I’m not going to lie. I was actually really pumped up about writing tonight about how the Cats will take to hallowed basketball grounds Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in the SEC vs. Big East challenge. The place is so full of history and, as a double major in sports and history nerdery, I was excited. I wanted to talk about Willis Reed and Ali-Frazier I and Wrestlemania. But, unfortunately, the wife decided she was going to upload photos to Facebook and talk about ultrasounds and whatnot for about 5 consecutive hours. Now, we’ve got to get this done quickly. Just know it’s a historic arena.
On to some UK notes…
– We’ll get into this more throughout the day, but there is no doubt that the most attractive matchup in this game is the battle of the (point) guards. UConn will feature speedy sophomore Kemba Walker and Sir Shoots-a-lot, Jerome Dyson. From a purely physical standpoint, Walker and Dyson present the best matchup yet this year for John Wall and Eric Bledsoe and, despite all the successes of the duo this year, their internet street cred could grow infinitely more with a good showing against a backcourt believed to be one of the country’s best.
– One quick note regarding the Huskies before we get into a much deeper dive this afternoon. It’s very possible that the story of the game could end up being rebounding, which favors Kentucky. This UConn team, like Kentucky players not named Patrick Patterson, is very inexperienced inside. The difference, though, is that Kentucky has more game-ready talent and has shown this season to be far more physical inside. Keep in mind this Huskie team allowed 18 offensive rebounds to Duke three games ago. That’s like letting Lieutenant Dan beat you in kickball.
– Another things to keep in mind heading into tonight is the name Jeremy Lin. Lin is a senior guard at Harvard who torched UConn for 30 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in the Crimson’s near-upset of Jim Calhoun’s team Sunday, including this coast-to-coast dunk. In every game this season except for LSU, they’ve allowed at least one member of the opposing backcourt to torch them and they’ve yet to face one as talented as what UK presents.
– In his preview of the UK game, the good doctor, Jerry Tipton, spoke with Coach Cal (or at least that’s what his story would lead us to believe), who said that you shouldn’t expect to see DeAndre Liggins making his season debut in New York City. Cal did say some positive things, though, regarding the progress that the sophomore from Chicago has made.
– Being the hip and trendy guy that I am, a lot of my focus for this Madison Square Garden game is on which celebrities will show up to watch the Cats and Huskies? I haven’t checked LeBron’s schedule, but Dan Patrick said on his radio show that he has front-row tickets and Kevin from The Office was in attendance Tuesday night. Plus, the Knicks are off until Friday so maybe…umm…Patrick Ewi….I mean….Stephon Marb….umm….Danilo Gallinari might show up.
– I guess I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention that Florida assistant Charlie Strong will reportedly be announced as a Filthy Card Wednesday afternoon. This was undoubtedly the best hire that Tom Jurich could have made and, by all accounts, long overdue for Strong. However, let’s all remember that another Florida defensive coordinator had a reputation as a great assistant and strong recruiter and Ron Zook is about to be out of his second job. With that being said, though, this was a very strong hire. Especially for that glorified junior college.
– In better football news, the Cats got another commitment, this time from three-star athlete Joseph Byrd of Cape Coral Florida. He became the latest in a flurry of commits already this week and it makes you wonder if the strategy of the staff is starting to work or if something has changed on the recruiting trail. Either way, it’s always a good thing when another youngster chooses wisely.
– Pittsburgh and Indiana got the Madison Square Garden crowd good and greased up for UConn-Kentucky with the most miserably boring basketball game I’ve ever seen. As a part of their surprising blowout (as of now), the Hoosiers executed a pretty effective zone on defense. You think we’ll see some of that? You think it will matter? Yeah, neither do I.
– Sadly, I think I might have gotten this whole Bluegrass to New York exchange program off to a rough start by irking Fran Fraschilla with one of my Tweets. While I feel bad about hurting the former St. John’s coach’s feelings (if I did), I cannot apologize for a Billy Gillispie joke. Coach Fraschilla, I hope you can understand that and we can move on with our one-sided Twitter relationship.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you updated on all things UK basketball and football and do it in the most ridiculous manner possible. We might even hear from that Matt Jones guy. It’s going to be a fun day. See you in a few…
****UPDATE: The New York Times says the NCAA wants to investigate how Tennessee recruits. Part of what is in question? Using females to lure recruits into commitments. How this investigation shakes out will likely shape Kate Martin’s future contributions on this site. It also explains why Tiger Woods has been sending all those tapes of his bench press to Lane Kiffin.