Drew Thurman (1:12 pm)
With the firing of Billy Gillispie this week, there has been a surprising amount of buzz about Kentucky basketball on the Ohio State boards and blogs. Most of this is centered around internet rumors and reports that Thad Matta is a leading candidate to replace Gillispie at UK, which may be exaggerated a bit at the moment.
According to KentuckySportsRadio.com, which is one of the best insiders out there for UK Sports, Matta actually finds himself on the third tier of the Wildcat basketball coaching search. Of course, the first tier on that list includes one name: Billy Donovan. According to their reports, Donovan is still considering UK even though he came out with the statement saying otherwise. So, you take that or leave it. The second coaching tier consist of the names of John Calapari and Tom Izzo. I don't see Izzo ever leaving Michigan State, and Calapari could do whatever his ego feels like at the moment. The third and final coaching tier, which is most important for our purposes, consists of Sean Miller, Jamie Dixon, Travis Ford, and Thad Matta. So unlike the interet rumors, Matta finds himself at the bottom of a list of names for the search committee. With that said, KSR does throw in the detail that Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart does like Matta and his coaching style.
So what should Buckeye fans think about all this? Well, honestly I think they should realize that the odds seem pretty slim right now that Kentucky will pursue Matta. If UK fails miserably with those top two tiers, Matta would still be one of four candidates that the committee would like at. Those four names also include Travis Ford, a former UK point guard and Sean Miller, who is one of the hottest coaching names on the market. On top of all of that, Matta's interest could very well be next to none. So, rest easy tonight because I really don't think Matta is going anywhere. As of where things stand today, I give it about a ten percent chance.