Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kentucky Wins Title...Now What?


Sometimes the best team does win the tournament after all.  As much as it pains me to say it, Kentucky was by far the best team in this tournament, and it showed again on Monday night.  Despite Kansas’ comeback attempt in the last five minutes, the final score doesn’t indicate how dominant of a performance it really was by the Wildcats.

From the opening tip, it was clear who was more prepared to play.  Bill Self spoke to his team before the game about how all the pressure was on Kentucky.  Kentucky thrived under that supposed pressure and took control early.

In order to win, Kansas would have had to slow the game down to take away Kentucky’s transition game advantage.  The Wildcats used said transition game to build a double digit lead early, and never really let go.  They smothered Kansas inside, both when the Jayhawks tried to enter the ball into the post and when the rebounds were up for grabs.  It seemed like there were at least four white shirts in the lane at all times. 

Kentucky is your
national champion

I find it hard to believe that guys like Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones would stick around.  They can both make money in the NBA right now.  Davis will most likely be the number one pick.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the most talented players in the draft class.  The only prominent Wildcat I could see sticking around for another season is Marquis Teague.  While the guard class is rather weak, he could really improve his draft stock by sticking around and learning more from Calipari.  Look at what Cal has done with point guards.  Derrick Rose and John Wall are both Calipari-produced point guards.  Teague isn’t nearly as talented as either of those guys, but with another year of school he could take a step in the right direction.


As for Calipari, whether or not his last two Final Four appearances get vacated isn’t up to me.  Who knows, maybe they will.  Then we can laugh at Kentucky all day long.  Part of me thinks he isn’t dumb enough to get caught at a place like Kentucky, where they expect nothing but championships and he’s already under the NCAA’s microscope.  Part of me also thinks that he’ll never be clean, he’s just getting better at distancing himself from the dirt.

There have been rumors about Calipari being a candidate for the Knicks job next season.  He’s tried the NBA once, with no success, but he’s older, wiser, and probably a better coach now.  There’s no doubt he can coach elite talent and get them to play together, so maybe now is the right time to bolt to the NBA.  He’s got nothing left to accomplish at the college level, though he did tell ESPN’s Andy Katz that he’d like to go after an undefeated season. 

Personally, I don’t think an undefeated season is possible for anyone.  First of all, this was Calipari’s best team ever, so he’s unlikely to get talent like that again.  Secondly, the talent level is rising in college basketball, and they play a good non-conference schedule.  They can most likely go through the SEC undefeated again, but an undefeated season is too much, in my opinion.

The best team won, but I can’t wait for next March so they can be dethroned.

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