Tag:road trip
Posted on: February 23, 2010 4:51 pm

Basketball is the Thing in Lexington

Matt Jones

5:00 PM

In case you havent figured it out yet, the cast of this college basketball road excursion is from the mean streets of Kentucky and when not driving unreasonable numbers of hours to see games all across our fair land, we run Kentuckysportsradio.com.  So this stop on our tour across college basketball is a bit like a midway homecoming for the crew.  We are in Lexington, home of what the natives will call the greatest college basketball program in the land.  While schools in Chapel Hill and Los Angeles can make a similar claim, none can counter the truth that Kentucky has the most passionate fans in college basketball.  While basketball is important in many parts of the land (including a few that never get credit for their fervor), basketball is life in Kentucky.  Take one visit to Lexington and that will become clear to you, especially if you are told tidbits such as:

1.  Kentucky had 22,000 for ESPN College Gameday:  Cat fans basically filled Rupp Arena for College Gameday ten days ago and Jay Bilas said it was the most amazing thing he has seen while on the road as an announcer.  That is impressive enough, but when you consider that the attendance set a Gameday record and the previous record was less than a third of that number, the craziness becomes obvious.

2.  Richie Farmer Will Be Governor:  You remember Richie Farmer?  If you arent from Kentucky you probably do not, but he was the kid with the moustache that was on the team that lost to Laettner's shot in 1992.  There you go, now you remember him.  Since he lost that game, he has basically lived a life based upon his role as a former UK basketball player.  He didnt play professionally, did commercials for a while and then ran for Agricultural Commissioner.  In a year when Democrats swept nearly every state office, Richie won his office as a Republican by the largest margin of any candidate in the race.  Now rumors are strong he will run against the sitting Governor in 2011 and chances are high he will likely win.  That is what a moustache, a sweet three point touch and a UK jersey can get you.

3.  John Calipari is EVERYWHERE:  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  He endorses every product, speaks to every local group, signs every resaturant wall, is on every billboard and is likely to walk up to you while you are in line at Papa Johns and give you a copy of his inspirational book "Bounce Back" while shaking your hand and smiling.  If the world were made up of only teenage girls, Calipari would be like the cast of "Twilight", dominating the discussion and focus at all times.

None of these things surprise us...neither does the State-of-the-Art practice facility, the revered status held by the Cats' home before Rupp Arena, Memorial Coliseum or the way in which players like John Wall and Patrick Patterson are gazed at adorningly by students, children and middle-aged men with a too-tight t-shirt and a sturdy belly.  This is normal to us.  But it may not be to you and that is why you need to visit Lexington if you are a college basketball fan.  No other place can match its fanaticism.

Oh and you have to excuse me, we are sitting on the floor of Memorial Coliseum and the UK Dance Team has walked in to begin practice.  We are now officially distracted.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 20, 2010 3:18 am
Edited on: February 20, 2010 3:28 am

Road Trip Takes Its First Detour


2:30 AM

This was the scene as we left Cedar Falls, Iowa at 9 pm Central for what was to be a 7 hour drive through the night to Indianapolis for an 11 am Eastern tip for Siena-Butler.  We took off down the road and assumed we were in for a long night of driving and being careful on the road.  What we ended up with were the worst road conditions I have ever seen and a stretch of road from Waterloo to Cedar Rapids Iowa in which we were told (after we had navigated the 45 miles), "police are advising motorists to not even consider going on that road tonight."  We wish we had know that prior to the scariest 75 minutes of driving of my life.  After pulling off at the end of a 45 mile ride from hell, we decided we had been defeated and the dream of making Siena-Butler at a time before Drew would normally even be awake, was shattered.

We then stopped in Cedar Rapids at a Days Inn, and an old lady at the front desk asked what we were doing.  I said, "well its snowing hard and we dont want to be on these roads anymore."  As Drew and Tomlin began making jokes about driving from Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids on roads that are slicker than Jamie Dixon's hair, the lady began to get angry.  She then replied with total disdain, "oh do you think you are better than Iowa?"  Hopefully Jeff Foxworthy will take that premise for a new gameshow on Fox.

So we have decided to do a detour...now instead of Siena-Butler, we are going to try and make the 2 pm Eastern tip of Louisville-Depaul.  The CBS College Basketball Road Trip rolls on with a car full of travelers who are better than Iowa.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 18, 2010 4:23 pm

Welcome to the 2010 College Basketball Road Trip


Welcome to the beginning of one of the poorer decisions we and CBS Sports have ever made.  This is the CBS Sports.com College Basketball Road Trip for 2010.  You don’t know who we are, but hopefully you will learn over the next ten days.  I am Matt Jones and taking the trip with me are C.M. Tomlin, TJ Beisner and Drew Franklin and over the next 11 days, we will be going to 10 college basketball games from locations as diverse as Lawrence Kansas to Ithaca, New York.   In the meantime we will chronicle our trip and hopefully paint a picture of the diverse world of college basketball in ways that you haven’t before seen.

You may be wondering, “who are these guys and why would CBS want them to do a roadtrip?”  That is a very good question and one we have wondered since we got the assignment.  We run Kentuckysportsradio.com and for the last four years, we have been covering Kentucky basketball in the “most ridiculous manner possible.”  Now it is time to take that reporting ethic national and move from simply making jokes about Billy Gillispie’s drinking and Rick Pitino’s carousing to making fun of more national topics like Luke Harangody’s hair and Roy Williams’ sensitivity to world issues.  Whether we succeed is up in the air, but if Seth Davis can still have a job in television, there is hope for us all (we kid because we love).

The trip begins tonight with a game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and moves from there to locations near and far.  A look at our schedule:

Thursday:  Pittsburgh vs Marquette

Friday:  Old Dominion vs Northern Iowa

Saturday:  Siena vs Butler

Sunday:  Ohio St vs Michigan St

Monday:  Oklahoma vs Kansas

Tuesday:  Visit University of Kentucky

Wednesday:  Florida St vs North Carolina

Thursday:  Murray State vs Morehead State

Friday:  Princeton vs Cornell

Saturday:  Villanova vs Syracuse

Sunday:  Duke vs Virginia

Over the course of the next 11 days, we will bring you the trip in all its ridiculousness, dodging snow storms, speed traps and Bobby Knight’s breath.  It begins now and we hope you enjoy.  And if you see a faded rented Kia Rondo rolling down the road, give us a wave.  And if you are a student or a fan of one of the schools we are visiting or simply want to make suggestions or comments on the trip, email us at collegebasketballroadtrip@gmail.com.   We are off.

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com