BOZICH | Monday Muse: What's the fix for Kentucky? Brady vs. Jor - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Which American athlete has been the greatest winner in sports over the last three decades?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Tom Brady, Patriots
    22%
    69 votes
    Michael Jordan, Bulls
    39%
    123 votes
    Serena Williams, tennis
    23%
    74 votes
    Tiger Woods, golf
    16%
    50 votes

BOZICH | Monday Muse: What's the fix for Kentucky? Brady vs. Jordan, Woods, Serena

Posted: Updated:
John Calipari has been through this February slump thing before at Kentucky. John Calipari has been through this February slump thing before at Kentucky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville is one of several teams to beat in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Despite what you saw in Florida Saturday night, Kentucky is still The Team to beat in the Southeastern Conference.

You might dispute that while listening to the noise surrounding the Wildcats and Cardinals -- or by looking at the SEC and ACC standings.

But the latest final season computer-generated projections from Ken Pomeroy have the Cardinals finishing in a four-way tie for first (with North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State) with Kentucky overtaking South Carolina to win the SEC.

Eric Crawford and Katie George made curfew and will be in Charlottesville Monday night for the Cards' game with Virginia. I'll leave that game to them -- and consider what is going on with John Calipari's sagging squad, which slipped to Number 15 in the latest AP college basketball poll Monday.

1. What's Wrong with Kentucky?

Nothing that cannot be fixed by early March.

The Wildcats are 18-5. So is Duke. So are West Virginia, Florida and Butler. Other than Gonzaga, everybody who is anybody has lost at least twice this season.

The Florida game was dreadful but the Wildcats were a possession or two away from handling Tennessee and Kansas. Should be fine, especially with the Johnny Jones LSU juggernaut headed to Rupp Arena Tuesday night.

It's not like we haven't seen Calipari's teams sag before during the regular season. Lost four of their last seven during the regular season three years ago (including one to South Carolina). Made the championship game.

Lost three of four in early February in 2011. Made the Final Four.

This team is more like those teams than the overpowering teams from 2015 and 2012.

Pomeroy's numbers show that Kentucky remains one of five teams that ranks in the Top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency, a marker that has been a strong predictor of teams most likely to win a national title. (The others are Villanova, Gonzaga, Virginia and West Virginia.)

The Wildcats' offensive efficiency -- 122 points every 100 possession -- is actually the best of Calipari's eight seasons in Lexington.

The defense is better than last season -- 93.9 points every 100 possessions -- but not as good as the 2015, 2012, 2011 and 2010 teams.

That is where it has to begin. Stopping people.

The numbers at SynergySports are more specific: Kentucky ranks among the bottom 10 percent of the teams nationally in preventing offensive rebounds.

The specific numbers are basic -- opponents have scored 159 points on 131 possessions that started with an offensive rebound. More important is the word Synergy used to classify Kentucky's performance on the glass.

POOR.

2. U of L, UK, IU Super Bowl Scorecard

Looking for another confirmation of the talent the University of Louisville football program has produced the last three decades?

Jon Solomon of CBSSports has provided the information.

Solomon, bless him, assembled a list of the college connections of every player who has made the roster of a Super Bowl team over 51 seasons. The U, the Miami Hurricanes, remain on top.

Louisville finished 37th, with 50 players. That's better than Wisconsin, Ole Miss, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and many, many others.

It's also better than Kentucky or Indiana. The Wildcats landed tied for 45th with TCU with 41 guys while halfback Tevin Coleman, who scored Atlanta's final touchdown, was Indiana's 24th Super Bowl participant. The Hoosiers rank 78th.

3. Tom Brady Vs. Everybody

New England quarterback Tom Brady separated himself from Joe Montana, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and other mortals in the Greatest Quarterback Ever debate while taking advantage of the gifts the Atlanta Falcons provided in Super Bowl LI.

You know the numbers, the story, Brady's background and everything else there is to know about Number 12.

Next question: Where does Brady rank as the best winner over the last three decades?

We'll probably fuss on the final candidates, but this would be my list (in alphabetical order):

Brady -- five Super Bowl wins, ranking as the youngest (24) and oldest (39) to win the Super Bowl.

Michael Jordan, Bulls -- six NBA titles, winning his final ring at 35.

Serena Williams, tennis -- 23 Grand Slam singles wins, including the Australian Open this year. She's 35.

Tiger Woods, golf -- 14 major titles, but none since 2008 when he was 32.

I encourage you to vote at the poll attacked to the top of The Muse.

My pick -- gotta be Jordan.

