Kentucky will face off against UCLA next season in the United Center in Chicago. Coach Cal has been landing a lot of players from there since ... well, since Derek Rose at least. It's never a bad thing to play in front of a recruiting base like the Chicago area.
And UCLA? Mmm. Tasty.
Tweet of the Morning
Of the 10 No. 8 seeds to make Sweet 16 since 1985: 7 made it to Elite Eight. 4 made it to Final Four. 2 made it to title game. 1 won it all.— Aaron Smith (@ASmithRivals) March 25, 2014
- Spring practice is really important for Kentucky. And it's almost here.
Is it too early to mock this? Probably. I guess I'll mock it later.
Tom Ziller of SB Nation rips into Bill Self, Jim Boeheim and others for their self-serving hypocrisy, and says this about Calipari:
Those other coaches -- the Boeheims of college ball -- believed their own bullshit, that the stars needed them. Wrong. The stars needed a year to camp out before entering the draft, and the Boeheims and Krzyzewskis and Selfs and Roys all beg for the privilege of being the host. Only Calipari acknowledges the power of the relationship lies with the players. That he moves on to next weekend while the others stay home is some sort of righteous cosmic justice.
Bazinga. Read the whole thing.
The best rivalry in college basketball. No doubt about it.
I don't know about this, but honestly, you could pick from among several big plays. If this was Coach Cal's favorite, I'm fine with it.
Very good stories about Pitino and Calipari in this piece.
So now, "experience vs. talent" is complicated? Really? Who knew?
I'm sure the author meant well, but this is truly "Captain Obvious" stuff. Experience is valuable, but only in the context of talent. Do you, dear reader, think those players for Wichita State weren't talented? If so, I will accuse you of straight-up ignorance, and refer you to some genuine experts like Mike DeCourcy or yours truly. Yeah, I'm humble.
Kidding aside, we all know by now that what experience does is flatten the learning curve every year, and there always is one. Contrary to many pundits, Wichita State was not the same team this season as they were last &mdash WSU lost two starters, including their point guard, to graduation. Yes, every starter was a veteran of at least one season, but talent matters, too. None of these players are as talented, in raw basketball ability, as Kentucky's starters save one &mdash Cleanthony Early. But Early's talent, as great as it is, was not anywhere near somebody like James Young or Andrew Wiggins when he was a freshman. He developed into a player.
The practical effect of extreme talent is to flatten the learning curve to a level that it is manageable, very similar to what experience does. This is nothing new, and it's been written about here and elswhere many times. What really helps is having both experience and talent, and that's very difficult these days due to the NBA Draft early entry. Just ask Tom Crean how tough it is.
Ira Combs takes the opportunity of his weekly column for a little penitence:
I’ll start the apology line right here and everybody can fall in behind me since I’ve been critical myself at times of this team and Calipari’s tactics in the recruiting and development department , fact is the man has done a heck of a coaching job especially in the last 2 ½ weeks Many college basketball gurus across America thought sunday afternoon in St. Louis would be the time you called in the dogs and threw water on the camp fire because the hunt would be over for another UK basketball season . No way would John Calipari’s overhyped and overrated one and done freshmen be able to with stand the seasoned and senior laden undefeated Wichita State "Shockers" . .
Oh how we were all so wrong !!!!!!!
Ahem. What you mean "we," paleface?
ESPN reseeds the Sweet Sixteen, Kentucky a 1-seed, Louisville a 4-seed.
Karl Towns Jr. leads his team to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title. Hat tip: Aaron's Blog
Other Kentucky sports
Hoops hangs on, dismisses Syracuse. Close, tough game. I saw the first half before my TV went on the blink, and Kentucky was taking bad shot after bad shot. I guess they won because they just outmanned (or out-womaned) Syracuse, and because of the home crowd. I sure hope they play better next time.
- The answer to the lede question is, "No." Move along.
Heh. Bill Self now getting grief from Greg Anthony. Hilarious.
Lots of "Wiggins blew it" articles appearing on the Internet these days. Look, this stuff is silly. Andrew Wiggins is a fantastic basketball talent, and anyone who would overlook him because he disappeared the other day doesn't belong in the position to draft players. He's not mature, and he doesn't know how to take charge. Yet. He will learn.
Truer words than this have never, ever been written:
Because of this dynamic, the ratio between having an opinion and being qualified to say it has never been more distorted. There’s a lower price of admission to be able to share what you think, and it has diluted the discourse immensely. Even people who live, breathe and think basketball are prone to falling into the trap, sharing their thoughts without a solid base of information to draw from.
Everybody with a Twitter account is an expert these days. If I had a nickel for every brain-dead observation I've read on Twitter, I could retire this minute in abject luxury.
Wow, Gator fans. You guys need to lighten up a little. Live and let live. Ya know?
Contra the Ziller article above, Bob Knight accuses the NBA of rape. Lot of moral force in an accusation of violence, even metaphorical, coming from him. That's sarcasm, just in case you can't see the scorn dripping from my words.
Mike DeCourcy ranks the remaining teams.
Other sports news
- Heh. How do you like that pick now, John Wall? Anthony Davis has a little something for you. I hope AD is right.
- The rise, decline and fall of a Kentucky legend. This is where a sense of entitlement leads. Ohh, and look — A Sea of Blue founder Josh Weil (a.k.a. J.L. Blue) got mentioned prominently for a piece he did on Farmer, which can be found here.