Clemson hasn’t been this good since the goggly wonder, Horace Grant was suiting it up
Well yesterday, we officially segued; college football reached its contractual conclusion, and we were treated to a heaping hodgepodge of appetizing college basketball…Although, the gridiron did seek one last morsel of conceit, with the departure of Petrino and defensive wunderkind Mike Archer. The past few days also included some opportune cameos by some of the nation’s most prized prep basketball players in Tubby’s backyard (picture that as a literal statement), and I just stubbed my toe on my coffee table leg. (Cue delayed pain)
1. Matt, who couldn’t be here today because he’s currently being interrogated by the INS, found time to speak with the obligatory Jai Lucas. It appears around these parts that the longer Patterson/Lucas ponder a commitment, their chances of signing with the Cats decline. However, Matt reports that Lucas is still “very high on Kentucky”, and continues to speak of them gushingly. In summation, nothing appears to have changed with Lucas, but you have to believe Kentucky is still firmly at the top of his list. Look for Matt to have more about his chat, possibly even a documented dialogue!
Matt: Jai, Matt. You know where you’re going yet?
Jai: Uh, no, not yet.
Matt: Ok, let me just get a pen here…”you’re signing with Kentucky in February”, got it.
Jai: Wait, that’s not what I said.
2. Each season, college basketball bestows unto us a surprising starter; one of those teams that just sprints out of the gate unexpectedly; a real rabbit. Who could’ve predicted that the only undefeated team remaining at the start of conference play would be the Clemson Tigers at 17-0? You’re already saying, “but come on, Clemson hasn’t played anybody, they’ll crash any day now.” True, Clemson has been guilty of cupcake gluttony, but there are some pretty impressive wins caked in all that icing. The Tigers manhandled SEC middle-men South Carolina and Georgia, won at Florida St. (a place where Florida couldn’t), took care of Georgia Tech, and last night beat a talented NC State squad in Raleigh. This isn’t my declaration of bandwagon climbing, but you just don’t go 17-0 if there’s not some tangible legitimacy behind it.
3. Well, so far the dominoes have fallen with elegant precision. The UK football team continues to ride the ‘big mo’ as the Cards lost their brain-trust, their Heisman running back, a heralded recruit with an enormous last name, and may even be without the services of their QB. Add the fact that Florida, a team Kentucky punched in the mouth for, well, a half anyway, dominated Ohio St. Now, the news that defensive coordinator Mike Archer has resigned his post. Man, this off-season is shaping up nicely. I was happy to eat crow after Archer’s final two results of the season, but come on, 118th is 118th. Of course the defensive struggles should not be cast upon one individual, but the bitter truth of reality is that everyone is allocated a certain breadth of accountability; I salute Archer for his thick skin and wherewithal to know that a change was probably the best solution for everybody.
4. Keeping with football (I have to, it’s musk I still taste), Kentucky expects to get an answer from wide receiver Keenan Burton today. I’ve spoken with a couple of players in the last few days, and it still seems that this is a toss-up. One player told me it he expected Burton to leave, and another said he’d be surprised if Burton didn’t stay for his degree and “one more run at the prime time.” I’m sure Burton, who’s propensity for injury has been well-documented, has been confiding in his good buddy Mike Bush, who himself declared for the draft yesterday. As dominant as Burton was against a plethora of NFL-bound DB’s this season, it’s hard to see Burton as a first or second rounder. Of course, all he has to do is run a sub 4.5, and he’ll have a bullet by his name of the draft board.
5. Ok, back to the hardwood. As I stated earlier, last night’s slate of games was juicy. Arkansas came off their humiliation of Bama with a respectable effort at Florida. The Razorbacks scare me; I think they had more dunks in this game than UK has had in the past two seasons. Of course, Florida may not have been “all there”, as you would’ve had to drive through Orlando to find a decent night’s sleep in that area last night. Come on, you know Joakim and the boys were doing their best Quad City DJ impressions until the wee hours of the morning. Gotta strike while the irons hot. Alabama bounced back nicely, escaping LSU in Tuscaloosa. Ohio St. has played 3 ranked teams this season and hasn’t won a one-of-em, this time falling to a very good Wisconsin club. I still think Ohio St. is the third best team behind Florida and UNC. Let’s be honest, a man who can stop Greg Oden does not exist, at least not until Shaq and Serena Williams procreate. Oden is still dipping his snowshoe-like feet in this whole college basketball thing, and oh yeah, he still doesn’t have the services of his right hand. I mean, the guy drinks diesel for sustenance, and bends swing-sets for fun. He’s only going to get more dominant, and Ohio St. is only going to get that much better.
6. Auburn comes to Rupp tonight as Kentucky continues their “must-win” SEC Tour. Auburn is probably worse than Ole Miss, but an unmotivated Kentucky team has proven they can lose to just about anybody. Hopefully, they’ll not only understand the magnitude of winning the conference games your supposed to, but more important, play like it. Tubby spoke this week of the importance of “pushing the tempo and creating easy baskets.” This is an annual pronouncement of speedier play that it always painfully slow to catch on, but Kentucky must prove they can take care of the ball before illusions of high-powered offense materialize. You still have to like the taste of the Ole Miss game on your palate, hopefully Joe Crawford does too.
Be sure to drink your Ovaltine, and then check this here ‘bloggi-magig.’ Updates on Lucas, Archer, Burton, and toe to come. And oh yeah, a fella named Patrick Patterson will be in town this weekend to play a little hoops. Please UK fans, no attempted kidnappings, I know you loved Celtic Pride, who doesn’t love a screen shared by Daniel Stern and Damon Wayons, but no.