Greetings, Big Blue Nation. I have just returned from the most Magical Place on Earth: Disney World. I took a bit of a vacation with my family, and it was seriously one of the best weeks of my life.
If you haven't been to Disney World, you need to do it once. It was my first time, and I was blown away at the cleanliness of the place, the size, the kindness of the staff, the magical appeal, and the number of Kentucky fans.
I wore some type of Kentucky Wildcats apparel every day while I was there and every day I was greeted with a "Go Cats" or a compliment from a fellow member of BBN. I even met the father of our new baseball coach while I was walking around Animal Kingdom.
The only other fan base that even was in the same ballpark as Kentucky fans were Ohio State football fans. And they became a rare breed on Sunday after their upset loss to Penn State. I did happen to see one UofL fan, and she looked completely miserable. But who could blame her?
Of course, while I was gone, a lot happened in the world of sports that I wasn't able to comment on, so I will take the time to do that now. I will start off with Kentucky football.
Kentucky Football Trending the Wrong Way. And That's a Good Thing.
The trend for Mark Stoops teams at Kentucky have been fast starts and slow finishes. In 2014 the team started off 5-1 and ended 5-7, losing six straight to end the season. In 2015, the ‘Cats started 4-1 before going 1-6 to once again finish the season out of bowl contention.
It appears as if the opposite is occurring this season. The ‘Cats started off 2-3 with a loss against Southern Miss and an uninspired game against the Florida Gators. But now the Wildcats sit at 4-3 having won four out of the last five games with a 3-2 record in the SEC.
All of a sudden Mark Stoops' team is in contention in the SEC East and is the only team in that division to have defeated a team from the West. With winnable games left against Missouri, Georgia, and Austin Peay, the ‘Cats are in prime position to reverse the trend and silence the critics.
I Like My Team.
After watching the Blue/White scrimmage on DVR, I officially pumped for basketball season. De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo are going to be special. Isaiah Briscoe looks as if he has taken the next step as a leader and as a shooter. Derrick Willis is going to start and will finally be able to showcase his newfound confidence.
While we pretty much knew these narratives would be true before this month, we are finding out some things that we didn't know a month ago. For one, Sacha Killeya-Jones might be the sixth man off of the bench and not Wenyen Gabriel. SKJ has shown early on that he is more physically ready than we may have thought and that his offense is more honed than Gabriel's.
Dominique Hawkins is going to be as big of a leader as Briscoe. While the guard position is loaded, Hawkins will find his way onto the floor because of his tenacity on defense, his improved shot, and his ability to play multiple positions.
The starting five on this team will be as good as advertised, but if guys like SKJ, Hawkins, Isaac Humphries, and Gabriel can shore up the reserve spots, then this team is going to be special.
Will the 2013 Championship Banner Come Down?
The Louisville Courier-Journal released an article that has Louisville fans sweating.
The Cards may have dodged the "Lack of Institutional Control" charge, something worse may be down the pike.
From the article:
If the University of Louisville men's basketball team used players who were ineligible during the 2012-13 season because they received improper benefits in the form of sex or strippers, the school's national championship and other victories almost certainly will be vacated, NCAA enforcement experts say.
Two former members of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions say it is almost automatic for the panel to vacate victories from teams that used players later determined to be ineligible
Yes, that's as bad as it sounds. Both Chane Behanan and Montrezl Harrell are two players from that national title team that were rumored to have partaken in the 'acts' in question.
I don't think the NCAA wants to vacate a title, but they have vacated Final Fours in the past. And if they stick to the letter of the rule, then UofL's third national title will not be recognized in the future.
Part of me doesn't want something like that to happen, and then I hear Rick Pitino spew crap like this in front of a national audience:
When Pitino is saying things like "We do things the right way" and "We don't want help from shoe companies," you almost root for it to happen.