We’re in the throes of Kentucky’s most exciting SEC Media Day in recent years, but even with all the bowties and Bielema references we’ve seen, there’s always room for some basketball talk. And that’s just what Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News writer and KSR radio guest, brought today.
In his “Starting 5” column, a solid 40% of the questions were about Kentucky, the pre-season favorite for an unbelievably “up” year. The first question was something about whether UK should bail for the more competitive pastures of the ACC, rather than stick it out in the stagnant Southeastern Conference. The answer was pretty spot on:
How much higher can you get than a No. 1 seed? … How many more tickets can you sell than all of them? Kentucky doesn’t need to be playing Duke, Carolina, Syracuse and the rest to improve enough to win a national championship, or to sell out Rupp Arena.
He points out that there’s no real correlation between strength of schedule and championship teams. Plenty of teams (like the 2012 Wildcats) have played okay slates, and dominated in the postseason. So saying that Calipari needs to toughen up the schedule to make his teams competitive is a little ridiculous. Plus, if we join the ACC, what will we do with our non-conference? That would put UNC and Louisville, two non-con opponents, squarely in league play. Who do we fill those games with to keep excitement up through the first half of the season? I’d almost rather Indiana not be an option at that point, if only because I’d be okay if I never had to deal with another Indiana fan again. But it’d put a lot more uncertainty into that half of the season, where we really don’t need it. And the putative benefits just aren’t worth it. Not to mention the money half of the equation, which would also be go against our interests (especially while trying to fund a Renovated Rupp Arena).
The second question was a little more out-of-the-box, and prefaced with a Green Bay Packers reference. I’ll assume that’s because of Randall Cobb, but reasonable minds could differ. But the heart of it is this: regarding profits, which team would you want to buy stock in to hold forever? What’s interesting about that is that the question didn’t ask which team was the most profitable right now. It asked which team was prepared to increase its level of profitability the most in the foreseeable future. His answer? I mean yeah, Kentucky, but here’s his explanation:
Kentucky, no question. … I’m sure there are states growing at a much faster rate. I’m not even accounting for people moving out/people moving in. (If you must know, the population has been relatively stable during this decade). But those other states aren’t Kentucky. Some of them don’t really give a hoot about college hoops. Which is their loss, of course.
There are probably a lot of things that make this a good answer. Kentucky’s current prominence is certainly one of them. But the sheer numbers game between Kentucky and Louisville is probably a factor as well. Think, if someone is born in North Carolina, arguably the only state as crazy about college hoops as Kentucky, they have to choose between UNC or Duke. Or NC State, which I hear has one of the greatest redneck fanbases around. That problem just doesn’t exist to the same extent here. Odds are, if you’re born in Kentucky, you’re a Kentucky fan. And if you move to Kentucky, you quickly learn to at least fake it until you become one yourself.
So there’s a little basketball talk for you on this Wednesday evening. Now, back to Mark Stoops, the SEC media, and Tyler Thompson as they try to figure out just where Johnny Manziel hid his Captain Morgan. Here’s a hint: in his stomach.