When Kentucky Comes Calling

By Jason Priestas on March 28, 2009 at 6:09 am
Matta to Kentucky rumors are heating upIn demand

Not long after ousted coach Billy Gillispie decided it would be a good idea to race a news crew through his offices, rumors of who would be his replacement began burning up the internet.

And why not? It's one of the top jobs in sports. Head coach at the institution that has more NCAA tournament appearances than any other school. A rabid and knowledgeable fanbase. Ashley Judd. All that.

The first name that was tossed around as Gillispie's replacement was Billy Donovan, but Florida quickly shot that down. John Calipari, another big name on the early list, followed suit. Former Wildcat Travis Ford, currently doing good things at Oklahoma State, is a possibility, as isVillanova's Jay Wright and Xavier's Sean Miller, but two Big Ten coaches are rising quickly.

One is Tom Izzo and he's a hell of a coach. The other just so happens to be the coach of your favorite team. And while Izzo would be a better get for UK, he's a Michigan native and is likely using the episode as a bargaining chip for more love from the Spartans.

Matta, on the other hand, is not a native of the state he coaches in and quite frankly, has several reasons to be interested should Kentucky come calling. I realize that's probably blasphemy to some of you, but let's face it, Kentucky is a better job.

At Ohio State there's the morgue that's known as the Schottenstein Center, playing second fiddle to one of the biggest football programs in the nation and, well, no Ashley Judd.

There are certainly compelling reasons for Matta to hang around in Columbus (dollar-dollar-bill, y'all), but as long as he's putting up 20+ wins per season, this will be something to fret about whenever a big-time job opens up.

Outside of the two Elite Eight games tipping off later today, there are a couple of other reasons to tune in as the Lady Buckeyes square-off against #2 seed Stanford (in Berkeley, no less) at 11:30pm and the Ohio State hockey team meets top-seeded Boston at 5:30pm (ESPN2).