Morning Newspaper for March 11th, 2009

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Western Kentucky, my alma mater, outlasted South Alabama to punch their ticket for the Big Dance.  Seems that Darrin Horn has been successfully replaced, at least in his first year.  Of course, programs are measured more by consistent success than by any one year, so we'll have to wait and see.  That Ken McDonald should try his hand at stand-up comedy.

Now, for the news.

Kentucky Basketball News

  • Just in case you haven't heard already.  Congratulations, Pat and Jodie.  And congrats to Trent Johnson on COY.
  • Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson will both test the waters, most likely.  Odds are Meeks will be back.  If I were a betting man, I would bet against Patterson being back, but I wouldn't put a lot of money on the wager.  This story was linked in a comment earlier.
  • Lots of opportunities for revenge in the SEC tournament for the Wildcats.
  • John Clay has been increasingly critical of Gillispie on his blog, more by implication than by editorializing.
  • This is no surprise.  Every coach should be evaluated after the season.  I don't know personally, but I can't help but think that unless we somehow win through to the tournament and make some noise, Gillispie won't be getting a ringing endorsement this year.
  • Duke fans having a little schadenfreude at our expense.  Dude, two can play the Ghostbusters quote game -- Somebody blows their nose and you want to keep it?  Just like a Duke fan.
  • Danny Jett has a very fair look at Gillispie.  I think we are getting pretty much what we should have expected -- a young (experience-wise) coach with a lot of apparent upside but very little historical success.  To see him struggle this season is not all that surprising, but it is disappointing.
  • The Dana O'Neil article at ESPN that looks at four days at UK this year.  Very, very informative.  Ken's Mike Casey interview gets mentioned, along with A Sea of Blue, although apparently we don't rate a link.

    A telling quote, which I will relate to this FanPost:
    "We're not having fun right now,'' Patrick Patterson tells a handful of reporters in the media room. "We have to find a way to get the fun back.''
  • Jason Spear at True Blue Kentucky reminds us that despite what we may think, other great programs have had great coaches who got off to not-so-great starts.  This has been mentioned here many times before, but it bears repeating.

    It's also interesting to note that Mike Krzyzewski took over a Duke program only two years removed from the final game in the NCAA tournament, and never cracked 20 wins until his fourth season at Duke, a stretch which included two losing seasons.

  • Kentucky rates dark horse status in this preview of the SEC tournament.
  • Larry Conley and Tom Hammond say goodbye to SEC basketball.  I may not miss Raycom, but I will miss those guys.
  • Michael Eaves says that Gillispie should go.  I won't reiterate here why I think he's wrong, but he is certainly entitled to that view.  Kenny Colston takes the opposite viewpoint, and for all the right reasons.
  • Bret Dawson has more on the post-season postmortem.
  • Chris Fisher at Kentucky Ink has a "Keep Billy Gillispie"' blog post, and makes a compelling argument.
  • Eric Crawford has become one of my favorite sports writers, and not just because he and I share a home town.  This parsing of various media reports is very sound work, and has me rethinking my earlier comment that Barnhart's pronouncement of an after-season evaluation was about as informative as a blank sheet of paper.  Crawford thinks he can read that blank sheet of paper, and he makes a very good argument. 

    Crawford may wind up being wrong, but he is right about one thing -- Barnhart and Todd making comments about this on the record will put the issue front and center in the press rooms at the SEC tournament.  Gillispie has said that he likes the pressure that Kentucky basketball brings.  He's about to find out just how high that pressure can go.

Other Kentucky Sports News

  • UK Golf Team getting it done in Myrtle Beach (Murrels Inlet is the southern part of the Myrtle Beach area).
  • Chris Rusin named SEC pitcher of the week.  Rusin being healthy and ready this year is a real plus for the Bat Cats.

NCAA Basketball News

  • An SEC tournament preview.
  • Wildcats everywhere are struggling to get into the tournament.  At least Bradley didn't take more shots at Kentucky.
  • How do you like me now?  Oklahoma State is liking Travis Ford ... a lot.

Other NCAA Sports News

  • A little levity at Lane Kiffin's expense.

Other News of Interest

  • An article about state-mandated ethics codes in Kentucky.  Essentially, when left to their own devices with only broad-brush guidelines, it seems that most Kentucky governments prefer weak or watered-down codes with no real teeth.  That's not surprising, but it is unfortunate.

    I am not a big fan of state mandates, but I can't see any reason why local governments should need to be told that a strong, enforceable ethics code is a good thing.  You would think that citizens would require this of their elected leaders, but apparently, far too many of us are comfortable with less.  I suppose, in the end, that people have no right to complain when contracts are doled out to contributors and jobs given to relatives, since there is apparently no appetite for demanding real, enforceable ethics codes.

  • Time for some Derby talk in Kentucky.
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