Syracuse a different kind of dangerous than Kentucky

Orange talented enough to beat UK

jclay@herald-leader.comJanuary 26, 2012 

Random notes:

■ After witnessing Syracuse's 60-53 win at Cincinnati on Monday night, it's difficult avoiding comparisons between Jim Boeheim's Orangemen and the locals here in Lexington. John Calipari's team would own an athletic edge. There is not an Anthony Davis on the Syracuse roster — or any other roster, for that matter. None of Boeheim's men play with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's intensity.

Instead, Syracuse exudes a cool confidence. Its play is slow and easy, with a sudden burst of fire. The Orange get their points with poise.

On Big Monday, the 'Cuse was nip-and-tuck with the battling Bearcats until seniors Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph decided enough was enough. Old men in today's college basketball, the duo took over the game and placed it firmly in the Syracuse win column. That sort of experience is something this Kentucky team does not have.

Fab Melo is the wild card. Syracuse's 7-foot sophomore missed the trip to first Notre Dame (the Orange's first loss) and the Queen City because of reported academic issues. It's not known when, or if, Melo will return. Without him, Syracuse might be good enough to beat Kentucky. Might.

With Melo, the Orange have the ingredients to beat Kentucky. That doesn't mean Syracuse would, but it has to be included among the handful of teams that could.

■ Murray State is a great program and a great story, but the Racers are not a top-10 team.

■ I don't have to see any of Kentucky's players in those new Nike Hyper Elite Platinum uniforms to know I don't like them. Gimmicks. A gray — those aren't platinum — gimmick for Nike to bag some more bucks.

Kentucky basketball doesn't need gimmicks.

■ Whatever happened to Eloy Vargas?

■ Albert Pujols departed first. Now Prince Fielder is moving out of the Cincinnati Reds' neighborhood. A little more elbow room for Joey Votto.

■ Flake that I am, I love the post-game handshake between coaches. I hate it when either the camera cuts away just before the traditional pressing of the flesh or the director ignores the interaction altogether.

That said, I didn't like the way the 49ers wunderkind Jim Harbaugh brusquely speed-dated his way past winning Giants coach Tom Coughlin at the conclusion of last Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Harbaugh acted as if he thought he could still get to Kyle Williams' fumble.

■ Speaking of Williams, Twitter is just one more tool for anonymous idiots — those tweeting death threats on the 49ers' kick returner — to prove they are real-life idiots.

■ The day after John Calipari touts the strength of SEC basketball, Tennessee scores 47 points in an 18-point loss to Vanderbilt and Georgia scores 44 points in a 13-point loss to Kentucky.

■ Then again, Kentucky is ranked No. 1 and Missouri is No. 2. Oh yeah, that's next year.

■ To be honest, I think Mississippi State is the second-best team in the SEC. Or should be.

■ I received almost all positive responses for my Sunday column knocking Rupp Arena fans for not being more vocally supportive of their Cats.

Those in opposition apparently couldn't even get worked up enough to send me an email.

■ How twisted would it be for Eli Manning to top his brother in Super Bowl victories by winning a game in the same stadium Peyton plays, but did not play this year because of a neck injury, and may never play again?

■ Remember, next Wednesday is a holiday throughout the South. It's national letter-of-intent signing day for football.

■ Did you see where Duke student attendance is down at Cameron Indoor? The Blue Devils are drawing about 150 fewer students per game than just three years ago. That, in itself, is a troubling commentary about the current state of the college game.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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