Editorâ€™s Note: Sports Columnist Earl Cox has purposely spelled Bob Knightâ€™s name wrong. â€œHe wonâ€™t say Kentucky,â€ Earl explained, â€œso I thought I would have some fun with him.â€
The ink had hardly dried in Sports Illustratedâ€™s superb coverage of Kentuckyâ€™s victory over Kansas in the national championship game before the magazine had picked next seasonâ€™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: â€œJohn Calipari may have lost his starters to the NBA, but heâ€™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.â€
By the time you read this, there most likely will be news about what both of the big guys decide.
Hereâ€™s why SI is high on UofL: â€œPower forward Chane Behanan is poised for sophomore stardom. He and shot-swatting Senegalese center Gorgui Dieng will help the Cardinals reprise the countryâ€™s most efficient defense as the team runs away with the Big East championship.â€
You may want to keep track of the won-lost standings of menâ€™s college basketball teams. Here are the top three:
- Kentucky 2,090.
- Kansas 2,070.
- 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, Davisâ€™ Cats, Davis & Co., Calâ€™s Cats.
Already taken are Fabulous Five, Unforgettables and Ruppâ€™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, itâ€™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, letâ€™s help him: The O-high-o State Un-I-vers-I-ty.
ESPN lets Night get by with â€œthat team from the SEC.â€
Tom Crean, who now coaches at Indiana, is a Calipari friend and confidant.
Crean told SI: â€œCalipari is one of the best coaches in college basketball. He gets talent to play very hard, and he makes talent better.â€
The Petrino Mess
The unfortunate problem at Arkansas involves more than just one former UofL head football coach.
Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacksâ€™ 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 Petrinoâ€™s staff. So is Paul Petrino, Bobbyâ€™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 isnâ€™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 coachâ€™s office closed the door and said, â€œThe former coach and I had a thing going and we can too.â€
The coach showed her the door and told her not to come back.
It Pays To Win
Thereâ€™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.