Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Rivalry Game Day Edition

Andy Lyons

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Kentucky Athletics tops 3.0 GPA for the third straight semester, men's basketball 3.0+. Kentucky and Louisville meet in men's basketball today at 4:00 in Rupp Arena. More

Today is the day. Gameday for the Kentucky-Louisville grudge match, this year in storied Rupp Arena. You must love this game no matter who you cheer for. May it be a clean, well-played game for both teams. Go, 'Cats!

Tweet of the Morning:

I didn't know about this, and maybe you didn't either. Now you do.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • Yahoo! preview of the Kentucky-Louisville game.

  • John Clay does an impromptu media poll of the UK-UL game. Right now, UK leads 48-30. Not as close as I figured.

  • Dana O'Neil gets it right:

    This much is certain -- the Wildcats need this win.

    They need it for statistical reasons.

    Kentucky heads to the turn of this season devoid of a true quality win and with little opportunity to get such wins when league play starts. The SEC is 6-22 against the RPI's top 50 and 20-34 against the top 100. Outside of two games against Florida and LSU and one at Missouri, there is little for the Wildcats to build a resume on for March seeding.

    And the Wildcats need it for an obvious reason. It's against Louisville.

    This is exactly as I explained in this piece earlier. You can sugar-coat it any way you want, but this is a bigger game than normal for Kentucky because of their lack of success in the non-conference part of the season against top teams. You can't just lose to all those teams and hope to back into a top seed. It's really not likely.

  • Selena Roberts from Sports On Earth takes out a subtly poisoned pen to write about Calipari:

    Cal has dismissed talk that he would leave the Wildcats for an NBA gig. "I'm good where I'm at," he said recently. For now, staying is an easy decision. But you wonder how long the Kentucky base -- tolerant of the one-and-done strategy despite being disconnected from its revolving roster -- will sustain the Cal Bubble if a dynasty doesn't materialize. One thing about Calipari: If he senses a fire in the air, he will be quick to take the Cal Way down the highway.

    This is the conclusion, but there are other such passages as this. We recently discussed the problems with carrying a partisan position into an article. Here at A Sea of Blue, I am insulated, to some degree, from declarations of partisanship because I am honest about the fact I am a partisan. That still doesn't protect me from outright homerism, though.

    Roberts clearly thinks Calipari is a shyster who will leave Kentucky at the first hint of trouble — that comes through clearly, and while it also helps her make some fair points, it results in a less than fair article. Many sportswriters with a less jaded take understand that Calipari has never job-hopped. He left UMass for a much better opportunity, just like Rick Pitino left Kentucky for Boston. The fact of Camby's NCAA troubles, which affected only UMass' past, not their future, was a coincidence — there is very little doubt that he would have gone to the Nets, Camby problem or no. He was at UMass for eight years.

    Likewise at Memphis, Calipari was there for nine years and would almost certainly still be there but for the Kentucky offer. Calipari was honest with Memphis and everyone else that Kentucky was where he has always wanted to be. The NCAA sanctions in the Memphis case didn't have anything to do with Calipari, and he likely could have and would have stayed there but for the Kentucky offer.

    So Roberts gets it wrong in the end. Her perception of Calipari as "... a say-anything hot mess who makes people want to punch him in face" is fine as an opinion, but it certainly isn't objectively true of anyone except his detractors. He is a very likable person, even if his personality is over-the-top at times.

  • Larry Glover gets it right:

    For the record, and in case you missed it before, you can listen to me talk to Larry every Friday around 7:35. I occasionally get moved to 6:35 or to another day when he has a special guest, but mostly, that's when I'm there.

  • John Calipari, via Larry Vaught, reminds us that filling roles is important.

  • Different paths, similar results. Some Pitino hypocrisy revealed in this one, and I think that's something that's overlooked. Pitino's not alone in this, though, I've heard several coaches express similar sentiment and then go after a highly-likely one-and-done. The reality is, nobody would turn down Calipari's players, ever. They need to shut up about it and just be honest with themselves.

  • Chris Johnson talks about the game in Q&A form. I will say this — If Kentucky limits turnovers to 18% today and doesn't make a lot of back-court mistakes against pressure, I like their chances. Via Aaron's Blog

  • Ken Howlett provides the keys to victory over at CoachCal.com. I think he covers it pretty well, particularly handling the Louisville pressure and limiting turnovers.

  • Kentucky must "cut through the clutter" according to Calipari.

  • Kentucky-Louisville opens as a picke-em in Vegas. I think the Cardinals are getting a couple of points now.

  • Mike Rutherford, writing for SB Nation, sees this game pretty much the same way I do:

    The long and short of it is this: There is a very real chance that Saturday's game could wind up making a 1-3 line difference when the time comes to seed both Louisville and Kentucky for the NCAA Tournament.

  • Ken Howlett reports on Kentucky's success in the classroom.

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