It’s hard to imagine this whole John Calipari thing at Kentucky not working 6 years in. We have a national title, 3 Final Fours, and the potential for an undefeated season. But let’s not forget that Cal was still not a 100% fan favorite even 2 years into his tenure. Obviously the talent had increased ten fold in his tenure at that point, but he had suffered a highly disappointing loss in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and let’s not forget that the 2011 regular season was very difficult, with the Cats struggling to win any conference road game. Then they nearly get upset in the first round of the tournament to Princeton. At that point in his tenure, I think some fans were not sold on Calipari and this whole one and done thing. And then of course he had to play a rematch with the team that crippled him in 2010: West Virginia.
Think about if UK had lost that game in 2011 to West Virginia. Does that change anything that happened in 2012 and that national title? Most likely not. But think about what the fans opinion of Calipari would have been that entire offseason if he had lost that game. You could argue that West Virginia game might have been the most important in his tenure. If they had lost the next game to Ohio State, fans would have been OK because the Buckeyes were the #1 overall seed. But if they had lost to WVU, it would have been a tense offseason. Alas, Cal’s team pulled away late and beat the Huggins group and the rest is history. Relive that great game today as we get prepared for another great one on Thursday.