Sports

What a difference a month makes for UK, UofL

Fast-break points while you look for a Derby hat:

21. The World Turned Upside Down. One month ago, Louisville men's basketball was soaring and Kentucky seemed in disarray.

Now, (most) UK fans are giddy over the state of their program, while U of L backers have the biggest melodrama this side of Gossip Girl.

Amazing how quickly that mood swing has occurred.

20. Jimmy Dykes. Listening to the ESPN analyst gush about John Calipari and Kentucky during the broadcast of Saturday night's Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Game, I found myself wondering whether the Eddie Sutton-era UK assistant was angling for a return to the Kentucky staff.

19. Darius Miller. I think he's really going to shine in the Dribble Drive.

18. Mike Casey. In my column a week ago about the late Kentucky guard, I had Casey's 1965 Shelby County High team losing to Breckinridge County in the state championship game.

Actually, Shelby lost to Butch Beard and Breck County in the state quarterfinals. Covington Holy Cross fell to Breckinridge in the 1965 state finals.

17. Bruce Pearl rapping. OK, he isn't 50 Cent; the Tennessee coach sure makes things fun (though, personally, I don't need to see Pearl sans shirt ever again).

16. Rajon Rondo. When you put up 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists — as the former UK standout did — in the first game of an NBA playoff series, you'd think the odds of the other point guard in the game outplaying you are darned near nil.

Yet Rondo was not the best point guard in Game 1 of the Boston-Chicago series — which tells you how spectacular Derrick Rose (36 points, 11 assists) was in the Bulls' upset win.

15. Courtney Lee. The ex-Western Kentucky star was a bright spot (18 points) in the Magic's disappointing Game 1 collapse against Philadelphia.

14. Mark Martin (age 50) won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Saturday in Phoenix.

13. Randy Johnson (age 45) threw seven innings of no-hit baseball Sunday for the San Francisco Giants.

12. Geezers rock. If Kenny Perry (age 48) had not had his late-Masters meltdown, the Old School would really be standing tall.

11. The Louisville spring football game. Even amid the U of L fan base's "Kragthorpian depression," Louisville announced a crowd of 15,300 at its Red-White Game.

10. The Kentucky spring football game. Coming off three straight bowl wins, UK should at least outdraw U of L for this Saturday's Blue-White Game, right?

9. No excuses, UK fans. As of Monday, the weather forecast for Saturday is balmy. The Keeneland Spring Meet ends Friday. Thunder Over Louisville is already in the books.

There is no reason for UK fans not to show up strong for a program riding three consecutive winning years.

8. Danny Trevathan. The true sophomore linebacker from Leesburg, Fla., is the Kentucky defender I'm most curious to see Saturday.

7. E.J. Fields. The redshirt freshman receiver from Frankfort is the Kentucky offensive player I'm most curious to see Saturday.

6. Mike Hartline. With the lavishly hyped Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski arriving this fall, the incumbent Kentucky quarterback could help himself greatly in the "fan perception category" by looking good Saturday.

5. The argument for Kentucky vs. Miami (Ohio) in Paul Brown Stadium. I've always been supportive of UK playing major sporting events in areas where "out-in-the-state" Kentucky fans have a chance to see the Cats.

For Northern Kentucky's Big Blue backers, this UK football appearance in Cincinnati is a rare opportunity.

4. The argument against Kentucky vs. Miami (Ohio) in Paul Brown Stadium. Even against a team coming off a 2-10 season and with a new head coach, UK is assuming, on a neutral field, a level of risk that would not be there in Commonwealth Stadium.

3. The overall 2009 UK football schedule. The 11 straight games without an open date is worrisome. In each of the last two seasons, Kentucky got beaten up and beaten down in the meat grinder of the Southeastern Conference.

2. Don't slip back. Job One for Rich Brooks and Co. in 2009 is not to slip back, meaning at least get to six wins and gain bowl eligibility for a fourth straight year.

1. UK football progress. To actually step forward in 2009, the Cats need to win the ones they should and beat somebody — say Steve Spurrier or Tennessee — that Kentucky has not been beating.

  Comments