Today is memorial day, the day we remember our fallen. It is today when we celebrate the lives and sacrifices of, paraphrasing Richard Grenier, the rough men and women who have done, and stand ready to do violence on our behalf. They buy our freedom with their lives, and it is up to each us to assure that sacrifice is not an empty one.
On a lighter note, last night the Kentucky Wildcats softball team defeated the UCLA Bruins, one of the great softball powers in America, on home diamond to advance to the Women's College World Series. What an astonishing accomplishment by Rachel Lawson and her outstanding team. Thanks so much to Jords and JLeverenz for their outstanding coverage of both softball and baseball.
This is Kentucky's first ever visit to the WCWS, and no matter what the outcome, the Great Powers of softball who are looking for a new coach will be turning their eyes toward Lexington early, and often. Mitch Barnhart needs to be thinking about that starting about a week ago.
I am currently vacationing on the East Coast at historic Kitty Hawk on the outer banks of North Carolina, but hopefully, that won't slow down blogging too much. Tweet of the morning
This Memorial Day we stop to remember all the men & women who served, including these WWI soldiers who… http://t.co/1rgcaRGcdI— UniversityofKentucky (@universityofky) May 26, 2014
- Vince Morrow and Kentucky were in early on star linebacker Marquise Copeland. That may be what brings him to Lexington, if he does decide to pick Kentucky. Morrow is just indispensable as a recruiter for the Wildcats .
Larry Vaught asks some basketball aficionados including Jay Bilas about Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Greatness as a "go-fer" clued people in that Coach Cal was going to be a great coach. Seems like a stretch to me, but who am I to gainsay the great Larry Brown?
Kyle Ringo's take on Calipari being considered one of the least-liked figures in sport:
He has a knack for winning on the court and on the recruiting trail, which is a big reason why he made the list in the first place. People don't like to see one guy succeed so much, especially when he isn't coaching at their favorite school.
Exactly. Calipari is easy to hate with his larger-than-life personality and his remarkable success. Embrace the hate, it is truly the greatest compliment.
John Clay says Rupp Arena's renovation is unpopular because it is unnecessary:
In these times of deep budget cuts to essential services, dumping $350 million into an unnecessary project with debatable benefits isn't going to fly. This community and state have much more important financial needs.
And let's be honest, if it wasn't for Louisville building the KFC Yum Center in 2010, we wouldn't be having these discussions. Lexington experienced arena-envy.
I concur in part and dissent in part. Clay's mostly right — Rupp Arena does not need a makeover this big and expensive. However, it does need a makeover, and I think that's what he's missing. A much more modest project could do wonders for the aging facility, one that could possibly be paid for out of private funds rather than public.
But if nothing happens, Louisville is going to gain an advantage over Kentucky facilities-wise, and UK can't really afford to let that happen. The financial problems with the YUM! Center are primarily to U of L's advantage, and they are raking in a huge windfall that is hurting UK's athletics programs. How is it going to be possible for Kentucky to continue to consider itself the flagship university of the state when Louisville is much wealthier, has more modern facilities, and will be able to attract not only athletics talent, but academic talent as well? John Calipari is forestalling this in basketball, but once he's gone, what then?
Dr. Capilouto's aims are wise and he's right, but I don't think he was trying to say that we should just go on as before. Capilouto's focus is correctly on infrastructure, but we must stay competitive in sports, or we'll soon be uncompetitive in both sports and academics. Louisville is eating our lunch income-wise at the moment. Can we really afford to ignore that? And if you think it will all come down around their ears over the YUM! Center lease, I might have to accuse you of wishful thinking.
Highly-ranked 2016 point guard Dennis Smith looking forward to hearing from Kentucky. Here's his mixtape:
Other UK sports
Five burning questions about the Women's College World Series — #1 is, "What is Kentucky doing here?" Read the whole thing.
Today at noon, the NCAA selection show for the NCAA Men's Baseball Tournament will happen. It will be interesting to see where Kentucky gets slated. It's pretty unlikely the Wildcats have enough pitching and defense to get to the Super Regional round, but if they hit the ball well, almost nobody can stay with them. Should be fun.
Some numbers on Bat Cats star A.J. Reed. This kid is clearly the best player in NCAA baseball by a fairly wide margin.
Auburn signee Tre Williams thinks Nick Saban has "Little-man Syndrome." That's pretty funny right there.
Mark Schlabach for ESPN argues that a football playoff expansion is inevitable. He's probably right.
- College basketball's early marquee matchups. As you might expect, Kentucky figures mightily in them.
Other sports news
- Harry Potter cutie Emma Watson graduates from Brown University. Congrats, Emma.