Mark Story

Mark Story: Billy G. no longer playing Scrooge

Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie listens to a question during the Big 12 basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie listens to a question during the Big 12 basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fast-break points from the Bailey Bros. Building and Loan:

21. Billy Gillispie. The most-immediate former Kentucky head men's hoops coach is 4-4 after his first eight games as head man at Texas Tech.

20. Gillispie learned his lesson from Kentucky? Remember at UK when Gillispie said being the public face of Kentucky basketball "was not on the job description?" That was shortly before he was fired, in part, for not handling the off-the-court responsibilities of the Cats coaching job the way his bosses wanted.

19. Billy G. as Santa. This December, the Red Raiders players and coaches are scheduled to visit area hospitals, work with local charities and generally "provide a helping hand during the holiday season" as a part of Billy Gillispie's Red Raider 12 Days of Christmas.

18. Deja vu all over again. A reader (Maysville's Ron Bailey) saw a cruel karmic rerun in Kentucky's last-second men's basketball loss at Indiana last Saturday.

17. A 'Christian' soldier I: In Kentucky's epic 1992 NCAA Tournament defeat to Duke, a player named 'Christian' — Laettner — drained a walk-off jump shot to decide the game by one point.

16. A 'Christian' soldier II: In Kentucky's 2011-12 early-season upset defeat to Indiana, a player named 'Christian' — Watford — drained a walk-off jump shot to decide the game by one point.

15. A 'Mason' defender I: In 1992, the Kentucky defender closest to Christian Laettner on his game-deciding shot was a former Mason County High School forward, Deron Feldhaus.

14. A 'Mason' defender II: In 2011, the Kentucky defender closest to Christian Watford on his game-deciding shot was a former Mason County High School forward, Darius Miller.

13. Moral of stories I and II: In all future late-game scenarios in which Kentucky is vulnerable to defeat from a last-second shot, UK coaches must ensure that no Wildcats players from Mason County are assigned to guard any guys named 'Christian.'

12. Best men's college team in Kentucky. If you believe the RPI, it's not who you think it is.

11. Murray State. According to realtimerpi.com, Louisville is No. 16, Kentucky is No. 8 and undefeated Murray State is No. 6 (through games of Tuesday night).

10. Rolling Racers. First-year head coach Steve Prohm's team (10-0) has beaten UAB in Birmingham, won The Great Alaska Shootout, put a 17-point beat down on the same Dayton that upset Alabama and beaten then-No. 21 Memphis on the road.

9. Rodrick Rhodes. The former Kentucky Wildcats forward, now coaching high school basketball at tiny Cordia in Knott County, worked as an administrative aide for former UK teammate Travis Ford when the latter was head coach at Massachusetts.

8. Bullish on Trav. Rhodes says Ford will win an NCAA championship in his current job at Oklahoma State. "That's how good a coach I think he is," Rhodes says.

7. Ex-Cats collide. Circle Jan. 10 on your high school boys hoops calendar. That's when East Ridge, coached by former Kentucky guard Preston Lemaster, is slated to visit Cordia, coached by Rhodes.

6. Rupp Arena. When UK set its all-time attendance record for a home women's basketball game (14,508) last week while beating Duke, the game was only in Rupp because the NCAA volleyball tournament made Memorial Coliseum off limits for hoops.

5. Memorial Coliseum. In the rise of the University of Kentucky women's basketball program, the policy of playing home games exclusively at the venerable on-campus site has well-served Matthew Mitchell and Co. by giving the UK women a homecourt advantage they've never had in Rupp.

4. Tennessee Lady Vols. On Jan. 12, the gold standard of SEC women's basketball is slated to visit Lexington in what is likely to be a matchup of top-10 teams. I think it's safe to assume that more fans will want to see that game than the current Coliseum capacity (7,951 at the sold-out Louisville game) will allow.

3. Pat Summitt. Given the health uncertainties that surround the iconic UT coach since her announcement this past summer that she is suffering from early on-set dementia, this may or may not be the final time Summitt ever coaches in Lexington.

2. Move the game to Rupp. The logistics (contracts, parking, printing new tickets etc. ...) of moving a game in-season would be complicated, I'm sure. Maybe it would be impossible. But according to the Rupp Arena website, there is no event scheduled in the venue on Jan. 12. The Harlem Globetrotters are slated to play in the arena the next night.

1. Something special for Pat — and UK. Wouldn't it be a fitting tribute to Summitt's impact on women's basketball — and a testimony to how far Mitchell has elevated Kentucky — to play UK-UT in Rupp Arena and sell it out, creating the largest crowd ever to see a women's basketball game in the commonwealth?

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