Top o' the morning!
It's St. Patrick's Day, and the opening day of the 93rd PNC/KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen. So if you're going to Rupp Arena, don't forget your green. (Have you seen those concession prices?!)
Here's something cheap (remember, you get what you pay for) — 16 predictions for the Sweet Sixteen.
1 Players are warned that under a new rule, they will be assessed a technical foul and $10 fine if they're caught texting while driving the lane.
2 Christian County's Anthony Hickey breaks a tournament record by breaking five opponents' ankles with his lightning-quick moves.
3 Sen. Jim Bunning files an objection with the KHSAA over free throws. "Somebody's gotta pay for them!" Bunning fumes.
4 Paducah Tilghman players Kris Jackson, DeJuan Edmonds, Josh Forrest and J.D. Harmon are told they can't wear their state football championship rings on the court.
5 A straw poll on the Lexington mayoral race is taken among Rupp Arena fans. Jim Newberry, Jim Gray and Teresa Isaac all finish behind John Wall.
6 The KHSAA denies reports that it is thinking about expanding the boys' state tournament to the Sweet Sixty-Six to generate more revenue.
7 Shelby Valley star Elisha Justice, owner of the state record for career steals (524 and counting), steals the spotlight as the Cats become the first mountain team to reach the finals since Paintsville in 1998.
8 Muhlenberg County Coach Reggie Warford, whose career at UK ended only months before Rupp Arena opened, gives his bus driver directions to Memorial Coliseum.9Dancing with the Stars books Warren Central Coach Tim Riley after seeing video of his celebratory high-step trot after his Dragons' double-overtime victory in the 4th Region finals. (Check it out at www.wbko.com/sports. Type in "Warren Central" in the video search block.)
10 Martha Ellen Baker, mother of East Carter Coach Brandon Baker, gets permission to park her Honda Civic in the end zone of Rupp Arena. (During the 16th Region finals, she sat in the parking lot at Morehead State and listened to the game on her car radio because she couldn't take the pressure inside the arena.)
11 Fifteen out of 16 coaches will use the phrase, "It is what it is," in their post-game press conference. Fifteen out of 16 media members will wince.
12 West Jessamine's Colts are asked to be a warm-up act at the World Equestrian Games.
13 Nobody can convince me that ESPN hoops analyst Digger Phelps knows what the heck he's talking about.
14 Mason County Coach Chris O'Hearn tells his team that 25 years ago this week he had 41 points in two games for the Royals in the Sweet Sixteen. A player innocently asks if Rupp Arena used peach baskets for goals in those days.
15 A few octogenarian Knott County Central fans recount stories of making the trip to Lexington to watch Pearl Combs' Hindman boys win the 1943 state title in Alumni Gym.
16 In a show of support for its hometown Toyota plant, Scott County's Cardinals change their nickname to the Scott County Camrys for the week.