It must be admitted that I have very few links to support any of my quotes (I’ll add video clips/links as soon as possible) or any of my theories…get your scorecards ready, folks…
11:45AM UPDATE: Here is an ESPN link with an Andy Katz-on-Mike and Mike in the Morning video along with a Jay Bilas-on-Mike and Mike audio link supporting some of the statements below: ESPN.com
-The ESPN Machine
ESPN’s Colin Cowherd mentioned on his radio show that Memphis isn’t with the likes of UK, UNC, UCLA, and that the job in Lexington is a “top five” position. Colin mentioned John Calipari “has to take the Kentucky job” and that Lexington is a “beautiful city,” among other things. Andy Katz has added that he thinks Coach Cal is coming to Kentucky, that this move “changes the face of SEC basketball,” and that the hire would automatically make the Wildcats a team to play for again among the other top programs. I have also heard Jay Bilas (“I would go there in a heartbeat if I were John Calipari”) and Doug Gottlieb (“Kentucky is KENTUCKY”) being on the Cal-to-Kentucky bandwagon. So what am I getting at?
ESPN has a gozillion dollar SEC basketball television contract starting next season and for a network that the Cat fanatics normally decry as being overwhelmingly “against” Kentucky, all of the talking heads have quickly started playing a new tune despite most saying just days ago that Kentucky didn’t give Billy Clyde Gillispie a fair shake at life in Lexington. This after claiming the Kentucky crazies “ran” Tubby” out of town two years ago. A change of tune indeed. (2:15PM Update: ESPN’s home page now has this article –front and center — to go along with the Coach Cal speculation, ESPN.com. Maybe the tune at ESPN hasn’t completely changed, at least on the hit-or-miss “Page 2”.)
Could the ESPN machine be thinking ratings if they can continue to hype John Calipari as the new head honcho of Kentucky basketball? Is ESPN trying to get back in to the good graces of Big Blue Nation with the SEC deal on the horizon? Just keep in mind that ESPN is, ultimately, a business…that’s all I’m asking.
-Coach Calipari Is Playing His Cards
I’ve heard a small buzz about John Calipari’s historical use of the tease to get more money out of his current employer. Many Cats fans lurking around the message boards are overlooking this minor detail and some are eving saying Calipari heading north is a “done deal.” What I somewhat suspect and eternally fear is that Coach Cal is flirting with Kentucky to receive a hefty pay raise from Memphis.
It wouldn’t be unprecedented and should be less than unexpected if it does, in fact, go down.
-Benedict Arnold Is Mettling In Kentucky Affairs
Kentucky lurkers thought it was a forgone conclusion that Billy Donovan was heading to Lexington back then and some “sources” even reported an Eddie Munster resignation just last Friday. However, it was rumored that Rick Pitino advised Billy Donovan to pass on the Kentucky job two years ago and head for higher ground — ground that ended up being Orlando and then Gainseville again. Most of the The Faithful think Pitino feared Donovan heading to Kentucky and one-upping his former boss (Donovan was an assistant under Ricky P. during the Kentucky glory days), some suspect that’s why Pitino “advised” his former underling to turn down the nation’s winningest program, and even a few even suggest it has happened yet again.
Coach Pitino also suggested that Arkansas’ John Pelphrey and Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford, both of who were players at Kentucky under Pitino, would be sure-fire hires in his (not-so-) humble opinion (ESPN.com). While I like Coach Ford and feel he’s done well at Campbellsville, Eastern Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma State, some also feel he doesn’t have the experience necessary to right the Big Blue Ship despite having the Kentucky ties and having the familiarity with the fanatical Cats fans. Ditto that for Coach Pelphrey with an even less-impressive track record (no offense intended, but he missed postseason play in a “down” SEC this year with a losing conference record and a losing overall record).
Is Pitino trying to flex his muscle just enough to remain King of the Bluegrass? Could he fear a head-to-head and in-state rivalry with the likes of John Calipari (one which may already exist, if only in some people’s eyes)?
Only the man in the white suit has those answers.
It should be noted that I enjoyed seeing Louisville lose yesterday and have now said for more than one year that Rick Pitino is looking increasingly sickly on the sidelines. I am having more and more people confirm my observations as he looked utterly exhausted after yesterday’s loss.
I would also like to add that on this very site (in a comments thread) I had this to say about the nation’s number one #1 seed:
“Lewisveele only beat Kensucky by 3 on a luck last second shot by Edgar ‘Don’t Call Me Sammy’ Sosa.
They’re overrated and they’ll under perform in the tourney according to ‘expert’ expectations like they have every year except their lone Final Four year under Benedict Arnold. They didn’t even play one of the upper half of the hardest Big East schedules.”