Today is Columbus Day, which means that those of you who work for the Government or at a bank are off and able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his Italian labor. But there are other things besides supporting former sailors that we must get ready for this week. We of course point towards Big Blue Madness on Friday night, the big game against the Old Ball Coach on Saturday and the release of the documentary on the 2009-2010 UK Basketball season, “Blue Dawn.” The film was done by a company out of New York City that previously chronicled the fan bases of Manchester United and the Boston Red Sox. They followed the team around for a year and the footage is something you will not see anywhere else. They were in the locker room after the big games, had access to practice footage and were there after the NCAA Tournament. I watched it for the first time Friday and was impressed with the film’s ability to show Calipari with the filter off and I think it is the most revealing look at him that we have yet seen. The KSR crew also makes a couple of appearances as does the great Oscar Combs. I really enjoyed it and do believe it is a must-see for UK fans. We will have more info on here this week about how you can order it and will be giving away 25 copies to KSR fans via the blog, Twitter, Facebook and the radio show. Check it out if you get a chance.
To the news:
— The talk of UK land today continues to be the debate over the UK Defense and Coordinator Steve Brown. Most opinions diverge based on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person. There is little doubt that the scheme we saw from the UK Defense in the first half against Auburn was terrible. The Defense played Newton to pass and were torched by the run, with few adjustments made. It could have been the worst half of defensive football since probation. But then in the second half, the scheme changed. Brown brought the safeties up, inserted some blitzes and added pressure and the performance was MUCH improved. So do you celebrate the second half changes or focus on the first half problems? The game against South Carolina will probably tell us which half was more of the mirage…and whether Brown can keep the fanbase from rebellion.
— Lots of chatter on Twitter and message boards about various sources suggesting that they had “sources” on Enes Kanter news. I can say with a strong degree of confidence that NO ONE knows what will happen with Kanter, no matter what they may say. If enough people guess on the date that the news will come out and the likely outcome, someone will be right, but the principles involved have no clue what the NCAA will do and when they will do it. The entire Kanter situation is a process…with the NCAA and UK communicating and information going back and forth. The folks I talk to around UK dont expect a decision for a number of weeks and all agree that there is no truth to this weekend’s rumors. So sit back and relax….the Kanter news could come tomorrow or at Thanksgiving…but only the NCAA (and not people on Twitter) truly knows.
— Randall Cobb is the man…plain and simple. He did everything he could to win that game on Saturday night and I truly hope he gets one marquee win during his time here at Kentucky. He is as dynamic as they come and a real pleasure to watch. He is likely the most popular athlete on UK’s campus and is a football player….which probably hasnt happened since Tim Couch. Saturday’s game may have been one of his overall best…truly amazing.
— Joker Phillips announced today that Derrick Locke is questionable for the South Carolina game thanks to two stingers he recieved against Auburn. Joker said if the game were today, he couldnt play but that he would be evaluated all week. Donald Russell and Raymond Sanders both played well after Locke’s injury, but they are not yet on Locke’s level. The Cats will need him next week.
— The strangest happening on Saturday night was the odd back and forth between KSR and the UK Band, some of which occurred during the game. As most of you know, I am a critic of the atmosphere at UK games, especially the song choices made by UK over the one speaker that works at the stadium and the music played by the band. I am not a critic of the band members themselves, who all seem to be good to my untrained ears, but to the fact that they play music that gets no one inspired. On Saturday after listing to “Cold Hearted” by Paula Abdul, I tweeted about how awful the music choices were and the band quickly responded. All night I got angry band texts and today a number of emails as well. As far as the band folks go, I have no hate towards you all. I played trumpet in middle school and I certainly dont think I am “better than the band” as some of you have said. Rather I just want the music to be either more modern or more fun…and Paula Abdul is neither. Maybe the answer is to let fans vote on songs (which we would facilitate on KSR) or just work with UK to play better music over the speakers (it was slightly better this week), but believe me band when I say this…the FANS AGREE. It has been a topic for years on message boards, radio shows and tailgates. I just said it out loud….you guys are talented…lets just get better music.
— Someone please give Brooks Conrad a hug. I should hate him because he cost the Braves Game 3 today, but I just feel sorry for him….errors in seven straight games and the game-losing one tonight? Ugh thats tough.
— In case you missed it earlier, the South Carolina game will be at 6 pm on ESPN2, which means we get Bob Davie again. We find out about the Georgia game the next week on Monday afternoon.
— Best episode of the season for Eastbound and Down tonight. I was worried about the show after the first two weeks were subpar….but they brought it this week. Steve is a required character and there is one line from tonight that I cant repeat here, but goes down in the KSR archives for certain. Kenny Powers rules.
— Until John Clay’s column last week, the words “Kentucky Sports Radio” had never been written in the newspaper in our five year history. Then we open it up today and it was mentioned not once, but twice by the Herald Leader. The first came from Lexington Congressional Candidate Andy Barr, who mentioned Kentucky Sports Radio as his favorite non-political website. I dont know Andy (who is the Republican running against Ben Chandler), but we appreciate his support and wish him luck. The other candidates said something like Google, ESPN, iTunes or CBS Sports….boo you elitist Washington politicians. Keep your internet usage local like our man Andy Barr.
The other mention came from the Doctor Jerry Tipton who wrote this in his set of Sunday basketball notes:
When John Calipari opened up the women’s clinic for questions, a fan from the balcony called out a declarative sentence: “Neuter Thamel.”
That was a reference to Pete Thamel, The New York Times sports reporter who broke stories this year on the NCAA looking into Eric Bledsoe’s recruitment and the serious questions about Enes Kanter’s amateur status.
After the fan suggested how UK could retaliate against Thamel, C’alipari joked, “That’s not a bad idea.”
During the clinic for female fans, John Calipari introduced Kentucky Sports Radio poo-bah Matt Jones, whose Web site devotes itself to UK basketball. The fans reacted with an audible “Ooooh.”
“He’s got a following because he writes about Kentucky, and he does a good job,” Calipari said. “He’s a lawyer by trade. When he analyzes, it’s like a lawyer. No extra embellishing
Tipton’s comments were one of two very surprising things for me to find out this weekend (the other being that a couple of fans saw BTI making out with an attractive girl in public…this one still strikes me as hard to believe), but we do appreciate it. While I do suspect that Tipton used the quote from Calipari for irony effect, that is ok…any non-negativity from the Good Doctor Tipton is a start. While the KSR-LHL relations have gone from “Rick Pitino-Joanne Pitino” non-speaking coolness to simply “Billy Gillispie-female televison reporters” tension, it still shocks to see our name in print. We thank them and will now tell Drew Franklin he can take a few days off from drunk texting John Clay.
More all day as we get ready for the kickoff of all things basketball…..