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Big Dog’s Monday News and Views

Well, welcome back, I guess.  It wasn’t the greatest weekend to be a Kentucky fan as disappointment seemed to lurk around every corner and come from every direction possible.  The Cats found letdowns in four states (five if you count the women’s team) during what’s supposed to be the happiest days of the week and it was a rough return from an emotional high just seven days prior.  So, it only seems fair as we reset ourselves from a weekend that was a little tough to be a Cat that we first stop and salute the Big Dog on his 38th birthday.  Glenn Robinson, now five and a half years removed from his basketball playing days, remains one of the most dominant college players I’ve ever seen and holds the distinction of being Purdue’s only Naismith Player of the Year not named John Wooden.  So, while we salute Robinson’s jaw-dropping 30 points and 11 rebounds per game junior season and think back to when my Dallas high school was filled with kids wearing #13 Bucks jerseys and #5 Mavericks jerseys arguing the timeless Robinson vs. Kidd debate, let’s also remember him for the most unique portion of his legacy – working as a welder during his freshmen year after the NCAA ruled him academically ineligible.  What that has to do with UK, we’ll never know.  I just hope I took your mind off things for a few seconds.

Now onto a few UK notes…

 – Despite losses in football and basketball, the big topic of discussion continued to be the ruling by the NCAA that Enes Kanter would be permanently ineligible.  With no appeals remaining for the Turkish big man or UK, the situation finally has so finality to it and the interesting portion now becomes the response of the media.  As has been the case throughout, there appears to be a clean division between those for and against him playing college basketball.  The biggest supporters of the Free Enes cause continue to be Jay Bilas, Mike DeCourcy and, perhaps the loudest, Dick Vitale.  While others have looked at the issue in a black-and-white interpretation of the rule, those three have made a point to voice their support of UK’s big man with essentially the same argument made by UK’s trio of Lee Todd, Mitch Barnhart and Coach Calipari on Friday – there doesn’t seem to be any common sense used by the committee.  No one argues that the letter of the NCAA law deems him in violation.  But, unlike the cases of the other athletes found in violation of rules lately, the NCAA did not want to look at the situation in a potentially flexible or subjective manner.  They looked at the rule and ruled, which does not appear to be the treatment given to Cam Newton or the Ohio State players.  It’s frustrating and it’s not a conversation that will likely die soon. Unfortunately, though, the chances of Kanter playing are already gone.

 – Somewhat exemplifying that point, the NCAA continued the trend of looking foolish after the fact with their rulings when NCA President Mark Emmert told Seth Davis that “no one should be shocked” by the Kanter rulingand that very few schools recruited him.  Emmert, as you know, is the president of the University of Washington, the school that held Kanter’s commitment before he backed out and committed to the Cats.  Davis tweeted out that the Huskies backed off of him after they heard there might be problems, but that is absolutely not the case.  They were in it as much as anyone and Emmert’s defense seems completely ridiculous.  And, as Tyler Thompson pointed out earlier, when you have to publicly defend a decision, there’s probably an issue there.  And for the NCAA, it’s because they keep making rulings that leave them no choice to defend them publicly and, more often than not, it ends up making them look more foolish.  That’s again the case here.

 – He’s faced his fair share of criticism for various things during his tenure, but Mitch Barnhart remained on the offensive over the weekend, calling NCAA rules “a moving target”.  Barnhart’s public insistence that the NCAA’s rules are getting more difficult to understand and adhere to lately won’t help Kanter get on the court, but they help keep them in the discussion.  For Barnhart’s purposes, doing so might have major benefit.  He is the chair of the Men’s Basketball Issues Committee, which according the Bylaw Blog, “has the ear of the Board of Directors” more than any other group.  What Barnhart and his committee present in the future or champion as a group could have serious implications on rules going forward.  The Kanter issue seems to be rare in its circumstances, but the increasingly inconsistent rulings by the NCAA could become an issue for them going forward.

 – As far as the actual basketball being played, Kentucky’s performance against Georgia was ugly.  They were out-rebounded and out-shot.  But, if you look at the stat sheet, you see some strange numbers.  Georgia made 20 more free throws (and shot 18 more), but took 22 fewer field goal attempts.  On most nights, when you’re shooting over 20 more times than your opponent and committing only 8 turnovers, you win the game.  In Athens, though, racked up 24 fouls and gave Georgia an incredible number of points at the line.  While the game was bad, it looks like it’s just one of those bad games teams sometimes have and you can’t really point at any major weakness being exposed.  When you lose, that’s always a good thing.  Oh, hell, I’m so angry.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.

