A couple of notes on a dreary (in Tampa) and slow Thursday…
– Much of the talk nationally today has centered around the new NCAA Tournament schedule, which will now place every single tournament game on television. With the addition of TBS, TNT and TruTV to CBS’ coverage, this goofy new 68-team tournament will get the best coverage in the history of the event. Obviously, Matt Jones of CBSSports.com likes the upgrade. So long as you don’t hold a grudge for them not adding Nancy Grace and her pantsuit to the studio booth, it’s hard to disagree.
– The Cats have Vandy in Nashville Saturday and that means the return of the goofiness that is Memorial Gymnasium. From a fan perspective, gyms like Vandy’s home floor are kind of cool and add to the unique flavor that makes college basketball so great. From a player’s perspective, it’s the worst. Mike Pratt talked to Tom Leach this morning and said it was the worst road environment the Cats will face in the SEC. On the pre-game show Saturday, Jared Prickett said UK players hate playing there and that you literally have to bend over to get through some of the doorways in the tunnel leading to the court. Josh Harrellson, well, you can assume he’s not a fan either, but for different reasons. Without question, a road victory Saturday in an awful environment can provide a boost of confidence for a team that has struggled mightily on the road.
– Speaking of Vandy and tournaments, the Commodores will play tonight and then Saturday at noon (local time) against the Cats. It’s a tournament-like schedule for Kevin Stallings’ team and one that, hopefully, leaves them a little heavy in the legs against the Cats. Kentucky appears to already have better athletes in most positions. The schedule could help them expose that a little more.
– With about eleventy billion former Kentucky players in the NBA, we might need to hire an extra beat writer just to keep up with how they’re doing. Last night was a good night for former Cats playing in The League and we should probably at least give them a fair mention today. Here is how they fared:
DeMarcus Cousins – 19 points, 15 rebounds and one ejection
John Wall – 15 points and 6 assists
Eric Bledsoe – 16 points and 8 rebounds
Jodie Meeks – 17 points
Tayshaun Prince – 10 points
Nazr Mohammed – 9 points and 8 rebounds
– As I’m sure you’ve probably heard, Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke are getting a lot of positive attention from NFL scouts right now and ESPN’s Todd McShay appears to be the primary love-maker at this point. In his updated mock draft, McShay has Cobb going to the Ravens at #26. It would be a great spot for Cobb for a lot of reasons, with joe Flacco and playing for a good team being major ones. It would also allow Cobb to play with Anquan Boldin, with whom Wes Bunting of the National Football Post compared him, and learn from a player with a similar skill set how to develop from a slot receiver into an outside guy. Cobb said at his farewell press conference that that was his goal. Going to the Ravens seems to be a very nice fit.
– Speaking of Cats in the NFL, former UK and Patriots safety Marcus McClinton is trying to go the singing route. You likely know him from his “We Believe” days. He’s now releasing (or released) and album titled “Grown Man”, which will also be BTI’s name for his debut album. You can get a sample of him “Thinking and Drinking” here.
– We can’t finish this off without properly wishing a heartfelt Happy Birthday to Coach Cal. He’s done a thing or two to earn your praise and well-wishes. Feel free to leave him some love below.
Finally, if you missed the radio show this morning, Matt and Zach talked with Gregg Doyel, which is always solid, and they also discussed Shabazz Muhammad, Kentucky’s matchup with Vanderbilt and the case of the fake callers. Take a listen to the podcast below.