Kentucky Wildcats Noon Quickies: Basketball Non-Conference Schedule Edition

Tom Pennington

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. A.J. Reed wins SEC Men's Athlete of the Year. UK announces MBB non-conference schedule. Decommited football recruit keeps 'Cats in top three. More.

Kentucky has released their non-conference schedule for 2014-15. Most of it you know, but some not. We'll go into detail soon.

Tweet of the Morning

Awesome. Can't wait.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
Other Kentucky sports
  • A.J. Reed named SEC Male Athlete of the Year. What an amazing season it has been. Consider:

    Reed, a native of Terre Haute, Ind., has been named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association, the College Player of the Year by Baseball America and won the 2014 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He also won the John Olerud Award, given to the top two-way player in the nation.

    Kentucky had only seven MAOTY winners. That makes it all the more impressive. The Herald-Leader has more here.

  • Ex-Bat Cat J.T. Riddle now plays for the Greensboro Grasshoppers and he was in town to face the home-town club, the Lexington Legends.

College football
  • SI's Stewart Mandel thinks the NCAA botched their case in the O'Bannon trial. Consider:

    In a trial, attorneys collaborate with clients to tell the most flattering possible version of their story. For the NCAA, that should have entailed painting a picture for Wilken of a noble-minded enterprise in which thousands of young men -- many from disadvantaged families who couldn’t afford college otherwise -- leverage their athletic talents into life-changing opportunities, preparing for careers after sports and forming lasting bonds within a community. Certainly, there are highly publicized instances of abuse (booster Nevin Shapiro at Miami) and farcical academics (North Carolina), but attorneys presumably would dismiss those as exceptions, emphasizing success stories as the norm. They would then show why allowing athletes to commercialize would tarnish the entire endeavor.

    Instead, after the plaintiffs spent most of the first week laying out their various antitrust allegations, the defense has spent most of the subsequent two weeks trotting out an army of insular and tunnel-minded administrators conditioned not so much to combat threats to the athletes as much as those to their bottom line.

    I understand Stewart's point here. He's misguided, but understandably so. Mandel is applying the model for trial before a jury, which is notably different than that of a trial before a judge. Emotional arguments work well for juries, because they are laypersons who generally have a hard time separating a logical, well-formed argument from a fallacious appeal to emotion or popularity. The judge, with his/her instructions to the jury tries to cut through the morass, but often unsuccessfully.

    In a trial before a judge, you have a trained jurist examining the question, and appeals to emotion or popularity are notably less effective. Judges know what logical fallacies are, and what they look like. Despite Stewart's perception that the NCAA's arguments came from elitism, the judge won't (or at least, shouldn't) care about that. She'll care about how the facts presented comport with antitrust law, and nothing else.

    This is why you see so many huge civil verdicts undone on appeal. Juries are often swayed by emotional and populist rhetoric. Judges are trained to have tunnel vision, and ignore bleeding-heart populism in favor of the persuasiveness of the facts as applied to the law.

  • Saturday Down South says Les Miles is the most underrated coach in the SEC. Okay, I guess. I do think Miles gets less credit than he deserves.

  • The SEC is well-represented at The Opening. Hat tip: NextCats

  • Land Grant Holy Land wonders if Damien Harris could commit to them this month. Hat tip: NextCats

College basketball
  • John Calipari finishes #2 to Billy Donovan in the ESPN "top 50" coaches. I knew Calipari wouldn't be #1 from the beginning, although I figured him to be in the top three.

    Although they really don't explain their reasoning, but I get it. Calipari will always be a controversial figure because of how he talks and acts, and also the scandals with which he's been associated. Never mind that Billy Donovan hasn't been to the Final Four since 2007, and Calipari has been four times since then with two NCAA Final games and one title.

    To be fair to Donovan, he has one more title at a school notably tougher to win from than Kentucky. That's why I really don't object to the pick, because Donovan really can coach and he does an outstanding job with a program that is not traditionally a winner in basketball. He is essentially doing what Mike Krzyzewski has done with Duke since he took over for Bill Foster in 1981.

    Speaking of Duke, the Blue Devil fans are less than totally pleased with Mike Krzyzewski coming in at #4 behind Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, and worst of all (in their view), John Calipari. Consider:

    But let's consider: why is it that Williams, after a brilliant career at Kansas and an excellent second act at UNC, is marked down for allegations about him which have not been proved, while John Calipari gets a pass on having two Final Fours vacated?

    I have no doubt that if this were 2009 instead of 2014, the allegations in the Memphis case would have weighed against Coach Cal. As it is, Calipari has provided virtually no fodder for the critics as far as the NCAA is concerned for five years. That matters. It also matters that he has visited the Final Four three times since then, won a national championship, and has only once finished out of the Elite Eight.

    Lighten up, Francis.

  • Bobby Hurley, the former point guard for Duke during their 1990's glory years, will be in Rupp Arena next season coaching the Buffalo Bulls against the Wildcats.

  • Nice piece on newly-minted USF coach Orlando Antigua in the Bradenton Herald.

  • West Coast Convo talks about Kyle Wiltjer's addition to the Gonzaga Bulldogs. I'm hoping for big things from Kyle. We all know he can shoot it, but will he be able to defend his position?

  • Wow, very impressive, Iowa State:

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