Author Archives: Matt Murray

A Pursuit for Gr8tness: Kentucky Basketball in a new era

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. John Calipari (pictured above) has revived Kentucky basketball and mastered the science of the one-and-done.

By Matt Murray

In the evening hours of March 25, 2009, Lexington, Kentucky was solemn and quiet. All that could be heard was the sound of a buzzer going off on the few TVs that had been left on long enough to watch the Kentucky Wildcats fall by double digits to Notre Dame in the NIT. It was rock bottom; the end of a long slide from the top of the mountain of college basketball.  Kentucky had missed the tournament for the first time in 17 years, and their new coach, Billy Gillispie, had seemingly put the finishing touches on running the program out of the spotlight.

For years, Kentucky had thrived in an era of college basketball in which dynasties were the key to success; building and sustaining programs was forged on the foundation of long-term players. But with the introduction of the one-and-done rule, Kentucky was unable to find a way to survive in a new era of basketball. That all changed on April 1st, 2009.

In the span of a week, Kentucky ousted Gillipsie and brought in one-and-done expert John Calipari, who promised the power of his recruiting, mixed with the historical prestige of Kentucky, would be a potent mix that would allow him to create a modern-day dynasty in Lexington. He admitted it would be a different feel, one that would put players before the program, but that’s how a team must survive in this basketball landscape. The teams will serve as revolving doors to the NBA, but it’s the only way to ensure the best of the best want to attend your school. They have to spend one year out of high school before they head to the league, and Calipari has made it nearly impossible to explain why you’d want to spend that year anywhere else but Lexington. Continue reading

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SEC basketball eliminates divisions

By Matt Murray

On Wednesday, per the recommendation of SEC coaches, the SEC athletic directors agreed to merge the divisions of the SEC, effective immediately. This will only apply to basketball, and essentially means that there is no longer two six-team divisions, but instead, one twelve-team conference.

The coaches, led by John Calipari, cited the Big East as an example of why the divisions should merge, stating that it makes far more sense when it comes to seeding for the conference tournaments. Continue reading

Jim Tressel resigns as head coach at Ohio State

Staff

Photo courtesy oversigning.com

In the wake of investigations involving his players accepting benefits, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel has stepped down as the head coach of Ohio State. This is likely a Pete Caroll-esque indicator that we have only seen the surface of the turbulance to come to the Big Ten powerhouse. Check out our very own Grant Freking’s article on the situation and Tressel’s likely successor from Bleacherreport.com.

Stanley Cup finals preview: Canucks have inside track to lift first Cup in franchise history

By Nick Craddock

TheSportsKraze is officially an international enterprise now that I, fair-haired Canadian Nick Craddock, have signed on to be a contributing writer for this blog. Naturally, there’s no better to way commence my blogging than with a post on the NHL. And lo and behold, the Stanley Cup finals begin Wednesday!

Without further adieu, here’s a preview of what to look for in this series between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks:

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Maria Sharapova eyes career Grand Slam

(Photo courtesy dailynews.com)

By Josh Kramer

We have hit the 4th round of this year’s French Open.  And the talk of the tournament at this point, other than Nadal’s relentless pursuit of Bjorn Borg and Djokovic’s chase of  the #1 ranking/historical win streak, has to be the absolute “madness” on the women’s side of the draw.

Anybody who claims they saw both Wozniacki and Clijsters going down by the end of Round 3 is full of it.  These two women were the top ranked players on tour for a reason. Admittedly, the depth of the Women’s tour at this time is scarily weak.  With the recent health issues for the Williams sisters and the 2nd retirement of Justine Henin (no she is not Brett Favre), nobody has really stepped up to the plate.

It is hard for me to say, but there is not really a whole lot of fan appeal to the Women’s game at this time.  People say they love parity in sports, and they do.  But do you really love a Tour where there is really no big names?  Nobody that really stands out? Continue reading

The smarts of Knight or the pure talent of Walker?

By Matt Murray

Photo courtesy nbablogs.net

Your team needs a distributer, the central component to a successful NBA team.This upcoming draft class is about as questionable as the NBA actually having a 2011-12 season, but there is plenty of potential for some diamonds in the rough. Among them lies the big question: who is going to be the top point guard- Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight?

ESPN’s Chad Ford weighed in, saying that he would take Kemba for the short term, but an NBA team that wanted a PG for the long haul should take Brandon Knight. In a follow-up question, Ford said the same when comparing Knight to Jimmer. It seems that prospects are seeing quite a bit of potential in the freshman guard out of Kentucky, but is taking him over the UConn veteran a bit bold? No. And here’s why. Continue reading

Reverend Ray Lewis speaks out on the value of the NFL, and himself

By Matt Murray

Ray Lewis is right. The NFL is necessary. In an interview with ESPN, the Ravens pro-bowl linebacker spoke on the importance of the NFL to this country. Maybe declaring that there would be a significant increase in crime is a little bit dramatic, although a small spike would be no surprise. Hell, if the Cincinnati Bengals alone weren’t on the field for a season you could expect an increase in crime.

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