Apparently, the contest to which Allblucat and I were admitted is having a few difficulties of the "genuineness" variety, and is stalled after some very deep pockets reportedly took action against it. So here, for whatever benefit it may deliver to the BBN, is the only article I was able to get published there. Hopefully it will stimulate some conversation.
Mob Rule, By Popular Decree
After the debate reached the level of deadly earnestness on the blogs of the bluegrass last winter regarding Billy Gillispie's future in Lexington, the last corpse of an argument was finally thrown into the fray by the BBN's more timid fans (few though they are) -- "...fire Gillispie after only two years, and nobody will come to UK to coach. After all, UK is not what it once was, good coaches go to the real up and coming programs. Too much pressure, too little upside, unappreciative fans..." etc etc etc. Still the real fans insisted at the castle doors of Von Lexingstein, with pitch forks and fagots afire, on change. And change they got -- enter John Calipari, arguably the most successful college basketball coach in America over the last few years. So much for the timid and mediocre viewpoint that UK is not a place that the best coaches want to coach.
What is in the water that Kentucky fans drink to so deprive them of common wisdom and reasonable expectations? Nothing. As was recently pointed out on A Sea of Blue, "High expectations are the very vat in which UK basketball ferments." Kentucky fans have been reared for three generations on top caliber basketball. Nothing is in the blue water of Kentucky but a healthy, and (until the last 4 seasons), high-quality concoction of success. Kentucky has had its share of moonshiners, so surely most UK fans would agree with the analogy.
Now here we are one year after after even the most fervent UK fans spoke of a speedy return to the Sweet 16 being the top level of expectation and satisfaction (with even this wish only whispered piningly to trusted readers and kindred souls) to find that UK is a number 1 seed sharing the best record in the nation with KU, a mirror image rival in more than just initials. It's as if the pitchforks and flaming torches of fanatical fans has reimposed popular will in Lexington. Despite the paradigm of parity, despite having opened the exit door to Tubby Smith with his unquestioned reputation as a good and honest man, despite the natural tendency to deny mistakes like having hired Gillispie in the first place, Kentucky exercised the "Nuclear Option" to clean their house and redecorate it as well at one stroke of the broom.
Perhaps this is what drives John Wall to display superior maturity to match his superior basketball skills. Perhaps it's what has awoken the Sleeping Giant that wears number 15 and channeled his emotion into fierce competitiveness on the court. Certainly, it is what has inspired Patrick Patterson to quietly, unassumingly play-act this class of super freshmen away from the expectations of NBA scouts and into the loving arms of the Big Blue Nation with its high expectations. Whatever the dynamic involved in this young team's march to March, one can be certain that no formula is involved. The Cats play with a pure will which harnesses enormous talent in pursuit of an impossible dream.
Who'da thunk it?