Wednesday, March 31, 2010 him or hate him, Pitino is (allegedly) here for a while longer.

Today the University of Louisville locked up Rick Pitino until the 2016-2017 season. And not "locked up" in the sense that Karen Sypher will be after the extortion case is heard in a few months (a REVERSE SYPHER!!! NO ONE SAW THAT COMING!). Pitino signed the extension today, and the salary hasn't been released that I've seen but Jurich was quoted as saying it was his goal to make it competitive with the top coaches in the country.

ESPN had a quote from AD Tom Jurich reading, "I think as we move forward, it's very important for us to be stable," Jurich said. "We have a great coach at the top, we have an icon at the top and I don't think there's five coaches that are in the same discussion as Coach Pitino so it's important we keep him."

Like the guy or not, he can still coach. In 3 of the last 4 years, the Cards have finished either 1st or 2nd in the Big East, which is still regarded as one of the top conferences in the NCAA despite a "down" season. He has compiled a 220-86 record since coming to Louisville, a 71.8% winning percentage. Overall he is still has a .732 win percentage, good for 12th among active coaches. He is also the only coach in history to take three different schools to the Final Four.

Pitino said today, "My moving days have long been over. I've been here nine years. It feels like nine days. Now I'm going to be able to end this career at the place I want to end it at." Another quote from the AP article on ESPN said, "I thought when I first came here I'd stay six to eight years and probably have one more move left in me. Then I realized that there's no other place that I would want to be." He also was quoted as saying the only time he was leaving was when he retired.

I realize there is a lot of "coach speak" that goes on, and after seeing the revolving door of coaches with the football program, it's hard to ever take someone at their word. However I do feel that Pitino has endeared himself to the community of Louisville and the University. I personally have always been a fan of his as long as I can remember, and hope he does stay here until he retires--and not a Brett Favre-ish retiring of coming back every year and re-retiring. (Yeah, I really went there, too.)

Break down his stay here however you want, he has had success. Zero Championships thus far, but still success. In the modern era of the NCAA Tournament, as I said here, it takes almost as much luck to win the Tournament as it does having the most talented and athletic team. It is EXTREMELY difficult to string together a number of wins against absolutely great teams almost immediately after playing in a conference tournament. I still firmly believe the NCAA Championship game should no doubt have been Kansas v. Kentucky, however both of those teams can now attest to just how grueling the tournament is. So I feel that the Final 4 in 2005, and the back to back Elite 8 runs in 2008 and 2009 were a very good feat. All a coach really can do is compile the best team he can, coach them to play the style of game best suited for them, and hope you get a little lucky along the way.

Congratulations to Coach Pitino and his contract extension, and I hope he stays here a long time.

Are you the Next DePaul Coach?

Do you have dreams of being the next Rick Pitino? Well, now's your chance. DePaul University currently has an opening for their next Men's Head Basketball Coach! Apply online today for your chance! Besides, Depaul's just in the Big East, it's not like its the SEC or anything, the Big East Tournament and regular season title is yours to own!
HR Careers

Your application choices are:
  • You can submit your resume and interest to this job by: Apply online
  • Submit Your Referral(s) Here

More information about this job

General Summary

In accordance with the mission of the Department of Athletics, administer the progress and success of the intercollegiate men’s basketball program within the guidelines of the NCAA, the BIG EAST Conference and DePaul University. This will include all pre-season, in-season and post-season activities necessary to the development of a nationally-competitive team.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Coordinate the evaluation, recruitment, preparation and development of all student-athletes.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to all NCAA rules, policies and procedures pertaining to men’s basketball.
  • Attend and participate in monthly NCAA rules compliance meetings.
  • Monitor and encourage the scholastic progress of student-athletes in conjunction with the Athletic Academic Advising Office, so as to promote their academic success.
  • Responsible for adherence to the program’s budget, in conjunction with the Athletic Business Office.
  • Work with Business Office on travel arrangements, equipment purchases, and expense reports.
  • Establish and maintain quality relationships with alumni and support organizations (Athletic Advisory Council, “D” Club, Blue Crew, etc.) of DePaul University.
  • Serve as the department’s liaison on all public relation and promotional activities for the men’s basketball program and work with the Athletic Development Office to solicit gifts.
  • Provide leadership to assistant coach(es) under his/her supervision.
  • Supervise three full-time assistant coaches, one full time director of operations, one full time assistant director of operations, one full time administrative assistant, as well as part time, student and volunteer assistants when available.
  • Supervise 12 - 15 student athletes.
  • Responsible for operating the Men's Basketball program with the allocated budget.
  • Perform other duties and responsibilities as assigned.
Minimum Requirements:
  • Bachelor's Degree.
  • Minimum 10 years coaching experience.

Preferred Requirements:

  • Experience coaching at the NCAA Division I level.

Salary & Benefits:

DePaul offers comprehensive and competitive pay and benefits to attract and retain talent to further the University's mission. Please click on the following link to review the full Benefits Summary.

Required Background Screening:

All final candidates extended an offer of employment will undergo background screening.

DePaul University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

MLB Preview: Is there anybody that will actually read this?

With college basketball FINALLY nearing it's end, we can focus on the one sport we all love with equal enthusiasm and passion: Major League Baseball. I can't wait to watch a bunch of overpaid, 'roided up baseball players slug their way through 7 months of games. That's right people, 7 months of games. JOY!

I have taken in upon myself to rank how each team will finish the season in each division. I am by no means a baseball expert and I think it will be interesting to see how accurate (or not inaccurate) I actually am at the end of the season.

The American League:

1. Boston
2. New York
3.Tampa Bay
4. Toronto
5. Baltimore

Breakdown: This is almost an exact replica of last years list. It's almost always going to be New York or Boston at the top. The one year exception was when Tampa took the division in 2008. Boston added John Lackey and Adrian Beltre to the team, two guys that should be able to make a good team better. Let's hope Ortiz is off his post-steroids slump. New York Sucks.

1. Detroit
2. Minnesota
3. Chicago
4. Kansas City
5. Cleveland

Breakdown: Detroit added Johnny Damon to the lineup. A veteran winner that has won championships in New York and in Boston. The Tigers already have a decent batting lineup and a good pitching roster with Bonderman, Verlander and Zumaya. Chicago is in turmoil as Ozzie Guillen is holding on by a thread to his job and their roster is old. The loss of Joe Nathan for the Twins is devastating. Cleveland Sucks.

1. Seattle
2. Los Angeles
3. Texas
4. Oakland

Breakdown: Seattle added some major pitching firepower by signing former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Felix Hernandez is a great pitcher already and Erik Bedard is pretty decent. The X factor will be Milton Bradley. Can he keep his head together and produce like he did in Texas or will he implode and be a liability like he did for the Cubs? Mr. Bradley, I am a HUGE fan of your Monopoly board game.

The National League (AKA The Minor League):

1. Philadelphia
2.New York
3. Atlanta
4. Florida
5. Washington

Breakdown:Roy Halladay joins the Phighting Phils in place of Cliff Lee and this in an upgrade. The Phillies were in their second World Series in a row and lost to New York. The addition of Halladay is huge. Their batting is still solid with Howard, Rollins and Mac's manlove interest Utley. Look for the Mets to suck it up again this year.

