▪ In Buzz Williams’ previous two coaching stops, the third year has been the charm for the Texas A&M coach. Williams reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2011, his third year at Marquette. Williams’ third team at Virginia Tech reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2017.
After going 16-14 and 8-10 in his first two seasons at College Station, Williams has his current Aggies at 15-2 overall and 4-0 in the SEC before Wednesday’s game against No. 12 Kentucky at Reed Arena. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
▪ The Aggies play hard. Texas A&M missed its first 13 shots and trailed Missouri 12-0 before finally scoring at the 11:07 mark last Saturday in Columbia. Yet the Aggies rallied to beat Mizzou 67-64.
▪ Kentucky basketball averaged 1.466 points per possession in that 107-79 thrashing of Tennessee last Saturday. That’s the second-highest PPP average in the John Calipari era, behind only the 1.493 that John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and company averaged in a 104-61 rout of Hartford on Dec. 29, 2009.
▪ Evan Miyakawa, a statistics PhD candidate at Baylor, ranks UK’s TyTy Washington as college basketball’s 10th-most impactful offensive player. Miyakawa’s Top 10: Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Iowa’s Keegan Murray, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Purdue’s Trevion Williams, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, Davidson’s Hyunjung Lee and Washington.
▪ Can Alabama basketball stop the skid? A three-game losing streak has plunged Nate Oats’ team to 2-3 in the SEC. Remember, Alabama beat Gonzaga and Houston in non-conference play. The Tide is clearly missing Herb Jones, last season’s Mr. Everything, now playing for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.
▪ Four of the top five teams in D1 Baseball’s preseason poll for 2022 are from the SEC. Texas is No. 1 followed, by No. 2 Arkansas, No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 5 Ole Miss. Eight SEC teams populate the Top 25 overall. LSU is No. 8, Florida No. 9, Georgia No. 16 and Tennessee No. 19.
▪ If you missed it, former UK basketball star Rex Chapman will have a show on the new CNN Plus streaming service. The show will start in the spring.
▪ Double-Double Watch: Fardaws Aimaq of Utah Valley leads the nation with 15. UK’s Oscar Tshiebwe and North Carolina’s Armando Bacot are tied for second with 12. Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and Utah State’s Justin Bean have 11. Morehead State’s Johni Broome is among three players tied for sixth with 10 double-doubles on the season.
▪ The Kentucky Derby prep race trail heats up Saturday with the Lecomte Stakes at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds. Pappacap is the expected favorite. Trained by Mark Casse, he ran second to Corniche in both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the American Pharoah. Corniche is ineligible for Derby points as long as he is trained by Bob Baffert, who is suspended by Churchill Downs.
▪ Ex-UK safety Mike Edwards, suspended for three games by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season for providing inaccurate vaccination information, made a nice interception at the goal line in the Bucs’ playoff win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
▪ Last season’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year, Liam Draxl, is off to a winning start in 2022. Draxl won his first singles match 6-3, 6-1 in UK’s win over Dayton last Saturday. The Cats face visiting Louisville on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Boone Complex.
▪ It says here the Cincinnati Bengals will knock off the Tennessee Titans, top seed in the AFC, in the AFC Divisional playoffs on Saturday in Nashville. It will be interesting to see how Titans Coach Mike Vrabel tries to take away Cincinnati’s standout receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, but Joe Burrow has plenty of other weapons. Says here: Cincinnati 27, Tennessee 21.
▪ My other NFL playoff predictions: The 49ers will upset the Packers 24-23 in Green Bay; the host Bucs will beat the Rams 31-17; Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs past the visiting Bills 38-24.