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Jay Bilas’s Monday News and Views

It is Christmas Eve, which in my family is actually the time where most of our Christmas celebrations take place. But in the world of college basketball, Christmas Eve is a chance to say Happy Birthday to the best commentator in the sport, Jay Bilas. I am biased towards Jay for many reasons. First, we share a legal background, having both graduated from Duke Law School, although for him it was after a distinguished college basketball playing career and for me it was after a time holding down Transylvania Intramurals. Also, Jay was a guest on the very first edition of Kentucky Sports Radio ever to take place, a podcast that included appearances by recruit Brandon Wright and future KSR co-host Ryan Lemond. We asked Bilas, never thinking he would take the time to appear on an unknown (and rarely listened to) show, but he was kind enough to do so without question. So even if he were not a great announcer, I would be predisposed to like Jay Bilas because of our shared history. But such bias is not necessary, as Bilas is in my view, the most intelligent, thoughtful and articulate commentator the sport has at its disposal. While he is a very good in-game announcer, where Bilas truly excels is pointing out the bigger picture issues with the sport. He correctly identifies areas of concern, changes that are necessary and most importantly, hypocrisies with the NCAA rule structure. All of it combines to make him the most important voice in the sport and the obvious choice if college basketball ever creates a commissioner type role. From the earliest of KSR days, Bilas has been a friend of the show, always available to talk with the crew and we congratulate him on his 68th birthday today.

A few notes before the Holiday cheer:

— The game on Saturday versus Marshall was, in my opinion, the Cats best overall game in a number of weeks. While in the first half, UK struggled to make open shots, they did everything else well, hitting the glass, making great passes and playing some of the best half court defense we have seen in weeks. For the first time, effort was rarely an issue, with players going after loose balls and having fun for seemingly the first time in a month. Even when Marshall cut the game to 4 late, I still felt confident due to the way the Cats were playing and their ability to attack the basket confidently. UK will rarely (hopefully) miss nine wide open three pointers and five open layups as they did in the first half versus the Thundering Herd. But if they replicate the effort they saw against Marshall, they will reach a level that we hoped this team could find.

— The breakout star of the game was Ryan Harrow, who had his best game as a Cat with a career-high 23 points. Ryan looked for the first time this year like the player he was in practice last season. Then, Harrow would go one-on-one with Teague and he seemed to be a player with the ability to be Marquis’s equal. While Teague was more physical and a better defender, Harrow was much more explosive and a better shooter, often leading to great matchups when they got together. But that Harrow has been nonexistent for the Cats this year, as his lack of confidence had shaken his ability to reach that higher level. But now, a player that we thought may never again play for Kentucky just a few weeks ago, has become one of the catalysts of the team and has had three straight strong performances. The test against Louisville will be a tough one…over the past three seasons, the UK point guards (Wall, Knight and Teague) have controlled their battles with Peyton Siva and have been a key reason in the four straight victories. A lot of pressure will be on Harrow to do the same again this year, something that will be a very tall order. But for the first time, that seems possible and Ryan deserves a lot of credit for getting to that point.

— It is worth noting again that this woman was asleep during the second half of the game on Saturday. I talked to her after and she seemed very sweet, but we simply can’t have people dozing off during game play in Rupp. Energy people!

— Finally, we are just a week away from the Louisville game and UK nation seems to be downtrodden about its prospects. It seems that almost everyone believes a loss is inevitable and that next Saturday will be depressing. Even Mr. Positivity, JT from the radio show called me today and asked what we could do to get the BBN excited about the game. Here is the answer…lets not do anything differently. For the next week, lets believe we are going to go into the Yum Center and get our fifth straight win. Look, this much is clear. ALL THE PRESSURE is on Louisville right now. They haven’t won a game against the Cats since Calipari arrived in Lexington and things are only going to get worse in the years ahead. Next year Kentucky is headed for its 9th title and if Louisville doesn’t win one this year, it seems certain that they never will. So if the Cards don’t beat us this season, one has to ask…when will it happen again? This is Louisville’s best team of the Pitino era and this could end up Calipari’s worst. It is now or never for Rick and even with that discrepancy, we have a shot. Win or lose next Saturday, the future is bright. And if we win…well at that point, we can yell louder than we have ever yelled before.

