Sunday, April 15, 2007

New Coach for UK

by ShagOnSports

When we last talked Kentucky was looking for a basketball coach… I knew that Billy D was not coming but I agree with Mitch Barnhart going to him first and giving him the first right of refusal… Mitch had to do that because there was slim chance Billy D might come…
As the week went on last week I began to really get on the Billy “G” bandwagon… First I read a great article in Sports Illustrated about him and what he was currently doing at Texas A & M and then I dug up an article from the New York Times that really lead me to believe this was the guy that UK wanted based on what he was able to do at UTEP and A & M and also how hard he worked… Greg Doyle from CBS Sports line had a nice write up on why he thought that Billy “G” was the right guy for and made some good points in doing so last week also… By Wednesday afternoon I had decided that Biddy G (this is my new name for him) was the guy UK needed if they were not going to hire John Pelphrey…
I really liked Mark Few from Gonzaga and I could have lived with Kevin Stallings at Vandy but I was really afraid that UK was going to end up with Tom Crean, Jay Wright or Rick Barnes… Crean does not excite me at all, Wright seems like a good coach but not a great fit and I just never have been a fan of Rick Barnes…
My concern was rather or not Mitch would do the right thing… As I stated last week I think Mitch is a smart guy based on his coaching hires but the football hire still had fans leery of what he would do… He obviously learned from that process and ran a much better search this time around...
On Thursday afternoon I told everyone at work and a couple of people on the phone that since Billy D turned UK down that if Mitch is smart he has a plan B and by end of day Friday UK will have its new coach… My prediction was Biddy G on Thursday and I am glad this is how UK was able to hire…
Did Mitch hire the right guy??? Time will tell but when you read the article I have enclosed I think you will understand his passion for the game and his drive to win… If you did not see his press conference and the pep rally before the conference then you need to go to the UK website and watch them both… You will get a great feel for who he is and how excited he is to be the head coach at UK…
One other fact is Biddy G is the only guy that Mitch could find who is 1 and 0 against U of L in Rupp Arena!!! ;o)
Expectations
I really liked Biddy G’s comments about the expectations as UK… Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan wrote an article that stated UK fans should lower their expectations of the program… His argument is that because what Florida has done the last two years and what other teams like Tennessee and LSU have done the last couple years also that UK fans need to understand that they will not dominate in basketball as they once did… This may be true but lower expectations??? Mr. Ryan obviously has been a Red Sox fan for two long and beaten down by the Yankees…
You should never lower your expectations… There is no perfection and you cannot win every time no matter what you are doing (working, playing, etc…) but never lower your expectations... Do I expect UK to go to the final four every year or win the championship every year??? Of course not but I expect that most years Kentucky fields a team in basketball that is capable of winning the National Championship…
This has always been my problem for me with UK football fans and their limited or lowered expectations… In today’s college environment UK should also be able to compete at a higher level in the SEC in football as they are now doing in almost all sports and should be expected to do so…
Biddy G has high expectations and looks forward to the challenge of coaching under these types of expectations and that is what UK needed… I expect Biddy G to win!!! Do I expect a final four next year, the year after of the year after that??? No I do not but I believe that he can be successful very fast at UK because of his tireless effort which will carry over to his assistant coaches and players… UK needed new blood much like U of L did when Crum was at his end of the road…
Masters
Saturday

