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Perusal of the web

There is no use denying or ignoring the constant swirl of news around the UK basketball program.  As much as many of us would like to focus on Georgia tonight, we simply cannot ignore that which pounds on our consciousness for attention.

First off, on the recruiting front.  The Huntington Herald-Dispatch has an article today on Patrick Patterson:

Patterson said Smith's status would affect any decision he made concerning Kentucky.

"For me, it's a huge deal, other than just getting my education," Patterson said. "But (Smith being at UK) would be a huge deal in spending four years there and him being the coach.

"Yeah, it probably would have some kind of effect," Patterson said when asked how a potential exodus by Smith would play a part in his decision.

Well, we heard this already, but the more he says it, the harder it is to pooh-pooh it.  

But there's more.  Jai Lucas, who will be at the game tonight, had this to say in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Lucas also spoke of the impact of a coaching change.

"It definitely would affect it," he said of Smith's status. "That's who's recruiting me. It would make me have to fall back and see what they do."


So it is looking like it's Tubby Smith or bust for these two guys, at least if you take them at their word.  Both have many other options, and there is no guarantee from either that they would come if Tubby stays.  Still, it is looking more and more like neither one will set foot on campus if he leaves.

MSNBC engages in unethical questionable journalism, producing the lede Tubby: I shouldn't have to `defend my record' when that isn't what he said at all:

"Certainly sitting here at 19-9 ... I'm not going to defend my record or anything else," Smith said. "But I guess Mitch felt like he needed to make a comment, from what I understand. I'm sure he gets calls just like everybody else."

Update [2007-2-28 8:49:19 by Truzenzuzex]:After re-rereading this, I think MSNBC has fudged this comment a bit for their lede, but not as badly as I originally thought. If you read the earlier version of this post, I complained that MSNBC deliberately misstated what he said. I have to back off that position now, because I think I was wrong about that.

However, I do think MSNBC leaves an impression of defiance where none was intended.

John Clay repeats the criticism of some here at ASoB that Smith is blaming his players:

Welcome to the University of Kentucky.

Home of the tire tracks.

Perhaps you've seen the skid marks on the backs of the Kentucky basketball players, who, after losing a fourth straight game to Vanderbilt, heard their head coach, Tubby Smith, say on Sunday, "We've won in the past this way, so it's a matter of personnel."

Not exactly the way to shoulder the blame.


Clay may be joking a bit above, but about one thing he is dead serious:

One thing is for sure, this story needs a change of direction. Consider this: Kentucky's current 17-13 conference record is the second worst two-year stretch of SEC basketball in school history. The worst? Eddie Sutton's final year coupled with Rick Pitino's first season, when UK was on probation. Those two combined for an 18-18 SEC mark.

It's hard to compare situations, arguably the SEC is much stronger now than then, but the point cannot be simply washed away by apology and "you can't compare eras" argumentation.  Whatever its merits, no Kentucky fan can be happy with those numbers.

Pat Forde (you remember him, right?) weighs in on Mitch Barnhart's statement of the other day:

It was a very pragmatic response, but The Minutes is left with one unmistakable conclusion: There is no vote of confidence for Smith anywhere in that statement. Stay tuned as this one plays out.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn't think Smith is going to make it easy to get rid of him:

It's hard to imagine Smith leaving against his will. The former Georgia coach (1995-97) has won or shared five SEC regular-season league championships and five SEC tournament titles. Meanwhile, he's won 70 percent of his NCAA tournament games, including a national championship with the Wildcats (1998).

And making a coaching change would be an expensive proposition for Kentucky. Smith is contracted through the 2011 season, is due to receive $1.5 million longevity bonus in April and the school is obligated to pay him $1 million for every season left on his contract if he is dismissed, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

How is that old Chinese curse again?  "May you live in interesting times"?  Seems like these times qualify here in the Bluegrass.

Oh, yeah - there is a game tonight also, which I fully intend to preview around noon today.