In the end, Tom Crean has no one to blame at all. Lest we forget the drama of a few months ago when Kentucky and Indiana did not renew their series and the war of wars that went on between the two coaches. Most Kentucky fans thought that Kentucky’s out of conference schedule would be OK without Indiana and that Indiana was going to have a poor out of conference schedule without UK. Turns out we were right. Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner played judge and jury on the each teams ooc schedule and he rated Kentucky “worthy of your attention“:
The Wildcats can’t get an A without Indiana on the schedule, regardless of who’s to blame and whether John Calipari should care what anyone else thinks in this area. That said, this is a perfectly good schedule, especially given the turnover on the Cats’ roster and the (relatively) lesser amount of talent.
– One directional modifier (Eastern Michigan)
– One State that’s not a state (Morehead)
There are a few other soft games on the home slate that don’t really fit in any of the goofy categories, but they’re more than made up for with season-opening neutral-site games with Maryland and Duke, Baylor coming to Rupp, and trips to Notre Dame (in the Big East-SEC Challenge) and Louisville. The bigger story will be next season’s nonleague slate, anyway, to see just how seriously Cal wants 40-0.
Granted, with no Indiana and no UNC on the schedule, this is by far Calipari’s worst out of conference schedule at Kentucky. But it still is heaps better than Indiana’s:
I went on a mini-rant about this on Twitter earlier this fall, so I’ll keep this brief: This schedule, for a team that many are tabbing as the preseason No. 1, is a joke. Tom Crean, known for not playing much of anyone in nonleague play, has outdone himself with this home slate and is doing an injustice to Indiana fans who stuck with the program during its dip. They’re being served a platter of garbage.
– Three States that are not states (Sam Houston, Ball, Coppin) — Two directional modifiers (Central Connecticut, Florida Atlantic) — One case of punctuation (Mount St. Mary’s) — One guy (Bryant) — One school of Dolphins (Jacksonville)
In Indiana’s modest defense, the Kentucky game fell through and the Hoosiers have 2.5 credible games away from Assembly Hall (UCLA or Georgetown and Butler, plus Georgia) as well as hosting North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge (which they don’t get credit for scheduling, but it’s a quality game). They’re not the first school to play a handful of decent games surrounded by dreck. But man, throw your home fans a bone. They get to see one decent game before Big Ten play. Not good enough.
And to the two Indiana fans that constantly stalk me, direct your concerns to Andy Glockner.
Why did someone mention 40-0 in 2013-14? Why yes they did. And Dan Wetzel is talking about it too when talking about UK’s recruiting tear this month:
The big thing is that Calipari isn’t done. Not even close. There are still two possible major pick-ups. The first would be the nation’s No. 1-rated senior, 6-foot-9 Julius Randle of Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian Academy).
That alone would give Kentucky the greatest recruiting class of all-time.
Then there is the possibility that the nation’s top-rated junior, Andrew Wiggins of Thornhill, Canada (via West Virginia, Huntington Prep) would reclassify as a senior and join the absurd collection of talent. Wiggins hasn’t decided whether to do it – he’s old for his grade and doing so would get him to the NBA a year sooner.
If he does, he’ll supplant Randle as No. 1 overall in the Class of 2014 and could give UK five top 10 recruits and six of the top 15.
That isn’t recruiting, that’s drafting.
It’s also the kind of talent that can get you dreaming of 40-0. Such an accomplishment would also take chemistry, luck, health, coaching, karma and a million other variables, not the least of which is beating SEC rival Florida two or three times when the Gators are putting together their own strong recruiting class.
Only for Kentucky would you look ahead to next year when this years team is ranked #3 in the nation. Tom Crean is thinking about how to sell his fans on another season of IUPUI and the Jacksonville Dolphins for 2013-14. OK, that one is on me.
As we all know, Marcus Lee became the fifth member of UK’s 2013 class on Wednesday, but the announcement was not televised. Here is it in all it’s glory and looks like both Marcus and the Harrisons will be around for four years: