Big Blue Links:
▪ John Calipari’s proposal to move the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament from the post-season to the pre-season, holding it in November, has not exactly been greeted with universal acclaim.
ESPN’s Mike and Mike were expressing bewilderment at the idea during their show on Thursday morning, as well as poking fun at Calipari and Paul Finebaum’s glorious tans. “They are very tanned,” Golic said.
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo also is not too keen on the idea. “Credit Calipari for always being willing to propose an outside-the-box idea, but this scheme is not one of his best,” writes Eisenberg.
Cal must have forgotten he’s in the SEC. No one in the league, outside of Kentucky, is going to care about a league basketball tournament in November. That’s the football season, the important part of the football season, the stretch drive to the post-season. A grid-centric league is not going to pay much attention to hoops that time of year.
As for Cal’s statement about SEC teams losing in the first round of the conference tournament and then not making the NCAA Tournament, there’s a reason for that. Those teams have not had seasons worthy of being in the NCAA Tournament. Contrary to Cal’s thinking, there’s no conspiracy here. SEC teams have not been good enough. They have to get better.
▪ One move that does makes sense is pushing the SEC Tournament final back a day to Saturday. And league coaches are pushing to make that change. It would give the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee more time to judge league teams before the bracket is announced on Sunday night.
▪ SEC basketball did get a pep talk from its newest consultant, former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. Afterward, South Carolina coach Frank Martin said, “I almost stood up and gave him a standing ovation.”
▪ John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will return to Rupp Arena in October for an NBA exhibition game between Wall’s Washington Wizards and Cousins’ Sacramento Kings. Remember, it’s an NBA exhibition game. If you want to pay good money to see that, go right ahead.
▪ Louisville makes Dan McDonnell highest-paid baseball coach, reports Eric Crawford of WDRB. “University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, less than 48 hours after telling reporters he would ;go down fighting’ to keep his baseball coach from looking at other offers, landed a knockout on Wednesday, signing Dan McDonnell to a 10-year, $10.6 million contract extension.”
▪ As I mentioned in my notes column, September’s Kentucky-Florida football game in Gainesville has been picked up by CBS as part of the Verne Lundquist farewell tour.
▪ Alabama AD Bill Battle told the media at the SEC Spring Meetings at the school is still awaiting word from the NCAA regarding possible rules violations committed by now former assistant Bo Davis.
▪ Woody Durham, longtime voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, has been diagnosed with a neurological language expression disorder.
“I can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with my wife, Jean, but I am not able to address groups as I did in the past,” said the 75-year-old Durham in a letter to fans. “While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.”
▪ Duke has a bunch of basketball guys on the mend, including head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who underwent knee replacement surgery -- as did UNC coach Roy Williams -- and hernia repair surgery.
Women’s College World Series schedule
12:00 - Georgia vs. Florida State (ESPN)
2:30 - UCLA vs. Auburn (ESPN)
7:00 - Alabama vs. Oklahoma (ESPN2)
9:30 - LSU vs. Michigan (ESPN2)