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Big Blue Nation Linkapalooza: Catch-Up Edition

There's been a lot going on the past few days, and it's time to take a minute and catch our breath.

Here are a few of the big stories in and around the Big Blue Nation the last few days.

Here we go:

Turns out an idea for May Madness isn’t so crazy // Beyond the Arc

"It would be a jolt — the traditionalists would go crazy — but there’s some merit to that idea," former Virginia and Xavier coach Pete Gillen told Wolken. "I’m partial, but I think the tournament is the greatest 3½ weeks of the sporting year. I think the tournament is powerful enough that it could be pushed back."

Honestly, I could get used to anything. But this is unlikely.

Calipari has spoken favorably about basketball being a one-semester sport, in case anyone has forgotten.

Video: John Calipari sends a message to officials // John Clay's Sidelines

Let's be honest -- Kentucky has been called for a lot of charges because, well, they charge a lot. The problem that Calipari is trying to highlight is that some of them, a good number, in fact, have been incorrectly called.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease ...

College hoops ready to take center stage //

UConn (as a follow on to this post of yesterday) underachievement noted.

On Jan. 2, the defending national champions were 12-1 and ranked eighth in the nation. Today, the Huskies are 14-6 and unranked. The second NCAA-mandated withholding of freshman guard Ryan Boatright certainly didn’t help things, but even with him Sunday, UConn was beaten at home by Notre Dame in a 53-possession bore-burger of a game.

There is also an imaginary conversation between Barnhart and Mike Slive that was apparently meant to be derisive. But I found myself thinking, "You know, if Kentucky has as much power as Forde ascribes to us here, I'm grateful for it."

Kentucky's defense stifling again // The Republic

"We knew he was a shot blocker," UT freshman Jarnell Stokes said [About UK's Anthony Davis]. "We didn’t know he would change the game like he did."

If you don't know by now, Jarnell, you'd better ask somebody.

Barnhart applauds city's efforts on Rupp but says campus needs must come first //

Eric Crawford | Wildcats are tough to beat when their play is 'platinum' // The Courier-Journal

A mini-fracas that resulted in technical fouls on Tennessee’s Trae Goldon and Davis early in the game seemed to ignite the Wildcats as for a second straight game an overmatched Southeastern Conference opponent did something that future foes probably shouldn’t do — poke the sometimes docile Cats with a stick and make them angry.

This made me laugh... Because it's true.

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla on Calipari: "I know he can coach" // vaughtsviews

As Kentucky coach John Calipari finished his pregame press conference Monday, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla walked by and joked, "Now just go the roll the balls out."

He was joking, but Fraschilla also knows that is the perception many college basketball fans have about Calipari. He recruits stars and then just watched them play.

This piece dovetails nicely with this blog post I wrote the other day.

SEC Hoops Power Poll Results: 1/22-1/28 // Garnet And Black Attack

Pretty much what you'd expect.

UK notes: Vols cry foul over referees' treatment //

A reporter asking for an explanation on the free-throw disparity stumped Maymon.

"Truthfully, I couldn't tell you," he said. "There were a lot of tick-tack fouls (on the Vols). We go down there (to the offensive end), we didn't get any calls."

I have just one question for Mr. Maymon: Would you prefer Gouda, or a nice, soft brie with that?

Pick Six: Many top teams finding success through the buddy system // The Washington Post

Debating Coach Cal's UK Dream Team // Kentucky Wildcats

Ultimately, I had to call on people who know more than I do. I solicited the opinions of four college basketball experts, two local and two national, to weigh in and pick their All-Calipari starting five from the group of UK's nine recent draft picks and the top six contributors from this year's team, listed in alphabetical order:

Gary Parrish an expert? Seriously?

For me, I like Larry Vaught's team.

Hollis Thompson, Georgetown Hoyas beat Connecticut Huskies //

In UConn's case, the issue is accountability. The Huskies don't have that voice -- the singular presence -- who will take a teammate to task for a mental mistake. They don't have that player who demands perfection, who refuses to accept excuses for lazy defense or selfish shot-selection.

So why isn't the coach substituting for that lack? That's what Calipari does.

Syracuse Basketball Recruiting 2012: Nerlens Noel Reclassifying // SB Nation New York

However, Noel's reclassification does cause an issue for Syracuse's recruitment for Noel because already verbally committed for next year is local-center prospect DeJuan Coleman, the No. 3-rated center by Rivals, and forward Jerami Grant, a four-star prospect.

Syracuse does look like they have a legitimate issue recruiting Noel.

Jordan Classic rosters boast Kentucky flair again //

UK signees Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress were among the 20 high school seniors chosen to play in the 11th annual Jordan Brand Classic, the event's organizers announced Thursday. The game will be played April 14 in Charlotte, N.C., and televised live on ESPN.

Kentucky Football Signing Day: The Day After // Wildcat Blue Nation

Part I: One year later, a look back at ’11 Jordan Brand rosters // Beyond the Arc

Goodman gets pounded by peers.

Well, the problem here from Goodman is context -- he doesn't provide any.

If UK played Toronto using college basketball rules, yes, they might "hang" with them. They probably would get beaten by 20, but they could hang in there with them and wouldn't get embarrassed.

If they played by NBA rules, it wouldn't be close.

Les Miles takes the low road, blasts Gunner Kiel // CollegeFootballTalk

What’s the old saying, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Apparently, hell’s never met Les Miles.

Never-a-dull-utterance Miles strikes again.

2012 Jordan Brand Classic all-star rosters announced // ESPN Dallas

North Carolina is well-represented, with three of its four-man 2012 class suiting up; Arizona also has three of its recruits in the game, while Kentucky and Providence each have two All-Americans.

Pitino Says Louisville Will Remain in Big East //

Heh. Pitino give up those paid-for trips to New York? Nah.

Bielema confronted Urban over recruiting tactics // CollegeFootballTalk

One of the issues — albeit not an illegal one — is Meyer "breaking" an unwritten agreement among Big Ten coaches in which, once a prospect commits to a program in the conference, other coaches decline to actively recruit the player. Meyer "broke" that "gentleman’s agreement" in the case of Dodson, as well as in the recruitment of Se’Von Pittman.

New kid on the block, breaking all the rules. Unfortunately, the other Big Ten coaches are just going to have to join the rest of the conferences and bring out the long knives for each other.

Next Cats: Shot-blocker Noel alters landcape for 2012 class //

Syracuse's loaded frontcourt could be a negative in its recruitment of Noel. The Orange have five-star center Dajuan Coleman signed for the class of 2012, and current starting center Fab Melo is only a sophomore and not projected as a first-round NBA Draft pick.

I agree.

Let's Listen In On A Recruitment Falling Apart, Shall We? //

This is painful, like watching an accident in slow motion.


We thought brain injury, initially. There would be few other explanations for Les Miles starting Jordan Jefferson in the BCS Title Game, and fewer still for keeping him in the game after he began soft-tossing the ball up to Alabama linebackers in the midst of an extended and nationally televised panic attack.

Because I love a good snark.