Good morning and happy Wednesday. Tuesday didn’t provide a lot of action around in the Big Blue world, but it did provide a lot of disappointment in the Go Blue world as college football’s hottest coaching name (as well as WWE GM and the Smoke Monster from Lost), Jim Harbaugh, decided to pass on returning to his alma mater and trying to fix the mess created by an overmatched and stubborn coaching staff. The news of Harbaugh’s complete lack of interest, though not as damning as his shots at his alma mater a few years ago, got me wondering what kind of chaos it would have created in Lexington if, at the end of the Billy Gillispie era, the most sought-after young coach in the game was a UK alum who publicly bashed the school and made it well known that he had no interest in trying to restore the program to glory. Would there be riots? Would the internet explode? Cannibalism? At the very least, it would be a embarrassment played out on a national level and a sad day for the program. Sorry, Michigan. Hope that doesn’t cut to deep.
Now onto some UK notes…
– Another day of guarantees that DeAndre Daniels would commmit passed and another day of waiting now awaits. At this point, DeAndre Daniels has put together a recruitment so secretive, even the Rosenbergs are impressed. As Tuesday concluded, most of the world seemed to believe that he would ultimately pick Kansas, including Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi of Rivals. If that indeed turns out to be the case, the Cats heat on Trevor Lacey will likely pick up and many feel that he’s a guy that likely will end up as a Cat. Lacey’s game seems to complement the incoming class, as well as the parts likely to still be around next year better than Daniels’ might, but that’s not a knock on DeAndre. If he chooses UK, that would be fantastic. If he chooses Kansas, the Cats will still be in good shape. It’s a nice feeling to have.
– One of the most interesting notes of Tuesday was the revelation by ESPN’s Chad Ford that NBA folks don’t see Brandon Knight as a first round pick right now. It’s not just that their evaluation seems odd, it’s that it seems completely strange considering he was said to have been seen as a potential lottery pick prior to the season. After early struggles, Knight has developed into as complete of a backcourt player in college basketball the last several weeks and while his stock can’t be judged on one-fourth of a season positively, you would think that the first few games wouldn’t affect it so negatively. There’s still plenty of time for it to play out and, should he be forced to return, that wouldn’t be a bad thing for Cats fans. But, Knight’s continued progression as the year goes on and his ability to put the points on the board so quietly and efficiently would likely change that projection. Still, it was surprising, to say the least.
– Before the basketball team takes the court again, the football team will square off against Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl in a game that is a must-win for Joker Phillips. Not only does it come on the tail end of a season that can only be deemed as disappointing, the Cats will face a team in complete disarray. The Panthers have been in limbo for about a month as they waited to find out who would be their coach for the game and had to deal with the incoming head man already being dismissed. On top of that, they’ll be without the Big East Player of the Year. They have every reason to be ready for the season to end and the effects of these distractions could be huge. But, having said that, they have nothing to lose. Kentucky, meanwhile, has a lot on the line. After sputtering at the end of the season and limping into a bowl game and having their quarterback arrested, the Cats need something positive to take into next year and Joker needs to give fans a reason to believe in “Operation: Win” the way they believed in Rich Brooks his last several years. A loss in the Compass Bowl and the honeymoon can be deemed completely over.
– In preparation for the game, the Cats arrived in Birmingham Monday and had their first full practice in Alabama on Tuesday. It was Kentucky’s 14th extra practice, which is as important as any for playing in a bowl, and Joker Phillips said that he’s impressed with the play of some young guys, particularly Ridge Wilson. The sophomore linebacker was singled out by UK’s head coach as the guy who has improved the most and said that they’ve worked with him on playing hard every play, which is something he’s struggled with in the past.
– In case you weren’t tuned into ESPNU, Matthew Mitchell and the greatest part in the history of women’s college coaching fell to #3 Duke at Cameron Indoor in a heartbreaker. The Cats took a 48-46 lead with 2:42 to go in the game before some questionable foul calls and missed shots doomed them at the end. On the bright side, Shawne Merriman won $3.7 million in a lawsuit against Christian Laettner Tuesday. So, at least there is that.
– A quick shout-out to former coach Rich Brooks, whose Twitter game has really stepped up since he stepped down from UK. Coach took a break from Tweeting about golf and Oregon football Tuesday night to take the refs in the women’s game to task and then offered his take on the Sugar Bowl. Keep ’em coming, Papaw.
– Not a good night for the SEC again in basketball as Arkansas scored only 46 points in a loss to Texas. Things ar heating up for John Pelphrey in Fayetteville and it’s going to take a major turnaround for him to remain employed. But, things seem to be picking up for the football team (as of writing this).
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day for all kinds of fun and ridiculousness. It all gets going with Kentucky Sports Radio at 10 am. Make sure you stick around. See you in a few..