I like to think that Thursday’s News and Views honoree Bradley Cooper has something to offer both sexes. To women, well, that’s obvious: he’s hot. In fact, People Magazine voted him “Sexiest Man of the Year,” much to the chagrin of perennial favorite, George Clooney. To men, I imagine Bradley Cooper is a pretty likeable guy. Due in large part to his role as Phil in “The Hangover,” Cooper gives off an cool, easy, and sometimes cruel, confidence that, I hate to say it, make women want him and men want to be him. What’s most fascinating to me about Cooper is what I call the “Really?! Range,” or the wild variety of roles he’s taken on during his career. Case in point: Cooper also played pompous prepster Sack Lodge, Rachel McAdams’ love interest, in “Wedding Crashers,” as well as gay camp counselor Ben in “Wet Hot American Summer” (his first theatrical role). After making the rounds on several TV shows, including “Alias” and “Nip/Tuck,” Cooper took a page from the “Patrick Dempsey School of Acting,” grew his hair out and landed his breakout role in “The Hangover.” Now, Cooper has his choice of blockbuster roles, and is rumored to be in consideration for the role of Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, “Man of Steel.” Oh yeah, he’s also fluent in French (that’s for you, ladies).
Bon anniversaire, Bradley. No more “Hangover” sequels, please.
— Coming off possibly the worst first-half performance of the Calipari era, much of Wednesday was spent picking apart the Cats’ flaws, the most glaring of which may be the play of Marquis Teague. After seeming to put things back together in the second half of the Indiana game, Teague has regressed into his former self, a passive point guard prone to silly errors. I’ll admit, I expected big things from Teague. After watching him in the preseason, I considered him to be one of the most impressive athletes on the floor in terms of speed and explosiveness; he still is, and you can see it in flashes, like his brilliant drive to the basket in the second half against Arkansas-Little Rock. News also came Wednesday afternoon that Teague was not selected as one of the twenty finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s best point guard each season. Have we, as Kentucky fans, been spoiled by the outstanding play of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, and Brandon Knight? Yes. Does that mean our criticism of Teague is unfair? Perhaps. Like your best friend with the loser boyfriend, Teague’s play is frustrating because you know he can do better. Yes, I know Brandon Knight has similar struggles last season, and there is no bigger supporter of Teague than I, but the simple fact is, right now, this team moves more smoothly with Doron Lamb or Darius Miller at point guard. If Teague wants to continue leading this team, he needs to evolve with the rest of his fellow freshmen, fast.
— As for the future of the Freedom Hall game, Calipari said that he’ll talk to Mitch Barnhart in the coming weeks to discuss whether or not it’s worthwhile to continue scheduling. Attendance Tuesday night was around 15,000, which is nothing to sneeze at until you consider that if they held the same game at Rupp, it would be a near sell-out. Nutty smell and all, I like the Freedom Hall game because it gives fans without season tickets a better (and more affordable) chance to see the Cats, and is a shorter drive for those living in the Kentuckiana area; however, I can see why a mid-week game against a cupcake is a hard sell. The Indiana neutral site series is a much more appealing option for the Freedom Hall game, but it’s unlikely that the athletic department decides to leave that out of the season ticket package.
— Go Temple.
— In your Boone’s Butcher Shop Injury Update: No news on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s pulled chest muscle. MKG saw doctors on Wednesday, but Cal didn’t think it was serious enough to bring out Rob Bromley. Meanwhile, Kyle Macy still thinks he has the runs.
— During Wednesday’s SEC Coaches’ Weekly Teleconference, Cal spoke about the changes his team will have to make headed into SEC play: “It’s going to change for all of us. The toughness of play, the intensity of play, the buildings will be full, the talent level, the coaching, it’s all going to elevate for all of us. I’m anxious to see how my team responds.” After a series of incomplete and lackluster performances, the Cats must ratchet up the intensity; if our non-conference opponents were hungry for an upset, our SEC brethren will be out for blood. If the Cats continue to play the way they have the past few games (uninspired, held up by only Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Anthony Davis), it is only a matter of time before we give them something to crow about.
— During the teleconference, Cal was asked how he “works” the refs during games. Cal said that he doesn’t try to convince refs to switch their calls (cough, Coach K, cough), but instead encourages them to call the game evenly. Hear that, Tony Green and Teddy Valentine?
— Get your Darrin Horn jokes ready. The South Carolina Cillian Murphys come into Rupp after winning six of their last seven games (the only loss being to then number one Ohio State), and dare I say it, have a bit of swagger. Senior Malik Cooke is the Gamecocks’ leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points per game, and sophomore guard Bruce Ellington continues to build off his All-SEC Freshman Team honors from last season. If the Cats are clicking on all cylinders, the Gamecocks shouldn’t be a threat, but as we’ve seen in the past few games, that’s not always the case. Darrin Horn, in his fourth season as
a poor man’s Don Draper South Carolina’s head coach, thinks this is the most talented team Cal’s had at Kentucky, due in large part to Anthony Davis: “Davis is a complete game-changer. A big challenge for anybody who plays them is handling their defensive presence.”
— According to Joe Davis of ScoutsFocus.com, 2012 SF Devonta Pollard will visit Kentucky and Texas this month. Pollard, ranked ninth in the nation by Rivals, is also considering Mississippi State and Alabama. This is big news for the Cats, who many thought were out of contention for Pollard back in November.
— Go Temple.
— Rumors continue to swirl around the Kings and DeMarcus Cousins. After Cousins and Westphal’s falling out earlier this week, Cousins has rejoined the team on the road and the Kings claim they won’t trade him. However, on Wednesday, sources told the NY Daily News that the Nets are interested in trading for Cousins. The Nets are currently without their starting center Brook Lopez and it is unclear when Kris Humphries will recover from his
bruised ego sprained shoulder, and even then, well, he’s Kris Humphries, not DeMarcus Cousins. H to the Izzo, D to the Citaay?
— Huzzah to the men’s tennis team, who will enter the spring season ranked seventh in the nation. The team also returns a school-record six nationally-ranked players. Is it really almost tennis season?
That’s it for now. We’ll be back bright and early to deliver news in the most ridiculous manner possible. As always, Matt and the crew will take the air at 10 a.m., hopefully without that chatty lady from “The Bachelor.”