For the 2nd year in a row, the entire sports staff at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is going to host a day long event on the day following Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament. This year, that falls on March 12th. The event will once again be hosted by the Oxmoor Center on Shelbyville Road, and will encompass a total of 6 hosts and 13 hours of sports programming. Plus, we will host a BRACKET CHALLENGE with a chance to win a super-nice Gorilla Basketball Goal, courtesy of Steepleton's. Below is the entire rundown of events, so feel free to head out to Oxmoor any time in the day and you will get your sports fix headed into tournament time:
7-10AM: The EarlyBirds w/ Drew Deener
10-12PM: KentuckySportsRadio w/Matt Jones
12-1PM: Lachlan Mclean on WKRD
1-2PM: Drew Deener on WKRD
2-3PM: Dave Jennings and Tony Vanetti
3-530PM: The Afternoon Underdogs w/Tony and Dave
530-6PM: Terry Meiners
7-9PM: Occupy Lachlan (the entire cast of hosts together on stage at the same time)
WHERE TO LISTEN ON THE AIR
Early Birds with Drew Deener
7-10AM (790AM WKRD)
The Tom Leach Show
9-10AM (1080AM WKJK)
KentuckySportsRadio with Matt Jones
10AM-12PM (1080AM WKJK)
Joe B. and Denny Show
10AM-12PM (790AM WKRD)
The Afternoon Underdogs with Dave Jennings and Tony Vanetti
3-530PM (790AM WKRD)
Sportstalk84 with Lachlan McLean
7-9PM (840AM WHAS)
It is a fairly strong consensus that Kentucky will have the most NBA Draft picks in 2014. Bringing in boatloads of Top 10 players, nearly all of which are likely one and done, will do that to you. And this has many UK fans already etching the 2014 NCAA Title for themselves. But, has history shown us that the most NBA draft picks equates to NCAA Tournament success? Take a look at the previous 8 years and which teams had the most draft picks and how those teams did in the tournament:
2005: North Carolina
Draft Picks (4): Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashaad McCants
NCAA Tournament Finish: Champions
Draft Picks (5): Rudy Gay, Hilton Armstrong, Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, Denham Brown
NCAA Tournament Finish: Elite 8
Draft Picks (5): Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Chris Richard, Taureen Green
NCAA Tournament Finish: Champions
Draft Picks (5): Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kahn
NCAA Tournament Finish: Champions
2009: North Carolina
Draft Picks (4): Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green
NCAA Tournament Finish: Champions
Draft Picks (5): John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton
NCAA Tournament Finish: Elite 8
Draft Picks (4): Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Josh Harrellson, Deandre Liggins
NCAA Tournament Finish: Final Four
Draft Picks (6): Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller
NCAA Tournament Finish: Champions
That's right, 5 of the last 8 NCAA champions had the most NBA draft picks on their rosters. Admittedly, 2 of the 3 that didn't were UK teams from 2010 and 2011, but nonetheless, the odds are in UK's favor to bring home title #9 to Lexington in 2014. And at worst, an Elite 8 is a must.
-by Shawn Teer
Florida Gulf Coast University, LaSalle University, and Wichita State University. These teams are the ones that have gone to the NCAA tournament and were supposed to be out of the tournament already, but the problem is that they bucked the system. No one in a million years would have picked FGCU to beat Georgetown, but they did anyways. So I have to ask one question. Does this mean that the selection system is flawed in some way? Think about it.
The way these things are determined is so incredibly complicated it is ridiculous. Sure, it makes for an exciting tournament, but is it fair to these teams who are lesser known the world over unlike a University of Kentucky or Indiana University? Is there a bit of bias on this as well in that the lesser known schools get kind of written off as a first round beat down and nothing else? I think this needs to be looked at it and something needs to be done to fix this problem. This is one of those situations where it is not straight to the point, and I get that, but shouldn’t there be an easier way to give everyone a chance to get better seeds and improve their rankings in the tournament?
