Fast-break points from Peyton Manning’s Budweiser stash:
21. Kentucky Wildcats fans. It has not been easy to back the Cats in the 2015-16 school year.
20. UK football. Lost a game (to Louisville) it led by 21 points.
19. UK men’s basketball. Lost a game (at Tennessee) it led by 21 points.
18. UK women’s basketball. Lost a game (at Auburn) it led by 17 points.
17. Moral of the story. This year, Kentucky fans cannot afford to ever relax — and need always have the Maalox nearby.
16. Big win for Eastern’s McHale. First-year Eastern Kentucky head coach Dan McHale and the Colonels men’s hoopsters upset Belmont 88-78 in Nashville on Saturday night.
15. A history-making victory. It was the first home loss in league play for Belmont (17-8, 9-2 OVC) since the Bruins entered the Ohio Valley Conference in 2012-13. Eastern ended a Belmont streak of 35 straight home conference wins that dated back to the Bruins’ days in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
14. Making it sweeter for Eastern. Until its big win at Belmont, EKU (14-12, 5-6 OVC) had been on the verge of significant victories against Western Kentucky, Murray State and Morehead State only to see each slip away late.
13. The mess at Louisville. Only a cretin wouldn’t feel sorry for the Louisville men’s basketball players after the school announced last Friday it was self-imposing a postseason tournament ban due to information uncovered in the university’s ongoing investigation of the alleged “paid escorts for recruits and players” scandal at U of L.
12. Must be serious. To self-impose penalties so late in a season — and with a very good team — suggests that, whatever it was U of L investigators have corroborated, it is bad.
11. Should have said more. In announcing the postseason ban, Louisville administrators were loath to offend the NCAA by releasing information about the investigation before it is over. However, as WDRB.com’s Eric Crawford wrote, when you make a decision that impacts as many people as removing the U of L hoops team from postseason eligibility did, you owe it to stakeholders in Cardinals athletics to give them a tangible explanation for the action beyond “trust us.”
10. UK football’s in-state recruits. If the players stay healthy, Kentucky’s 2016 class of homegrown players — Kash Daniel (Paintsville), Zy’Aire Hughes (McCracken County), Drake Jackson (Woodford County), Davonte Robinson (Henry Clay) and Landon Young (Lafayette) — can have the impact on Wildcats football that the 2003 in-state class that included Andre Woodson (North Hardin), Keenan Burton (Manual) and Jacob Tamme (Boyle County) did.
9. Mark Stoops. In four recruiting seasons as Kentucky football coach, Stoops has now signed 14 in-state players.
8. Stoops vs. U of L. Over the same four recruiting campaigns, Louisville coaches (Charlie Strong for the first year, Bobby Petrino for the last three) have signed six in-state players, five of them from Jefferson County.
7. More Stoops. The UK head man’s four recruiting classes have been ranked 29th (2013), 17th (2014), 36th (2015) and 29th (2016) by Rivals.com.
6. Stoops vs. U of L II. During Stoops’ time at Kentucky, Louisville’s four recruiting classes have been ranked 52nd (2013), 40th (2014), 32nd (2015) and 36th (2016).
5. Moral of this story. From the UK perspective, it would be nice if that disparity in recruiting class rankings in Kentucky’s overall favor (three years out of four) starts showing up on the field soon.
4. Switching sides in a Civil War. I asked Lamar Thomas, who left his job as Louisville wide receivers coach to take the same position at Kentucky, how one tells Bobby Petrino one is quitting U of L to go to UK.
3. What Thomas said. “You just give (Petrino) your letter of resignation, you shake (hands) and go your separate ways.”
2. Danny Trevathan. After the former Kentucky star recovered two fumbles (and made eight tackles) to help Denver beat Carolina 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, the linebacker is now tied with six others, including Mike Singletary and Roger Staubach, for the most fumble recoveries in one Super Bowl.
1. Cam Newton. You can say what you want about the Carolina Panthers quarterback’s truncated — by my count, 85 words — post-Super Bowl news conference.
Here’s what I’ll say: Newton’s terse meeting with reporters Sunday night yielded infinitely more useful information than Rick Pitino supplied after this season’s Kentucky-Louisville game.