1. St. Louis
3. Cincinnati
4. Houston
5. Pittsburgh

Breakdown:The Cards have Pujols and as long as they have him they will be in contention. They still have Carpenter and Wainwright, which is a helluva two headed monster on the mound. The rest of the Central is rather pedestrian. The Cubbies could make a run for it but I think they lack the pitching depth to do so. Cincy always starts off hot and then totally blows it. Look for more of the same.

1. Los Angeles
2. San Francisco
3. Colorado
4. Arizona
5. San Diego

Breakdown:The is my least favorite division in baseball. I hate all of the teams. I pick LA to win because they have great bats and Joe Torre as the manager. The Giants will give them some heat behind Tim Lincecum. The rest of the division is awful.

World Series:
Los Angeles vs. Boston

Winner: Boston

I hope you enjoyed that. Again, I know very little about baseball. I follow it and can talk semi-intelligently about it. That's about how I qualify for doing this. If you disagree or want to do your own rankings, feel free to do so.

Warning: Obligatory Baseball Article Below!

In keeping with today's theme of turnover within an organization, I would like to take this opportunity to write a very brief piece about my beloved Cleveland Indians. This will probably be the only article I ever do on baseball, so enjoy.

Most baseball fans will tell you that the Indians did not play in the post season in 2009. Do not listen to these pompous asses, the are incorrect. By my count, 7 players who were on Cleveland's roster in 2008 or 2009 started for serious title contenders in last year's playoffs.

CC-Sabathia- New York Yankees (Side Note: he is also the latest B-list, out of shape celebrity to appear in Subway commercials- see Tony Stewart)
Casey Blake- LA Dodgers
Mark DeRosa- St Louis Cardinals.
Rafael Betancourt- Colorado Rockies
Cliff Lee- Philadelphia Phillies
Victor Martinez- Boston Red Sox
Carl Pavano- Minnesota Twins

I understand management's philosophy of not paying free agents outrageous sums of money to stay in the Cleve but it is very frustrating to watch these guys compete for pennants with other franchises. It stings even worse when these players come up through the Cleveland farm system.

The philosophy may have worked when the Tribe last won the series (1948) but it may be time to reevaluate the strategy. If they hope to contend, they will need find a way to continue to develop young talent and retain that talent when the players reach their full potential.

Here's hoping this July 31st (the MLB trade deadline ) is a quiet night on the banks of Lake Eerie.

The Mass Exodus

"Don't forget to hug me before you leave DeMarcus!"

Sunday is Easter for the Christians and Passover has been going on for those of the Jewish community. Monster Mash already did a Passover themed story so I decided to continue the theme today with the news that it is likely that Kentucky's basketball team will lose 9 players this off season.

Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson and Mark Krebs are all seniors and have used their four years of eligibility. Patrick Patterson will graduate in three years, so he will have one year of eligibility. Daniel Orton, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe were only freshmen. All of these players are now gone or are likely gone. There is another rumor floating around that Jon Hood is going to transfer. That's 9 players possibly not returning.

The news that Orton is leaving shocks me. I really thought that the big man would stay one more year, refine his offensive game and become a top 15 draft pick next year in the NBA. Right now he is projected as the #29 pick overall. He has huge size and limitless potential but has struggled on the offensive end of things at times this season. He is a player that could get lost in the NBA shuffle and become a journeyman in the pros and abroad as well. I know my advice means absolute squadoosh to the kid but I would think one more year would do wonders for him.

As for Patterson and the other one and dones, I think they are all NBA ready as of right now. Wall is the likely the #1 overall pick but Evan Turner could steal that spot depending on the needs of the team that wins the lottery. Boogie is projected to go top 5, Bledsoe top 10 and Patterson top 15. I think Bledsoe could have stayed one more year and he could have been the overall #1 next year.

The bottom line is that I can't blame any of these guys for going and I wish them nothing but the best. Patterson decided to forgo the draft last year to come back and compete for a championship. Compete he did but he came up just a little short. He upped his draft number by returning but now it's time for one of UK's all time greats to go to the next level.

So, who do the Cats have returning? Darnell Dodson, Josh Harrelson, Darrius Miller and DeAndre Liggins will be the upper classmen next year. It's a good core of players that will have a year under Calipari's system under their belts and they will be better equipped to show the newcomers the ropes. Liggins and Miller are the most athletic and most experienced of the bunch. Dodson needs to work on defense and he needs to become the deadly 3 point shooter that he was brought to Kentucky to be. Jorts is Jorts. He comes in, gets some rebounds and hits the occasional 3. That's my boy Big Britain!

As for the new comers, the only two we know for sure is Stacey Poole and Enes Kanter (just cleared to be eligible). Calipari is looking to fill 5-6 more spots. 2 of them already seem to be a lock with C.J. Leslie and Brandon Knight. Leslie has pretty much guaranteed his spot with UK and Knight had a bit of a slip of the tongue the other day, leading us all to believe that Mr. #1 recruit will be donning the blue and white next season. Doron Lamb still has UK in the mix and Josh Selby eluded to the potential of him and Brandon Knight sharing the point guard spot a la Bledsoe/Wall. Luke Cothron also just narrowed his choices down to a five schools, UK being one of them, Louisville not so much. Plus, with an NBA lockout looming, these guys could be around longer than the one year required of them.

This is all speculation as of now but it seems likely. If the recruits are being told that 5 freshmen will be leaving then I would think that this is so. When it is confirmed that they are gone, I will have a beautiful farewell to give to one of my favorite Kentucky teams of all time.

Kentucky Recruits: Brandon "The Dark" Knight

2010 basketball is over in the Bluegrass, so it's time to look forward to next season. The recruits for both teams will be making waves in the next few weeks with their looming college decisions and we'll be posting the news so you know the players before their introduction at Midnight Madness:

Video from the Courier-Journal, Knight talks about the Dribble-Drive motion offense that Kentucky and John Calipari runs:

Brandon Knight talks about the decision making process:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Put me in, Coach! I'm ready to play!

Next week dawns the start of a fresh new season in Major League Baseball. The college game is already under way and both the Cards and Cats seem to be faring well thus far, with the Cards still ranked 8th at the moment at a very impressive 20-3. The Cats started off very hot as well and have seen some tough competition as of late, I feel they will end up with a good season as well. Baseball season brings about a few emotions. People are wondering just how their teams will do in the long 162 game season. Personally I always wonder how far my Reds will take me before I come to the stark realization that I will probably never see them win another title.

The best part about baseball season though, is that FOOTBALL IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER! Still, it's a ways off, but the NFL draft is coming shortly, and NCAA Spring practice is already under way! Thank God! I can only take so much boring freaking baseball before I start to get all antsy in my pantsy thinking about football.

I haven't made it out to a U of L Spring Practice just yet but have heard many many good things about the way Coach Strong and his staff operate so far. It seems to be a TOTAL change from what has gone on the last 3 years under the regime of 'He Who Shall Not Be Named.' The players are required to RUN to everywhere the go during practice, from drill to drill. If the coaches feel they don't run hard enough, they go back and do it again--this just getting in and out of huddles. I almost believe the former coach had players holding hands and skipping down the sidelines at practice from the way they played on the field.

