A bump in the suicide rate from Prestonsburg to the Purchase was avoided the other night, when the buzzer finally sounded and the Cats had finally finished off upstart Ole Miss, a 22 point dog. That the impending defeat was at Rupp in the SEC opener had the good ol’ boys hanging ropes from the rafters, figuring life might not be worth living if the Johnny Rebs hung on.
The circumstances of the game are a great excuse to share one of my favorite bits of shtick from comedian Robert Klein:
One of the most interesting of the ironclad safety measures was that my father insisted I wait one hour after eating before going in swimming; something about dangerous cramping. This was probably derived from some myth about a kid who drowned in the East River in 1924 after eating an entire pot roast. Waiting a bit after a meal before swimming is not a bad idea. But with true Ben Klein hyperbole, I was warned that if I didn’t wait one full hour and not a second less, I would instantly sink like a rock and die a choking, gurgling death. “You’ll go right to Davy Jones’s locker,” my father would say ominously.
I was therefore scrupulous about waiting the full amount of time, regardless of the hot sun and the sight of other kids swimming happily ten minutes after eating. Their parents were evidently irresponsible. The idea of waiting exactly one hour was etched into my brain like a mental tattoo, as if the food would know precisely what period of time had passed since I ate it. One hour – okay; fifty-nine minutes – dead. When I got a little older, my father explained that I really didn’t need to wait a full hour. The actual amount of time a child would have to wait before swimming depended on what the child ate, and my father was the arbiter at the pool or beach who would decide such things. “What did you have, a tuna-salad sandwich? With a pickle?”
“Thirty-three minutes. Peanut butter and jelly? Twenty-seven minutes. Bologna and cheese? Forty-two minutes. Frankfurters and beans? Too heavy. You can’t go in swimming this year.” . . .
Which bit is not only funny, but germane.
For, had Rebel Stefan Moody not cramped up as if he’d chowed down a couple Coney Cheese footlongs, curly fries and two slices of pepperoni pie, Billy Ed’s Funeral Parlor and Tobacco Outlet coulda woulda been a lot busier place today.
Moody finished with 25 points, on 8/13 shooting from the field including 5/7 bullseye marksmanship from what Mike Pratt calls “Treyville.” He finished 4/4 at the line. Most important, he finished the game on the bench near Davy Jones’s locker. With severe leg cramps.
Which injury came less than a minute into OT, when UK’s WC-S fouled Moody. In Treyville. After Moody was sidelined, his sub clunked two of the 3 FTs, the first two Ole Miss misses of the night at the charity stripe.
Moody never returned. The Cats measure Mississippi. The Undefeated Dream Season remains alive.
Coach Cal: “If Moody doesn’t cramp up, we probably lose the game. He was just ridiculous. We couldn’t do anything with him.”
Truth be told, Ole Miss should have closed it out in regulation. Up one, the Rebels snared the board on a missed Aaron Harrison jumper with :42 left. But then threw an ill advised sideline pass toward the corner only :12 seconds later, which Trey Lyles picked off. The other Harrison hit 1 of 2 FTs.
Moody, who wished he’d only downed a popsicle — two and a half minutes out, tops — could only watch, cramping, on the bench.
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Moody’s not the only big performer with the blues on an also ran.
Devin Thomas and his fellow Demon Deacons at Wake Forest lost for the second time in a row to a Top 10 team at home. This time it was Duke, the Blue Devils escaping Winston Salem with a 73-65 win.
Thomas, as U of L fans surely recall, hit the Cards with 31 point, 11 rebound effort in a nine point loss. After the game, The Rick lamented his team didn’t follow the scouting report by forcing Thomas to his right.
Apparently Coach K’s communication skills with his squad are similarly ineffective. Thomas tallied 24, which was double the point total of his vaunted counterpart in the pivot, Jahlil Okafor.
With 5:00 on the clock, Thomas missed a layup that would have put WF up four. A few seconds later, Quinn Cook knotted it for the Blue Devils, who then did what they do, pulling away for the W. A hard earned victory, but another notch on the left hand side for the nation’s #2 team.
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I’d be remiss, were I not to point out that the country’s only other unbeaten school, UVA, also struggled last night in a league game.
NC State’s Wolfpack was up 42-41, until the Wahoos pulled ahead for good with 7:35 showing on the clock.
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Speaking of a possible epidemic of cardiac arrests in the Big Blue Nation, one must wonder if there were any when ***** recruit Carlton Bragg put on a Kansas hat at his announcement, but nervously said he was going to Kentucky?
When he meant Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
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Before I run outta here, a shout out to a school that’s not be relevant for a long time, but maybe just maybe has turned that corner back into our consciousness.
Oliver Purnell’s DePaul Blue Demons. The team from the City of Big Shoulders was 6-7 before starting play in the Big East.
Where they’ve won their first three — Marquette and Xavier at home, Creighton in Omaha — and, unblemished in conference play, sit atop the standings.
And, a so long it’s been good to know ya to St. John’s. The Redmen were in the Top 25 before Big East play began, but their league record is the reverse of DePaul’s, after Ls to Seton Hall, Butler and Nova.
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Speaking of Jay Wright’s Philly Cheesesteak Wildcats, look who is back Today’s Final Four after a short absence.
Today’s Final Four: Kentucky, Duke, Virginia and Villanova.
— Seedy K