Good morning and happy Friday, ladies and gentlemen of Big Blue Nation. If you'll indulge some personal news: as of a few days ago, I became the new owner of a leveraged, illiquid, and undiversified financial asset. That's right: I'm a home-owner.
My few remaining tendrils of youth continue to float away as property taxes, landscaping, and home maintenance elbow their way to the forefront of my consciousness. You want to spend money on a vacation? Too bad, son. You need a dinner table and a visit from The Orkin Man. My slow lean into adulthood continues unabated as my Xbox and passport accumulate more dust.
Got any tips for a first-time home-owner? I'm all ears. And if you know anyone in Columbus, Ohio who wants to rent a room...
To your Quickies...
Tweets of the Morning:
April Fools Day is the one day of the year that people critically evaluate news articles before accepting them as true.— Nicholas de Wolff (@usdew) March 31, 2016
Bizarre "April Fool" holiday in west features newspapers and reporters pretending customary blunders, slanders, and lies are humorous jokes.— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) March 31, 2016
When a despotic regime is right, it's right.
What a scene! We had a blast at UK. Need to get back! https://t.co/lMaldTXMFn— Lee Fitting (@leefitting) March 31, 2016
I was there on that gorgeous fall day and 100% sober...
I feel bad for the staff member that had to inform Frank Martin the NCAA doesn't abide by the "no take backs" rule.
Humanity's most regrettable creations, ranked:— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) March 31, 2016
2. Bro country
3. Nuclear weapons
4. Time Warner Cable
Are we sure genocide is worse than cable companies?
I'm ranking current/prospective SEC quarterback situations today and *consumed by flames*— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) March 31, 2016
In the SEC there's Ole Miss' Chad Kelly and...not much else returning. Looks like another average-at-best year for league quarterback play. Given the paucity of returning starters, some new names may crop up like Florida's Will Grier last season (presumably not because they use PEDs).
Georgia's Jacob Eason is a probable candidate, but the 'Dawgs don't have anyone for him to throw the ball to. I guess he can just hand it off to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel 45 times per game. The 'Dawgs could probably return to football's atavistic roots and run the ball, while playing good defense and special teams, and find a way to 8-10 wins. Worked for them last year.
- Kentucky held a practice yesterday that seemed to indicate some frustration with offensive execution, and an acknowledgement there's not much depth along the defensive line. Here's the full Q&A. I always read these and file them away for later use. There's often good nuggets.
- Todd wrote a great post yesterday on why CJ Conrad's production was limited last season. If the offensive line is better, he should see his production rise in 2016 despite having the best season of a UK tight end since 2011.
- Presumably to entice pride in special teams, the coaching staff has come up with an interesting way to increase the performance on those teams.
- Running back Mikel Horton loves playing for his new offensive coordinator.
- Landon Young talked to SEC Country about his recruitment. There's a lot of very interesting insight, but the headline will be Urban Meyer allegedly telling him he didn't take an interest in him earlier because he was an "insubstantial player" (and he goes on to say the same about UK as a program). I understand college football is a business in a lot of ways, and frank talk has its place, but that's a tone deaf response to a teenager's individual abilities. I imagine there will be more information to come on the matter, and Young's candid manner with the media is just beginning.
- De'Niro Laster sounds ready for the coming season. He'll be needed. My guess is he ends up at outside linebacker, while Jordan Jones holds down the weak-side linebacker position.
- The men's basketball is holding a press conference at 2 pm today for a "special announcement". Commence speculation if you haven't already started.
- ASoB has a new basketball podcast worth checking out. The guys just produced and published Episode 3 (The football podcast will return for an episode in April FYI).
- Surprise, surprise. Calipari has already made an impression on a 2017 star, small forward John Petty.
- Mark Story writes that last year's Wisconsin loss is more painful than the Laettner game. Last year, I always thought the only team that could cause issues for UK were the Badgers. That game felt like it was always heading towards its inevitable conclusion with ten minutes to play in the second half. The Laettner game ended in such a suddenly negative way that lessens its impact for me. Either way, both losses probably cost UK a title.
Other Kentucky sports
- Jasmine Mitchell runs the college 400m faster than anyone else this season. She ran it in 52.94 seconds. I recall the men's 400m record at my high school being around 53.5 seconds and that guy ran track in college. Straight booking it.
