This morning, I took some time to peruse the media comments on Kentucky's 2007 basketball schedule. From the Courier-Journal:
Indeed. If you look at the schedule, you will see some very weak non-conference opponents in numbers not seen in UK schedules for a while. Clearly, the coach and the athletic department want to take as few chances on a successful season as possible, and since our traditional rivals IU and U of L are expected to be very strong, that toughens it up a bit. Throw in North Carolina and a couple of likely top 25 teams in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, and it won't be the weakest NC schedule we have ever seen by a long shot.
Still, there is a bigger gap than usual between the red meat an the cupcakes.
Well, enough said about that.
The Courier-Journal also notes that Coach Gillispie did not make himself available for further comment on the schedule. That, I don't like. I think he knew there would be some tough questions forthcoming, and I hope he doesn't start ducking those. He has done a great job with the media so far in comparison to the more reclusive Tubby Smith. Here's hoping this was nothing more than a scheduling conflict.
True, but this one is a lot weaker than some of our recent NC schedules that included early dates with lots of the top 20, plus some strong mid-majors.
Not many really strong draws for the home crowd this year, but I doubt if we will need them. The excitement created by the new coach plus a fine recruiting class will pack Rupp Arena, no doubt about it. Oops, I almost forgot -- Senior day is March 9th, and the Gators will be in town. If the Gators manage to continue their winning streak in Florida on Jan. 19th, that game could be second only to the U of L game in terms of drawing potential. Even if we beat the Gators earlier in the year, this game will still get a lot of attention.
In other basketball news, Jody Demling has yet another article examining the buzz around UK that the new basketball coach has largely been responsible for reviving:
"It's crazy," said Clarke, a senior-to-be who has UK in his final 10 schools and will likely make a decision in the next month. "There were like 25 fans at the Peach Jam (in Augusta, S.C.) asking for autographs and pictures, and there were some (in Las Vegas)."
Where has this been for the last 5 years?
Via Aaron's UK basketball blog, we find this story at the Danville Advocate-Messenger by one of our favorite UK reporters, Larry Vaught. Larry interviews UK's Assistant Director of Basketball Operations Jerrance Howard, and Jerrance talks about lots of UK players. You have to like this about Patterson:
Howard: Pat (Patterson) is a special guy. You never have to wake him up. He never misses a class that is not excused. He's never late. Coach (Billy Gillispie) holds them all accountable whether they are a manager or returning player. But Pat is always where he is supposed to be. Pat is big-time. He is one of our leaders right now.
I knew he would be like this. Patterson is very mature for his age, something that has been noticeably absent in our high-profile recruits of late. We are going to love having him at UK.
Howard goes on to note that Legion is an amazing scorer, but he needs to work on the rest of his game -- particularly defensively. He also talks about Derrick Jasper and Perry Stevenson. Be sure and read it if you haven't already.
Jody Demling also has a blog post up, and I found this little nugget of bad news in there:
As he says, who really knows? Obviously, I'd love to see both Zeller and Miller come as well as Clarke, but no matter how good Gillispie is, he is going to have some recruiting misses, and some of them will be very high-profile. Fact of life.