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Kentucky Wildcats: Morning Quickies - Bubble Buzz Edition

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News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Nerlens Noel to have surgery in Florida today, named to SEC community service teaam. Kentucky prepares for the SEC Tournament. Football returns six of top ten tacklers next year. Tom Crean apologizes for tirade. More.

Richard Heathcote

Today, we have predictable bubble-talk hilarity, including John Calipari assuring all and sundry that if the media were picking the NCAA field, they'd skip Kentucky.

Tweet of the Morning:

I want one, too!

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
  • Mark Stoops wins over Kentucky fans, 33,000 spring tickets sold //

    Yes, we’d say that [selling 33,000 tickets to the spring game] breaking that attendance record by a full 65 percent over the previous mark [20,000] counts as a solid first step. (Also, unlike rivals Louisville, the Wildcats didn’t even have to offer $1 beers to make it happen.)

    Heh. There is nothing more enjoyable than the schadenfreude of seeing your team praised and your rival derisively mocked in a mainstream sports media article. It warms the cockles of my heart.

    Note that the writer is Jerry Hinnen, former writer for Joe Cribbs Car Wash and WarBlogEagle, Auburn blogs both, so he has an SEC tilt. Which is fine by me. (Hank)

  • Kentucky Wildcats // ESPN

    Six of the Wildcats’ top 10 tacklers return.

    Read the whole thing. There is some hope for Kentucky’s defense next season, I think.

Kentucky basketball
  • With Kentucky basketball team's season on the line, it's time for 'Uncle Julius' // The Courier-Journal

    Julius Mays is the grown-up on a team of toddlers. He’s a dad, a grad and a tad intolerant of immature basketball.
    "I think they know when I get on them, it’s only because I want to win," Kentucky’s postgraduate guard said of his tongue-lashed teammates following Saturday’s 61-57 victory over Florida. "We had a time where it felt like guys were going to let go of the rope. But I was holding guys accountable. If you couldn’t get it done, you couldn’t be in the game."

    We need this guy. We need him to grab these "youts" by the horns and drag them, kicking and screaming, to success.

  • John Clay: Breaking down the SEC Tournament //

    The SEC tournament according to John Clay

  • Sports Radio Interviews // John Calipari: If Bracket was Up to the Media, Kentucky Wouldn’t Get In

    Should you be in the tournament as it stands right now today?:
    "I don’t know, because I don’t know the other teams. You’re going to have probably 12-15 teams and you’re going to have to be better than four. It’s kind of like the bear’s chasing us, we’ve just got to be faster than those other 10. … I trust the committee. Again, if it was the media, we probably wouldn’t get in. Even if we won our tournament, they’d try to keep us out. But that’s fine, it’s not them."

    Calipari really knows how to inflame the passions of the fans. Most UK fans, including yours truly, are reflexively paranoid about the media. Trotting them out as the bad guy is always good business around the Big Blue Nation.

  • Calipari praises other SEC coaches but again says he has done a crap job coaching UK // vaughtsviews

    Would it help if we all agreed with you, Coach?

  • Pitino, Calipari debate merits of one-and-done players

    Via John Clay.

    Pitino and Calipari square off on the one-and-done debate, and I think Calipari gets the best of him:

    When told of Pitino’s comments regarding one-and-done players, Calipari told USA TODAY Sports: "That’s not true (that you can’t have relationships). Obviously the relationships I have with my guys, you need to go talk to them. Why? I have been loyal to them. I have loved them when they were here and loved them when they left. It’s not about me, it’s about them. I don’t go in and talk about one-and-done. It never comes up in meetings. I don’t have to. It’s the white elephant in the room … If you can’t get those kids, that’s the kind of comment you make. That’s what you say."

    Heh. In your eye, Traitor Rick.

  • Family members say Poythress and Goodwin thinking about winning and not NBA // vaughtsviews

    "Just watching is grueling on me. I get knots in my stomach and can’t sit still. I get excited, but it is also heart-wrenching to watch," Antoine Poythress said. "You want him to do so well. If he misses a free throw, I am on the floor in agony. It’s just tough to watch and not be able to help him."

    We fans are so often thinking only of ourselves, but imagine how you would feel if your child were out there playing for UK, with his every action scrutinized by media, blogs, and message boards.