- Destiny Carter ran a season-best 23.10 to win a 200m heat in Gainesville yesterday. Earlier, Kianna Gray ran a 22.86 in the 200m which is good for the second best time in school history. Here's an entire wrap-up of yesterday's activities in Florida. If track and field were a revenue sport, ESPN and SI would be doing stories on the coaching job Edrick Floreal has done in Lexington. He and Rachel Lawson have done tremendous work with their respective programs.
- The 12th-ranked softball team faces a tough Auburn team this weekend.
- The 23rd-ranked tennis team picked up their first road win of the season at Ole Miss.
- How's everyone's bracket holding up? UNC is the only team I have still earning points in my office pool. Here's a good preview of this weekend's festivities. Seth Davis also writes about the four x-factors in this grouping.
- Denzel Valentine and Bill Self were voted the AP Player and Coach of the year.
- How the Golden State Warriors made their imprint on the Final Four. Your thoughts?
- The US Women's National Team has filed a wage discrimination complaint against US Soccer. Makes sense especially when they generate more earnings than the men's side. Deadspin also has an opinion. SB Nation does too. And then there's also this.
- UNC faculty report contradicts administration regarding the classes athletes were taking.
- Speaking of soccer, a promising prospects earned his first cap for the USMNT earlier this week. He has already started playing for the second best team in the Bundesliga, and seems to have a bright future ahead of him.
- David at Team Speed Kills does a postmortem on the SEC basketball season. The SEC was worse this season than last. At what point, if at all, will the recent, smart coaching hires start to be reflected in league-wide improvement? LSU squandering their talents this year certainly hurt the league, but Bruce Pearl's team seemed like it took a step back this year. I thought Mike White and Avery Johnson showed promise. At the end of the day, elite prep basketball players aren't as concentrated in the south as with football. Geographic proximity tends to help.
- DraftKings and FanDuel won't have college sports contests going forward.
- NASCAR driver is involved in illicit smuggling activity. Sounds like AMC's next TV show.
- Here's a great story on the world of JUCO football. This system certainly provides opportunities for a lot of athletes. UK's football team has signed nine JUCO players (off the top of my head) since Stoops arrived in Lexington.
- Former five star quarterback Christian Hackenberg looks to make a NFL team, and put his miserable college career behind him. When James Franklin oversees your offense then your offense will be ugly. Have elite offensive talent? Don't play in Happy Valley.
- This is a few days old, but Zach Lowe breaks down The Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving said last night The Cavs are still the team to beat. Okay...
- John Wall's Wizards probably aren't making the play-offs sitting at 36-39, and in tenth place of a weak conference. Very disappointing for a team that had a nice play-off run last season. Well, Bradley Beal lost his cool recently, and makes it sound like the team doesn't have any leadership.
- Kobe Bryant turned down an opportunity to play for Barcelona next season.
- The UFC 200 card is set. I'm underwhelmed and disappointed.
- Iowa State football players saved a woman from drowning while in Texas for spring break. They celebrated their feat by bonging Natural Light and taking Jell-O shots.
- Today is April Fool's Day. Don't fall for lame pranks. Here's some pranks that end up being real products.
- Japan will attempt to grow a liver on the International Space Station. What could go wrong when a new experiment is attempted in confined quarters surrounded by cold vacuum?
- This story is bananas.
- Acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has turned to comic books for his next project. He's written the next 11 issues of The Black Panther. As someone who grew up collecting comics through the nineties, as well as someone who has read TNC since he initially filled in on a trial basis at The Atlantic in 2010, this project is firmly in the middle section of my life's Venn diagram.
- Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife is reportedly now dating Vladimir Putin. Yes, you read that right. Somewhere in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un slicks down his hair and goes shopping for flowers.
- Life of Pablo is now on something besides Tidal. Thank, Yeezus.
- Meet "The Sock Queen of Alabama".
- One of the world's best architects has passed away. The Wall Street Journal covered her influence. Here's a good 2011 profile from The New Yorker. Here's a bridge in Taiwan she designed that's one of my favorites.
- Speaking of The New Yorker, this is a favorite article of mine. The writing is great, and it still has an influence on me (not to mention was the catalyst for me shopping for Dogfish Head in a time right before craft brewing really took off nationally). That first sentence (and the rest of its paragraph) is just perfect.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the games!