BOZICH | Monday Rewind: Getting In the Mudiay For College Football
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I apologize. I know it is the opening week of the college football season. I know it is time to discuss Louisville's pursuit of another prime bowl game, the debuts of Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Bobby Petrino at Western Kentucky and Indiana's opportunity for its first winning season under Kevin Wilson.
But this is the Monday Rewind.
There is no college football to rewind -- yet.
There is a very jolting and very unusual basketball recruiting commitment to rewind. Emmanuel Mudiay is the best point guard in the Class of 2014. Mudiay (say Moo-dee-ay) might be the best prep player in the Class of 2014.
He is a Dallas-area kid who says he is going to stay home to play for SMU, not Kentucky. And this does not appear to be a Terrence Jones flip-flop situation – yet.
Mudiay was supposed to be the next John Wall. Instead, he decided to risk becoming the next Carl Wright.
Who is Carl Wright?
If you answered that he is the father of Bracey Wright, who played at Indiana several years ago, you'd be right, but only partially right. Carl Wright is also one of the best basketball players to perform at SMU. Carl Wright never made the NBA.
Only 12 guys from SMU have ever made the NBA. John Calipari has sent 17 guys to the NBA in the last five minutes. Not enough to top home cooking and the chance to play for Larry Brown, Calipari's crafty mentor.
Brown taught Cal how to coach at Kansas and again in Philadelphia. Apparently somebody has reminded Brown, who will be 73 in three weeks, how to recruit because only a few people -- Tom Izzo of Michigan State (Gary Harris), Ben Howland of UCLA (Shabazz Muhammad) and Dave Rice of UNLV (Anthony Bennett) -- have stopped Calipari from getting somebody he really wanted.
There's more. SMU had one home crowd of more than 4,000 last season. The Mustangs failed to rank in the Top 100 teams in home attendance – and Indiana State, Missouri State and Siena ranked in the Top 100.
I know that Larry Brown of Cougars/Nets/Nuggets/Spurs/Clippers/Pacers/Sixers/Pistons/Knicks/Bobcats' fame is now coaching SMU. I know that Brown went to the 1980 NCAA final at UCLA and won the 1988 NCAA title at Kansas.
I also know that Mudiay committing to SMU was such big news in Dallas that when I checked the Dallas Morning News web site Sunday it was buried under 117 Dallas Cowboys' exhibition game stories and a few words about Johnny Manziel.
Welcome to basketball country, Emmanuel.
The recruiting of Emmanuel Mudiay is finished. The discussion of his recruitment has just begun.
*I'll excuse you if you have not memorized the names of all 10 teams competing in the American Athletic Conference. I'm working on it, too. I need a cheat sheet.
Louisville needs its one-year buddies in the American to deliver in as many non-league games as possible. The Cardinals' computer power ratings depend upon The American winning games against teams from other BCS leagues. It's a strength of schedule thing.
In Week One, there are only three of those games:
Purdue at Cincinnati; Texas Tech at SMU (without Mudiay) and Temple at Notre Dame.
Temple has no shot. Cincinnati is favored by 10-1/2 in Tommy Tuberville's debut. And the Mudiays are 5-1/2 point underdogs against Texas Tech.
Overall, six of nine American teams are favored. The underdogs are Rutgers by 10 at Fresno State Thursday night, SMU and Temple by 30 at Notre Dame.
A win by one of those three would help Louisville nearly as much as a big win by the Cards over Ohio University Sunday afternoon.
*Word is that ticket sales for the Kentucky-WKU game in Nashville Saturday night are at 30,000. But here is an important reminder: They are only available from Ticketmaster.
They can be purchased at the Ticketmaster web site or at a Ticketmaster location. They will also be on sale at LP Field at Gate 1, starting at 4 p.m. (EDT), three hours before kickoff. Here is the link to the ticket site.
*Indiana opens its season Thursday night in Bloomington. For some reason the Hoosiers opened as 30-1/2 point favorites over the Sycamores. The number has dropped to 25, even though IU opened last season beating ISU by seven.
Several publications have picked IU as The Surprise Team in the Big Ten, but that was before Indiana lost top offensive lineman Dan Feeney for the season with an ankle injury.
Kofi Hughes is one of Indiana's best receivers. He is also a senior who is allergic to hype.
"I'm not a real big fan of all that media hype, that we got 13 votes as the sleeper team in the Big Ten," Hughes said. "It's great to know that other people are noticing that things are changing.
"But at the end of the day we haven't done anything. We've been a losing team. I've been on a losing team ever since I got to IU."
*Heard another glowing report on Indiana freshman basketball player Noah Vonleh. Heard he was the Hoosiers' best rebounder and most active player around the glass. Heard that he can create his own shot. Heard that he can make a three-pointer. Heard he has a really good chance to be the best freshman in the Big Ten.
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