I want to talk today about this excellent article by John Adams at GoVolsXtra. Adams writes about the fact that Bruce Pearl has scheduled tough out-of-conference games every single year he has been at Tennessee, and that he is showing leadership in that area.
Now, most of you who read me know that I am not a fan of Bruce Pearl, but I think Adams has this exactly right. When I think back at the OOC schedule for the last two years, and how they compare to what we used to play most years under Tubby Smith, I feel a tiny pang of shame. Yes, I supported Gillispie, for the most part, when he weakened the pre-conference schedule the last two years. But I expected that to get better, and up until the day he was dismissed, I saw no signs that it would. In my opinion, it was pretty clear that Gillispie was not a proponent of a particularly strong pre-conference schedule, and was never going to be. That's a way to go, but I never agreed that it was the best way.
But Bruce Pearl has never wavered. He has always played a tough non-conference slate every year at Tennessee, and for that, he is to be commended. I am absolutely sure that UK will never have a weak non-conference schedule under Coach Calipari, and I am very glad for that fact. Yes, we may take a beating or two until Calipari's system takes hold, but I think it will be worth it in the end. Plus, I know that very soon, UK will be giving out the beatings rather than receiving them.
I think we have seen by Coach Gillispie's scheduling (and that of Billy Donovan at Florida as well) that if you want to hedge your bets to get into the tournament, you have to schedule tough in the pre-conference schedule. Pearl, despite getting drubbed by Kentucky and others, still got in the Big Dance while UK and Florida got to play in that other tournament. Lesson learned? I hope so.
So kudos to Coach Pearl for leading the way on this. Calipari won't have to learn this lesson, as he has had this philosophy for years, and now perhaps Donovan will finally get it. That would be good for the SEC, and Bruce Pearl deserves credit for leading the way.
And now, for the news:
UK Basketball News
- Carter, Williams and A.J. Stewart will not be back on the Wildcat team next year. One or two more players will have to transfer, depending on what Meeks does.
- The Playmakers blog is hearing Jodie Meeks may be staying in the draft.
- Jody Demling has a long, detailed recruiting update.
- Jody Demling also has a piece on Calipari's recruiting haul.
- Wildcats Thunder has an interview with Bill Keightley.
- Calipari and Donovan are friends, and that friendship could be tested when UK and Florida clash.
- "Folks, John Calipari runs a system that not only teaches players how to play (rather than what to play), but it is probably the single-best transitional system between high school and the pros that exists in the US." -- Canis Hoopus.
- Would Calipari's class at Memphis have been as good as the one he wound up with at UK (if he had stayed)? The Northstar Basketball Blog examines that question.
- "The one non-hoops meeting Horn said he would love to be in is the football gathering, as commissioner Mike Slive will likely tell the coaches to chill on cutting each other down. The basketball coaches don't have that issue, although getting Kentucky's John Calipari and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl in the same room Tuesday and Wednesday should be good entertainment. They had a testy rivalry when Calipari was at Memphis, and both have strong, extroverted personalities. There may not be time for any of the other 10 coaches to talk." -- Andy Katz
UK Football News
- Kentucky brings back an experienced group of offensive linemen. Only Georgia's O-line has more experience.
- The Capstone Report ranks UK ahead of Tennessee this year in football.
Other UK Sports News
NCAA Sports News
- Kiffin and Saban on trash talk.
- If Florida State has to forfeit 14 wins, Bobby Bowden's hopes of catching Joe Paterno would go up in smoke.
- The SEC spring meeting is coming up, and it will be an interesting clash of egos. I wonder if Urban Meyer or any of the other coaches Lane Kiffin has offended will take a shot back? Sounds like a good soap opera to me.
- Who do you think is the best inside-out duo in college basketball. Rivals tries to answer that question.
Other News of Interest
- The sad, sad story of a young man who threw away his rare opportunities, and now regrets it. The problem is, they may be gone forever. Via Jody Demling.