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Like Sands Through the Hourglass ...

The will-he-or-won't-he Billy Donovan coaching saga just keeps creeping toward a crescendo.  We just don't know what the content of that crescendo will be.

We have people telling us he will, and people telling us he won't.  We have Gators sweating bullets, and chillin' in the swamp.  Many Wildcat fans have become so invested in Donovan taking up the reigns at UK, I fear mass suicide if he decides to stay in Gainesville - or at least the sound of thousands of heads exploding all over the Bluegrass.

I am having a blast.  This has been as much fun to watch as a 20-overtime basketball game.  No matter what, the Big Blue Nation hasn't been this excited in my lifetime.  We were excited when Sutton left and Pitino came, but the level of angst, anxiety and tumult at this moment in UK men's basketball history is simply unprecedented.  It is a lot of fun to watch so many people spin like a gyroscope.

This whole thing is like the 1960's vintage game show "To Tell the Truth" - the real Billy Donovan has yet to reveal himself, and thousands of Big Blue fans are standing around, arms akimbo, waiting for a revelation.  How could anyone not be enjoying this?

So now, to the Web.  Frequent commenter and blogger at the AOL Sports Blog (and Orange And Blue Hue), Ryan Ferguson, sees Donovan's chances of staying at Florida taking a turn for the worse:

Key phrases here are: soul searching, think about, and great feelings for Kentucky. But the one word which really gets my attention is the word "even" which Donovan uses in the sentence "I'm not going to make any statements without even talking to Jeremy Foley."

Without even talking to him?

That makes it sound like Donovan feels he is obligated to "at least" hear Foley out. That sounds like a guy who's lean just turned into a tilt. Like a Leaning Tower of Pisa tilt.

Well, there's one Florida fan who seems to have a bead of sweat developing on his reptilian brow.

Our brothers over at Swamp Ball put on a brave "What? Me worry? All is as it should be" face:

It's just sounds to me like Coach Donovan is a guy who is trying to keep his stance in contract negotiations strong with the University of Florida.  While I do believe that he will be looking at the Kentucky job in the next several days (why wouldn't he?), I'm not going to go out and say that there has been any contact between the two parties thus far.  Why?  Well because Donovan says there hasn't been.

The lure of Kentucky is strong.  It's one of the best jobs out there, and Billy Donovan would be foolish not to even consider his options.  However I do agree with Billy Donovan on one thing, that it's time to step back and appreciate what has just occured with the Gators basketball program:  Back-to-back national championships.

Hey, I think they have a point, and it is something many have been saying all along - Donovan should consider his options, including the  Kentucky option.  It's just good business, and anyone with a shred of common sense knows that the Kentucky job is bigger than the Florida job.  

Does that mean Donovan is the man to take it?  We don't know.  It really depends on whether or not Billy has a little Captain in him ;-).

Another of our brothers in arms here at Sports Blogs, Maize 'n Brew, have themselves a new coach and think maybe they have a shot at Patrick Patterson:

Patrick Patterson, a 6-8 forward from Huntington, WV (Rivals #15) is still on the board. With Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Wake, Virginia, and West Virginia all on the board, you've gotta think Michigan has a chance all of a sudden. Duke just got bounced in the first round of the NCAAs (yes, they're still Duke, but they ain't got that shine anymore).

Florida will be without a coach soon. Kentucky was widely presumed to be a lock for his services, and then the floor fell out from under Tubby Smith. Though Kentucky doesn't have a coach (though it'll likely be Donovan), and Patterson was reportedly very close with Smith and that will seriously hurt his chances of picking the Cats. Wake and Virginia, kinda blah. It's a long shot, but I think Michigan, if Legion/Harris stay, has a shot.

Good luck with that.  Nobody has coveted Patterson more than us (and we still do), and if Michigan could steal him away from us, Florida, and Duke at the last minute, it would be a coup indeed.  But remember, West Virgina was on P. Patterson's list, and Beilein is now the Michigan coach ... Update [2007-4-5 12:3:24 by Truzenzuzex]: Commenter csvraiden points us to an article where Patterson told the WV Herald-Dispatch that Michigan was "too cold" for him to consider.

And in some other coaching news, Iona, who fired former coach and hardwood star Jeff Ruland, has hired none other than former Pitino assistant and former WKU head coach, Ralph Willard.

Newsday's Steven Marcus says that Donovan to UK is a no-brainer.  Meanwhile, Dick "Hoops" Weiss says Donovan is a Gator and doesn't see a change in his future:

Donovan plans on taking part in an official celebration in Gainesville on Friday for the Gators' second straight national championship. Then, it's off to the Dominican for a weeklong vacation with his family and his in-laws to celebrate his father-in-law's 70th birthday. Then, it's back on the road for recruiting.

Does this sound like a man who is getting ready to take a new job?

But that's not all.  In that same article, Weiss says that Patterson has narrowed his choices down to UK, Duke and Florida.  Hat tip: AAron's UK Blog.

Burnt Orange Nation, the Texas brand of the Sports Blog family, is pulling for Donovan to come to UK:

A brief word on Billy Donovan and the Kentucky head coach search. For one thing, Texas fans need to pay attention to this situation. Why? Because Rick Barnes will be on the short list of names Kentucky officials will consider if they can't get Donovan to leave Gainesville. We're a long way from having to talk about this seriously, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

The other thing I wanted to note is that everything I'm seeing in Billy Donovan's meetings with the press leads me to believe he's going to think about a move very, very carefully. He's not denying anything, or making any definitive statements about staying at Florida. He's just dodging the issue artfully right now. That tells me he's going to think long and hard about leaving. My gut says he's gone.

I never listen to my gut.  It always says the same thing: "Feed me, Seymour!"

Associated Content thinks Kentucky basketball is "overrated":

Just weeks before his Florida Gators captured a second consecutive NCAA title, reports broke out that Billy Donovan was being lured to Kentucky. The media brass reasoned that the glory of the Kentucky program was enough to steal almost any coach away. Some Wildcat fans even went as far to claim that a move to Lexington should be Donovan's, and any other coach's, dream as a basketball guru.

My only question is what is the big deal?

Read the rest, if you like.  Kind of a silly article, but I needed some comic relief.

And finally, just to keep us humble, a Duke blogger takes a sissy slap at Kentucky via the Donovan situation:

Billy Donovan must be nuts. When asked about the Kentucky job, he said "If I was contacted by them, that would be something I'd have to think about." If? If? Who is he kidding?

All the Kentucky job offers right now is more pressure. What does he want? He's got back-to-back titles, he's building basketball awareness in a state awash in athletic talent which traditionally passes on basketball, and he could annex the whole Caribbean as his personal international recruiting pool. Kentucky offers him nothing he doesn't have at Florida.

Yeah, all those UK fans and all that tradition don't mean a thing.  A couple of national championships, and any fine school can be one of the all-time greats.

When K leaves Duke (or expires in office), watching their coaching search will be lots of fun.  Enjoy it while you can, boys.