12:25am

Fri March 21, 2014
Sports

EKU Colonels, UK Wildcats to Begin NCAA Tourney Play

Colonels Take to the Court for Practice
Colonels Take to the Court for Practice
Credit kentucky.com

The long wait for the Eastern Kentucky University men's basketball team is about over.  The Colonels get their shot in the NC Double-A limelight Friday.

 It was almost two weeks ago that the E-K-U Colonels won the Ohio Valley Conference title.  They've probably been eager to toss it up in the annual March event to crown a national champion.  Eastern kept the lead in its wins over Murray State and Belmont in the OVC Tourney.  Coach Jeff Neubauer says the aim needs to be the same against Kansas.  "If we are trying to chase Kansas down, if we're playing from behind, that just takes so much energy, especially when it's one and done time," said Neubauer. Kansas ranks in the top three for all time wins in college basketball.  Eastern junior Corey Walden realizes the Jayhawks athleticism will be a challenge to overcome.  "Oh yeah, they are definitely bigger and they're taller, so it will be tough to finish around the basket, but I still think that we'll be able to get to the basket and make some shots in there," said Walden. Both teams come into the game with 24 and nine records.   Eastern Kentucky University Senior guard Glen Cosey was asked about his favorite memory of a major upset in the annual March tournament.  "Well I don't have a favorite upset memory but, I hoping that we can pull off one and that will be my favorite memory," said Cosey.  

Eastern and Kansas will tip off their game just after four o clock Friday afternoon.   The University of Kentucky is accustomed to playing in the NC Double-A tournament.  But, coming into the post season with ten losses was not expected by many fans.  UK will take on Kansas State in the nightcap at St. Louis' Scottrade Center.  Freshman James Young realizes the tournament offers an opportunity.  "It's a new start for us and the past is the past, and we know we had an up and down season, but it's a fresh start of us and we're just gonna compete every game," said Young. UK comes into the game after a one point loss to number one Florida in the Southeastern Conference finals.  Coach John Calipari says the team is playing as well as it has all year right now.  He says there have been challenges on and off the court.  "It's been an onslaught of criticism, both personal, team, coach and all that.  They believe in each other.  They believe in the staff.  They believe in what we're trying to do and it tells a lot about them and their character," said Calipari. UK and Kansas State are expected to tip it off at about 9:40