 – Another telling number from the Georgia game was the playing time from the guy’s not in the six-man rotation.  With the Cats battling fouls, Coach Cal used Jon Hood and Eloy Vargas for a combined eight minutes.  This, of course, just after he said that he was working with them, as well as Stacey Poole and Jarrod Polson, in hopes that he could get more minutes from them.  One of them will have to step up and the game in Athens showed exactly why that’s the case.  After hinting that SEC play could bring more time on the court, they were essentially shut down and that can’t be viewed as promising.  By the end of the year, if the Cats are playing a six-man rotation, there are going to be a lot of nervous Cats fans come game time.

 – After an embarrassing bowl performance in Birmingham, a lot of heat started swinging toward Joker Phillips for conservative play-calling and an odd fourth-down gamble.  While a lot of that frustration is probably fair, the only thing I could think about after the game was Mike Hartline.  For the entire season, Kentucky was able to consistently put points on the board.  The only question was whether or not the defense could get enough stops.  On Saturday, it seemed the opposite for most of the game and it’s hard not to put a good chunk of blame on the shoulders of the senior quarterback for making himself unavailable for his teammates.  Derrick Locke said after the game that it would have been different with #5 under center and I can’t disagree.  If he plays that game, the Cats win.  There’s no question that they score more than 10 points and it’s very likely that field position doesn’t destroy them and Joker doesn’t make the gamble on the fake punt.  I don’t want to pile on a guy who I’ve defended every year that he’s started, but this is why you have to be accountable for your teammates.  He left the guys hanging and the offense laid a fat egg in the Compass Bowl.

 – On a more positive note, I liked what I saw from the Rick Minter defense in its first showing.  The play-calling seemed to be a little more aggressive and, more importantly, guys seemed to be playing with the fire that so many of us yearned to see all season.  Some of the symptoms of ineptitude remained (shoulder tackling, missed assignments), but the players seemed to have a little extra bounce to their step and appeared to be playing to win, instead of just trying to not break on every play.  There’s still work to be done, but it was a nice thing to see in the debut of the new defensive coordinator.

 – With the game finished and the season wrapped up, the talk will now turn to Randall Cobb and whether or not he will go pro.  At this point, I don’t see any reason that he would stay at UK.  Draft projections put him in the second round, which is likely as high as he will climb, and with a glimpse into the future in Birmingham, it doesn’t appear that his stats are going to break out next year.  So much of the passing game is based off of relationship and timing and, while that would improve with Morgan Newton with more reps this spring and summer, it will likely never be what it was with Hartline.  The two not only had developed a rhythm on the field, they became closer off of it too.  Right now, there just seems to be too much risk involved in coming back.

That’s it for now.  Stay tuned throughout the day as we look to get the morale up again and look forward to the Cats getting things going again this week against Auburn.  As usual, the fun gets going on Kentucky Sports Radio at 10am on Talk Radio 1080.  Make sure you check it out and then stick around.  We’re going to make this fun.  See you in a few…

Article written by Thomas Beisner

47 Comments for Big Dog’s Monday News and Views

  1. KY_Wildcat_AL
    12:27 am January 10, 2011 Permalink


  2. Issel's two front teeth
    12:38 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be great, that with one game left in the SEC reg season, UK would have a 2 game lead in the conference, put Enes in the game, and let him tear it up! not gonna happen, but would be awesome!

  3. Phillips, Joker
    12:41 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    OMG Louisville already has the 18th best class in the nation???!!!!! And they still have more recruits coming!!!!

  4. Ron Jeremy
    12:55 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    my thoughts on georgia game:

  5. jacocat
    1:30 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    #2 UK would probably get the death penalty 4 that.

  6. JOKER
    1:39 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    hey guys one year really…i know why yall dont like me!
    tubby u was right smh

  7. Hefty Lefty
    2:18 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Just incase anyone wondered where I was come check out the new football I’m manager of

  8. Hefty Lefty
    2:18 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    football team*

  9. gay glazer
    2:36 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Dez Bryant blatantly lied to the NCAA and was banned from the NCAA. The NCAA president lies blatantly and will probably give himself a raise.

