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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Wednesday / February 21.
  • Obama Jinxes No. 1 Kentucky

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    You’ve heard of the Sports Illustrated jinx.

    Is this the Barack Obama jinx?

    Before newly-minted No. 1 Kentucky played at South Carolina Tuesday night, John Calipari and company received a phone call from Obama thanking them for raising money for Haiti.

    “There is that tendency, once you get to be No. 1, to start letting down a little bit and a it’s a tough place to play, so you guys stay focused. I expect to see you guys in the championship game at some point,” Obama told the then-Wildcats on a conference call.

    So what ended up happening?

    Devin Downey scored 30 points and grabbed 5 rebounds as the Gamecocks won their first-ever game over a No. 1 team, 68-62.

    “It feels great, it feels great,” Downey told ESPN. “My team been fighting so hard  and I told them, ‘Never give up, never give up. Just keep fighting and good things are going to happen.’ And tonight it paid off.”

    So much for the honor of being No. 1.

    Since Texas took over last week for Kansas at the top spot, the No. 1 team has dropped three straight games. The Longhorns lost both their games last week, to Kansas State and UConn, and now Kentucky lost its first game while holding the top spot.
    **In somewhat related news, Calipari called ESPN’s John Buccigross a “jagoff” on national TV Monday. Bad karma?


    It was a tough night all around for the State University of New Jersey.

    The women’s team was hammered, 73-36, by No. 1 UConn (which has won 59 straight) and the men lost at Marquette, 82-59, to fall to 0-8 in the Big East.

    Rutgers comes home for a pair of games with Notre Dame (Saturday) and St. John’s (Feb. 2.).

    The Knights really need to get at least one of those games to get off the schneid. After that comes a road game at Louisville (Feb. 6) and a game with Georgetown (Feb. 14) at the RAC sandwiched around a matchup with Caldwell.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • In a matter of speaking, we’re all Cocks tonight.

      • Did Barry O speak to Coach Cal from his teleprompter?

    • The loss will benefit UK in the long run, just like the Tennessee loss benefited KU. props to Downey and South Carolina for a great win.

      See you in April UK!

    • Down goes UK.

      Downey had a great game.

      Who is the new No.1 team?


    • I could really care less about a #1 ranking in January (except for seeding purposes). I’m guessing that UK wants the St. Louis regional site as bad as KU does.

      Jessie, can you name the only school to have a victory this year while being ranked #1? Yeah, Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

      I agree with jhawk4. This loss is the best thing for UK in the longrun.

    • Didn’t Texas win 2 games as #1?

    • Didn’t Texas win 2 games as the #1 team?

      • Paul, Texas lost immediately to K-State and then UConn.

        • No Woody, they were #1 for 2 weeks. Look it up.

    • Cousins needs to learn how to kick the ball back out when he’s tripled and doubled …… also probably the 1st time since 4th grade Wall played a guy faster than him . Lets see how they react in the next 5 games . Some tough road games ahead . ( does not snicker)

    • Downey wasnt faster than Wall. Quicker? yes. There is a difference. Downey was throwing up terrible shot after terrible shot and they mostly droped for them. Look at the Knicks Robinson. Hard to guard because of size and quickness

    • Downey made some incredible shots, but he was 9 of 29 from the field. When a guy who accounts for half of your points shoots less than 33% you should win going away. Offensive rebounds are what killed UK. I wonder what Wall would have done if he was given the green light to create 29 shots for himself?

    • How did everybody somehow NOT respond to Calipari calling John B a “jagoff”? Seriously? Maybe Jessie can’t read after all……..