· I just saw them blowing stuff off the greens on 15 with blowers… Not sure about that one unless they do this after every group…
· Augusta used to be a shot makers course but with the technology of clubs and balls this has all changed… Before the changes that long hitters were hitting wedges into the par fives but allot of the players were able to get there in two… Not sure if the short hitters can win now…
· We need Martha Burke to have another protest so we can get the tournament commercial free…
· Twelve is a great hole… 155 yards and it brings them to their knees…
· I like Faldo on the commentary…
· Looks like to me the players are swinging three quarters due to the wind… I think they should be more aggressive… Look at the amount of balls being dumped in the water on 12 and 13…
· Stuart Appleby just completely gagged it up on seventeen with a triple… Bad choice in the bunker…
· Augusta native Vaughn Taylor just took the lead… Appleby just left a birdie short on 18 that would have tied him again for the lead… He will not sleep well tonight…
· The players butchered the last three holes today…
Sunday
· The struggle is on… I really do not like the Masters this way but let’s see what happens on the back nine or second nine as it is called…
· My wife said that Sabatini’s pants are awful…
· Justin Rose is wearing jeans again today… He had black ones on yesterday…
· Some drunk just called Tiger out as “Short” on a putt… This HDTV is fantastic for picture and sound… It sounds like they are hitting from my basement…
· Appleby just said “F” three times as plain as day…
· How dangerous was the shot Tiger just hit where he snapped his shaft??? What if that thing flies of and pierces someone… WOW!!! He can replace the club if he wants… How about his dead stop during his swing on Friday??? If you did not see it then you have to find it on the internet and check it out…
· Not much going on the back nine… I want to see some birdies…
· Appleby is in the drink on 12… Just hit it… More layups… I do not like the lay ups on Sunday at the Masters…
· Tiger just hit a great shot on 13… Could be his defining moment… He makes it… His swagger is back at 14… Nice drive and great second shot…

Tiger played bad this week yet he still almost won the tournament… If Jerry Kelly does not hit a ball in the water on Saturday at 13 he wins… If Stuart Appleby does not triple the 17th on Saturday he wins… If Justin Rose does not double the 17th we have a playoff…
There were allot of scenarios out there but the finish was really anti climatic… The Masters has always been different than the other majors but this year it more resembled a British Open or with the scoring a US Open… Is this the trend of the future??? I doubt it and believe that this was a fluke event much like the Masters of 1966 where the winning score was
How happy can you be for Zach Johnson…? He is now a member of the most exclusive club in the World in my opinion, Masters Champion… Zach can now play the course any time he wants, he will be able to attend the Champions Dinner every year, he has his own locker and next year’s gets to choose the menu for the Champions Dinner…
NCAA Tournament
As I predicted Florida is your National Champs… The greatest thing about that??? My wife won $500 dollars on the tournament and I finished third in a pool that netted me $59… My wife also won the inaugural ShagOnSports Pool and I finished a close second…
Florida just had too much depth for Ohio State and they have UCLA’s number... This team had it all with balanced scoring, rebounding, defense, inside play, outside play and a bench to boot… I think Florida is a great team along the lines of UCONN 04, UK 96, UK 78, IU 76, Gown 84, Vegas 90, Duke 91-92, UCLA 73 and Louisville in 80 which are teams that I remember as being dominate based on me seeing teams play… I cannot speak for teams I did not see but UNC in 58, UK in 48, 49 UCLA with Alcindor are others who deserve motion… Florida is the team of 00’s as it stands today…
Why do I include 78 Kentucky??? UK won the NIT in 76 when the NIT was still a prestigious tournament and would have advanced to the final four had it not been for Dean Smith and the four corners offense… Smith’s team was less talented and the four corners was a way to neutralize talent… UK proved there meddle in 78 but think about this senior class was runner up in 75, NIT Champs in 76 (The NCAA only took 32 teams then, the conference winner and the conference tournament winner from each league) made the regional final in 77 and won it all in 78…
Baseball
I really would like to set down with the Commissioner of Baseball and ask him the hard questions… Selig is on the Dan Patrick show weekly and Patrick never asks the hard question… Here are mine…
1. How much impact has the revenue sharing had on the league due to the luxury tax???
2. It appears the new division alignments and the wild card has had more of an impact on parody… How else do you explain the Florida Marlins two championships (without the wildcard this team would have not made the playoffs) or the St Louis Cardinals Championship last year (In the old alignment my Redbirds do not even make the playoffs nor do the White Sox or the Astros from two years ago)???
3. If there is that much parody then how come the Royals, Pirates, Nationals (Expos), Devil Rays or Brewers are never in the mix??? Why do the Yankees win every year??? Could it have anything to do with how they spend???
4. Why don’t the players and owners get serious and protect the game for the future with revenue sharing, better pension for players and a salary cap???
5. The playoffs are now a bit watered down with the wildcard and would become even more watered down with expanded playoffs (like the NBA) so what is the long term plan for competitive balance???
6. Baseball is now ranked number two professionally and numbers four behind the NFL, NCAA Football and NCAA basketball… How does MLB overcome this and get back to the top???
7. Why don’t you, the owners and the players get together and appoint or elect a commissioner and a committee who will come up with a comprehensive plan to preserve the game???
8. I believe that you (Bud Selig) and the Owners are very smart people based on your accomplishments in business alone or you would not be where you are today??? How come you or the owners did not address steroid use when it started Vs waiting for the government to force baseball to react to this epidemic??? I do not buy any answer which includes you did not know because you did… Everybody else did…
9. How is MLB going to recognize of not recognizing Barry Bonds when he breaks Aaron’s record???

