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Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky: 1-2-3 Punch

Yours truly with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  This has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the post, I just really wanted to use it.

If you’re from Kentuckiana, you’re in for a heck of a basketball season next year.  If you’re not from Kentuckiana, you didn’t even know that was a word.

College basketball is packing up its U-Haul and moving out of North Carolina.  Tobacco Road has seemed like the Mecca of NCAA hoops for about a decade, and probably rightfully so with great years coming from Coaches Rat-face and Huckleberry Hound.  Meanwhile, things in this area looked pretty dim between 2000-2009.  Louisville wasn’t living up to expectations under Rick Pitino, who they thought would wave a magic wand and recreate the success he had at Kentucky.  The Wildcats grew increasingly frustrating under Tubby Smith, who was eventually replaced with Billy Gillispie for about five minutes before we realized what a terrible idea that was.  Indiana was… well they were an absolute mess.  They were “Kentucky in the late eighties”.  Few thought that even Tom Crean would be able to fix the problems that seemed irreparable.

Then this past year happened, and all of those concerns now seem absolutely ridiculous.

Those same three teams that spent ten years in disarray and disappointment are looking to absolutely dominate college basketball next season.  Almost every (way too early) preseason ranking has the Cards, Cats, and Hoosiers ranked as the top three, or at the very least in the top five.  Dick Vitale puts U of L in his top spot, while CBS Sports says Kentucky will go wire-to-wire at number one in the offseason.  Andy Katz shows IU some love, claiming Zeller’s return will vault Tom Crean to the top of the pile.  Three different sources, all claiming that one of the teams from this region will be the number one team in the country, with the other two close behind.  UNC and Duke?  Well, safe to say they picked up whatever bad luck we’re shaking off around here.

Personally, I’m excited to have Louisville and Indiana re-emerge as great programs.  It means we might start losing those games with more regularity, but all three coaches showed some class and dignity last season, and I think it’s time we started doing the same.  Heck, even Rick Pitino said he wanted us to win it all after we advanced to the title game.

Speaking of Pitino, his team is going to be absolutely stacked next year.  Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith will leave, but probably no one else will.  With a healthy Wayne Blackshear to fill that spot, the Cards become an athletic, defensive monster that is borderline terrifying.  Their only weakness is that they have absolutely nobody to shoot to open up the lane, but they may not need it.  Expect their box scores to look like a football game, with the Cards winning around 85% of them.

On the complete other end of the spectrum, HCTC has assembled a well-oiled offensive machine that’s capable of scoring in bunches in almost any manner possible.  Add in a five-star point guard named Yogi Ferrell, and it’s going to be hard to outscore the Hoosiers next season, even if we do play them in Rupp.  That may be the game that The Streak ends.  If so, at least Cal loses it to a friend, and we get our old rivals back.  I don’t think it happens after the last regular season game, but it could.

And then there’s us.  Honestly, I think that where we stand right now, three is a little high, but many of those projections take some assumptions with the recruiting class.  At this point, we just have to admit how spoiled we really are.  We are likely to lose 97% of our scoring, and pundits STILL put us in the top three.  Why?  Because it’s inevitable that Cal will continue to dominate the recruiting trail.  But there are still so many questions about this team, that trying to prognosticate what next year will look like is really an exercise in futility, although Stuart Hammer will try to do just that later on today (Stay Tuned!).  One thing you can say about the One-and-Done rule in Cal’s system, though: it makes the offseason entertaining.  We have plenty of excitement coming up this week, with Nerlens and Shabazz announcing.  Then we get to play the waiting game until the 29th, when our current players will announce whether they will stay or go.  Most will go, but a couple might stay.  Either way we oughta have a lot of fun, right?

