Kentucky

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Jenny Rice, a writing, rhetoric and digital media professor at the University of Kentucky, lectures about modern-day conspiracy theories in the Texas Union on Friday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

Modern-day conspiracy theories materialize from vast amounts of hyper-specific information gathered on the Internet, Jenny Rice, writing, rhetoric, and digital media professor at the University of Kentucky, said Friday in a talk at the Union.

Rice said “archival magnitude,” or the overwhelming amounts of information conspiracy theorists possess on controversial events, allows the theorists to easily view events through different perspectives. Conspiracy theorists known as “truthers” doubt widely-accepted theories about how major events unfolded, including events such as 9/11, Rice said.

“As I began to interview 9/11 truthers and joined Facebook groups devoted to 9/11 truth, as they call it, I very quickly found myself drowning in details, information and images and texts that circulated across these various groups,” Rice said. “The archive in conspiracy discourse is huge and also microscopic, often composed of time-lapsed images and still frames in order to give a second-by-second analysis.”

Rice said the Boston Marathon bombing is an example of an event that provided the “big data” theorists can collect on terrorist attacks. The marathon bombing, which took place in April 2013, killed three people and injured over 200.

“Such fine-grain attention to detail was seen in the truther community that sprung up overnight after the Boston Marathon bombing,” Rice said. “Many of the postings in online sites like Reddit and Facebook included intensive archival work.”

Rice said a distrust of the government often provides an underlying foundation for conspiracy theories, as evidenced by the Boston Marathon bombing.

“[Conspiracy theorists believe] the bombing was a false flag, which was perpetuated by the federal government in order to clamp down on civil liberties and take away guns,” Rice said. “The version of conspiracy is almost besides the point. Secrecy is at work. It’s nefarious. It must be revealed.”

Teddy Albiniak, a rhetoric and language doctoral student, said Rice’s discussion of big data opened his eyes to ideas he hadn’t previously considered.

“She was mentioning that the process of accumulation brings a certain type of enjoyment. That was one of the things I was taking out of it. To think about how processes are affected, I think, is integral to the ways we can kind of experience the world,” Albiniak said. 

Sarah Frank, a rhetoric and history doctoral student, said the lecture overlapped with her doctoral work in history. 

“I’ve been studying this woman who writes about doing history as mapping terrain, and she’s constantly gathering evidence to expand the map, and so what really clicked in the lecture for me was that the map could expand infinitely as you gather and accumulate more data,” Frank said. 

Senior Ashley Spencer looks to improve her No. 2 ranking in the 400 meters this weekend in Lexington, Kentucky.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas indoor track and field team will split up for two meets this weekend. Most of the team will compete in the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Kentucky, and the pole vaulters and throwers will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to participate in the Lobo Collegiate Invitational.

At the McCravy Memorial, which is typically a challenging meet with stacked fields, Texas will face off against eight men’s and women’s top-25 teams, including No. 1 Florida and Oregon, which has a second-ranked men’s team and third-ranked women’s team.

Texas is still a contender, however, bringing in the eighth-ranked men’s team and the fifth-ranked women’s team, which includes senior Ashley Spencer, junior Courtney Okolo and sophomore Kendall Baisden, who are all ranked inside the top seven for the 400 meters. In the 3,000-meter run, All-American senior Craig Lutz will compete against defending national champion Edward Cheserek from Oregon, as well as fellow All-Americans Kemoo Campbell of Arkansas and Johnny Gregorek of Oregon. Lutz also holds the second-best time in the nation this year in the 5,000 meters.

The action in Kentucky starts Friday, with combined events in the morning, field events at 2 p.m. and running events at 6:20 p.m. The SEC Network will broadcast Saturday’s events.

In New Mexico, the Longhorns will compete in the shot put, weight throw and pole vault at the Lobo Collegiate Invitational. Junior Ryan Crouser looks to start his trek toward a national champion repeat in the shot put. Arizona and Stanford are two of the prominent teams competing in these events.

The Lobo Collegiate Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, starts at 11 a.m. Friday.

Junior center Prince Ibeh and a tall frontcourt for Texas are sending back shots at a record pace. They are second in the nation in blocks per game, while first in total blocks and percentage of shots blocked.
Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

It’s no secret the Longhorns boast plenty of size this season — six of their 10 scholarship players are listed at 6 feet 6 inches or taller. Size in the frontcourt gave the team a fighting chance against No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 5, and after a half of play, the teams entered the break knotted up at 26.

Ultimately, however, the Wildcats — who have 10 players 6 feet 6 inches or taller — were able to prevent the Longhorns from doing what they do best: block shots. Texas blocked a season-low one shot and allowed the Wildcats to pull away early in the second half and maintain their lead through a longhorn comeback at the end of the game.

