Tonight was Oscar night here at the Compound, which means I pulled out my tuxedo and sat down on the couch to enjoy a little Academy magic. Jon Stewart was the host once again and knocked it out of the park for another year. Lots of good lines and jabs at the Hollywood aristocracy. As for the awards themselves, the big winner was of course “No Country for Old Men,” a movie that was coincidentally my favorite of the year as well. The Coen Brothers’ flick is one of the very few movies that I have gone to see in the theaters twice, in large part because I find it so visually beautiful that it needs to be appreciated on the big screen. Javier Barden won for best Supporting Acter by playing the most evil non-Coach K character that I have seen on the big screen in a long time. His haircut was truly atrocious, but only added to the sense of terror that he brings to every scene. Daniel Day Lewis took home Best Actor as he could concievably any time he makes a movie, and a hot French woman won Best Actress, which we can all get behind. All in all, a good night with our movie friends and a welcome diversion from whatever UNC or Duke game I normally end up having to watch on a Sunday night.
To the news jeeves…..
(1) NCAA TOURNAMENT TIME: After the win on Saturday the reality has now finally set in for many UK fans, the Cats can make the tournament. UK is now 64 in the RPI and set to move up over the next two weeks thanks to the quality teams that they are still left to play on the schedule. The win over Arkansas was an important one, as it ensures that another Top 50 victory can be put on the resume and it helps the Cats hold court at home in the SEC. Add that to the fact that Tennessee, who holds a loss at Kentucky on their resume, beat undefeated Memphis and Kentucky’s stock continues to rise. I still think, despite what the Jay Bilas and Reece Davis types of the world suggest, that 3-1 gets the Cats in comfortably. Kentucky will not be the first 12 win team from a BCS conference left out of the tournament…..simply not happening. If the Cats finish 3-1, they will have the third best tournament resume of any team in the SEC (behind UT and Vandy) and simply cant be left out. Add that to the fact that they would then be the 2nd seed from the East in the SEC Tournament and would likely see Ole Miss in the first game of the tourney and things keep looking better and better for our boys in Blue. Take care of business and the NCAA streak stays alive….it is now as simple as that.
(2) JODIE MEEKS: It continues to be tough to see Jodie Meeks as his injury continues to linger. No one, including the coaching staff, is clear whether Jodie will return, but privately many are suggesting that any return may be so limited as to be ineffective. The latest I heard last week was that the hope was to get him ready to see some minutes against Tennessee but to really point him for the South Carolina and Florida games the next week. Nothing I have heard has changed that calculus, but no one has the optimism about him giving the Cats a lot of quality minutes that they had even 2 weeks ago. Watching Jodie practice and warm up is actually very tough and I am pulling for him a great deal. Jodie is a great kid, but it is looking more and more like his significant on-court contribution is creeping farther and farther away.
(3) BASKETBALL RECRUITING: Interesting couple of days for UK basketball recruiting. Tyrone Appleton has scheduled a news conference for Monday to announce his college destination and it is looking more and more like he will be singing “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” in Lawrence next season. In more positive news, it looks more and more like Kevin Galloway, the former USC signee is looking Kentucky’s way. ESPN’s “Scouts Inc” reports thats Galloway has Kentucky as the potential leader, although it does site a Courier Journal report that didnt read exactly that way to me. Either way, Galloway is VERY interested in UK and will visit when his season is over. Finally, UK had a visitor on Saturday according to multiple internet reports. Vinny Zollo, who sounds like a kid from the “Sopranos” is a Freshman from Ohio who is 6’9″ and is projected to grow was at the game for an unofficial early in his high school career. I dont get excited about people who are three seasons away from playing, but I do get excited about the fact that real movement is occurring on the recruiting front.
(4) NFL COMBINE: It has been disheartening to watch as Andre’ Woodson’s draft status has gone downhill since the end of the season. But today, football news of former Cats improved thanks to the strong performance by Keenan Burton at the NFL combine. Burton ran a 4.44 40 yard dash, putting him in the top 10 among all wide receivers. In addition he had the highest high jump of any receiver and the third longest broad jump. Burton thus became a workout warrior and has seen his draft stock likely rise. Also impressive was Jacob Tamme, who put out a 4.57 40, 2nd among all the tight ends. And a shout also to Stevie “Got Loose” Johnson, who put out a 4.59 40, but was said by the announcers to be a favorite of some scouts who believe his “best football is ahead.” Good day for the Cats…
(5) UK BASEBALL: Finally, a real quick shout to the UK baseball team whose season opened this weekend. The Bat Cats are welcoming one of the best recruiting classes in America and got off to a hot start by winning a preseason tournament in Alabama. These Cats have a Top 25 team and are set to have a big year and one in which the fans should really get behind. They open the home season on Tuesday and will have a number of home games which the KSR crew will cover. Go out and check them out, as they are quickly becoming a national force on the field.
More during the day, including a look at the so-called “controversy” (where none should exist) on Gillispie’s contract and news of the Appleton decision……