The Big Blue Daily Mail -- It's 1966 All Over Again

Once again, it's the noble underdog against the Evil Empire.  This figures to be a replay of 1966, except the social issue du jour is not race (although that's sure to be an undercurrent for a few psychos, in reverse), but academic standing -- the four-year non-scholarship student versus the future NBA "thugs" and their "cheetah" coach.

It's sad, but then, what can you expect from college basketball fans, the vast majority of whom have nothing left to cheer for?  For us Kentucky fans, I think it's best that we just embrace the hate.  We have done it all year, and it doesn't look to subside anytime soon.

Now, for the news:

More after the jump

  • Memphis loses its appeal to NCAA | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal

    The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported on its Web site Monday that Memphis may seek for Calipari to return $360,000 in bonuses he earned for that season.

    Hmmm.  That's a tough one.  The question here becomes, "Who is to blame?"  If the athletic department was to blame due to a failure to monitor, and Calipari is part of the athletic department, it is not illogical that he should have to share in any financial penalty even if he were not personally culpable.

    Well, I open the floor for debate on this one.  I have not made up my mind whether or not Coach Cal should return any earnings.  I think there is a solid argument for both positions.

  • Kentucky's John Wall named Freshman of Year by writers | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal

    The United States Basketball Writers Association named Wall, a 6-foot-4 point guard, its national Freshman of the Year, making him the first UK player to win that award.

    Good for John.  He has earned all these accolades with his stellar play and his great work in the classroom.

  • Daily Herald | That smarts: Cornell can be game changer

    Let's say for conversation's sake that the young scholar is on to something and Cornell does beat Kentucky. The outcome could be college basketball's turning point.

    This is more of the same elitist tripe we have had to listen to for years.  I think everyone should be impressed with Cornell's team, and their academic effort is truly in the spirit of pure intercollegiate athletics.

    But like it or not, the 1971 "hardship" Supreme Court ruling changed the game forever.  Arne Duncan can slice that any way he wants, but it seems extraordinarily at odds for an administration with a stated objective of making higher education more available to at-risk young people.  There is no easy fix -- the Supremes have said that you can't deny young people the right to go to professional sports anytime they want -- that is over and done with. 

    The current situation with the collective bargaining agreement probably could not stand up to a Supreme Court review if it were ever challenged, and the only reason it hasn't been is that one year is just not that big of a deal.  Two or three years, however, would likely draw a court case that would bring us right back to where we were before the rule, with high-schoolers able to go straight to the association, and that's probably where we should be right now.

    So what's to be done?  Nothing, probably, except letting guys like Wall go straight to the Association.  But oh, look at what we would have missed, and Wall has proven that he is capable of doing the work in college.

    Isn't that enough to go to college for however long?  Shouldn't we be concentrating on drop-outs and not worrying about athletes who are really in college studying how to be professional sports stars?  Yes, we should punish abusers, but if players leave college in good academic standing, it's hard to see why that should be punished.

  • Geoff Calkins: University of Memphis' appeal of NCAA sanctions was doomed from start " The Commercial Appeal

    Because how could the university justify keeping Johnson in his position otherwise? How could Raines rationalize the way she handed the reputation of the university over to Calipari to trash?

    Yawn.  Jilted lover.

  • nky.Com | Kentucky Enquirer | The Big Bluegrass Blog " Say hello to the Sweet 16 ladies!

    - In case you hadn’t heard, Memphis’ appeal to the NCAA to keep their wins from the Derrick Rose season has been denied. Also, Memphis says they may ask Calipari to return almost $400,000 in bonuses he made from that season. People love to use this as ammunition against Cal and against college basketball, but what is lost in all of this is how the NCAA royally screwed this up by approving of Rose in the first place. The NCAA says Rose could play. then information surfaced that seemed to say Rose was questionable. So the NCAA went back after the fact and said Rose was not eligible. Here’s the question: Should the NCAA now go back and investigate the Sugar Daddy Bill Walton said always hung around the UCLA program under John Wooden? I think so. If we’re going to start investigating the past, why don’t we look at every program that was ever accused of point-shaving back in the day?

    Oh no!  A logically sound argument!  Talk about your lone voice in the wilderness ...

  • Kentucky vs. Cornell: The One Game You Can't Miss - WSJ.com

    In any event, no matter who wins, there will be some theories tested: whether talent wins out, whether experience and teamwork can only take a team so far, and whether a friendly crowd and a familiar building can overcome superior skill. Depending on whether Kentucky wins big, wins close or somehow gets beat, it will either confirm or overturn our beliefs.

    This is a surprisingly nice piece that focuses on basketball questions rather than social issues.  Refreshing.

  • A Starter for Mighty Kentucky Now Sits on Cornell’s Bench - NYTimes.com

    Coury says he has no regrets. "The only thing I wish I could change is that I wish we could have a $3 million practice facility right next to our house," he said with a laugh.