No matter if you are a Card or a Cat fan, both coaches have assembled respectable recruiting classes in the Bluegrass State. Both Rivals and Scout have each school ranked very close to one another, one having the Cards with the 46th class and UK at 47, the other have UK with 47 I believe and UL at 51. Neither one of those are SUPER impressive if you're a Notre Dame follower or Miami or Texas, but around here, that's a very solid class.

The more important part of having a recruiting class is what a coach DOES with the recruits. Some UK fans are already on the fence with their new man in charge, and Cardinal fans all seem on board with Strong. Many felt he should have been hired 3 years ago, and now their dreams have come true--hopefully things work out much better this time around. Either way you go don't expect a HUGE improvement with either school. I really feel like Joker is essentially the same coach as Brooks, as do many UK fans I know. Not that he was a "bad hire" per se, but just that he wasn't a big step up. I think Joker will do just fine at the helm and lead the Cats to a few more bowl games.

Let's be honest, Jurich could have hired a 4th Grader and the kid could have improved over what has been done over the last 3 years in Louisville. I saw way too many times coming out of timeouts with either 12 or 10 players on the field (again, OUT OF TIME-OUTS!) and just mass confusion on BOTH sides of the ball. The offense got progressively worse each year (Brohm actually put up good numbers his Senior year) and the Defense almost always looked clueless. Hell, even Ron English couldn't fix things here!

I realize it is still over 5 months away until opening kickoff but the Spring Game at U of L is April 16th and I for one am already scheduled off of work and tailgating for that one! Hopefully we can all suffer through Baseball for a while until the Football Gods come to save us.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome myself to the SportsThat stable of writers! I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath for the introduction of another blogger with a ridiculous pseudonym, especially since you have no clear idea why you should care what they have to say. Oh the joy and vanity of blogging....

With that out of the way, I'd like to let you know a little about myself, my interests/biases/etc., and the way I plan on operating (at least in the posts that I author).

First and foremost, I am a 26 year-old teacher (or prospective teacher), from Louisville. I have degrees in history, political science, and (by the end of the summer) a degree in education. So why should you care? Because it means I have interests that extend well beyond the realm of sports. You can expect posts from me on topics such as politics, movies, television, music, books, and anything else that strikes enough of a chord that I feel the urge to write about. Think of me as a combination of Bill Simmons and Gregg Easterbrook, only without the writing skill of either or the douchebaggery of the latter.

In the past few hours since I found out I would be writing for this blog, I've come up with some preliminary ideas:

-running diaries of major events (major being ENTIRELY negotiable)
-book and movie reviews
-sports and political commentary
-running arguments with other contributors
-"best of" lists (best sports movies, best sports books; the possibilities are endless)

If you can think of any other formats or topics you'd like me to cover, or have any other questions, just leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to address them.

I hope you enjoy the ride....I know I will.

Brandon Knight Rider: Kentucky Recruiting Update

The Courier-Journal's Jody Demling is reporting that the McDonald's All-American team is in the know about underclassmen declaring, stating that "5 are going."

Kentucky followers have prepared and accepted the early departure of Wall, Cousins, and Patterson. The article doesn't name the 5 players CJ Leslie mentions, so sure - Hood, Liggins, Miller, Dodson, or Harrelson could declare, but it looks likely that Bledsoe and Orton could leave.
This obviously doesn't mean that they are all leaving, but that's what the coaches, UK or non-UK coaches, are selling the recruits on for and against the Cats.

In further news from the McD's practice, Brandon Knight, the #1 recruit in the class, slipped up "and used the word 'we' when asked a UK question by WKYT's Steve Moss in an interview" giving Kentucky fans some good news for the day.

The Raiders: Where Careers go to Die

"This is where I will be for the rest of my career. Big Al doesn't like me anymore."

  • Monster Mash will be happy: The Oakland Raiders are in hot pursuit of Eagles QB Donovan "I will never win a Super Bowl" McNabb. Al Davis also attended Syracuse, as McNabb did (waaaaaaayyy back when they were good) so they have that in common. Which is nice. This is bad for McNabb. I have always liked him I think he deserves to go to a contender so he can compete for a Super Bowl. I wish Brett Favre would retire so McNabb could go to the Vikings and then we can all watch the Packers Fans heads explode. If Donovan goes to Oakland we will all have to watch the disintegration of a once great player. In similar news JaMarcus Russell will still sit the bench no matter what.
  • Sunday night is opening night for Major League Baseball (I can hear your shouts of joy from here, F4E) and what better way to open it than with the Sox vs. the Yanks. An even better way will be watching aces C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett duel it out on ESPN. Beckett and the Sox are closing in on an extension that would keep the right hander in Bean Town. Hooray for The Nation.
  • If the Oakland Raiders have issues then I'd say the Pittsburgh Steelers have traumatic issues. Aside from Big Ben's legal woes, wide receiver Santonio Holmes is in some hot water. A woman is suing Holmes for assault and battery for throwing a glass at her in a night club. Holmes has also been arrested in the past for domestic violence and possession of Marijuana. Kicker Jeff Reed is facing disorderly conduct and public drunkenness charges. Who the hell do these guys think they play for, The Ravens?
  • In other news Cole Aldrich declared for the NBA draft. Bobby Knight is now crying because he won't be able to cover his favorite player in the NCAA anymore. He was a third-stringe All-American. Nobody really cares because he sucks.

Tuesday Morning Recruiting News: Too Cool for High School

Good morning Sportsthat Nation! Let's start the day off with some high school basketball recruits, shall we?
  • Kentucky recruit C.J. Leslie(5 star power forward) had an outstanding practice yesterday for the McDonalds All-American game. He was quoted as being "unstoppable" at times. He received the best reviews out of the group. He is being recruited by Kentucky, UConn, Florida, NCState and Oregon. He has only visited one school: Kentucky. This kid has seemed to be a Wildcat from the beginning of his recruitment. He has said that he will make a decision by April 17. If he does not go to UK then I will be completely shocked. He went to school with John Wall and remains close friends with him. Wall obviously loved his time with UK (goodbye John, single tear) and probably has nothing but great things to say about playing for the Big Blue. Leslie seems to be a lock.
  • Another recruit in UK's sights is Josh Selby (5 star point guard). Selby is rescheduling a visit that he cancelled with the Cats due to his high school state finals games. He already has visited UK earlier this month on 3/7/10 and another visit looks promising. He is also considering Arizona, Uconn (no visit as of yet) and Kansas. He was also regarded as "unguardable" at practice on Monday but was also to have said to not get his teammates involved and seemed to want to show off a bit. If he commits UK could have another point guard/point guard starting tandem with Knight/Selby. Neither one of them has committed so it's just speculation at this point.
  • On the Louisville front (you're welcome) we have conflicting rankings. has Justin Coleman (small forward) listed as their #45 recruit and listed as a 4 star player. on the other hand has him listed as a 5 star player and #16 overall and the #4 small forward. This is the deal: he comes from PatPat's school in Huntington West Virginia. He is listed as 6-5 185 and can play either small forward or shooting guard. Louisville needs a versatile player like Coleman. The combination of him at small forward and Buckles at power forward (I think he needs to start at this position. He is bulkier and more athletic than Swopshire.) could provide the Cards with a more athletic front court than they had last year.
  • The only other recruit listed as having Louisville in the running on is 4 star power forward Luke Cothron. He also has UConn, West Virginia and Florida among a list of others. On Cothron has Kentucky listed as a destination but not Louisville. the bottom line is that until they sign with a school we have no idea. Rivals doesn't have any other of the top 150 recruits considering coming to Louisville. To be fair, Kentucky will have a lot more open spots than Louisville will have and that could be why the Cards don't have as many guys in the mix. That being said, Pitino will still have to go after some of these players to fill his roster and add some missing pieces. He has Kentucky's Mr. Basketball, Elisha Justice, coming to play ball there but only as a walk-on. There are still scholarships to give.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kentucky Fans Celebrate Basketball Passover

