Hats Off to the Champion Kentucky Wildcats

This is that moment that comes with every Kentucky championship team when we scribes need to give ‘em a nickname that sticks.

Here’s the one I’m tossing in the ring: The Inevitables.

UK beat the eventual national runner up Kansas Jayhawks on a neutral court the second game of the season. We shoulda known it was a done deal that day.

It became a no brainer the moment Anthony Davis blocked that last second jumper by Carolina’s John Henson to secure that December W over the Tar Heels.

The Wildcats were the nation’s best team from start to finish. While we love underdogs, there’s something to be acknowledged and respected when the best team takes care of biz. Especially when the team is so young and plays with such poise and maturity.

* * * * *

I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a player control, nay dominate, a game in the manner that Anthony Davis does.

He was inarguably the guy last night, while hitting only 1 of 10 from the field.

What stuns me is how, after growing so quickly, he lost no agility and coordination. And developed the skill set necessary to play big after being a guard. Against U of L, he went all Kareem when necessary, tossing in those jump hooks from the right baseline. (To Kansas’s credit, they forced him to the other side of the hoop, where his maneuvers were ineffective. He controlled the tilt anyway.)

At halftime last night, my buddy Fred texted, “I saw this movie Saturday night.” Funny how Kansas, like U of L, missed dunks and layups that normally would have gone down. Credit Anthony Davis, along with Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They formed a mighty impenetrable force around the hoop.

* * * * *

I don’t know if John Calipari is as underhanded on the recruiting trail as rumor would have it. I, frankly, doubt it at this juncture.

He grabbed the Kentucky aura and ran with it, making Lexington the go to destination for the one and done crowd. Like it or not, it’s worked. In three years, he’s won a title, made another Final Four and an Elite Eight.

Those involved with various charities around the state advise that Calipari is accessible and willing to help far more readily than one might expect from a famous guy with so many folks pulling at him.

Oh yes, he’s a helluva coach, a really good coach who has taken three different programs to the biggest stage in the sport.

* * * * *

Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that Kentucky’s is the preeminent program in all of college hoops is either an idiot or in denial. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, UK’s the top of the heat.

(I will hear none of this UCLA crap. John Wooden had one amazing decade long run, when the rest of the schools playing the game were either asleep or cowered before His Eminence. They played any number of regionals on their home court against the likes of Montana Tech and Utah A & P. The Bruins were good, but it was essentially for that one moment in time.)

Kentucky has won 8 national championships.

In five different decades.

Under five different coaches — Adolph Rupp, Joe Beasmon Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and John Calipari.

They have the most wins in the history of of the game.

Listen, I’m a U of L Cardinal fan, tried and true. And I understand that there are UK fans who are insufferable — as there are with every school — so my tendency, like many, is to begrudge the success.

But, facts is facts.

* * * * *

Two thoughts on the Final Four itself.

1. If the NCAA insists on playing it in these big football domes, why isn’t it in New Orleans at the very least every other year? Not other place compares to that experience.

2. Why doesn’t the NCAA move the Final Four back to the larger basketball arenas, like the Yum!, and simply increase the price of the tickets? The basketball would better. The game experience would be better.

Unfortunately Ben Franklin says it ain’t gonna happen.

* * * * *

How many days until October 15?

– Seedy K

2 Comments

  1. gnash001
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    195.

  2. fred
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    If the finals, like the semis, was the Derby you’d just say Kentucky broke sharply from the gate, took the lead as they passed the club house and, although challenged down the stretch, stayed on the lead and won by a length. Give em the roses.

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