As expected, Kentucky is again the number 1 team in the country in both the AP and Coaches poll, with Ohio State firmly entrenched at #2 in both polls. The only real question about the polls is how anyone could give Syracuse a vote at #1 after last week's games, but some coach apparently thinks the Orangemen are the top team in the country. I guess in some fantasy land that's possible, but the Cats and the Buckeyes made pretty emphatic statements last week and, at least in the first week of December, are clearly the best two teams in the land.
College basketball fans are still buzzing about Anthony Davis' block that sealed the win over North Carolina, and rightfully so. It was one of the best defensive plays I have ever seen, and Davis not only showed lightning quickness and reaction, but also wasn't even close to fouling in a situation in which you know the referees are looking for every little touch. The entire game was a gritty performance by both teams in an electric atmosphere, and one can only hope that they meet again (with the same results, of course) in March.
On his radion show tonight, coach Calipari tried to make the case for dropping one of Kentucky's traditional rivals, Louisville, Indiana, or North Carolina. The crux of his argument is that with a significant amount of freshmen and roster turnover, he is concerned about overscheduling a young team. Former athletic director Larry Ivy rejected this notion, basically saying that we are Kentucky, and at Kentucky we will play anybody.
I have to say I agree with Mr. Ivy, and I hope the UK fan base puts enough pressure on Calipari and Mitch Barnhart to combat this ludicrous notion. Ivy is right-this is Kentucky, for crying out loud, not Indiana State. The very idea that we play these type of games and the television exposure they bring is a huge selling point to recruits, especially if they have aspirations to play at the next level. UK already plays enough of the Marists and Radfords of the world-hell, in any given year, half of the SEC is of that variety. I simply don't understand what is gained by playing a patsy when you can have a game against Louisville or North Carolina. Will UK take its lumps at times-of course it will, and frankly, that's ok. First, more often than not, Kentucky wins these games, but if not-so what? Many coaches will tell you that a team learns more from a loss to another good team than beating Radford by 48 points.
I understand the fiscal realities of having enough home games and the pressure that an added conference game or two will do to UK's schedule, but let's be honest here-who does Calipari think fans would like to see in Rupp Arena-a game like Saturday's with the Tarheels and the risk of a loss it brings, or a team like Radford where the outcome is settled before the team gets off the plane? This is a no-brainer to me, and Calipari is simply wrong on this one.
Finally, Saturday brings a trip to Assembly Hall as UK will play Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers. I grew up in Southern Indiana and have to admit I loved the days when Bobby Knight roamed the sidelines in Bloomington. Sure, Knight was a little crazy and sanctimonious at times, but he was one hell of a coach and his teams were prepared every night and their opponents knew they were in for a war. Crean has had a tough time fixing the mess that the IU program became after Knight's dismissal, but appears to have the Hoosiers headed in the right direction. That's a good thing-college basketball is better when Indiana is a factor. That won't be enough Saturday, however, as I look for the crowd and Hoosier adrenaline to be a factor early, but UK's talent to prevail late and the Cats to pull away for their ninth victory of the season, 82-71.go back