Kentucky is the bad guy in the Final Four. That's the meme that the media wants you to swallow, anyway. Today is just the beginning of the Cult of Anti-Calipari commentary and articles that will be flooding the airwaves and Internet, painting Coach Cal as the be-all and end-all of what is wrong with college basketball, while the sweet, lovable Coach Rick and his tender student-athletes at Louisville are all that standing between the honor of the NCAA and it's utter destruction. Never mind that dear, sweet Ricky thrust several of his student athletes onto walk-on status so he could over-recruit.
So fine, if they want to make us the bad guys, we should welcome it. It has worked for years for Duke, after all -- they have been loathed (and UK fans have been right in front cheering on the spite) by everybody for all sorts of perceived insults, and there is no doubt that their fans often come off as condescending and insufferable. But that never stopped Duke from fielding excellent basketball teams and winning NCAA Tournament championships. No, sir.
Now that Kentucky is about to play that role (and trust me folks, we are cast in it now, like it or not), it's time for us to stop fighting it. As we say around here, embrace the hate. Make it part of you. Revel in it. Schadenfreude comes really easy to the despised team that everyone hopes to see lose.
It's going to take a bit of time for most Kentucky fans to be comfortable in the bad guy role. We have always seen ourselves as the good guys, riding to the rescue of those oppressed by the evil Empire of Coach K and the Cameron Crazies. Gone are the days when Kentucky was America's Team back in the 1990's. For that to happen, you have to have an inspirational rise to power, not one fueled by hiring the most hated basketball coach in America. Sorry, Coach Cal, but you know I'm right about this. But don't worry, coach -- the Big Blue Nation, Dick Vitale, Tom Crean, and a bunch of other good folks love you and know you for who you are. We have your back, and no mistake.
So as we face the reality of transitioning over to the Dark Side, let's look at some of the good things about being the bad guys:
- Girls are going to love us. God knows why, but it's a truism that hot chicks dig bad boys. Erin Andrews, are you listening?
- You can slip up and behave badly, and it doesn't affect your reputation. Look, everyone things we're lunatics anyway, so we can get away with genuine lunacy occasionally and nobody will even notice.
- We don't have to worry about being ignored, or irrelevant. The media are portraying Cardinal fans as some kind of shrinking violet milksops instead of the proud, passionate program they can legitimately claim to be. Would you rather trade places with them? Not me.
- Duke fans are beginning to respect us. Not sure if this belongs under the good category, but hey, it's novel at least.
- Everybody fears us. Be honest, you always wanted UK to be feared. Well, you got your wish, all you have to do is embrace the loathing that goes with it.
- Charles Barkley thinks we're pretty. Again, not sure if this is really good, but I like him. He makes me laugh.
- Kansas Jayhawk writers for the Lawrence Journal universally detest us, and especially Calipari. That is nothing but pure, unadulterated good.
- Indiana fans still hate us just as much. It's good that some things never change.
- Pete Thamel will try to pin some kind of NCAA violation on us. He's going to do that anyway, good or bad, so what difference to us?
- You get lots of songs made about you by female singers that love bad boys.
- You get to hear lots of people make fools of themselves trying to explain your badness. It's hilarious, and it keeps bloggers like yours truly busy mocking them.
We can go on and on. I have come to the inevitable conclusion that its really, really good to be bad, especially when it's 100% perception and 0% reality.
Just earlier today, Clay Travis, someone a few of us have heard of, had some comments on John Calipari earlier today that Paul Finebaum replayed on his radio show, including this comment:
I think Calipari is dirty as hell. I believe that he is buying players.
Of course, Clay Travis is a long-time Kentucky detractor, Vanderbilt grad, and general agitprop. The hilarious thing about Travis is that he said Bob Knight and Rick Pitino's disdain for Calipari is evidence he is a bad guy. One can only marvel at the abject stupidity of that notion. I mean, it's not like Bob Knight beat up his players, or Rick Pitino was dissociated from the University of Hawai'i for recruiting violations or anything. Oh, wait ...
Gregg Doyel tweeted this:
If Calipari is 1/8 what the haters say he is, why do straight arrows Crean, Izzo LOVE him? News t.co/2gdXNBkd— Gregg Doyel (@greggdoyelcbs) March 23, 2012
You pays your dollar, you takes your choice. I'll take Doyel's.
I think we are definitely having fun now.
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