Kentucky is no longer THE basketball power—GET OVER IT!

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Fryingpan Sports

Kentucky is no longer THE basketball power—GET OVER IT!

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By Bill Smith

Wildcat fans are standing outside the Athletic Director’s office at Kentucky waiting for the white smoke from the chimney that indicates coach Billy Gillispie has been fired. No white smoke yet but it is just a matter of time. Kentucky’s years of dominating college basketball are over. The SEC is no longer the conference that super talents flock to. Granted, Ky has one of the greatest histories in all of college BB, but times have changed. To Blue fans—GET OVER IT!

Since the days of Adolph Rupp [42 years 876-190 (82.2%)] and Joe B. Hall [13 years, 297-100 (74.80%)], the Wildcats have gone through coaches like they were paper towels—useful but disposable.

Eddie Sutton [4 years 88-39 (69.3%)] followed Hall and committed two unforgivable sins. First, he had less than a 70% winning percentage. But even worse, he was caught in a tsunami of NCAA rule violations and was run out of town.

Rick Pitino [8 years 219-50 (81.4%)] left the New York Knicks to save the program and he did. He took the team to a great record. But when the NBA came calling, Pitino answered the phone and accepted Boston’s 50 million dollar offer. He has since said leaving UK was a mistake. I can’t help but wonder if he feels that way now seeing what is going on in Lexington now.

In Orlando “Tubby” Smith [8 years 191-52 (78.6%)] UK found its guy to follow Pitino. Smith started out great. After the 2003 season, he was given a contract extension that was supposed to run through 2011. But after the 2006 season, fan pressure and failure to dominate the SEC and the NCAA Tournaments chased Tubby out of town as well.

That brings us to Gillispie. Like his predecessors, he had a track record of building programs. Most recently he had brought Texas A&M’s BB program back from the dead taking it to heights it had never seen and has not seen since he left. Less than two years ago, University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart told the fans that “Billy Gillispie has all the qualities we were looking for in Kentucky’s next head coach. He is a tireless worker, a great recruiter and is passionate about winning and winning the right way. He will make the Commonwealth proud both as a coach and a person.”

But in 2008-09, Gillispie’s charges went 8-8 in the SEC, failed to get a ticket to the NCAA Tournament, and lost in the 3rd round of the NIT. He is history. At UK, a 59.7 winning percentage is not going to get it done.

My Analysis: UK and the SEC are not the center of the basketball world any more. The SEC was one of the weakest conferences this seasons and even so, Gillispie could manage no better than a break even record in the league.

UK has established a history of running good coaches out of town. That is not the kind of reputation that is conducive to bring in a great coach to replace Gillispie. Gillispie is a good coach that has his players work hard for him. If you must make a change, bring in a recruiting coordinator to help bring in talent. The problem is talent not coaching. Given your record of firing good coaches, you may be sorry you fired him.

I have a friend that is a recovering UK fan. This is what he said to me yesterday.

“I miss Rupp. Hell I even miss Tubby.” Enough said.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: College Basketball,NCAA,March Madness,Kentucky Basketball,Rupp,Sutton,Pitino,Gillispie,SEC,NIT,UK,Hall

Thoughts about the first 2 rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

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Fryingpan Sports

Thoughts about the first 2 rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

By Bill Smith

College basketball has been hurt by the lack of upper class stars.

The quality of play has degraded over the last few year. Part of that is due to a lack of upper class stars from big schools. One of the reasons that small school teams are competitive with much bigger schools is that small school players tend to be more experienced and older.

College basketball suffers from a lack of fundamentals.

If you follow College BB, you must have noticed the explosion of unforced turnovers and the poor shooting percentage in mid range shots and at the free throw line. This is a lack of fundamentals. Players in todays game are much more athletic and rely on that quality to make up for poor technique.

Many players can not even dribble at full speed, let alone pull up and hit a 12 foot shot consistently. College coaches just don’t have the time to work on fundamentals the way they would like due to restrictions on practice time. As more and more players leave after 1 year, that will only get worse.

The players experience shows most clearly at the end of games. Way too many times teams with a 5 point lead try to milk the shot clock too far and end up forcing a bad shot rather than working for a good shot. That cost more than one team a win in the first two rounds of the tournament.

It is time for college presidents and the press to quit complaining about basketball graduation rates.

One and done is a problem for everyone involved. There is no other business except sports that prevent a young man or woman from earning money at their given line of work. In my opinion, the NFL rule (out of high school for 4 years or completion of a college degree) has much more logic than the NBA one and done rule. All but a thimble full of high school football players would be at risk if they tried to play in the NFL. However, we have enough experience in high school players going directly to the NBA and being competitive that this rule should be eliminated.

A lot of really good players just are not college material but could help themselves and their families by going directly to professional ball. While they can play in Europe for a year, they should not have to.

By accepting the one and done rule, colleges are accessories after the fact to falling graduation rates. So shut up about it or drop the one and done rule.

As I predicted, the top seeds are the best bets.

