After a week that seemed to last a month, we’ve finally made it. Through a healthy mix of faith and belief in each other, we’ve successfully navigated a work week without a Kentucky basketball game and now get set for Saturday with our collective hearts and minds on point. It was the type of collaborative effort not seen sinceUnited Support of Arists for Africa banded together, coincidentally, 26 years ago today. What only seemed like a boyhood fantasy for a seven-year old Matt Jones transformed to reality on this day in 1986 when music superstars like Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers and Dan Aykroyd joined forces to record “We Are The World” (later John Calipari’s motto for UK basketball) to help fight battle disease and famine in Africa. The project, along with the Hands Across America event, earned nearly $100 million dollars. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. We’re working on getting BTI, Kige Ramsey, Eric C. Conn, Daniel Solzman and Ramel Bradley into the studio for a single to benefit the new arena fund. The formula works.
Now onto a few UK notes from all over the globe…
– The hot topic of the day was thedebate about whether or not Rupp Arena should be renovatedor the city of Lexington and UK should work to find a way to make a new arena a reality. There are a number of factors that could influence the plans from both sides, but what was most interesting to me was the debate surrounding the historical value of Rupp Arena versus the allure of a new facility. As I mumbled and stuttered my way through Larry Glover Live Thursday night, we took a couple of calls from people who thought that Kentucky might not necessarily need a new arena because of the mystique surrounding the building and some compared it to Allen Fieldhouse and Cameron Indoor Stadium. I think those comparisons are misplaced a bit for a few reasons, but most notably the fact that Rupp Arena is not old enough to carry that historical significance. One caller compared the situation to baseball, with Allen and Cameron being Wrigley and Fenway and Rupp being like Riverfront Stadium. I think that’s an accurate comparison. Rupp Arena, though certainly historic in many ways, carries a mystic because of the teams that have played in it, not because of the actual building. Rupp Arena is a lot like when you’re growing your hair out. It’s in that awkward stage where it just looks overgrown and messy. You can let it keep growing and eventually let it get to where you want it to be. Or you can cut it and start all over again with something fresh and handsome. Your call.
– If you like reading things written by smart people, here is Matt’s CBS story on the arena situation. Like I said, he’s smart. Check it out.
– In actual basketball news, Kentucky plays Georgiain basketball Saturday in what will be the first of a string of games that will help decide a fuzzy SEC East picture. Exciting stuff, huh? Outside of the news that Larry Brown is around tweaking things and working with Coach Cal and the Brett Dawson story that Terrence Jones has had a picture of Trey Thompkins in his locker before the last Georgia game, there isn’t a lot of new, sexy stuff floating around. All of that will change Friday, however, when Coach Cal has his media opportunity. Yes, my friends, there will be news. After all of this time, there will be news. Rejoice.
– When the football debate rages every offseason about whether or not Kentucky can ever be a true contender in the SEC, those who think they are destined to play toward the bottom often cite the lack of spending in comparison to the rest of the league. Those people got a little proof for their argument Thursday as ESPN released (via Forbes Magazine) the spending and revenue of every SEC football program and Kentucky ranked 9th in money made and 10th in money spent. The Cats made just under $32 million, while spending just under $13 million.
– Speaking of spending, take a tour of Georgia’s newly renovated football facility. I know it’s hard not to get caught up in the tour guide looking uncomfortably awkward in every photo, but it looks pretty nice. I didn’t see any room for the church potluck though…
– With the potential to lose Tee Martin to Alabama seeming to be a little more likely today than it was yesterday, Kentucky might be faced in the very near future with finding a way to make up for his recruiting prowess elsewhere on their staff. According to this profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, new assistant Steve Pardue and his deep ties inside the state of Georgiajust might be the person Joker counts on the most. Phillips has declared numerous times that he expects all of his assistants to pull significant weight on the recruiting trail and, according to the story, there seems to be an even bigger burden on Pardue.
– There were no former Cats voted as a starter to the NBA All-Star game (how did we lose a poll???), but Rajon Rondo will likely earn a reserve nod. But, that doesn’t mean you should be content with that. Make sure to vote John Wall into the Skills Challenge so he can duplicate his Sports Science segment and throw passes through fire rings or whatever it is they do for that now. You don’t want to lose this one too.
– For those of you who love politics and things that shouldn’t have been on TV, Tracy Morgan had an interesting take on Sarah Palin on TNT’s pregame show Thursday night. Warning: It includes a word you wouldn’t use in front of your mother unless you wanted her to tell you that you would go blind.
– Two eyes. Two ears. A chin. A mouth. Ten fingers. Two nipples. A butt. Two kneecaps. A penis. I just described to you the Loch Ness Monster. The reward for his capture, all the riches in Scotland. So I have one question. Why are you here? – Creed Bratton
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you all fired up for revenge against Mark Fox and the Bulldogs. The fun gets going with Matt and Zach at 10am, on Talk Radio 1080. In the meantime, appreciate all the wonderment of the Sober Billy Gillispie, Sean Miller.
See you in a few…