John Clay's notes: Changes might be coming to NCAA basketball, SEC football

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistMay 8, 2013 

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UK head coach Mark Stoops, left, talks with Special Teams Coach Bradley Dale Peveto during the first half. The University of Kentucky hosted its Blue/White Spring Scrimmage Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Commonwealth Stadium. Photo by Jonathan Palmer

JONATHAN PALMER — Jonathan Palmer

Random notes:

■ Those worried about the NCAA Tournament's Final Four moving at least in part to TBS forget that the BCS national title game has been on ESPN the past two years.

I just hope the Final Four doesn't conflict with any Seinfeld or Big Bang Theory reruns.

■ Looks like the NCAA Rules Committee won't reduce the shot clock, but it will issue directives to make the block-charge call more offense-friendly and implore officials to call more fouls for hand-checking and physical play.

Band-aids where surgery is needed? We shall see.

■ I understand Mitch Barnhart's argument about why the Kentucky athletic director isn't in favor of the SEC adding a ninth conference game to the schedule.

On the other hand, if you're in the SEC you should welcome the opportunity to play SEC teams. And if you're going to take a cut of the SEC Network money, you should welcome the opportunity to play SEC teams.

■ By the way, Vanderbilt won five of eight SEC games last year. Newcomer Texas A&M won six of eight. It can be done.

■ Another reason for expanding to a nine-game conference schedule: The spate of horrific non-conference games played by league teams. No wonder even SEC attendance has dropped the past couple of years.

■ And if SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says the league will look at nine games, then you know nine games are coming.

■ Prediction: On Friday, highly touted Conner quarterback Drew Barker will climb on the Mark Stoops Momentum Train.

■ I am shocked — shocked! — that the NCAA had to suspend its no-limit texting rule for recruiting because coaches were already beginning to bother recruits.

■ Tough blow for Tennessee losing point guard Trae Golden, who will transfer with one year of eligibility remaining. Golden was erratic, but Cuonzo Martin doesn't have another point guard on the roster.

■ Whatever happened to that guy Andrew Wiggins?

■ According to USA Today, UK Athletics brought in $88.4 million in revenue over the last fiscal year, ranking 19th in the nation in that category. Louisville was 20th at $84.9 million.

■ Knowing that the Triple Crown is the toughest task in all of sports, animal or otherwise, I feel better about Orb's chances than most Kentucky Derby winners of recent vintage.

■ Todd Pletcher will not be satisfied until he has all 20 entries in the Derby. D. Wayne Lukas will not be satisfied until he has all 14 entries in the Preakness.

■ At the Derby, a friend connected with Louisville told me he's never seen Rick Pitino this happy. In fact, he wasn't sure Pitino could be this happy.

■ Did you see Charlie Strong putting some real oomph into the "Riders Up" call for the Derby? I think he may have pulled something.

■ Nerlens Noel took 7-year-old leukemia patient Kelly Melton to the Derby on Saturday. But then we already knew Noel had a heart of gold. Just ask our friend Reese Kemp, the Nicholasville teen with cystic fibrosis whom Noel — along with other UK players — has befriended.

■ Texas A&M has announced plans to expand its football stadium to make it the biggest in the SEC. That is because, well, it's Texas.

■ Longtime official John Cahill is hanging up his whistle to become director of officials for the new Big East. That is college basketball's loss. Forty years a ref, Cahill was among the best in stripes, working 11 Final Fours.

■ Kansas will look into the allegations that Ben McLemore's AAU coach took money in much the same way that Auburn looked into allegations its former football players took money.

■ Nick Saban is selling his $11 million vacation home, complete with a lighthouse, because everyone knows Nick Saban does not take vacations.

■ I like the NBA playoffs, but I love listening to Hubie Brown.

■ Quote of the day comes from the late, great NBA coach Chuck Daly, who once said, "Wipe everything off the board and it's all about attitude."

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

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