Good morning and happy Tuesday to you, my KSR brothers and sisters. It’s a rare non-basketball Tuesday for the Cats as the SEC schedulers have decided to give them the day off in honor of the Honky Tonk Man’s birthday and India’s National Voters Day, both celebratory occasions in the South. But, while your beloved Wildcats are taking a little “me” time to focus on themselves and some self-improvement, the nation took notice of another player forcusing on himself as West Virginia basketball player Dan Jennings entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s biggest testicles after walking off the court in the middle of a game in defiance of Bob Huggins. The little-used sophomore apparently decided that his street clothes said he wouldn’t play Sunday, but his heart said he wasn’t going to let the Mountaineers be privileged to his services ever and got up off the bench and departed into, well, I’ll let Bob Huggins explain it. Huggins called the departure “unexcused, inexcusable. Never to be seen again, I guess” before adding “The truth of the matter is that he’s been a nonentity. We started him to try and get some other guys motivated and he did work hard in practice for a while, but look at his career stats.” His career stats say less than two points per game. But, I’m sure “balls the size of Texas” will look nice on a resume. So, here’s to you Dan Jennings. On most days, the people doing dumb things in suits work for the NCAA. Sunday, you made it work for you. That earns you a toast.
Now onto a few UK notes…
– Being forced to endure a week with no UK games on business days seems to be pure torture and only partially because you’re going to have to sit through Glee with your significant other. For Coach Cal’s team, however, it could be exactly what they need as this break from SEC competition allows them to focus on improving themselves, which still appears to be the biggest issue. Calipari said Monday that his team – nearly from top to bottom – is still very far away from where they need to be as a unit. Georgia game aside, the SEC slate so far has been riddled with teams not expected to contend and seen as in-game opportunities for the Cats to tweak some things, find a deeper bench and grow into what Calipariwants them to be. Obviously, that hasn’t necessarily been the case. This break, though tortuous to us all, will hopefully allow them to do just that. With six of their final 10 games against likely tourney teams, as well as South Carolina again and Mississippi State, it’s time for those breakthroughs to start happening.
– As is the case when the Cats aren’t playing, the focus often turns to the teams that can impact RPI or seeding later in the year. One win likely won’t make a huge difference, but Notre Dame’s upset of Pitt on the road certainly makes the Cats’ victory over the Irish at Freedom Hall look a little nicer. Kentucky’s victory in December seems to be the forgotten non-conference victory, likely because it was sandwiched between UNC and IU, but it could end up being their biggest on their resume. I still don’t think the Irish are the 14th-best team in the country and I’m not sure how many times they could beat Pitt on the road if they played ten times, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? All that matters is that the Cats have a win over a team that has a good shot at winning their next seven in their conference and climbing in the polls, which could go a long way in making up for what could be the SEC concrete shoes they’re wearing during seeding time.
– Never one to just sit around and relax, ESPN’s Dave Telep reported Monday night that Coach Cal was in Vegas to watch Shabazz Muhammad and teammate Rosco Allen. Muhammad is pretty much a known commodity at this point and a player that UK feels very good with after North Carolina, the team they thought was their biggest competition for his services, was eliminated when he trimmed his list. Allen, meanwhile, hasn’t been talked about much as a potential option and ranks as a four-star player and the 23rd-best in the nation by Rivals. He’s a 6’7″ small forward in the class of 2012 and looks nothing like a Rosco. It’s unclear at this point how much interest he has in UK and if they have much interest in him, and the trip was likely more focused on Muhammad. But, Telep mentioned Allen and I’m not crazy enough to question him.
– As we continue to wonder what will ever happen to Eloy Vargasand if he’ll develop into a contributor at UK, I had a moment of optimism Monday night. One of my favorite non-UK players is the lead-footed bruiser for Pitt, Gary McGhee, who runs awkwardly and like he’s in pain much like Eloy. He’s at least developed into a presence in the paint and on the boards for a very good team as a senior, so there’s that. Hope?
– While you’re not watching the Cats Tuesday, make sure to check out Florida and Georgiadoing battle in Athens. The Gators bounced back from a 45-point scoring outburst against Auburn with 73 against Arkansas, but the Georgia game will mark their first road game since struggling against the Tigers. Billy Donovan’s team is 2-0 on the road in the SEC so far, but those two wins were the crapfest against Auburn and an overtime victory over a Tennessee that had lost 2 of 3 and was being coached by assistant Tony Jones. They still have a lot of work to do to cure their road issues and Athens is a place where they’re going to be challenged majorly. A win by Georgia and a subsequent loss to UK Saturday would put the Cats back in first place in the SEC East. And order will be restored in the world.
– With Monday’s news that Mike Hartlinewould have to complete an alcohol course and perform community service in order to have all charges wiped from his record, I can’t help but get a little furious that he didn’t play in the Compass Bowl. I just don’t know who to be furious with. While it was exceptionally dumb for a fifth-year senior to be drunk in public, the fact remains that he’s old enough to be drinking and the rumored allegations of hitting a female never turned out to be true, leaving the court system to essentially wave the “I’m disappointed in you” finger in his face and let him resume his trouble-free life. I understand that Joker has put policies in place and it’s commendable that he stuck to his guns. It was probably the right thing to do. But, with the way this is being essentially shrugged off, it’s just frustrating. You can’t blame anyone but Hartline, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get angry. It was just so stupid and Joker’s team seemed to be the recipients of the worst punishment. Kids, if you’re drinking, just order Mad Mushroom and go to sleep. Especially if you’re the quarterback of a team who desperately needs you to be available in a game that is the difference between a winning and losing season.
– After some positive traction on the football recruiting front, bad news seemed to come Monday night as word started to break that UK would miss out on a pair of four-star recruits that they believed they were in a good place with. After a late visit from Michigan’s staff, linebacker Antonio Poole is expected to commit to the Wolverines Tuesday, while Chris Fisher of 247Sports reports that wide receiver Devin Lucien is no longer considering the Cats. As tends to be the case with football recruiting, it’s not the end of the world, but it does remove two of the bigger names off the board for the Cats.
– Finally, I’m being told – I can’t confirm for obvious reasons – that Jon Hood’s Twitter account has been taken down. Hopefully, there was an outburst aimed at Cal and Saturday sparks a string of career games for Four Loko. That most likely wasn’t the case (had to say that for the people who will accuse me of starting rumors below), but it’s still a dark day for the program.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we talk about UK a lot. Probably every hour or so. Matt and Zach will get the party going at 10am on Talk Radio 1080. Make sure you check it out and then stick around for lots of laughs, tears and BTI. See you in a few…