The college basketball season usually ends at the beginning of April, the same time Hebrew's and Gentile's celebrate Passover. While the Kentucky Basketball community doesn't have many Hebrew brethren, today, is the start of Kentucky Passover.

What is Kentucky Passover? This is the basketball holy day where Kentucky Basketball fans place the blood of a spring lamb over top their doors and, upon seeing this, the spirit of NBA scouts pass over their underclassmen's dorm rooms, sparing their best players from the NBA draft for another season, hence the term "passover".

Why you did not know about it? It's been a long time since Kentucky underclassmen were heralded as high as those on the team this season. You may have forgotten the feeling when you sit, wait, and hope that the black cloud of college career death comes and skips your player(s).

Why are we celebrating it this year?: This is the first year of John Calipari at UK. John Calipari is known for One-and-Dones. One-and-Dones, yes those players that would have normally sprinted for the NBA if not for the "1 year removed from High School" rule. He recruits them, gives them exposure, then the black fog comes for them, sweeping them away. This year we have an exceptional crop of underclassmen, ripe for the picking.

Will we do this every year? Most likely, yes. As mentioned, with the introduction of John Calipari comes the yearly influx of top tier recruits into the University of Kentucky and the growing appetite from NBA scouts to lure the players away.

What can we do about it?: Historically, nothing. But it has become popular to smear the lambs blood over your door- gross but necessary.

What happens if they are taken?: Over the past 15 years, players are never to be seen again. Previous underclassmen have vanished into air as thin as the millions of paper bills they receive from the NBA. The good news is that Calipari's underclassmen are known to wear team colors, logos, tee-shirts, and attend games.

Parting Words: So as we celebrate Kentucky Passover today. Don't fear, the good news is that even if they are not passed over, they are gone but can never be forgotten. Besides, there's always the benefit that they will be replaced by a new crop of amazing talent.

Brandon Knight Recruitment Watch and Other Things of Interest

The consensus #1 recruit in the nation is Brandon Knight out of Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 6'3 guard had narrowed his list down to the following schools: UConn, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Miami. Recent reports have Florida dropping out of the race altogether and he apparently has lost all interest in Miami and did not even visit Syracuse. That leaves his real options as UK, Kansas and UConn.

If you ask the fans or experts from any of these schools they all have him coming to their teams. The truth is that we won't know until April 14. Is Knight waiting to see if John Wall and Eric Bledsoe declare for the NBA draft? This could be a good theory. If only one of them stays then Knight could still come in as a starter because he is actually a better shooter and more of a scoring threat. But if by some outside chance they both stay then Knight will not start for the fact that Wall and Bledsoe both already know the system and are more polished players at this point.

If Wall and Bledsoe both go then I think Knight is a lock. He would start with veterans such as Miller, Orton and, in my opinion, Liggins as well. Enes Kanter, a 5 star stud power forward/center has already committed. This is going to be interesting. We will keep you posted.
Other news of the day:
  • It looks more and more likely than Jesus Christ, I mean Tim Tebow will be drafted by the Bills. He received the thumbs up from Bills HOF QB Jim Kelly. Kelly waxes poetic on Tebow as being a nice guy. Here's the real question Jimmy: Can the kid throw an accurate pass in the NFL?
  • And lastly: Oregon is going to throw some big bucks towards getting Tom Izzo to be their coach. How much money? Enough money to eclipse Calipari as the nations highest paid coach. The big question is whether or not Izzo will go. He hasn't said no. All he has said is that the job has not been offered to him yet. Of course not, Tom! No offer until the season is over buddy. I say Izzo goes unless Sparty matches the offer. Like MM said early, they have all that Nike money to spend! Let's see how this distraction plays out in the Final Four. Looks like the Tubster might not be heading to Oregon after all.

Haterade News and Views:

Seems these days everyone is a hater and on this blog, as expected, its a Kentucky vs Louisville kind of hatred. I thought, lets see some others and their hate in today's news and views:

Needed: A few good men (or women)

SportsThat is currently seeking non-Kentucky fan author for the site. This doesn't mean you can't like Kentucky or have to be a Louisville fan for that matter, we are just looking for diversity and another opinion.

Louisville Fans=West Virginia Fans

The new fashion craze in the Louisville area.
It's late Sunday night or early Monday morning, however you want to describe it, and something is keeping me up. Something has been puzzling me all day and I can't seem to get over it. Since when have Louisville fans come to love WVU so much?

West Virginia is in the same conference as UofL, making them big time Big East foes. Yet, I see a post on this blog proclaiming the happiness UofL fans have that WVU beat the Cats and I also see Facebook statuses with UofL fans whooping and hollering their praises and love for Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers. One poster went so far as making his profile picture that of the West Virginia players. WTF is going on here?

Earlier this season West Virginia basically cheated their way to beat the Cardinals. The fans also chanted "Karen Sypher" the entire game, something not heard at the UK game, and were genuinely ugly to the entire UofL team. For the entire season after that UofL fans have professed their hatred for the Mountaineers and the rowdiness of their fans. Did the Cardinal fans forget all of this? Did they take some sort of memory eraser drug? Did they forget Da'Sean Butler roasting them and that ball bouncing off Joe Mazulla's grill?

UofL fans have hated Bob Huggins ever since the good ole' days of the CUSA at Cincinatti. Louisville fans routinely complained about Huggins playing "Thug Ball" and calling him a drunk and so forth. Now Huggins is their favorite coach because he beat Kentucky. Will the Card faithful show him the same love next year on the court?

And what about football? WVU flat out owns Louisville in football. WVU is notorious for burning couches during the pregame tailgating and Louisville fans love to call them barefoot, toothless, redneck, racist hillbillies, the same dumb names that they call UK fans. I guess last night WVU were the good barefoot, toothless, redneck, racist hillbillies, right? There is actually one blogger on here that has burned a couch in the past and he is a UofL fan. I am not going to name names. (F4E).

