This was a strange, news-filled day. Let’s hit a couple of highlights:
(1) Of course, the biggest news of the day in the college basketball world was that Memphis would be vacating their Final Four appearance and 38 wins from the 2007-2008 season. Naturally, the eyes of the media world turned to Lexington and the man who, despite leading the team at the time, was not implicated in the sanctions. Understandably, Calipari caught some heat nationally as he became the first coach to have two Final Four appearances vacated – the most pointless punishment in sports. This essentially means “let’s pretend it didn’t happen”, which makes me wish this would apply to all aspects of life. First up, lets vacate the Billy Clyde era. Then, let’s vacate the Gary Parrish live blog. I’m open to other suggestions, as well.
But, regardless, Cal caught some heat. Most of it came from guys like Pat Forde, who has as many legs to stand on in this argument as Lieutenant Dan, and your media blow-hards like Colin Cowherd and Schtick Bayless. I wouldn’t concern myself much with any of those ratings-driven rants as no amount of media speculation can make someone guilty of a crime they are not charged with. However, they can skew the perception of the school nationally with casual observers and anyone who keeps their torch lit looking for the next gate to storm. And, unfortunately, these angry outsiders will not be calmed by the brief statement made by Coach earlier Thursday evening.
But, this remains a Memphis issue through and through and, as speculation shifts to “When will he get UK in trouble?”, I wouldn’t pay much attention. Maybe I’m just sipping on that infamous “blue kool-aid”, but I’d be shocked if Calipari ever brought the eyes of the NCAA upon the Cats. At this institution, which probably is under the biggest microscope in the NCAA even before this latest Memphis ruling, and with the eyes of the world upon him, he’d have to be dumber than Derrick Rose to try to pull one of these alleged fast ones. And, like Matt said earlier, this is where his legacy will be sown up and defined, no matter what successes or failings he’s had in the past. That is, of course, if it was even an issue in the first place, which, to this point, it doesn’t appear to be. Because, if it was, he would have been implicated in at least one of the cases, right?
Basically, you can’t really sum it up better than the way that Tucker Max did today on the live blog. He said that Calipari is like a hot girl that you meet out. You don’t really concern yourself with her past because all you care about is her future, which involves you. I think this is about as well-put as it can be – as long as she’s not passing along anything to you that she caught in her past. And, luckily for all of us, it appears that Calipari, as of this moment, has that coveted clean bill of health.
Regardless, Memphis has appealed the ruling, meaning that Calipari’s name will at least be brought up a few more times in relation to this matter and it will always be included with the tag line of “new Kentucky coach”. Obviously, this is not a positive for the program, but Calipari remains free and clear of any implications or punishments (unless you’re Geoff Calkins). So, maybe we should just “vacate” any reference to Memphis on this site?
(2) Sorry. Not sure what happened on the schedule show tonight because I live out of state and didn’t feel like downloading Silverlight or whatever it was. But, I’m sure Buzz Baker did his thing and a good time was had by all. Afterward, Calipari went to Twitter and hit us with more polls than a Fake Gimel party. And, besides, didn’t Jerry Tipton blow it for everyone already?
(3) Speaking of the schedule, how about that UNC-UConn-Indiana nationally televised guantlet the Cats will be running in a seven day period from December 5-12? You want to see a team establish themselves as a favorite and a national sweetheart early? There’s the perfect chance to do it.
(4) The Cats got some bad news today with the announcement that freshman linebacker Qua Huzzie would be out for the year following shoulder surgery. Huzzie, one of the LaGrange pipeline kidd0es, was one of the bright spots early in camp and was my pick as surprise defensive contributor in the Unannounced Beisner LiveBlog last Saturday night, making him another victim of the Beisner jinx. Huzzie was not a “need” player necessarily, but the coaches liked what they saw and one less body is always a bad thing, regardless of who it is.
(5) In perhaps the most overlooked news of the day, UK football got two more commitments from Bucyrus, Ohio teammates Tyler Brause and Teven Eatmon. Brause is a three-star quarterback that also had offers from Maryland, Stanford and Syracuse, while Eatmon is a mammoth 6’7″, 290 pound three-star tight end who chose UK over a ton of schools including Louisville, Syracuse and Iowa State and could end up playing offensive tackle or defensive line. Eatmon is also a three-star prospect and he and Brause become the fifth and sixth members of UK’s 2010 class. But, before you familiarize yourself with them, get to know the newest recruiting hotbed of Bucyrus, Ohio, home to awesome murals and tasty jams.
(6) Another theme of the evening was the UK coaches taking to Twitter to defend themselves from some criticism. First, it was Joker Philips defending the bubble screen, which seems to be a UK football fan’s (including me) favorite complaint. Joker tweeted that he saw former Cat Jacob Tamme catch a bubble screen from Peyton Manning and that “I guess it does work”. Later, Cal sent out about 1,000 tweets, none of which involved an ad or a name drop, that included defending the scheduling of Clarion and Drexel as helping out old friends. I’m not sure if it helps ease the never-ending UK message board debates, but it’s cool to see they both keep their ears to the street.
(7) Also, in case you missed it, the previously mentioned Tucker Max stopped by as the third live blog guest this week and inexplicably picked Matt as his favorite blogger and lumped me in with BTI. In between, Tucker talked UK and his upcoming movie, which will be released on September 25, and put together one heck of a live blog show. We will be giving away tickets to the Lexington premiere on September 10, so make sure you stay tuned for that. Scroll down and check out the blog if you missed it. It’s very funny stuff from the Lexington native and by far the most popular guest we’ve had so far. Also, you can follow all the film happenings here.
That’s it for now, stay tuned throughout the day as we get you up to speed on all the UK basketball and football info you can handle. See you in a few…