LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I wonder if Trey Lyles knows what he's gotten himself, and the rest of us, into.
It's not difficult in these parts to get a debate going about the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. In fact, every argument in this state seems eventually to be reduced to one of two things: Right vs. Left, or Red vs. Blue. Come to think of it, arguments about politics or the rivalry often morph into the other.
I could write a column saying the sky is blue, and I'd get the inevitable Cardinal fan reaction. "Cat fan." I could write a column about how I bleed red, and the Wildcat response would be: "Knew it."
Now, Mr. Lyles has inserted himself into this landscape. Lyles, a five-star power forward out of Indianapolis who is among the top players in the senior class of 2014, Monday announced via his Twitter account that he has narrowed his list of possible schools to two:
Louisville and Kentucky. Or, Kentucky and Louisville.
What's he trying to do? The state hasn't been this amped since the Duck Dynasty guys showed up. I still suspect this is some kind of evil Indiana plot.
If you think things got a little touchy when the teams met in the Final Four two years ago, that was nothing to the two going head-to-head for the same elite recruit.
There are two things -- and you can ask them about this over at Makers' Mark -- that if messed with, move Kentuckians to physical action, or the threat of it: Messing with their bourbon, and messing with their recruits.
There may not be enough bourbon to withstand this spectacle.
As if it weren't enough to put the two programs and their fan bases on notice, Lyles provides a Photoshop image, of him wearing a UK jersey and a U of L jersey.
Want a taste of the excessive parsing of Lyles' every move from here on? Let's start now.
In the UK photo, Lyles' face is serious. In the U of L photo, he's smiling.
What the #*&%? All right, here's what it means. Louisville clearly has the edge. It's where Lyles is happiest. That's why he's smiling. UK is a monolithic giant, hence the straight face. There you go. Advantage Cardinals.
But wait. Maybe it's this. Kentucky is the school Lyles is serious about. He's just messing with Louisville. It's all a joke. That's why he smiling in the Louisville picture. Advantage Wildcats.
No, wait a minute. The U of L side of the photo appears to be 328 pixels wide. The UK side is only 265. Clearly, the Cards got more of the Photoshop love.
Oh, but wait. Maybe he's just not good at cropping the screen shots. Part of the "T" in his first name is cut off. Where is the missing part of the crossbar? Oh, it's right here, in his pocket, from which he will produce it when he signs with the Wildcats.
This is far too stressful.
Lyles told the Indianapolis Star on Monday, "The closeness to home was a big deal. Of course, the coaches too. Both of them have won national championships and both have developed players and put them in the NBA. Going on the visits that I have to both schools, they make you feel like you are part of the family. Another big thing was the instruction the coaches give. It's not just the assistants, but the head coaches doing a lot of the instruction."
Lyles already has taken an official visit to Louisville. He'll visit UK for Big Blue Madness, at which, though it hasn't been announced yet, the pyrotechnics will be so crazy that they actually expect to launch another Mars probe.
Kentucky has been, it's fair to say, the leader for Lyles for a long time. U of L's position is somewhat of a surprise, though Cardinals' coach Rick Pitino appears to have made a significant impression.
Lyles is a two-time city player of the year in Indianapolis. Pitino visited his home last Thursday. UK's John Calipari was there Monday.
UK and U of L fans already are flooding Lyles' Twitter account with advice. I expect them to continue saying things to embarrass the entire state until a resolution is reached. If he'd been advised by a high-priced public relations or marketing firm, Lyles couldn't have come up with a plan to garner more visibility.
There are many things Indiana could have done to rip this place apart. There are few that could have done it any better than this one recruit.
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