The 2012-13 season is mercifully over, and despite having the #1 ranked recruiting class in the country, Kentucky failed to make the NCAA Tournament, and were unceremoniously dispatched in the First Round of the NIT by Robert Morris. Hard to see things being any different in 2013-14. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Crumblin’ Down: A couple of weeks ago, after a season that ended with a loss in the Round of 32, Minnesota fired Tubby Smith. In 2007, after a season that ended with a loss in the Round of 32, Kentucky did not fire Tubby Smith. What does this mean? Obviously, that Minnesota takes basketball a lot more seriously than Kentucky does. At Kentucky, Tubby set school records for Final Four droughts, most consecutive 10+ loss seasons, etc. At Minnesota, he set no such school records. Yet UK let him hang around, and Minnesota gave him the ax. Need any more proof that the Gophers have surpassed the Cats in the world of college basketball? Well, guess which one made the NCAA Tournament this year.
*Your Life is Now: On Monday, Archie Goodwin announced his intention to turn pro. This could very well be a fatal blow to Kentucky’s chances to end its “missing the NCAA Tournament” streak. Goodwin was the Cats’ leading scorer this year, and actually played pretty well in the game against Louisville. With his departure, this means that no returning UK player has any experience playing in the NCAA Tournament (except Kyle Wiltjer, Jarrod Polson and Brian Long, who won a national championship). And while it is true that Kentucky currently has what some are calling “the greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball,” there are no guarantees in life. For example, all of those players could decide to quit playing basketball altogether between now and next October. Or they could go to Europe. You just never know.
*Check It Out: In the past week, UK players Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein announced that they would be returning to school for their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively. This does not bode well for Kentucky. The Cats, of course, had a historically disappointing season in 2013, missing the NCAA Tournament and getting crushed in the NIT by Robert Morris. Does next year’s team really want the residue of that team to infect it next season? Sure, Wiltjer will be allowed to resume his 2012 role as a deadly spot up shooter, and yes, WCS may very well be the best center in the country next year, and is a sure-fire lottery pick, and OK, the 2014 Cats may end up with one of the most talented rosters in the history of the game, but still. Robert Morris?
* On this date: On this date in 2013, Louisville is about to win a national championship. Looks like the Mayans were off by a year.