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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: John Calipari’s 6 Years or Coach K’s 6 Years?

(Image via Andy Lyons/ Getty Images)

(Image via Andy Lyons/ Getty Images)

You know, it is sometimes a given that the last 6 years of UK basketball have been the best 6 years any college basketball program has had.  At least to us.  Calipari’s 4 Final Fours in the last 5 years has only been accomplished by Wooden and Coach K.  His 190 wins are the most for any coach in the country since 2009-10.  He has a championship.  He has 93 NBA draft picks at last count.  He’s done it all after taking a program in shambles and continually has to restock his roster.  And he’s made Kentucky the cool program to kids and the most hated program in the country to everybody else.  But they don’t hate you unless you’re good.  Ask Duke.

But I wonder if you would trade Coach Cal’s last 6 years with Coach K.  A quick look at the resumes:

2010: 35-3 (Elite 8)
2011: 29-9 (Final Four)
2012: 38-2 (Champions)
2013: 21-12 (NIT)
2014: 29-11 (Runner-up)
2015: 38-1 (Final Four)
TOTAL: 190-38 (4 Final Fours, 1 Championship, 1 Missed Tournament)
*3 SEC Championships
*3 SEC Tournament Championships

Coach K
2010: 35-5 (Champions)
2011: 32-5 (Sweet 16)
2012: 27-7 (1st Round)
2013: 30-6 (Elite 8)
2014: 26-9 (1st Round)
2015: 35-4 (Champions)
TOTAL: 185-36 (2 Final Fours, 2 Championships, 0 Missed Tournaments)
*1 ACC Championship
*2 ACC Tournament Championships

Now, let’s be clear: I am not asking if you would rather have Coach K as our coach and not Calipari.  I am simply asking would you trade the results of the last 6 years with Duke.  And the question is pretty simple: Would you trade less overall success for 1 additional title.  Would you take 2 highly embarrassing losses for 2 titles.  Would you trade 4 Final Fours and 1 title for 2 Final Fours and 2 titles?  I think it’s a very difficult choice.  I strongly doubt that Duke fans have enjoyed the last 6 years as much as we have.  But they also have double the ultimate prize.

I tend to lean towards keeping Calipari’s 6 years for the simple fact how fun it has been (sans 2013).  Yes, there have been some crippling losses but I would still take losses in the Final Four over losses in the 1st round.  Duke has definitely taken better advantage of their opportunities than UK has, but there should be more to being a fan that TITLE OR BUST.  And hey, we can all agree we would never take Tom Crean’s 6 years.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

33 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: John Calipari’s 6 Years or Coach K’s 6 Years?

  1. Adam From Awesome Trot
    9:01 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    The goal is to win the title, I’ll take Coach K’s

    • syrin23
      10:57 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Same here. Cal can’t get it done. He has to have overwhelming talent that builds an insurmountable lead where his TERRIBLE end game coaching doesn’t become a factor. His end game coaching has cost him titles at UMass, Memphis and now UK. Give me someone who understands you have to play for 40 minutes, not just 35, and isn’t just a flashy recruiter whose main achievement is putting guys in the NBA while not winning titles with those guys. Brad Stevens accomplished more with far less than Cal. Same with Coach K

    • J-Dub421
      12:04 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      If you think that Calipari’s coaching cost UMass the title in 1996 then you’re crazy. Our ’96 team was amazing and sent 9 guys to the pros. Poor free-throw shooting cost Memphis the title in 2008. Coaches coach, but players have to execute during the game. There is no coach that I would want at Kentucky over Coach Cal right now. Duke lost in the first round TWICE as a #2 seed to vastly inferior #15 seeds. That is unacceptable.

    • abobicesaevior
      2:21 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      @syrin23 – Your basketball cred just took a major hit.