Have a Merry Christmas over the next couple of days. We will still have posts coming up here for the next 48 hours but they will be less frequent so our writers can have time with their families. Have a great holiday and go Cats!

Article written by Matt Jones

45 Comments for Jay Bilas’s Monday News and Views

  1. Arch Stanton
    11:38 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    Bilas can not possibly be 68…I’m assuming that was a typo…48 maybe?

  2. nassau65
    11:40 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    I believe he’s 48. And i agree, he’s one of, if not the best.

  3. Derrick
    11:40 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    I think Bilas is 88 today.

  4. Father Time
    11:46 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    68 is the new 58 . He is 58.

  5. Ray Bilas
    11:47 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    A little jab at Bilas to see if he reads everyday?

  6. C4TF4N
    11:49 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    I have to agree, although he’s a Dukie…Bilas is without a doubt the most unbiased announcer out there. Happy Birthday Jay!

  7. Chestbumpjohnny
    11:49 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    If he’s 68 Dickie V’s 188, I also agree Bilas is one of my favorites along with Jimmy Dykes! Bob Knight ranking a dead last!!

  8. billsass
    11:50 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    he’s 48

  9. JVice
    11:51 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    I’m going to try and be the first one in with the correct answer of 49 years of age.

  10. JVice
    11:52 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    As in, it is his 49th birthday on December 24, 2012. Thanks and goodnight.

  11. Jae Bilas
    11:53 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    Matt, I am 48 not 68 and Marshall did not cut it to 4 late.

  12. David Osborne
    11:58 pm December 23, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t like the comment about UK chasing #9 next season. We are going after a National Championship every year no matter who our team is or who is coaching our team. You giving up on the Cats already Matt?

  13. Nick Rakestraw
    12:01 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    I wish cal would start playing mays at point and use hood instead of polson. Polson had that one good game but besides that one game at the start of the season. Hood has much more potential and is more of a scoring threat. Harrow and polson on the floor at the same time is awful to watch in my opinion.

  14. billsass
    12:06 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    10… JVice, i believe I was the first to be correct about his age considering i posted that he is 48 at 11:50 pm on 12/23/12

  15. Matt Jones
    12:07 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    #11….they cut it to 4 in the second half and I assumed people would realize that the comment about Jay’s age was a playful jab at a friend

  16. Ms. Claus
    12:11 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    #13, Nick, have u been a naughty boy 😉

  17. Heath Layson
    12:13 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Geez… Will you people relax. This is supposed to be fun.
    It’s the Holidays have another Bourbon and Coke.

  18. Gavin S.
    12:14 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    She looks good to go. Did you get the digits?

  19. UK Homer
    12:29 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    #15 – Just think: wasn’t Bilas knocked out of the tournament by the last Louisville national championship team? Now he’s 49 years of age. Sucks to be a Card fan. Jay Bilas is to U of L as Withey is to UK.

  20. medic
    12:30 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Re: sleeping woman at the game: Narcolepsy? if so, back off Matt. If not, she needs to give her ticket to someone who “will work for a ticket at Rupp Arena.”Almost forgot, Happy Birthday, Jay Bilas! Glad you didn’t apply for that commissioner opening for the Big East some blogger said you should go for.

  21. I say
    12:35 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    WOW. Chip Miller just tweeted that Marcus Lee went off for 31 points and 29 rebounds last night!

  22. BPsycho
    12:36 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    #18 Lol

    BTI got her pregame. She’s lucky she woke up!

  23. Buckets
    1:30 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    If we don’t beat Louisville, no biggie. We’ve won four straight and you can’t win them all. You have to think big picture, like the fact the Cats are 30-14 all-time against them – more than double. That said, I hope the Cats beat the living sh!t out of them!

  24. hersheyisabear
    1:39 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    We better beat loserville. This is our chance to make a jump back into the top 25. I could possibly seeing us jump back into the top 15.

  25. Pete's Sportsman's
    2:57 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Fanbase ain’t feelin it, allow me to feel it for ya:
    All day and day, any day, every damn day
    I be thinkin about the good ol’ days when I was a whippersnapper
    Used to try to get a kiss, but now it be them draws I’m afta

  26. Ron Fowler
    5:01 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Matt, I realize we have a good chance at another title next year, but you constantly making it a done deal, that title #9 is inevitable, takes all of the fun out of the journey. You are setting this up for a total failure if we lose 1 game, and God forbid don’t win it all. Give it a rest, so we can enjoy these teams and without all your pressure.

