Shirley Temple, one of the staples of my TV viewing as a young person, has died at 85. I always enjoyed her movies very much, and she was one of my late parents' favorites.
Rest in peace, Shirley.
Tweet of the Morning:
Tom Crean, currently in his sixth year, has fewer wins at IU than Calipari had in his first three years at UK.— UK Cat Facts (@UK_CatFacts) February 9, 2014
Ouch. Storm that, Hoosier fans.
More "size doesn't matter" talk from the Tyler Ulis camp. I believe them. The kid can play.
Kentucky moves up to 14th in the AP Poll. That's about where they belong.
Mark Story on the Rupp Arena upgrade — show us the money. For once, I agree with him. $310 million is a lot of money, and I'd like to know where it will be coming from.
Calipari says that the best thing to do is ignore the opposing fans' taunts. Well, thanks for that, Mr. Obvious. That's not particularly helpful.
Of course that's the best thing to do. The problem is, people, especially athletes, are competitive. Taunting stokes that fire, and if it's provocative enough, can stoke it out of control. Players are only human beings, not automatons.
Fans need to be held accountable for their actions. Yes, they should be able to boo and taunt, but when the taunt goes over the line into fighting words, arenas and schools must start taking action. You don't pay for the right to start a fight with a player (or anyone else, for that matter) when you purchase a ticket to see a game. We need to dispense with the idea that a ticket purchase confers some kind of rights onto the fan. It doesn't.
I think Kevin Stallings had the best response of a relatively bad lot in this story.
Stallings offered a quaint notion of what everyone, including fans, should keep in mind.
"We need to remember good sportsmanship is supposed to be about this collegiate athletic experience," he said. "I get passion. I get all that. And I appreciate it very much.
"But there's a difference between cheering hard for your team and yelling obscenities at opposing players."
A big difference, one we should all think about now that we have seen what almost happened when taunting gets out of control.
Ira Combs says that Kentucky can vault right back into the national championship picture with a win over the Florida Gators. Yes, that is so, but we first have to get by Auburn.
Honestly, with this team, I have take the novel notion (for me), that seeding almost doesn't matter for this team. For one thing, Kentucky seems to play much better against tougher teams. For another thing, Kentucky is a nightmare matchup for almost every team in the nation, and if they have enough time left, they have a higher ceiling than every other team in the nation.
Right now, all I want to see is improvement. If Kentucky gets there fast enough, seed won't matter.
Calipari is wary of Tony Barbee and Auburn, and rightly so:
"They started with a ridiculous (SEC) schedule that any of us would have been on a losing streak. You talk Missouri early in the year, they were top 10, and then Florida, at Tennessee, at Arkansas. We could have been 0-4 (with that schedule). He’s coaching as well as anybody in this conference and in the country. To keep them going and to be playing the way they’re playing, it’s amazing."
He's right. I watched Auburn give LSU all it wanted in Baton Rouge this weekend. This is a dangerous game, and if Kentucky comes in half-cocked, I don't think we're going to like how it goes.
Rashad Vaughn is set to announce his college. I don't think it will be Kentucky, but you never know.
Other Kentucky sports
Softball's Griffin Joiner named SEC Player of the Week. Softball is off to a rousing start, and that's great to see.
Kentucky sprinter Dezerea Bryant is named one of U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's Athlete of the Week. Good for you, Dezerea.
Kansas goes down again, this time to Kansas St. That's Kansas' second loss in the last four games after winning 7 in a row.
Tennessee and Florida face off tonight in Knoxville. Consider this observation from Ken Pomeroy:
Tennessee is #1 in the enigma rankings this season. They’re 2-7 in single-digit games and 11-1 otherwise. Kind of like Florida was last season. But then the Gators attended Dan Dakich’s off-season seminar in "How to win close basketball games" and look at them now! They’re winning close games left and right. (Dan’s three-step program: 1. Be clutch. 2. Be gritty. 3. Do whatever it takes to get Aaron Craft on your team. Bruce Pearl was ahead of his time.) [my emphasis]
While you're pondering, consider that Kentucky is 2-5 in single-digit games (yes, dear nitpicker, I know the LSU loss was single-digit only at the very end) and undefeated otherwise. So Kentucky, while not quite as enigmatic as the Vols, owns a bit of the enigma thing as well. Although most Kentucky fans will tell you it's all about youth, that might just be a little to facile.
By the way, that Bruce Pearl shot was priceless.
I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: Twitter is the Devil!
Ryan Harrow helps transform Georgia St. into a winner. This makes me very happy.
Other sports news
Patrick Patterson has a big game for Toronto, 22 points, 6 rebounds.
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