    • syrin23
      2:24 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      He sad on leads in both the UMass and Memphis losses, something that is even more baffling when you factor in that both of those teams were terrible FT shooting teams which makes it easier for the other team to catch up. Even in his only national championship, he sat on the lead despite his players asking him not to as documented right here at KSR. If the game matters, he shuts it down at the end if he has a slim lead, a recipe for failure. I would trade two upset years for more national titles. Would I like the upsets? of course not, but the titles are what people remember. How many NBA players will we have put in the NBA under Cal? I think if coach K had the same amount of talent going through Duke as Cal has had going through UK, he would have 2-3 more titles.

    • J-Dub421
      4:06 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Except that Coach K has had a similar amount of talent and with less turnover than Coach Cal has had, they just don’t do as well in the NBA or get drafted as high on the whole and they guys from UK. Duke, UNC, and Kansas are the only schools that consistently recruit a similar amount/level of talent as UK does. We have more turnover than all three and still maintain our level of excellence.

      Also, unless you’re in the team huddles on court, you have no idea what Coach Cal tells his players and are simply speculating as to his coaching.

  2. CatsfaninFL
    9:07 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    I think they’re comparable, but would probably take the 2 titles as well. But as much as I love Cal (a lot) he’s still not K…and to that extent, no one is. He will go down as either the best coach of all time(imo) or 2nd best all time. It just stings knowing his 2 in that span were years we were the better team…again, in my opinion… but the tourny is a fickle beast…

  3. J-Dub421
    9:13 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    I’ll stick with Coach Cal. This has been a pretty fun 6 years, and I like consistently being in the title hunt.

    • syrin23
      2:25 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Do you like consistently under achieving? How many titles would Coach K have had if he had the same rosters Cal had?

    • J-Dub421
      4:07 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      I don’t know, I’m not omnipotent. I do know that he had the same chances to recruit the same rosters and didn’t get it done.

  4. Mc12
    9:15 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    I was going to say Coach K because of the two titles, but when I started thinking about it, I realized that means I’d have to watch 6 years of flopping around pathetically which to me is an embarrassment to the game. I’d also question how my coach is able to make a comment about officiating and magically start getting every call…all of the time. That part is not such a bad thing, but interesting how it works.

    So I’d take Cal’s run.

    • babydangy
      9:32 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

      He didn’t say change coaches he said take their runs. Which means we would keep the same personnel just switch the records.

    • Mc12
      10:26 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Simply looking at the past 6 year run’s: Duke. I’d prefer Kentucky to have 2 titles.

      With every other variable outside of simply looking at 6 year’s of results on paper, I’d prefer our run.

  5. Catsby80
    9:29 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    those 2 first round exits by duke are still better than our NIT first round exit to Bobby Morris… That is the one dark spot on Cal’s resume here… I, too, love Cal and wouldn’t trade him for the world; however, I would take K’s resume over the last 6 years over Cal’s. I’d rather make the tournament and lose, than to not make the tournament at all…

    • WeareBBN
      11:29 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Yep…the nit loss to bob is far worse than losing 2 first round ncaa tourney games. Yes we can say we got more Final 4’s but the title is the goal. I would rather have K’s run.

  6. The Water Boy
    9:33 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    2 titles > 1 title. Coach K wins.

  7. Kyreds
    9:36 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    I take the championship over everything as far as basketball is concerned. COACH K ! Wasn’t a good season if you don’t finish with the title! Coach K did!

  8. RealCatsFan
    9:39 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Have to agree that 2 titles > 1 title, but it still chafes me that Duke always seems to get that easy path to the title game. 2010 pretty much fell in their lap, and while they had to play against an excellent Wisconsin team for this year’s title, they had a cakewalk to the title game, while Wisconsin had to play several tough games against much better competition to get there. Then to see all the ridiculous calls go K’s way after he whined to the refs just give me heartburn. Someday both Cal and K will retire from college BB, and when that happens UK will continue to challenge for championships, while the jury will be out for Duke. What titles have they won under any other coach?

    • Catsby80
      9:47 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

      hard to predict the future…. K has created quite a dynasty there and has made that quite the destination job. I’m sure they will get an adequate replacement just like we will for Cal.

  9. RealCatsFan
    9:42 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Those of you who say the season wasn’t a good season without a championship are the ones who give us the reputation as a spoiled fan base. Not trying to say that in a bad way because everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I still think we had a great season even if the ending was a disappointment.

