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Kentucky Wildcats Sunday Quickies: Marcus Smart Edition

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Well, by now you've heard of the brouhaha around Marcus Smart of the Oklahoma St. Sooners shoving some fan at Texas Tech who apparently said something offensive to him. Smart and OSU will address the issue today at 6:00 PM.

What we know: The OSU fan was alleged by Smart to have used "The" racial slur. That Marcus Smart reacted and shoved the fan is a matter of YouTube record. The rest we'll find out sometime between 6:00 PM today and... well, whenever, I guess.

I have more to say about that below.

Tweet of the Morning:

Hate to give it to an IU fan, but the guy is right.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
  • Neal Brown talks about Stanley "Boom" Williams. I just love that nickname.

  • Jojo Kemp doesn't worry about the competition at running back. After all, when you've got that knife in your sock ...

  • Kentucky excelled by invading Ohio:

    When UK hired Mark Stoops, it was a signal that the school was finally going to try something different. The Bluegrass State may not share a border with Florida, but it does share a border with Ohio. Ohio is one of the best recruiting grounds of the north half of the country, and it's one that most SEC schools don't frequent. The Stoops name is gold in the Buckeye State, as the brothers are all from Youngstown, and so Mark has friends and relationships all over. With him at the helm, Kentucky could go into Ohio and sell the SEC to players who don't hear that pitch much (if at all).

    Let's just say the strategy worked.

    You should read the whole thing.

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College basketball
  • Marcus Smart does his best Ron Artest impression. I know this was linked earlier, but it's going to be a big story, and should be — Smart will be suspended, and should be. I think everyone agrees about that. I suspect the suspension won't be too long, but it could be a couple of games.

    Mike Rutherford offers further perspective here, and while this is a big problem for Smart, it is also a big problem for college basketball that I have highlighted many times:

    It was terrifying Saturday night to see Texas Tech fans storm a court still occupied by an opposing player who had just shoved one of their fans at whom some of them had just hurled debris. It shouldn't take an incident like the one people were envisioning at that moment, or the one that "rose up and became an issue" minutes earlier, to spark a conversation about making sure that 18-23 year olds feel safe playing a game.

    Terrifying? Absolutely. Once again, we see a perhaps inadvertent but articulate defense of my repeated calls for court storming to either be banned or regulated. I understand that is is a nice moment for college kids, but one of these days there is going to be a catastrophe — it is as certain as the sunrise. Must we wait for serious injury or death before we stop this "tradition," which unfortunately has become unsafe for whatever reason?

    I will also say that if it can be reliably determined that the fan in question used a racial slur at a young basketball player to his face, that person should be banned from the arena for the rest of this season, and his season tickets revoked and money refunded pro rata, and a public apology and admission of wrongdoing be required as part of his penance. I don't think that it should be a permanent ban — it's certainly worthy of action but we so tend to overreact to isolated instances of racial bigotry (assuming that's what this is) that it would be nice to see some sense of proportion.

    If some were to point out the First Amendment (and Texas Tech as a public institution) as a defense against reprisal by the school, remember that the Supreme Court held in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire that "fighting words," which would surely encompass a racial epithet hurled in the face of another (if that's what actually happened), are not protected speech, and would justify school action against such an offender.

  • Tubby Smith is gracious, as always, in victory as in defeat, and sympathizes with Smart and Texas Tech.

  • Matt Norlander writes about Smart, and notes that the Oklahoma St. events overshadowed another act of unsportsmanlike conduct in the Arizona St. - Oregon game. He also says we should hold fans accountable for their actions:

    It happens because there is almost no downside for the fan. They get a reaction from the athlete, and they win. The athlete loses. The athlete becomes the vilified one. The athlete stands to lose everything, because the fan already has nothing.

    We expect athletes -- especially college-age athletes -- to put their feelings in check when someone is using hurtful language? This notion that athletes can't "cross a line" by laying hands on a fan: it's ideal but unreasonable. If in no other walk of life is it acceptable to just out-and-out heckle or belittle or harass or racially incite a person, why should we turn around in that same breath and expect all athletes to compose themselves and be above a moment of ignition?

    Could you?

    Good question, an answer I hope I never have to discover. But there is something badly out of joint with the way things are right now, and that's a fact.

  • Oregon coaches tell police that Arizona St. fans spit on them, as noted above. Here is another account.

  • Wisconsin overcomes Michigan St. Wisconsin badly needed that win.

  • Iowa drills Michigan. Wow, what happened there? I'll tell you what — conference play.

  • Memphis beats Gonzaga. Huge win for Josh Pastner & Co.

  • Western Kentucky wins one at the buzzer.

  • Arkansas finally wins a road game — by only 2 points, but hey, a win is a win.

  • Ole Miss bounces back from Kentucky loss by defeating Missouri.

  • Top 25 capsules.

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