John Clay's notes: Welcoming Bob Knight back to Rupp Arena

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistFebruary 26, 2014 

Random notes:

■ I am sure the Big Blue Nation will treat ESPN color analyst Bob Knight with dignity and respect when the legendary Indiana coach visits for Thursday night's Kentucky-Arkansas game.

After all, hasn't Knight always treated people the way he would want to be treated?

■ Good news that NBC and Churchill Downs have extended their Kentucky Derby partnership for another 10 years. The network has done by far the best job of covering horse racing's marquee event.

■ Wichita State may not have played the toughest schedule, but going 30-0 is no small accomplishment. Plus, the Shockers have already experienced March Madness success.

■ Not only did they make last year's Final Four, they led Louisville 58-56 with six minutes to go in the national semifinal before fading. I wouldn't want to see my team's name in Gregg Marshall's bracket on Selection Sunday.

■ SEC Coach of the Year is a tough choice. Florida's Billy Donovan is three wins away from an undefeated conference season. But after a tough non-conference season, Mark Fox has Georgia established as clearly the third best team in the league.

■ If Georgia could win out — it plays at Arkansas, hosts Mississippi State, then finishes at LSU — the Bulldogs would be 19-11 overall and 13-5 in the SEC. Surely that would garner some NCAA tourney consideration.

■ By the way, I blame the SEC's basketball downfall on those in-game coaches' interviews for television.

■ National Coach of the Year? Virginia's Tony Bennett has to be at or near the top of my list.

■ Nice to see Jim Boeheim finally admit he went "too far" during his blowup at the end of the loss at Duke. He apparently was the last to know.

■ Kansas has clinched at least a share of its 10th consecutive Big 12 title, a streak second to UCLA's 13 titles (1967-79) among those in power conferences. Kentucky won eight straight SEC titles from 1945 through 1952.

■ With Tuesday night's win over Iowa, Richard Pitino and Minnesota may join Rick Pitino and Louisville in the NCAA Tournament field.

■ Every time I see Rick Pitino's beard, it reminds me to shave.

■ You are a victim of your own success when you are UK women's coach Matthew Mitchell and you just posted your fifth consecutive 20-win season and no one has made a big deal of the accomplishment.

■ As for John Calipari sheepishly talking about a No. 1 seed for his Cats, a coach can dream can't he?

■ In Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology, four teams (Kansas, Michigan, Duke and Michigan State) have as many losses or more than Kentucky yet have better seeds.

■ Kentucky football recruiting has advanced to the point where a UK commitment received a scholarship offer from Alabama. And the commitment is not from Kentucky. It's Montrell Custis, a 6-foot, 185-pound "athlete" from Hampton, Ga.

■ Beer sales were to make their debut at University of Texas athletic events on Wednesday when the men's basketball Longhorns played Baylor. Because, you know, the Texas athletic department just doesn't generate enough money.

■ I couldn't see Tennessee rehiring Bruce Pearl until Louisville rehired Bobby Petrino.

■ People are upset that because of his birthday, Rajon Rondo didn't make a trip to Sacramento for a game he wasn't going to play in anyway? Hey, it was his birthday.

■ In Arizona, the great Billy Hamilton experiment has begun. No big deal. It will merely determine the Reds' 2014 season.

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

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