Some morning notes before the Cats seek revenge

Some morning random notes from Tampa:

– Calculating for the New York Times, Nate Silver gives Kentucky a 61 percent chance of beating West Virginia today.

– Ken Pomeroy has Kentucky rated ninth, West Virginia 19th. He has UK winning 69-66.

– Be prepared, Rick Pitino is going to be on TNT’s studio show in New York today and tomorrow.

– Ben Shapiro of The Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts writes that Pitino has been overrated for a long time.

– Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson scored all of four points in the Vols’ embarrassing 75-45 loss to Michigan. It was the biggest margin ever in an 8-9 tournament game.

– IMHO, Mike Hamilton should be axed as Tennessee’s AD just for what he did on Wednesday, telling a Knoxville radio station he wasn’t sure if Bruce Pearl would be back next year. You don’t do that to a coach right before an NCAA Tournament game. Unless you want that coach to get beat.

– Sort of lost in the shuffle Friday was Doron Lamb saying he twisted his ankle during Thursday’s win over Princeton. Lamb said the ankle was sore, but expected to be good for today’s game.

– Terrence Jones sounded better on Friday. And he wasn’t coughing.

– Texas Tech is expected to hire Billy Gillispie on Monday.

– The Tulsa World is reporting that Mike Anderson could be named Arkansas coach as early as Monday.

– Morehead State will have a tough time with Richmond today. The Spiders are pretty good, and here’s hoping Donnie Tyndall can get his guys settled down after sending Pitino to the TNT studio.

– I still can’t get used to seeing Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Marv Albert and Steve Kerr doing college games.

– Calipari: “Our freshmen have been on a steady climb.”

– Georgia lost to Washington 68-65 last night in what was a microcosm of the Bulldogs’ season. They came close, but couldn’t win. Georgia lost a big lead at home and lost to Vanderbilt. Georgia lost a big lead in the SEC Tournament and lost to Alabama. This time, the Bulldogs were able to slow Washington’s frenetic pace, but still couldn’t win. Still like Mark Fox, though. He needs to tell Debbie Yow thanks but no thanks at North Carolina State. He will do very good things in Athens.

– Saw where President Obama was 15-1 with his Saturday picks.

– Apparently getting Chris Wright back did not make much difference for Georgetown.

– Getting Kyrie Irving back could make a big difference for Duke.

– Sure Jalen Rose and Grant Hill can’t wait for Duke-Michigan.

– Bret Bearup on Facebook: “I’d like to thank our politicians for finally dealing with our nation’s two biggest problems – teachers and public radio.”

– All the talk about Xavier’s Tu Holloway and he scored all of five points in the Muskies’ loss to Marquette. Maybe “Three Holliday” as Kenny Smith called him, would have played better.

– The SEC ended up 2-3 through the first full round. Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia all lost. Kentucky survived. Florida rolled. Cats get West Virginia today. Florida gets UCLA. Both here in Tampa, by the way, where there are plenty of seats available.

– Several writers were incredulous when Calipari mentioned his graduation rates yesterday, especially when Cal started touting Bob Huggins’ grad rates.

– Joe Mazzulla can talk.

– Good showing by the Big Ten. Illinois rocked UNLV. Michigan mauled Tennessee. Ohio State and Purdue won easily. Wisconsin foiled those who thought Belmont had a shot at an upset. Michigan State didn’t belong here and proved it. Penn State lost by a bucket to Temple. Record: 5-2.

– Remember when Jay Wright was supposedly on Kentucky’s wish list? Sometimes the best hire is the guy you don’t hire.

– Kansas-Illinois in Round of 32 should be fun. Kansas’ Bill Self once coached at Illinois, of course. His successor there, Bruce Weber, got so tired of hearing about Self he held a mock funeral for the former coach. Word was Self did not approve.

– VCU coach Shaka Smart, your phone is ringing.

– Give it up for ex-Kentucky assistant Leonard Hamilton, who has guided Florida State to the school’s first NCAA Tournament win in 13 years.

– Calipari said Friday he wishes now that he played Eloy Vargas and Josh Harrellson together early in the season.

– Key today: Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding.

– Huggins on his demeanor now: “You should have seen me back when.”

– Bilas says Huggins sideline attire makes him look like he’s playing 18 holes in Scotland.

– When Dunbar product Darnell Burton was playing for Huggins up in Cincinnati, I traveled to UC to do a story on Burton. I got a day-of-game interview with Huggins in his office. He was great. In the course of the conversation, it came up that at the time Huggins was suing the Cats Pause for an article in which Jersey Red alleged that Cincinnati was cheating. Said Huggins, “I’m going to own that paper.” Now that would have been something. Bob Huggins owning the Cats Pause.

– In Huggins’ eight wins over Calipari, three were decided by two points or less, a fourth came in overtime. Does that mean Huggins has been lucky? Or does it mean Cal can’t win close games? How you look at each coach probably determines your answer.

– West Virginia has 36 points back from last year’s win over Kentucky. The Cats have nine points back.

– Ohio State is the last team to knock Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament in successive years.

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