Well it was an exciting weekend for Kentucky athletics as we had a rare two-fer…..a home basketball and football game on the same two-day period. Friday night was of course a win versus one of the worst Division I teams I have seen in some time, Mississippi Valley State (which interestingly enough is in Itta Beena, the hometown of Marion Barry and the destination of Babyface Nelson in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”). Then on Saturday, you had possibly one of the more depressing games I have seen in some time in Commonwealth Stadium, with the official “Worst Win in the history of Football” 42-40 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. I often get accused of undeserved optimism when it comes to UK basketball and undeserved pessimism when it comes to UK football. But if you sat in Commonwealth and watched the neverending halfback delay for eight yards at a time, you would understand.
But now its fun time….its Maui time as the Invitational begins. For the next three days before Thanksgiving, we will simply think about basketball and Hawaiian shirts as our beloved Cats go and try to take out the evil rest of the college basketball world. First comes Depaul….if we win then UCLA…..and then some combination of MEmphis, Oklahoma, Purdue or Georgia Tech. Whoever the opponent, this is test time for the Cats and we will see if they are up to it.
Now we have a plethora of listening options for you the fan. First, we finally have EPISODE 1 of the ESPN Louisville showready for your listening pleasure. This is a different format from our regular shows….more calls and more digressions, and this week’s included only me and Chris Tomlin. Plus, if you were not on the message boards this weekend, you missed the news that Ravi Moss has joined Kentucky Sports Radio. He will be on the show as our “basketball guru” and will be giving blog reports from time to time. His first one on the Mississippi Valley State game is worth your time. Finally, our regular Episode 14 of Kentucky Sports Radio will be available on Monday around 1 pm. A great show with Ravi (who tells some GREAT backstage stories on UK and gives his reason why UK will be better this year) and Gregg Doyel, doing his Doyel thing. Lots to look forward to….
Now to the news….
(1) Spoke with a good source this weekend on our good friend, the one, the only Jai Lucas. This individual speaks often with the Lucas family and his insights confirmed some of what I have thought. HE said when it came down to it, Jai and his family simply got cold feet. They had determined a couple of weeks ago, after the last visit, that Kentucky would be the school of choice, but when it came down to it, there were some concerns about the problems last year and to what degree Tubby would be “run out of down” if there were disappointments this year. The source said Kentucky is still the presumptive favorite, but that the general consensus was that it wouldnt hurt to wait and see what the status of the program was this Spring. As with all these things, take it with a grain of salt, but most of these impressions coincide with my view as to the likely progression of things.
(2) Now what about possible Patrick Patterson backups? My moles across the land tell me that onetime UK target Teeng Akol has been given more attention lately. In addition, there have been some exploratory calls made to three or four targets that have not been mentioned lately, including the new Kentucky Sports Radio recruiting crush, Malcolm White. Kentucky is an odd position at this point, as they need to try and make a sell to these guys, while still holding out hope on Patrick Patterson. But I hear the staff’s confidence is not high on Patrick now and the realistic view that it is time to look for backups has set in.
(3) For those of you that havent listened yet to the ESPN show, you likely havent heard my rant this week about Reggie Hanson. I wont repeat it now (you can listen if you like), but the general point of it, that he has failed at his primary job….organization of recruiting continues. I will say once again that the story about the Morris Twins is one that needs to be remembered. The Twins decide to reclassify to 08…..other teams then continue to put the press on…..Kentucky backs off. Then we do the interview with their Coach when he basically says “UK better call and quick.” The day after we report this…..UK calls…..and as seen by the decision this past week, it was too late. Folks that is exhibit one of the disorganization on this stuff…..something Shawn Finney is fixing as it pertains to years in the future….but it is cleaning up Reggie’s mess.
(4) If you havent heard yet, apparently Derrick Jasper won the Maui Invitational XBox tournament. Hopefully a good sign for the tournament as a whole….and oh by the way, the CAts are going off at 6-1 odds to win the whole thing….might be a good chance to get some holiday spending money.
(5) Lots of talk about where the Cats are falling Bowl game wise. Here is what I am hearing from those around UK. THe Liberty Bowl has all but begged UK to come to Memphis and feast with the Conference USA opponent. At this point, this is the most likely scenario and is the favorite in the clubhouse. However UK is also very hopeful about the prospects with the Music City Bowl (likely opponent Maryland). This is generally a (slightly) more prestigious bowl, with a better opponent, closer to Kentucky. A victory over Tennessee may bring other choices into play, but is likely Memphis or Nashville….and we will be there either way.
Check out the show when it comes out this afternoon….enjoy the ESPN show if you wish…..and get ready for some Maui goodness tonight….