Just in case anyone has forgotten who the best team in the Commonwealth is.
I'll be attending the next Kentucky game, which is here in Louisville tomorrow night. I am really looking forward to seeing the Wildcats in the flesh for the first time this year.
Now, for the links:
Louisville fans won't want to see this.
Note to John: "pails?" :-) Well, I misspelled "despise" the other day, so this is just proof that it happens to everybody.
Kentucky fans do not exaggerate when we call our fanbase the Big Blue Nation. In fact, we may underestimate ourselves a bit. This fact illustrated itself nicely when a Peruvian man walked up to me on the streets of Lima, took a look at my shirt, shook my hand, smiled and said, "Buena Suerte, amigo." Translation: "Good luck." Here I am, 3,500 miles away from Home Sweet Rupp, and a local recognzes the fact that Kentucky and Louisville are playing basketball up in the States. Perhaps if it had been soccer I wouldn’t have been so surprised.
I'm not surprised.
"I think he is back. His whole mindset is just a different mindset," freshman teammate Anthony Davis said. "He is just trying to prove people wrong. People are saying a whole lot of bad things about him. He has been working hard in the gym, weight room to just get out of that slump."
Cousins, 21, is hardly the only disgruntled player of the three-year Westphal Era. Kevin Martin, Omri Casspi, Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert expressed similar trade desires during their own Kings tenures, though none apparently took their requests directly to the coach. Additionally, Westphal's one-game sitdown of Spencer Hawes in Feb., 2009, for publicly stating confusion about his role still seems like a gross overreaction.
I am not willing to throw the Big Cuz under the bus on this one. Paul Westphal is known to be a mercurial coach, and that flatters him unmercifully.
I blasted Springer for his WWWDS (World Wide Wes Derangement Syndrome) the other day. Now I'll praise him for his sanity in this article about Louisville's loss to Kentucky.
As has been the case since John Calipari arrived in Lexington, toting his magic recruiting wand, Cardinal fans awoke this morning, bleary eyed, battered and beside themselves, wondering "What the fuck?"
Where should I start? The outcome of this game is spot on to what most people predicted. However, the way it was played was a little surprising. Referee’s make bad calls in every game. Very rarely do their calls dictate the outcome of the game. Today’s game was one of those rare occasions. The 51 fouls that were called made this an ugly and tough game to watch. It seemed like every player on Louisville’s roster was in foul trouble at some point.
This is certainly the dominant meme in the fever swamps of the Louisville message boards, as well as this particular blog. Fortunately, most Louisville blogs, including Card Chronicle and Card Game, have rejected this approach, and rightly so.
Let this be a lesson to the Big Blue Nation -- complaining officiating, unless it is a disputed call at the end of the game, usually just makes you look bad. I learned this long ago, and although we all still occasionally result to this facile excuse, there is no doubt this game was officiated fairly. There was a lot of rough play and fouling, and they were called.
Basketball is not rugby, and not yet hockey, despite recent attempts by officiating crews to allow it to degenerate to that level. I welcome officials that refuse to let fouls go uncalled, even when it makes a game ugly. I'm sick to death of rough play, and I wish this would become at trend. Then, perhaps, we'd see basketball return to some semblance of sanity.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist thrived in a physical and rough win for Kentucky as the Wildcats defeated intra-state rival Louisville Cardinals. "He wasn’t bothered as much as some of the other players by the physical play," coach John Calipari said. "He almost relished it and just went after it, and that’s why he played the way he did. […] He was vicious today." Kidd-Gilchrist agreed with Calipari’s assessment. "I’m built for this," he said after Kentucky’s 69-62 victory. "I just love the challenge. I’ve always been that way. I’ve got a lot of heart."
Yes, you do, Michael.
THREE THINGS I LEARNED LAST WEEK
1. I’D TAKE MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST OVER ANY PLAYER IN AMERICA
Some people told me I was crazy when I made that statement prior to Kentucky’s win over Louisville on Saturday but when you watch "MKG" play, it’s tough not to see why he’s more valuable than anyone else in college basketball. Whether it’s a tip in on the offensive glass or a taking a charge in the paint, everything Kidd-Gilchrist does affects one thing — winning. In the Wildcats 69-62 win over the Cardinals on Saturday, the freshman wing tallied 24 points and 19 rebounds while shining brighter than any other player in a game that was loaded with star power. It’s amazing to think that John Calipari welcomed back three starters from last year’s team that reached the Final Four last season in Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller and Kentucky’s two best players are two freshmen — Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis.
The result was a ton of scrappy possessions, missed shots and over-the-back fouls. There were some questionable calls, but those went both ways. The game was more overly officiated than poorly officiated. Blame Cincinnati-Xavier for a tighter leash in an intense rivalry game?
Is Kidd-Gilchrist the nation’s best player? That depends entirely on how one wishes to frame the argument. It might be difficult to support such a declaration regarding a player averaging 14.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. Is he the nation’s most valuable? Well, we saw how obviously Ohio State struggled without All-American center Jared Sullinger.
It is difficult to be certain which superlative to assign Kidd-Gilchrist. It only is clear that you want him on your side and that if someone else has him you are quite seriously in harm’s way.
Why do you live for this? What is it about you?
For a moment, the 6-foot-7 small forward paused. For a moment, he even seemed stumped. Then, the answer came.
"I've just always been that way," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I've got a lot of heart. I'm built for it."
He paused again, apparently thinking it over.
"That's why," he said.
"Austin Rivers is the transcendent talent in the Class of 2011," Konchalski said in March, after St. Patrick lost the mythical national championship game to St. Anthony. "But I think Michael Gilchrist is the best high school player. He plays every possession. He plays for the name on the front of the jersey."
Davis’ explained simply that his improvement at the line was due to spending additional time in practice and if it keeps up, it could change the way he plays on offense. His stroke has always been sound, but the shots haven’t been falling. Now that he knows he can knock the free ones down, he could make a living at the charity stripe.
My teams have improved over the course of the season but it’s always been on their timetable, not mine. My timetable would be Dec. 15. Normally their timetable is the middle of January, as late as February, which was last year’s team. When last year’s team got it, they were the best basketball team in the country.