Tony Vanetti: Louisville knows their bowl opponent; Kentuckyâ€™s very familiar with the University of Georgia. As a matter of fact, Georgia and Kentucky played not too long ago, in a game where Georgia did not punt. It was not a good day for Kentucky. What do you like about this matchup between Louisville and Georgia?
Matt Jones: Well, I like that itâ€™s a good chance for Louisville to lose. I think Georgia is a lot better than Louisville. Georgia is a lot better than what they ended up this year. They lost to Georgia Tech, which is kind of a hard team to play against. They lost to Auburn and to Florida and the only one of those losses that is actually bad is Florida. But I think theyâ€™re a good team. I think Louisville will have a shot against them. As crazy as it sounds, I actually think that Kentucky exposed Louisville a little bit, in terms of their national ranking. Georgia will win. The interesting subplot centers around the defensive coordinator for Louisville and his Georgia past.
Vanetti: Georgia Tech, which is an ACC team, beat Georgia, which is an SEC team. So weâ€™re looking to make that two in a row for Georgia, and they are a good football team. Louisvilleâ€™s got their hands full. Thereâ€™s no question about that. Those guys go up and down the field. Todd Grantham is the defensive coordinator for Louisville; you mentioned him. Heâ€™s got his hands full. But I canâ€™t underestimate the value of Todd Grantham, and what he knows about that program, how they run it, and how to prepare for the next three weeks for that bowl game. Thatâ€™s an advantage for Louisville, but it is going to take Louisville a lot to beat this team.
Jones: Their defense has been great. What remains to be seen is what it will be like next year. But weâ€™ll see. As far as Kentucky, Iâ€™m not only going to be rooting for Georgia, Iâ€™ve actually bought a bulldog to put in my house for the month before the game. Just to make sure the historic Belk Bowl becomes as much a Georgia Bulldog party as possible.
Vanetti: Okay, the other day on Coach Calipariâ€™s radio call-in show, he was just put back on why the nation isnâ€™t celebrating the University of Kentucky basketball team. Why do you think he feels comfortable saying such a ridiculous statement? I know itâ€™s a radio show and itâ€™s to his own fan base, but why do you think he needs to say that?
Jones: Well I mean, I think heâ€™s right. First of all, most people are celebrating them. I think he tends to believe the world is out to get Kentucky and I donâ€™t think the world is out to get Kentucky. I think certain people are out to get Kentucky, but not the world. Cal sometimes mistakenly thinks if some people are out to get him, then everybodyâ€™s out to get him and thatâ€™s not the case. If whatâ€™s happening at Kentucky was happening at Duke, people would celebrate it as â€˜thatâ€™s whatâ€™s great about college basketballâ€™.
Vanetti: No one celebrates Duke.
Jones: Iâ€™m talking media now, Iâ€™m not talking fans. Fans are a whole different thing. Fans hate Duke, and they should. Iâ€™m talking media. Thereâ€™s a notion of â€˜Duke does it the right way,â€™ and I think heâ€™s right in saying that if this happened at a lot of other schools, there would be people going â€˜wow, theyâ€™re giving up, theyâ€™re sacrificing for the common whateverâ€™. So I honestly think some of that is correct.
Vanetti: I think that both of you are nuts. I donâ€™t think anyone needs to celebrate another school or the media needs to prop up a program. And that rarely happens when the media or a portion of the media jumps on the bandwagon to celebrate any program, the way theyâ€™re doing things. It is rare when you see an article that indicates: â€˜boy look at the way theyâ€™re doing thingsâ€™.
Jones: Yeah, but Calâ€™s point is that any time Kentucky does something bad, or what the media perceives as bad, itâ€™s harped on. But this group is all-sacrificing. Theyâ€™re playing for the name on the front, not the back, all of that trite stuff that people say in college basketball. Is there ever an example of a group doing it more than this one? Theyâ€™re all sacrificing minutes for the common good. Thatâ€™s sort of crazy. I know you donâ€™t want to believe that because itâ€™s Cal, but isnâ€™t it happening?
Vanetti: It is amazing that you and Cal and the University of Kentucky believe they invented sharing.
Jones: Nobody invented sharing. But first of all there hasnâ€™t been a group this talented, but I donâ€™t know that Iâ€™ve ever seen a group of people this talented share minutes like this.
Vanetti: I think sometimes you all donâ€™t realize the words that are coming out of your mouths. Of course thereâ€™s never been a team this talented.
Jones: Tony, we are living a Sesame Street story here where everyone helps other people get to their goals and in the process, we all win. And that is a beautiful thing, and I wish youâ€™d just accept it.
Vanetti: Well, Al Gore invented the internet, and Calipari invented sharing minutes on the basketball team. Congratulations to both of you; thatâ€™s awesome and I canâ€™t wait to see what happens on December 27.
Jones: It has to absolutely eat at you. This is too perfect; it has to drive you all crazy. Because in many ways, Kentucky is too perfect this year.
Vanetti: Have fun with your own success, but donâ€™t expect all of us to celebrate your success. Itâ€™s ridiculous to think people are sitting around saying â€œlets throw a party for what Kentuckyâ€™s doingâ€.
Jones: Of course they should celebrate our success because we are the American dream, Tony. It is the embodiment. The reality is, college basketball needs rock star programs. College basketball is better when Kentuckyâ€™s good, when Dukeâ€™s good, when North Carolinaâ€™s good, etc. This year, the two historically greatest programs in college basketball are also the two best teams, Kentucky and Duke. And that is good for the sport. So people who love college basketball, yes including Louisville fans, should be happy about it. We are helping the sport that you love.
Vanetti: Right. Now youâ€™re not just inventing sharing, youâ€™re saving college basketball by being so awesome.
Jones: I totally agree. If Kentucky plays Duke in the national championship this year, considering the talent, would that not be one of the most anticipated college basketball games of all time?
Vanetti: It would be awesome, but I could list ten things that college basketball needs to do to get better before I would mention Kentucky having a good team or Kentucky and Duke playing for the national title.
Jones: Allow Kentucky to play more, that would be one of them.
Vanetti: Alright, go back to inventing more awesome stuff.