Ever have a weekend when, to borrow a horse racing analogy, all your picks hit the finish line first? Sure you have.
• No. 2 ranked Kentucky beat Tennessee in Knoxville and put the Wildcats atop the SEC standings again. The occasion brought to mind a declaration by a reporter a decade ago, “Kentucky’s reign over the SEC is over.”
• No. 8 Kentucky women beat No. 6 Tennessee in Lexington. A’dia Mathies was marvelous to the end. Yet, beyond exhilaration and celebration, a pall of sadness hung over the scene at Memorial Coliseum. Pat Summitt was in shadow.
• No. 14 Murray State ran its record to 18-0, in front of a record crowd and an ESPNU audience. In a bit of irony, guard Donte Poole assured all within earshot the media rush and television attention would not distract his team. For decades Murray coaches, players and fans have complained about lack of media attention.
Butler University made the conversation last week when Murray State director of athletics Allen Ward dismissed comparisons to Kentucky and Louisville, and sighted Brad Stevens’ Butler program as a worthy basketball model for success for the Racers.
The Racers have had 25 consecutive winning seasons. Last time they didn’t, Bob Knight was coaching Indiana to a national title and Ronald Reagan was in the White House, 1987. The Racers finished 13-15.
More good stuff …
• No. 3 North Carolina was hammered then quit at Florida State.
• No.13 Michigan lost at Iowa.
• Northwestern Wildcats outsmarted and beat No. 8 Michigan State.
• Vanderbilt won its seventh in a row, beating Georgia. Vandy and UK fans rechecked their calendars – February 11 in Nashville.
• Tubby Smith’s Minnesota team won twice on the road last week including a stunner over the Hoosiers in Bloomington.
Closer to home favorites …
• Burgin High’s Bulldogs ran their season record to 12-3 last week. Ranked 199th in Kentucky, winning and sensible scheduling make coach Don Irvine’s team number one in my book.
• Johnson Central High running back J.J. Jude has a scholarship with Eastern Kentucky U.
When C-Plus Isn’t Bad
John Calipari’s scholarship players at Kentucky chalked up a 2.57 grade point average for the fall semester, according to a university release. C-plus isn’t bad considering time, routine and travel demands of basketball, particularly freshmen doing it all for the first time.
C-plus average is a notch above good because — imagine you’re 18 years old, away from home for the first time doing your work in a fish bowl setting that includes …
• Four classes (12 semester hours minimum).
• Study hall and/or tutor sessions.
• Practice daily in Craft Center where coaches yell a lot and your McDonald’s All American brethren teammates compete for “your” playing time on game days.
Next, 20,000-plus expert assistant coaches blog, tweet, analyze and call in radio to second guess. Two nights a week millions see your flubs on television. Scholarship? You are expected to produce in class, behave, be a role model, entertain, grow up and handle it.