Vaught's Views: Ashley Judd won't be "Missing" when Wildcats play in Atlanta
Ashley Judd had her picture made with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist after Saturday's UK win over Iowa State. (Victoria Graff)
She’s speaking in Massachusetts on Friday, and worried that a 7 p.m. start might make it impossible for her to get to Atlanta for UK’s South Region game against Indiana. However, the expected 9:45 p.m. or later tip-off gives her a much better chance to make the game. Then if UK wins, she can figure out what she’ll do Sunday when the Cats play again and her husband, Dario Franchitti, opens his Indy Car racing season.
“You know if can get there, I’ll be there,” said Judd, who was in Louisville on Saturday to watch Kentucky beat Iowa State.
She didn’t make UK’s opening NCAA win over Western Kentucky because her new show on ABC-TV, “Missing,” had its first episode that same night.
“The ratings are far too good,” she laughed and said. “My dad has already said, ‘You have to do this (another season) again.’ But the numbers were really great.”
She thinks the numbers for John Calipari’s team are “really great” as well and like most Kentucky fans, has her heart set on seeing UK win the national title in New Orleans.
“I love this team and I think for me the key is that we always have an answer. I would have thought tonight obviously that with an All-American in (Terrence) Jones and probable player of the year in (Anthony) Davis that we would not have been so substantially outscored in the paint but we were and yet we were up by more than 20 with just a few moments to go. I love the team,” she said after Saturday’s win.
“I really like that somebody said blue chip talent, blue collar work ethic, egos checked at the door. I think that says it well about this team.”
Judd admits she gets a special thrill out of watching freshmanMichael Kidd-Gilchristbecause of the way he plays and sacrifices for her favorite team.
“To see a kid like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is being projected as high as No. 2 (in the NBA draft), not score until the closing seconds of the game, yet he has contributed so much throughout and just plays with that wonderful motor that everybody talks about and has such a sense of spirit and gamesmanship. It is a beautiful basketball team and they are a lot of fun to see,” she said.
“Someone asked me what do I love about them. Simply put, I love them because they are good. I just love them because they are good. They are great.”
Judd literally broke out smiling and laughing as she talked that way about the Wildcats.
“I have been able to keep up all year. With Scotland (where her husband is from) it is a little bit harder with the time differences, but I do my best. With the launch of ‘Missing’ it got a little hairy Thursday night for our opening game, but where there is a will, there is a way. Just like this team has a will to win, I have a will to catch the game.”
She has a hunger to see Kentucky win the title, especially now that UK has advanced to the regional semifinal.
“My only concern actually was this game. I thought that either UConn or Iowa State would be a load for us, and we handled it extremely well,” she said. “I like that Iowa State made it a game because we are going to face incredible talent and kids playing out of their minds. It’s the month of March. It didn’t bother me that they tied it up at 42-42 for example, because I have a lot of confidence in this team to take care of business.
“I think we are probably going to win the championship. I was reminiscing. I have not been to a championship game — none of us (UK fans) have — since 1998. But that was such a wonderful run and sometimes we overlook that we were an overtime away from a three-peat with the 1997 game and one Derek Anderson (who hurt his knee late in the season and couldn’t play). So I certainly have my plans to be in New Orleans and I am looking forward to it.”
Count her as a huge John Calipari fan, too.
“What a trip. We really do have the right coach. Personality and a presence and a passion for the game as big as our legendary program. I think he is a wonderful coach for us even though he is prone to telling stories,” she said.
Telling stories? Surely not Calipari.
“He is telling stories about me at this point. CBS (TV) asked me to go courtside to do an interview with Lesley Visser talking a little bit about the game and then she trots out that he is telling people I get him behind closed doors in his office and tell him how to coach,” Judd laughed and said. “He is giving me a bad reputation.”
Maybe, but she is such as astute basketball fan that she could discuss the dribble-drive, defensive principles or just about anything else with Calipari.
“I also think I am a surrogate for all Kentucky fans. We are all arm-chair coaches. Just like when people say I am the No. 1 fan. Of course, I am not. We are all No. 1 fans. It is everybody’s Cats, not my Cats. Every Kentucky fan loves his or her Cats,” Judd said.
Don’t look for Calipari to make a guest appearance on “Missing” either.
“I don’t know what we could possibly do with him. Our second season, if there is going to be a second season, we are talking about shooting in Africa. I would much rather he would be in North America recruiting,” Judd said. “All 10 episodes of ‘Missing’ were filmed in Europe, and each episode takes place in a different, special European location. Our finale was in Istanbul. It was so much fun. But I think we need him over here recruiting and doing what he does best for our Cats.”