The 2012-13 season is still a few months away. However, the guess here is that the Cats will not be able to improve upon last season’s performance, which saw losses to hated rival Indiana (which didn’t even make it past the Sweet 16 lol) and Vanderbilt (which is more known for its academics than athletics). To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Here In The Real World: Last week, ESPN released the results of a study which revealed that Kentucky is only the 3rd best program in the last 50 years. This is a bit shocking, of course, and left many college basketball fans asking the same question: “Why was UK ranked so high?” Consider: The #4 team on the list, Duke, beat Kentucky in 1992 and has a good chance to beat the Cats this November. The #5 team, Kansas, won a national title at the expense of UK coach John Calipari in 2008. The #6 team, Louisville, beat UK in the 1983 Elite 8 and had a chance to beat them in the Final 4 this past season. The #7 team, Indiana, beat Kentucky only last season. In fairness to the composers of the list, they did get some teams right. UCLA’s #2 ranking was justified, because they were good like 40 years ago thanks to a rich guy who bought stuff for players, and North Carolina’s #1 ranking was more than fair, in light of the fact that they have the 2nd most national championships in their state over the last 30 years. So even if the Cats were a little overvalued, it was a pretty fair list, all things considered. And at least now we know why Kentucky bills itself as “The Greatest Tradition In The History Of College Basketball” instead of “The Greatest Tradition In College Basketball Since 1962.”
*Someday: Speaking of lists and polls, CBS released another one of its wildly popular polls last week, in which anonymous college coaches placed Calipari sixth on the list of college coaches you would choose to run your program. Again, this is a shocking result. Does he really deserve to ranked so highly? No one is arguing that the coaches who finished ahead of him deserved to. #1 Tom Izzo has a won a national championship, after all. Ditto #2 Bill Self. #3 Coach K proved his coaching mettle by almost coaching his team to miraculous comeback in against Lehigh last season. #4 Rick Pitino proved his superiority to Calipari by beating him head-to-head in the Final Four. And #5 Billy Donovan showed he’s better than Cal by beating his UK team in the recent past. Now let’s take a look at the coaches who finished lower than Calipari: #6 Sean Miller finished tied with Calipari, but you can’t really judge his career yet because he’s spent most of it at mid-major school, and has only been at a BCS program for a few years. #8 Brad Stevens proved his coaching acumen by taking his mid-major school to a Final Four on two separate occasions, the difficulty of which cannot be understated. And #9 Roy Williams showed his chops by leading his UNC squad to a victory over UK in December of 2010, and then only lost by a point at Rupp Arena last year. So there you go. The poll which revealed that 6% of anonymous coaches choose John Calipari as the guy they’d most want to lead their program may have been skewed. Could those anonymous coaches have been biased?
*Wanted: Ace reporter Pete Thamel dropped yet another bombshell on Big Blue Nation last week when he penned an explosive article for Sports Illustrated which revealed that the NCAA went to the high school of top recruit Nerlens Noel earlier this month. There have been some questions surrounding the financing of unofficial visits Noel took, including one to UK. Franky, given the history between Kentucky and the NCAA, it is a little questionable why John Calipari would continue to recruit players who can’t buy their own $800 plane tickets. And the fact that an objective journalist like Thamel seems to only investigate UK and Calipari means that nobody else is violating rules like they are. Next time you recruit a high level recruit, Coach Cal, you may want to think about checking out his W-2 first, or at least demanding documentation proving how he paid for all the unofficial visits he has taken or plans on taking.
* On this date: On this date in 2002, Louisville fans eagerly anticipated the start of the football season. In fact, many of them predicted an undefeated season. In the first game, the ranked Cards would host Kentucky, who was a double-digit underdog.