With the Kentucky Wildcats having played themselves back onto the ledge of the NCAA Tournament after their loss to Arkansas, a few things seem obvious.
First, the Razorbacks’ bull rush play at Fayetteville brought to mind Rick Pitino’s style:
• Rush tempo early, get crowd involved, influence game officials who often cannot resist being swept up in crowd-pleasing on 50-50 calls.
• Test officials early to find level of rough play allowed.
Coach Mike Anderson added to the frenzy by substituting in waves.
Result? The Wildcats rushed, were rattled, got tired and let themselves be bullied.
Which brings us to Kentucky’s Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin.
This month and next fans will watch for …
1. Hints on who coaches want to return next season and not.
2. Signs for who players and families are listening to (advisors/ agents).
Alex Poythress. On this bonejarring/ in your face test on the road, he failed.
Poythress’s lackluster body language indicates he’s ready to be paid-to-play. Reality: Sit on an NBA bench, be a spot player, or, like Terrence Jones, play in the development league.
Archie Goodwin. He has instincts and style, but unless Goodwin changes dramatically the coach-speak hints are there is no place for him at Kentucky next season.
He is a one-on-everybody player whose style better suited to the NBA though he is clearly not physically ready and certainly not mature enough.
Bottom line. With Calipari’s recruiting class for next season, playing time for Poythress and Goodwin, as they are today, projects to go down, not up.
The number of days left until college basketball’s biggest holiday, Selection Sunday, arrives is near single digits and what do we have? Precisely what fans want — no clear-cut favorite to the Final Four, and number one seeds still up for grabs.
Heading to league tournaments, who’s playing best? Gonzaga (West), Duke (Southeast), Georgetown (East) and Louisville (Mideast).
‘New’ Big East
With the so-called Catholic 7 as its core, college basketball’s newest hot item is the NEW Big East: DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova will be joined by Butler, Xavier, St. Louis, Dayton and Creighton.
Lots to like about this new league.
Little wonder television (FOX) is clamoring for a contract. Market reach begins with the Big East tournament staying at Madison Square Garden and stretching into the ratings rich cities Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis and Omaha, Nebraska.
Impact in Kentucky? None, right? Wrong. Louisville’s Yum Center will sell out for future Cardinal opponents Duke, North Carolina and other ACC teams.
As Syracuse continues to spiral downward, the coach’s patience with media does likewise. Following another loss, Jim Boeheim, appearing at a postgame press conference, was asked why a certain player was on the bench at a crucial time.
He blew off the question and replied, “Any more coaches here? Want to ask another coaching question? I’d be happy to take it. I’ve only been doing this 37 years. I’m sure you’ve got more ideas of who we should play or we shouldn’t play or who should lead? What do I know?
““Any more ideas for me guys? I think you ought to know by now if you start asking me those questions, I just laugh at you. That’s all I’ll do.”
It’s March after all, and some coaches fear they won’t be taking a trip on road to the Final Four.
And so it goes.