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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: The Tirade And The Damage Done Edition

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Will we ever know why John Calipari went nuts in Columbia?

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies. This morning sees the ejection of John Calipari from the game Saturday in Columbia SC continue to have a little bit of life, and questions (which will most likely remain forever unknown to the general public) continue to remain on two main points:

  1. Why the absurdly quick trigger by Doug Sirmons, and;
  2. Why the street-fight reaction by Coach Cal?

Jerry Tipton, that long time object of scorn for the vast majority of the Big Blue faithful, takes a look at the latter issue yesterday. Apparently, an elderly lady called in and questioned the propriety of Calipari’s reaction to the ejection that required three of his players and two assistant coaches to restrain him, and resulted in him leaving the floor looking decidedly un-Calipari-like with his arms repeatedly flung akimbo, his shirttail hanging out and his normal sartorial splendor decidedly un-splendiferous.

When contacted Monday morning, [Carolyn] Brown, 89, had not cooled off nor rationalized Calipari’s actions.

"To me, it’s humiliating to act like that," she said. Calipari’s behavior reflected poorly on UK and residents of Kentucky, she said.

I think it can be fairly said she has a point about the optics of the matter — in a technical sense, seeing a 57-year old man act like a 20-year old is generally risible and reflects poorly on him and his employer.

However for good or ill, it has long been part of the mystique and tradecraft of college coaching for such tirades to occasionally happen, and Ms. Brown, who is presumably a basketball fan, should know that as well as anyone. Upbraiding Calipari for his outburst is certainly fair from an objective standpoint, but as a person who is enamored of proper decorum, I find myself unimpressed by her outrage. These things happen, and it’s all part of the theater of the sport, and has been at least since Bobby Knight flung the chair across the floor, and probably long before then.

The question remains, "Why was Calipari so incensed?" He has been ejected before, and never have we seen such an intense and apparently genuine apoplexy. What was different this time?

We may never know. All anyone, including Tipton, gets from the league, the officials, UK and Coach Cal are platitudes and no comments. Of course, Jerry in his desire to be "fair and balanced" gets a bunch of people to criticize Calipari (and somewhat unsurprisingly, none to defend him), but I think you’re all used to that by now.

Tweet of the Morning

I think this is right, and I also think it sharpened the Wildcats. I see the Tennessee loss as a complete, out-of-the-blue anomaly mostly driven by a hot shooter, but other than that, the Wildcats have averaged an offensive efficiency of 128 points/100 possessions over the last three games. That’s strong, boys and girls.

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  • Committee investigating allegations of impropriety at Louisville (you love my careful wording, and you know it) says that the ban on post-season play was enacted out of fear.

    I hope you don’t expect me to disagree, because I’m sure he’s right. Fear of what, exactly, is subject to some speculation. Fear of Rick Pitino leaving if next year’s team is hamstrung? Fear of a multi-year ban (seems unlikely to me)? Or fear that they will be accused of slow-walking the inevitable? I have no idea, and these aren’t the only possible things, I’m sure.

    Related: Pat Forde speculates on a coaching opening at Louisville, and as a believer in never letting an opportunity to do so pass, takes a shot at Calipari. Embrace da hate.

  • How’s this for a headline: The best team in men’s basketball is nobody.

    Actually, I think this is mostly right. This is the most wide-open season in a while, and there are no dominant teams. But you have to love the way Kentucky’s back court is rounding into form.

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