The 2013-14 season is here, and Kentucky will spend the entirety of it trying to atone for the disaster was the 2012-13 season. John Calipari’s team is trying to do something that no team in the history of college basketball has ever done: Win a national championship relying primarily on 6 freshmen who were McDonald’s All Americans. With disappointing losses to Michigan State, Baylor (lol) and North Carolina, the team will fail to reach its ultimate goal of perfect season, and will instead try to console itself with a national title. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Home For The Holidays: If anything has been made clear so far this season, it’s that John Calipari could learn a thing or two from Rick Pitino. Specifically, he could learn to schedule better. To date, Louisville has played one team ranked in the top 83 of KenPom.com, going 0-1. UK, on the other hand, has played 5 such teams, going 2-3 in those games. The result? Kentucky is on the verge of dropping out of the top 25, while Louisville is sitting pretty at #6 in the country. And while there are some UK fans who would argue that playing a tougher non-conference schedule gets a team ready for league play, the Cards are in the American Athletic Conference, for which they could prepare by playing in the 10th Region of the KHSAA. Advantage, Pitino.
*Do You Hear What I Hear: During the first half of Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina last Saturday, UK fans alleged that the difference in the game was officiating. They were right. By committing 15 fouls in the first half, UK sent the Tar Heels to the line 22 times. However, UNC missed 10 of those free throws. Had UK not committed those fouls, and had UNC converted three pointers on each of those possessions, then Carolina’s lead at halftime is a staggering 57 points, rather than just 3. Also, by calling at least 2 fouls on almost every UK player of significance, the refs allowed these players to rest up for the 2nd half. Bottom line, had the refs not so blatantly favored Kentucky in the 1st half, things could have gotten ugly.
*Blue Christmas: In 2009, John Calipari replaced Billy Gillispie as UK’s head coach. This does not bode well for Kentucky. Since then, Kentucky has a record of 102-14 with players recruited by Gillispie on the roster. However, the Cats have struggled to a 29-15 record without any such players on the roster. Yes, you read that right. UK has lost more games in the past 44 contests than they lost in the preceding 116. Did Kentucky move too quickly in ditching Gillispie? At least UK fan thinks so. “He got a raw deal if y’ask me,” said Bubba “Cooter” McJohnson, owner and proprietor of “Cooter’s Live Bait & Saloon.” Says McJohnson: “I knowed Billy good. I seen him ever’ day. Mattera fact, he use’ta sleep here in the bar, right ov’air in the corner. Or right on the bar. He used a coaster as a pilla.” McJohnson is convinced that UK pulled the trigger too hastily. “Alls he needed was a little more time, and he’d’a won a national championship. Lotta folks don’t know this, but it was his players what won ‘at thing couple years back.” He’s right. In the national semifinal game vs. Louisville that year, Gillispie recruit Darius Miller scored 13 points. The winning margin was 8. In other words, without Billy Gillispie the Cats lose to Louisville that night. This is no surprise to Cooter. “He was just a good ole boy who lived off of Dr. Pepper ‘n crackers. And Dickel. Cain’t forget the Dickel. Lord knows Billy never did. Anyhow, I been so upset since he got farred that I ain’t been able to turn a profit since.”
* On this date: On this date in 2008, Kentucky was 8-3, just like this year. They lost at North Carolina that year too, just like this year. In other words, get ready for another trip to the NIT, BBN.