I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I feel that there should be something to help these lesser known teams. I am not saying the Cinderella story does not need to be told, in fact I think it is great and inspiring but I feel that they need some help and I don’t think that they have been given a fair ranking in the tournament. I wonder what would happen if they gave a fair shake to the so called “underdogs” in the tournament. I wonder what would have happened if the selection committee decided solely on whether or not they liked the team and did away with the selection process all together.
Would Kentucky have made it this year? Would FGCU even be considered? I think that this needs to be really thought out all the way around and we should go to social media to get these answers. The U.S.A. is a democracy, so why not put this power in the hands of the people? How about we let the actual media take a crack at it like they select professional players into the hall of fame? Let’s get journalists from radio, television, and newspapers to vote and tally up the votes and the highest vote is the number one seed and so on and so forth. I don’t know, maybe I am far off the mark, but I think this should be looked at. I’m just looking out for the little guy here…the David instead of always the Goliath.
It's no secret that I don't like Marshall Henderson. And my reasons are pretty simple. I think he's a punk. He is an average player who puts up so many shots that he's bound to score a bunch of points, and then whole time he attempts to piss opposing fans and players off. He doesn't care so much about playing great (which he doesn't), he just wants to have all eyes on him. He's an attention-seeking, immature, punk.
But Deadspin.com did a really well-done article yesterday that highlighted another feature of Marshall Henderson that leads to his love-hate relationship with fans: his race. The argument is made, and quite well, that the fact Henderson is white gives him a pass on some of his on-the-court and off-the-court troubles. Henderson has spent time in prison, had multiple arrests, punched a player during a game, had run-ins with coaches, and all of the much publicized things at Ole Miss.
To read the entire article, click here. But here are a couple highlights:
He's an incessant shit-talker who tosses up 30-footers, rarely passes, and has a conspicuous lack of "hustle" stats. He tokes an invisible joint after made three-pointers. He drinks a lot, even during the NCAA tournament. He tweets photos of himself blacked out or with groupies, and calls them hoes. He has a rap sheet. He's a coach's kid with a known history of clashing with coaches. Marshall Henderson by all rights shouldn't exist. And if he were a black athlete, he wouldn't—not as far as big-time basketball is concerned.
How about this:
Let's imagine the counterfactuals: If Henderson were black, the arrest alone likely would have ended his NCAA career. An attempt to pick up 50-plus grams of marijuana using fake currency isn't exactly a mere youthful transgression. Would a black 18-year-old have gotten off with just probation? Would he have gotten another chance to play Division I ball?
And this closer:
Even if he never rolls another blunt and turns into one of the premier defensive backs in football, Honey Badger won't outrun that story. Henderson, however, is past the counterfeit money, the marijuana, the punch, the cocaine, the month in jail. He flipped us the bird on Sunday, but he's already past that, too. He's retained the kind of freedom everyone wants but only some people in public life can ever enjoy: the freedom to move on.
Photo Credit - www.washingtonpost.com
Article By - Daniel Farish
Where are you Big East teams? WE CAN'T SEE YOU! Following the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the Big East conference has 3 teams remaining. They started with 8. The Atlantic 10 has 5 teams remaining. They started with 6. Something has gone turribly, turribly wrong in the conference formerly known as the best in the land.
Once nicknamed, "The Beasts In The East", this power conference will be gone in just a few short weeks. What once was the best conference tournament in the land will now be a second rate tournament in a world class facility with a mid-major feel. The final BE Tournament went out with a bang. Two of the most successful teams in the conference over the last 8 years were in the final, and we were treated to one of the biggest comeback/runaway wins in Big East history. And then came the NCAA Tournament.
To understand the present and predict the future, we must first look at the past. Beginning with the 2010 NCAA Tournament, the Big East has put 34 teams in. One of those (UConn in 2011) won it all. That means 33 teams have lost. 25 have lost in the first weekend, or 73.5%. Of those 25, 16 were in the first round. Think that sounds bad? It gets worse. 10 of the 16 first round losses were to teams seeded lower. Only 3 of those losses were 7-10 / 8-9 games. Four of them were 6-11 games, one was 4-13 (cough cough Louisville), one was 3-14 and the final was 2-15.