    • WeareBBN
      11:31 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Was a great season but also diminished by the SEC and not winning the title. Facts are that is the only goal every year. No way we are undefeated in ACC, Big 12 and probably Big 10. If we were in ACC we would have had 3 to 6 losses…..BUT….may have been better prepared and won it all.

  10. Go Deep
    9:45 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    As much as I would rather have two titles vs one, there is no way that their results have been more fun and exciting than our results. Except one year, and that was due to injury, we have had either the best team or the most over performing, Knight/Jorts. Coach K is the best ever but I would not have cheered as loud or shed a few tears for any of those Duke teams.

  11. ukcamel
    9:46 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Titles are huge so I’d probably go with K. It sucks that we’ve been the best team three times, and two more times just needed to beat UConn, and only came away with 1 title. You aren’t going to win them all, but we really should have at least 2 just based on percentages.

    Still couldn’t be happier with this run!

  12. VirginiaCat
    9:58 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    For the six year period, Duke is batting 100% in Final Fours to our 25%. The choice is easy – Duke. Incidently, Cal’s all-time Final Four success rate is 16%.

  13. rdhack
    10:15 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Well K definitely is more well loved by the media and the officiating crews. No doubt about that.

  14. reedwizard
    10:19 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Coach K’s … two titles. You guys are complete homers to make an argument against two titles. Love Cal, but he has shown that his system works great until the Final Four. The team has squandered their chance at titles in his six years, and this is the only knock I have with Cal, can’t finish the big one without the dominating player in the game. If we had Okafor this year, I think we would have one the title.

  15. keiths
    10:24 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    LOL. Krewsgesdski is probably the greatest coach in ANY SPORT during this era

    • Mc12
      10:28 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

      I’d say Popovich, but hard to argue. I don’t think the Spurs get the same treatment that Duke gets.

  16. crazzedcats22
    10:33 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Pretty easy math, 2>1….I’d take Duke’s last 6 years all day

  17. The Goose Is Loose
    10:40 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    I love Cal but I’ll take 2 titles any day over 1.

  18. VirginiaCat
    11:56 am April 24, 2015 Permalink

    I believe that if Coach K had our players during the six year period, he would have won it this year, last year, and the year we lost to UCONN in the semi-final.

  19. catdaddyd
    1:07 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

    Coach K is like Tom Seaver, the old Reds pitcher. If he gets out of the first inning he’s hard to beat. Seems like K looses early or does great.

  20. shundaroni
    2:12 pm April 24, 2015 Permalink

    It’s a tougher question than I thought when I first considered it.

    At first glance, the answer seems obvious: you take Coach K’s six years because, ultimately, you end up with two titles instead of one.

    But, then you look at the years Duke has won them, and in both years they weren’t exactly convincing champs, but more along the lines of the UConn champs of the past — just found themselves in the right place and benefited from other teams knocking off the top contenders. The banners would be nice, but the circumstances might take away from the sense of accomplishment. Plus the two losses to nobodies in the tournament make the K run feel more like luck than anything So then Cal’s six don’t look so bad.

    BUT, then you realize that while Duke had two bad tournament losses, they never missed the tournament and most certainly didn’t get knocked out in the first round of the NIT by Robert Morris. So maybe K really is the pick.

    BUT, with the exception of one year, UK has always been in the title mix. Duke hasn’t. If it really does boil down to good fortune shining on the champion, UK consistently puts itself in the best position possible for Lady Luck to lend a hand. Absent the the NIT year, UK hasn’t lost before the Elite 8. Even if we take out one of Duke’s first-round losses, they still have another and a Sweet 16 loss. So maybe Cal.

    I don’t really know. I would probably take the Cal run if only because it has definitely been more entertaining. It’s kind of like the Bad News Bears. Sure, Buttermaker didn’t lead his team to a title against those rich, uptight Yankee bastards. But the Bears were a helluva lot more fun to watch and, much like the blonde Bear mouthpiece, Tanner, with Cal at the helm, we’ll all look forward to next year.