You hear that? That’s the sound of hard earned money pouring into the Cincinnati economy from the area’s unluckiest of gamblers. It’s all coming in through the Queen City’s new Horseshoe Casino, which opened its doors for the first time at 8:30 p.m. Monday night.
According to local news outlets, over a thousand people lined up outside the $400-million facility to be among the first group of visitors to squander away this month’s mortgage at the tables, slots, restaurants and bars. Those restaurants and bars include Jack Binion’s Steakhouse, the Rock Bar and Lounge and, my favorite, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Mmmmm, Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes. Let’s go right now.
Located downtown near the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Horseshoe Cincinnati, the last of the four casinos authorized by Ohio voters in 2009, also features the goods: 2,000 slot machines, 31 poker tables and 87 other table games. There’s a little something for everyone, from blackjack to roulette to Keno to the new local gaming craze, “Guess-Which-Pit-Boss-Will-Have-To-Throw-Pacman-Jones-Out-Tonight.” There are so many ways to play, and so many ways to lose. It’s fun for the whole family!
But, no, seriously. Let’s go right now. I’ll run through the News and Views and meet you wherever. Let’s do this.
After a pretty slow Monday on the newswire, we were hit with a bombshell Monday evening when Julius Randle announced that he’ll be announcing his college decision on March 20. Randle’s decision will go public on a special edition of ESPNU Recruiting Nation at noon on the Wednesday before the NCAA Tournament. He’s deciding between Kentucky, Kansas, NC State, Texas and Florida, although he recently said only two or three of the remaining five are in serious consideration.
Over the weekend, Ben Roberts of The Lexington Herald-Leader asked five national recruiting analysts where they believe Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon will end up, and only one of the five experts — we’re using that term very loosely in this discussion — believe Randle will attend UK. Jerry Meyer of 247Sports.com is the lone advocate for Kentucky because of Calipari’s style of play and the NBA pipeline, while Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com, Jason Hickman of MaxPreps.com, and Adam Zagoria believe Randle will choose Kansas. Brian Snow of Scout.com is all alone out in left field with Texas.
You can read their predictions for the other two prospects, plus why I think they’re all wrong in a post I wrote on the website Monday afternoon. Just scroll down or click here if you need a shortcut. (SPOILER: I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t pick Kentucky.)
Andrew Wiggins is currently in Lawrence on his official visit to Kansas. Bill Self’s hair piece will grow wings and fly into space before Bill Self gets a commitment from Wiggins.
Before we get ahead of ourselves and start picking out which cars to burn in April 2014, the 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats need our full support down the final stretch. The Cats must win two of the next three games to feel comfortable going into Selection Sunday, and that starts with the final road test of the season against Georgia on Thursday. The Bulldogs have won the last four meetings at home, most recently with a double-digit victory against a very hot Tennessee team, and there’s no doubt Mark Fox will have his team fired up on Senior Night against the defending national champions. You could say Georgia has no motivation going into the game, considering there’s no hope for an NCAA tournament invite, but I believe it’s actually the opposite. Georgia can still improve its position in the SEC Tournament seeding and it needs a win to get back to .500, a requirement to qualify for an NIT invite. They’ll be ready.
A look at the SEC Tournament bracket if it were to start right now…
Kentucky is currently the three seed and a win in one of the last two games will keep UK from dropping below there, as the Cats hold the tiebreaker over Missouri and Ole Miss, the four and five seeds. For Kentucky to have a shot at moving up to the two seed, Alabama needs to drop at least one of its last two games, either on the road at Ole Miss or at home against Georgia. Alabama would need to lose both if Kentucky only manages to split the final two games.
It’s important for Kentucky to leap Alabama in the seeding to avoid playing in that 10:00 p.m. game Friday. Not only does that game cut our night out in Nashville down immensely, it leaves a very short turnaround before the 3:30 p.m. semifinal on Saturday. I’d rather see the Wildcats head back to the hotel at 9:00 p.m. local time Friday night instead of closer to midnight, assuming they win. I also want Big Blue Nation to be merry and enjoy the all that Nashville’s nightlife has to offer.
Speaking of partying, here’s the first look at the 2013 Keeneland Maker’s Mark bottle featuring Dan Issel, courtesy of MakersMarkBottles.com…
Maker’s Mark hasn’t announced Dan Issel as this year’s label boy, but there’s talk in Kentucky bourbon circles that Issel will be the guy and this label supports the rumor. I’m a fan of the look and will be in line bright and early at Liquor Barn with everyone else to purchase one.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt took an image hit on Monday when Coach Cal missed the SEC teleconference with his second dental procedure in the last week. UK has not released the details of the operation on Calipari’s pearly whites, but one would imagine his molars and incisors are weakening after four years of chewing up the SEC and eating Rick Pitino’s lunch in Kentucky. I’m sure Alex Poythress and Ryan Harrow are thrilled to have a few days of a muted Calipari.
I think Rick Pitino wants Russ Smith to wake up.
You should probably wake up, Russ. Rick looks like he means business.
Tickets for Kentucky football’s Blue/White game are still flying off the Ticketmaster shelves. Almost 32,000 seats have been reserved as of Monday night. Coach Stoops is excited about your excitement and he said recruits are beginning to notice that Big Blue Nation loves football too.
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) March 5, 2013
On a related note, I saw Vince Marrow at Malone’s on Sunday and it took everything I had to not run up and hug him and thank him for all he’s done in his few months in Lexington. Looking back, I kind of wish I had dropped the chopsticks and gone in for it.
Tuesday will be the last time you hear from Matt or me on KentuckySportsRadio.com or on the radio for a while as we head out west to tackle a new venture. We’ll be contributors on the Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel website at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. We will try to check in on here as much as we can, but we’re taking our new roles as professional tennis
experts analysts bloggers very seriously. Tyler Thompson will guide the online ship and Ryan Lemond has the radio show’s reigns while we’re away. You probably won’t even realize we’re gone.
That’ll do it for tonight. See you all back here in the morning for Corey Nichols in-depth look at Obama’s sequester and how it will affect you and the ones you love. Just kidding.