Way back on December 14th, 1503, the world celebrated the birth of the one and only Nostradamus. Well, not really, he was just any ole baby back then, born to a grain dealer in the south of France. But, after a childhood spent reading books in a meadow and eating soft cheeses (isn’t that what they do in France?), little Michel de Nostredame grew up to be the legendary Nostradamus, expert apothecary and renowned prophet. In 1555, the first edition of Nostradamus’ most famous work, Les Propheties (French for “The Prophecies”), was published, causing quite the stir. The prophecies, written in quatrains, predicted plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles far in to the future. Nostradamus junkies claim that he predicted numerous events in world history, including the Great Fire of London, the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, and even the September 11th attacks. Those same fanatics cling to some of his more ominous quatrains, which they believe predict the end of days in 2012; however, there are hundreds of his prophecies that haven’t come true, so don’t blow your Christmas money on a survival kit just yet. Sadly, Nostradamus didn’t live to enjoy his posthumous fame, and was treated as a glorified fortune teller by most before succumbing to gout on July 2, 1566, which, as you might guess, he predicted the night before.
With that in mind, give those toes a thankful wiggle and let’s move on to some news and views.
— Before moving on from Saturday’s loss to Indiana, let’s tie up some loose ends. On his radio show Monday night, Coach Cal said that the loss was “tougher to take” than Memphis’ loss in the 2008 National Championship game in terms of sheer drama. Cal took the blame mostly on his shoulders, admitting that the team hadn’t practiced many late-game situations yet, which may explain the lack of execution on the final play. He also blamed himself for not making the practices tough enough in the past few weeks, something which he hopes to rectify next week after the players are finished with finals. During Monday’s practice, Cal impressed upon his players the importance of being tough–both physically and mentally. He told them that Indiana wanted the game more than the Cats did, and that “talent doesn’t win, fight wins.” Like a seasoned pro, he also quipped that maybe the loss was good, since it meant he had their full attention from now on. Knowing Cal, he will milk the loss for all it’s worth.
— Terrence Jones’ performance in Bloomington continues to dominate postgame chatter. On Tuesday, Jeff Goodman said that NBA scouts remain divided on Jones due his inconsistency and body language on the court, both of which were glaring on Saturday. Fortunately for Jones, it’s only December, which means there is plenty of time to change their minds and elevate his stock. If anything, Saturday’s game and the ensuing backlash should serve as a glaring wakeup call for the talented sophomore, who is truly in control of his own destiny right now. Maybe he should rent “Dolphin Tale”? Ashley Judd tells me it’s quite inspirational.
— After rehashing just about everything from Saturday’s loss to Indiana, from the atmosphere, the officiating, the fans, to the game itself, it’s finally time to look forward. Over the next two weeks, the Cats face a quartet of cupcakes (Tennessee-Chattanooga, Samford, Loyola, and Lamar) in preparation for the Louisville game on New Year’s Eve, which is shaping up to be another huge game in Rupp, especially if the Cards maintain their bloated Top 5 ranking until then. Given Pitino’s track record at keeping it up, I wouldn’t count on it.
— Desperate for a recruiting news fix? On Tuesday, Neil Nieves from CDC Recruiting reported that sources close to Shabazz Muhammad said the ‘Bazz is leaning towards Kentucky, who is making the strongest push for him thus far. In fact, that same source said that if Shabazz were to pick a school today, it would be Kentucky; unfortunately, he isn’t deciding anything until the spring, so put away those noisemakers for another day. Sorry.
— A week ago, Coach Cal and Rick Pitino found themselves in the same gym to watch Bullitt East junior Derek Willis. Willis, who is considering Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, and Purdue, also attended the Kentucky/Indiana game on Saturday, and apparently had a great time; Willis called it “one of the best atmospheres” he’s witnessed at a college game . Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean seized on the momentum and traveled to Oldham County on Tuesday night to see Willis play in person. Willis said he will attend more games this season…I can think of one on New Year’s Eve with potential.
— Danny Trevathan finally got some respect from the national media on Tuesday: Sports Illustrated named him Second Team All-American.
— Congratulations to UK Hoopster A’dia Mathies, who was named “Women’s National Player of the Week” by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Mathies scored 23 points in UK’s win over Duke last week, which also earned her SEC Player of the Week honors on Monday. You go, girl. Mathies also got a good news concerning her ankle, which she sprained during practice on Saturday. Doctors say the x-rays showed no major damage, and she’s listed as day-to-day leading up to UK Hoops’ big game at #3 Notre Dame on Sunday.
— With the NBA lockout a thing of the past and training camps in full swing, it’s finally time to report some news on our NBA Cats. Josh Harrellson continues to warm hearts with his humble and hard working demeanor in New York; on Tuesday, the former Cat charmed reporters at the Knicks’ Media Day, saying he was “living his dream” and determined to do “the little things and just be able to continue doing what I love.” Jorts’ teammates Bill Walker called Jorts “very cerebral,” a compliment which surely extends to his fashion sense. #NewJortsCity
— You want more good news about former Cats? OK. Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bob Cooney says that according to 76ers head coach Doug Collins, Jodie Meeks is now considered the starter over Evan Turner.
Why yes, Nostradamus, it is time for this post to end. We’ll be back bright and early, ready to lead you through another work week devoid of Kentucky basketball action. Matt and company hit the airwaves at 10 a.m. in what will surely be a scintillating hour of radio fun. See you then.