John Clay notes: Magazine can't find room for Cats

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistMarch 5, 2013 

Alabama Celebration Football

Alabama football coach Nick Saban addresses the crowd during the BCS championship celebration, on the steps of Bryant-Denny Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/AL.com, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

VASHA HUNT — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Random notes:

My Monday mailbox contained a Sports Illustrated 68-page special edition on the 75 years of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

One oddity: Sixty eight pages and not one picture of Kentucky.

There was a small photo of Christian Laettner's shot — of course — but not one of a Kentucky player or team.

The issue dealt more with great players over the years, but ...

Eight titles, no pictures?

Yes, hoops tournaments are starting, but we're two months shy of the Kentucky Derby.

My early sentimental favorite: Fountain of Youth winner Orb, trained by Shug McGaughey and a homebred for Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable.

You don't get much more tradition-rich than that.

Orb's next stop looks to be the March 30 Florida Derby.

■ Now that this fall's Kentucky-Mississippi State football game in Starkville has been moved to Thursday night for ESPN, wondering if UK will change its thinking about home Thursday night games.

In the past, the school has declined opportunities to play host to such games. With a new coach, might the school welcome more opportunities for prime-time exposure?

■ Baylor sure isn't helping Kentucky basketball's bubble cause. The Bears, who beat the Cats in Rupp on Dec. 1, have lost five of their last six.

Sure, that's one fewer bubble team competing with UK for a spot in the field of 68. It doesn't help Kentucky's case, however, when the Cats lost to that team. At home.

■ Speaking of bubbles, if I had to guess right here, right now if UK will make the tournament, I would say no.

But despite all of Joe Lunardi's hard work, they don't pick the field right here, right now.

■ My Twitter feed Saturday included upset Kentucky fans labeling certain players as "lazy."

Personally, I don't know any of the players well enough to brand them as being lazy. I do know John Calipari well enough to side with his post-game description, that a couple of players were overwhelmed, which brought on anxiety and tentativeness.

Lazy? Harsh.

■ By the way, when was the last time the Big Blue Nation had to pay so much attention to how other teams are doing so late in the year?

■ After beating Syracuse at Syracuse on Saturday and drubbing Cincinnati on Monday, Louisville seems to be starting to peak again at the right time.

■ Rick Pitino picked up his 300th win as U of L coach on Monday night, beating Mick Cronin in the process. Why does it seem like half of Rick's wins are against former assistants?

■ Kentucky fans upset about the way Arkansas students treated Archie Goodwin on Saturday forget the "Walsh is gay!" chants directed at Florida's Matt Walsh when he used to come to Rupp.

■ Former Florida State coach and legend Bobby Bowden says he doesn't see Alabama's reign as national champs stopping as long as Nick Saban is still coach. Bowden may be getting up there in years, but he can still see.

■ Speaking of Saban, there did not seem to be the same outrage over his offering a scholarship to an eighth-grader as there was when Billy Gillispie offered a scholarship to an eighth-grader.

■ I don't care about recruiting violations or academic fraud. I just want the NCAA to outlaw those Adidas uniforms in which you can't see the numbers.

■ Hate Mike Krzyzewski all you want but the Duke coach was right to complain about the court-stormers at Virginia last week after the Blue Devils lost in Charlottesville.

(A) Someone is going to get hurt. And (B) court-storming is as cliche as the Harlem Shake.

■ Bigger question: Will Kentucky make the NCAA Tournament or why won't Calipari wear a tie?

■ Forbes reports Calipari would not get up to $700,000 in bonus money if UK doesn't make the NCAA Tournament, so maybe he's cutting back.

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

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