4. Final Ode to the Patriots

My sense from a Twitter poll I posted Saturday was most readers were pulling for a Patriots' loss. That's how 49 percent of the respondents voted.

If you're one of those voters, I offer this story: Somebody inside the Patriots locker room swiped quarterback Tom Brady's jersey after the game. Somebody frisk Roger Goodell. (The link.)

A string of ATLANTA CHOKED stories were also posted. This one, by Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, was the most detailed and precise outline of how the Falcons gave away a game they should win 995 out of 1,000 times.

You can read it by clicking here.

5. Super Bowl Winning Fans – Pittsburgh

Rick Burrice, local sales manager for WDRB advertising, gave me a great tip several months ago: Follow Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) on Twitter.

If you enjoy tracking television ratings for sports events, Mulvihill is your guy.

He was ready with the Super Bowl LI numbers this morning, providing the Top 10 TV markets in the overnight ratings.

The winner: Pittsburgh with a 57.9, followed by Buffalo at 57.2.

The other Top 10 cities did include the fans of the participating teams: 3. Atlanta; 4. Norfolk; 5. Richmond; 6. Milwaukee; 7. Providence; 8. Boston; 9. Indianapolis 10. (tie) Minnesota/Hartford.

I don't have the rankings beyond the top 10, but in Louisville the game earned a 47.2 rating and 71.1 share during the 6:30-10 p.m. slot, jumping to 53.2/72.1 during overtime.

6. Beware Duke

If you double check that list of teams that have five defeats, you'll find Mike Krzyzewski's team and its cast of McDonald's all-Americans. As perplexing as Kentucky's performance has been the last two weeks, Duke has been erratic for several months.

It's time for the Blue Devils to stand and deliver, but Pomeroy's metrics project at least three more regular season defeats for Duke. Not surprising. The schedule includes two games with North Carolina, trips to Virginia and Syracuse and a home game with Florida State.

Marc Heidorn of isportsweb.com notes that the Blue Devils have won three consecutive ACC games for the first time this season and might be making their move. (The Link.)

You have been warned.

7. Brooklyn Makes a Boo-Boo with Yogi

The Brooklyn Nets are the worst team in the NBA -- and it isn't a debate. The Nets have won nine games, half the total of Philadelphia, the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference as well as seven fewer victories than Phoenix, the bottom-feeder in the West.

The Nets need help.

They had help in Yogi Ferrell, the former Indiana point guard.

But they bounced Ferrell to the D-League and eventually released him so they could have plenty of minutes for Jeremy Lin, Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead, who have never been compared to Isiah Thomas, John Stockton and Allen Iverson.

The sample size is not large but Ferrell's performance in four games with the Dallas Mavericks has been enough to convince owner Mark Cuban, another IU grad, to upgrade Ferrell from a 10-day contract to a two-year deal.

All Ferrell has done in four games is lead the Mavericks to victories over San Antonio, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Portland while averaging nearly 18 points and five assists. He has made 13 of 25 shots from distance, including nine at Portland Friday night. The Mavs are in Utah Monday night.

As look at the Mavericks' roster shows Ferrell's salary is $31,969. He is about to change tax brackets from other undrafted free agents.

8. More Shots Fired at LeBron James

The LeBron James vs. Charles Barkley family feud was certain to attract a crowd -- and piling on.

Michael Jordan has not said a word, but the guy who put together the Bulls' teams that won six NBA titles joined the discussion.

Jerry Krause has, as expected, sided with Barkley, who annoyed James by telling him to stop whining about the Cavaliers' roster and simply play basketball.

Jordan and Krause did not have the warmest relationship in Chicago. But Krause told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical that Jordan never told him which players to draft, sign or trade. Jordan was a player who just played.

The reason?

Krause didn’t have to ask. He knew. Jordan was so confident of his skills that he was not obsessed over the other 11 spots on the roster.

9. More Love For Ballard's Jordan Adell

If you enjoy watching terrific baseball prospects, make plans to see Ballard High School this season.

Jordan Adell is an outfielder, a pitcher, a hitter, a slugger and a consensus pick as one of the 10 best high school prospects in the nation. In fact, Athlon Sports rated Adell fifth nationally in its 2017 yearbook.  Baseball America threw even more love at Adell, ranking him third, behind two players from California, in its latest ranking of high school players.

Adell has committed to the University of Louisville. If Adell hears his name called in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft next June, he'll have a decision to make.

10. Poll Results

Which is a bigger football moment?

The Super Bowl 73.5 percent

National signing day 26.5 percent.

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