This still doesn’t feel right. Matt is the one popping up with the unnanounced uncensored live blogs, getting everyone fired up, and I’m the one left to clean up the mess with a weak-ass roundup of the day’s news? This is not the way it’s supposed to be. But, it is what we have and in honor of Matt’s reappearance Thursday night, we might as well kick Friday off with a subject I’ve never written on in my entire life and one that I’ll likely never write about again. Yes, we’re talking NASCAR. More specifically, we’re talking Denny Hamlin, who inked a deal with the Jordan brand this week, allowing Michael Jordan’s dunking likeness to finally find its way to a NASCAR jumpsuit. I won’t pretend to know if this is cool for NASCAR or not. I’ll just casually inform you Jordan is also apparently the name of Hamlin’s girlfriend and Googling “Denny Hamlin Jordan” yields some interesting results. I’d just politely ask that you at least finish reading the posts before you dash off to Google. Please?
Now onto some UK notes…
– If you missed it, Vandy escaped with a victory at home against Alabama thanks to three questionable calls in the final two minutes. Thanks to the curious whistle-blowing and an intense burst of profanity from Alabama coach Anthony Grant, the world now knows the name of offical Tim Higgins, which is pretty much the sign that you’re awful at your job. If you’re going unnoticed as an official, you’re doing it right. If people know your name, it’s generally not a good thing. Nonetheless, the victory over the Tide allows the Commodores to remain tied with the Cats for second place in the SEC East and makes Saturday’s showdown slightly more important. Right now, with their thin roster, it’s critical that the Cats land one of the top two East seeds in the SEC Tournament and bypass the first round of Thursday games. No matter the outcome of Vandy’s game against Bama, Kentucky already needed to win Saturday to remain in second place. Let’s just hope the “Memorial Magic” jar is empty after Thursday’s game against Anthony Grant’s team.
– If there’s a matchup to watch Saturday in Nashville, it will be the DeAndre Liggins vs. John Jenkins battle. Liggins is lauded as one of the best defenders in the country and he’ll be put to the test Saturday against Jimmer Freddette Lite, who has reached double-digits in points in every game this season and leads the conference in scoring. Jenkins is among the best pure scorers in the country and, though he’s struggled with his three-point shot in the last five games, has adjusted and started attacking the basket more and drawing fouls. He’s shot just under 40 free throws in that stretch (UK has five guys who have shot that many all year) and hits them at a 90% clip. It will be important for Liggins to keep Jenkins in front of him to keep the big guys from picking up fouls and make Jenkins shoot contested jumpers.
– It seems to be repeated before every single game at this point, but this game presents another opportunity for the Cats to break through and take the next step to realizin their potential. Memorial Gym won’t be the rowdiest or most intimidating arena they’ve played in this year, but it’s unlike any other the team’s young stars have seen to this point. As is the case in every road environment, the Cats need to be ready to play from the start and avoid letting the crowd become a sixth man. The Commodores are a team full of experienced players, which makes it even more important. This is the point in the season where everyone expected UK’s freshmen-driven team to have grown into a veteran squad, but they’re still making too many silly errors. We’ve heard a lot about how this team has as much potential as any unit in the country and they’d develop into a force before the postseason starts. Breaking the strange road hex they seem to be under would be a nice piece to add to a fairly strong foundation layed against Tennessee Tuesday.
– One of the most perplexing things to me about the Commodores is that they seem to be surprisingly unhateable despite their recent successes against the Cats, including the absolute beatdown that I still think was the worst loss of the Billy Gillispie era. No SEC team seems to make Kentucky fans more neutral than the Commodores. Is it because they share the pits of the East in football with us? Is it the lack of an athletic department? The impressive ratio of hot girls to dorks on their campus? I don’t know. I just know that each year, we make fun of Vandy as we do every team and we get the same comments from UK fans defending the Commodores. It almost makes you want to hate them more. But you can’t. It’s weird.
– In case you missed it, Steve Brown interviewed for the UCLA defensive coordinator job. He seems to be the leader at this point and head coach Rick Neuheisel says that he’ll hire someone by this weekend. I have a feeling Brown won’t be getting one of those Tee Martin packages to stay.
– Speaking of defensive coordinators, Randy Shannon has been offered the position at Maryland. If he accepts, you have every right to ask if UK actually pursued him. When his name was floated as a candidate despite pretty strong indications that Rick Minter was a lock, it seemed like something put in the media to appease a group of fans clamoring for him. The position at Maryland is certainly not better, though it might not be worse, and it’s ok to still lust a little bit. Just don’t tell Minter. That dude is intense.
– Here’s my Friday confession: I’ve gone to the library in each of the last two weeks. I’ll never deny having old man tendencies, but the library isn’t that obselete, right?
– For your Thursday television tidbit, let’s just all agree that this Michael and Holly romance thing on The Office has the potential to derail things just as the Pam and Jim relationship did for several episodes. Holly has to be one of the worst television characters since Torrie on Saved By The Bell. I say they should just give us 20 minutes of Creed monologue every week.
That’s it for now. Stick around throughout the day for all kinds of exciting discussion about Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The fun gets going with Zach and Zach only at 10am on Talk Radio 1080. Make sure you check it out. In the meantime, try to figure out how someone could call this out of bounds:
See you in a few…