So I will pose this question to the Louisville faithful: do you hate Kentucky so much that you would cheer for a conference rival that has actually done more harm to you in the recent past than Kentucky? Is it jealousy or what? There are teams in the SEC that I absolutely detest and would never cheer for: Florida and Tennessee. I hate them. They disgust me. If they played Louisville I honestly can't say who I would cheer for. I probably would not watch the game and I would be fine with whichever team lost. I have already stated that I would cheer for Louisville over Duke.I was cheering for Michigan State to win today because I cannot bring myself to cheer for Bruce Pearl or the criminals he coaches. I don't care what conference they are in, I hate Tennessee.

The next time that Louisville and West Virginia play each other I fully expect all of you Louisville fans to be torn between your love for the Cardinals and the Mountaineers. I expect your Facebook statuses to say, "Gee-Wiz! I don't know who to cheer for more! I love them both oh so much!" Stay classy Louisville fans, just like your Mountaineer brethren.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Suck on it, Wildcats!

I am so freaking happy the Cats lost last night. I can't fully express my joy, seriously. This entry may jump around a bit and I apologize but it makes me so giddy for the Cats to lose and all the freaking crap-talking to finally cease. The day after a huge Wildcats loss is unlike any other day, it has so may things going on. Everyone is in such a crappy mood, no one is talking. The people who ARE talking are talking about how crappy their team played and how they "could have won any other day" and all the other nonsense that pretty much any fanbase does, but it is so much sweeter when a Cat fan is in that mood, and I'll lay out a few reasons and examples of why.

Since Calipari was hired, the very day he was hired, all that I've heard UK fans talk about is how "Number 8" is coming this year, it's a lock. "Final 4 bound! Go ahead and just ship the trophy to Lexington and have the tournament for the 2nd place team!" All season long we've heard how no one can stop "Blue Jesus" John Wall, Demarcus "Boogie" Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe, Larry, Curly, Moe and the rest of the gang. Coach Cal is a God and no one can stop him! All season I've said that Cal's teams always choke out before winning a title, always have. It's nice to see that happen yet again. I personally don't have a problem with Coach Cal. I've always thought he was a bit shady, but seemed like an interesting character. It is hilarious for me to see things like this that have been said just a year ago by UK fans and to see how they deify him now. A good example is this article written by a UK fan on Matt Jones and his Cal takes. I'm sure they've all been seen by now, but I thought it was worth putting in here also.

Every single round of the NCAA tournament I've heard about every Big East team that has gone down and how the SEC is a true power in basketball, never mind that the Tennessee team that all UK fans hate but were cheering on had just gotten to their first Elite 8 in school history. Every round it was, "The SEC has this many teams and the Big East has this many left, hahaha they suck. Overrated." Well guess what? The Big East has a team in the Final freaking Four and everyone associated with an SEC team is sitting at home, weeping and holding each other, talking about how they came "so close" to glory. Granted, I actually like Bruce Pearl and think that he is a talented coach and definitely an entertaining person in general.

Most importantly, I can't stand to hear the Big Blue Nation talk about what a "great run" they had. According to EVERY SINGLE WILDCAT FAN I KNOW, and Elite 8 is "garbage." Every time UL has made it to the elite 8 the last couple years, and people aren't on suicide watch, the UK faithful have jumped on talking about how an Elite 8 is trash, and celebrating one or being content with that is some sort of heresy. They talk about that is the "difference" between being a UK fan and a UL fan, "we don't celebrate Elite 8's." Give me a freaking break.

One poster on this very site has even posted on here that, "And now on to the Elite Eight, somewhere the Cats haven't been since 2005. Just the fact that they made it there is just as good as a national championship according to Louisville's standards." So no, you can't be happy about being there, at least, not according to yourself, BoogieWoogie. Pitino is "garbage" and "washed up" for making it to only one final 4 and 2 other Elite 8's (back to back mind you--a pretty respectable feat for anyone outside of Lexington), but Cal making it there is cause for a parade.

According to yet another UK fan friend I have, "Pitino wasn't hired for Elite 8's." Well you know what? Neither was Cal. Every day I hear about how Pitino is garbage for making it to Elite 8's and how any good coach can get to a Final 4. So I will be expecting to see mass letters swarming the UK Athletic Department office on Monday morning calling for Calipari to be fired. He should be getting them that "guaranteed" 8th title that was promised the day he set foot in Lexington.

I'm not listening to any UK fan who talks about what a great run they had. Every time I hear that I'm just going to quote the things that I've been told in the past when I congratulated the Cards on a decent post season run.

The hard truth is that it is VERY special anytime anyone makes a Final 4 run, no matter the coach, players or program. I think that the Cat fans should now have a more realistic understanding of what it really means to make a Final 4. Even the favorites have trouble getting there, it is a tremendous honor and takes not only a great deal of skill, but a bit of luck as well.

NCAA Tournament: Breaking up is hard to do for this Kentucky fan

Yesterday, the day was beautiful in Louisville. Today it's cloudy, raining, and cold. What is there to think about on such a craptastic day? Currently, I think of two thoughts: "I hate Duke" and "Man this sucks." Duke's losing to Baylor at the half for their chance to make it to the Final Four - Go Baylor. This whole thing sucks and I am starting to realize that the Kentucky loss to West Virginia last night was like a bad breakup:

1) You don't really see it coming: You think everything's great. You are just skipping along doing dandily and BAM - there's the moment the news comes. You are completely caught off guard. You don't really know what to do or say. You just want to sleep and maybe cry.

2) You had plans for the future: You could see the road ahead and you had everything planned out. Your weekend plans, trip to Disneyland, everything is cancelled. Now instead of going out of town or doing all those fun things you were thinking of, you just sit and pout. You need something else anything else to take your mind off things. You just look to the future and think about the next chance you'll have at happiness.

3) The day after is worse than the night before: Sure, the big conversation is horrible. You let it all out only to find yourself in a huge deficit of feelings and self pity. The next day, you think about all those things that could have been and all those things you could have done to make it better. Nothing you do is going to change things now, but man you wish you could.

4) You are left empty and alone and angry: You can't figure it out, that feeling inside that feels like your hungry but you know you don't want to eat. You just know it sucks and you don't like it. You blame it on everything and everyone. It takes a while and a lot of sad music then angry music, but eventually you come to realization that it's over.

It's March though, with March and this rain,clouds and awfulness, comes April where big recruits are signed and new life springs forward. From a Kentucky fan though breaking up with the 2010 NCAA tournament I'll just say a few words:

I'll just say goodnight and I'll show myself to the door
Hey I didn't mean to cause a big scene just wait 'til I finish this glass
Then, sweet little lady I'll head back to the bar and you can kiss my ...

You get the point. I'm still in the angry music, drink my sorrows away stage.

Kentucky Basketball: From 60 to 0 to 60 in 1826 days flat

In the next few hours, days, and weeks - I expect to hear alot about Kentucky's season and the wild ride over the last 3 years. I thought we could take a look at the last few milestones in Kentucky Basketball and recent success or lack there of.

1826 Days Ago: Tubby Smith led Kentucky to their last Elite 8 appearance against Michigan State. Cat fans were furious with the short coming of another great Kentucky team.

