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Kentucky Basketball: Gregg Doyel Believes Bob Knight Hates Kentucky. Gee, Gregg, Ya Think?

I suppose this probably deserves to be filed under the the rubric of "master of the obvious," but Gregg Doyel writes this today in a piece on CBS News: [Note: Apologies for omitting the link earlier]

Knight was on the Mike and Mike show today, and he was asked for his top teams in the country. He listed five: Syracuse, Duke, UNC, Missouri, Kansas.

None of them was Kentucky, which is odd considering Kentucky is No. 1 in both polls. Of the 96 available votes in the two polls combined, Kentucky received 94 this week. Kentucky is the leading candidate not just for a No. 1 seed, but for the No. 1 overall seed, and is the overwhelming favorite of Vegas oddsmakers to win the title.

But Knight won't concede that the Wildcats -- coached by John Calipari, whom Knight has verbally attacked in the past -- are in the top five.

You really should read the whole thing, because Doyel does a really credible job of setting all this up and finishing it off.

Speaking for myself, I am not surprised, but I admit to a certain amount of dismay. I totally understand coaches disliking rivals, and disliking rival coaches. John Chaney once famously threatened to kill John Calipari, and you have to imagine based on that comment, he isn't sending Coach Cal Christmas cards or wishing him happy birthday on Facebook. Oh, wait, for this, we really do need some video:

But then again, John Chaney is not a major media figure for the Worldwide Leader, either. If you'll recall, Pat Forde was alleged to have been pulled off reporting on Kentucky and Calipari by ESPN while he was there. The obvious question is that if Barad Dûr thought Forde's commentary was a problem, how can Knight's behavior be ignored? Bloggers aren't ignoring it, even non-UK bloggers (see here and here). Sooner or later, somebody besides Doyel in the mainstream media is going to notice.

In case anyone thinks I'm calling for Knight to be dismissed, I'm not. I'm just curious as to how Knight's obvious problems with Kentucky can be glossed over indefinitely. Sooner or later, this little charade has to end somehow, and it's only going to get worse if UK manages to win the NCAA Tournament. I know Bobby Knight's persona pretty well by now. There is no chance he will be able to contain his frustration with that.

Related: Sports Illustrated // Too Slick, Too Loud, Too Successful Why John Calipari Can't Catch A Break

Also, if you want some unintended hilarity, check out some of the comments to Doyel's article. The amount of mis- and dis-information in there is shocking even to me. Do people actually believe the lies they write, or are the simply haters who don't mind looking ignorant in their hopes to convince other ignorant people? I can't tell.


Another thing worthy of note in today's news is this piece by Calipari himself explaining why Kentucky does not really embrace the NBA's one-and-done rule, as so many people think. Here's the main point:

But every kid is on a different timetable, and when I coach young people, it’s not about me. It’s about them. We’re not doing anything that’s unethical, illegal, immoral or against any rules. There is a rule that needs to be changed, and if that rule doesn’t change, my only two options are recruiting players that aren’t good enough or convincing young people to put their dreams aside because the university and our basketball program are more important than their dreams.

Which would you rather me do? [my emphasis]

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, which do you suppose Kentucky and Calipari detractors want him to do? Why, the first option for sure -- recruit players that "aren't good enough." They want the players that are good enough to go to places like Duke or North Carolina, who's coaches aren't so ... ahem ... "controversial."

Related: USA Today // Calipari: Kentucky is not a 'one-and-done factory'

Ostensibly, the article by Coach Cal was intended to address some of the blowback from his comments about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's remark that he planned to stay at Kentucky. I honestly think it was directed at both, because the major complainer that Calipari's honest dealing with the reality of one-and-done came most famously from Bobby Knight, although he was certainly not alone in that sentiment.


Finally, just when you thought all had returned to normal and Calipari returned to the universally unloved, we have this from Andy Katz and ESPN's experts. First, Coach of the Year in the SEC:

You could make a case for Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin or maybe LSU’s Trent Johnson if either of those schools finishes in the top four, which is still plausible here in the final week of the regular season. Both of those programs were picked to finish in the bottom third of the league and both coaches have done outstanding jobs surviving rough stretches of play.

But really, there is no other choice than John Calipari. Kentucky’s dominance in the SEC has been as impressive as the sport has seen in a power-six conference this season. For the third straight season, Calipari has taken a team led by freshmen and risen to the top of the league.

To think I lived long enough to see this. I predict it won't happen though. But this will. From the same piece, on Player of the Year in the SEC:

No player in the SEC has altered the outcome of games more than Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. Opposing coaches have to worry about him blocking, altering and affecting shots before they’ve even been attempted.

I say "yes" to both. But then, I don't get a vote.