The season is off and running… Can the Redbirds repeat??? Can the Tigers take the AL again??? Will the Mets be able to overcome their lack of quality starting pitching??? Can the Yankees exceed $300 million dollars in payroll??? Can the Dodgers return to the World Series???
My early line is the Yankees will win the AL East, The Tigers the Central and Angels will win the West… The wildcard is a tough one but you have to go with the Red Sox due to their spending!!!
For the NL I am going with the Mets, Cardinals and Dodgers… The wildcard is a tossup but I am going with the Reds…
I am rooting for of course a Yankees and Cardinals World Series…

Random Thoughts

  • Who is Taurean Green kidding… He will not even get drafted… I think that Brewer and Horford have the most pro potential of the four… Noah plays great defense and he is a great passer…
  • My boy Boo Weekly won the tournament this weekend... This is nice to see after he coughed up the Honda Classic.... Way to go BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
  • AJ Pyerzynski of the White Sox had a walk off RBI last week by getting hit by a pitch… The Cleveland pitcher who threw the pitch said this we a “cheap” way to win the game… Personally I think it is a smart way to win the game… The pitcher was “dumb” for throwing inside at that point of the game with the bases loaded… It was the eleventh time that Pyerzynski has been hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in his career…
  • ESPN reports that Biddy G was the third choice behind Donavan and Barnes… I do not believe that Barnes was the second pick… He did commit to stay at Texas taking him out of the running but I do not believe he was number two… Of course Biddy G slammed local Louisville TV reporter Fred Cowdung into the ground when he asked Biddy G what he thought about being the number two choice… He told Cowdung, “Two, I would have been happy to have choice number seven or eight”…
  • I can’t wait for Dicky V to shows his bald dome in Lexington next year… I will make sure I am there and I will BOO him to know end… His comments about UK and its fans were unfair and uncalled for…
  • Saw a story on HBO last night about College Athletics and Academics… They interviewed an A and M player who said he was given very easy classes to keep him eligible to play… I was glad to hear he at least went to class… The UK Team the last couple of years have been at the top in academic ranking and that is important… I think that UK runs a clean program now and I want it to stay that way… That would be first question to Biddy G… What about academics???
ShagOnMusic

Jack White from the White Stripes now lives in Nashville and produced Loretta Lynn’s new album… I heard a track off of it that she and Jack do together (the only one on the album) and it was really good… That is quite a crossover… I just bought a new live album that was put out with some very early Neil Young tunes many which has not been recorded yet in the Studio… Neil does the Song Man Needs a Maid (one of my favorites) mixed together with Heart of Gold before either of these songs were recorded… This is from the same tour that I DVR’s his BBC performance from (1971)…

