Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Final Four Thursday Edition

Ronald Martinez

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Kentucky softball shuts out Louisville. Wildcats prepare for Final Four. Dakari Johnson is not a good golfer. More.

Today is the Thursday before the Final Four. When I went to the Final Four back in 2012, this is the day in which preparation begins in earnest. Basketball fever begins to grip you wherever you go, and the fans begin to arrive in droves. Ah, the memories.

Tweet of the Morning

Yeah, it's pretty clear that Dakari does not grok this golf stuff.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • WCS talks about his injury on CoachCal.com. I'm encouraged that his ankle is better now, but I'd still bet against him playing.

  • Big Ten Powerhouse breaks down the Kentucky Wildcats. I'm not convinced of this:

    But Traevon Jackson's solid defense principles will keep him at bay. He's taller and quicker than Jackson, but Jackson will know to force him to shoot. In addition, Wisconsin's solid team defense will try to keep him out of the lane. He'll get to the foul line plenty of times, but expect Andrew to be held at bay.

  • James Streble does a radio interview with a CBS affiliate last night. Listen to it here.

  • More on the toughness of Kentucky's road to Dallas. Honestly, I'm not sure that means all that much. Tough or easy is irrelevant, that they made it is what matters.

  • Kentucky fans wield their own megaphone. This is a story about the restiveness of fans after the Arkansas home loss. I frankly never spend much time reading fan venting except in here, it's a fusillade of irrationality and frankly, idiocy. C'mon, 'Cat fans, hakuna matata. Three Final Fours and one national title in five years recalls Pitino's best seasons, and there is no end in sight. Embrace the success, and the failure. Let this inform you:

    Calipari has been asked repeatedly about the criticism his team received over the course of a season that was incredibly trying until the tournament run.

    "There are a lot of haters and bullies out there," Calipari said over the weekend.

    He added: "Does it make me mad? Yes, it does. Oh, yeah. Because some of it is personal. Some of it is agenda-driven, where guys want to hurt the program and they’re taking it out on these kids. And it’s not right. But they withstood it all."

  • One and done working fine for John Calipari.

    Of course, there are still plenty of detractors. Final Four counterpart Bo Ryan appeared to take a veiled jab at Calipari this week when he said: "What I like about the Wisconsin fans is they understand these are student-athletes who actually are here for the purpose of an education first and playing ball second. That’s what I believe makes them really endearing."

    I don't think this was a shot. I think it is endearing to have guys stay for four years, and I don't think there is a fan among us who wouldn't prefer that in a perfect world where the advantages outweighed the downside. Sadly, that isn't the world we live in.

    If you can recruit the best, you should recruit the best. Bo Ryan no doubt understands that he can't do what Calipari does, even if he were willing. So he does it his way, and that is a fine way.

  • Tyler Ulis draws raves from the McDonald's All America game. All of them deserved.

  • Interesting, somewhat sarcastic read about Kentucky (the state) from SB Nation. Consider:

    "Oh man, Big Blue economic stimulus," a bartender says. "They could fill up that football stadium and fill up every bar at the same time. And if anyone else's fans left, they could have more fans drive up and take their hotel just to say they were here."

    He's right. There's no guarantee like Kentucky basketball fans. If you hate Big Blue on the court, it's because of how much they demand in return for that guarantee, and how often they get what they want.

  • Ryan, Calipari a study in contrasts.

  • A look back at Jon Hood's career.

  • Gary Parrish, as is his wont, addresses the result and not the underlying cause. Superficial analysis is why this guy gets on my last nerve.

    Yes, Kentucky is shooting the ball much better, but there's a reason why. The reason is that the shots are now coming within the offense rather than as either a last resort or settling for the first open look.

Other Kentucky sports
College basketball
Other sports news
  • In-depth article on the Big Cuz at ESPN. Here's what happens when perception becomes reality:

    Some facts: The Kings have lost all 10 games without Cousins this season. Through March 31, he ranked 10th in scoring (22.3 ppg), fifth in rebounding (11.7 rpg), tied for third in double-doubles (46) and fifth in Player Efficiency Rating, behind only Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis. Cousins' 15 T's were just one more than Blake Griffin, one of the NBA's most beloved player-salesmen.

    The image is out there, though, drifting with the wind, asking: Is he worth it? Leaning back in his office chair, [Sacramento coach Michael] Malone slowly exhales. He talks the way a fullback runs, head down, straight up the middle, searching for something to hit. When things go wrong for the Kings, he clenches his eyes and pinches his nose with his right thumb and forefinger. He seems like the kind of guy who'll either succeed wildly or get worn smooth by the grind of living and dying with every game played.

    "I don't get a lot of this stuff," he says. "He's having the best year of his career. He should be an All-Star. He's already shown that -- arguably -- he's the best center in the league. But his biggest jump will come from handling adversity and being comfortable when he's uncomfortable. When he can do that, it's scary to think how good he can be."

    So yeah, he's worth it. Cousins is very unhappy about being overlooked as an all-star pick this year, and based on his numbers, he is right to be. This article talks a lot about the perception of Cousins and how it may have informed the snub.

  • The evolution of Eric Bledsoe.

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