UK Coach John Calipari | Courtesy UK Athletics

Not So Sweet 16: Your University of Kentucky winning Wildcats bowed out of the NCAA Tournament earlier than expected, losing to the Wildcats of Kansas State by a mere three points, 61-58, says NBC Sports, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and The Washington Post.

Is there a bracket in this country still remotely in play? I figure Virginia’s loss took out most everybody, but if it didn’t, I have to imagine the Kentucky loss has.

Kentucky, for most experts, may as well have already advanced to the Final Four. ESPN had them in there, along with Michigan, Villanova and Duke. USA Today said it would be a surprise, if not an embarrassment, for Kentucky to miss the Final Four.

Sports Illustrated, on the other hand, voiced a qualified reservation. They said Kentucky was certainly the most talented and the highest-seeded team still playing, but added “the Wildcats could just as easily get bounced Thursday by Kansas State.”

And coach John Calipari didn’t want his players to fall for the hype either.

There are no easy roads in this tournament. If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday.

And here we are.

After the loss, there were plenty stepping forward to take responsibility. Kentucky forward P.J. Washington said if he’d only hit his free throws, they’d be moving on.

I was 8 for 20 from the line. If I would’ve made half of those we would’ve won.

CBS Sports reports coach John Calipari said the loss fell on him; he should have called time outs during the final stretch.

I should have called that timeout late with 19 seconds to go, but we had worked on something, and I thought we could catch them off guard. Veteran team, should have called a timeout. Can’t put that on these guys. That’s right on my shoulders.

USA Today says it’s kind of on everybody. They say the Wildcats simply choked. Or to quote directly: “Kentucky choked, big time.”

After the game, Kentucky drew criticism from Kansas State players for leaving the court before a customary post-game handshake, said ESPN. They took that as a sign of disrespect, which coach Calipari said was absolutely not the case.

They were turned and celebrating, so I walked off. There was no disrespect for anything. It’s just that they were celebrating, and I was happy for them.

Hmmm.

Kansas State will go on to face another unlikely challenger, Loyola-Chicago, in the Elite Eight round this Saturday.

And while we’re here, your women’s University of Louisville battling basketball Cardinals are advancing to the Sweet 16. Your No. 1 seed Cardinals will take on the No. 4 seed Stanford this very night at 9:30 p.m. They’re playing just up the road in Lexington; ESPN2 will broadcast.

Rick Pitino on ESPN, YouTube

Reporting for Duty: Staying with basketball, Former University of Louisville battling basketball Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino says he’d like back in the game, says ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News.

Said Mr. Pitino:

The level doesn’t matter to me. I just need it to be someone who believes in me.

You here that, Crosby Middle? Now’s the time to take your shot.

He’s offered to give any team interested full access to his phone records, emails and voice recordings — something he’s already done for The Washington Post. He gave a reporter the go ahead to go through transcripts of his texts with everyone involved in the Adidas scandal.

That scandal, along with 2015’s escort scandal, led the Cardinals to part ways with Mr. Pitino last year. He still maintains his innocence and says he was betrayed by the university board of trustees, or “board of traitors,” as Mr. Pitino is now referring to them. He told ESPN:

Every night I go to bed, I’m bitter at the U.S. attorney’s office and at the ‘board of traitors’ at Louisville. I’m not bitter at the school, but at the board of traitors.”

On the U.S. attorney’s office, he told The Post:

I’m not on any wiretap. There’s not a shred of evidence that I did anything wrong. . . . They basically blew up my life . . . for one reason: publicity. I have my faults, like we all do . . . but I’ve never cheated to get a player.”

He says he misses the game terribly and he’s hired an agent, Jordan Bazant, to get things going. He says he’s not heard anything from any collegiate programs, but did have an informal talk with a pro team. The New York Times puts him on a list of potentials for the Milwaukee Bucks, though Sporting News says Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry denied that report, saying there’s no list for anyone to be on just yet. 

Rand Paul | Courtesy Lexington Herald-Leader

 Paul: Sen. Rand Paul went on a tweeting spree yesterday, live-tweeting his read through of Congress’ omnibus spending bill, says CNN, The Hill and ABC News.

Sen. Paul said he wanted to read the 2,200-page bill before voting on it last night.

That’s his grumpy reading face.

You get the idea.

So on the one hand, it looks like good old-fashioned Randstanding™ and on the other, it doesn’t seem so crazy to actually read a thing you’re going to vote on. I mean, sure, I’m going to hit the “accept” button without really going through the update to the 40-page privacy policy because I just want whatever thing I’m trying to open to work, but you want better diligence on a $1.3 trillion dollar bill.

Finally at 5:05 p.m., Sen. Paul tweeted:

But then he sort of did vote for it after talking with Sen. Mitch McConnell and the bill went through at 12:59 Friday morning, said CBS News. But, as of this morning, he was still holding out hope for a veto from the president.

Unlikely the president will veto, even though he’s saying he might, but you know, if the last year has taught us nothing, it’s that there’s no such thing as unlikely anymore, really.

Congressman John Yarmuth

Hair Trigger: A candidate for Kentucky secretary of state tweeted he might like to use Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth for target practice, said USA Today and The Washington Post.

Earlier this week, as part of what he called a plea for “common sense gun safety legislation,” Congressman Yarmuth tweeted a photo of himself wearing an “F” pin on his lapel, a proud reference to the failing grade he received from the National Rifle Association:

As Insider reported, Carl Nett, a former Secret Service agent and Republican candidate for Kentucky secretary of state, tweeted: “Move it over just a bit. I was trained center mass.”

Some might call that a touch irresponsible, a touch distasteful what with all the gun violence in the headlines. He found a healthy amount of backlash coming his way from both sides of the aisle, said The Hill, and later that day, wisely deleted his tweet.

And on Wednesday, CNN and Newsweek said: “Kentucky GOP candidate sorry for suggesting he’d shoot Dem congressman.”

I should think so.

 

There have been some calls for Mr. Nett to drop out of the race for secretary of state, but he told The Courier-Journal he’s hanging in there and letting the people decide what they want to do.

 

Crazy Ex-Boyfriend: Last week, we talked about an article in The Hollywood Reporter asking the question: “If Jennifer Lawrence Can’t Open a Movie, Who Can?”

And we went through a few of the reasons the question was nonsense and built on a flawed premise or three.

Well this week, I have some high-profile backup from one Darren Aronofsky, ex-boyfriend and director of the polarizing psycho-thriller-horror-suspense-allegory “mother!”

Mr. Aronofsky talked with Newsweek this week about his coming television project for National Geographic, “One Strange Rock.” While they had him, they asked about Ms. Lawrence’s long-term appeal.

Q: Jennifer Lawrence has also been in the headlines lately, with public perception seemingly turning against her, at least in quarters of the internet. Some are even pointing to mother! and Red Sparrow to question her ability to draw at the box office. What would you say to the Jennifer Lawrence backlash, as it were?

Aronofsky: You’re talking about one of the most talented people of a generation. She’s a once in a lifetime talent. I got to work with her and see how profound that talent is, how diverse that talent is. Jennifer is just going to be fine. She’s going to be entertaining audiences for the rest of her life.

See? That’s how you handle a high-profile breakup is all that is. And also, he’s right. And not just because he agrees with me.

So this week, some research on another project took me to the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and its myriad of covers and alternate versions. One of those, Megan has asked —nay, implored — me to share with you this week, and in honor of six months of marriage last week, I’m afraid I can’t really deny her request. So I leave you this week with the Muppets version:

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.