Lots of pixels being spilled on UK these days ...

out on the web.  Lots.  So as your dutiful servant, I search so you don't have to.

First up, Tre' Kelley from South Carolina has about had it with all the Tubby Smith criticism, and decides to say something about it:

"They have lost a couple of games the last two years they shouldn't have, but that happens. Tubby will still be one of the great coaches when he finishes his career. For people to be talking about him getting fired as the coach at Kentucky, that's wrong. "He is one of the best coaches in the country, and has been since he got to Kentucky. He has SEC championships. He has a national championship. For people to say that is just wrong. He proved to whatever doubters he had -- and I don't think he should have any -- that he is one of the best coaches in the country."

It's always nice when another team's players says things like this about our program, no matter who our coach may be.  I have always had a high opinion of Kelley, and he clearly thinks a lot of Kentucky basketball as well as Tubby Smith.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports on rumors of a staff shake-up in the UK basketball coaching staff, and Jerry Tiption says it will happen:

Will Smith shake up the staff to provide the widely considered need to improve recruiting? Yes.

The presence of Jeff Schneider in the Kentucky cheering section at the SEC Tournament only fueled such speculation. Schneider served as an assistant coach for Smith at Tulsa. According to his Web site, he is the president and founder of a recruiting service, Schneider All Stars.com, and runs camps for prospects. Among the players who've participated in his camps is Jerryd Bayless of Arizona.

Interesting.  Also mentioned are other names that should be familiar to UK fans - Phil Cunningham and Rod Barnes.  Personally, I'm not the least bit surprised at Barnes' mention, just not so sure he would help much.

The Courier-Journal thinks Smith would rather have all this criticism from fans than worry about filling Rupp arena:

But Smith said he'd rather have the problems he has than worry about how to fill his 24,000-seat arena.

"I think that's why we've had such success, why we've had so much consistent success over the years, because of that passion by all of our Wildcat fans," he said.

Well, that's certainly one way to turn a negative into a positive.

The Herald-Leader calls foul on the SEC officiating crew during the Wildcats' latest loss:

The Cats losing to Mississippi State was like a marathon runner losing because he gets arrested for jaywalking. Rules are rules, but a warning and a reset seems a sufficient penalty for distracting your own player at the free-throw line.

But this one was even better:
Then again, the defeat could also be likened to losing a marathon because you decide to chop off your feet 100 yards from the finish. When Randolph Morris carries you the entire game -- 29 points, 15 rebounds, three fouled-out defenders -- it's a good idea to remember his number down the stretch.


And from the "damnation by faint praise" department, Eric Crawford looks askance at UK's season, but concludes that the Cats deserve to be in the NCAA tournament - but only just:

To say that UK doesn't deserve a spot in the Big Dance is too much. It deserves to go, if only because a number of the at-large choices below it don't deserve to go as much. UK continues to play a tougher non-conference schedule than most elite programs. The Cats saw two potential No. 1 seeds in Maui and visited a third in North Carolina.

So UK wins a bid more by attrition than by the quality of its season.  Much as I dislike his writing, I can't find it in me to disagree too much with his conclusion.

I have seen several bloggers from up Motor City way salivating over the possibility that Tubby Smith might be available next season.  As you may know, Michigan hoops fans are fed up with Tommy Amaker, and for good reason - arguably, no coach in the NCAA has done less with more:

Will Tommy Amaker be around next year? He's a really 'nice' guy, he cleaned the program up while we were on probation, he's an ok recruiter (2 big names coming in for next year, Alex Legion and 'Manny' Harris). However, all of his teams have underachieved in his 6 years at Michigan, and there is a distinct lack of finishing from his teams. There is no way we should blow big leads against NC State and Iowa, we should've finished off Ohio St. at home, and we needed to make closer games out of UCLA and Georgetown (getting blown out by 40+, reguardless of location, is unacceptable). The problem with firing Amaker is finding someone better to replace him. I'm not sure even where to start. Maybe if Tubby Smith was let go at Kentucky, but other than that, I'm not sure.

Does this sound, umm ... familiar in any way to you?

How's that old saying go again - "One man's junk is another man's treasure", or something like that?  Not that Tubby is junk, by any means, but there are certainly some people out there hoping that he won't be in Lexington next year, and not all of them are Kentucky fans.

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