1469 Days Ago: Tubby led Kentucky to their lowest seeded NCAA appearance in memory as a #8 in tournament. Kentucky was knocked out in the second round shortly there after.
1107 Days Ago: Kentucky is a #8 seed for the second time in two years. Kentucky fans are outraged and are looking for blood - blue or not. They then punch their ticket from the dance in the second round.
1100 Days Ago: Tubby Smith stepped down as the Kentucky Head Coach and what seemed like moments later, Smith was hired at Minnesota.

1086 Days Ago: Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie was hired at UK and announced as a saviour for all things Blue. The future was bright and the fan base was energized - at least for that off-season.

741 Days Ago: Kentucky went into the NCAA as an eleven seed after a rough start and rocky season full of injuries. Kentucky lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in more than 15 years.

375 Days Ago: Kentucky makes their first NIT appearance in 30 years against UNLV. Kentucky goes on to lose 8 days later to Notre Dame.

365 Days Ago: Billy Clyde Gillispie was chased by the media, fired, and I think Kentucky fans tried to draw-and-quarter him (that is unconfirmed though).

361 Days Ago: Kentucky hires John Calipari as their head coach, making him the highest paid coach in college basketball history at $3.7 million/year. With Cal, came the Big Blue Revival tent and circus along with majority of his #1 rated recruiting class from Memphis.

60 Days Ago: Kentucky held the #1 ranking in the country for the first time since 2003. They accumulated the best start in Kentucky history and then fell to South Carolina 1.5 days later in a stunning upset for their first loss of the season.

13 Days Ago: Kentucky wins their 26th SEC Tournament Championship and the first since 2004 against Mississippi State in a thrilling come back win. They then sealed up a #1 seed in the tournament hours later.

1 Day Ago: Kentucky returns to the Elite 8 and loses to West Virginia ending their comeback to relevance season.

Although disappointed with the last game, I am pleased with the outcome of the season as a whole. Although its cloudy and grey today, the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home and the Wildcats that play for them. It was an amazing turnaround for a team that was on a quick downward spiral just 360 days ago.

Worst. Shooting. Ever.

Three of Kentucky's major flaws reared their ugly heads in last nights loss to West Virginia: poor three point shooting, youth and poor free throw shooting. The zone defense that WVU used against the Cats held them to 4-32 from the three, the worst shooting I have ever witnessed from a Kentucky basketball team. The Cats added a very poor 16-29 from the free throw line. If they had hit half of their free throws then they win the game.

West Virginia had been a team defined by it's size and hustle but hindered by it's own shooting demons. Those demons had apparently been exercised. The Mountaineers were down in the first half and could not score in the lane. Their first 4 shots were all threes. And they kept hitting them. WVU was 44% from three land while the Cats were 13%. That just won't cut it.

WVU played an outstanding game and Joe Mazulla had the night of his life. The kid that just averaged 2.2 points a game and was seen as a weakness when "Truck" Bryant went down, had a dazzling 17 points. Good for that kid.

Kentucky dominated the boards 45-34 but it still did not matter. There was an instance in the game that was a microcosm of the entirety. Kentucky had four offensive rebounds and had four shots. The missed all of them.

If anyone questions the passion of UK's players, all they needed to do was to look in the locker room after the game. They were all sitting silently at their lockers, looking like they had just lost their closest friend in a terrible accident. That is the difference between college and the pros. Even if a professional loses a game he is still going to get paid. It hurts to lose but the money will always soften the blow. To the college kids the victories are the payment. All of the hard work, the practice, the study sessions, the media hype, the scrutiny, all of it is worth it as long as you win. Last night just wasn't their night.

We will have to wait and see what Wall, Patterson, Cousins and Bledsoe do. I think Orton likely stays. His game is still raw and undefined and he could use one more year of experience before he jumps to the big leagues. The one super star that might surprise everybody and stay is DeMarcus Cousins. He has repeatedly said that he loves it at UK and it is one of the few places that he has felt completely accepted.

The recruits are going to be what they usually are; young, talented kids that need to do their one year in the college ranks before jumping into the NBA. Let's hope that Cal can get the best out of them before they leave.

I have to say that I am sad that this team lost before getting to the Final Four. They were a great group of kids that genuinely liked each other and had fun. I felt all season that it was their championship to lose. And indeed, last night they beat themselves. It was a pleasure watching them bring Kentucky basketball back into the spotlight.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Share your love/hate

I'm too depressed to do a write up right now. Feel free to post in the comments your thoughts whatever they may be.

MOBILE BLOG: Kentucky vs West Virginia

West Virginia: They are who we thought they were

So most of SportsThat was busy today putting a roof on Coury's garage and if you couple that with baby Demarcus, you get very few postings and a special short edition of the We Are who we thought they were.

Hometown: Morgantown, West Virginia. While the images look like a picture from the Village. Morgantown is nestled in the middle of deliverance, Morgantown is home of Bob Huggins and couch porches. They don't take kindly to anyone not kin to their own.

Most Famous person from Morgantown: Don Knots - yes of Apple Dumpling Gang, oh yeah Andy Griffith too- is my favorite but the Mountaineers probably have southern pride for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

Mascot: The Mountaineer - Pretty much the same thing as the Volunteer except they found them in between two mountain sides instead of rolling hills. Yeah fine, the Wildcat isn't the most original thing in the world, but I'm calling a pot a pot.

Best Movie about West Virginia: Wrong Turn. Yes, it was a horrible movie but it's accurate portrayal of how the Mountain people eat visitors that take a detour off the interstate. It's particularly awesome because it wasn't based in Kentucky.

Reason to never visit West Virginia: Besides the mountain in-bred people that eat you, well do you need another reason?

Things to do: Hunt, Fish, and visit Cheat Lake... this is the short edition, so I'll take's word for it - and assume it's like a 1980's movie version of Lovers Lane.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Big Bear Hug for Huggy Bear

Bob Huggins (aka Huggy Bear) and West Virginia face Kentucky in the Elite 8

2Hot has handled the West Virginia matchup earlier this week. I thought, let's look at the coach, Bob Huggins, a little bit further to see what's behind that mustard yellow suit.

When you look at Huggins, affectionately known as Huggy Bear, see past the mustard yellow suit to his more common pullovers. Avoid focusing on the calloused spilt tooth smile and see the sad pursed lips. See the West Virginia man molded into the 8th highest winning percentage of any NCAA coach (73.6%) and seventh place in volume of victories.

Huggins was born in Morgantown, West Virginia. He went west but only as far as Ohio and stayed close to his roots landing in Cincinnati for his first major college basketball position. Huggins made Cincy, Cincy - physical, thuggish, athletic, criminal, winners. He turned a team that had not seen the NCAA tournament for the 12 years prior to his arrival into a constant C-USA contender and a team that made the postseason in each of his 16 years there.

He led the Bearcats to the Elite 8 twice, Final Four in 1991 but had his best chance at a Championship slip away with an injury to Kenyon Martin in 2000.

Huggy Bear's off court issues always followed him and cost him his job at Cincinnati (2005) but his tenure and reputation earned him a second chance at Kansas State(2006). This single season served as a chance to make Kansas State relevant and his intentions were known after arrival when he said "why settle for #2 when #1 is available."

In 2007 he was offered the head position of his hometown team, the West Virginia Mountaineers. He left the best player in the 2007 class (Michael Beasley) for the chance to go back home.

