Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

March 15, 2013

AARON SNYDER: SEC tourney: Love it? H*** it?

ASHLAND — SEC Tournament.

When someone utters those two words within earshot of Kentucky coach John Calipari, he reacts as most guys do when their wives ask them to accompany them on a three-day shopping trip.

“I don’t like tournaments before the NCAA Tournament,” Calipari said late last season.

Calipari has a stable of legitimate reasons for expressing his distaste for what he calls an event “for fans.”

For starters, two of the best Kentucky teams in the history of the program lost in the SEC Tournament finals before ultimately hanging an NCAA banner.

Both in 1996 and 2012, the Wildcats — each having one loss heading into SEC tourney play — had already sewn up a No. 1 seed. So, it was basically like playing a series of spring training exhibition games before the World Series. It did nothing to improve (or harm) their resume, plus it was another chance for injuries.

Two seasons ago, Kentucky tore through the SEC Tournament and capped it with a defeat of Florida. The Wildcats’ reward? A No. 4 seed in the toughest bracket of the NCAA Tournament — two spots worse than No. 2 seeded Florida.

So, just a fan spectacle? In those cases, and to Calipari’s point, yes.

This SEC Tournament, though, has a new meaning. It’s not the Antoine Walker Version or the Anthony Davis Testament. No, this rewritten interpretation could instill a revival in the Wildcats.

ESPN bracketology guru Joe Lunardi currently has the Cats in a play-in game for an 11-seed. But, you have to remember, Lunardi is going to shuffle Kentucky every chance he gets because it sparks conversation and increases views of his ESPN.com bracket ten-fold.

That’s why the Cats have been joining more groups than a college student at freshman orientation. “Yes, I’d like to sign up for First Four In and First Four Out ... Oh, and what’s this Next Four Out all about?”

Lunardi’s indecisiveness is understandable, though. After all, Calipari has even said he doesn’t know what he’s going to get with this crew, which is about as predictable as a high school relationship.

Fans feel the same way. One day Big Blue Nation loves them, and the next they, well, I’m trying to break myself of using the four-letter “H” word that rhymes with date — I have a 2-year-old daughter who I’ve nicknamed “Repeat.”

(Warning of impending tangent)

One instance of the word ____ was caught on camera, and then later posted on Facebook for comedy value. “I ____ Duke!” my wife and I had her say as the Blue Devils pretty much had their way with Kentucky back in November. Good work, Dad, now you can’t even punish her when she says it.

(That was actually a transition)

Speaking of Duke — see, I told you — can you imagine a second-round game pitting the Cats and the Devils? 

All (another four-letter “H” word) would break loose, and we’d only be a few days into the Madness.

But, that could happen, in my opinion.

If the NCAA Tournament selection committee puts any stock in the SEC Tournament, Kentucky may earn anything from a No. 2 NIT seed to a play-in game berth for a No. 12 NCAA seed to a No. 7 NCAA spot, depending on what transpires over the next three days.

Since I’ve been on a roll with predictions lately — I even predicted who would receive the final rose on “The Bachelor” (don’t judge) — here’s what I think will happen regarding NCAA Tournament destinations in each possible scenario for the Wildcats.

‰If they lose today > No. 12 play-in game in Dayton.

‰If they lose Saturday > No. 11 seed.

‰If they lose Sunday > No. 10.

‰If they win Sunday > No. 7.

SEC Tournament.

Maybe something good can come out of this, after all.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mobley, Jude key for EKU

    Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood has revamped the Colonels’ defense in hopes of containing OVC opponents’ spread offenses.

    July 29, 2014

  • ZACK KLEMME: Punchless Reds wasting solid pitching

    The last nine days have been an exercise in understanding just how slim the margin for error is for baseball teams — even good ones — that can’t score.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone