Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mission Accomplished?

I posted last month about Tubby Smith being under attack by a faction of UK fans who wanted him gone because he hadn't won enough in their expert opinions. The fans and the other Tubby hate sites were using euphemisms like 'saving the program' or 'defending its traditions' to mask their racism.

The episode gave UK basketball a national black eye and a negative reputation from which it will take years to recover. The elite recruits that were coming here are reconsidering their commitments as the rest of the SEC was saying thank you for the early Christmas present. They are salivating at the prospect of getting their shots in this fall on a weakened UK program that has tormented them for decades.

Since I wrote that Quit Hatin' on Tubby post on March 22 Tubby left UK to take the job at the University of Minnesota. There was glee in UKKKville as websites like posted the infamous George W. Bush Mission Accomplished photo op.

Like Iraq, their mission ain't over. The person that was number one on their list to replace Tubby, Florida's Billy Donovan is turning down the UK job. With that announcement the UK fans who were so in love with Donovan in the wake of Tubby's exit and him winning back to back NCAA championships have turned on him like rabid dogs. Rick Barnes of Texas said no as well.

I had a feeling that was going to happen in Rick Barnes case. Texas alums not only have a nationwide fanbase, tradition and passion for Burnt Orange that matches UK, they have deeper pockets. As long as he continues scooping up the best talent in the Lone Star State he'll continue prowling the UT sidelines. While he's there he needs to schedule UH for a game or two. He's played everybody else in he state EXCEPT us.

Now the UK faithful have turned their sights to Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Billy Gillispie of Texas A&M and hope that one of those coaches will sit in a coaches chair that has become about as radioactive as Chernobyl.

Tom Izzo? He's an institution at Michigan State? He's got Detroit and Lansing as a recruiting base. Michigan State fans aren't demanding perfection every year or calling for his head (yet).

Gillispie left Texas A&M to come here and I hope he realizes what he's gotten himself into. He could've stayed at A&M, built that program into a national power to compete and beat the hated Longhorns and had the undying love and devotion of Aggies worldwide. I wonder how long a honeymoon he'll have if he doesn't meet the stress inducing expectations of the UK faithful. I'll just have to tune in to 'As Rupp Arena Turns' to find out.

Hmm. Wonder if I can get any University of Minnesota apparel at Mall St. Matthews?

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