This contest was an anomaly compared to the nearly eight shots the Longhorns have, on average, blocked per game this season. After Monday night’s game, they still lead the nation in blocked shots with 139 in 18 contests.

Sports-Reference’s advanced metrics on blocked shots estimate that 21.3 percent of the 2-point field goals attempted by Texas’ opponents have resulted in blocks, which is the best rate in the nation. Kentucky and UNLV are tied for second at 19.9 percent.

If Texas continues to reject opponents’ shots at this rate, the Longhorns will finish the season with the highest Sports-Reference block percentage since 2009-2010, when Mississippi State finished the season at 23.6 percent.

Leading the blocking charge is freshman forward Myles Turner, who swats 12.2 percent of opponents’ two point attempts when he is on the floor. That number leads the conference among qualified players.

Through 18 games Turner has blocked 48 shots, giving him a promising shot of breaking the University record for blocks in a season — 92 by Chris Owens in the 2000-2001 season — in what will likely be his lone season in Austin.

Turner is not the only player with a shot at setting a school record. If the team continues its current pace of blocking shots, it’ll easily shatter the program record of 206 set last season. Overall, this team has rejected 13.4 percent of field goals attempted by opponents, which is easily the highest percentage by a Texas team since the 1979-1980 season, when blocked shots were first recorded.

Solid interior defense is nothing new for a team led by head coach Rick Barnes — 12 of the 13 Texas teams that have blocked the highest percentage of opponent shots on record were teams coached by Barnes.

The Longhorns should get their hands on plenty of shots this Saturday when they host No. 11 Kansas Jayhawks, who have had 99 of their field goal attempts sent back this season — the second most in the nation.

Although the quantity of shots the Longhorns block does not really seem to correlate with whether the team wins — the team is averaging 7.25 blocks in losses and 7.86 blocks in wins — Texas has proven to be elite in that regard this season and is swatting its way into the record books.

In a clash of college basketball heavyweights, No. 1 Kentucky proved to be Muhammad Ali.
The Wildcats erupted out of halftime on a 18-2 run and held off No. 6 Texas’ late comeback attempt en route to a 63-51 victory on Friday in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Longhorns clearly missed injured sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor against Kentucky’s high-pressure defense. Junior point guard Javan Felix struggled to bring the ball up the court against the Wildcat’s full-court press and turned the ball over five times. His backup, sophomore guard Kendall Yancy, also committed four turnovers.
The Texas big men, on the other hand, struggled with foul issues all night long against the enormous Kentucky frontcourt. Junior center Cam Ridley and freshman forward Myles Turner each fouled out, while senior forward Johnathan Holmes and junior center Prince Ibeh each committed four fouls.
Texas led 20-14 through 15 minutes in the game and entered halftime tied 26-26, but it failed to replicate that success in the second half. The Longhorns didn’t score in the first five minutes after the break and found themselves down 44-28 after the Wildcats’ 18-2 run.
The Longhorns failed to contain Kentucky junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein, who led the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Holmes led Texas with 14 points while hauling in six boards.
The loss drops Texas to 7-1 on the season. The Longhorns are now 0-8 all-time against No. 1 ranked teams.

Senior forward Jonathan Holmes and the Longhorns will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, on Friday to face the No. 1 Wildcats.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

No. 6 Texas men’s basketball enters Friday’s matchup against No. 1 Kentucky fresh off its worst offensive performance of the season.

The Longhorns shot 30 percent from the field and 18.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in their victory over UT-Arlington on Tuesday.

For a chance to beat the Wildcats on Friday, those stats will have to improve.

“We understand if we [play like that] against Kentucky, we’re going to lose,” senior forward Jonathan Holmes said. 

Kentucky’s depth is unmatched, as the Wildcats have 10 players who average at least 15.3 minutes per game and seven players who average at least 8 points.

They’re experienced, too. After advancing to the NCAA tournament championship game to face Connecticut last season, the Wildcats saw most of their 2013-2014 roster return for this season.

The Longhorns and Wildcats match up well, as they are two of the biggest teams in the nation. Two of Kentucky’s better players, junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein and sophomore center Dakari Johnson, each measure in at 7 feet. Texas boasts five players of at least 6 feet 8 inches who see regular playing time.

“We go against some big guys in practice, so it’s not too much different from what we see every day,” Holmes said. “We’ll be fine going against another team that has some of the same size we have.”

Kentucky, however, figures to present some mismatch problems for a Texas team that’s missing its starting point guard. The Wildcats have enjoyed premier guard play this season from sophomore Aaron Harrison, who leads the team in scoring with 10.4 points per game, and standout freshman Devin Booker, who is tied for second on the team with 10.3 points per game.

So far this season, the Longhorns have racked up impressive wins over Iowa, California and Connecticut, but Kentucky presents their toughest test yet by far. The Wildcats beat then-No. 5 Kansas 72-40 on Nov. 18.

“What they did against Kansas was impressive,” Holmes said. “They deserve all the credit they’re getting right now.”

The Longhorns deserve considerable credit, too. They’ve won six of their seven games by double figures this year.

Both teams are 7-0 this season. A strong showing against the nation’s top-ranked team would go a long way in cementing Texas on the short list of the nation’s elite teams.

Despite the SEC dominating Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners spoiled the conference’s fun by beating Tennessee.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Continuing its domination of college sports and college football, in particular, the SEC placed five of its 14 teams in top-15 range of AP’s ranking this weekend. Highlighted by Alabama at No. 3, Auburn at No. 5, Texas A&M at No. 6 and LSU at No. 8, SEC teams also tallied 10 wins this weekend and just three losses — two of the losses dealt by rivals within the conference. The most poignant loss came Saturday, when Florida beat Kentucky 36-30 in triple overtime. Kentucky redshirt freshman Austin MacGinnis completed consecutive game-tying field goals before the Wildcats fell short.

“We wouldn’t even be in those overtimes if he didn’t make it,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “I take my hat off to him. He was clutch. He made some very difficult kicks. I’m proud of him.”

Stoops said he never expected the team to lose the match.

Sooners spoil SEC fun

Oklahoma, who downed Tennessee 34-10, was the lone outsider to beat an SEC team this week. The Sooners maintained their lead throughout the game, allowing the Volunteers just one touchdown in the second quarter and a field goal in the third quarter. Still undefeated, No. 4 Oklahoma faces West Virginia on Saturday. Sophomore running back Keith Ford, Oklahoma’s leading rusher, will miss the game after sustaining a “slight fracture in a non weight-bearing bone in his ankle” against Tennessee, ESPN reported.

Rushing for 194 yards and five touchdowns this season, Ford has dominated the Sooner offense. He also clocks in at No. 3 among receivers on the team with 100 yards.

“You hand the ball off to [Ford], and he’s going to get yards for you,” Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight said. “He’s such a physical back and just sees the field so well.”

Ford is expected to miss two to three weeks, a timetable that would ensure he’s eligible just in time for the Texas vs OU Red River Rivalry on Oct. 11.

Fan injured at Texas game 

 At the Texas-UCLA Advocare Cowboys Showdown, one of the 60,479 fans fell 12-15 feet over a railing in level 100, dropping into a field-level suite at AT&T Stadium. The man was conscious when medical care arrived and transferred him to a Fort Worth Hospital, according to Lt. Lee Tovar, a spokesman for Arlington Fire Department. Sunday, Tovar said the man was reported in critical condition in an intensive care unit, but, by Monday morning, his status improved to “good condition.” The cause of his fall was unknown.

UCLA staying quiet on Hundley injury

Also injured at AT&T Stadium that night, UCLA starting quarterback Brett Hundley left the game in the first quarter with a left elbow injury. In response, UCLA head coach Jim Mora said he’s “not going to tell anybody anything until kickoff versus Arizona State. Nobody. Nothing.” Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman tweeted Sunday morning that Hundley was diagnosed with slight hyperextension of his left elbow and is expected to be cleared by the end of the week. Hundley should have time to recover, as the Bruins, who rose to No. 10 in the USA Today ranking after the 20-17 victory against Texas, take their bye week this week before facing Arizona State in Tempe on Sept. 25.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Updated (Thursday 4:12 p.m.): One day after U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Texas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the state of Texas filed a notice of appeal in federal court contesting Orlando's ruling.

Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, the presumptive Republican candidate for governor, and current governor Rick Perry were both named as defendants in the appeal, as well as David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

In a statement released Wednesday, Abbott announced his intentions to appeal the ruling and said the case would ultimately go to a higher court.

"Texas will begin [the process] by appealing today's ruling to the Fifth Circuit," Abbott said in the statement. "The ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court."

Abbott said ultimately, he believes defining marriage is up to individual states to decide.

"The Supreme Court has ruled over and over that States have the authority to define and regulate marriage," Abbott said. "The Texas constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today's decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld." 

Original story (Wednesday 2:32 p.m.): On Wednesday, San Antonio-based U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, though the ruling will not take effect until it can be reviewed on appeal.

