Sports

UK Notebook: Fan wants better behavior from Rupp

Kentucky fans make June Eisemann sick.

Eisemann, a 72-year-old grandmother from Wilmore, reacted strongly and negatively to the boos she heard from UK fans as the Cats left the court at halftime on Tuesday.

"Booing by people (I would not call them fans) is so obscene from a sportsmanship point of view," Eisemann wrote in an e-mail message. "It makes me sick!"

Eisemann, who came to Wilmore in 1976 after doing missionary work in the Congo, saw no valid reason for fans to boo.

"Booing anytime by anybody anywhere suggests a gladiator mentality by those who only want to see blood and count on the team winning to validate their personal worth," she wrote. "If any of them were called to substitute for the player who is the object of their boos, they would pass out the first minute because the most exercise they get is running their mouth and booing!"

Well, Eisemann saw one reason to excuse booing. "Maybe OK when directed toward refs!" she wrote.

Otherwise, players who work 12 months a year to improve while also meeting academic requirements deserve better than to be booed, she wrote.

Eisemann is a graduate of Asbury College. She retired as director of financial aid at Asbury Theological Seminary.

To explain why she sent the e-mail and was willing to have it shared with readers, Eisemann wrote, "I would hope it might give pause to those who boo."

It also had a therapeutic effect on Eisemann.

"Whew!" she wrote at the end of her e-mail. "I feel a little better."

Superiority complex

Amy Wilson, a reporter for the Herald-Leader, witnessed an example of Kentucky basketball's superiority complex while visiting the Department of Public Health's Operations Center on Thursday.

She saw a two-man team from Florida being briefed on Kentucky's ice storm recovery efforts and UK's basketball excellence.

"The proud Kentuckian explained he was sorry they hadn't seen such a good display of Kentucky basketball supremacy on Tuesday when the Wildcats got killed by Mississippi State," Wilson noted in an e-mail message. "Then they were told they ought to stick around until Tuesday when they could finally watch some good basketball.

"The two men, who were from the State of Florida's Public Health Office, reminded, ever so generously, that the Sunshine State had seen its share of good basketball lately, too."

While winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, Florida extended a winning streak against Kentucky that reached seven games before the Cats won 75-70 on Senior Day last season.

SECrets

The talk of the league being down came up on the Thursday coaches teleconference. It seems like a weekly occurrence.

"I think it's been talked about way too much," UK Coach Billy Gillispie said. "There are a lot of really good teams."

What's not being talked about is the SEC's record against top 25 competition. The league quietly stopped including that information in its news releases earlier this season.

In non-conference play, the final SEC record against ranked teams was 5-10. Arkansas (No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 7 Texas), South Carolina (No. 19 Baylor) and Tennessee (No. 21 Georgetown, No. 24 Marquette) had the victories.

As another statistic to ponder, here's the won-loss records of the big six conferences against one another:

ACC 27-18 Big Ten 19-18

Big East 22-21 Big 12 19-21

Pac-10 14-17 SEC 15-21

Meeks, Patterson and who?

UK Coach Billy Gillispie repeated last week his suggestion that several players averaging six or seven points would provide sufficient cover for Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson.

Then Gillispie acknowledged there's no alternative. Rather than a third prolific scorer emerging, several players being modest scoring threats was "more realistic for our particular personnel," he said.

The formula requires 20 or more points from Meeks and Patterson.

So when Mississippi State holds each to 15 points? "We're definitely hurt," Gillispie said. "It puts a ton of pressure on Jodie (and the other players)."

Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy had his team concentrate on Meeks and Patterson.

"We had a philosophy going into the game: we wanted some guy who had not been proficient offensively to consistently make shots," Kennedy said. "It's a gamble you take. Some coaches say 'great players will get points, let's limit everybody else.'

"And some coaches will say, 'Hey, let's make guys averaging five or six points go for 15 to beat you.' "

'Toothiness'

UK's leading scorer, Jodie Meeks, had a piece of a tooth knocked out of his mouth against Mississippi State. By the way, no foul was called on the play that saw a defender try to break up a handoff from Kevin Galloway to Meeks.

Something seemed amiss as Meeks held a small object in his hand. It was a piece of a lower tooth.

Instead of being available for post-game interviews, Meeks went to the emergency room to have the piece of the tooth bonded back in place.

Numerical disorder

Numbers that continue to boggle my little mind include:

■ UK freshman DeAndre Liggins' 16 shots at Ole Miss.

To put those 16 shots in perspective, Patrick Patterson has taken that many shots in only three games this season and in his UK career. Jodie Meeks has taken fewer shots in 12 of UK's 23 games.

■ Mississippi State blocked 13 UK shots last week. That's the most blocks against Kentucky since State rejected 15 at Starkville last season.

So in the last two meetings, State has blocked 28 UK shots. Jarvis Varnado blocked 17 shots in those two games.