  10. whatumacallit
    5:22 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    6)yea, we are so racist around here that we just make you (joker) and tubby millionaires soley for the joy of running you out of town in a couple yrs!

  11. One Man Wolfpack
    5:59 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    #6 You are a stupid jackwagon! Rich Brooks got the same treatment, so stop your BS.

  12. SexnNursinHomes
    6:20 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    That’s the fist I have heard of Mitch being the Chair of Men’s Basketball Issues-
    Mitch, why didn’t you stay in their asses about clearing Kanter, or does having the “ears of the board of directors” mean that Mitch and the Board of Directors have similar looking ears? Ross Perot?

    And how can I sell my ol’ lady on Craig’s List? I need drinking money for this week’s UK games. Thanks.

  13. ShagOnSports
    6:26 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    “We’ve got to try to take the next step,” Phillips said. “You can no longer come into every season talking about how young we are. We were able to redshirt a lot of guys and they will have been in our program a year by the time we play our next game so we expect those guys to mature in a hurry.“I’m not talking about maturing in our meeting rooms in understanding how to take notes,” the UK coach said. “I’m talking about maturing on and off the field.”

  14. maxwell
    6:35 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Enjoyed reading your post, gonna pass this along to my other riding friends.

  15. UKoverALL
    6:37 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Six disappointments if you count the Louisville win! It has been just awful!

  16. bluesince66
    6:46 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Come on now don’t show your lack of football knowledge by being pleased with anything from that game.

  17. ukcatsfan2
    6:54 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    In reference to your Rick Minter Defense, I must of been watching another game.

    Kentucky’s defense is swiss cheese!

  18. bluesince66
    7:08 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    #6 That crap really gets old. While there will always be a FEW people that dislike anyone just because of the color of their skin the vast majority are past that. Joker’s not happy with the team why should we be satisfied.

  19. Sammy Corndog
    7:15 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    ‘if hartline plays against Pitt the cats win’……

    Wow. Just wow.

  20. LOL
    7:27 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    UK is 0-1 in one of the worst conferences in basketball. This is funny.

  21. bung
    7:30 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    free Enes

  22. billy
    7:32 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Kanter is not playing basketball in college for anyone so GET OVER IT!

  23. bung
    7:32 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    UK will do fast break drills in practice this week. 0 points was not UKish.

  24. bung
    7:35 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Keep the heat on the NCAA.

  25. Big Blue Barber
    7:49 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Hey, what about the Sidney guy from Mississippt State. Did he not accept money against NCAA rules and was allowed to pay back what, about $11000 dollars and sit some games? Didn’t the NCAA take a year to investigate his case?
    Haven’t heard him mentioned in all this ENES stuff.

  26. Big Blue Barber
    7:50 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Guess I’ll change Free Enes on my sign to….”Pay Enes”

  27. bung
    7:55 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Call your State rep in Frankfort. Call our UK grad Gov…..make the ncaa answer questions in Frankfort…..protect our taxpayers. Free Enes

  28. Enes Envy
    8:11 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Here is a link to ESPN which has the email addresses to all major radio and tv shows/personalities. I’ve emailed each to request they use their pulpits to reveal the truth about the NCAA. If you have time…you may want to do the same…there is power in numbers.

  29. Roach K
    8:33 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    I’m depressed today. It was the weekend from hell. But some perspective, we have a congresswoman who got shot in the head by a crazed Marxist. Maybe our weekend wasn’t so bad after all….

  30. fireemmert
    8:36 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

  31. Another One In 11
    8:36 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Guys, I see this as a victory! Enes will still get to be educated in the US. This is, afterall, what he wanted to come here for right? That is what everyone has said all along, and I understand it, he will be educated. Rejoice!!! Hurrah!!! This quote comes from Cal himself guys, “This has never been about our program or the University of Kentucky, it has been about the wishes of Enes and his family to have their son educated in the United States.”
    Unlike this season’s football team, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!

  32. Don
    8:39 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Operation Piss Off More Fans = Victory

  33. A
    8:44 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    I agree with 19. Hartline does not make a 17 point difference. We were 6-6 with him. Put this one on the coaching staff for not assimilating other qb’s into the system earlier this year. Hartline may have been our best chance to win, but those other guys needed game reps.

