I recently had the opportunity to talk with a legend of the college basketball broadcasting game, CBS Sports Analyst Bill Raftery.
Raftery has been calling college games for over 30 years and will be in Rupp Arena this weekend for the 'Cats and the Cards. We touched on a variety of subjects such as the atmosphere of a UK game, the freedom of movement having a hand in the game Saturday, Skal Labissiere, him calling Cawood Ledford's last game, and I asked him who was cooler, him or Jay Bilas, plus much more.
Check out the 13-minute interview below, I have also highlighted some of Bill's answers below, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
When you think Kentucky and Louisville, what comes to your mind
"Oh boy, just the programs and the status of them and the history of the game pretty much, other than that how big basketball is in that state"
"I think that just jumps out, where, you know that this is a big deal"
How do you think it shakes out this Saturday between UK and UL
"You know I have no idea how it'll shake out, the great atmosphere there is conducive to great play by the home team, but I think the Louisville team is starting to sneak up on people, but I think the reality is that they're very good"
Have you seen teams like this that are guard oriented, struggle with shooting early but then gel and become dangerous?
"When you watch them in person or on tape, you notice the effort is there, and when the effort is there you are gonna get better"
"They're into trying to do what John wants, and that's how you get better, and I think this team will, you know they'll grow in confidence and sometimes losses although painful, give great instruction, you see that frequently"
In your coaching career, how do you deal with knowing a team is going to play above their heads, how hard is it to get your players to realize that the team coming in, is not the same team you may have watched.
"The hard part for Kentucky is what you said, the X on the back... everybody shoots to play them, you get prepared as a Kentucky player and you gotta have peak performance."
"This is the kind of a team where as long as you take good shots, I think that's the big concern, if you take good shots and you are good players, you are going to start making shots."
Does freedom of movement emphasis (if called correctly) hurt UL's chances Saturday, and help UK's?
"That'll be interesting, you're right, the way Louisville extends the floor and deflect and all those things, it could a factor certainly if they do call those Nickle/Dimers as I call them"
"What I notice when I watch Louisville is they try NOT to foul, you know, they have referees in the practice, they work hard at not giving up those small change deals."
When you know you are calling a Kentucky game and going to Lexington, what do you most look forward to?
"I think the atmosphere is something that all of us just soak up, you look up and every seat is taken"
"no matter who you are or what you are doing there, it's overwhelming"
"It's a definite home court advantage, no doubt about it"
When you walk away from it all one day many moons from now, what's your favorite moment?
"It's always NCAA Tournament games.. the one game that jumps out is the 6 OT Game with Syracuse and Connecticut"
"You know it's been one highlight after another every year"
"One thrill that will resonate with you and your fan base, Cawood Ledford, you know that name, I did his last game, and that was a big thrill"
Who is more Trill, you or Jay Bilas?
"Well obviously him knowing that word (Trill) it's gotta be him, you know"
"He's so damn clever and funny, it's great to see people appreciating that humor too"
"Being around longer, maybe I've got an edge on him in terms of how do you say it, Thrill? Trill?... he's got too much free time"