If you’re like me, whenever you read a book, you create the perfect movie cast for it in your head. And if you’re like me, you’ll know that sweet, satisfying feeling that comes when that person you envisioned for the role is actually cast. Case and point: Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series. Can you imagine any other person playing the powerful and wise professor? Maggie Smith plays McGonagall perfectly, right down to the dry and brutal wit with which she steals scene after scene. It’s as though JK Rowling had her in mind while writing the series. Smith, an actress so distinguished on stage and screen that she received the title of “Dame Commander” in 1984 (so badass), has mastered that combination of spunk, sass, and sarcasm that many (including myself) will spend a lifetime trying to achieve. While I confess I don’t know much about her early work, it’s hard to change the channel when the stiff Reverend Mother tears up in Sister Act, or when Gunilla Garson Goldberg attempts to help out the First Wives Club. I hear she’s brilliant in “Downtown Abbey,” but haven’t had the chance (or room on our TiVo) to check it out.
Anyways, on your seventy-seventh birthday, here’s to you, Dame Maggie. Keep killing ’em.
News and views? Okay.
— Probably the biggest news of the day comes from one of our trusty sources, who said that Kentucky is interested in renewing the Indiana series, but would prefer if the series returned to its neutral site format, with games rotating between Louisville and Indianapolis. While I’m sure we’ll all be sad not to get sweet revenge on the Hoosiers in Rupp, our old floor in Freedom Hall will do just fine. Right?
— It’s rivalry week, which means it’s time for some quality gamesmanship from both sides. Because he’s traditionally quick on the trigger, Rick Pitino kicked things off on Tuesday with the announcement that he will stop coaching once his contract with UofL is up in 2017. The news came during Pitino’s press conference leading up to the Cards’ game against Georgetown tomorrow night, in which he waxed poetic about living in the moment, something he’s learned after 59 years–waaaaaaaait wait wait…Pitino’s only 59?!
It’s amazing what 15 years–or 15 seconds?–will do to you. Everything about Pitino’s announcement seems odd, but considering his behavior over the past year, that’s just about right.
— With a game on Wednesday night against Lamar and Saturday’s match up against Louisville looming, everyone wants to know how Terrence Jones’ pinky is doing. Jones has worn the gold jersey during practices this week, which means no contact, and Cal said he and his staff would decide after Tuesday’s late practice whether or not he’ll suit up on Wednesday. There are two schools of thought here: 1) Keep Jones on the bench against Lamar to prevent re-injury and continue healing or 2) If he can, play him to knock off some rust. I personally favor the former, but I also see no harm in dressing the players in bubble wrap when they’re not in the court. #maternalinstinct
— Oh, and don’t worry: Kyle Wiltjer has recovered from his illness and returned to practice on Tuesday. Please stop sending him chicken soup.
— If Wednesday night’s opponent seems familiar, it’s because Louisville played them earlier this season. Lamar kept the game within five points until Louisville pulled away with five minutes left, and they also put quite a scare into Ohio State little over a week ago. They’re coached by Pat Knight, former Texas Tech coach and son of Bobby, and feature a veteran squad capable of lighting it up from the outside. The Cats must defend the three better and focus on the task at hand instead of looking forward to the Louisville game on Saturday.
— During Cal’s time with the media on Tuesday, he touched on what he considered unfair coverage of his team’s performance academically, specifically reporters who only mention it when players perform poorly and imply it’s because they’re a part of the “one-and-done” system. Ears perked, Jerry Tipton asked what media members Cal was referring to, which led to a delicious moment in which Cal said “When you throw that rock, Jerry, into a pack of dogs, the one you hit (goes), ‘Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! Yelp!’ It’ll start yelping.” The media room burst into laughter, with Tipton insisting he “wasn’t yelping.” Cal laughed it off and told Jerry he was “telling on” himself, and moved on to say how proud he was of his team. Exchanges like this between Cal are media are funny, but still serve as a reminder of the ridiculous negative slant to which Tipton constantly angles his pen.
— In news that won’t surprise you, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to embrace the role of leader. In comments to the media on Tuesday, MKG said that despite his youth (he’s the youngest player on the squad), he is “ready to lead.” In fact, he compared himself to Tim Tebow, saying he will do “everything it takes” to help the team win games. Before you open up Photoshop, slow down: MKG says there won’t be any “Tebowing.” As for the Breakfast Club, Michael said they are now up to eight members and that the group has built up a lot of chemistry, going so far as calling it a “brotherhood.” We also learned that Gilchrist’s first recruit to the Brotherhood of Biscuits was Anthony Davis. Shocker.
— We’ve discussed this ad nauseam, but Gilchrist showed incredible mental toughness last week when he decided to stay and play in the Loyola game in light of news that his mother was in the hospital, a decision he said he came to after “hours” of talking to Coach Cal in his office. Jerry Tipton couldn’t help himself and asked Michael if playing in the game was a way to get his mind off of his mother, which Michael denied, saying that she was on his mind the whole time and he just had to play through it for his team. #GoAwayJerry
— 2013 star Nerlens Noel arrived in Louisville on Tuesday to tour campus and attend the Cards’ game against Georgetown Wednesday night. Noel tweeted this early Tuesday morning:
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) December 27, 2011
Let’s hope he decides to swing by Lexington before leaving the state. I can’t stand the thought of that sweet high-top fade going to college somewhere else.
— In case you’ve been counting down the minutes, the 2012 SEC football schedule will be released at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Yaaaay.
That’s all, folks. We’ll be back bright and early to prepare you for Kentucky vs. Lamar. Matt returns to the airwaves at 10 a.m. after five days off. You know what that means…stories! See you then.
…oh yeah, sorry bout that Belk Bowl loss, Cards. I hope you at least get some Bojangles before you leave town.