John Clay's notes: Keeneland/spring football double within reach

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013 

Random notes:

■ New coach Mark Stoops announced Wednesday that his first football spring game at UK will be on April 13 at 7 p.m.

On the one hand, that's the same day as the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, the marquee event at Keeneland leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

On the other hand, it will be a tight squeeze, but it does give fans the opportunity to go to Blue Grass Stakes Day then jet over to Commonwealth Stadium to catch the new-look Cats.

Last year, the Blue Grass Stakes' post time was 6:18 p.m.

How long does it take to collect your winnings and get to Commonwealth?

■ Ever wonder what goes on in a press room? After John Calipari's post-game news conference on Tuesday night, the main debate was not over player of the game or that late flagrant foul on Julius Mays but whether the word was spelled "womp" or "whomp." Consensus was "whomp."

■ The best thing about Kyle Wiltjer's big scoring night in UK's win over Tennessee? He scored 17 really without aid of the three-pointer.

Sure, the sophomore sank two from beyond the arc, but in only one other game during Wiltjer's career has he made two or fewer triples and scored more than 17 points.

That was way back on Nov. 19 of his freshman season when the Oregon native scored 19 as UK whipped Penn State at that Connecticut casino. Wiltjer made six of 12 shots and five of his six free throws then while going just 2-for-5 from three.

■ In the NFL conference championship games, I'll take the Patriots and the 49ers.

■ Can we put that ESPN.com Nerlens Noel "overrated prospect" thing to rest? Jay Bilas and Chad Ford had the UK freshman atop their list of five prospects who had not lived up to their billing in college basketball. So far, anyway.

Noel isn't an overrated prospect, he's a different prospect, different from pretty much any other big man out there. He's a steal machine, for one thing.

■ Did you see where a Florida football player was charged with grand theft auto for stealing a moped? Anyone who has been to the Gainesville campus knows that mopeds are better than autos.

■ Lance Armstrong's previous lies about doping are one thing. His actions trying to destroy anyone who exposed those lies is something else.

■ This stat from Matt May of the Cats Pause: In UK's 11 wins, Wiltjer has averaged 13.4 points per game. In UK's five losses, Wiltjer is averaging 5.6 per game.

■ I'm sure there has been more warmth shown at divorce mediations than during that blow-by handshake between Indiana's Tom Crean and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan after the Badgers beat the Hoosiers for an 11th straight time on Tuesday night.

■ UK's win over the Vols was just its second all year over teams currently with winning records. Despite being 0-3 in the SEC, Tennessee is 8-7. Maryland was 13-3 heading into Wednesday night's game against North Carolina State.

The other nine teams are all under .500. And eight of the 11 are 200-plus in both the Sagarin ratings and the RPI.

■ The Reds Caravan is coming to the Lexington Civic Center shops on Jan. 27 at 10:30 a.m.

■ Those Tennessee all-orange uniforms and those Notre Dame all-black uniforms, etc., they have to go. What's the point of having names on the back of the jerseys if they are the same color as the jersey?

The answer you get is: The kids like it. But I remember John Wooden once saying that practice is for the players and the coaches while "the game is for the fans."

■ Alex Poythress is 3-for-3 from three-point range over his last two games.

■ If leaving ahead of the NCAA posse works out as well for Chip Kelly as it's working out for Pete Carroll, shrewd move.

■ And I'm not worried about Oregon.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226 Email: jclay@herald-leader.com Twitter: @johnclayiv Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

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