John Clay's notes: Georgia's collapse does Kentucky no favors

Vandy, Tennessee could get No. 2 seed

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistFebruary 18, 2011 

Random notes:

■ Georgia didn't help Kentucky's cause on Wednesday night in Athens.

The Bulldogs led visiting Vanderbilt 53-40 with 9:48 remaining. Then Mark Fox's team scored all of three points the rest of the way. Vandy scored 24, and won 64-56.

Near game's end, Fox aimed his frustration at official Anthony Jordan to the point where the Georgia coach picked up a technical with 11.7 seconds left and flat-out begged for a second and an ejection. Jordan refused to oblige.

Vandy's win improved the Commodores to 7-4 in the league. Georgia dropped into a third-place tie with Kentucky at 6-5. Only here's the thing, looking at the schedule, it's not a stretch to say Kentucky will have to win out to get the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament.

Vandy travels to Auburn on Saturday, then comes home to Nashville to play Tennessee next Tuesday. After that, Kevin Stallings' club goes to LSU on Feb. 26. So it is possible, even probable, that the 'Dores will be 10-4 in the league when they come to Rupp on March 1, with an earlier win over John Calipari's Cats.

Even if Vanderbilt loses that game, and Kentucky wins all its games to that point, both teams would be tied at 10-5. Vanderbilt finishes its regular season at home on March 5 against Florida. Kentucky must finish on the road, at Tennessee the next day.

■ Then again, we shouldn't count out Tennessee, either. The Vols beat South Carolina on Wednesday to improve to 6-5 in the league. Bruce Pearl's club has Georgia in Knoxville on Saturday, then travels to Nashville for the rematch with Vanderbilt.

If the Vols can win there, sweeping Vandy, they could easily win out and be 10-5 when Kentucky comes to Thompson-Boling on March 6. If the Vols win at Vanderbilt, and finish tied with the 'Dores, Tennessee earns the higher seed.

■ Hey, ESPN, now that you say you are going to scrap the SkyCam, while you're at it, you can get rid of those in-game interviews, too.

Next game, just for fun, think maybe we should interview Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes while the game is in progress? We can ask Nessler about his color choices in tie wear. We can ask Dykes the real story behind "The Nail." And we'll have someone stand on a ladder and shoot it with an overhead camera.

■ That someone would poison the famous oak trees at legendary Toomer's Corner at Auburn is more proof that our fandom has never been meaner.

Brett McMurphy of AOL FanHouse tweeted Wednesday that maybe they could hang the man responsible on a College GameDay next season.

■ Florida may win the league, but right now Alabama's Anthony Grant has to be coach of the year, and Vandy's John Jenkins player of the year.

■ Was on the radio Wednesday night with Kyle Macy (plus WLAP's Dick Gabriel and the Cats' Pause's Matt May) and Kyle made the great point that last year's Kentucky team played with more of an edge than this year's Kentucky team. The current Cats have five regular-season games to develop that edge.

■ Like many of you, I was a little surprised by John Calipari's dismissive reaction to that players-only meeting last weekend. But then Cal has said before, "Meetings are a waste of time."

■ There is the misconception that UK's new president will be stuck with Mitch Barnhart as athletics director, like it or not. That's false. Barnhart's new deal has the old buyout — $475,000 per year, over five years. That did not change.

What retiring president Lee Todd did do is set the pay scale for the new president. If the new president believes that $600,000 annually is too much to pay an athletics director, there's not much he or she can do about it.

And don't blame Barnhart. If your departing boss pushes a $125,000 raise in front of you, just before you are about to get a new boss, are you going to turn it down?

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3226, or Read his blog at John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3226, or Read his blog at

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