And now, we can look at 2013 as a whole. #10 Cincinnati lost to #7 Creighton who isn't necessarily a one trick pony, but if you can contain Doug McDermott then you have a chance. The best college basketball player in the country (not to be confused with the best player in college basketball) lit up the Bearcats for 27 points and 11 rebounds. The Blue Jays attempted 22 less shots, shot a higher percentage from 3pt and committed 10 fewer fouls. Someone forgot to tell Mick Cronin and his players they weren't in conference play anymore. And still, with 3:33 left it was tied at 54. Over the final 5 minutes, Cincinnati was 1 of 5 from the charity stripe, Creighton was 11 of 12. Game.
#9 Villanova lost to #8 UNC, but fate was against them. Roy Williams was going for his 700th win, a win that would put him in the 2nd round against his former team, the Kansas Jayhawks. It also didn't help that the Heels jumped out to a 32-12 lead. Villanova eventually climbed back and took the lead, 45-44 with 12:46 to go but were unable to sustain it. Back to back Reggie Bullock / PJ Hairston baskets put UNC up 5 and 'Nova never got within four after that. Three huge wins at home got them in the tournament and a lackluster neutral court performance got them bounced.
When I saw that the Shockers of Wichita State were graced with a #9 seed, I couldn't pick them fast enough. Follow that up with seeing they played #8 Pittsburgh, I about fell out of my chair. Guaranteed upset...if you call a #9 beating an #8 an "upset." Jamie Dixon hasn't been able to get these players to perform when expectations were high (2010: Lost 2nd round as a #3 to #6 Xavier; 2011: Lost as a #1 seed to #8 Butler), so how in the world would they perform as a lowly mid-seeded team? The Shocker's didn't shock the world. They did however hold Pitt's leading scorer, senior Trey Woodall, to 2 points.
I am one of those few fans who can take his conference blinders off when examining a bracket. This being said, I saw no reason why #7 Notre Dame should have a problem with the #10 Iowa State Cyclones. The Irish allowed only 32.1% of opponents 3pt's to go in this season, while Iowa State led the nation with 9.8 trey's per game. So the Cyclones did what you would expect...they had two big men combine for 36 points in an 18 point whupping. Hitting close to 70% in the second half, Iowa State ran away and hid from Notre Dame. Oh, and they also hit their average nine three-pointers. Buh-bye Notre Dame, we'll see you in the ACC.
The Norfolk State Spartans made their first trip to the NCAA's memorable in 2012, leaving with a 1-1 record and a win over #2 Missouri. I can almost picture Floriga Gulf Coast University coach Andy Enfield watching that game and thinking, "Why not us?" Or maybe he was sitting down to dinner with his wife. Google her, and thank me later. In only their 2nd year of Division I eligibility, the FGCU Eagles knocked off Miami in Coral Gables back in November. Then they finished 2nd in the Atlantic Sun regular season and knocked off Mercer in the tournament final. And on Friday night, they proved that eagles from Florida sure can fly. They threw down 5 dunks, each one more monstrous than the previous, en route to a 78-68 upset of #2 Georgetown. THIS was the game that a #15 could realistically upset a #2. Curious as to why? If you shut down Otto Porter, you shut down Georgetown. In 2008, the Hoyas lost to a #10 seed. In 2010, they lost opening round to a #14 seed. In 2011, they lost to an #11 seed. And in 2012, they lost to another #11 seed.
“I wish I could,” Thompson said when asked if he could find a common thread in his program's tournament woes. “Trust me, more than anyone on this earth, I’ve tried to analyze it, think about it, look at it, see what we could do --- should do --- differently, and I don’t know.”
