The Downfall of Kentucky’s Big Blue

Selection Sunday for the NCAA Final Four Tournament in Atlanta was a couple of days ago and there were a number of discussion-worthy things that came out of it. However, despite their being many of these, one headline dominated the rest.

I, of course, am talking about the horrendous showing of team effort that was this year’s squad from the Kentucky Wildcats. Once again, they are the KENTUCKY WILDCATS. Yes, the Big Blue. The defending 2012 NCAA National Champions who won’t even get a chance to defend that title because they weren’t selected to the Final Four tournament this year. And with an overall season record of 21-11 and a downright abysmal performance in conference play (12-6 in the SEC), I think that they COMPLETELY deserve to not to be selected to participate. In fact, they remind me of the North Carolina Tar Heels when they won the tournament four years ago and then proceeded to fall apart in Chapel Hill the next year getting relegated to the NIT, in which they ended up losing to, of all schools, the University of Dayton.

Their excuse: their star Nerlens Noel tore his ACL on February 12th and destroyed the Wildcats’ hopes for the rest of the year. Is that legit? Let’s squash this idea right now, because the answer is NO! It’s ridiculous to think that because your starting center is out for the year that the rest of the team can’t come together and build a winning strategy despite the loss. Besides, Noel’s a FRESHMAN with NO prior experience in the college basketball world. John Calipari, Kentucky’s head coach, is the point man as cause for this debacle and he can’t simply blame the injured player for how poorly his team has performed this year.

After all, think about last year’s Wildcats squad. It’s not like Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were the only key players on the team. Yes, they were vital to the team’s success and yes, both Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist were selected with the first two picks, respectively, in last year’s NBA Draft. However, there were still 10 other guys on that team who helped them out. So yes, while two NBA-caliber players left Kentucky last year, it’s not like the Wildcats haven’t been through challenges before. Remember the year when John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton all made the jump to the NBA… IN THE SAME YEAR! It was basically their entire starting lineup and their sixth man who left. And it wasn’t like the next year’s squad didn’t have a plan to account for the loss and find a way to stay at the top of the league the next year. They were right back in the mix of things and, while they certainly weren’t as good as the previous year’s team, they were still good enough to get into the Final Four.

This all just leaves me with one question: What happened? Obviously something drastic happened with at least some part of that coaching staff because they went from the best team in the country to out of the National Tournament within the span of a year. That, my friends, is utterly pathetic.

***UPDATE***

I just saw that, of all teams, ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY beat Kentucky in the first round of the NIT tournament. At this point, I don’t know whether to throw up my hands in disgust or just try to ignore this despicable showing of so-called talent the University of Kentucky is trying to market as “good college basketball” because it’s not. I fully expect that between now and the beginning of next year’s college basketball season that John Calipari will either get fired or resign in order to save face and avoid getting fired.

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