    I like and respect Mark Coury, and he is now right where he belongs -- in a place where he can take advantage of his superior scholarship and put his basketball strenghts to the very best use -- and to very impressive effect!

    Way to go, Mark.  No matter what the outcome of the game on Thursday, you and your teammates have the highest respect I can possibly offer, and if Kentucky goes down to defeat, I'll be pulling for your team to win it all.  Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

  • Kentucky vs. Cornell: A Sweet 16 game filled with intrigue | - lehighvalleylive.com

    It truly is a David vs. Goliath scenario. Can the little Ivy League school knock off the gigantic national powerhouse? I know I will be cheering for Cornell to pull off the monster upset and I have a feeling I won't be alone.

    Probably not.  This whole thing smacks of a bizarre 1966 Texas Western irony for the media.  Fill in the rest of that theory for yourselves.

  • How do you feel about "cheating" in the NCAA? | Dime Magazine (dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

    Whether it’s their almost unfair reservoir of talent, old bitterness renewed for a program that had been down for a few years, or just general dislike of first-year coach John Calipari, I ran into more Kentucky haters this season than I knew existed. Even on my end, I found myself rooting for UK to lose a few games along the way, just because a lot of zealous Wildcat fans I encountered needed a big "Settle Down" pill to balance their system.

    I can relate to this comment.  Some of us UK fans are waaaay over the top, and downright obnoxious.  I would like to see that come under control.  Not at A Sea of Blue, of course, but elsewhere.

    It's hard to like somebody who is in your face about how great their team is all the time.  Speak softly, and wear a lot of blue, I always say.

  • Class assignment: Compare and contrast Cornell, Kentucky - USATODAY.com
    Pretty funny.

  • Calipari: Cornell got 'worst seed in the tournament' - Sports Radio Interviews - College Basketball - Sporting News

    Calipari: The thing that I have tried to do, and I learned this from Larry Brown, is that I am more concerned about my team. I know how good they are. Our team respects every team we play because that is how we approach things. Morehead State and Murray State are just as important to us as North Carolina and Louisville. Every game matters.

    I like this attitude particularly.  Respect your opponent.  Forget that they might be smaller, or less athletic, or less talented, or ... whatever.  Treat them like the potential national champions they are.

    Respecting your opponent will get you to the mountaintop.  Overlooking them will get you back to the Craft Center.

  • Sixteen story lines - College Basketball - Rivals.com

    It’s one thing for Cornell to reach the Sweet 16. It’s entirely another for the Big Red to do it by averaging 82.5 points a game and defeating Temple and Wisconsin by 13 and 18 points, respectively. They may be from the Ivy and they may be a No. 12 seed, but this club has been dominating so far.

    Cornell is going to be a very tough out for UK.

  • Basketball Prospectus | Articles | The First Weekend

    Gasaway: I too am on full Florida-2007 alert with the Wildcats, in terms of a team stocked with NBA-track talent that looks merely pretty good in SEC play but then suddenly decides, "You know, we think we want to win this national championship thing." But I have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mr. Perrotto on this one. The key phrase is NBA-track talent. The Ivy League, conversely, doesn't do the whole athletic scholarship thing. I'd say it's pretty impressive for a team of future bond-traders and attorneys to manhandle the best per-possession teams in the A-10 and Big Ten. John Wall is mere weeks away from filling NBA arenas, but someday soon one of these incredible Cornell shooters will be doing my taxes or straightening my kid's teeth.

    Lots of fun banter in here.  Read the whole thing.

  • UK Basketball: Liggins was never much of an NCAA tournament watcher: AMNews.com

    "You have all still just seen glimpses of me. I am not bringing it like coach Cal wants me to," Liggins said. "That is why he is treating me the way he is. I have learned, though, what he wants and that’s the biggest positive for me this year. Next year I will know from the start what it takes and I will be able to show even more of the game I know I have."

    Liggins has had an interesting year, to say the very least.  But his determination really stands out.

  • Spring clean: Somehow, dirt doesn't stick to Calipari - CBSSports.com

    People hate Mike Krzyzewski but love Calipari. Think about that for a second.

    Two words for this Neanderthal.  If only.

  • After Kentucky, who's worthy? - Beyond the Arc - msnbc.com
  • The Short List: Kevin Stallings - Black Heart Gold Pants

    He is a two-time SEC coach of the year (including this year, which doesn't make a lot of sense beyond the fact that the other coaches really hate Calipari).

    Heh.

  • 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: DeMarcus Cousins - Bullets Forever

    A full grown man, playing against 6th graders. That's what Cousins looks playing against College competition. He's a tremendously imposing physical specimen, standing every bit of 6'11", and looking like old time (1960's & 1970's) prototypical NBA Centers like Bill Lambier or Willis Reed - thick chest, broad shoulders. But Cousins is not just an impressive physical presence - he also has an impressive skill set to go with his physical gifts.

    Indeed.

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