It's the nadir of the college basketball season, the dull time of the summer where rumor and innuendo become facts, simply because there's no one around to refute them.
The latest? Another internet rumor that Tubby Smith was asked to be bought out and that a staff shakeup is imminent.
As UK beat writer Jerry Tipton notes in his Sunday notebook, such innuendo, whether intentional or not, from fans can have a recruiting impact. The mother of UK recruiting target Pat Patterson of Huntington, WVa., noted that a trickle of information about shakeups or potential problems with head man Tubby Smith had made its way to the family.
"Don't believe the rumors," Hobbs told the family, Tywanna Patterson said. Hobbs attributed the rumors to "the haters" and recruiting competitors, she said.
The negative Neds of the internet world would have you believe that their carping has no effect. They are wrong. But don't take that to mean, either, that folks who air their grievances -- whether online or in print ads -- are responsible for the program's ultimate success or failure any more than a disgruntled customer picketing a car dealer who sold him a lemon does.
The truth is, as usual, somewhere in the middle. And it's one of the reasons that Tubby Smith gets paid $2 mil a year, to parry the whiners and win games. Up until this past year, that was almost always the case.
This is going to be the longest UK hoops offseason ever ...