In Monday's post I mentioned that the NIT gets a bit of a bad rap. It's not where anyone wants to be, but there are things which can be accomplished by playing in it. It's the basketball equivalent of the Liberty Bowl. Florida opens its NIT run run tonight against Jacksonville, and for the sake of everyone there I hope it's better than the disastrous mess I had to endure last night. Davidson beat South Carolina 70-63 in a game that saw three refs I've never seen before (and hopefully never will again) call 51 fouls in 40 minutes. They had one team in the bonus 2:30 into the second half! Couple that with a Gamecocks team that combined its 12 of 40 shooting from the 2nd half of their loss in the SEC Tournament with a 6 of 24 effort in last night's first half for a robust 28 percent shooting span in 40 minutes and I think I've had enough NIT basketball in person for one year.
Kentucky won their NIT game last night, but rumors continue to swirl about Billy Gillispie's job security. I'm not a huge Seth Davis fan, but the SI/CBS college basketball analyst reporting UK's AD is moving in the direction of firing Gillispie is worth a mention. The search two years ago was a huge mess - how could UK possibly make a move this time without someone already in place to be next in line? Among UK guys Travis Ford might have the edge on John Pelphrey based on this year's results, but Mitch Barnhart has to deliver someone huge to justify a move like this if it happens.
FSU has made it clear from the minute their sentence for making a mockery of NCAA academic policies was announced that they would appeal. Keeping the penalties against them requiring game forfeitures from affecting Bobby Bowden's pursuit of the all time wins record is their number one priority, even if the school won't officially acknowledge that. Most university presidents might not take this stance, but then again most schools are not run by buffoons like T.K. Wetherell. At a press conference, he referred to Samford University (a 2010 FSU opponent, by the way) as a "dipshit school" and made an inane analogy about how FSU could supposedly conspire to get Tim Tebow suspended as an excuse for their documented academic fraud. After so many embarassments over the past few years, how does this man still have his job?
Bad break for FSU with the news touted redshirt freshman QB E.J. Manuel will miss the rest of spring with a compound finger injury. Manuel is supposed to be the next great one in Tallahassee, but now he'll have to sit and watch Christian Ponder continue to secure his starting job for the next month. If anything happens to Ponder, FSU's now in a world of hurt trying to get anything out of their offensive drills. LSU also suffered a meaningful loss yesterday, as sophomore tailback Stevan Ridley is out for at least spring. Ridley had apparently become a lead contender to start for the Tigers this year.
I've mentioned Twitter here on the blog previously. I'm not a member of it and I'm not a big fan of the concept. Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva feels differently. He's so into Twitter that he went a message to his followers in the middle of an actual game. It takes a special level of obliviousness not to realize that some folks might have a problem with that plan. One newspaper did twitter updates from a child's funeral recently so this isn't the most inappropriate use of it this year, but how is it ever too hard for a player to stay off the phone in the middle of a game?