I wanted to highlight some of the reaction to the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association snub of John Calipari for the Coach of the Year award. It’s pretty impressive. We’ll start with Twitter:
Cal seriously didn't win coach of the year? Can you imagine if Duke was 36-0 right now? Be the greatest accomplishment in basketball history— Jonathan Shrewsbury (@jonshrews) March 23, 2015
How in the heck do you not vote John Calipari coach of the year? Would like to hear the logic on that.— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) March 23, 2015
John Calipari goes undefeated that's 0 ZERO LOSES..NONE..Bennett is a great coach but the Coach of The Year in this country is Calipari— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) March 23, 2015
Note: Dakich not exactly known as a Calipari fan.
It's pretty silly for any coach to win National Coach of the Year other than John Calipari.— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) March 23, 2015
The President of the USBWA that picked Bennett over Calipari...well @ESPNDanaOneil and VP is @YahooForde...and no I am not kidding. Amazing— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 23, 2015
So can we now say that anti-Calipari bias was the reason? I think we can, with at least a modicum of confidence.
Dan Wetzel also has a good column here, detailing why the USBWA is so apparently inconsistent. It’s hard to argue with it, but there are some interesting nuances not normally found in pieces like this:
Among Kentucky fans, the choice of Bennett over Calipari is seen as further proof that the media hates their coach, a concept that Calipari isn’t opposed to pumping up. It is undoubtedly possible that some media did not choose Calipari out of personal animus or suspicions over past run-ins with the NCAA enforcement process. Who knows?
That isn’t necessarily the issue here, though.
The USBWA probably won’t be the only group to name someone other than Calipari as its national coach of the year. It’s more than the sportswriters, which is why blaming it all on media bias is shortsighted. [emphasis mine]
He’s right, but notice the phrasing. This reminds me of the old joke that "Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you." Media bias certainly played a role, in my personal opinion. Whether it was the reason for the snub is certainly up for debate.
His reasoning is flawed in the last paragraph, but understandable. But I do love the equivocation.
Cats Pause editor Darrell Bird is much less generous to the USBWA:
For the longest time, it was understood that USBWA was an acronym for United States Basketball Writers Association. But after the group on Monday selected Virginia’s Tony Bennett over Kentucky’s John Calipari for national coach of the year, one would now suspect the ‘B’ stands for either ‘Buffoons’ or ‘Biased.’
Not a lot of wiggle room there. Aaron Torres writing for Fox is also aghast, and blames it on Calipari’s unconventionalism:
I know a lot of you don’t like Pitbull, but I’m going to go ahead and throw out an unpopular opinion: I love the guy. Judge me if you want, but at the same time, let me ask you a question: When was the last time you heard a Pitbull song on the radio and didn’t immediately start bopping your head, start shaking your hips a little and immediately think to yourself, "Man, I need to plan a vacation to South Beach, ASAP!"
It’s OK, it happens to all of us.
Again, you might not like Pitbull, but can you think of a single more influential artist on the planet right now? The guy sells out stadiums every damn night, collaborates with just about every musician on the planet (I half expect him to drop a new album with Frank Sinatra next week), and is basically everywhere. Crap, the guy played halftime of the Cowboys-Eagles game on Thanksgiving and hosted the Latin Grammy’s in the same week.
Well, you know how many Grammy’s he’s won? Zero.
Finally, Kevin Trahan for SB Nation:
Bennett is a fabulous coach, and he has done a very impressive job turning around the Cavaliers over the past few seasons. Also, these ballots were due before Bennett’s team ran into its postseason stumbles, so it is reasonable to have voted for him given the combination of talent and UVA’s record. But even so, Calipari has been the best coach this year. He accumulated the most talent, he’s winning with a very young team, he found a way to suppress the egos of very good players and he’s 36-0. His team has literally done something that has never been done before, yet he isn’t the coach of the year. That means he’s probably never going to win the award.
Probably right. See Torres above. I guess Coach Cal will just have to settle for an NCAA Tournament championship, if he can get it done. That wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize, eh?
Tweet of the Morning
Remember how Arkansas was the game everyone circled and all that teams fans where chirping? How'd that work out for those people?— Greg (@GregNJ) March 24, 2015
What happened in that game, again? Did we win? It seems like such a long time ago…
West Virginia not "scared" of Kentucky. Consider this from one of the players:
For months we’ve speculated on potential history unfolding—Coach Cal’s team reeling off 36 wins, 30 of them by double-digits. Even that string of blowouts, however, can be explained away partially: "They play in the (expletive) SEC," said one West Virginia player.
Nothing I enjoy more than an opponent with attitude. Keep that locker-room material coming, boys. It makes for good blogging.
Embrace the hate. No way this guy voted for Coach Cal.
Can Calipari avoid a 2010 repeat v.s Huggins? Yes. There, saved you a click.
The differences between the two teams are legion. Unless Kentucky collapses handling the ball, forgets how to defend, and refuses to do what the coach tells them, I like our chances. A lot.
Much is being made of West Virginia’s defense, but here’s an important point — Kentucky’s defense is vastly better, almost ten points per 100 possessions. Furthermore, when WVU has failed to force more than 22% turnovers, the are 0-5. That’s right, if West Virginia cannot force UK into at least 23% turnovers, history says they have a near-zero percent chance of winning.
For the record, UK has turned the ball over 23% or more of the time only 15 times all season, and only 8 times in all of 2015.
Kennedy Meeks is down with a knee sprain, and will not be available for the game with the Wisconsin Badgers. That really hurts North Carolina’s chances.
I hate injuries in the tournament. I hate them all the time, but especially in the tournament.
Something about this made me laugh — Kentucky will lose because history says so.
Ranking the Sweet Sixteen in order of contention for the title. You know who is on top, read the whole thing for the rest.
Attorney Generals of Kentucky and West Virginia to make a friendly wager on the UK-WVU game? Now what kind of example does that set?
Other Kentucky sports
- You couldn’t make this crap up. Former LSU and now Texas A&M DC John Chavis is suing the Bayou Bengals, and it’s descended into trash-talk.
The "Villanova crying piccolo girl" Roxanne Chalifoux makes an appearance on the Tonight Show, and reaps the motherlode of love. This is how these goofy Twitter memes should always end. She didn’t ask to be made part of social media’s hatefest, but she gets them all back in spades.
There is a special place in the deepest levels of Hell reserved for Twitter trolls who wreck people’s lives. I hope I get to look down on their suffering from on high.
Wait, that was mean, wasn’t it? Why yes. Yes it was. Okay, maybe I’ll be watching them from a slightly higher level of Hell. Either way… Winning!
Alabama plans to make a big run at Gregg Marshall. Good luck with that.
So the Buckeyes are out and you need a bandwagon? This is darn funny.
Other sports news
- No "smoking gun" in deflategate probe. Will we ever stop appending -gate to scandals?
Can technology change the lives of the disabled? It has been, for sure, but we could always use more.
Four technologies that could severely disrupt the future. Hey, one thing we can never change is… change!
World’s largest physics experiment about to begin. That is, if it doesn’t destroy the world. If it does, we won’t have time to know it happened.