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This one is big for Cal


Despite being asked several times to comment on what tomorrow’s game means for his legacy, Coach Cal wouldn’t say much more than he hasn’t thought about it and has instead focused on getting the team ready and doing right by his players. After the game would be the time for paying attention to all that stuff, but for now it’s just time to play a basketball game. He might not have said it, but I will: This game means a ton for Coach Cal.

This game is basically an exercise in answering some of the questions that have tagged along with Cal in his career, and it can go a long way to settling many of the myths about his coaching ability. With a win Cal’s name would be crossed off the list of coaches to never win a title, and in the same stadium where Dean Smith and Jim Boeheim also won their first championship. The long careers of those coaches were thought to be incomplete without winning it all, and if everything goes well Cal can make sure that question will no longer be asked about him after Monday night.

But it’s not just Cal’s resume that will benefit from a win. It would mean an affirmation of the way he’s gone about building Kentucky by recruiting the best players and blending them into teams who are successful despite the core being together for only a short time. His style makes people uncomfortable, but for a long time detractors could hide behind the thinking that “you just can’t win a title that way.” With a victory tomorrow night, that argument becomes null and void, as does the one where Cal can’t coach and simply “rolls the ball out” for his talented players. As if last year wasn’t enough of a demonstration of the ignorance of that notion, winning a national title would be an emphatic statement that Coach Cal is as capable a coach as there is in the game. Throw in that he has to beat Bill Self and Kansas, the source of the biggest loss of his career and one that denied him his first title four years ago, and this game is full of opportunity for Cal to make some things right.

The game tomorrow night is big for everyone involved. The players want to go down in history and the fans want to bask in the ultimate glory of a national championship. But this national title game might mean more for Cal than anyone else involved, even if he won’t tell anyone about it.

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.

27 Comments for This one is big for Cal

  1. bmt22033
    8:34 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Winning #8 tomorrow night won’t do sh*t to shut up the idiots, morons, haters, asshats and Louisville fans (woops, sorry, covered them already!) that are constantly trashing Calipari. Everyone knows that they’ll still say that same BS about how it was a fluke, it will be vacated next month, he should have won because he spent a trillion dollars buying his players, blah, blah, blah.

  2. Brian In Shelbyville
    8:35 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I hope for him, and us he gets the win. Go Cats!

  3. bmt22033
    8:36 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Oh, and let’s not forget that he’s “not an X’s and O’s coach” or that “I could coach an NBA team to win a national championship”.

  4. KnoxCatFan
    8:37 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I’m about to leave for New Orleans! Can anyone comment on the current availability of tickets down there?

  5. GoCats2
    8:39 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Cal saying he hasnt thought about it is about as honest as Pitino saying he was rooting for Kentucky to win.

  6. Mudcreekmark
    8:39 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I think it is crazy how people act like we have to win it this year to prove that you can win with one and done players. I would think going to an Elite Eight a Final Four and a Championship game in a three year stretch has already proven that Cal is able to make it work. You get us this close every year and one of these times the breaks will go our way and we will win one. If not this year, in the very near future.

  7. Richard
    8:44 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Cal wins then leaves for the Nets!

  8. it_works_people,relax
    8:53 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I actually believe Cal on this. The point is that the system works. He knows it_ it is plainly obvious to see. Right now Cal is like Tiger Woods during his heyday- “Just get in position to win coming down the back 9 and then play golf, dont worry about the outcome…if you do that often enough wins will come.”

    That is where we are now- UK is in a position to be in the Final Four every year…that is all you can hope for, then go play your best game, and dont worry about it.

    I think Cal knows the team next year could be THIS GOOD again! This talent level is not a blip, it is a trend…and honestly, I expect UK to just keep getting better as Cal slowly accumulates more depth with players like Kyle and Lamb and maybe Teague!

    I think a load of the pressure is off now that we thumped both Louisville and Indiana. Those were pressure games, this one can be just basketball. We have the better team, if you have the better team, you dont need to freak out, just play your game.

  9. UnionMike
    8:55 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    If Kentucky plays their game and everyone does their job – they WIN EASY. Kansas cannot hang with the talent UK will put on the floor !! It will be a slow beat-down!!

  10. Dana Stinson
    8:56 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    #6 MCM. You would think that tomorrow’s game would not prove anything that has not been already proven by the past three years. You are totally right on that point. The fact is that many people have to have it shoved down their throats before they will admit some facts. Even then some would rather choke on it instead of shaking their head yes in agreement.

  11. Dana Stinson
    8:59 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    #7. I didn’t know Richard Pitino was allowed under his UofL contract to comment on this site.

  12. We Are UK, We are #1 .....Act like it
    8:59 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    This game is redemption for Cal. He lost to KU once before, now he has the talent and opportunity, you know you will capture the title this time

  13. Big Blue 66
    9:08 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I think Ricky 3 stacks really does want Cal to win……….he thinks it will maybe make him think about leaving for the NBA, lol Ricky 3 stacks is Cals biotch for the rest of his career lol

  14. Justice is Done
    9:10 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    #7-Hi Richard-or may I call you “Little Dick?” Get off this board and go to your hole until I say it is ok to come out…

  15. NKY CAT
    9:10 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    7. it doesnt matter! we can get ANYONE WE WANT to coach kentucky. its the best program in the WORLD!

  16. Roland
    9:17 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    The story of the Cats run to the Championship game is unbelievable. The return match against Indiana, The Dream game of all Dream games to play those dirty birds and traitor rick for a chance at #8 is Surreal. If the Cats and Coach Cal bring the 8th home tomorrow night against Kansas, (the team that denied his 1st chance to win a title), it would be like something some one might post post b4 the season, over on that forum and others would say “Put down the crack pipe.”

  17. Carl
    9:23 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Good luck Cal tomorrow night, you’ve certainly paid your dues. Hope the young cats take care of coach and give him the win. Regardless, it’s been a great, fun season.
    GO CATS!!

  18. Richard
    9:50 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    No one is going to want to follow Cal here at UK due to his success and more than likely due to the sanctions that will happen.

  19. QuickyRicky
    10:21 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Richard, Richard,Richard please go to the basement and play nice. You guys gave UK a run last night but just know your place little brother.

  20. parapooper
    10:27 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Richards nickname = Little Dick

    10:31 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    After Cal’s first team of elite freshmen choked at the elite eight there were a lot of people who said Cal’s methods would never work. After last years class went to the final four, people started realizing maybe he knows what he’s doing. I think most of us Wild Cats have never had any doubt. He has yet to lose a home game…….that in its self is amazing.

  22. Just wondering
    10:40 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I’m tired of hearing “Cal’s way” like he’s the only one recruiting these type players.He’s just better at landing them.Cal needs this to get the monkey off his back.After tomorrow I think more will come.So enjoy I believe we are on the cusps of a dynasty.

  23. mike
    10:58 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    I agree #17, and Cal enjoy the moment also, its already been a great year, you say its for the players, well its for you also, enjoy the ride its been great. GO CATS, one more!

  24. Just wondering
    11:07 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    The only thing Cals done better then landing these players.Is the ones he’s passed over because not being team players.It no accident theirs no selfish players since he’s come to UK.

  25. calfan2
    11:30 pm April 1, 2012 Permalink

    Go Cats! Go Superman!….bring it home, #8.

  26. Me
    3:10 am April 2, 2012 Permalink

    WHEN we win #8, I think the university should offer Cal a lifetime contract

  27. MT's NutShot
    10:22 am April 2, 2012 Permalink

    It’s ALWAYS about Cal, isn’t it?