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"I'm all right Jack, keep your hands off of my stack"

Concerning the Wildcats and Media Days, I am encouraged by this report from Matt Jones, especially about Ramel Bradley.  Ramel struggled a little with his role last year, but reading Gillispie's remarks give me reason for serious optimism:

1) Gillispie continued his praising of Ramel Bradley and expressing what a great leader he has become. He mentioned that Ramel has done all anyone could ask him to do and that he could not be more happy about what he has seen from his senior point guard. Ramel was wearing a suit today, which when the pictures come out, must be a sight to behold.
My take on Gillispie is that he hands out praise rather grudgingly, so this is a very good sign to me.  I am also encouraged by his praise of the speed in which Mike Williams is improving.  Wildcat fans were very nervous about Williams, and the small glimpse we had of him on Big Blue Madness put many of those fears to rest.  He still isn't going to win any footraces, but I think he may well wind up a very serviceable player.

Also noteworthy are the high expectations this team appears to have for itself.  I really believe, in some ways, that this was one of the things Smith did rather poorly -- set expectations high enough that players want to talk about them.  Yes, the final four seems rather lofty considering our weakness in the front court and lack of pre-season hype, but we all know that hype is just that, and sometimes a perceived weakness can turn out to be a strength.

I think it is kind of interesting that Bruce Pearl is trying so hard to downplay expectations this year.  This is a bit of gamesmanship we would expect from somebody like The Sweaty Casinova, but don't think for a minute Gillispie isn't fully aware of this.  Gillispie may overplay the "aw, shucks" a bit, but when it comes to knowing who's on first, I don't have any worries about him.

Pearl also whined about UT being on CBS only twice to Kentucky's seven:
That said, the Tennessee coach objected to the royal treatment Kentucky will receive in terms of televised games on CBS. By his count, UK will have seven games on CBS. Tennessee, which finished higher in the standings last season, advanced further in the NCAA Tournament and boasts the league's highest profile player in Chris Lofton, will have two games on CBS.

"The point is it's not just about Kentucky anymore," Pearl said while acknowledging that CBS contradicts that suggestion. "The torch has not been passed. This league is still about the Wildcats."

Damn skippy, O Clammy One.  This league is about the Wildcats because we have won seven national championships.  In basketball.  All by ourselves.  Something Tennessee has never, ever done, even once.

Now, we can't say that about the Gators anymore, but let's face it -- we have seen lightning caught in a bottle before (UNLV, Arkansas, etc.), but what makes us famous is consistency.  UT can can talk about passing torches when it's earned the right to carry it, even for a short time.  I don't hear Donovan kicking sand in Kentucky's picnic, and Pearl should take a lesson from his betters.

At least Kevin Stallings gets it:
"He just hasn't been in the league long enough," Stallings said when asked about Pearl's complaint. "He'll get used to it.

"The last time I checked, Kentucky had won more (SEC) championships than the rest of us put together. What do you do?"

Now there is a man with a clue.  Not only more SEC championships, but more national championships, final fours, and ... well, anything else you can think of related to basketball.  What do you do?  Win something, over and over and over.  Then, you'll get what Kentucky has. 

Stallings gets it.  Good for him.  You want to be on TV a lot, guys?  You wanna talk about "passing torches" and such?  Win something.  And then, do it again, and again, and again.  Then, you might get your wish.  Just ask Billy D. how that works.

A couple of administrative notes for everyone's information.  First, I have begun sorting through our daily news items that you find in the blue box just below this post, and moving the more important items to the top.  I just do it maybe once or twice, but I'll always be doing it on the first blush in the morning.  So before about 10:00, the news should be fresh and properly sorted, at least in my subjective opinion.

The second thing is that I will be playing the ponies this Saturday, and hence, I'll have to count on everyone else to carry the water when it comes to the game.  I'll have an open thread up as always, though, so you'll have plenty of blog space in which to post your thoughts.  I imagine JL and FGM will be in there, so please do comment away.