As the reigning Big East Coach Of The Year, he had better figure something out. The remaining 3 teams in the tournament have much different paths ahead of them. #3 Marquette is coming off of a loss/bye situation, as #14 Davidson simply gave the game away with a reckless turnover while trying to break the press. #4 Syracuse had a horrible second half of the season but managed to make the BE Tournament final. They dismantled Montana in the opening round 81-34 and are set to face #12 California on Saturday night. The BE does boast the overall #1 seed in Louisville. The Cardinals rolled over #16 North Carolina A&T Thursday night and are currently up on #8 Colorado State 45-31 at halftime. The are expected to win the tournament, as any overall #1 is expected to.
The Big East as we know it is over. I would have expected it to go out better than this. Ideally the Big East will go into the Sweet 16 with three teams. UL is cruising against Colorado State, the Orange and Golden Eagles are favorites against their opponents, California and Butler. But when he being a favorite stopped the Big East from losing? Never, says history. Maybe Louisville can reverse history.
-by Jason Chin
Key ingrediants for championship teams aren't just a collection of great talent and atheletisism. Chemistry, maturity, and mental toughness are vital for winning in any sport. When you have players with these qualities, your chances of hanging championship banners are greatly increased. When you don't, you get what Coach John Calipari had this season, disappointment, frustration, and a first round loss in the NIT to Robert Morris University.
After Wednesday's announcement by Julius Randle to join the Wildcats next season, Kentucky's chances of hanging another championship banner next season were greatly increased. Randle's commitment, the 6th by a 5-star prospect and 7th overall in a now historic class, was one that most recruiting experts said Calipari needed to help get the Cats back to the Final Four.
I watched the announcement on tv. After Randle made his choice public, he was asked about why he wanted to go to Kentucky. According to Randle, he "wants to practice and play with other great players, because it will make me a better player." I've heard this same sentiment before from a couple of guys named Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrance Jones, and Marquis Teague. Hard to argue with their results.
I think most would agree that this season's UK team didn't have enough high caliber players to push each other in practice. Only having 5-6 players competing for 5-6 spots is not enough when you need 8-9 to push each other. When Noel went down, it really shortened the roster. If you don't have other players pushing you, challenging you for your starting spot, you become relaxed and mentally soft. Those two things I just mentioned explains the poor performances at times on the road and at home.
If Kentucky is to return to the Final Four next season, they will need a couple of players to return from this year's team. Between the trio of Cauley-Stein, Poythress, and Goodwin, Coach Cal will need at least two of them. He will need them to come back hungry and with a chip on their shoulder, something a loss to RMU should provide. The practices should be pretty stout next season. The Harrison twins, James Young, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, and now Julius Randle give Coach Cal what he needed for this past season; competition for playing time.
Chemistry can be developed early with this team. The Harrison twins have been playing together since birth. Julius Randle is also from Texas, like the twins, so they know each other. Did I mention that all the recruits with exception of Derek Willis are playing together in the McDonald's All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic? That's a lot of time spent together before stepping on campus.
Mental toughness will be cultivated in practices. A kid like Randle can provide some since he had an injury that kept him from playing most of his senior year in high school. When he returned to the lineup, it was just in time for the state playoffs in which he led his team to a championship. That's maturity, toughness, competitiveness, patience, and skill all wrapped up into one guy.
James Young and Marcus Lee might be 2 of the more forgotten guys in this class. They are tremedously skilled atheletes, and will contribute immediatly along with 7-foot Dakari Johnson. And there is still the possibility, although slim, that yet another 5-star prospect joins this awesome collection of young talent.
The consensus number one player, Andrew Wiggins has yet to make his college choice. It is said that North Carolina and Florida State are Kentucky's competition for Mr. Wiggins services. Although I do not believe he will join this Sensational Six, if he did that would not only be 7 of the Top 20 players in the country on one team, but that would be Calipari showing off.
Get your kicks in now, because next season the Cats will be back with a vengence. And if they are able to avoid injuries, it could be another banner season.
hoto Credit - www.bleacherreport.com
Article By - Daniel Farish
1) Physical Play Goes BOTH Ways
- Throughout the Big East season, we have heard how Peyton and Russ won't make it once the NCAA Tournament gets here because of the fouls. The refs call it closer and their hand checks/bear hugs will be called. Well, it goes both ways. More often than not, opposing players have to hold and bump Russ/Siva in order to keep the feisty guards in front of them on defense. These two will carve up opposing defenses for this reason, and one more. There is no way to prepare for them. You cannot duplicate what they bring to the table. Good luck to the defense who only has a few days to prepare for them. You won't.
