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:
*Sympathy for the Devil: In 2009, objective scribe Pat Forde compiled his list of the greatest basketball programs of all-time. Forde took issue with a previous list by “computer expert” Jeff Sagarin which listed Kentucky as the #1 program ever. On his list, surprisingly, Forde put UK at #3. Frankly, a case can be made that he has them way too high. Of course, he has UCLA #1, which — with its 11 titles — is a no-brainer, and renders moot the fact that the Bruins are just #8 in all-time wins and also nobody comes to their games. (And so what that they have just one title in the last 38 years?) At #2 is UNC, which, as Forde says, is “Kentucky without the scandals.” Since the NCAA hasn’t officially punished the Heels for anything (systemic academic fraud, improper benefits, etc.), Forde is correct. At #4 is Indiana. However, this list was made 4 years ago, and IU may have surpassed UK by now. In the last couple of years, the Hoosiers have a win over UK, and have advanced past the round of 32 twice as often as Kentucky has. At #5 is Kansas. Again, KU may have leapfrogged the Big Blue. They have been to the NCAA Tournament more often than UK has since then, and made it all the way to the title game in 2012. #6 is Duke. The Blue Devils have racked up another title since 2009, and spent a good portion of last year ranked #1, while UK was headed to the NIT. #7 is Louisville. Last year, UofL beat UK and won it all, so they may have very well catapulted themselves past the UK. #8 is Michigan State. They are good. So while UK fans lambasted Forde for ranking the Cats too low (simply because UK has the most wins ever, the highest winning percentage ever, the most NCAA Tournament appearances ever, won titles under more coaches than anybody else, etc.), the fact is that Pat Forde may have been doing Kentucky a favor. This may be because Forde is a resident of Kentucky, and frankly, he just can’t help himself. As usual, however, Kentucky fans will continue to accuse him of unfettered bias. #L1CForde
*Get Off of My Cloud: Earlier this week, the Collegiate Licensing Company listed its best selling universities. Kentucky came in 5th. This had to be a shock to UK fans, considering who finished ahead of them. #1 was Texas, who is only the 17th winningest basketball program ever, and hasn’t advanced past the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament in 5 years. #2 was Alabama, who is merely the 33rd winningest program ever, and hasn’t been past the round of 64 in 7 years. #3 on the list is Notre Dame, the 9th winningest program ever. (Like the Crimson Tide, however, they did beat UK last year.) #4 is Michigan. The Wolverines did make the NCAA title game last year, so this ranking appears to be justified. One would think that the program that bills itself as the “Greatest Tradition in the History of College Basketball” would fare better than 5th, but one would be wrong. Just like John Calipari has done in half the seasons he has coached in Lexington, Kentucky once again failed to make the Final 4.
*As Tears Go By: 2014 top 30 player James Blackmon, Jr. has decommitted from Indiana, and like 5 star Trey Lyles, another IU decommit, is said to be strongly considering UK. This does not bode well for Kentucky. If Calipari has any intention of placating the increasingly demanding UK fanbase, he must win national championships. However, plucking players from Indiana University — a school that hasn’t won it all since Miami Vice was popular — doesn’t exactly seem to be the best way to go about this. In fact, the last time IU advanced beyond the Sweet 16, Blackmon and Lyles were in kindergarten. Again, this would be a very curious decision by Calipari. I guess it’s a good thing Jordan Hulls doesn’t have any eligibility left, huh?
* On this date: On this date in 2013, John Wall has a bunch of tattoos.