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Posted on: March 25, 2009 2:48 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2009 3:37 pm

Grant has a tough choice/gamble in front of him

Anthony Grant is in a real-life game of Deal or No Deal .

Does he take Alabama (Deal! )?

Or stall and/or pass in hopes that something better presents itself, specifically Florida (No Deal! )?

That's the dilemma facing the VCU coach, who is on the Alabama campus today with his wife, meeting school officials for at least the second time in four days. Naturally, Alabama would like to move quickly, have an answer as soon as Thursday. But there'd be nothing worse for Grant to do than take the Alabama job only to watch Kentucky fire Billy Gillispie after this season (which multiple sources believe is more likely than not). Why would this be bad for Grant? Because if Kentucky were to fire Gillispie, it appears Mitch Barnhart would make another run at Florida coach Billy Donovan, and if Donovan jumped this time -- which is more possible than you probably think, for a variety of reasons -- then Florida would suddenly be open, and Grant would almost certainly be Jeremy Foley's choice to replace Donovan considering he was set to replace Donovan two years ago when Donovan eft for the Orlando Magic, if only for a couple of days.

So that's the situation.

Can Grant hold-off Alabama long enough to see what happens at Kentucky?

If so, that's what I expect him to do.

If not, then he'll have to choose between Alabama and the possibility of Florida (or something else altogether) opening.

It's a tough call, no doubt.

But either way, Anthony Grant will soon be a very wealthy man.

Posted on: March 23, 2009 10:48 am
Edited on: March 23, 2009 10:49 am

The NIT is interesting, relatively speaking

Assuming you're not basketballed out -- and why would you be? -- there are a couple of nice NIT games Monday night.

First, at 7:30 p.m. ET, Kentucky visits Creighton, and though it's just an NIT game, it's still nice to see Creighton get a program like Kentucky in its building. Then, at 11:30 p.m. ET, Davidson visits Saint Mary's, which means we get Stephen Curry vs. Patrick Mills in a match-up of guards as good as (if not better than) anything the NCAA tournament will offer this week (except for a possible Ty Lawson-Jonny Flynn match-up in the Elite Eight in Memphis).

So Kentucky vs. Creighton and Davidson vs. Saint Mary's on Monday night.

Perhaps the NIT isn't so bad after all.

Posted on: March 13, 2009 3:38 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2009 3:39 pm


MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's a big day in college hoops, and you'll never guess where I'm stuck.

Yep, at the airport.

Flight to LaGuardia delayed.

I was supposed to be in New York for tonight's Big East tournament semifinals, but that now seems sketchy at best. My only hope is that the Louisville-Villanova game goes six overtimes, in which case I should be fine.

(Fingers crossed)

Anyway, LSU beat Kentucky.

That means the Wildcats are going to the NIT.

That means the Wildcats' fans are going bananas.

As always, I encourage you take in all the fun at . I can't decide whether my favorite thread so far is the one titled "FIRE EVERYBODY " or the one titled "5 Coaches That Could Make UK Intriguing Again! " Click on both, then let me know what you think.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kentucky, LSU
Posted on: March 10, 2009 4:11 pm

My rebuttal to Doyel (and some other stuff)

Obviously, I disagree with Gregg Doyel's column .

I love Gregg.

I wish I was as muscular as him.

But I disagree with the idea that Tyler Hansbrough has to be a first-team All-American. That's why I made him a second-team All-American. And if you understand my criteria -- which Gregg does, and I appreciated him acknowledging it -- then you know that this decision came down to me selecting DeJuan Blair or Tyler Hansbrough, because I'll put no more than two bigs on any All-America team, and I wasn't leaving off Blake Griffin.

So really, that's the debate: Hansbrough or Blair.

Gregg thinks it should be Hansbrough.

That's a reasonable opinion.

But to me, Hansbrough has not had a better season this season than Blair has had this season.


Sure, Hansbrough is averaging more points per game (21.1 to 15.6). But Blair is averaging more rebounds (12.4 to 8.1), and he's doing it while playing 3.3 fewer minutes per game than Hansbrough (30.0 to 26.7). Also worth noting is that Blair simply doesn't get the opportunities Hansbrough gets on the offensive end, which is why his points aren't comparable despite the fact that Blair actually has a higher field goal percentage (59.6 to 52.5).

Understand, Hansbrough takes 12.96 shots per game and shoots 8.42 free throws to get his 21.1 points. Blair takes 10.90 shots per game and shoots 4.23 free throws to get his 15.6 points, which means Blair takes roughly two fewer shots and four fewer free throws than Hansbrough per game, and if you consider Blair's percentages from both the field (59.6) and free throw line (69.2) it's clear he'd average more points than Hansbrough if he had the same opportunities.

(Please, just stay with me; this is going to be good.)

If Blair took the same number of shots (12.96) and free throws (8.42) per game as Hansbrough, and if Blair made those attempts at the same rate he currently makes his attempts, then Blair would make 7.72 field goals and 5.83 free throws per game. Multiply the 7.72 field goals by two (for two-point baskets) and the 5.83 free throws by one (for one-point baskets), and what you'll find is that if Blair took as many shots and free throws as Hansbrough he'd average 21.27 points per game, which is slightly better than the 21.12 points Hansbrough is averaging.

(Jesus, my head is hurting.)

So that's that.

I think Blair has been just as dominant as Hansbrough, but he's done it more efficiently and for a team that has accomplished just as much. Basically, that's why I went with Blair, but I did feel sick about it, because I love Hansbrough and think all the anti-Hansbrough talk is insane. If you hate Tyler Hansbrough, something is wrong with you, not him. But for these purposes, I had to look for the two bigs who are having the best seasons in this particular season, and in my opinion -- with apologies to Gregg Doyel -- that's Blake Griffin and DeJuan Blair.