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Billy the Kid is NOT Coming

by ShagOnSports
Tubby Smith

When Adolph Rupp left the Kentucky program there was one guy for the job and that was Joe B Hall… When Eddie Sutton to me there was one guy for the job and that was Rick Pitino… When Rick Pitino left the only name on CM Newton’s list was Tubby Smith…

I think Tubby Smith is a great basketball coach… No matter what the pundits say Tubby won a national championship in his first year with someone else’s players… That is a tough thing to do and there was no guarantee that Rick would have been able to do that with this same group…

When Tubby first arrived I was not real crazy about the staff he assembled but when they won the National Championship I shut up fast… Tubby had some really good years and some really unpredictable years… If Keith Bogans does not sprain his ankle then that team probably goes to the final four… Get passed UAB the one-year and that team probably goes to the final four…

Tubby’s down fall was his assistant coaches, his style of play, his recruiting the last several years and his reluctance to be out in front… The assistances are the guys who need to develop players and I think this latest group failed and forced Tubby’s hand… UK has had some talent but Tubby’s style ultimately cost him some talent also… Kentucky’s offense was one of the reasons they had such a good defense… When you slow the ball down and run the sets that Tubby’s teams run then your team nor your opponent is going to score allot of points…

Good-bye Tubby!!! Good Luck at Minnesota, cause you are going to need it for sure…

“F” Dick Vitale and the National Sports Media

I am really sick of hearing Dick Vitale and other members of the national media and the local media try making Kentucky fans look like a bunch of idiots…

Every sports program has rabid fans… Have you ever been to a Georgia home football game??? Alabama??? LSU??? Tennessee??? or Florida??? You ever listen to an Ohio State, Nebraska, Texas or Michigan football call in show??? They are all rabid like UK basketball fans and yes they have their share of idiots also… Just like any other school does… The idiots are people who are not fans they are insane and treat the games as life or death situations... These are the people who call the call in shows on a regular basis and who believe they know more then anyone else because they watch allot of that sport…

You can listen to any call in show anywhere for any team and insert whatever team name you want with any caller and there you have your idiots… There is a thin line between passion and idiotism and Kentucky like any other college has these types of fans… Anyone who thinks their school does not is and idiot so I rest my case…

In the situation with Tubby Smith there are people who were and have been idiots about his tenure the entire time he has been the coach… You have your racist and yes there is racist in this state and it is just not the outer counties as someone wrote today but it is even right here in Louisville and I see it and hear it on a regular basis… Anyone who believes any different is truly an idiot themselves… In the last two years I have done allot of traveling around the country and trust me when I say there are rednecks and idiots (they usually go hand in hand) every where you go…


The bottom line with Tubby is as follows:

- First UK coach to go 8 straight years without a final four
- First UK coach to lose 10 or more games three years in a row, and 4 ofthe last 7 years
- The first UK coach to lose to Vandy in Rupp
- The first UK coach to be swept by Vandy in a season in 32 years
- The first UK coach to lose 4 straight to an SEC opponent in 30 years
- Only coach to lose to Ole Miss at Rupp
- Only coach to lose 4 home games to SEC Opponents in one season
- More Home losses than any previous UK coach
- Most Double Digit loss seasons of any UK coach
- First UK coach to not finish at least 2nd in the East since the SECexpansion
- 47% of his recruits don't make their senior year
- Current 5 game losing streak to Florida
- Only coach with the overall #1 seed in the NCAA to lose in the 2nd round
- Worst loss to Indiana ever (26 points)
- Only UK coach to lose consecutive games to Kansas
- Worst Loss on Senior Day since 1919
- Only UK coach with a losing record vs Michigan State (2-4)
- Only coach to ever lose to a number 1 ranked team at Rupp.
- Only coach to ever begin the season ranked in the top 10 and finish theseason unranked.