    Gotta be a proud moment, but it has a cost, and a pretty high one.

  • Ira Combs Weekly Column

    I’ll go ahead and jump in with my two cents worth . At least one win and an appearance in the Saturday semi finals I think will be enough but two wins and an appearance in the Sunday championship game makes them [Kentucky] a lock .

    I think this is most likely correct. A loss in the first game, and all bets are off.

  • Wildcats basketball to be profiled in documentary // The Courier-Journal

    The Wildcats are featured in a Turner Sports special titled "Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball," an hourlong look at notable periods and figures in the program’s history. Debuting March 17 on TruTV after the 68-team NCAA Tournament field is selected, the show also features interviews with Kentucky coach John Calipari and former players such as Miami Heat President Pat Riley and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who helped earn the school’s eighth championship last spring.

    Why not? All publicity is good publicity, they say. Looking forward to it. (Hank)

  • Nerlens Noel Named to SEC Community Service Team -

    Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel has been named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service team for men’s basketball as announced by the league office on Monday.

    I’m sure this has already been been linked, but in case you missed it…

Other UK sports
Links posts
College basketball
  • NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Projecting the bracket with Easy Bubble Solver // CougCenter

    So if that’s all there is to it, then Kentucky fans can relax.

    Right? No? Bueller?

  • 3-point shot: N.Y. in play for ACC tourney // ESPN
  • Video: W Kentucky 65, Florida Int 63 // ESPN


  • It happens ... but Tom Crean has to know better // ESPN

    You can’t tell your athletes to behave out in the world, to walk away from arguments and toe the line of decorum and then go running around acting like a testosterone-laced bull while the television cameras are whirring.
    The Indiana Twitter posse has rushed to Crean’s defense, saying that Meyer may have said something to the IU coach first – the old "he started it" argument.
    But that doesn’t fly for high-paid coaches any more than it flies for my kids.

    Dana O’Neil takes Tom Crean to task. No excuses, Hoosier faithful.

  • Let’s not scrap the post-game handshake // John Clay's Sidelines

    In the wake of the Tom Crean dust-up with a Michigan assistant coach after Indiana’s victory over the Wolverines on Sunday, the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy advocates that college basketball needs to eliminate the "useless tradition" of the post-game handshake line.
    In other words, since grown men can’t act as grown men, let’s discard one of the last bastions of sportsmanship in sports.

    Mike DeCourcy’s one of my favorites, but he and I part ways on this one. I think John Clay is correct.

  • Crean apologizes for tirade after IU's win vs. Michigan //

    Michigan Coach John Beilein said he did not see the confrontation as it happened. He saw video of it on Monday morning and said Meyer "showed great poise" and called him "a great coach" who has helped rebuild the program "brick by brick, side by side, with me."
    He also said, "Michigan is always going to win with class and they’re going to lose with class. We’re never going to use victory or defeat to vent … any frustrations we’re going to have."

    Take that, Crean. Another one in the eye.

  • Forde Minutes: Mayhem comes before Madness // Yahoo! Sports

    Lansing (Mich.) State-Journal columnist Graham Couch ignited a race-related imbroglio in late February with a blog post asserting that Ohio State guard Aaron Craft (6) is overly valued by the media because "he’s a rosy-cheeked white guy." Couch then doubled down on his stance more recently, and it became a rather hot topic on the greatest radio show in the history of the planet, "Wetzel To Forde," on Yahoo! Sports Radio last week.
    The Minutes believes Couch is wrong, and believes Craft has earned all the love he’s received. But the notion of excessively hyped white players in college basketball is neither new nor completely out of line.

    Forde goes on to make a really good case why it is, in fact, out of line, despite is proclamation above. Consistency? Who needs it?

Other sports news
  • Kings anticipate suspension for DeMarcus Cousins //

    Agents, teammates, opposing players and retired legends have all tried to counsel Cousins. But this season Cousins is second in the NBA in technical fouls and leads the league with four ejections.
    "You can give a person as much advice as you can," forward Jason Thompson said. "From us, to coaches, to Hall of Famers, to whatever. But at the end of the day, you’re in this league because you’re a grown man. You’re going to do what you want to do."

    Yeah, that’s the thing. The NBA is a tough place to grow up, and Cousins would have really benefited from an extra couple of years at Kentucky. Alas.