He's been with West Virginia since 2007 and at the end of the 2007-2008 season signed an 11 year contract extension, shoring him up as a Mountaineer until Huggins turns 65. Huggins has a 79-29 record at WVa, finishing as high as 2nd this season.

But this is a Kentucky vs West Virginia game coming tomorrow in the Elite 8. This game has a history other than Huggy Bear losing in the second round to the Wildcats in 2004. Huggins has beaten Kentucky Coach John Calipari 7 of 8 tries but that hasn't stopped the two from being a personal friend of Coach Cal.

The story goes that Huggins suffered a massive heart-attack in 2002 and collapsed in the streets of Pittsburgh. While in the ambulance he asked the ambulance driver "What's the ETA." 22 minutes, the ambulance driver told him. "I'm not going to make it 22 minutes", Huggins responded.

The EMT told Huggins he wasn't going to let him die, "until Calipari beats you at least once." Why would someone say this? The EMT was Cal's nephew. Cal heard about Huggins and flew from Memphis to Pittsburgh, talked his way - the way Cal does - into the family only section. When he got in, he talks about how the paddles were still singed from the use on Huggins.

Huggins and Cal have been close friends since early in their careers. That night ensured they would stay there despite tomorrow's 9th matchup between the teams. Tomorrow's game is anything other than meaningless though. Crazed Kentucky fans and monsterous Mountaineers shouldn't worry, the coaches still care about the outcome. The two are competitors but as Huggins put it:
"When he was coaching Memphis, they beat us and I went on his TV show. We beat
them in Memphis and we're eating ribs at the Rendezvous and he comes and brings
his priest from UMass with him. John and I have always been friends."

Expect Huggins to remain friends with Cal after tomorrow's game, but during the game they play for themselves, their teams and their fans. As one paper put it though, you could see Huggins on Cal's TV show after a UK win or Cal out for more ribs in Syracuse if Huggins pulls of the upset.

So despite what you may have thought, Huggins has another side - there's something under that pullover besides a bad heart... and hopefully he is seen with Cal on Cal's show next weekend.

New York City: Meet Demarcus Cousins

Maybe Meredith Vieira isn't the only one in New York that doesn't know John Wall.

Those fans that just see Demarcus Cousins for his elbows and temper tantrums, take a look. This is an old video that popped up again...

What is...Suck On It Cornell

I will absolutely, wholeheartedly agree, if it wasn't Kentucky - I would have been all aboard the Cornell bandwagon. The same thing happens when Notre Dame plays Kentucky, I'm an Irish fan - until they play Kentucky. Everyone cheers for the underdog until that David's Goliath is their team. It's that simple. Kentucky is everyone's Goliath this year, before the Billy Clyde Era (yes, I know the debate on if it was an Era), Kentucky was always everyone's Goliath. Kentucky fans need to get used to everyone rooting against them again.

It wasn't Cornell's fault that the national media made this into a race thing - smarts thing - a graduation rate thing. The kids are smart - Kentucky kids are likely less smart, hell It was Cornell. But at the same time, it was Kentucky. As the Big Red would be favorites in a spelling bee, astrophysics exam, or as Demarcus Cousins recognized even a spelling bee... Kentucky was the favorite in basketball. That's all that mattered last night.

The game itself: one of the most boring games I've seen this season. It's what I would expect to see if I watched the Big10 and didn't fall asleep. The first half ended 32-16. Any normal game, Kentucky would have been down 8 at half. But Cornell's 3's weren't falling at an acceptable rate (24%). Blame Cornell or Credit Kentucky, whichever you prefer.

The missed three's lead to long rebounds, which lead to fast break points. In the first half, Kentucky went on a 30-6 run after seeing the Cornell basket go cold from long range. The second half, Cornell took less threes, limiting UK's transition baskets, keeping the game within range. But Cornell didn't fare any better in the interior either.

Kentucky's length closed in on their shots quickly. Cornell when they took it inside the arch, where they met taller more athletic players with longer reaches and take more difficult shots.

This was a defensive game and as the cliche goes, defense leads to offense and wins games. Three more games won with D, will win an 8th championship.

Now, it's (2)West Virgina in the Elite 8 Saturday at 7:00pm.

You Write the Caption Contest

I know we still have a couple of weeks before the Masters but I couldn't resist. This week's winner is not obligated to come up with an excuse for not helping Coury Flurry replace his roof this weekend.

The Morning After: Was it Good for You?

Cornell students after a vigorous "Study Session".

There was a great amount of anticipation built up around this game. Jocks vs. Geeks. Smart Kids vs. Dumb Kids. The NBA vs. The MBA's. The NBA players vs. the future NBA owners. When it came down to it in the end, one team was clearly dominant over the other.

Kentucky wins 62-45.The story here is Kentucky's defense. The Cats continued their stellar work on the defensive side of things in the game last night. They held Cornell to 5-21 (24%) from the three point line, 16-48 (33%) from the field and 45 points. All season lows for the Big Red. The offensive powerhouse was completely shut down last night. UK guarded the perimeter like their lives depended on it and they were just too big and too strong in the middle.

It wasn't like Kentucky didn't show some flaws. They let Cornell jump to a quick 10-2 lead. They shot 44% from the field, a terrible 13% from the three point line and, in my opinion, a really bad 62% from the charity stripe. It would have been a lot lower if Bledsoe would not have caught fire from the free throw line late in the game.

But what UK lacked in shooting ability they made up for it with hustle, speed and athleticism. The Cats were diving for loose balls, out rebounding the Big Red and out running the Big Red. To me, DeMarcus Cousins looked like he wants a championship more than anything in the world. He was diving, jumping, scrapping and pounding his way to the rim. He played like the dominant force that he is. He ended the game with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.

Another player that really stepped up was Darrius Miller. This was his second game in this tournament of playing well. He didn't light up the score board but ended with workman like numbers: 9 points, 3 steals and 4 assists.

John Wall may have seen like he had an unspectacular game and if you assumed that you would be wrong. Wall went from scorer to facilitator. He finished with 8 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and only 3 turnovers. Extremely solid numbers that bordered on a double-double. He did everything right and did what it took to win the game.

And let's not forget Patrick Patterson. Kentucky's workhorse added 9 points, 3 blocks, 2 steals ad 12 rebounds. No one player stood out among them. This was a team effort all the way. The team played well and did all of the little things that they needed to do to ensure victory. The effort was amazing.
The stunning defensive effort gave UK 6 blocks, 12 steals and 28 defensive rebounds. Cornell had a total of 28 rebounds. So much for experience.

Now for the bad news: The Cats missed a lot of open three pointers and they missed a lot of free throws. That is not going to cut it against Huggy Bear and his boys. The offensive firepower that was on display the first two games of the tournament was lacking against Cornell. I chalk this up to a few things: the crowd was very pro Cornell, the refs were doing everything in their power to slow the game down even more and keep Cornell in the game. I am usually the last guy to blame anything on refs. I hate it when people do it but it was obvious. A Louisville fan texted me last night saying how it was obvious. Jay Bilas, who picked Cornell, saw it was obvious, even going as far as to openly chastise the refs for missing a blatant intentional foul on Cornell's 7 footer. Anytime a UK player barely bumped a Cornell player the whistle blew but Cornell was allowed to bang and scrap away.

