One of my dirty little secrets is that I am an NBA fan. I signed up for Direct TV this year for basically one reason, to get NBA League Pass. Happiness to me, is falling asleep to the tones of a Minnesota-Portland late night game from the West Coast. The other night I was watching Celtics-Hawks (best regular season game of the year) and saw our man Randy Morris get some clock for the Hawks. Now the clock wasnt pretty….he played four minutes, had four fouls and got posterized by Rajon Rondo….but it was clock nonetheless. While watching Randy sadden me a bit, it occurred to me that the Kentucky guys in the NBA are not only good, they are playing on really good teams. IF we were to list the best nine teams in basketball, five would have Kentucky players on the roster (Celtics-Rondo, Hawks-Morris, Pistons-Prince, Magic-Bogans, Rockets-Hayes)….add to that the success Azubuike is having in Golden State and the fact that the Lakers nearly took Joe C, and you realize that the former Cats are impact players on the next level. That makes these games enjoyable to me and (especially in the case of Prince, who is having a career year), gives me a rooting interest in the games. Very soon we will add Meeks and Patterson to that list and while I hate to see them go, they will fit right in with that group.
To the news….
(1): Basketball kicks into gear tonight as the Cats take on the military-industrial complex as VMI comes to town. It should be quite an interesting game, in part due to the style of play of VMI….they have led the nation in scoring for the last two years and their coach told me on the radio the other night that it “would be a disappointment if we dont do it again.” They plan on shooting from the get-go and even in a bad performance, they will put up at least 80. So will the Cats score big? Likely yes, as VMI plays little defense. As of now the starting lineup will be Porter, Meeks, Harris, Patterson and Stevenson. I expect AJ Stewart (if not in trouble) to play some more minutes than usual due to the nature of the game, and we may see a bit less Josh Harrellson than normal. This is the perfect game for a guy like Kevin Galloway, so if you dont see him on the floor, it is not good for his prospects this season. We should see a lot of points (30+ from Meeks) and it will be a good test of the UK offense early.
(2): With the recruits for UK fully on board, I think it is interesting to see just how vociferously GJ Vilarino was praised by Billy Clyde. GJ may be the most scrutinized UK commitment of all time. With his role as the first Gillispie commitment, Vilarino has been picked and prodded by the fans, media and the recruiting evaluators and has had to deal with more criticism than the vast majority of his counterparts. Yet you have to give it to the kid as he has escaped the process relatively unscathed. His summer this year was better than most expected and he raised some eyebrows with some good performances at the Adidas events. I think GJ will come in and surprise some folks and I am glad to see how mature the guy is, a trait that should serve him well when he gets to Lexington.
(3): On the other end of campus, its time for the Vandy football game on Saturday, an affair that true UK football fans know is a time-honored tradition in difficulty. If you are an old-school UK fan, then you have sat through more terrible UK-Vandy games than you would care to remember. The game is usually low-scoring, poorly played and cold/rainy….and Saturday may fall right into line. But it cant be overestimated how important the game truly is. A win likely puts UK in Atlanta for the Peach/Chik-Fil-A Bowl….a loss maybe means Memphis for the Liberty Bowl…..a very big difference. Vandy is that line…..add to it that the game is on ESPN2 and a good performance is imperative.
(4): Trevard Lindley will play against Vandy and is close to 100%. Myron Pryor is also back to full strength and the defense will be attacking with a full army. As for the offense, Cobb says he is ready to put last week behind him and the nearly all-Freshman receiving corp needs one big game to be proud of. This hopefully will be that day, if nothing else, blocking for the multiple runs that could occur in the rain.
A huge day today on the site…..the announcement of the four finalists for the blogger contest, a new feature on the national college basketball landscape and Mosley showing us hot VMI female cadets. Its all you can ask for and more. Stay tuned…..