2) Region Of Ease
- As a #1 seed, Louisville has a first round bye against North Carolina A&T. Second round is either Missouri or Colorado State. #1 seeds have advanced against the 8/9's 95% of the time. No worries there. That gives Rick a week to prepare for the Sweet 16, A ROUND HE HAS NEVER LOST IN. After that is Duke or Michigan State. UL has already proved they can hang with Duke, and that was Gorgui-less. Following that game, everyone knew that the ceiling for Duke wasn't very high while UL's was astronomical. That has been proven. Michigan State poses a threat, but Pitino got that monkey off his back last year. No one in the West has a chance against UL. It's easy sailing into the National Championship game.
3) Home Court
- Louisville gets to play their opening round games in Lexington which is a short drive from Louisville. I think they could play those two games in Antarctica and win. It doesn't become an advantage until the Indianapolis game(s). Saint Louis is the fan favorite to match up with Louisville in the Sweet 16 and they haven't played in front of an atmosphere this season like they will in Indianapolis. 10,612 people (their max attendance this year) is A LOT different than the 20,000+ they will see. This whole "Win one for Coach Majerus" will subside soon. At some point the combination of superior athleticism and execution (Louisville) will defeat pure determination (Saint Louis).
- The '09 team could not handle the spotlight. They had the drama llama's in Terrence Williams and Earl Clark. But this team? A lot of guys are humble and want what's best for the team. Trez had an amazing game Saturday. Who was the first guy to run on the court and hug him? Chane, the guy whose minutes he took. Wayne has had a disappointing season but he doesn't let it get him down. Siva never has a bad day. He can handle anything that has come to him. His career against Syracuse has been horrible. But at Syracuse a few weeks ago he took the bench and let Kevin get the minutes because he was more effective. These guys aren't worried about themselves. They want the TEAM to be Champions. Now that Luke is healthy he is Kyle Kuric 2.0. And Gorgui is the most charismatic player I've ever seen. And then we have Russ. He went from Russdiculous to a legitimate 2 guard. He has the ability to make decisions NOW, that he didn't have just 2 months ago. That 5 OT loss to Notre Dame taught him a lot. Last we have SVT who works harder on the blocks than anyone else. This team has come together better than anyone could have thought, except maybe Pitino.
5) Playing The Best When It Counts
- If you look at all the other top seeds in the country, Louisville is playing better than any of them. Duke lost in the ACC Semi's. Indiana lost in the Big 10 semi's. Kansas won the Big 12...but they are also sporting a blowout loss against Baylor and an embarrassing game against TCU. No one has had faith in Kansas for YEARS, so why should we now? Gonzaga is in the position that the Louisville football team was in. Their crappy non-conference put them in this position. Louisville football came out and smashed their SEC opponent in the mouth. Play that game 6 times, Florida probably wins 5 of them. Gonzaga has 6 games to fulfill their #1 seed. Will they win 6? Nope. No one is playing as well as Louisville and in April, they WILL be hanging a banner.
1) FOUL TROUBLE
-It's not secret that the Big East is a physical league, and the referees of that league allow that kind of play. But when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, the refs might not allow that kind of play. And frnakly, Peyton Siva and Russ Smith want to put their hands all over you, and play as physical as possible. If those guys get 2 first half fouls each, who becomes the consistent scorer for the Cards?
2) CHANE AND WAYNE
-These two were supposed to be a dynamic duo for the Cards. They might still be the most talented players on the roster. But both of them lack a consistency you likely need from key players in the tournament. UofL has been lucky that usually one guy or the other plays well. But what if both are off in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8? It could be lights out for UL.
