Kentucky falls in NIT first round

March Madness is starting great!

It is no secret that I have no love lost for Duke University, but beyond that my mom taught me most teams that play basketball wearing dark blue uniforms are evil.  The top of that list: Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas.  If you need some idea of how this works, I recommend To Hate Like this is to Love Forever,

I was insanely happy to open MSNBC’s sports section and read,  Top-seeded Kentucky upset by Robert Morris, out of the NIT.  Perhaps there was even a giggle when I rushed to post this on Facebook.  I was taught, in church, to love others and do good- until basketball season when I cheer like crazy for missed foul shots (that should not be missed even if I am cheering against you), find pleasure in theatrical blocked shots,  and love to see the underdog embarrass the champion.  This is the second time ever that a NCAA National Champion missed the tournament the year after they won it.  Yes, the first was Carolina in 2010 after they were 2009 National Champs.  We took a deep breath and got through it.  Kentucky will too, but  it feels great today!

Last month, Calipari said this Wildcat team was the hardest he has ever had to coach and some players were even “uncoachable.”  That is a harsh assessment from an experienced basketball coach.  There is the argument of youth from this team.  Of course, last year’s team started a freshman (Davis), two sophomores (Jones and Lamb), so does experience come with age or time on the floor (and talent)?  I think this uncoachable outburst is a reflection of the one and done mentality that Calipari seems to be recruiting to UK.  Of course you get flashed of brilliance that win you the tournament, but you also get players that know they are good and would be going for the NBA if there was not the “one year out of high school and at least 19” rule.  I think that is more a reflection of the NBA and how college often gets used as their farm teams (in another post I may explore the difference with baseball’s system).  I can’t blame the young men for seeing their Freshman Year in college as just a stumpling block….a better question might be to ask how to change the system that works better for the institutions (NBA, ESPN, conferences, and colleges) than the individual players within them.  UK has three first year player that will probably go in the NBA first round (Noel, Poythress, and Goodwin) and they have a good recruiting class lining up, but some of these ideas are work exploring because I would rather see teams grow and learn.  I would like players to stay for four years , earn a degree, and perfect mature college basketball.

That being said, Kentucky is out for the season.  One dark blue team down and more to come!