For Kentucky fans the 75-73 loss was something different.
Statistical imbalances glared like strobe lights shining off Roy Williams hair. Each team had 24 field goals, Kentucky had a nineto one advantage on 3-pointers. That’s 27 points to three.
So, the home team won the game how? At the foul line, shooting 16 more shots than
the visitors. Four UK players fouled out, none for Carolina.
Basketball fans are accustomed to uneven officiating. Its part of the home floor mystique (think Vandy’s Memorial Gym and Cameron Indoor at Duke, and Rupp Arena). Razor thin and instant decisions made on block-or-charge foul calls for example, are dictated by crowd approval.
Sandwiched around a couple of 9.7 and 9.8 flops by Tyler, Kentucky North Carolina at Chapel Hill had a good share of blocks and charging foul calls that smelled like last week’s fish. But we understood the way of things – game offi cials who knew where they were and what was expected.
Carolina was favored by 1.5 points. Final score, 75-73. Wink.
Welcome to big time, big money college hoops.
The UK-UNC match had other notables also.
1. CBS Sports wrapped a twohour infomercial around a basketball game. Selling everything from cars to self-promotion, the network numbed its television audience. Worse, the shameless number of breaks choked whatever rhythm and momentum the battle threatened to bloom into.
2. Compounding fan frustra- tions with stoppages were CBS’s men behind its microphones. Clark Kellogg has become a chirper with screech, yakking two octaves above his norm and uncharacteristically two beats behind the action. He was poor and partisan Partner Gus Johnson may as well have joined the UNC’s eye candy dance team.
Saturday’s Kentucky- North Carolina game, to paraphrase author John Feinstein, was A Good Game Spoiled.
In the end – perspective and experience.
Experience – On prime time teevee before a packed house, teenage Tar Heels and Wildcats got a taste of what’s ahead and learned about themselves too.
Perspective – A year ago Harrison Barnes was playing high school ball in Iowa; Doron Lamb was rated somewhere in the middle on lists of shooting guard prospects.
Did Cecil Newton stuff UK basketball’s Christmas stocking?
The NCAA ignited a mini-firestorm last week, at least from Maytown to Mayfield, when it declared Auburn’s Cam Newton eligible. Blame for the playfor pay scheme was tossed at the feet of father Cecil.
Why firestorm in Kentucky? No evidence was found that young Newton knew his father was shopping his kid. Those who find that one hard to swallow will agree I’m sure, Cam Newton is innocent until proven otherwise.
More important, seems to me, is if the NCAA erred at all, it was on the side of a kid being a student and playing football.
Which brings us to Enes Kanter. The NCAA will review his case anew and should take into account he is currently a student in good standing at UK and wants to be in college and allow him to join the basketball team immediately.
The $33,000 in dispute? Takes us back to precedent and Mississippi State roundball. The NCAA found a way to allow Renardo Sidney to pay back a fivefi gure sum and today is the SEC’s biggest load at 6-10, 270-pounds.
Coach K & Uncle Adolph
Mike Krzyzewski tied Adolph Rupp on the college coaches wins list last week.
At his press conference Duke’s coach was gracious paying tribute to Kentucky’s old coach.
Rupp and Krzyzewski coached teams to Olympic gold medals. Each has four NCAA titles on record at one school.
December 21, 1969, Kentucky 80, Army 65. Captain of the Cadets that lost in the finals of the Kentucky Christmas Tournament, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach was Bob Knight.
And so it goes.