It is a rainy Sunday night in the Bluegrass and if you were in Lexington, then some of your night may have been spent watching Carrie Underwood play in concert at Rupp Arena. The former American Idol winner and now country superstar was adored by Kentuckians, including Coach Matthew Mitchell of the UK women’s team, who tweeted about Underwood with such reptition that one wondered if he would be able to get through the night with out spontaneously combusting with excitement. Underwood has become a huge star and is loved by all “new country” fans, which doesnt really include me as I have the musical taste of a 68 year old Mississippian. While she doesnt rank in my Top Three favorite American Idol contestants (that would be Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks and Bo Bice if you were wondering), Underwood does have a great voice and is very attractive. So we like her and are ready for her to kick off the week.
To some notes….
— The big news of the night is that reports are suggesting Texas A&M may be headed to the SEC. Tonight the Houston Chronicle is reporting that absent a significant change, the Aggies are to join the SEC this week and will turn down the Pac 10 and the late attempts to keep the Big 12 together. Earlier in the day, it was reported that the Big 12 was attempting to stay together as a ten team league, potentially to add two new teams in the process. But the latest report (and it does change moment by moment) suggests that the Aggies are looking to break apart from Big Brother Texas and go out on their own. A great move for the Aggies and potentially a strong pull for the SEC to get into Texas country.
— The SEC will not stay pat at 13, so the question will be what is the 14th team to enter the league? There have been lots of names reported, but most believe that Virginia Tech is the most likely schools to receive the invite. It again opens up a new market and could balance the East and West divisions. Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Missouri are also mentioned as candidates, but if the SEC is focusing on the Hokies, that will be the news of the week. Basketball will get weaker but football depth will get stronger. By this time next week, we should know.
— Some good late recruiting news on the basketball front as Rivals.com reports that 2011 uber prospect LeBryan Nash has UK in his top three at this point along with Baylor and Oklahoma State. Nash is the #4 ranked prospect on the Rivals.com list and for those of you scoring at home (or even if you are alone), Kentucky already has commitments from #1 and #3 and is leading for #2. Seriously, is it fathomable to get the top four prospects in one class? Dont count Calipari out of anything.
— The football workouts get going full steam this week with Mike Hartline still leading the quarterback race as we head towards the fall. I had a good discussion on a podcast taping this weekend with a former manager who spent a lot of time around the team and asked about whether Hartline would be ready to take the leadership this year and make the position his for a successful season. Our guest believed he did, but there may be no player in recent years who has less connection with the fans. This summer and fall will go a long ways to try and get Hartline embraced by the fans, which will help his support as the season goes along.
— He isnt perfect, but when he is rolling Rajon Rondo can be absolutely sick. Two of his layups tonight were simply unreal. He is one game away from getting another title with a UK player locked down…it would be four in the last seven years.
— I am watching wayyy to much soccer, but loving it. There is something peaceful about the games and I love the format of the event. I do however hate those damn horns.
— Go see Get Him to the Greek. I admit that everything I have seen Russell Brand do (except host the MTV Awards), I have found him hilarious. I hear his book is great. Anyone read it?
— An ESPN writer called Demarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton two of the ten players in the NBA Draft to be most likely to be a bust. While I agreed with most of the rest of his list (including Whiteside, Lance Stephenson and Gordon Haywood), I think he is wrong on Cousins. Most people point to the same thing about Demarcus, his attitude. But they dont know his attitude and talk only with those who watched him from afar. Talk to anyone who was around Boogie and they tell you something different. You will hear “bust” and Cousins mentioned together often over the next two weeks. Remember who says it and make sure they remember it when they are shown to be wrong.
— Andy Katz reported that Tom Izzo talked to Calipari this week about the Cavs job and whether he should take it. It would be interesting to hear what his advice on the subject would be…I hope Izzo stays in college basketball as he has long been my favorite non-UK coach.
More all day as we build towards the NBA Draft and the future of the SEC. Tomorrow we learn more about the Aggies and College Station, potentially the newest stop on an SEC road trip….