Hi. Let’s do this. We’re in the odd position again of having no mid-week Kentucky basketball games to keep us entertained and wowed with the team’s growth, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world stopped changing right before our very eyes. In fact, you could argue it got flipped upside down. A report was released Monday announcing that Subway has passed McDonald’s as the largest restaurant in the world, crushing everyone who prefers their fast food come with a higher risk of a heart attack. As one who celebrates the entire menu of the Golden Arches, I found myself particularly frustrated, especially with the news that Subway was the restaurant sliding to the top. From the mental torture that is the “Five Dollar Footlong” commercials to the nuisance that is Jared to the sandwich artist in Crestwood that doesn’t understand “light mayonnaise” to the painful fact that I don’t think I’ve ever been in a Subway where I felt like people washed their hands, there isn’t a restaurant on the planet that I loathe more than Subway. Now, the Duke of fast food is the king of the world. For that, we all suffer. And Tuesday is now Subway Hate Day.
Now onto some UK notes…
– We talked over the course of the past few weeks about how the three final games could wipe away a lot of the disappointments of the SEC slate for the Cats and that closing strong could take a team that looked so confused coming out of the Arkansas and make them the favorites for the conference tournament. It appears that is the case. The Cats are the favorites to win the SEC Tournament, at least according to BetUS. The Cats are slight favorites over Florida (+150 to +170), with Vanderbilt (+450), Tennessee and Alabama (+800) significantly further behind. Considering the way they closed the season and the likely crowd advantage they’ll have in Atlanta, it’s not all that surprising. But that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Now, they just need to handle their business.
– Monday also brought a day of postseason awards and again reiterated just how under-appreciated Brandon Knight has been this season. Terrence Jones seems to be the recipient of the most awards recognition for the Cats, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that Knight isn’t the team’s best player and the one most critical to its success. There are probably a couple of factors at play as to why he’s not getting the national recognition at this point. Some might be the John Wall shadow. Some might be how quietly he goes about his business. The most likely reason, though,can probably be traced back to his struggles in Maui early in the season. Because they have the task of keeping up with everyone nationwide, hose are the games when some in the national media make their assessments of a player and carry it throughout the year. That’s really the the only feasible reason that so many can overlook the steps he’s taken this season. I don’t think you could name five point guards better than him right now in the entire country. Hopefully, everyone will take note next season when he’s the leading scorer on the nation’s best team. Yeah, I said it.
– The most entertaining story of Monday was Bruce Pearl’s vocal damnation of DeAndre Liggins’ trash-talking. For all the fun it provided, I do think Pearl hit the nail on the head in assessing another portion of DeAndre’s game when he said that his teammates have a lot of confidence in him and that’s what is most important. Liggins has developed a nasty streak and seems to be the missing “tough guy” piece that seems essential to every good team. Sometimes he goes a little overboard and picks up a dumb foul, but for the most part, he’s channeled that nastiness and his teammates have fed off of it. I still think Brandon Knight is the leader of the team, but Liggins has at least put himself in the conversation as the guy his teammates can feed off of. Considering where he was just a year ago, when he essentially sat out the entire first half of the season, the transformation is even more impressive. A friend of mine pointed out Monday night that at the beginning of last season, if you would have had to guess whether Liggins would have transferred or would be a team leader by this point of his junior year, most probably would have sided with the former. The growth into dependable veteran player from where he was last year is a different kind of toughness, but speaks to the same point. He’s a warlock.
– Word broke late Monday that Director of Basketball Operations Martin Newton would be leaving to accept the athletics director job at his alma mater, Samford. As a guy who has worked behind the scenes for the most part, he’s done some nice things for the program. That’s all nice and good, but what it really means is that we can finally start the “Bring Billy Gillispie To Kentucky To Replace Martin Newton” group on Facebook.
– Speaking of Clyde, Kevin Galloway was named SWAC Newcomer of the Year. The former Cat averaged 11.4 points, 7 rebounds and 6.2 assists for Texas Southern this season. He finished his senior season ranked 8th nationally in assists.
– In the recruiting world, Coach Cal traveled back to Memphis Monday to check out Leron Black, a 6’7″ freshman forward. ESPN projects Black as a small forward, while Rivals says he’s a power forward. Both agree that he’s among the best players in his class. Since Cal was checking him out, that should probably have been a given.
– Also worth noting, Braeden Anderson took an official visit to Kansas Monday. He remains a target of the Cats as they search for another big man to finish off the 2011 class.
– In unrelated news, I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more excited for the Fab Five documentary on ESPN Sunday. The SEC title game will be fun and Selection Sunday should be exciting, but it’s all just a buildup for that film. I can’t wait.
That’s it for now. Stick around today for more pre-Atlanta fun. It all gets going at 10am on Kentucky Sports Radio when Matt will unleash his greatest rant yet on the University of Louisville administration. You know you don’t want to miss that. In the meantime, take note of the fact that Stone Cold Steve Austin returned to the WWE Monday night and it seemed like the whole world stopped to celebrate. BTI even got so excited that he made a sign…
See you in a few…