The refs can't be blamed for the poor free throw and three point shooting. The Cats needs to get their shot back against WVU, a team that is notorious for it's poor shooting.

And now on to the Elite Eight, somewhere the Cats haven't been since 2005. Just the fact that they made it there is just as good as a national championship according to Louisville's standards. Not to Kentucky's. We want banner #8. The team looks hungry. The team looks focused. The team looks like they are ready to Land the Plane. The Elite Eight just got a little more elite.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

LIVE BLOG: Kentucky vs Cornell

Butler Did It.. with a candlestick in the kitchen

Before the Kentucky game and between all the hype of this Cornell squad, there are other games to be played. We'll skip the Kentucky game and save the analysis for the Live Blog tonight.

(5) Butler vs (1) Syracuse (-7): The key to the game is the 3. If Butler is on tonight, they will beat the Orange. Syracuse has struggled with teams that hit jumpers and can beat their zone defense. The 2x3 zone is to the 'Cuse like man-to-man was Billy Clyde Gillispie and Kentucky. Jim Boeheim doesn't play any other defense - meaning this teams zone is stellar. On the other hand, that means the other team only has to prepare for one defensive set. Butler comes into the game as a 7 point dog, I look for them to cover the spread, but the 'Cuse to pull it off.

(11)Washington vs (2) West Virginia (-4): Isiah Thomas, the Huskie's 5'8" point guard is called the 1 man fast break. He'll be going up against Joe Mazzula, the one-time starter at West Virginia that is healed from an earlier shoulder injury. He'll receive the start after Darryl Bryant's tournament ending injury. With the point guards injured and hurting, the Mountaineers key will be keeping Mazzula in the game and taking Thomas out. Look for Washington to win if Thomas can get the transition game going. I'm taking Washington in this game because of the Derrick Jasper principal, a point that isn't a threat on offense is a threat to lose the game.

(6)Xavier vs (2)Kansas State (4.5): The Wildcats' most notable figure is their coach Frank Martin. Martin can often be overheard on the sideline ensuring his players of his displeasure with their actions, and as he puts it, he "doesn't coach to be on cameras". Xavier could be headed to the Elite Eight for the third time since 2004 with a win tonight. Kansas States Jacob Pullen will be the key in the game. The Musketeers probably won't be able to stop Pullen, but if they can slow him down (34 points against BYU in second round), they'll stand a chance. I look for Xavier to advance but it'll be a close one.

John Wall-to-Wall coverage Kentucky vs Cornell

Stay tuned for the Live blog tonight at 10:00pm EST (1)Kentucky vs (12)Cornell... We'll have a spelling bee during the basketball game for all you Big Red Fans that have been stopping by.

Hooray for Common Sense

I just read a fantastic article that absolutely debunks the garbage notion that this match-up is about academics or the smart kids vs. the dumb kids. Patrick Patterson is graduating in 3 years. Ramon Harris is graduating in three and a half years. John Wall has a 3.4 GPA. Mark Coury explains that he had to study just as hard at UK than he does at Cornell. You will find all of this and more in the above linked article.

When it comes down to it this game is about one thing: basketball. In my opinion Kentucky is the much better basketball team. So let's quit talking about Cornell and their Ivy League status and how it's terrible that UK's players are one and done. Demarcus Cousins said it best, "This isn't a spelling bee."

Investigative Report: Cornell Fanbase and the Purchase of Cornell Merchandise Spikes in the Louisville Area

This might be the most generic shirt I have ever seen. Ball in the Hoop. Score.

After reading the comments under my I'm Sick of Cornell post I started to wonder something: from where did these Cornell fans appear? Some of the posters were extreme advocates for Cornell basketball and seemed to be emotionally involved whether or not Cornell wins or loses. This question vexed me, so I decided to do some field reporting.

I went to the Jefferson Mall to scope out the area and see what I could find. Sure enough I spotted some Cornell "fans" wandering in front of Hot Topic. They were two males between the ages of 20 and 30. They each had red flat billed hats with a big white "C" in the middle. They were wearing matching colored red shorts and red shirts that were too big from them and all white Air Force One shoes. I approached them and began questioning them.

I asked them what the "C" on their hats stood for and they answered, "Cornell". I asked them where they got the hats and they pointed to a kiosk at the other end of the mall. I then asked them if they could name a player on Cornell's team. Negative. I then asked them what four teams Cornell lost to this season. No idea. I asked them if they knew where Cornell was. Not a clue. I asked them why they were wearing Cornell hats. Answer: "Because they are playing Kentucky". I had my first clue to solve the case.

As I made my way down to the kiosk I started to see even more Cornell gear. A man in front of me was wearing a white t-shirt with the words "The scariest words in college basketball: The Big Red" airbrushed on the back of it. That shirt looked familiar to me and I then realized where I had seen it's likeness before.

I saw yet another shirt that was familiar to me. It had a Steve Donahue iron-on that read "The God Father" and on the back of the shirt it said "Hit List". The "Hit List" included Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Brown and at the bottom...Kentucky. All of the school's names had been crossed out except Kentucky's. I had seen this shirt before. The original had a picture of Rick Pitino on the front and the Big East competition was on the "Hit List" as well as Kentucky. Another piece had just fallen into place.

I finally reached my destination. The kiosk was small but had plenty of Cornell flat bills and airbrushed shirts. The Steve Donahue shirt was there as well. All of it was either airbrushed or iron-on. I asked the man that was running the kiosk where he got all of the merchandise. He admitted that he made all of it himself. He just bought a bunch of plain red flat billed hats and sewed a cheap "C" on the front. He airbrushed and did the iron-on shirts all by himself in his basement.

I asked him when the demand for Cornell gear had spiked and he replied, "As soon as people heard they were playing Kentucky." I asked him if it mattered that the stuff was so cheaply made and he said that it did not. He was charging $35 for a hat and $25 for one of the shirts. People did not mind paying the prices. I asked him if any of the people that were buying the merchandise knew anything about Cornell besides the fact that they are an Ivy League team and they were playing Kentucky. He replied, "Well, no, not really. They seem to have no idea what the mascot really is or where Cornell is even located. I guess since they can no longer cheer for Louisville in the tournament that they might as well cheer on whoever is playing the Wildcats."

It all made sense to me now. I then asked him if most of the people buying his products were Louisville fans and he said, "Yes. Almost all of them are. There are some IU fans sprinkled here and there, but I'd say 95% are Louisville fans." I had all the information that I needed and thanked him. I asked him one final question,"What are you going to do if Kentucky beats Cornell?"

"I'll start selling West Virginia or Washington stuff. That merchandise will be easier to get. I won't have to make it myself. This is a good way to earn some easy money. These people will cheer for any team not named Kentucky!" I thanked him and made my way home. As I was leaving I saw two gentlemen high-five each other and exclaim "Go Big Red!" One thing I can say is that at least the Cornell colors are similar to that of Louisville's.

Real Analysis to come later.