KSR Today: Kentucky VB, recruiting and conference championships

On3 imageby:Jack Pilgrim12/01/23

It’s NCAA Tournament time in the Bluegrass, as Craig Skinner and the Kentucky Volleyball team set to take on Baylor for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. That comes after a dominant victory over Wofford in straight sets (25-17, 25-15, 25-16)  in the opening round Thursday evening.

Freshman Brooklyn DeLeye finished with a game-high 13 kills, followed by Reagan Rutherford with eight, Erin Lamb and Azhani Tealer with six and Jordyn Williams with three. Junior libero Eleanor Beavin anchored the defense with a game-high 15 digs to go with a pair of assists and a serving ace.

“Tomorrow’s not promised so we have to really play hard tonight,” Tealer said. “At this point every team is good, every team wants to win. The will is there so we have to come out ready and be ready to fight for the whole two-hour match.” 

Up next: a round-of-32 battle vs. Baylor, who finished the year ranked No. 23 in the AVCA top 25. First serve is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, live from Rupp Arena.

The first of many things we’ve got to get to this morning. Let’s keep it rolling.

Rob Dillingham, Adou Thiero preview UNC Wilmington

The men’s basketball team is set to take on UNC Wilmington on Saturday, tip-off scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. To preview that matchup, Rob Dillingham and Adou Thiero will speak to the media starting at 12:15 p.m. ET.

How will the Wildcats respond following their biggest win of the season over No. 8 Miami? Anything new on DJ Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw? We’ll learn more this afternoon.

John Calipari visits VJ Edgecombe (again)

Kentucky is already cooking up something special in ’24 with the second-ranked recruiting class. Now, John Calipari is looking for a dagger to help push it to No. 1.

The name? ‘24 five-star guard VJ Edgecombe, rated as the No. 5 overall prospect and No. 1 shooting guard in the country. Duke and St. John’s were previously seen as the heavy favorites, and now, the Wildcats have emerged as a serious darkhorse.

Calipari drove that point home even further by visiting the 6-4, 180-pound guard out of New York at the Marshall County Hoopfest on Thursday — the second in-person trip in as many weeks.

And he even got some help from fellow Kentucky signee Travis Perry.

Jayden Quaintance joins Sources Say

Conveniently enough, Edgecombe is one of two players five-star signee Jayden Quaintance hopes Kentucky adds to close out the ’24 class. Who is the other? He joins the Sources Say Podcast to discuss that, along with his decision to play for Coach Cal, the new-look offense, his Hall of Fame dreams, staying two seasons in Lexington and much, much more.

Check out the complete interview below:

Conference Championship SZN

Today marks a run of 11 conference championship games in two days, starting with the biggest matchup with College Football Playoff implications, No. 3 Washington vs. No. 5 Oregon. It’s a rematch of arguably the best game of the regular season, a 36-33 win in favor of the Huskies back in October.

That kicks off tonight, along with the Conference USA title matchup between No. 24 Liberty and New Mexico State.

  • Conference USA Championship: No. 24 Liberty vs. New Mexico State
    • Friday, Dec. 1 — 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
  • Pac-12 Championship: No. 3 Washington vs. No. 5 Oregon
    • Friday, Dec. 1 — 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Big 12 Championship: No. 7 Texas vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 12 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • MAC Championship: Toledo vs. Miami (Ohio)
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Mountain West Championship: UNLV vs. Boise State
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 3 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • SEC Championship: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 8 Alabama
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • AAC Championship: No. 22 Tulane vs. SMU
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 4 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Sun Belt Championship: Troy vs. Appalachian State
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Big Ten Championship: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 16 Iowa
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • ACC Championship: No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 14 Louisville
    • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 8 p.m. ET (ABC)

See you in Charlotte?

Who is ready to bathe in mayonnaise? Mark Stoops is ready.

Kentucky is expected to play in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl — “almost certain,” actually. The Wildcats are likely to face off against either Duke or Virginia Tech, depending on how games unfold this weekend. In short, if Alabama wins the SEC title game, it’s expected to be the Blue Devils. If it’s Georgia, it’s likely the Hokies.

The Cats just played VT in the same event formerly known as the Belk Bowl back in 2019, a 37-30 victory thanks to yet another otherworldly effort by Lynn Bowden — the game’s MVP. On the other side, it could be the Texas A&M Bowl, Duke just losing its head coach to College Station after the Aggies previously considered Stoops for the job.

New football job posting opens

More dominoes about to fall? At least one is behind the scenes in Lexington, as a Football Relations Director position just opened with a working title of Director of Player Development. The full-time position has a deadline to apply of Monday, Dec. 4.

Here is the job summary to fill the position previously held by Tim Owens, who was announced as a new staffer back in July 2022.

Reporting to the Kentucky Football Chief of Staff, the Director of Player Development will assist with the administration of the University of Kentucky Football program. This position will be expected to prepare the student-athletes for personal, academic, and professional success while adhering to all university, department, SEC, and NCAA regulations. Duties include but are not limited to: creating and implementing individual development plans to ensure student-athlete alignment to achieve career goals.

Busy week leading into a busier weekend. Happy Friday. Go Cats.

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