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Sports in Kentucky

UK is still tops in attendance



University of Kentucky basketball has slipped a notch nationally, but fans made UK number one in attendance again last season.

Counting three exhibitions to start, UK attracted an average 22,554 for 20 home dates.

Ranked No. 1 much of the season, North Carolina was second behind UK, 20,497 for 19 homes. Syracuse, Tennessee and Louisville (19,481) round out the top five.

UofL-Western Renewal

The good news for fans is Rick Pitino is up first to give Western Kentucky rookie coach Ken McDonald a 2-hour course in College Coaching 101.

Louisville, projected to be a top five team next winter, will play the rebuilding Hilltoppers Sunday, November 30.

The bad news is that swooshing sound you will hear on weekend after Thanksgiving will be dollars being sucked into the Nashville economy instead of Bowling Green or Louisville.

The game at Gaylord Center should be fun. Cardinal and Hilltopper fans can celebrate renewal of a hoops series that’s a natural. We hope it becomes home-and-home, Freedom Hall and Diddle Arena with profits staying home.

Lists Dept. Things the late sports broadcasting pioneer Roone Arledge would change in TV today.

1. Television studios, stop the yelling. Four men sitting around a table shouting over each other is not entertaining. And, ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption is becoming tiresome also.

2. Eliminate the pixie sideline reporter stopping a red-faced coach headed for the locker room at halftime to ask breathlessly, “so, what’d you think …?”

3. Decline to telecast half the 34 college football bowl games and see how long college presidents take to embrace a playoff system.

4. Media moguls realize, in a $4-a-gallon economy where we save up for 12 months to take kids to a Big League ball park – we don’t want to hear about coach so-and-so’s multi-million dollar contract, nor Alex Rodriquez or Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods.

5. Fire Marv Alert at NBC; put Dick Vitale and Tim McCarver out to pasture and order producers to sit down and review Len Kasper and Bob Brenley doing Cubs’ games in Chicago. No yelling, no prima donna, good banter, a few laughs, lots of blue collar analysis and shut up.

6. More face time for Jay Bilas to opine how the NCAA and NBA players union should embrace Major League Baseball’s free agent draft.

Creative Dept.

A literacy program with a twist debuts at Western Kentucky University in August.

‘How Can WKU Help Make My Dreams Come True?’

Winners of an essay and art contest, may earn scholarship assistance to attend Western and be cast as characters in a book based on coach Mary Taylor Cowles’ story.

Wood Selig: “The concept to develop a children’s book about following one’s dreams based upon the real life story of Mary Taylor Cowles is a wonderful concept.”

The ‘Follow Your Dreams!’ project is for a children’s book for grades 1-4.

Western’s coach made her dream come true, earning Miss Kentucky Basketball honors at Marshall County High and scholarship to WKU.

Curiosity Dept.

Oklahoma State signing Travis Ford head basketball coach is a C-minus hire, according to The Sporting News. “T. Boone Pickens’ money should have purchased something flashier than a (Travis) Ford,” wrote columnist Mike DeCourcy.

DeCourcy didn’t mention Ok- State dangled mega money in Bill Self’s face first.

South Carolina’s hiring Darrin Horn got a B-plus and more flowery assessment. But DeCourcy’s approach was faulty. “Horn averaged 22 wins for the Hilltoppers over five seasons. Not bad for a guy in his mid- 30s.”

Capped by an epilogue shot by Ty Rogers, credit for Western’s five 20-win seasons belongs to good players and team play. Horn’s 20-win seasons got him a new gig at South Carolina.

Great Movie Lines

We all have our favorite lines from sports movies. Year was 1992, “A League of Their Own.”

Jimmy Dugan to Evelyn Gardner, “…I was just wonderin’ why you would throw home when we got a two-run lead. You let the tying run get on second base and we lost the lead because of you. Start using your head. That’s the lump that’s three feet above your – .”

Evelyn starts to cry.

Dugan: “Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING?

“There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!”

Dugan was Tom Hanks. Who played Evelyn Gardner?


University of Louisville’s latest basketball signee is Peyton Siva, not Silva as mentioned here last week.

Parting Shot

When (if) Michael Avery actually signs with Kentucky we will have celebrated three Christmases, survived another presidential election season, and be nine months away from a Summer Olympics in London. November, 2011.

And so it goes.

Have a point-of-view you would like to share? Write Bob Watkins at Sprtsinky@aol.com

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