The bottom line is that Tubby had slipped… I think the pressure got to be too much for him and he had had enough… From the issues with Saul (which I think was unfair), the really bad assistant coaches and the style of play that Tubby liked to play were all factors in why the fan base had become disenchanted with Coach Smith…

I am glad that Tubby is gone for two reasons… One is I did not want to see him hang around for two more years and get fired… He knew Morris was leaving, he knew he had not recruited well the last five years (one good class and one fair class) and he was smart enough to get out while he was a hot commodity… The other is I want him to be welcomed back at some point and not be in a situation like Bobby Knight at IU or with Eddie Sutton at UK… Tubby is a class act and a great person… He carried the torch well and I thank him for doing that but it was time for him to move on to a new challenge…

I am not a Tubby hater!!! The guy can really coach… How good of a coach is he??? We will see how he does at Minnesota… Do I think Tubby left UK with the cupboard a little bare??? Yes he did but this is not Eddie Sutton bare!!!

The Top Candidates

I believe that Mitch Barnhart is a smart guy… His career as an AD is now on the line… Mitch has done a great job getting the money rolling in, creating very competitive teams in all sports and upgrading the facilities… UK should have no trouble getting a big time coach… It will take a coach with a large ego and a desire to succeed… If I were Mitch Barnhart there would be one name on the list and that name is Billy Donavan…

I am sure that Mitch has already been in contact with Billy D’s agent and asked the magic question, what is it going to take??? Billy D has the first right of refusal…

After that it is a crap shoot but I do not believe that Tom Crean, Travis Ford or F*cking Rick Pitino are on that list… If you want Pitino back then you should also find your old girlfriend or boyfriend from ten years ago and strike up that romance again… Forget about Pat Riley and Dan Issel also as there boats have sailed…

You gotta believe that Thad Matta, Rick Barnes, Lon Kruger, Mark Few and Kevin Stallings will get some consideration if Billy D says no and after that I would think it would be Ben Howland, Jamie Dixon or Jay Wright… My dark horse candidate is still one John Pelphrey!!! Johnny P would bet maximum effort out of this current team and would get some assistants who could recruit and would work hard… Johnny P gets it!!! If Mitch swings and misses on the guys I have listed above the Johnny P could get the call…

You have to remember though that Mitch is the guy, who tried to hire Bill Parcels, struck out and hired Rich Brooks… So if he brings in a Mike Brey or a Tom Crean there window to win is going to be a short one kind of like Matt Doherty was at UNC and will probably doom Mitch’s career…

Right now I am convinced that Billy Donavan is not going to come to UK… He does not own a farm here (he owns a horse farm in Florida), his wife is not from here as some people have reported (she is from Long Island) and he appears to me to be deeply rooted in Florida… Florida can match Kentucky at any financial level and I think Billy D is using UK to get more money out of Florida…

Who do I think the next coach is going be??? I have no idea… If they cannot get Donavan and they will not hire Pelphrey then I like Mark Few…

ShagOnSports Tourney Pool

The tournament pool has been a wild ride… Mark Pruitt has managed to stay at the top after each weekend… He has all the final four and picks UCLA and Ohio State to meet in the title game with OSU coming away the winner… Next is my wife who has all the final four and has Florida beating OSU for the title… Sammy Nation is next with three of the four finalists but he has Florida over Gtown in the final game… Next is Paddy Early who has Gtown over Florida in the final game… One of those four is going to be your winner…

This Saturday’s Games (written before the games)

The games this weekend are shaping up to be something special… Ohio State just keeps taking the punches and coming out on top and Georgetown was very impressive in their comeback against the Carolina (The next best thing to Kentucky winning is Carolina losing)… I stopped watching this game with about three minutes to go and then flipped it back to and caught the OT…

Florida has not really been threatened and UCLA was only threatened once and that was by Indiana… Florida Vs UCLA is a rematch of last year’s championship game, which Florida dominated… I think that Florida wins this one due to it’s inside play but it will be a close one…

