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Kentucky Basketball: Rumors Of A New Tournament, LSU Smack-Talk, And An Old Friend

A quick skim of the Internet tonight gives us some food for thought - and fun.

Andy Lyons

Welcome to Friday, Big Blue Nation, and to some commentary on Twitter randomness as it applies to your favorite team, the Blue and White of Kentucky. Let's get started with Jeff Goodman, trying to start some controversy:

Well, isn't this just cute? What we don't know is whether he's talking about Collis Temple Jr., who played at LSU between 1972 and 1974 (he is said to have been at LSU in 1971, but I can find no record of him playing against Kentucky that year), or his son, Collis Temple III, who played for LSU between 2000 and 2003.

  • Collis Temple Jr.'s record against UK: 1-3
  • Collis Temple III's record against UK: 1-3

Collectively, the Temples are 2-6 against the Wildcats. I don't know about you, but I don't think these guys have a whole lot of ass-kicking experience when it comes to UK. Rather the reverse, actually, since the biggest margin of victory either one of them enjoyed as players was 17 points, and their average margin of defeat was 16.

So congrats to Johnny Jones on his recruiting, but the best he can likely hope for this year is a drubbing, and the worst ... well, we'll leave that unsaid. As for the future, well, if the 83-24 record with UK on the long end is any indication, I doubt we'll see much ass-kicking happening to the Blue and White. The closest LSU has come in the last 5 meetings is a 75-70 loss ... against our 2013 team, who lost in the first round of the NIT.

I know you're shaking in your boots, dear Wildcats fans.

Then we have this:

An underrated quality of Coach Cal, to be sure, but one that's definitely among his most notable attributes, especially when it comes to recruiting. Glad to see it recognized.

Kentucky, Michigan St., Duke and Kansas are going to do the whole Champions Classic thing again for 3 more years, but Coach Cal is working on something just as good, a "Champions Classic"-like format with Ohio State, UCLA, Kentucky and North Carolina to happen at various marquee locations like Brooklyn, Las Vegas, and somewhere in the Midwest. Steve Alford of UCLA ahas said he's in, and Thad Matta of OSU as well if it happens.

You have to love that. Getting two "Champions Classic" type events in one year is just a real good thing.

Comes now the sockpuppet Kent Sterling, back at the anti-Kentucky rants again. He's got a whole (to me, at least) new blog and he's trying to transform himself from a flamethrower into a "voice of reason" type, except... well, that's just impossible for him. Some people are meant to be reasonable most times, and others are just meant to be partisans who, when they try to explain themselves, simply make more of a mess.

Consider his "reasons" for disliking Coach Cal. Note that I'm quoting only partially, and to be fair, you should read his comments in full on his blog for proper context. Quoting him extensively would be too bandwidth-intensive and we'd run into the whole TL;DR thing.

Here's what "rubs him the wrong way:"

  • Calipari "earns" $5.2M + bonuses as the head coach of a bunch of 19 year-olds who do his bidding while their professional aspirations are on hold.

My response is this: So you are not okay with $5.2 million, but you are okay with $4 million? $3 million? What is your threshold of pain here? If you dislike Calipari for this you must therefore be "rubbed the wrong way" by every other coach who makes similar money, including guys like Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Crean, et. al. And since we don't know how much is too much, I'm going to say that this argument is totally credulous and unserious. This has nothing whatever to do with Calipari, who's salary is dictated by the market.

  • A disproportionate number of NBA bound players choose to attend Kentucky. That annoys me. Not because I don’t want Kentucky to win, but because there is no logical reason for it.

Yes, dear sockpuppet, there is a very logical reason, even if we generously ignore the likely dissimulation represented by your denial of wishing Kentucky ill. The reason is that Calipari tells players the truth, holds them accountable, makes them better and gets them ready for the next level. For those who are not going to be ready or are marginal for the NBA, he motivates them to do well in school and graduate. Calipari has a track record in this area, and it speaks for itself — and in a very good way. Recruits know this, and know it well.

What is illogical is for this to bother you. All these kids are either earning millions as NBA players or graduating with a degree. How is this a bad thing?

  • Eric Bledsoe had some high school transcript issues that showed he took two algebra courses out of sequence, and despite being a poor math student, scored an A in Algebra 3 prior to taking Algebra 2.

Why would this bother you, O Woolen One? Calipari wasn't the only person to offer Bledsoe a scholarship: Alabama, Cincinnati, Memphis and Florida also coveted him. It's pretty clear that the only reason this offends you is because he played for Calipari. If he had played for Billy Donovan, you wouldn't have cared. This is the proverbial tautology — a self-reinforcing pretense.

  • There is also the friendship that exists between Calipari and World Wide Wes, the former runner who is now a consultant for Creative Arts Agency.

Ah, yes. This is the shopworn "guilt by association" that is mostly reserved for Louisville and Indiana fans. Oh, wait... we are talking about Mr. Gold Toe aren't we? I forgot. But let's not confuse this irrational case of unfairness with logic, because it isn't. There is no evidence anywhere that William Wesley has done anything wrong, and to the contrary, most people who know him speak very highly of him. The burden of proof is not on Wesley, that's for sure, but Ol' Socky seems to be happy without any.

So what we have here is repeating rumor and innuendo, not reason. Dare I call it defamation? I think I shall.

  • Kentucky fans on Twitter wanted to know what my problem with Calipari is. There it is. Just because the NCAA is unwilling or unable to find the reasons for which Calipari should be banished from college athletics doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Now this, dear reader, is yet another opportunity for us to explore logical fallacies. This particular one is the classic "burden of proof" fallacy, of the form:

Bill: "I think that some people have psychic powers."

Jill: "What is your proof?"

Bill: "No one has been able to prove that people do not have psychic powers."

I wonder if El Socko also believes in psychics? Or the grassy knoll? Or that Justin Bieber really isn't an alien from a far planet? We may never know.

  • Today, those Twitter folks in Big Blue Nation said that they wanted to know how Calipari exploits the people he turns into millionaires. I would argue that the only person John Calipari has turned into a millionaire is John Calipari.

Really? Well, as usual Mr. Crew-sans-Clue, you are mistaken. Let's just take it from the mouth of a guy you used to revere, Brad Stevens:

In an ESPN interview with Jeff Goodman, new Boston Celtics coach says that UK’s John Calipari and Louisville’s Rick Pitino are "two of the best coaches in our game, at any level."

So if you can't take Stevens' word for it, I can't help you. You may also want take the word of DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, who have collectively signed contracts for more than $120 million, with many other Kentucky alums soon to follow at similarly high levels. At his current salary level, Calipari would not make that much money for 25 years. So your argument, Sir Sockalot, is facially flawed without further exposition.

Sock Sterling's objections are neither logical nor fair, and his effort to defend his dislike have nothing to recommend them other than prejudice and bile. I suspect, but do not know, it is because he is an Indiana University fan and reflexively dislikes Kentucky, and more so Calipari because Coach Cal turned Kentucky around from a doormat back to the dominant force they once were. Logic has nothing to do with his feelings — jealousy and partisanship are his stock-in-trade, and transparently so.

So please, Mr. Sock-Marionette, go back to being the straight-up hater you really are and stop trying to defend your unreason with the fatuous nonsense that defines your so-called arguments. They are risible at the very least, obtuse and dull at the worst.

I rest my case.