redskins First-Round Tracker and Live Updates:

6:30 p.m. - Less than two hours until the clock starts ticking, there's plenty of information to get caught up on. Here's what you need to know:

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Baltimore Ravens super fan who is blind to make NFL Draft pick history

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens super fan who is blind to make NFL Draft pick history

The NFL Draft is highly anticipated among hundreds of players anxiously waiting to hear their names called. This year in particular the Draft will be extra special for 13-year-old super fan Mo Gaba. 

Gaba, who is blind, will be the first person in history to announce a NFL draft pick off of a card written in Braille. On Saturday, the 13-year-old will call out the Ravens’ fourth-round pick and No.123 overall. 

Gaba lost his sight when he was 9 months old and is battling cancer for the third time. 

On Wednesday, while Gaba was calling a local radio show 98 Rock Ravens head coach John Harbaugh dialed in on the call and surprised Gaba with an invitation to announce the pick.  

“What? Really? I’ve never done that before,” Gaba said with a big smile on his face. “I would like to do that yeah.”

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