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Kentucky Wildcats: Morning Quickies - Basketball Scheduling Edition


There is so much Sturm und Drang on the Internet today about Kentucky's schedule, especially in the context of the COIA statement yesterday, that it will get a lot of time in Quickies as well as a whole additional post planned for later today. We also have SEC Baseball Tournament news (the Kentucky Wildcats take on the red-hot Mississippi St. Bulldogs at 1:30 today in Hoover, Alabama) along with some media looks at Kentucky's place among the basketball elite next year.

Our Tweet of the Morning comes courtesy of Jay Bilas:

Your Quickies follow the jump.

SEC baseball tournament roundup: Vandy knocks off South Carolina // The Montgomery Advertiser

This is only good news for Kentucky if UK can find a way to get past Mississippi St.

Miss. State edges LSU, 3-2 // The Advertiser

You would think this would be good news for UK., but MSU has been incredibly hot lately, and just handled UK last weekend.

Widdowson to become UK Wildcat // The Daily Times

Local swimming standout Whit Widdowson has spent the last several years setting records for the Coastal Aquatic Swim Team, but as graduation approaches, the senior had to decide where he would continue practicing his trade. Widdowson, who attends Holly Grove Christian School, recently made up his mind and signed his national letter of intent to join 'Big Blue Nation.' As the swimmer will leave the Eastern Shore for Lexington, Ky., this summer to join the Wildcats swimming team.

We don't cover swimming much here, but this is pretty big news.

Mississippi State is really on a roll now // The Clarion-Ledger

The Bulldogs, seeded seventh, have won five straight games against opponents ranked in the top 15 nationally - Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU. They are 13-4 in their last 17 SEC games.

"Our kids feel like we're on a roll and that's the most important thing," MSU coach John Cohen said. "It really doesn't matter what I think and I'm not being a smart aleck."

No, he's not, sadly. MSU is as hot as any team in the country. It will take UK's best to stop them today.

Coach Cal talks about creating millionaires and his Olympic chances

Of all the compliments Coach Calipari has heard at UK, he points to one from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, who heard how many Cats the NBA was drafting.

"He said, 'Wow, you're creating more millionaires than a Wall Street firm,'" Calipari said.

How some people see this as a bad thing is both counterintuitive and smacks of green-eyed jealousy.

Sporting News ranks the top 25 college basketball teams for 2012-13 // Sporting News

Why they might not: Calipari’s most obvious problem is having to rely on players less gifted than he’s usually had to accommodate at Kentucky, whether it’s transfer shooting guard Julius Mays or veterans Jon Hood and Twany Beckham. The Wildcats won the title with seven guys, but they can’t go just with five.

Let me see if this math works out: Nerlens Noel (who actually wasn't, but surely would have been but for his late reclassification), Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, and Kyle Wiltjer. That's for McDonalds all-Americans. Then we have Parade all-American Ryan Harrow. We still haven't counted highly-ranked Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year Jon Hood. Only then do we get to senior transfer Julius Mays, and preferred walk-on Twany Beckham

I'm not sure their math is right. We had five McD's and a Parade last year, and we have four McD's and a Parade this year. So if we won with seven last year, and we have eight at least this year, how does that work out to five?

Junior college transfers should make big impact in Big East, SEC next season // Yahoo! Sports

Reeves Nelson, former UCLA star, to sue Sports Illustrated // Sporting News

Nelson is going to find out he's in the Big Boy world now, and in the Big Boy world, these sorts of suits fail 99.999% of the time because of the high threshold of "actual malice." See Davis, Anthony and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cal Takes UK To The Next Level With Major Scheduling Changes // LEX18 True Blue Fan

"The thing about Kentucky basketball is it's passed down from father to son. I want to schedule events that grandfathers and grandsons will be talking about 25 years from now. That's part of what Kentucky basketball is about; part of what has made this place so unique. Those experiences mean our fans can go to those games in addition to another 20,000 fans that never get to go to the games."

I'll have more analysis on this later, but Calipari's take on this is definitely interesting.

Jabari Parker has a balanced game and a level head // The Courier-Journal

The Chicago Simeon Career Academy forward is rated the No. 1 player in the 2013 class by all the major scouting services, some analysts even calling him the best high school player in any class.

Nice article. My recollection is that Derrick Rose was also from Chicago Simeon, so there is no doubt that Calipari has the connections.

The return of the shot-blockers to college basketball // ESPN

Both Withey and Louisville's Gorgui Dieng chose to come back for another season after standout performances in the Final Four. Davis recently told a reporter that Kentucky-bound Nerlens Noel, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2012, is the better shot-blocker between the two of them. Many recruiting experts agree.

If so, Kentucky has a chance to repeat. Medcalf is right, the importance of shot-blocking has been brought back to the forefront of college basketball by players like Jeff Withey, Anthony Davis, Gorgui Dieng and soon, Nerlens Noel.

Tom Leach's Thursday Links

Always good stuff here.

Recruiting mailbag: How does Kentucky look for 2013? //

@j2centerfield4 – Who do you think Kentucky gets in '13?

I think the Wildcats are set up really nicely for 2013. Andrew and Aaron Harrison are constantly tied to Kentucky, and the Wildcats have the edge in that recruitment. Chris Walker likes Kentucky, but the Wildcats have not yet offered the top-10 prospect. The same goes for James Young, who has emerged as an elite prospect this spring. If Kentucky offers Walker or Young, one or both could pull the trigger. The Wildcats already have 6-foot-9 forward Derek Willis in the fold.

The Harrison twins are the truth. Young is outstanding, and Julius Randle is high on Calipari's list of wants.

Recruiting rundown: What’s on tap for grassroots summer circuit // CollegeBasketballTalk

Great list of events for those who follow recruiting closely.

Top five prospect keeping tabs on Kentucky // Jody Demling – Recruiting

"They said a scholarship is open for me," Gordon said of UK. "They sent an assistant coach out to see me and said anytime I want to come I am welcomed.

"They are definitely a school I want to look at."

I don't think he'd be willing to come to UK, so don't get your hopes up. There are many other fish in the pond, though.

Check out yesterday's Larry Glover Live podcast.

Collegiate faculty group calls out Calipari // College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN

This take has a lot of things wrong with it. I'll be discussing that in more detail later.

Morning Five: 05.24.12 Edition // Rush The Court

RTC also misses the mark on the COIA thing, but is much closer than Eammon Brennan.

Kentucky's scheduling tactics called into question -

The COIA made sure put that last part in bold. And, boy, the gusto of hyperbole is at full blast, isn't it? This knock against Kentucky is nearly as stale and short-sighted as the bloggers-in-the-basement crack that molded on the rind back in 2008. I'm not even a Kentucky apologist, but seriously, what is this?

Matt Norlander does a good job. However, this also fails on many levels to get at the real problem with what the COIA did.