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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 / November 30.
  • NCAA Basketball: Champions Classic-Kansas vs KentuckyBy JOSH NEWMAN

    The notion that the University of Kentucky could go undefeated has been a topic of conversation for months.

    The Wildcats have gotten through Kansas, Texas, Providence, North Carolina, Texas and, most-recently, they bulldozed UCLA by 39 points at the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 20 at the United Center.

    Saturday brings with it a completely different animal as Kentucky will travel to the KFC Yum! Center to take on fourth-ranked and fellow-unbeaten Louisville. The Cardinals are the final, not to mention toughest non-conference test for the Wildcats before they enter SEC-play next week. If Kentucky wins this one, it’s going to be much harder to tone down the undefeated talk, but that doesn’t mean John Calipari won’t continue to try.

    “When you have two groups, it’s just different,” Calipari said on Thursday afternoon during his day-before-game media availability. “When you’re trying to play against yourselves, you don’t worry about anybody else. We know how good teams are. We’re not the only good basketball team out there and sometimes you forget. We’re not the only team with good players. There are a bunch of other teams, including Louisville, who have terrific players. Let’s focus on us. That’s how I’ve always coached.”

    Cal PitinoBy CHRIS RUSSELL

    In a battle of unbeaten teams, one of the nation’s most-anticipated rivalries will take place between bluegrass giants No. 1 Kentucky (12-0) and No. 4 Louisville (11-0) Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.

    This year’s Kentucky team has all the makings of a team that could go undefeated, a mark that hasn’t been accomplished since Bob Knight’s 1976 Indiana 1976 squad went 32-0.  In the month of December, many thought Kentucky would suffer a loss or two due to the strength of their schedule (10th nationally) and the season-ending ACL injury to Alex Poythress.  Instead, the Wildcats blitzed through the likes of Texas, Providence, North Carolina and UCLA.

    “They’re a great team,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino told 247sports. “We have a lot of respect for them. I’m very impressed with them and how humble they are playing together and not worrying about minutes. They are playing great basketball. They are one of the better teams I’ve witnessed in quite some time, on the backboard, as well as defensively.”

    By ADAM ZAGORIA & JEREMY FUCHS

    ELIZABETH, N.J. Like Isaiah Briscoe, J.R. Smith and Tyler Ennis both starred at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey.

    Like Smith, Briscoe also excelled for the New Jersey Playaz AAU program.

    And while Smith (Knicks) and Ennis (Phoenix Suns) are currently in the NBA, the Kentucky-bound Briscoe hopes to follow suit.

    Perhaps after one season in the Bluegrass.

    The 6-foot-3 Briscoe is currently projected as the No. 9 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.

    “I definitely think he’s an NBA player,” Smith told SNY.tv Tuesday at Knicks practice.

    Whitehead headSeton Hall freshman guard Isaiah Whitehead could miss up to four weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot, head coach Kevin Willard said Saturday in his radio interview with Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin.

    That would put Whitehead, the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year, back in late January.

    Whitehead had an MRI on his right foot Wednesday, and the result of the test confirmed that he has a stress fracture of the second and third metatarsal bones. Doctors will evaluate Whitehead’s foot weekly.

    “There’s not an easy replacement for a kid like Isaiah Whitehead,” Willard said Saturday. “You’re gonna have a drop-off.”

    10383536_10152986323980879_602186994399635477_n (1)By JACK LeGWIN

    COLUMBIA, S.C.- Much has been made about the possible package deal with Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Dennis Smith Jr.  While it is something that each is highly considering, they’d don’t discuss it often.

    “We talk about it about twice every month,” Smith Jr. told SNY.tv. “They’re two great players, two of the top ranked players in the country, and they show it every time they play. It would definitely be a plus for me to play with those guys.”

    Smith Jr. said it is something they are serious about.

    “We really do mean it whenever we say it,” Smith Jr said. “But we really haven’t put too much thought into it as of now. That is something that we are looking forward to talking more about next year.”

    By JEREMY FUCHS

    ELIZABETH, N.J. — John Calipari spends most of his time in Lexington, KY nowadays, coaching the undefeated and top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

    But the state of New Jersey has been good to him.

    With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Karl-Anthony Towns and now Isaiah Briscoe, Calipari has reached into the rich talent pool of the Garden State a number of times.

    Kidd-Gilchrist was the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

    Towns is projected as a top-3 pick in 2015.

    And Briscoe is projected by DraftExpress.com as the No. 9 pick in 2016.

    “I’ve been coming to Jersey for a long time,” Calipari told SNY.tv before taking in Briscoe and Roselle Catholic Tuesday night against Elizabeth at the Dunn Center. “Towns has been great. Lot of talent here.”

    By JACK LeGWIN

    COLUMBIA, S.C.- Brandon Ingram has one of the highest upsides in all of high school basketball.

    He is currently projected as the No. 11 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.

    On Monday, he scored 26 points, including a poster dunk on a defender that you can catch above, in front of North Carolina head man Roy Williams.

    After the performance, Ingram said that nothing was new in his recruitment and that all the schools in his top six are still working hard, but with the high school season in full swing, it has died down a bit. Ingram will not be able to sign until the spring recruiting period.

    “Nothing new really,” Ingram told SNY.tv. “The same six schools really, N.C. State, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and UCLA. Same recruitment, I’ve been with my high school team a lot. I’m not doing a lot of recruiting right now.”