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Image 3 of The Cats' Pause, "December 14, 1985"

Part of The Cats' Pause

Not A Pleasant Night For Knight Off to a fine 5-0 start. Eddie Sutton will find out just how far along his 1985-86 Wildcats are this Saturday when the Big Blue travels to Lawrence, Kansas to face a team which has all the makings of becoming a Final Four participant. Kentucky reeled off its fifth straight victory with a hard-fought 63-58 decision over Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers Saturday in what has become a typical blood-letting, physical knock-down, drag-out affair. Knight, himself, becomes as much an attraction as his players. Bobby's comments on the pre-game radio show with Cawood Ledford clearly illustrates his feelings about a lot of things. He took a couple swipes at the Kentucky program, said he doesn't think much of the UK-1U rivalry anymore because of things which have happened around the UK program (use your own judgement to decide what he was talking about) and then refused to talk with other reporters here prior to the game. Then there was the Steve Alford affair. He was handed a one-game suspension by the NCAA for illegally (against NCAA rules) allowing his picture to be used in a charity calendar. Although Alford accepted no money, the NCAA said the penalty would be to miss the next game, which just happened to be the Kentucky contest. Indiana could have appealed the decision, but one Indiana official said IU was afraid that if the appeal wasn't upheld later on, it could cost Alford one or two games in the middle of the Big Ten Conference schedule. Still, one has to wonder why Knight took the penalty so easily. The rule is one of those plain, silly NCAA rules. Several similiar cases involving other athletes have been reversed when appealed and the athletes missed "zero" games. Two Ohio State players immediately come to mind who appealed a decision like that a few years ago. And we're pretty sure the NCAA would not have penalized Alford had his case, too. been appealed. No question about it, the absence of Alford put the game in a different light, for the IU players and fans, for UK players and fans and just the average college fan. After all. there was UK-IU showdown time. There are those who said prior to the game that IU would "suck it up" and play just as well without Alford. The game's final score certainly gives some justification to that theory. It's doubtful IU could have played any harder, but forever more, fans will wonder just what the outcome would have been with Alford in the lineup, just like fans will always wonder if UK would have beaten Indiana in Bloomington during the 1982-83 season when IU won by 62-59. We'll never know. It'll be interesting to see if Mr. Knight, sometime in the future, brings up the Alford affair to comment on the UK situation and its ongoing situation with the NCAA. Welcome, Eddie, to the Kentucky-Indiana series! Welcome, Eddie, to the new Bobby Knight, the one you had not been introduced to before last Saturday's showdown at Rupp Arena. Sutton and Knight have been friends over the years, close buddies according to some people, but Sutton discovered what kind of a fellow Knight can be during his first on-court confrontation. He also found out what kind of a fellow Knight can be off-the-court. That happened thirty minutes or so after the Hoosiers fell victim to Sutton's Cats. At the game's end. the two coaches exchanged handshakes in record time, then Knight made an Olympic-style dash to catch the three officials who had worked the game, two from the Southeastern Conference and one from the Big Ten Conference. The officials managed to find shelter and safety in their private locker room, but Knight departed the vicinity only after giving the trio a stern lecture on what he perceived to be some ole-fashioned home cookin". About thirty minutes later, he became embroiled in a heated exchange of words with Sutton about using SEC and Big Ten officials rather than going to a group of officials representing neither conference. Sutton offered an apology, saying he did not have control of such decisions, but Knight refused to accept either Sutton's explanation or his apology. Oh, well. Bobby would never accept anyone's apology anyway, would he? Bobby was a piece of cake in the post-game interview room where he answered questions from reporters, and explained why his team was unable to overcome a couple of Kentucky spurts which put UK in the driver's seat. Concerning Alford. he refused to comment about the NCAA's decision, except to say that Alford had broken an NCAA rule and that the NCAA penalty was a one-game suspension. He did say he thought the NCAA would taken into consideration IU's previous record of running a clean program. Remembering Knight's pre-game remarks about UK's current problems. Alford's one-game suspension against Kentucky and Knight's inability to own a winning record against UK (Kentucky is the only school which Bobby doesn't own a winning record against which he has played three or more times. He is 9-9 against UK), you can rest assured we haven't heard the last from Sir Bobby. As it always seems, UK's performance was overshadowed by the appearance of Sir Bobby Knight. But who can forget the excellent play of the Wildcats? Perhaps it was only fitting that a Hoosier nailed the coffin shut on Knight & Company like senior guard Roger Harden did in the game's final minute. Harden took a charge with 1:02 left and UK nursing a 59-56 advantage. It nullified what could have been a three-point play and a tie game. Then seconds later, he spotted an open path to the basket on the other end and sealed the Hoosiers' fate with a driving layup. Nevertheless, it wasa sticky defense which hustled for forty minutes and brought Sutton his first victory over Bobby Knight and the Hoosiers. But it won't be Sutton's last over IU as head coach of Kentucky. Another guard, Ed Davender. picked up the scoring slack with 22 points with jumpers and driving shots inside as the Hoosiers used guerilla warfare on AIl-American Kenny Walker. As he's become accustomed to. the IU