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Morning Newspaper for February 6th

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The big sports story of the last 24 hours is Michael Phelps, multiple Olympic swimming champion being photographed taking a big bong hit somewhere in South Carolina.  That little indiscretion has cost him a suspension from swimming and at least one major sponsor.  Moral of the story:  If you are famous and going to smoke the ganja, have your fellow-stonies check their cameras and cell phones at the door.

Now, for the news.

Kentucky Basketball

  • 'Cats, Gators off for a week.  Gillispie says that the 'Cats have many things to work on.  I'll say.  But based on the coach's comments, I'm not sure "just continue[ing] to make better decisions" would describe the solution to the problem.  Also, I guess Stevenson is a better perimeter defender than Josh Harrellson, but if we have either one of those guys doing much perimeter defending, we have real problems.
  • Mark Story says fans yelling "shoot!" isn't helping the Wildcats.  I understand what is driving the fans, and it isn't what Story thinks.  Nobody really doubts that we need to try to get Meeks and Patterson the ball, but turning down every open shot merely emboldens the defense.  They see it as a validation of their strategy -- it makes them play harder and gives them confidence.

    You can't do that.  You have to take (and make) wide open, unopposed shots often enough to keep your defender honest, but it isn't just that.  Confident defenders are better defenders, and right now, our failure to take open shots is giving teams tremendous confidence in their defense.  You can blame the fans if you want, but right now,  nobody in the entire SEC thinks Porter will take that shot.  Teams have just abandoned guarding him and concentrated on clogging up the lane for Patterson.  Make a couple, and suddenly, Patterson has more room to maneuver.

    There is more to basketball than just getting it to your stars.  I am (fairly) sure Gillispie knows this.  It's better to take an open shot and miss than to fail to take it every time.  It makes no sense to guard a non-shooter at all.  Even a 20% chance is better than a turnover or a challenged shot.

    But I do like the last suggestion Story makes.  I'm all about that one.

  • Can Kentucky right the ship?  I sure hope so.
  • Larry Vaught thinks Kentucky fans believe the sky is falling.  What's new about that?  How about this for a damning quote: “I think we surprised Kentucky with our defense inside on Patterson,” State’s Jarvis Varnado said. “They never really did anything to adjust to that or anything special to try and get (Jodie) Meeks open.” 

    Yikes, Billy G.  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is ... well, you know.
  • Gainsville.com interviews Jodie Meeks.
  • Jodie Meeks has been up.  Now, not so much.
  • Danny Jett says that booing is for the birds.  He's right.
  • Coach Gillispie has some comments in Arkansas.

Kentucky Football

  • Jody Demling comments on UK's sleeper recruit.
  • Hal Mumme's prognosis is good after surgery for prostate cancer.
  • Rivals ttalkss about Kentucky's recruiting class, as well as the rest of the SEC.
  • Kenny Colston says that Rich Brooks has raised the bar in recruiting for Kentucky.  Let's all hope it only continues to climb.
  • ESPN's bubble watch.
  • Tom Leach comments on the MSU game.

Other Kentucky Sports

  • UK Hoops ends their losing skid at four.  At least we can beat South Carolina in something.

NCAA Basketball

  • Are Gary Williams and the athletic department at Maryland getting ready for a messy divorce?  It seems that the athletic department is costing Williams on the recruiting trail, and one wonders how long such a confrontational relationship can be sustained.
  • Wisconsin upsets Illinois.
  • California defeats Washington.
  • Vandy escapes Alabama
  • Pat Summitt gets to the summit.  1000 wins.  Congratulations.

NCAA Football

  • Chris Lowe looks at some of the recruiting nobodies in the SEC who turned out to be ... well, somebody.  A couple of Kentucky players figure prominently in here.
  • Breaking down how the Top 25 fared in recruiting.  Here's a hint -- the rich get richer.
  • Kyle King writes an open letter to Urban Meyer.  Heh.
  • Kevin Scarbinsky tells Lane Kiffin to "Wise up, grow up, shut up."  Ouch.
  • The SEC smacks Lane Kiffin down for accusing Urban Meyer of cheating.  If Kiffin is trying to upset the applecart in the SEC, he is absolutely getting that job done in a big way.  In just a few months on the job, Kiffin has managed to piss off almost everyone in the entire conference (except maybe Bobby Johnson and Rich Brooks) and half the folks in Knoxville.  Some think that his comments might make life for the Vols a little tough on the road next year.

    In related news, Gate 21 likes Kiffin's chutzpah.

Other News of Interest

  • Some Kentucky legislators want to ban 911 calls from being broadcast on television or, I assume, radio as well.
  • Obama declares Kentucky a major disaster area.  Ya think?