3 Points: Don't take Yum for granted, Cards

Gentry Estes

3 points is a look at the sports topics we're buzzing about in the Louisville area and elsewhere:

1. Um ... folks, the Yum! Center is really  nice (just sayin')

An assistant football coach from another power five conference school (one that would certainly qualify as a "football school") once told me about visiting Louisville and rolling through downtown while he first spotted the KFC Yum! Center.

It was White Out day for Louisville versus Virginia Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center. Jan. 30, 2016

He took out his phone, snapped a few pics and messaged those pics to his friend, the basketball coach at said football school, essentially telling him good luck in recruiting against that.

This is a true story, and I was reminded of it given the headlines of this week involving the arena, U of L and a bit of a feud now brewing.

First off, I don't pretend to know all that's going on between the city and the University of Louisville (Tim Sullivan gives a deeper dive into all that here).

But I do know this: Louisville's basketball programs play in a palace.

Sure, it might take a little commute to get to the palace, and those around it regularly might forget just how good the Cardinals have it. But this is an NBA-caliber arena that is essentially alone for U of L athletics to enjoy.


It is the kind of setup that is the envy of most other college basketball programs.

I say most because there are some blue-blooded exceptions, places like Duke, Kansas and up the road a couple of hours at Indiana. But those tend to be more about home-court advantage than comfort. UNC coach Roy Williams was so impressed by Assembly Hall's crowd that he called out the Tar Heels' fans after losing in Bloomington last week. Purdue star Caleb Swanigan was recently interviewed on ESPN by Jay Bilas, who asked the toughest place to play in the Big Ten. Assembly Hall was Swanigan's answer.

Remember, however, that Assembly Hall was literally falling apart less than two years ago. So that arena needed (and received) renovations to address aging problems.

The point is, good luck finding a college basketball setting that is iconic and comfortably modern. If you don't have one, you'd better have the other if you want to recruit among this sport's elite.

And it's obvious that the Cards do. They shouldn't lose sight of that.

2. A rare NFL Thursday worth watching

I'm not a fan of the NFL playing Thursday night games. It's not right to give the players' bodies only a few days to recover from Sunday punishment, and the football typically suffers as a result, as these mid-week games can get borderline unwatchable at times.

Tonight, however, offers up a rare Thursday night treat that I'll recommend. The AFC West-leading Raiders and Chiefs will play on the frozen tundra of Kansas City for the division lead in a December game that will be pivotal in determining the NFL's playoff puzzle. The Chiefs might be the league's most underrated team, while the Raiders are good again, loaded on offense, suspect on defense and thus fun to watch. Kansas City whipped Oakland earlier this season, and no one else has done that to the Raiders this season.

3. Get well soon, Billy Clyde

And thoughts out to former UK coach Billy Gillispie, who is reportedly retiring because of health concerns.

Follow sports planning editor Gentry Estes on Twitter at @Gentry_Estes or email at gestes@gannett.com