Chuck Norris turns 71 years old today. You want to make jokes about it, go ahead. I’m going to hold off.
Now onto a few UK notes…
– On the eve of the SEC Tournament’s start, Coach Cal traveled to New Jersey for the St. Patrick’s – St. Anthony’s game that featured Michael Gilchrist and the fictional national championship on the line. And that pretty much sums up the good part of the story. With the title on the line, Gilchrist struggled in scoring only seven points, none of them in the second half, as he battled foul trouble and the evil karma that comes with a Hurley on the opposing sideline. On the bright side, instead of spending the next 30 years of his life out of shape and telling everyone who would listen about how he was screwed on a cold night in Jersey like the rest of us, he’ll be a part of what could be the greatest recruiting class of all time in a few months and chase for some championship reunion. So don’t even try to bring it up at the 10-year reunion!
– Because, just as Cal told us, this whole shindig in Atlanta is really only about improving seeding for the NCAA Tournament, the Cats got some good news from a pair of bracket experts Wednesday. Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi both put the Cats within striking distance of a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament, with Palm saying an SEC Tourney title good enough to do it and Lunardi putting the Cats only two teams away. One of the teams keeping the Cats from moving up in the ESPN bracekt is Florida, which the Cats would presumably pass with a tournament victory. The other two are Wisconsin and Syracuse. Of those two, Syracuse seems the most likely for the Cats to be able to pass, thanks to Wisconsin getting either Penn State or Indiana (a win) and then a Purdue team that is regarded highly enough that a loss would not appear to impact the Badgers too much. Syracuse, however, has the potential to drop their first Big East Tournament game against St. John’s and, for Cats fans, that means rooting hard for the Johnnies Thursday. If Syracuse were to win that game, they would most likely get Pitt, who like Purdue, wouldn’t diminish their standing by losing. So, if the Cats win out, it appears there’s a good shot. If Syracuse can drop their game Thursday, that shot becomes great.
– Speaking of Steve Lavin’s team, they seemed to benefit from one of the worst officiating oversights of recent memory when Justin Brownlee traveled and then stepped out of bounds and heaved the ball in celebration at midcourt with 1.7 seconds remaining on the clock. St. John’s had a two-point lead over Rutgers at the time and officials did not blow the whistle, instead letting the game end and earning postgame cricitism from NCAA Head of Officiating John Adams, who called it “unacceptable”. Big East commissioner John Marinatto agreed that a mistake was made. Fans of college basketball simply said, “yeah, seems about right”.
– If you’re in Atlanta and you’re already fired up about seeing some basketball, no matter how badly it will make your eyes bleed, the Ole Miss – South Carolina game tips off at 3:30. The winner, of course, will get the reward of facing Kentucky Friday. Still not interested? The guys will be at STATS.
– The NCAA also reared its ugly head again Wednesday as Baylor’s Perry Jones was suspended for a game for receiving improper benefits in high school. It’s another ruling that seems a little ridiculous when you attempt to look at it logically and one that is particularly damning for the Bears, who were fighting to earn an NCAA Tournament berth before getting blasted by an awful Oklahoma team without Jones. According to reports, the improper benefit ruling stemmed from Jones’ mom receiving help on two mortgage payments totaling less than $1,000 from his AAU coach and all of the money was repaid well before he enrolled in college. The family has known the coach since Jones was a sixth-grader, according to the same report. As we often see with the NCAA, a rule is a rule and there is little wiggle room. Unless there’s something more to it than what was initially reported, it seems like they’ve again removed logic and punished a lot of people for something that probably didn’t deserve an punishment at all.
– Some sad news trickled in just a few minutes ago as Michael Gilchrist Tweeted that his cousin passed away while he was playing for the national title Wednesday night. Gilchrist said it was “by far the worst day of my life”. Our prayers go out to him and his family.
That’s it for now. Make sure you stick around all day as we get going with the SEC Tournament coverage. The KSR crew will be broadcasting from STATS at 10am and you’ll be able to catch it on Talk Radio 1080. We’ll be live-blogging the Ole Miss – South Carolina game at 3pm. Make sure you check it out. In the meantime, let’s give a heartfelt congratulations to Bob Huggins for being accepted as the newest member of the Memphis dance team.
See you in a few…