April 28, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports) By: Michael Gardner
Sleepless in Kentucky
“Cause ain’t no rest for the weary when it comes to my team
We only sleep on December the 32nd”
-Phonte – “Not Enough
Like most of us who enjoy & love college basketball, during the latter part of the 2014 season I was captivated by the notion of an undefeated national champion. My parents hadn’t even met yet in 1976 when the Indiana Hoosiers (the hell is a Hoosier anyway?) went 32-0 to claim their third national title. When the 90-91 UNLV came close I wasn’t old enough really to grasp the significance of a perfect season. I actually thought Wichita State was legit when they finished the 2014 regular season undefeated, but I never believed they had any shot at running the table in March. So when the Kentucky Wildcats, with a roster full of NBA talent including a pair of starting 7’ footers, finished the regular season unblemished and ran through the SEC tournament with ease, I was all-in on the 40-0 wagon.
When I looked at the Brackets on Selection Sunday I was excited. I was even more excited by the thought of a UK-Duke matchup in the title game. But as the old saying goes, all good things come to an end. Kentucky ran into a Wisconsin Badger team hungry to avenge their stinging Final Four Loss a year ago. The Wildcats finished 38-1, 2 wins shy of 40-0 perfection.
Before the dust could even settle on their season ending loss, John Calipari announced just days after their defeat he’d lose 6 or 7 of his players to the NBA Draft in June. This is now the norm for Kentucky basketball: Recruit awesome basketball players, assemble awesome basketball team, chase national title, lose awesome players to NBA (Rinse & repeat). This constant turnover makes for a very unique fan experience, for those the follow the Wildcats.
Since Cal’s arrival in Lexington, he has somehow put together no less the top 1st or 2nd ranked recruiting class in the country. How does he do it? Well, to be fair, he has arguably THE best job in all of basketball. I’m lumping the NBA into this debated. I mean do you want to be the Knick’s coach right now? Name the starting five of the Los Angeles Lakers this past season. OKC just fired its coach because they didn’t win it all with Kevin Durant and Russ Westbrook. That last sentence is there to suggest that at least in Kentucky, Calipari has built-in safety net. That safety net of course being the 2012 national; championship banner that hangs from the rafters in Rupp Arena.
All that being said, Cal with all of Kentucky’s history, its vast resources, its awesome fan-base, still has to scramble to convince 18 year olds that they should commit (for at least a year or two) to Kentucky. What this really means is that John Calipari probably never sleeps.
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