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Open Shot -- The Roundabout, Administrativa, and a "Thank You"

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It's been a while since I went around the Internet to see what people are saying, so I though I would do that this afternoon.

But before I get to that, have you noticed the shiny new icons we have here at A Sea of Blue?  No, those were not done by me.  My graphics skills are unfortunately very limited and crude.  The shiny new graphics were done by one of our readers, Tre Pryor.  Tre lives here in Louisville, and he and I met a few months back to chat about the Wildcats and the blog and just to meet face to face with somebody you get to read about.

Tre is the one responsible for all these nice new buttons you see over on the left.  I had been wanting to add some nice new visuals rather than just the crude stuff that I have done, and Tre was kind enough to oblige me.  Tre is a Realtor here in Louisville, and if you happen to be looking to buy or sell a home in the Louisville or surrounding area, you might give Tre an email or a call.  The best way to get all his particulars is by visiting his website, www.TrePryor.com.  Conveniently, if you need some freelance graphics or website work done, you may even be able to engage his services in that area, also.  Thanks again to Tre for helping us out here at A Sea of Blue.

Moving on to the Wildcats.  I rarely link an article from Jeff Goodman that doesn't include a disparaging remark, but his latest is at least not totally disrespectful of Kentucky and so I will link the good as well as the bad.  Money quote:

BUY

Kentucky -- The early-season losses to Gardner Webb and San Diego and the 6-7 start were inexcusable, but first-year Wildcats coach Billy Gillispie has his team at 11-4 in conference play. Also, you've got to take into account that Kentucky was without Derrick Jasper and Jodie Meeks for much of the season. Now he's without freshman big man Patrick Patterson, but Kentucky won at South Carolina last night --which should have secured a bid.
I think he is right.  I believe by virtue of their victory last night, UK validated their performance at Tennessee and is now firmly in the tournament.  That isn't to say dropping two games in a row might not put them right back on the bubble, but now, I think the NCAA bid is Kentucky's to lose.

A big question now becomes, "Whither the Gators?  To the NCAA or the NIT?"  David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel says that reality is catching up to the young Florida team.  I think that the Gators could greatly help their NCAA cause by beating UK on Saturday (which I hope doesn't happen), but if they lose, I believe they still have a shot by winning two games in the tournament.  If UK beats them, they will have an extra game to play, but that may not be a bad thing.

For Kentucky, I think a loss to the Gators only knocks them out of the NCAA if they lose the first game of the SEC tourney, and even that isn't for sure, but it would really make us worry on Selection Sunday.  If the Cats lose to Florida and win two SEC tourney games, I'd say they were in for sure.  Winning only one is tougher.

The Washington Times' college sports blog also thinks the Cats are rising:
RISING


* Kentucky did exactly what it was supposed to, going to South Carolina and leaving with a victory. The Wildcats (17-11, 11-4 SEC) have almost beaten the No. 1 team in the country on its home floor and ground out a road victory in two games since losing Patrick Patterson. A victory over Florida on Sunday would burnish the message that Billy Gillispie's boys can win without their best player.
USA Today reminisces about their favorite five NCAA tournament games.  It's a pretty good list.  The Kentucky Kernel's Jonathan Smith has a piece today that argues this Kentucky team has no business being in the position it is in right now.  I disagree.  I disagreed earlier in the year, and I still think that the Cats aught to have been this good all year long.  It is understandable that they had some tough times due to injuries, and some are still likely.  But what we are seeing now is what I expected to see back in December,

Readers are loving on Gregg Doyel for his article the other day about Billy Gillispie and other coaches' work on pediatric cancer:
Write a story like I did on Billy Gillispie, and the mailbox will look different than usual. Instead of scorpions and spiders, people sent me seashells and balloons. I'm sure some people like seashells and balloons, but me? I'm more of a scorpion-and-spider guy.
Heh.

Finally, there is this article from the Daily Orange that looks at Kentucky's tortured journey this year, and extensively quotes the players.  The money quote comes from Ramel Bradley:
Will the Wildcats end up in the tournament? If they are unable to win the SEC, the world will just have to wait until March 16 to see. But Bradley had no doubts about whether Kentucky will be dancing.

"I would say that the teams that should be in the tournament are the best going into postseason play," Bradley said. "Right now, I feel like there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are one of those teams."
There is no doubt in my mind either, Ramel.