Ohio State and Georgetown is a toss up… This is Ohio States first appearance in the final four since 1999 and before that you have to back to the early 60’s when they made it three years in a row to the championship game winning one losing twice to Cincinnati (60 and 61, Cincy made the championship in 61, 62 & 63)… Ohio State were led by Jerry Lucas and Hondo Havlichek and also had a young Bob Knight on the team who saw action in both 60 and 61… I am going with Ohio State…

This year’s tournament has been exciting but I wish that CBS did a better job of covering the games… I guess that next year I am going to buy a package that gets me the games I want to watch Vs having to watch what they put on locally… CBS does have the best tournament history page so go to CBS Sportsline and check it out…

Some of the things I checked out about the tournament:

- Jack Givens was 31 for 63 from the field in four final four games and scored a total of 96 points in four games… He had games of 24, 8, 23 and 41 for a better then 28-point average in the final four… He was money!!!

- Looks to me like UK was the last team to start an all white starting five and that year was 1975 not 1966…

- Kenny Walker only took three shots in UK’s final four loss to Georgetown… Not nearly enough shots in this game…

- Jamal Maglore only scored one point and started both games in the 1997 final four… Derrick Anderson scored two points and never played a minute… What if Ricky P let’s DA play the overtime against Arizona???

- UK and U of L could have met in the 1975 final and should have met in the 1986 Final Four except Kentucky had to play and beat Alabama and LSU to get to the final four for the fourth consecutive time each during that year… The NCAA made a rule change on the tournament draw after that year to prevent conference teams from meeting until the Regional Final…

Random Thoughts

- I am going to have surgery on my shoulder… I have a bone spur and a slightly torn rotator cuff and some other possible damage that they want to see in a scope… I could delay the surgery until November but I am considering getting it over with in May… This will mean no golf until 2008 except I would be able to play on Thanksgiving Day in The Classic…

- I cannot wait for UK football to start… We will see what this coaching staff can do against this schedule… They better get it going because 2008 looks bleak…

- Many of the U of L fans I talk to are really kicking Kentucky in the teeth… I remember back in December these same people were crying the blues (or reds) about Ricky P and the call in shows were hostile… If you do not think that U of L has some psycho fans like UK does then go read the U of L message boards…

- Redbirds and the Mets on Sunday night to kick off the year… St Louis has the offense but it will be up to the pitching staff…

- Rumor has it the Tony Larussa had been hooked up with my friend Coop at Abbey Road in Palm Beach Gardens the night of his arrest… Coop said he tried to give Tony a ride but that Larussa refused or was confused… Coop said Larussa kept mumbling that he should have stayed away from “the dugout”…

ShagOnMusic

Going to see The Police at Churchill Downs in June… Should be a great show… I bought Police Live 2 Record Set… It is amazing when you go back and listen to this music how although I understood the words but did not get what they were saying… Now that I have more experience in live I “get it” allot more… I find that with most bands…

I DVR’d the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show last week… They put in Patti Smith, The Ronettes, Van Halen, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five and one of my all time favorites REM… I love the Rock and Roll Hall Fame Shows because of the insight the inductors give on the bands…

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam inducted REM and his speech hit home with me… He talked about seeing REM live around 1984 (same as me) and how it changed his life by forever changing the music he listened to (as it did for me)… He said that the music and the Michael Stipes delivery of the lyrics put colors in his heart and soul that he did not know was there… His quote was, “All of this occurred without ever being able to understand a F$%&ing word he was saying”, which if you know the early REM records that is so true… My buddy Coop used to call the blah, blah, blah… REM was named best band of the 80’s by Rolling Stone Magazine without ever having a big hit record…

REM sang Lets Begin Again, Gardening at Night and Man on the Moon as part of the show… Eddie Vedder joined them for Man on the Moon and the song was just fantastic… I have listened to it about twenty times this week…