Check These Ratings: 1. IU, 2. UofL, 3. UK

Editor’s Note: Sports Columnist Earl Cox has purposely spelled Bob Knight’s name wrong. “He won’t say Kentucky,” Earl explained, “so I thought I would have some fun with him.”

The ink had hardly dried in Sports Illustrated’s superb coverage of Kentucky’s victory over Kansas in the national championship game before the magazine had picked next season’s top 10. There may be some surprises to you:

1. Indiana, 2. Louisville, 3. Kentucky, 4. Florida, 5. Michigan, 6. Syracuse, 7. Gonzaga, 8. North Carolina, 9. Arizona, 10. Memphis.

SI was quick to cover its backside: “John Calipari may have lost his starters to the NBA, but he’ll reload with N.C. State transfer Ryan Harrow at point and at least one of the top unsigned recruits, 6-10 Nerlens Noel or 6-6 Shabazz Muhammad. If the Cats land both, they vault to No. 1.”

By the time you read this, there most likely will be news about what both of the big guys decide.

Here’s why SI is high on UofL: “Power forward Chane Behanan is poised for sophomore stardom. He and shot-swatting Senegalese center Gorgui Dieng will help the Cardinals reprise the country’s most efficient defense as the team runs away with the Big East championship.”

The Winningest

You may want to keep track of the won-lost standings of men’s college basketball teams. Here are the top three:

  1. Kentucky 2,090.
  2. Kansas 2,070.
  3. North Carolina 2,065.

Name for Cats

Several of you think these special Cats should have a nickname. Some ideas from my readers: Unselfish Cats, Davis’ Cats, Davis & Co., Cal’s Cats.

Already taken are Fabulous Five, Unforgettables and Rupp’s Runts.

That Night Guy

Poor Bobby Night has forgotten the school name of our land-grant university in Lexington.

He absolutely refuses to say the name. Really, Coach Night, it’s easy: Ken-tuck-ee.

The coach obviously has no trouble remembering how to say the name of his university but in case he does, let’s help him: The O-high-o State Un-I-vers-I-ty.

ESPN lets Night get by with “that team from the SEC.”

Tom Crean, who now coaches at Indiana, is a Calipari friend and confidant.

Crean told SI: “Calipari is one of the best coaches in college basketball. He gets talent to play very hard, and he makes talent better.”

The Petrino Mess

The unfortunate problem at Arkansas involves more than just one former UofL head football coach.

Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks’ coach, was sitting on the best team he has ever had. Now because of a stupid ride on his motorcycle without helmets with a 25-year-old blonde associate in the football office, he may be fighting for his job.

John L. Smith, who also was head coach at Louisville, is on Petrino’s staff. So is Paul Petrino, Bobby’s brother and a former UofL assistant.

Arkansas may have the next Heisman Trophy winner on its team, speedy and powerful running back Knile Davis. He missed all of last season because of a broken ankle, but is back and is as fast and as powerful as he was before being hurt.

Petrino isn’t the first football or basketball coach with a wife and children to get in trouble for straying.

I know of one coach who was hired to replace another. The first day on the job, the secretary in the coach’s office closed the door and said, “The former coach and I had a thing going and we can too.”

The coach showed her the door and told her not to come back.

It Pays To Win

There’s no telling how many other coaches have been involved in similar affairs. It usually is overlooked because it seems to go with the territory.

And if the coach is a winner, schools usually look the other way.

If a winning coach in the football-mad Southeastern Conference wanders, the man who wants to fire him may be chopping off his own head.

Stay tuned for what comes out of Fayetteville, Ark.