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), North Carolina and Arkansas (again), 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:
*Don’t Cry: After Kentucky edged Tennessee on Saturday, UT big man Jarnell Stokes said what most people around the county were probably thinking during the game: Tennessee is better than Kentucky. Sure, UK won the game, but there were a few statistical anomalies that occurred, without which the Cats lose. The most obvious is that UK hit 23 of 24 foul shots. If they hit their normal percentage of 66%, that would have reduced the lead to 1 point. And had they hit their normal percentage on three point shots (30%) instead of 7 of 16, that gives the Cats a 5 point deficit. And had Andrew Harrison scored his average of 14, rather than his career high of 26, that increases UK’s deficit to 17. On top of that, the Vols missed 7 free throws, which college basketball players shouldn’t do. They are “free,” after all. This makes the UT lead 24. Lastly, Tennessee only made 2 of 13 three point shots. While they can’t be expected to hit all of them, it is reasonable to assume they should make no worse than 10 of 13. They do that, boom, they’re up 48. So that’s what the final score should have been, really. 97-49, Tennessee. This was probably Jarnell’s line of thinking as well.
*Yesterdays: When Texas A&M visited Rupp Arena earlier this week, the dominant story line was Elston Turner’s 40 point game last year. It’s all anyone was talking about, frankly. Though the UK players did not seem to inclined to discuss it (Dakari Johnson claimed he had never heard of Turner), this was no doubt at the behest of John Calipari. This seems a little hypocritical, frankly. UK likes to call itself “The Greatest Tradition in the History of College Basketball,” yet the current players seem to have no respect for the great players who have graced Rupp Arena in the past, such as David Robinson (who scored 45 against UK in 1987), Shaquille O’Neal (who snared 21 rebounds against UK in 1990), Corey Allmond (who hit 11 threes against UK in 2009), etc. They also don’t appreciate the great teams they’ve seen and read about over the years, such as the 1909-10 Central University team (who beat UK by 70), the 1989-90 Kansas group (who beat UK by 55), and the 1924-25 Wabash squad (who beat UK by 47). Likewise, they don’t have any appreciation for the great games they’ve seen over the years, like when UK blew a 16 point halftime lead to lose to Mississippi State in 2002, or Christian Laettner’s epic performance in the Spectrum in 1992. With so much history, you’d think the present Wildcat team would be eager to embrace it, but when I quizzed the current players about the events described above, they looked at me like I was crazy.
*Patience: 166 games into his career at UK, Adolph Rupp had a record of 136-30. 166 games into his career at UK, John Calipari has a record of 136-30. This does not bode well for Kentucky. If the similarities between Rupp and Calipari are to continue, and there’s no indication they won’t, the Kentucky fanbase has an incredibly long title drought to look forward to. In his last 14 years at UK, Adolph Rupp failed to win a national championship. Not even Billy Gillispie can say he went 14 years at UK without winning a title. It’s easy to say that the careers of Rupp and Calipari have little in common, but that simply isn’t true. Consider: Adolph Rupp was a white male. John Calipari is a white male. Adolph Rupp was married. John Calipari is married. Adolph Rupp had children. John Calipari has children. It’s almost eerie, to be honest. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that Rupp coached at UK for 42 years. When Calipari matches Rupp in that regard, he’ll be 91 years old. I’m not sure how he’s supposed to keep up his intensity level at 91 years old, but we’ll find out soon enough.
* On this date: On this date in 1996, 2nd ranked Kentucky beat Georgia, 82-77. Though UK would go on to win the title that year, Georgia would have the last laugh when it beat Kentucky on Senior Night in 2009.