Hip, hip, hooray! The winter Olympics are finally over this week and that segment of time each day used by the statewide and national sports media can go to college and high school basketball again.
I know I’m not alone in my thoughts on this matter, but this has got to be the largest sum of wasted money ever spent in the world of sports to have such little interest to the American sports fan—especially the sports fans in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Now, on with my column.
I’ve been told on many occasions over the years by several coaches who I’ve become acquainted with on most all levels of organized basketball all the way up the basketball ladder to professional basketball that you can look back at the end of each season and point to at least one game and in some years two or three games that you should have probably lost that you won and in the same manner you can pick out a couple that you did lose that you probably should have won.
If that’s true then Coach Cal can put the overtime win UK had Saturday against LSU in the category of a win that probably in all actuality should have been a loss. These same coaches also said by the end of a coach’s career that it all balances out.
I never did buy into that theory, always thought that was more of a myth than the truth .
Bottom line is when you’re John Calipari and at a pressure packed hoops crazy school like UK and you’re dealing with the fuzzy-faced yet supposed elite super stars he has to coach up, you take the win and move on to the next challenge on the schedule. Luckily, that one is at Rupp Arena just like the LSU game was and it’s against a team Cal and the UK players owe a little pay back to as well.
That next contest will be against Arkansas this Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. on ESPN, followed up by a Saturday game in Columbia, S.C., with tip off slated for 6 p.m. on ESPN .
Presently, UK sits at 21–6 overall and 11–3 in SEC play with a pretty solid shot at getting one of those coveted SEC tourney first round byes which provides you with a couple more days rest before you begin post season play and your first opponent will be coming off a game 24 hours earlier.
This week will be the first and only time during the regular season that UK will have to play the Thursday-Saturday format; that is, until possibly NCAA tournament time when half of each weekend’s tournament teams will play Thursday-Saturday and the other half will play the Friday-Sunday format.
Selection Sunday And NCAA Tourney Plans
We’re exactly three Sundays away as I write this column from the very popular NCAA selection Sunday show on CBS where Cal and his kiddy cats will find out their seed , 1st round site , and regional destination that will hopefully start them on the road to another Final Four appearance. My friends in the UK press corps and a few game-day workers at Rupp Arena will probably get another kick out of me mentioning this possible scenario again, especially after the last two back-to-back games at Rupp Arena have provided UK with a loss to Florida and a paper thin win against LSU.
But hey, stranger things have happened in the world of college sports—especially in the NCAA tournament. How many of you thought the Brandon Knight–Josh Harrellson team would land in the Final Four with wins against North Carolina and the Ohio State along the way?
What this timeline above means is the opportunities for making a case of earning a higher seed for the Big Dance are dwindling down to only four regular season games and the SEC tournament which in all likelihood will not provide UK with much of an opportunity to help it’s case once you get to that week. Actually, it will probably provide UK with nothing more than a couple useless opportunities on Friday night and Saturday afternoon to hurt it’s resume for earning a higher seed.
The Cats will more than likely be in the opposite bracket of No. 1 seed Florida and will not have an opportunity to play them until Sunday at 1 p.m., which by that time the NCAA selection committee will have earmarked a seed for both Florida and UK no matter how that game would play out.
If you want to go ahead and make travel plans to follow the Cats during March Madness east of the Mississippi River I would suggest getting hotel reservations for the first round sites of Orlando and maybe St. Louis as well as Raleigh. Although I’m betting our friends on the selection committee will place higher seeded Kansas, Creighton, Wichita St., and hometown Saint Louis in that first round site. You can bank on Duke and Virginia being placed at the Raleigh, N.C. site probably along with the late charging Tar Heels. That leaves the Orlando, Fla., site with needing some teams that will sell tickets other than the Gators.
I’m thinking that’s where UK and Louisville along with maybe Cincinnati can help make those deep pockets of cash the NCAA has already accumulated over the years a little deeper. With the winter we’ve had in the tri-state area the basketball fans of UK, U of L, and UC could use a few days of fun and sun in the Orlando area not to mention a visit with Mickey Mouse.
But any more losses attached to the UK resume other than the last regular season game at Florida and you can probably make plans for a tour of the west—far west.
You can go online to www.combsbrothersonkysports.com for more coverage of UK basketball and football as well as KHSAA basketball and football.