Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Mark Story has an interesting piece today about Kentucky’s non-conference scheduling, particularly the number of major conference foes on the home schedule. Let’s start with a summary of his piece, which he gets to early:
Over the past five seasons (2014-15 through 2018-19), Michigan State played only three non-conference home games against major foes.
Duke played four such games, UCLA four, North Carolina six, Indiana six, Kansas eight and Louisville eight.
In the same time frame, Kentucky played 11 non-league games against major-conference foes in Rupp Arena.
Kentucky season ticket fans frequently complain about the quality of the non-conference schedule in Rupp Arena, and I can understand some of that. Kentucky’s move to play major foes in neutral locations has had a significant impact on the availability of games such as Kentucky-UNC, which have now moved to neutral four-team events, leaving the likes of Utah on the Rupp Arena schedule as the highlight discounting the annual home-away Louisville game last season. 2017 featured Virginia Tech and Vermont.
So you can see where the “problem” lies, and why some fans reckon their return on season tickets is not what it used to be. In the last season of Tubby Smith’s reign, for example, UK fans were treated to Indiana, UMass, and Houston. The year before that it was North Carolina, Louisville, and Kansas.
Times have changed, of course, and UK coach John Calipari wants to show off the team in neutral venues near large recruiting bases in order to draw attention to the program. So basically it becomes something of a trade-off -- the argument that fans get better teams from the national attention at neutral venues, but the price for that is a reduced-quality Rupp Arena home schedule.
Both arguments, the “we need a better home non-conference home schedule” and the value of national coverage in big out-of-state venues appear to have merit, but I can forgive Kentucky season ticket holders for questioning the whether or not the two have equivalent merit. The problem is, the guy who runs UK men’s basketball believes his argument has more value, and I don’t see the athletics department gainsaying his stewardship of the program given its success.
Tweet of the Morning
That’s fairly impressive, if you’ll pardon my apparent talent for understatement.
- Why Troy graduate transfer Sawyer Smith is a perfect fit for Kentucky football.
- Kentucky seeks to build on success after 10-win season.
- A.J. Rose confident Kentucky running backs can pick up where Benny Snell left off.
- Mark Stoops wants to see more from the Kentucky defense. We have a lot of question marks in the secondary this season.
- Nice piece on Mark Stoops by the Quad-Cities online, an Illinois news clearinghouse. Stoops is a former Hawkeye.
- Coach Cal’s daughter takes pic of Calipari tanning by the pool. I have two words, coach -- malignant melanoma.
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky swimming and diving gets a new commit -- rising senior Leah Luckett from South Lebanon, Ohio.
- Former Wildcat Jennifer O’Neill helps Puerto Rico win bronze at the Pan-Am Games.
- The Red River Rivalry could be played twice again this season.
- Why SEC football teams need to stop bragging about how tough their conference is. Party-pooper.
- NCAA abruptly revises “Rich Paul Rule.”
- U of L former trustee chairman says that he was told by former Louisville president James Ramsey that a member of the board of trustees was the “cash source” for paying the infamous Cardinal Rules strippers.
- After losing four starters, Tennessee needs more firepower right away to remain competitive in the SEC.
- UNC scandal: NCAA drops proposed academic fraud reform.
But at a meeting this week, the NCAA’s board of directors for the Division I schools that include big-money conferences such as the ACC and SEC decided not to pursue the reform. That decision wasn’t included in an NCAA news release Wednesday that announced the board “seeks to shore up academic integrity rules.”
Academics? Get real. As if these players were playing for an educational institution or something...
Other sports news
- Alex Poythress signs with Chinese professional team. The Chinese basketball pro leagues are getting quite a bit of US talent lately.
- Sebastian Telfair, the point guard who skipped out on Louisville to play in the NBA and went on to crash and burn, has hit rock bottom with prison time for a gun charge.
- De’Aaron Fox is fighting for the last spot on the Team USA roster.
Congrats to Bowling Green!!! Headed to the Little League World Series!!!— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) August 10, 2019
- Ah, the 80’s.
'The Dukes of Hazzard' ran from January 1979 to February 1985 and followed the adventures of the fast-drivin', rubber-burnin' Duke boys, cousins Bo & Luke of Hazzard County. Cousin Daisy and Uncle Jesse joined in the running battles with Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane. Yee-haw. pic.twitter.com/oTD1YviYMj— I❤️80s (@IL0VEthe80s) August 8, 2019