defense played the Roberta, Georgia, native just like most SEC schools did a year ago. Still, he managed 16 points on 6 of 11 from the field and four of six from the free throw line. Junior Winston Bennett enjoyed one of his finest outing with 10 points and some rugged defensive play. Ironically, two guards and a reserve forward tied for game rebounding honors for the Cats. Harden, guard James Blackmon and forward Richard Madison had five rebounds each. "I thought we were going to have a wrestling match out there," said an obviously relieved Eddie Sutton after the game. Hey, Eddie, let's just hope it doesn't get any worse than a wrestling match when Bobby is around. Now. it's off to Lawrence, Kansas a homecoming of sorts for Eddie Sutton. Eddie knows the tradition of Kansas basketball as well as anyone and this game will probably be given treatment as the "Game of the Year" in Jayhawk Country for a couple reasons. First, Kansas has always been a traditional rivalry because the legendary Adolph Rupp was born in Kansas and played for the Jayhawks himself. Secondly, Kansas and Kentucky have been known as college basketball over the years. Both have great traditions and are worshipped by legions of fans in their respective states. Thirdly, and most important to Jayhawk fans is the school's best chance of reversing the unbelievable jinx the Wildcats hold over Kansas. How else can one explain Kentucky's dominance over Kansas? In 17 previous meetings, Kentucky has won all but one. that lone loss being a 71-63 decision in Lawrence. Dec. 3, 1973. Other than that one game, the other sixteen contests have produced wins for UK. This could be the year for that to change. Kansas is loadedwith a club which is expected to have very little opposition via the Big Eight Conference route. Coach Larry Brown has his team off to a fast 6-1 start, a high national ranking and believing it can be a great team. It already is. Super soph Danny Manning will make any club a very good one. Add Ron Kellogg who averaged 18.1 ppg last season along with potential Ail-American Greg Dreiling (13.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg) in the middle with Calvin Thompson (13.5 ppg) and Cedric Hunter (6.7 ppg) in the backcourt, you have a team which will make anyone's top five. When Kentucky walks into Allen Field House Saturday night, it won't face a more hostile crowd all season long, not even at Tennessee or LSU. It'll be gut-checking time, as the basketball jargon goes. It'll be a great, growing-up experience for those Wildcats who have not played at Kansas before. And it'll probably be the first loss to Kansas in 12 years and the first of Eddie Sutton's Kentucky era. But then again, don't count on it. Kentucky usually finds a way to handle the Jayhawks. And less we forget. Eddie Sutton was also born in Kansas. A couple weeks ago, a veteran broadcast observer predicted that UK would be shocked with astronomical figures in the bids for a new three-year radio contract. Right on target! When the proposals bids were opened last Thursday, the high bid was almost doubled from those of three years ago. The apparent high bidder is again the Kentucky Network which offered over $600,000 per year for three years. providing almost S2 million for the overall package. The only other bidder was Host Communications of Lexington which offered a whopping bid of over S575.000 itself. A University spokesman said the UK Athletics Association would meet in early January to award a contract. Unlike the previous two biddings which resulted in considerable debate over the language of the bids and which firms which really offered the best and highest bids, UK this time streamlined the bidding process and emphasized that only the final cash bid would be considered. The bidding was expected to be a spirited one. Kentucky Network had held the rights for the last six years, but Host Communications owned the rights prior to 1981. It's no secret the Host company wanted to win the rights back. It's also no great secret the success of Kentucky Network's total operation hinges almost entirely on its ability to retain the UK footbalLand basketball broadcasts. That's the reason for the mind-boggling bids. When the contract was awarded three years ago, practically every media expert around assured the UKAA officials that the windfall would be the last of the big-time bids because television had been (and still is) taking a big bite out of the radio audience. So much for the audience angle. As one observer noted, as long as the commercial sponsors will continue picking up the expensive tab, the bidding will continue to go up. up and up. And UKAA officials will smile all the way to the bank. Well, we're back, back with a weekly sports call-in show we promised you several weeks ago. Our premier show aired this past Monday night with our guest being Sean Sutton, one of the state's top players who opened his Kentucky career with a 25-point exhibition against Lexington Catholic last week. Sean just happens to be the son of UK basketball coach Eddie Sutton. The younger Sutton is a junior guard for Al Prewitt's Henry Clay Blue Devils. Our new show, called Cats' Pause Sports Hot Line, can be heard every Monday evening from 7-8 p.m. in Lexington over Radio Station WVLK. Other stations throughout the state will be added later and if you know of a station in your area which would like to carry the program, tell them to contact us at (606) 278-3474. Future programs will include such people as LSU's Dale Brown, Georgia's Hugh Durham, top SEC officials, recruiting experts and even some well-known blue-chip athletes. We'll keep you posted. Next Monday night, we'll have a special guest you won't want to miss. Elsewhere in this issue of TCP. you will read Radio Station WHAS' official response to the ongoing controversy about WHAS' decision to make Louisville top priority on its station with UK becoming No. 2 if the Wildcats remain on the 50.000-watt station after this year. When this controvsery broke out last spring and continued throughout the summer, we of- [Continued On Page 26]

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