The 96th KHSAA Boys' State Tournament isn't immune to budget cuts. Sequestration mandates that the Greatest Show in Hoops be scaled back to the Greater Show in Hoops, and that this Sweet Sixteen preview list be trimmed to 15 items.
1) Four private schools (Owensboro Catholic, Trinity, Covington Catholic, Lexington Catholic) made it to the region finals, but none of them won. That means the Sweet Sixteen is an all-public school affair for the seventh time in the past 20 years.
2) Wayne County Coach Rodney Woods, a former University of Tennessee basketball player whose son Peyton is named after former Vols quarterback Peyton Manning, is asked by Rupp Arena officials to remove his orange socks because his Cardinals will be the home team for their game against Madison Central.
3) The Democratic National Committee offers to pay the Fleming County Panthers $100,000 to change their nickname to the Fleming County Ashley Judds for the week.
4) Montgomery County star Omar Prewitt admits that he has never bested his mom, former Lafayette and UK star Lea Wise-Prewitt, in their backyard free throw-shooting contests.
5) Knott County Central sophomore Camron Justice, who had 62 points in a holiday tournament game at Lexington Catholic in late December, stops off at Bueter Gym for a shoot-around before the Patriots' game against Clay County. "Wanted to recapture that 62-point mojo," Justice says.
6) When Fleming County's Troy Steward hits his first three-pointer of the state tournament, his cousin, Chris Lofton, who hit 52 of 108 threes (48 percent) in Rupp Arena during his careers at Mason County and Tennessee, smiles a knowing smile.
7) Looking ahead to 2025, when Town Branch Creek will be flowing through downtown Lexington, the KHSAA announces that the Sweet Sixteen and the State Bass Fishing Championships will be contested the same week, with basketball inside and fishing outside Rupp Arena.
8) This is the 25th anniversary of Richie Farmer's epic 51-point performance for Clay County in the 1988 finals against Allan Houston and Ballard. That makes everybody who was there that night in Freedom Hall feel a whole lot older.
9) U.S. Senator Rand Paul proposes that teams playing in the 2014 Sweet Sixteen be required to wear uniforms made of hemp to help publicize the crop.
10) After given a dose of truth serum and hooked up to a lie detector, Ballard Coach Chris Renner grudgingly admits that his Bruins got a favorable draw in the Sweet Sixteen.
11) In a nice gesture, UK allows PRP to use its new, lavish 6,000-square foot locker room because Rupp Arena is like a home gym to Dale Mabrey, who has coached the Panthers in 27 state tournament games in Lexington over the years.
12) After UK plays Florida on Saturday afternoon in Rupp Arena, Nerlens Noel sticks around and signs copies of his knee X-rays for fans at Saturday night's Sweet Sixteen semifinals.
13) When Madison Central's 6-foot-1 star point guard Dominique Hawkins takes an alley-oop pass from Daniel Parke and throws down a one-handed, glass-rattling dunk, the cheers can be heard all the way to Richmond.
14) Montgomery County assistant coach Billy Ray Fawns walks into Rupp Arena and has flashbacks to 1995, when he scored 29 points, including a three-pointer that forced overtime, to lead the Indians past Paintsville 78-71 in the state tournament. It is Montgomery County's first (and so far only) Sweet Sixteen victory.
15) There's a whole lotta prayin' and a whole lotta tithin' going on in church on Sunday morning as fans look to give their team an edge in Sunday afternoon's state championship game.
2013 Sweet Sixteen PreviewBallard's talented trio eye title
Mike Fields: You never know at the state tournament
Sweet Sixteen tournament bracket
Pre-season team, player ratings
Game 1 (Noon, Wed.): Wayne Co. vs. Madison Central
Game 2 (1:30 pm, Wed.): Holmes vs. PRP
Game 3 (6:30 pm, Wed.): Graves Co. vs. Ohio Co.
Game 4 (8 pm, Wed.): Hopkinsville vs. South Oldham
Game 5 (Noon, Thu.): Warren Central vs. Montgomery Co.
Game 6 (1:30 pm, Thu.): Fleming Co. vs. John Hardin
Game 7 (6:30 pm, Thu.): Johnson Central vs. Ballard
Game 8 (8 pm, Thu.): Knott Co. Central vs. Clay Co.
Region players and coaches of the year
Past boys' Sweet Sixteen champions