Fast-break points from the Bailey Brothers Building and Loan:
21. The thing that always drives me crazy about SEC basketball: Way too many bad pre-conference losses to teams from smaller leagues.
20. Auburn: Already this year has lost to UNC Asheville, Samford, Campbell and Jacksonville.
19. Mississippi State: Has 'L's' from both Florida Atlantic and East Tennessee State.
Never miss a local story.
18. Florida: Lost to Central Florida.
17. LSU: Has defeats from Nicholls State and Coastal Carolina.
16. SEC 'bad loss' totals: Overall, the SEC has 13 losses to schools from conferences other than the six major leagues (the BCS automatic qualifying conferences in football). Through games of Dec. 12, eight of the 12 SEC schools — everyone except Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — have at least one such loss.
15. How the SEC 'bad loss' numbers stack up against the other super six leagues: Not very well, but not the absolute worst.
14. Big Ten: The 11-team league has only six "bad" losses — and Iowa has three of them.
13. Big 12: A 12-team league for one final winter, the Big 12 has a combined eight losses to teams from non-BCS leagues.
12. ACC: Also a 12-team league, has 10 "bad losses" — and Wake Forest has contributed four by itself.
11. Pacific-10: Still a 10-team league for now, the Pac-10 has a whopping 17 losses to non-super six foes. Brutal.
10. Big East: Has 19 "bad" losses spread over a 16-team league, but that is misleading. The top 12 teams in the Big East have only five such defeats; bottom dwellers DePaul (four) and South Florida (five) are responsible for nine of the league's bad defeats.
9. Bottom line: The BLI (bad-loss index) would suggest the SEC is a middling at best major basketball league this season. Which seems about right.
8. Louisville soccer: I'm not much of a soccer guy, but the final minutes of Sunday's men's NCAA championship match — when Akron had a 1-0 lead but Louisville had several prime scoring opportunities in front of the Zips' goal — were heart-pounding.
7. U of L all-around sports balance: Since the 2004-05 school year, Louisville has had a men's basketball Final Four team (2005); a football BCS bowl champion (2007 Orange Bowl); a baseball College World Series (2007) team; a women's basketball national runner-up (2009); and now a men's soccer national runner-up (2010).
That's pretty strong.
6. Chris Hatcher hits 100: The former Kentucky assistant won his 100th game as a college head football coach when Murray State beat Tennessee State to finish 6-5 on the season.
5. Hatcher's heady company: At 37 years, 274 days old, Hatcher is the fifth-youngest coach in NCAA history to win 100 games in his career, one spot behind Pop Warner (37 years, 235 days) and one place ahead of Amos Alonzo Stagg (38 years, 51 days).
4. Trevard Lindley: The ex-Kentucky cornerback got, by my count, three positive mentions by NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth for his play for Philadelphia during the Eagles 30-27 victory over Dallas on Sunday night. Former Cats have had more positive (mostly) impact in the NFL this season than any time in years.
3. Mike Hartline: A fifth-year senior quarterback should never allow himself to get into the kind of situation that got Hartline arrested and, ultimately, suspended for his final college game. Still, after all the criticism he took from fans over his career, I can't help but feel bad for Hartline that a senior year in which he played better than almost anyone could have imagined ends on such a sour note.
2. Ryan Mossakowski: I hope he gets a chance for a meaningful series or two at quarterback when Kentucky faces Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
1. Morgan Newton: As the named UK starter for the Jan. 8 bowl in Birmingham, Newton now has a golden opportunity to lay claim to the Kentucky quarterback position going forward.
Hey, quarterbacks named Newton have fared pretty well in the state of Alabama this season.