  27. tdogg40330
    6:02 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    #12 I agree with ya, this season is far from over, UK is going after #9 this year.

    Btw Matt, what UK fans you been talking to?? I expect UK to come home Saturday with
    another win.

  28. tdogg40330
    6:05 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    I still don’t get all the hype about UL, who have they beat this year?? We’ll find
    out this weekend if they deserve it or not …… I sure as hell dont think so.

  29. DirtyDutchMantel
    6:06 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    I wouldn’t say the tards won’t be good next year. As much as I hate them, they could still be very good next year. They lose siva, Marra and van stink. They are bringing in a top 5 to top 10 class. So, with 4 starters back, most of their bench and a prtety good class, they will be tough again next year. That said, I hope we beat them by 50 this saturday.

  30. The real jay b
    7:42 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    I’m 49 today you card fans

  31. Oogie
    7:48 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Whatever happened to Woo ???

  32. billy
    8:05 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    why do people like this woman come to games?
    Seemed bored with it all.

  33. billy
    8:06 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    I see no real dominating team this year.

  34. RabbitKY
    8:27 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    2 simple things you should do if you go to Rupp for a CATS game:
    1.) dont fall asleep
    2.) WEAR BLUE
    classic lexingtonians who come to games, sit in the first five rows and make no noise or even wear blue. These people kill me

  35. Jud
    8:35 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Merry Christmas Matt & Big Blue Nation – Thank You, Jesus.

  36. just saying
    8:45 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    29. You cant have a rational thought on this site, you gotts be the Matt Jones Sheep. Fact is UK AGAIN will be losing Poythress, Goodwin, and Noel and possibly WCS to the draft (A complete joke to me) and Mays and Hood Graduate.

    UL will return 4 starters (Dieng COULD go pro if he chooses, but likely not first round), and a really good recruiting class.
    UK fans are hung up on #9 because we seem to think 2 all-american studs are coming (Randle and Wiggins), but what if they dont? The difference between this year being decent and great is two all-american studs all of UK thought was coming, and then didnt (Shabazz and Bennett). With those two we would have been dominant, without them we are stuck having a bunch of freshman trying to play just good enough to go to the NBA.

  37. SexnNursinHomes
    9:03 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Jones, you should have fronted that woman a $20 rock. That would’ve woke her up.

  38. AshleyJudd4Senate
    9:11 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Harrow will need to be crazy on defense, Poythress a beast inside, and Wiltjer a 3pt machine. Wonder: would Goodwin hold up Siva more effectively than Harrow? The fans who get good tickets kill me too with their silence. Would kill to be able to afford such seats!

  39. Have her throwing rocks
    9:32 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    She should have got some from dancing man. You know he had extra gram or 2!

  40. Dr. Phil
    9:49 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Why do people that have to predetermine success or failure, or they have trouble handling it, even follow sports? A big part of following a sports team should be the excitment of the unknown. If you can not handle the adversity of a team you follow not winning every game, grow up. How is it fun to have to go into games expecting your team to loss, or you can not handle it?

  41. Dr. Phil
    9:51 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    excitement for #40^^

  42. The dude
    9:57 am December 24, 2012 Permalink

    I guess I need to grow up. If UK starts playing bad I Change the channel, not because I’m mad but because I think I’m jinxing them. Just another head case like the rest of us. Hell ya I expect UK to win every game! Barring a handful of games Cal has won most.

  43. Larry
    2:42 pm December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Matt you are so right about energy in Rupp. More people need to get off their hands and make some noise.And there is no excuse why someone wears any colors but blue and white. I hope we beat those filthy cards Saturday!!!!!
    Merry Christmas Matt.

  44. Suze Orman
    8:01 pm December 24, 2012 Permalink

    U think she’s tard?

    Hell, I’m negotiating a coffin price for my tounge.

  45. Dr. Pheel
    8:33 pm December 24, 2012 Permalink

    Numero Four zero, as a coach, you mitigate the risk of losing by practicing 24/7/365 – for a purpose, which is: To win and to teach young people how to be successful.

    I think Charlie summarized it best: Winning.

    Statistically, a loss is in the natural order; but you can increase your odds – by following the aforementioned practice.

    Once again, I have to bring the hammer home: The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.