▪ Props to John Calipari for shutting down the “overrated” chant during Kentucky’s 86-69 win over then No. 1-ranked Tennessee in Rupp Arena last Saturday. Two main reasons. No. 1, saying the other team was overrated cheapens your own team’s win. No. 2, Kentucky has to go to Knoxville on March 2.
▪ In his latest “Bracketology” posted Monday, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had eight SEC teams in the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. His last “four in” included Alabama and Florida. Lunardi had UK as a No. 2 seed in the South Region with Virginia as the No. 1 seed. If the seeds held, Virginia would be playing Kentucky in Louisville. I can hear Virginia fans crying foul already.
▪ Interesting comment this week from David Bell. The new Cincinnati Reds manager said that Nick Senzel is the favorite to win the center fielder job. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Tennessee, Senzel has been an infielder until now. It will be interesting to see how he makes the adjustment, but love the idea of another potential big bat in the lineup.
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▪ Want to be an NFL defensive coordinator? The Bengals are apparently still accepting résumés after being turned down by several candidates. The latest was Florida’s Todd Grantham, who decided to stay in Gainesville rather than return to the NFL
▪ At 73 years old, Steve Spurrier is still Steve Spurrier. Coaching the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos, the Old Ball Coach said the crowd at the San Antonio’s Alamo Dome for the Apollos-Commanders game was “just as loud as Rocky Top.”
▪ With Tennessee scheduled to visit on Saturday, LSU basketball faces a tough trap game Wednesday night against Florida. How will Will Wade’s team handles such a new scenario?
▪ Good to see Victor Espinoza back in the saddle. After suffering a neck fracture last July, the jockey who rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown, finished second his first race back Monday at Santa Anita.
▪ This doesn’t happen often: Former Eastern Kentucky head football coach Danny Hope is back at EKU, this time as offensive line coach. Hope left Eastern for Purdue in 2007 to be associate head coach and successor to Joe Tiller. Hope was 35-22 as the Colonels’ head coach from 2003 through 2007.
▪ In case you missed it: Sacha Killeya-Jones is no longer with the North Carolina State basketball program. Killeya-Jones transferred to N.C. State after averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds with UK last season. As a transfer, he was sitting out this season.
▪ In case you missed it: Former UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson is no longer the offensive coordinator at Southern Miss. Dawson left USM to re-join his old boss Dana Holgorsen, now the head coach at Houston. Dawson was Holgorsen’s offensive coordinator at West Virginia before coming o UK in 2015.
▪ The hope here is that now former UK offensive tackle E.J. Price gets it figured out soon. The Georgia native had transferred to Kentucky from Southern Cal. After sitting out 2017, Price played for the Cats in 2018.
▪ Our scheduling dreams have come true. Miami of Florida will play host to Miami of Ohio to open the 2023 college football season.
▪ Former Kentucky defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley is the new defensive coordinator at Tennessee, where he signed a three-year deal for $1 million per year. Ansley left UK for Alabama in 2016. He spent 2018 as defensive backs coach for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.
▪ Because Alabama did not promote Butch Jones to an on-field coaching job, the former Tennessee head coach is owed $2.4 million in 2019 by the Vols, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Tennessee owed Jones $8.26 million after firing him in 2017. He joined Nick Saban’s staff as an offensive analyst last season.
▪ You knew Kentucky-Tennessee was a big basketball game last Saturday when they had the incomparable Marlana VanHoose sing the national anthem in Rupp Arena.