3) PITINO LATE GAME COACHING
-Rick Pitino is a Hall of Famer. He can truly do it all....except it seems diagram a late-game play. Look at Notre Dame. Had 5 chances to win that game and never drew up a play that seemed to have anything besides 1-on-1 play. Or maybe Russ Smith just hijacked the endings. Either way, Pitino has a history of failures to draw up a good play late in games, even at Kentucky. Last year, he really didn't need it until the Elite 8, and it worked out. But history with Pitino shows it might not always be that way.
4) REGION OF DEATH
-Missouri was a Top 10 team in the preseason. Saint Louis is one of the hottest teams in the country. Michigan State has more postseason success than any team in the last 10 years. And Duke is Duke. The gauntlet of potential games is rough. Even this good of a UL team can struggle with that slate of games. Not to mention any Final Four is gonna be a challenge. Point being: it's hard to win 6 straight games.
-When you are the #1 overall seed, the pressure is amped up times 10. Kentucky was more of the exception to the rule last season. Number 1 overall seeds rarely win the tournament. Think Louisville 2009. Think Kansas 2010. Think Ohio State 2011. None of those teams even made the Final Four. And now you are going to ask these guys to win 6 in a row. UL had no pressure last season on their run to the Final Four. This year will be something they will have never experienced.
Photo Credit - www.cardinalsportszone.com
Article By - Daniel Farish
March 9th, 2013 was arguably the best day of college basketball in my life. Jessie and I left Louisville at 9:30am headed for Rupp Arena, the home of our hated rivals the Kentucky Wildcats. The Cats, reeling from a road loss to lowly Georgia, were looking for their one signature win on the season. Firmly sitting on if not outside the bubble, they needed it. Georgia was a “can’t lose” game. They lost. Florida was a “must win.”
Not having been to Rupp in 10 years, I had completely forgotten about the place. Apparently, there is now a mall attached. Maybe there was 10 years ago, I don’t know. We parked in a small church parking lot 2 blocks down from the arena. The parking attendant, obviously a church going volunteer, leans in and asks us if we are for Florida. I had on a San Antonio Spurs shirt and Jessie a blue shirt with a burnt orange jacket. I say, “No, we’re actually Louisville fans; this is our first Rupp game.” His eyes light up as he tells us he is also a Cards fan. I think he offered up 5 fist bumps in our 2 minute relationship. Before we head to Rupp, we toss all of our UL stuff in the trunk. Hat, fleece jacket, flag, Siva jersey. I am a proud fan, but not a stupid one.
As soon as we get into Rupp I feel I may have made a bad decision. There is a lot of blue. I know I should have expected it, but still. Our tickets are seats 1 and 2. Awesome! That means when Florida is up 15 with 3 or 4 minutes to go, we can just step into the aisle and leave so we can make it to the Yum! Center on time. Except in section 228 seats 1 and 2 are against the wall. So we were surrounded. It was obvious we were outsiders but no one really paid us much attention. Until they announced Kenny Boynton during Florida’s intro and Jessie cheered. Loudly. I have seen plenty of older women at UL games and all of them combined didn’t have the fire in their eyes that the lady in front of us had. She stared back at Jessie with the strongest look of hatred I have ever seen. Even Pitino and Cal might think, “OK that’s a bit much.” From this point on, it was only clapping for us.
UK jumped out to an 11-2 lead, and Fire Eyes Lady wasn’t clapping FOR the Cats. She was clapping AT us. She had backup with her Popped Collar Son there. Florida battled back and it became a normal college game. During the 2nd media timeout the sun turned around and asks us, “So, are you all from Florida?” Proudly I told him we were, “Louisville season ticket holders here for our first Rupp game.” Crap. What did I just do? Why did I say that? NO ESPEAKA INGLES! That would have been better. Sweat was rolling down my forehead at this point. I could feel the lynch mob closing in. He looks me in the eye, furrows his brow…and then smiles and asks what we think so far. Wow! Disaster averted. I respond with the truth. “This is amazing. The energy in here is unlike almost anything else I’ve been around.” Granted the situation was tense for UK and UL has yet to be in a situation like that in the Yum!.