Even though it’s the offseason, college basketball has officially made its way home to us after spending so much time away.  From Indiana in the 70s, to Louisville in the 80s, to Kentucky in the 90s, these three teams have alternated which was going to be the top program in the country; now they have to fight to see who this decade will belong to.  My money’s on the Cats.  Either way, it’s time to put aside petty differences and really enjoy being at the heart of the sport.  Indiana, Louisville, and Kentucky have a lot to look forward to next season, and all eyes will be on us from the start.  Let’s make it worth watching.

Article written by Corey Nichols

30 Comments for Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky: 1-2-3 Punch

  1. bluecal
    9:04 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    There’s no need for derogatory names like rat face. The proper term is ferret face.

  2. Anita Hill
    9:12 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    This post is inappropriate.

  3. Me
    9:16 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    I really don’t know why everyone thinks uofl is gonna be good. Mirra and Van Trese haven’t shown anything in their careers to make me believe they will be worth anything next year. There is NO Jorts performances coming from either of those guys (pitino is their coach, after all). uofl is only bringing in one 2 or 3 star player. AND, lets not forget about the typical uofl season, academic issues, injuries (usually season ending), and team turmoil (stealing girlfriends, sharing girlfriends, pregnancies, abortions, etc). The ONLY thing I like about the talk of uofl being good is… that next year when they DON’T make the final four, their fans will view the season as a failure – and we will remind them of that daily.

    9:18 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Cal will get the recruits we need to have a run for the championship again!!! The guy is incredible … not to mention just a GREAT GUY!!!

  5. Axe Cop
    9:19 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    An abomination. IU and class? You remember the game at Assembly Hall from this past season, right? I spit on the ground every time I have to say the word “Hoosier.”

  6. Kemp's Pawn & Lube
    9:20 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    While they won’t be as highly ranked, UC and XU, just up the road make the region as solid as any for quality basketball. It’s just nice to know that all of those schools will still have to look up to see UK and our 8 banners!

  7. Chuck
    9:21 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    UL and IU suck. I’m not putting away anything. I hope those teams lose every game and go back to mediocrity. Wtf are you talking about?

  8. SteveM
    9:22 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    You make it sound like it’s a good thing if we lose to IU just to restore the rivalry. Pull it together man.

  9. UKFAN
    9:28 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    After experiencing how obnoxious the IU fans are at the sweet 16 game I have no love for them. I hope we dominate them at Rupp!

  10. barn
    9:30 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    duhvill a defensive monster? maybe. thus far they only have one recruit (pg rozier/3star) coming, that i know of. i don’t see anyone yet who is going to fill the scoring void left by c smith.

  11. Me too
    9:30 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    A) iu has no class.

    B) If anyone belived pitino that he wanted “UK to bring the Championship home to the Bluegrass” – then you are a dumbazz. THE MAN F’ING LIES!!! Would you believe he also wants us to win the next 5 NC’s? Cause we along with Cal plan on being in the Final Four all those years. How many F’ing lies has pitino said (that we’ve called him on) – now everyone belives THIS story? Dumb!

    C) I hope Shabazz doesn’t pick ucla so we don’t have to start calling him (a) ‘dumbazz.’

  12. cdc_uky
    9:35 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Wow. This post is straight silly. We do not even know who will be on our roster and you are conceding the home winning streak!

  13. Mercer
    9:49 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    This…………was an outstanding article …Nice Corey nice.

  14. Brandon Thompson
    9:49 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Who is this Corey Nichols? Get off the site!

  15. Bosshog
    9:59 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Have you become a double agent man?

  16. strange brew
    10:00 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    As a UK fan, I’m going to be honest. We have no clue on who’s coming to UK or who’s actually leaving. I can’t rank our team for next year.

    IU will be tough. They lost three players and kept the rest of their team. They also have a great recruiting class coming in. IU could have easily made the Elite 8. However, they ran into UK who easily beat them, like they did everyone else they played.

    UofL will either be a top 5 team or a complete bust. I understand why there’s so much hype. But I will have to see it before I buy into it.

