Mark Story: Baylor another school bringing the pain to UK

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJune 9, 2014 

Quick hitters from the perennial Triple Crown letdown:

21. Baylor. To the list of schools that have inflicted significant pain on the University of Kentucky, the good Baptists from Baylor are moving up with a bullet.

20. Men's basketball. In Dec., 2012, Baylor snapped Kentucky's 55-game home-court winning streak with a 64-55 victory in Rupp Arena. It was the first loss, after 54 victories, for a John Calipari-coached UK team in Rupp. Scott Drew's Bears backed up that victory by beating UK again this past season, 67-62, at AT&T Stadium.

19. Women's basketball. Baylor ended Kentucky's Final Four hopes this past season with a 90-72 smackdown in the NCAA round of 16. It gave Kim Mulkey's crew vengeance for UK's epic 133-130 four-overtime victory over Baylor in the regular season.

18. Softball. With UK leading 7-0 and needing only six outs to advance to the Women's College World Series semifinals, Baylor staged a miracle rally, scoring eight straight runs to end the best season in Kentucky history in excruciating fashion.

17. Rachel Lawson. After the late-game meltdown against Baylor, the Kentucky softball coach found herself being widely second-guessed in the social media over her strategic moves (or lack thereof). Lawson should be thrilled by that.

16. It is good to be criticized. The Monday morning quarterbacking regarding Lawson not changing pitchers meant the coach had UK softball on a big enough stage people were paying attention and that Cats fans cared enough about the outcome to be upset.

15. Louisville gets some swagger back. U of L's 4-1 victory over UK in the NCAA baseball region finals allowed the Cardinals to land a late punch on the Cats for this school year.

14. Still a Big Blue year. In head-to-head meetings between teams representing the Cats and Cards in 2013-14, UK won nine of 13. Kentucky went 4-3 vs. Louisville in men's sports and 5-1 against the Cardinals in women's sports.

13. Dan McDonnell. The Louisville baseball coach has now led the Cardinals to the College World Series three times — 2007, 2013 and this season.

12. Nick Saban. Recently agreed to an eight-year, $55.2 million contract extension to coach football for Alabama.

11. John Calipari. Recently agreed to a 7-year, $52.5 million contract extension to coach basketball for Kentucky.

10. Capitalism. I started to describe those coaching salaries as obscene, then I remembered I believe in free enterprise and the market setting the price.

9. The athletes. It would be nice if the Alabama football and Kentucky basketball players whose labor provides the product in this entertainment industry also were given a chance to benefit from the free market that so enriches the head coaches in big-time college sports.

8. Not hot in Cleveland. If the Yahoo Sports report Monday that Calipari turned down a 7-year, $60 million contract to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers is accurate, he will end up being glad he did not get ensnared in team owner Dan Gilbert's web.

7. Craig Yeast II. If you were like me, the news that Kentucky offered a football scholarship Saturday night to the son of the 1990s-era UK star wide receiver, had to make you feel a little bit old. At 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Russ Yeast is already bigger than his dad was (5-9, 163) when he was catching passes from Tim Couch.

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Coming off his victory at Pocono on Sunday, the NASCAR star will be at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday night for the Cincinnati-Los Angeles Dodgers game as part of "Reds Racing Night presented by Kroger." Kentucky Speedway officials have to be thrilled Earnhardt Jr. won immediately before coming into market to help promote the June 28 Quaker State 400.

5. Junior achievement. Earnhardt Jr.'s win Sunday, coupled with his victory in the Daytona 500, makes him a multi-winner this season in the Sprint Cup for the first time since he won six races in 2004.

4. The big 4-0. Speaking of making one feel old, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the crown prince of NASCAR, will turn 40 Oct. 10.

3. North Carolina. Throughout the academic scandal at UNC, the school's strategy has seemed to be try to not let the allegations of athletes receiving "phony" grades for no-show classes contaminate either the 2005 or 2009 men's NCAA championship teams.

2. Rashad McCants. McCants, one of the stars of the 2005 Tar Heels, told ESPN that tutors wrote school papers for him and that advisors steered him into those no-show classes. If what he's saying is true, UNC's 2005 NCAA title is tainted.

1. "The Carolina Way." If it were a road, you'd need to go slow — because it looks increasingly crooked.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service