Garcia, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, said his decision is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that held the federal government must allow married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits.

“After careful consideration, and applying the law as it must, this Court holds that Texas’ prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process,” Garcia said. “Texas’ current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and, in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason.”

The case was put forth by Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, two lesbian women from Austin who sought recognition for an out-of-state marriage license, and Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, two gay men from Plano who want to get married in Texas. De Leon got her master’s degree from UT-San Antonio, while Dimetman is an alumna of the UT School of Law.

Garcia now joins five other federal judges who have ruled same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional in Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, California and Kentucky.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruled that Kentucky’s state ban on gay marriage violated gay and lesbian citizens’ guarantee for equal protection under the law.

“Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them,” Heyburn wrote in his opinion.

In Virginia, Justice Arenda Wright Allen also overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Like Garcia, Allen stayed the execution of her ruling pending review in an appeals court.

In June, in a 5-4, the Supreme Court overturned a part of the Defense of Marriage Act and ruled the federal government could not deny recognition to same-sex couples whose marriages are legally recognized by the state.

According Greg Abbott, Texas attorney general and favorite to be the Republican nominee for governor, the process to appeal Garcia’s decision will begin in the Fifth Circuit.

“Because the judge has stayed his own decision, his ruling has no immediate practical effect,” Abbott said in a statement. “Instead, the ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Abbott said the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedent gives states the authority to regulate marriage.

“The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman,” Abbott said. “If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today’s decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld.”

Junior pitcher Gabby Smith connected on two swings at the plate this weekend in the Texas Classic. Smith pitched twice this weekend, relieving sophomore Holly Kern in a 4-6 loss to Kentucky and pitching a complete game for a 10-2 win against IPFW.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The championship game of the Texas Classic summed up the weekend for the Longhorns.

Behind a three-run home run from senior catcher Mandy Ogle, No. 15 Texas battled back to tie No. 7 Kentucky in the fourth inning after falling behind 5-1 early on.

But the Wildcats scored on an error by senior shortstop Taylor Thom with the bases loaded, winning 6-5 to take first place in the tournament. The Longhorns (6-6) finished the weekend with a 2-3 record.

Kentucky took the early lead off of a Ginny Carroll solo home run and an RBI single by Emily Jolly in the second, until Texas cut the deficit in the bottom of the inning to 2-1 after a solo home run from sophomore right fielder Lindsey Stephens.

The Wildcats pulled ahead again in the top half of the third on a three-run home run by Lauren Cumbess only for the Longhorns to return the favor. With Ogle’s home run and a hit batter with the bases loaded, Texas battled back an inning later and tied the game.

Freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis, who struck out eight but gave up four walks in the losing effort, said the comeback tells a lot about the
team’s potential to learn.

“I think we’re pretty young, but I think we’re figuring some things out,” Davis said.

The Longhorns’ tournament got off to a slow start Friday, scoring only six runs against Kentucky and IPFW. Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley held Texas to only four runs and struck out five while the Wildcats capitalized on two errors and a two-run home run to take a 6-4 win.

In the night game, IPFW pitcher Miranda Kramer found similar success against Texas, striking out 12 Longhorn batters and stranding nine runners on base. With the game tied at 1-1, the Mastodons scored twice in the top of the eighth and held the Longhorns to only one run in the bottom of the inning to secure a 3-2 win.

Texas came out firing on Saturday, with five straight hits en route to a five-run first inning against Louisiana Tech. Freshman pitchers Lauren Slatten and Davis combined to give up only two runs while striking out seven batters in the 7-2 win.

The hit parade continued for Texas in the second game of the day against IPFW. The Longhorns scored in every inning to take a 10-2 run-rule win in the semifinal matchup. Junior pitcher Gabby Smith had a complete game two-hitter with no earned runs.

The championship game of the Texas Classic summed up the weekend for the Longhorns.

Behind a three-run home run from senior catcher Mandy Ogle, Texas battled back to tie Kentucky in the fourth inning after falling behind 5-1 early on.

But the Wildcats scored on an error by senior shortstop Taylor Thom with the bases loaded to win 6-5 and take first place in the tournament. The Longhorns (6-6) finished the weekend with a 2-3 record.

Kentucky took the early lead off of a Ginny Carroll solo home run and an RBI single by Emily Jolly in the second, but Texas cut the deficit in the bottom of the inning to 2-1 after a solo home run from sophomore right fielder Lindsey Stephens.

The Wildcats pulled ahead in the top half of the third on a three-run home run by Lauren Cumbess; however, the Longhorns would battle back an inning later, with Ogle’s home run and a hit batter with the bases loaded to tie the game.

Freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis, who struck out eight but gave up four walks in the losing effort, said the comeback says a lot about the team learning.

“I think we’re pretty young, but I think we’re figuring some things out,” Davis said.

The Longhorns got off to a slow start Friday scoring only six runs against Kentucky and IPFW. Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley held Texas to only four runs, all of which came in the seventh inning, and struck out five while the Wildcats capitalized on two errors and a two-run home run to take a 6-4 win.

In the night game, IPFW pitcher Miranda Kramer found similar success against Texas, striking out 12 Longhorn batters and forcing them to leave nine runners on base. With the game tied at one, the Mastodons scored twice in the top of the eighth and held the Longhorns to only one run in the bottom of the inning to secure a 3-2 win.

After the two losses, head coach Connie Clark said they talked with the players about getting back to “Texas softball.”

“That means you’re relentless and you have fun and you keep it simple,” Clark said.

The talk worked as the Longhorns offense came alive on Saturday.

Texas started fast with five straight hits, including three doubles, en route to a five-run first inning against Louisiana Tech. Freshmen pitchers Lauren Slatten and Tiarra Davis combined to give up only two runs while striking out seven batters in the 7-2 win.

The hit parade continued for Texas in the second game of the day against IPFW. The Longhorns scored in every inning and scored three in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 10-2 run-rule win in the semifinal match up. Junior pitcher Gabby Smith had a complete game two-hitter with no earned runs.

Texas will continue play this coming weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., with the biggest game coming against No. 3 Washington on Friday.

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

North Carolina's struggles at the free throw line are proving costly.

The 14th-ranked Tar Heels missed 23 free throws in Wednesday night's 86-83 loss to Texas, marking the second time this season UNC has missed at least 20 shots from the line in a close home loss.

The Tar Heels made 24 of 47 free throws (51 percent) against the Longhorns, including a 10-for-25 performance in the second half of a game that ended with UNC's Marcus Paige missing a 3-pointer to tie it at the horn.

UNC missed 26 free throws in an 83-80 loss to Belmont on Nov. 17, and missed 19 in Saturday's tough win over then-No. 11 Kentucky.

Coach Roy Williams has said several times that his players shoot the ball well in practices, but it isn't carrying over to games. His patience is wearing thin.

"You have to be tough enough to make shots," he said. "I'm tired of talking about free throws. You have to be tough enough to step up and make the daggum thing or go play soccer."

Demarcus Holland scored on a stickback of his own free throw with 4.1 seconds left to help Texas hold on.

Holland finished with 15 points for the Longhorns (10-1), who earned their sixth straight win.

Isaiah Taylor scored 16 points to lead Texas, while Javan Felix added 12 — including two key baskets in the final 2 minutes to answer a tying spurt from the Tar Heels (7-3).

Texas shot 38 percent after halftime and 40 percent for the game, but dominated the boards and scored 21 second-chance points to beat the Tar Heels for the sixth time in seven meetings.

Paige scored 23 points to lead UNC, while senior Leslie McDonald scored 15 in his first game after missing nine due to NCAA eligibility concerns.

North Carolina, which had beaten highly ranked Michigan State, Kentucky and reigning national champion Louisville in the past month despite playing without McDonald and leading scorer P.J. Hairston due to those NCAA issues, trailed by as many as 13 points and spent much of the game fighting uphill.

UNC tied the game at 77 on Kennedy Meeks' three-point play with 2:14 left, but Felix knocked down a tough shot in the lane over Paige with 1:59 left. Two possessions later, he buried a 3-pointer over Paige to push the lead to 82-77 with 1:06 left.

The Tar Heels clawed within 84-80 on two free throws from Paige with 25.2 seconds left, then Paige followed with a 3 with 12.1 seconds to go to close the deficit to one. UNC put Holland on the line with 7.2 seconds left and he missed both, but he snatched the rebound in the lane and put up a shot that bounced around the rim before dropping through the net.

Paige got a good look on the final possession from in front of the UNC bench, but the shot rimmed out as the horn expired.

McDonald's return came after the NCAA announced hours before tipoff that the senior was cleared to return to competition.

The NCAA said McDonald must repay $1,783 to a charity of his choice for receiving improper benefits from "numerous individuals" during this spring and summer. That included the use of luxury cars, payment of parking tickets, a cellphone and lodging.

After the game, UNC issued a statement from athletic director Bubba Cunningham saying the school was still working with the NCAA on Hairston's status and expected to have the matter resolved by the end of the week.

UNC lost starting center Joel James to a right knee injury on the first play. The extent of the injury is unclear.