Happy Easter to everyone. I know you are all upset about the results last night, and I’ll have a lot more to say about that going forward. Right now, about all I am capable of is providing you some reading material and a place to make observations.
One bit of good news: Coach Cal has apparently been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Bo Ryan did not receive enough votes for election. Irony, thy bitter sting is breathtaking.
Tweet of the Morning
Kentucky-Wisconsin delivered the highest TV rating for a Final Four game in 22 years.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) April 5, 2015
Eric Crawford talks about the events of last night. Not only did the game end in a loss, but students rioted and Andrew Harrison made an intemperate comment sotto voce that got caught on a live microphone. He’s since apologized for the comment.
Overall, it’s a balanced take. The judgment of history on this team does not concern me. Winning the NCAA Tournament is the only thing that ultimately matters. When you lose, it’s irrelevant how much talent you had or who beat you. If UK had won this game and gone on to lose Monday, it would be absolutely no different.
Nicole Auerbach’s column for USA Today:
"They’re devastated," associate head coach Kenny Payne said. "I think it’s a little bit of shock. I don’t think they ever thought for one second they would lose. I think they’re sad. They wish they could have gotten it back, played the game over again. But it’s life."
Exactly right. This is how life is, and it’s never too young to learn how brutal athletics can be. We often talk about the money and fame, but when you lose the big one, none of that matters.
Kentucky’s dream ends, but we’ll never forget this team:
The 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats gave college basketball one of its best stories in years. They captivated and rallied the country, enticing millions upon millions to tune in Saturday night and see if they could win just one more game, their 39th game, to play in the sport’s final game on Monday night.
But they couldn’t, so they won’t. We’re all robbed of something historic with Kentucky and Duke, but Wisconsin-Duke is an incredible consolation prize.
Big losses never fail to generate an unfortunate response in Lexington, it seems.
After the sting has worn off, no doubt Kentucky will appreciate the accomplishments of what was a wondrous season. Kentucky finished the regular season undefeated. It won the SEC Tournament. It was the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. It won 38 straight games.
It built its place in UK basketball history not just with the victories but with a sacrifice and team effort that belied a team made up of multiple McDonald’s All-Americans.
This is right. It’s going to hurt for a while, but life does go on for everyone.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell on the game:
For most of the season, Kentucky’s top-rated defense looked impenetrable. Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein gave Kentucky a starting front court that really was bigger than every NBA team, and probably more athletic, too. No one had been able to consistently score one-on-one against Towns and Cauley-Stein all season long, but somehow Frank Kaminsky found a way in Indianapolis.
Indeed they did.
Tyler Ulis boils it down to it’s essence:
"They played good, but at the end of the game it was basically on us," UK point guard Tyler Ulis said. "We were up four late and all we had to do was execute, get a couple rebounds, and we didn’t do it. So that’s why they won."
This is pretty much right. Kentucky had every chance to win this game, and they could not get it done. Instead, Wisconsin closed the deal.
Other Kentucky sports
The Large Hadron Collider is … colliding.
For 50 years, the US has had a nuclear reactor operating in space. It’s expected to remain in space for another 3000 years.