The 2012-13 season in underway, and just like in 1989 and 2009, the Kentucky Wildcats will struggle to make the NCAA Tournament. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Touch The Sky: Heading into tomorrow’s Kentucky/Louisville clash, it is clear that one coach has all the pressure squarely on his Armani-clad shoulders: John Calipari. Anybody who follows this rivalry knows that Cal absolutelyhas to win this game. What does it say about him and the UK program if they can’t beat a team that hasn’t won a Final Four game in over a quarter century? Moreover, if Louisville were that good, would they have lost 4 in a row to the Cats? Also, which of these two teams is the national champion, and which one lost in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament to Morehead State? And to top it all off, Louisville is heavily favored, ranked 4th, playing at home, has all the experience, and after losing 4 straight to the Cats, have absolutely no excuse not to win. In other words, the Cards are bound to be overconfident. Quite simply, any objective observer who handicaps this matchup will ask the same question: If John Calipari doesn’t beat Rick Pitino and Louisville this year, will he ever?
*All Falls Down: Ever since John Calipari got the Kentucky job, the program has been trending sharply in one direction: Downward. In 2010, the Cats were ranked all season, swept Vanderbilt, and beat Indiana. In 2011, though they were ranked all season and beat Indiana, they did not sweep Vanderbilt. In 2012, they were again ranked all season, but they lost Indiana and failed to sweep Vanderbilt. And this season, they are unranked, have not swept Vanderbilt, and have not defeated Indiana. If one looks at the big picture, it is obvious that things in Big Blue Nation just keep getting worse and worse. To add insult to injury, a poll was recently taken of Kentucky residents* which posed the following question: “Does Kentucky suck like really bad?” 100% of respondents agreed that yes, Kentucky sucks “like really bad.”
* Two 14 year old Louisville fans.
*Power: According to nbadraft.net, Kentucky has 4 of the top 16 picks of the 2013 NBA Draft on its roster. This does not bode well for Kentucky. As teams like Louisville and Indiana have shown, in order to be highly ranked this season, a team must have a roster full of upperclassmen who are good college players, but not high level NBA prospects. How is John Calipari planning on building a roster which will find itself at the top of the polls in 2012-13 with a bunch of players who will go on to be lottery picks? If only his recruits had a fatal flaw, like UofL guard Peyton Siva (can’t shoot) or IU small forward Christian Watford (not good enough), then maybe the Cats would be garnering top 5 votes. Instead, they’re unranked, proving once and for all that fielding a team full of lottery picks is no way to win a championship. And the future doesn’t look any brighter. The 2014 NBA Draft lottery is also full of future UK players, and Calipari may even add more! The poor get poorer.
* On this date: On this date in 1986, Louisville was fresh off its last national championship. None of the parents of current UofL players even knew each other at that point.