Derrick Jasper, no one's idea of a three-point sharpshooter, made 43.2 percent of his shots from beyond the three-point arc last season. He hit half his three-point attempts against SEC teams (13 of 26).

That compares favorably with Jodie Meeks' accuracy this season: 43.9 percent overall and 46.9 in the league.

Numerology

An e-mailer identifying himself as "KyTexBen" noted that Kentucky has a 0-3 record since Ramon Harris switched uniform numbers from No. 22 to No. 5 in an attempt to change his karma.

"When is 22 going to make a return to the starting lineup?" KyTexBen wrote.

History in making?

Kentucky has never, ever lost three straight SEC home games. After losing to South Carolina (Jan. 31) and Mississippi State (Feb. 3) in its last two home games, the Cats will look to avoid a historical loss against Florida on Tuesday.

Until this season, UK had lost two straight league games in Rupp Arena only twice: against Vanderbilt and Alabama on Jan. 10 and 14, 2006, and against Florida and Alabama on Feb. 14 and 18, 1989.

Kentucky has lost two straight SEC home games on two other occasions: against Alabama and Florida on Feb. 23 and 25, 1974, and against Georgia Tech and Tennessee on Jan. 5 and 19, 1963.

No Downey?

South Carolina point guard Devan Downey failed to make the list of 17 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award.

That seems odd. Going into this weekend's SEC play, he ranks fourth in scoring (20.3 ppg), fifth in assists (3.9 apg) and first in steals (2.6 spg).

South Carolina Coach Darrin Horn noted how Downey and fellow guard Zam Fredrick make big plays.

"I think they believe they're going to make them," Horn said. "Sometimes that's half the battle.

"Devan is a special player and definitely throughout a game can do things that demonstrate not only an ability but a confidence and, maybe more importantly, a willingness. Not all good players have a willingness to take big shots late. And he definitely does."

The finalists are AJ Price of Connecticut, David Arseneault of Grinnell College, Darren Collison of UCLA, Darren Duncan of Merrimack College, Dominic James of Marquette, Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth, Jeff Teague of Wake Forest, Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse, Levance Fields of Pittsburgh, Patrick Mills of St. Mary's, Sean Wallis of Washington, Sherron Collins of Kansas, Stephen Curry of Davidson, Toney Douglas of Florida State, Ty Lawson of North Carolina and Virgil Buensuceso of BYU-Hawaii.

Wrong, wrong again

In noting Jarvis Varnado's big game against the Cats last season, I suggested his 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks might be the only triple-double ever inflicted on Kentucky.

Wrong.

A reader recalled Dwyane Wade's 29 points, 11 e_SDHprebounds and 11 assists in the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

OK. Then Varnado had the only regular-season triple-double against UK. Almost got out of that one.

A reader suggested David Robinson had a triple-double against the Cats.

Correct. Robinson had 45 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks in a loss at UK on Jan. 25, 1987.

Golden parachutes

Alabama and Georgia did not kick coaches Mark Gottfried and Dennis Felton to the curb. Each will receive a buyout.

Alabama agreed to pay Gottfried $75,000 a month for the next 29 months. There's a provision that neither e_SDHpGottfried nor Alabama will speak ill of the other, which should not be restrictive for Gottfried, who is not known to go negative.

"I will never in my lifetime utter a negative word about Alabama," he said of his alma mater. "I love the place."

Georgia reportedly owes Felton about $1.5 million on a contract that runs through 2011.

Guest speakers

After Mark Gottfried resigned as Alabama coach and the Tide lost at Arkansas, football coach Nick Saban gave the players a fiery speech. Fulfill your role and play with pride, he told the players.

Voila! Alabama beat Georgia (OK, it helped that Georgia was the next opponent).

"For the head football coach to come talk to us, that's just motivation," freshman JaMychal Green said. "He's a good speaker."

Saban's talk was something of a counter strike. Before his team played Alabama, Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey invited one of his predecessors, Nolan Richardson, to speak to the Hogs. Richardson spoke about playing with intensity.

"I'm always asking if he'd like to come by and watch practice," Pelphrey said. "He's more than welcome any time. He's our greatest coach (and) coached our greatest team."

Freshman flash

From Los Angeles Times sportswriter Eric Sondheimer's coverage of high school hoops:

"Loyola needed a layup by Miles Cartwright with 17 seconds left to defeat Encino Crespi, 69-67, in a Mission League game Wednesday. ...

"Freshman Michael Avery turned in his best performance of the season for Crespi, scoring 24 points. Blake Stanton added 21."

Of course, Avery committed to UK last year.

Happy birthday

To former UK guard Ramel Bradley. He turned 24 on Thursday.

According to Wikipedia, Bradley now plays European basketball in Zagreb, Croatia for the Cedevita Zagreb team, where he wears the No. 12. The New Jersey Nets liked his play in a summer league enough to place Bradley with the team in Croatia.

Bradley is also continuing his music career. He raps under the name "Ra Smooth."

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