  34. bung
    8:47 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Taxpayers spend a bunch on UK Thru Frankfort. UK was defamed by Emmert saying we were stupid to recruit Enes (and not mentioning his school did also). We will lose money if it costs us a final 4 appearance. Will it cost us more money if
    Emmert reduced the University’s appeal to future potential students? Was Enes descriminated against by the ncaa? Kentucky General Assembly needs to hold hearings with the NCAA present in Frankfort.

  35. big blue
    8:51 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    If Hartline plays, we win? Come on, that argument sounds like the same one coming from Louisville fans after that 15 point beatdown. “If we had Buckles, it’d be a different game.”. If Hartline plays we still lose that game and I refuse to believe otherwise, just like if Buckles played UK would still win by 10-15 points. Come on Beis, lets not stoop to the same level as Card fans.

  36. The Hoff
    9:05 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    If I was Moss, I would transfer. It is apparent he isn’t going to get a fair shake. The game was completely out of reach late in the fourth quarter. Why not give Moss a shot? I’ll hang up and listen.

  37. Cristoforouk
    9:12 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Cobb is gone. Told people last night.

  38. Laker Cat 18
    9:57 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Cobb had THREE rushes for 23 yards and FIVE receptions for 62 yards on the offensive end. That is UNACCEPTABLE to allow that to happen. I don’t know what else to say. When your best player doesn’t touch the ball more than that in 4 quarters, success usually does not follow very often.

  39. ashleyjudd'scrotch
    10:10 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Randall Cobb dropped 2 critical passes.Combine that with his fumbles that cost us momentum in the Ole Miss and UT games are reason enough for him to come back .Not getting the ball to a healthy motivated Derrick Locke was the bigger sin.

  40. Wildcards
    10:23 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    This year is over and Joker’s first year finished with a losing season! My question is with the loss of skilled players and the lack of returning talent(especially at quarterback)can either of the next two years realistically be better? No way can you objectively argue that the next two years will be better. Can Joker survive three loosing seasons in a row?
    Unless Joker changes his style of play, he will not survive at KY.

  41. Wildcards
    10:41 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    When will KY ever learn that you cannot line up and play football in the SEC and expect to win!!! You are going against bigger, better and faster players. You have to do something different to have a chance to be competitive in our conference. I love Joker and wish him well, but his way is not going to succeed at KY. He needs to open thing up and practice them so that they work. He really appears to be in our his head. Next year will really tell if he has what it takes.

  42. CallerfromLexington
    11:10 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    “If (Hartline) plays that game, the Cats win.” You mean the same Hartline that lead the team to a 2-6 record? This site is starting to lose credibility beyond just BTI. And fast.

  43. john4uk
    11:29 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Beisner,you must have seen a different game than i involving the Cats and Pitt Saturday.I saw a UK team that played completely uninspired,and an offensive and defensive line that were soundly whipped.I saw a quarterback that has two years under his belt look anything but a legitimate D-1 SEC caliber quarteback,and play calling,that excluded for the most part, the best two offensive players on the team.If Newton is the best UK has to offer,then Moss must be very inept and needs to exit the program now so a scholly can be made available for someone who can play at the SEC level.
    Honestly i’ve seen more enegetic football played by middle school teams than that displayed by this Kentucky team Saturday.

  44. Jaws2
    11:42 am January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Agreed #43, we were totally unprepared and whipped on both sides of the ball. Nord has got to go as ‘special teams’ coach.
    We play like a ‘special needs’ team rather than ‘special teams’! There are NO excuses other than straight to the top. I have
    contended all year that Joker is more interested in being the players friend than a head coach. His actions on the sideline
    Saturday were an embarrasment. These guys have ZERO respect or fear of him and they should have both.

  45. BlueFins
    1:52 pm January 10, 2011 Permalink

    Joker had better get his recruitng act together. He’s already been out recruited by Strong, and is responsible for all all the players he has now. He won’t make it through the year if he loses next year to UL. There are only so many players from LaGrange, GA, he needs to get his ass down to Florida and get some talent.

  46. downtown_1523
    2:46 pm January 10, 2011 Permalink

    you talkin to me

  47. totaly blue
    4:41 pm January 10, 2011 Permalink

    jokers play selection and choices in crucial situations does not look much like a highly intelligent college football coach.