The 2012-13 season is mercifully over, and despite having the #1 ranked recruiting class in the country, Kentucky failed to make the NCAA Tournament, and were unceremoniously dispatched in the First Round of the NIT by Robert Morris. Hard to see things being any different in 2013-14. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Nothing’s Changed Here: For Myrtle McGillicuddy, a proposed renovation of Rupp Arena that includes private suites, loge boxes and a members-only lounge is a desecration. It tears apart the Kentucky basketball family. So to read last week about a survey asking fans if they’d buy suites, exclusive club memberships and other amenities to help pay for a re-invention of Rupp Arena disturbed McGillicuddy’s sense of right and wrong. “I sat here and cried,” she said in a telephone conversation last Friday. A self-described “good old girl from Monkey’s Earlobe,” McGillicuddy spoke of a UK fan base united behind its team. Rich and not-so rich. Black and white. Men and women. Boys and girls. Smart and dumb. Realistic and naÃ¯ve. “It’s like we’re all in this together and we’re all one big family,” she said. “That’s what I like. To me, it’s all about being part of that crowd, and somebody you don’t know yelling in your ear and high-fiving you when we make a three-pointer. But now it’s over. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the universe, and it’s all John Calipari’s fault. I wish I was never born!!!” McGillicuddy speaks for many others when she says that money doesn’t matter. No, what matters is that Myrtle McGillicuddy is catered to, regardless of the millions of dollars that UK would be leaving on the table if it opted out of the proposed renovations. Could this money be used to upgrade other athletic facilities, as well as academic facilities? Maybe. Could it be used to line the coffers of the institution as a whole, and result in improvements to the school, the program and the entire city? Sure. But when you consider that Myrtle McGillicuddy might not be able to high five a stranger (unless she “scarfs” one of the thousands of available tickets), well, it all seems kind of pointless, doesn’t it?
*The Distance Between You And Me: ESPN’s Chad Ford recently released his top 100 NBA draft prospects for 2014, and it was a sobering sight for Kentucky fans: 7 of the top 30 players listed will suit up for UK this year. This is not what Big Blue Nation wanted to see. What this means is that UK and Calipari will be starting from scratch again next year, and as we saw this past season, this means a one-way ticket to the NIT. Even more depressing for UK fans is that Indiana didn’t have any players projected to go in the 1st Round. In other words, the Hoosiers figure to be just as good (if not better) in 2014-15 as they will be this season. It seems hard to believe, but while Kentucky fans will try to will their squad of lottery picks to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in since 2012, Indiana fans have at least two more years of Peter Jurkin to look forward to.
*Things Change: Big Blue Madness, which will be held on October 18, will be attended by 3 top 20 recruits: Emmanuel Mudiay, Stanley Johnson and Devin Booker. This does not bode well for Kentucky. The UK roster currently features 6 freshmen who were ranked in the top 20 of their class. However, this year Calipari was only able to convince half that many to attend the opening practice in Rupp Arena. Technically, this means that Kentucky only has half the appeal to recruits that it had just one year ago. If one projects these numbers going forward, this means that Big Blue Madness in 2014 will only feature 1½ top 20 players, and BBM the year after that will only have ¾ of a top 20 player. Apparently, the constant refrain of “Robert Morris” coming from Louisville fans on Twitter is starting to take its toll. If this keeps up, Myrtle McGillicuddy won’t be the only one hopping off the Big Blue Bandwagon.
* On this date: On this date in 2015, Louisville will be playing in its 6th difference conference in the last 40 years.