Big Blue Linkapalooza: We Made It Edition

We want to see more of this.

Final Four bound and down. That's where the Kentucky Wildcats are, and joining them will be arch-foe Louisville Cardinals along with the Ohio St. Buckeyes and Kansas Jayhawks. That's about as good a Final Four as you are ever going to see.

Here are your links:


Thoughts On Sunday & The Final Four // Duke Basketball Report

A surprising amount of respect from DBR. Not used to that.


CALIPARI’S SUCCESS UNDENIABLE, TAINTED BY A TOUCH OF CRASS // UTSanDiego.com

That wasn’t self-pity speaking, either, just self-awareness. What Calipari’s Wildcats did to Baylor Sunday afternoon, and particularly in the first half, bespoke a level of basketball seldom seen at the college level. Though the final score was deceptively close, 82-70, the suspense was short-lived and the outcome all but preordained.

Here's the fear. And the loathing. Embrace it. Love it. Enjoy it.


Drew Sharp: Here's rooting against Kentucky's John Calipari winning a title // Detroit Free Press

History tells us that it's only a question of time before NCAA investigators chase Calipari's scent at Kentucky. UMass lost its 1996 Final Four and vacated all its victories from that season when the NCAA deemed that star Marcus Camby had accepted as much as $28,000 from two sports agents.

Like most Calipari detractors, he can't even get the facts right, even though it only takes a quick Wikipedia search to get to the truth. The NCAA only vacated the Final Four, not the entire season. This is well-known by real college basketball people, of which Sharp is definitely not one.

Also, this is just a flat-out falsehood:

Calipari rents freshmen. He wants a program with a constant revolving door, a steady parade of McDonald's All-Americas using Lexington as a one-year way station until the NBA first round.

Why would Calipari want that? How good would Kentucky be if all these guys returned for another couple of years? This is the inane ranting of a religious fanatic who has sold his soul to the Cult of Anti-Cal

Truth is, Sharp doesn't care about the facts, or getting the story right. He only cares about his own misplaced sense of self-righteousness.


The Final Four Includes 4 Major Programs, But 1 Giant Favorite // SBNation.com

If Calipari wins his first national title with this Kentucky team, then his status instantly morphs from college basketball's hottest coach to its premier one. If UK stumbles, then the vacated Final Fours, the one-and-done controversy, the final minute against Kansas in the 2008 title game ... all that stuff gets thrust so far into the spotlight that it defines Calipari until he does cut down the nets.

There is some truth in this. If Cal loses to Louisville, it will be very tough around here for a while, and he'll get most of the blame.


Calipari to critics of his one-and-done players: "I really don’t care" // vaughtsviews

"There’s some people that think I should convince these guys to stay in school when the numbers say they should leave. I just won’t do it. I won’t do it. I want to help these kids reach their dreams. I don’t like the rule. I don’t like one and done. I don’t think it’s good for college players, high school players, pro players. It’s not a good rule.

You are doing the right thing, coach. Not that it matters what I think, but just so you know.


Louisville vs. Kentucky Is College Basketball's Top Rivalry // Card Chronicle

When the final horn blows in the Battle for the Bluegrass, an entire fan base is instantly forced to come to grips with the terrible truth that they will now be heckled unmercifully for an entire year by friends, co-workers, family, teachers, etc. whom they would undoubtedly stab in an exposed appendage if it weren't so frowned upon.

Don't get it twisted, there is no intended exaggeration or hyperbole in this post (except maybe the stabbing part...maybe). There are Kentucky fans who will still discuss the "shame" involved in the 1998 Wildcats falling - in Lexington - to a U of L team that would go on to finish the regular season 12-19. While the national championship > no postseason argument would seem like an effective retort to the uneducated outsider, being able to claim victory in this rivalry is like a one-year unlimited get out-of-jail free card.

The use of "hate" is excessive in almost any context, but this rivalry brings the utilization of the word closer to the cusp of appropriateness than any other.

Okay, well, this may be just the slightest touch hyperbolic, but the gist is spot on.


BracketRacket: If Calipari wins, does that make everyone outside Kentucky a loser? // The Washington Post

Lots of people have a beef with John Calipari.

Some don’t like the Kentucky coach just because he wins too much, others because he wins too much AND he’s been photographed at the scene of two NCAA crimes without being charged in either. Still others don’t like Calipari because he wins too much AND because he looks too, well, slick. That’s where one of his publishable nicknames, "Teflon John," comes in.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.


Kentucky Women Look to Match Men in Final Four // NYTimes.com

While the women’s basketball world focuses on the impending Baylor-Tennessee game, or on Stanford and Connecticut cruising along, there is another team who is quietly, but steadily advancing: No. 2 seeded Kentucky.

The Wildcats (28-6) will play the top-seeded Huskies in the final eight on Tuesday in Kingston, R.I. It’s Kentucky’s second trip over the past three seasons to the final eight, and reaching the 28-win mark ties the school record.

What if we put both men and women in the Final Four? Probably too much to ask, but ...


Tuck: John Calipari’s Redemption And Recognition // ESPN Florida

He is one of only four coaches in NCAA Division I history to direct two different schools to a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. The others are North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Kansas coach Bill Self, and Louisville coach Rick Pitino. And Calipari has done it three times.

Amazing, and people still say he can't coach.


Scout.com // Unreasonable? Not Kentucky fans

People from the outside don’t understand the dynamic relationship between Kentucky basketball and its rabid fan base. Most people think of lunatics in blue who think that basketball begins and ends in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kentucky’s success this season comes as no surprise to anybody in the nation. But while Kentucky fans expected a Final Four berth this season, they didn’t say, "Final Four or bust" as some would have you think.

Great article by Brian Eldridge. Highly recommended.


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