  17. BlueFins
    10:02 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Corey, hasn’t UL been the exact team for a couple years now. Their problem is that they’ve had the same coach.

  18. Catfaninrockytop
    10:04 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    #7 – I couldn’t have said it any better myself…

  19. Tom Crean
    10:24 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Just goes to show that the tradition at IU (unlike any other) will bring the recruits in. My style of coaching really has a lot to do
    with it too.

  20. Recruitgenyus
    10:41 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Bring on Wiggins. The kid is awesome. Noel, I haven’t seen a lot to impress yet. Shabazz is loaded with talent but he somehow inherited Russ Smiths shooting instinct. Must shoot, must shoot, must shoot. Hopefully Cal can reign him in. Otherwise every time he touches the ball he will face triple teams since passing doesn’t seem to be an option. A little Cal magic and he will be phenomenal.

  21. Clarence Thomas
    10:52 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    “This is how much I like Obama and his policies”

  22. Clam
    11:15 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    It is going to be hard for UK fans to continue the “feel good” vibe of this article for long, when even the more mild IU fans almost immediately begin attacking Kentuckians as sister-marrying, meth-taking, cross-eyed rednecks. I know of no other fan base that so quickly gets vulgar on the ad hominem attacks as IU fans towards UK fans. I think it is because: 1) living in our shadow since the early 90s has driven them insane, 2) considering how little the state of Indiana has going for it, they feel an intense need to belittle us due to their own insecurity. If IU is an annual contender, then they will be insufferable. I am glad that I don’t have to live in the “Kentuckiana” part of the state, and thus don’t have to deal with it very often.

  23. Shhboomshhbooms
    11:46 am April 9, 2012 Permalink

    This post sucks.

  24. C-A-T-Z
    12:19 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    I’m in my mid-30’s and I think this sums up part of the reason I loved this past season, aside from how amazingly good our team was. It reminded me of the rivalries of my youth, when IU and Louisville were contenders, and the years in the 90’s where UK hoops was being restored to its former glory. The spirit of college basketball in Lexington was different, but it was different in a more regional sense too, especially with the big IU and UL match ups in the tourney. Very obvious stuff, but I had an AHA moment reading this post.

  25. bosshogg24
    12:23 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Ul and IU will not beat Uk again! They sign Quanity but not Quality!
    Neither has a top 25 Recruit, you can’t take a #86 recruit and beat a #1 recruit. WAKE UP!

  26. catdawg
    12:31 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    I just don’t get the Louisville love for next year. Exactly two months ago most were calling for Pitino’s head. At one point it looked as if they were NIT bound. They got hot at the right time and made a good run only to see it end. Just because you get hot for a couple of weeks then come back to earth does not qualify you for a top five spot in my eyes when you sucked most of this year and won’t be bringing much more to the table next year. At least this talk will get the UL faithful something to run their mouths about and keep the emotions of the game stirred up. Don’t forget the Big East will be even more the Big Least next year as well.

  27. Yroc53
    12:35 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    Next year looks to be down year in college basketball with no true dominant team to look forward to. Not a strong recruiting class with many experts saying Shabazz is the only NBA ready player of the bunch. Depending on who stays and who goes and if we land the players we want, we should have a good shot at defending our title. Then when 2013 rolls around all hell is going to break loose if we land the recruiting class KSR has been hyping us about.

  28. NBA league pass
    12:56 pm April 9, 2012 Permalink

    To be honest I’m not worried about L-ville AT ALL. We were lucky we got to play them in the final four I think.

  29. dukes_of_maggard
    1:30 am April 10, 2012 Permalink

    Perfectly executed three goggles from Clarence Thomas…

  30. redandyz
    1:55 pm April 10, 2012 Permalink

    #22 – As someone who is a diehard IU fan who works in KY I get a lot of slack. And, I must say, that it is often not “all in good fun”. To say that UK fans are courteous and better behaved somehow is a total homer attitude. Some of the nastiest fans I know are part of the BBN.