photo: Charles Bertram, Herald-Leader
Tonight, was rare. Sure, Kentucky has fought tooth n’ nail to reclaim their status as an SEC contender, but tonight there was certainty. On the sleeved wings of Joe Crawford the Wildcats flew, deftly dismissing a decent effort out of the Gamecocks, 71-63. Refreshing more than anything, to have post-season stakes rolled out onto the floor, then seizing it as if you’re offended by the belated offer. Leading throughout? How I missed thee.
—Huge night for Kentucky’s Seniors, as Joe Crawford continues to deepen his imprint on this program. Crawford’s 35 is the most from a Wildcat since Tayshaun’s 41 point barrage against Tulsa in the ’02 tourney.* Likewise, Ramel Bradley’s 20 points and overall game management was superb. As if their combined 55 points wasn’t enough, their intense defense night in/out has been equally as impressive. Veteran moxie we haven’t seen since the days of Erk, Cleeuf, Jurld, Keef, and Chook. Joe and Ramel, there’s a nice ovation coming your way.
*fact not checked
—Every night is Senior Night for Mark Coury.
—I’m buying what the Razor is selling these days. Devan Downey has managed to get his on just about every opponent this season. With the urging of Ramon Harris’s smothering defense, Downey was left with 9. It’s pretty obvious there’s been a spike in the Razor’s mojo (even if CBC wastes a 30 just so he can dog cuss you), and the results speak for themselves.
—I’d like to think of Ramel’s homespun 3-pointer as a symbol of our season. Digest…
—Happy Trails, Dave Odom. You are now free to play 36 holes, concoct world domineering ideals in your evil laboratory, begin your book I Coached Tim Duncan: And Some Other Things as Well, and wait for that David Hobbes-like job to open up.
This rag-tag band of Cats surely deserves one. Brand new management. Early season embarrassment. Devastating injuries. And yet, here we are, poised for second place in the East and a first round bye in Catlanta. After the Vandy debacle and amidst the injuries, this team has had every reason to call it a day and wallow in their bath of misfortune. Most teams would have, I have no doubt. But this is what we envisioned that day last April when Gillispie shook on it. Tough minded basketball with an utter refusal to quit.
Playoff in Rupp
As I tell my secretary what to type, Florida is giving the Vols all they can handle. Though a Florida loss would be ideal, it’s ultimately going to come down to Sunday’s rematch in Rupp to determine who’s going to fill the 4th SEC slot in the dance. Last year’s contest in Rupp was quite the spectacle, but this year’s discount version has the literal implication of a single elimination tournament game. Clock in, Cats.
Finally, dead horse be damned, there’s just no reason for Raycom to not offer a high def broadcast. I’m not really sure what they’re about on the corporate end, but they sound just generically branded enough to be legit. If you’re not going to give us SEC TV, at least give us 2008. 2000?