Once the game reached halftime, I headed down to grab some snacks for us. Surprisingly prices were a bit cheaper than at the Yum! Center. Kudos to Rupp for that. Got back to our seats and settled in for what proved to be a fun second half. We talked to the son about a couple different subjects. His thoughts on Poythress, Matt Jones and possible Rupp renovations. Once Florida built up a 7 point lead with 7:35 left, I felt something funny happening. My desire for Florida to win was overpowered by the desire for a great basketball game. I proved to myself that I love college basketball more than I hate UK. Goodwin would make a mistake and rather than cheer silently, I found myself berating him, wishing he had made a better decision. This goes against everything I’ve ever known. But maybe not. Sports bring out the real US. It shows what make us tick. You can bet your bottom dollar that when those, “BLUE! WHITE!” chants started, my lips were pressed firmly together. After the final buzzer went off and UK claimed the victory, I quickly fist-bumped the son we had been talking to and congratulated him. He wished me good luck and off we went.
We left Lexington at 2:38pm and pulled into our parking garage on Main Street in Louisville at 3:42. That includes a bathroom stop at the Waddy/Peytona exit. I wasn’t going to miss tip-off. I had never felt as comfortable as when I walked in the front doors of the Yum! Center. It was…therapeutic. We were with our people.
As with any big game, you will see people there you wouldn’t normally see. The “we haven’t been to a game all year and this would be a good one to go to!” type people. Which is fine. I have no problem with that. We settle into our normal seats and the woman next to me has out an iPad, recording the pre-game Senior Day festivities. Understandable. As the game begins though, she keeps it out. Then she opens up the CBS Sports app and pulls out some headphones. You see where this is going. She is sitting AT THE GAME, watching it on her iPad (no doubt 10 seconds or more in delay) and listening to the network broadcast. I’ve seen guys bring a walkman and listen to Paul Rogers on the radio. That is fine. But this? Come on man (cue Chris Berman).
We all know how this game went. The electricity was amazing, it was the largest Yum! Center crowd ever and the Cards walked away winner on Senior Day with a share of the Big East Regular Season title. Even Tim Henderson got into the mix, clanking a ball off the side of the backboard, and then busting his ass when getting up off the bench. He looked like the kid who was so excited to get in the game; he jumped out of his chair without noticing the towel on the floor. Foot hit towel, legs went out from underneath him and he just about face planted onto Denny Crum Court. I don’t think the TV broadcast showed it, but if you saw it in person it was HILARIOUS. Last year, that would’ve been a torn ACL. This year it was just a funny side note.
Jessie and I left and went to Applebee’s for an enjoyable dinner. We watched as Baylor creamed Kansas. I could practically hear the Jayhawks falling from the Top 5. Throw them in the mix of teams that are trending downward at the wrong time (Kansas, Syracuse, Florida, Oregon and Miami). I get home to begin the article and get caught up in a Horizon League game. It’s not even a mid-major. It falls short of the A-10/Missouri Valley/Ohio Valley type mid-majors. But Valparaiso and Green Bay put on a show that had me enthralled. I was hooked. I did chuckle when I looked at Cougill, who is a player for GB, and imagined him getting posted up by Chane. He is a pure corn fed country boy, the exact definition of a small college white boy basketball player. Then the Andrew Bogut lookalike for Valpo hit a leaning 3 at the buzzer to send the Crusaders into the NCAA Tournament.
OK, time to get back to work. This article isn’t going to write itself. Wait, what did that announcer say? The other Horizon League game had a buzzer beater earlier in the day? And they are showing it next? It’s already 12:30am…screw it. I then watched Wright State hit a fade away, around the side of the backboard shot at the end of regulation to win it. There were plenty of other buzzer-beaters during the day which were recapped on SportsCenter: Marquette over St. John’s, Wisconsin over Penn State and Alabama over Georgia. This took me well into the 2am hour. Which turned into the 3am hour, thanks to Daylight Savings Time.
I have now saved some time for a mailbag:
Oh wait, there is no mailbag. OK, I’m not Bill Simmons. Yet.