John Clay

NIT nuggets to nosh on before Notre Dame

John Clay
John Clay

Random (NIT) notes:

■ Comment on the live blog during Monday night's game: "At least Omaha thinks we're still big-time."

■ In its two NIT games, "Team Turnover" has dished out 37 assists compared with just 25 turnovers. Quite a switch.

■ Remember, Notre Dame slaughtered Louisville 90-57 at the Joyce Center on Feb. 12. Louisville hasn't lost since.

■ Two thin Perry Stevensons might make one of Notre Dame's Luke Harangody.

■ The Jodie Meeks-Billy Gillispie dynamic has sure taken an interesting turn down the stretch.

Earlier, Meeks was Billy G.'s iron man, playing 38 to 40 minutes per game. The last four games, Meeks has played 32, 31, 35 and 30 minutes.

Meeks sat the bench for seven minutes in the second half at Creighton on Monday. When he returned, he scored 10 points in the game's final nine minutes. He did that while taking a season-low two three-point attempts. He made one.

■ Meeks has averaged 14.3 points a game over his past three games.

■ For the supposedly Nobody's Interested Tournament, UK's two games, one home and one away, have played to enthusiastic audiences.

■ Expect a lot of talk about Kentucky possibly playing one regular-season game a year in Memorial Coliseum. Expect cost-conscious Kentucky to reject such talk.

■ If I had a dollar for every UK rumor I heard at the National City Boys' Sweet Sixteen last week, I could prop up AIG.

■ Speaking of rumors, not buying the return of Rick Pitino rumor, or the Dan Issel as head of basketball operations rumor. The second is more plausible than the first. Ah, but I didn't think we'd be ready to close the book on the Billy Gillispie era so soon, either.

■ The Qwest Center in Omaha is a nice play to see a basketball game and, right next door, the city is building the new baseball stadium that will be home to the College World Series.

■ The last nine teams to shoot 35 percent or better from three-point range against Kentucky had beaten Kentucky before Monday. Creighton shot 42.1 percent (8-for-19) and lost.

■ I do think Darius Miller is going to be a really good player.

■ Wednesday night will mark Notre Dame's third straight NIT home game. The Irish could make it to New York without ever having left the Joyce Center.

■ The last time UK played at South Bend, Jan. 25, 2004, ex-Irish coach Digger Phelps led a halftime pep rally in which he admonished the fans to get behind the team and "beat Kentucky!" So much for Digger's motivational ploys. Kentucky won 71-63.

■ If Kentucky does make a coaching change, that would certainly scramble the two other Southeastern Conference searches, both of which began relatively early in the conference campaign.

Virginia Commonwealth's Anthony Grant is believed to be a serious candidate at Georgia and Alabama. But what if Kentucky decides to make another run at Billy Donovan and this time succeeds? Grant was nearly the Florida coach when Donovan took the Orlando Magic job for a weekend. Might the ex-Gators assistant be more interested in returning to Gainesville?

■ Ramon Harris is having an impressive NIT run. The junior forward grabbed 10 rebounds in the Memorial Coliseum win over UNLV. He dished an unexpected and career-high eight assists against the Bluejays on Monday.

■ Fun fact: Kentucky has won six of its past seven NIT games.

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