As for some other controversial decisions, I'll address them quickly.

Right now.

Where's Jodie Meeks?

If you look at my All-America teams you'll see that every guy I have listed is projected by Jerry Palm to play in the NCAA tournament, except for Davidson's Stephen Curry. That should show you how much emphasis I put on winning, and how much I disregard players posting big numbers for bad teams. I mean, lots of guys post big numbers on bad teams (UCF's Jermaine Taylor comes to mind). So while I do think Meeks is great and one of the most fun guys to watch in college, the reality is that he's posting big numbers for a bad team, one that is especially bad by Kentucky standards.

For that same reason, I left off Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, too.

Simply put, I like impact players on successful teams.

Let the world be warned.

So how do you justify Stephen Curry?

I don't think Curry was on a bad team. I think he was on a conference champion that got caught in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament, and now he'll pay the price for that. Is Davidson as good as a good Big East or ACC team? Of course not. But relative to Southern Conference teams, the Wildcats are very good, which means Curry was succesful by any reasonable measuring stick, just not when you have to be in a one-bid league, unfortunately.

And why can't you have three bigs on the same team again?

Think of an All-Pro football team.

They don't just take eight quarterbacks when they do those.

They take a quarterback, a few receivers, a kicker, a couple of safeties, so on and so forth. I like that because it better resembles an actual team , and that's my thought process on not having three traditional bigs (like Griffin, Blair and Hansbrough) on the same team, because there's no way those three would ever actually get on the court together at the same time, I don't think.

If you want to know the truth, I believe there are eight players worthy of first-team All-America status.

They are ...

  • Ty Lawson
  • Stephen Curry
  • James Harden
  • Blake Griffin
  • DeJuan Blair
  • Tyler Hansbrough
  • Hasheem Thabeet
  • Sherron Collins

That's my top eight, regardless of position. So what I did was take a point guard (Lawson), a shooting guard (Curry), a wing (Harden) and two bigs (Griffin and Blair) from that list, and I called it a day. It really was that simple. And I hope that makes some sense, though I'm sure it won't to some.

Posted on: February 28, 2009 1:09 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2009 1:15 pm

Billy Gillispie has a nice house

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Just landed and I'm getting ready to head to Rupp Arena, where the Kentucky Wildcats will host No. 18 LSU this afternoon (only on CBS!). Will Billy Gillispie's team play well, well enough to snap the Tigers' nine-game winning streak? I predicted as much in the Friday Look Ahead , and because I'm usually pretty awesome at predicting stuff it's likely to happen.

What can I say?

But either way, Gillispie will leave the arena afterward and head home to relax.

And man, is that some kind of home or what?

The Lexington Herald Leader ran a story on it Friday, complete with a photo gallery. Click this link to check it out, then click this link to compare it to the home of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, and then try to tell me being an SEC basketball coach isn't a good profession.


Posted on: February 18, 2009 5:12 pm

Little diddy, about Billy and Jeannine

A song has been recorded about Billy Gillispie and Jeannine Edwards.

Somebody linked it in the comments under my post from yesterday about the Kentucky coach and the ESPN sideline reporter, but I thought it was worth its own post, if only because the Gillispie-Edwards storyline is one of my favorites of the season, right up there with Blake Griffin's dominance and the emergence of Jeff Teague. I love watching those two get together. Which is why I was obviously disappointed last night when Edwards interviewed Kevin Stallings instead of Gillispie at halftime of the Vanderbilt-Kentucky game. I damn-near missed my flight because I was sitting in an airport bar waiting for halftime, and when she grabbed Stallings I thought I was going to throw a Carolina Blonde (the beer, not a real person) right through the TV screen.

What a letdown!

But anyway, click this link to check the song.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 17, 2009 3:37 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2009 3:37 pm

Round 3 of Gillispie-Edwards on tap (hopefully)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Kentucky is playing at Vanderbilt tonight.

Jodie Meeks might go for 50.

Who knows?

But the marquee attraction -- the real reason to watch -- is to see whether Billy Gillispie has to do a halftime interview with ESPN's Jeannine Edwards, because those things have developed into the highlight of my Tuesday nights. If you're not up to date, click this link to see Gillispie's interview with Edwards during halftime of the Ole Miss game, and this link to see his interview with her during halftime of the Florida game.

Classic stuff.

I can't wait.

And Jeannine, if you're reading, I wish you good luck.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 14, 2009 12:04 am
Edited on: January 14, 2009 12:05 am

Was that the best performance in UK history?

Jodie Meeks launched himself into the National Player of the Year race Tuesday night.

He might've put the Kentucky Wildcats back in the Top 25, too.

That's what a 54-point effort in a 90-72 victory at Tennessee on national television can do for a player and a team, and if you missed it what you missed was arguably the most impressive individual performance in the history of Kentucky basketball. And that's not hyperbole. As rich as UK's tradition is, the school has never had a player hit 10 3-pointers or score 54 in a game. But Meeks did both before a soldout crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena to break (by a point) Dan Issel's single-game scoring mark set during the 1969-70 season.

So celebrate that, UK fans.

And get ready for what should be a nice run.

What's next is a winnable game at Georgia followed by a home game with Auburn, which means the Wildcats should be 15-4 overall and 4-0 in the SEC heading into a Jan. 24 tilt at Alabama. That's not bad for a team that opened 0-2 with a loss to VMI. So once again it appears Billy Gillispie has turned this thing around, and that's something everybody ought to remember -- including yours truly -- next November if the Wildcats stumble and take a bad early loss for the third straight season. If it happens, the wise move will be to laugh it off, because Gillispie has shown again that there's not a bad situation he can't fix, and if all else fails he can always just turn to Meeks, which seems like a reasonable gameplan given what took place Tuesday night in Knoxville.
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