Except for a few fraudulent seedings like Wake Forest, the top teams are moving on. Last year for the first time in the history of the seeded tournament, all 4 1 seeds made the final four. We could easily see that same situation this year. In all four regions, the top three seeds have advanced.

That proves that the committee got it right.

Basketball is the hardest sport to officiate but that is no excuse for what we have seen.

Unfortunately, the officials are not getting it right. Last year on another site I wrote a column titled Please excuse the officials from the Big 10 and Pac 10 from the NCAA Tournament. The officiating this year has not improved. Calls are missed; the refs can’t seem to make any call without a conference or visiting the TV replay. They also don’t seem to be consistent at all. All any player asks is make the same call the same way all game long. That is not happening. I don’t believe that the refs are favoring one team over another. The calls are just inconsistent. As player get more athletic, the officials MUST improve mechanics and work together.

The there was the missed time out call in the Gonzaga vs. Western Kentucky game. There is NO EXCUSE for the refs missing the call. It very likely would have changed the game. The refs claimed that they missed the signal from the bench. But how do you miss a player calling the time out? If you clowns can’t do the job, call somebody that can.

The replay system is not a system at all.

Let refs in the booth overturn calls when asked. Don’t send the refs over to the scorers table to check every play. It takes too long, steals momentum from the teams, and creates too many commercial time outs.

Let someone in the booth check close calls. Hold up the throw in for just a second while the official in the booth checks the play.

Will somebody please take the remote out of CBS’s hand!

CBS changes games faster than a 4 year old switches channels looking for Sponge Bob. The coverage on NCAA.COM is greatly appreciated by all BB fans. CBS made one cut as a ball was released so that we couldn’t even tell if the shot went in. Worse yet, the switch of games went to another team shooting free throws.

Nobody minds showing a last second shot when that shot can change the outcome of the game. But those can be shown in replay in a break in the action of the game we are watching. That is what REPLAY is for—use it!

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NCAA Tournament,College Basketball,March Madness,officials,missed time out,CBS,NCAA.COM,TOP SEED,Big Ten,Pac Ten

My thoughts on betting the NCAA Tournament—For entertainment purposes only!

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Fryingpan Sports

My thoughts on betting the NCAA Tournament—For entertainment purposes only!

By Bill Smith

There are some basic principles for selecting winners in your office pool. The goal for most guys is to at least be able to place higher than the secretary that makes her picks based on the team colors. Here are 10 thoughts to consider before making your picks.

  1. The committee has watched more college basketball this year than I have and I am willing in most cases to honor their ranking. Picking upsets is a road to last place in the pool. When in doubt, pick the higher seeded teams.
  2. If you are going to pick upsets, check out the 8-9 games. The one place you can statistically find upsets in the 8-9 game. The 9 has won more than 55% of those games over the last 20 years.
  3. Don’t worry about top seed teams that lost early in their conference tournament. Somehow, I don’t let North Carolina falling in the first game of their league tournament worry me. A team’s performance in their league tournament statically has very little to do with how they do in the Dance. Syracuse played their hearts out in the Big East tournament and exhausted themselves. Don’t be surprised if they go out on the first weekend.
  4. After the first weekend, beware of the one man team. Great players no longer stay in college 3 or 4 years for the most part. As a result, there are a lot of 1 star teams. Bet bench strength and multiple scorers. History tells us that one man teams get in deep trouble in at least a game or two when that guy, particularly a C or PF, gets into early foul trouble and has to sit. Worse yet, even a big guy can get hurt and miss games. Besides, it is much easier to stop one guy than 3 or 4.
  5. Live by the 3 point shot, die by a cold shooting night. Teams that rely on 3s for a large percentage of their scoring will have a cold night. They traditionally don’t make it to the final four.
  6. Offense comes and goes but Defense is more reliable. Great offensive teams can go cold all in the same game. D is based on effort and is drilled into teams from the first practice of the season by some coaches. D focused teams are much more likely to win games where they shoot poorly than high scoring teams. Louisville is a perfect example of a D focused team.
  7. Bet on the point guard over the center. The tournament is a point guard friendly affair. A great PG gets the ball to the hot shooter and can make up for a bad game by a big shooter.
  8. Listen to the experts. Watch ESPN, and listen to Sporting News and ESPN radio for expert analysis of the field. They are paid to watch and evaluate the field. They see more games in person than the average fan sees on TV all season. Take their advice.
  9. Check out who Vegas thinks will win. Those guys bet their jobs on their picks because if they are wrong, it costs their employer a lot of cash. They know a lot more the we do.
  10. Third time’s the charm. Fill out a bracket and put it away for a day. Then fill out another. Then pick the best picks from both of those two for your “official” bracket. Save all three. Next year, see if your first impressions were better than your over thought picks.

Good luck and if these thoughts make you money, I have a Pay-Pal account and all donations are gratefully accepted.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NCAA,College Basketball,Syarcuse,Tournament,Big Dance,upset,seeds,Los Vegas,final four,national championship,Louisviiie

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