Has John Calipari stolen Charlie Strong's playbook?

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Jan 2, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong (left) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) celebrate a third quarter touchdown against the Florida Gators during the third quarter of the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past year or so, we have had a couple of example of Louisville Cardinal coaches wanting to be more like the Big Blue Nation. Charlie Strong said outright that his fanbase should be more like the BBN and travel and support his team. And Rick Pitino has made no secret of his desire for his Cardinals to be more like the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats. So with all the good vibes coming out of Louisville towards the BBN, is John Calipari reciprocating and borrowing from Charlie Strong’s playbook?


Well, Rick Bozich thinks so…

I wonder if John Calipari has stolen Charlie Strong’s playbook:

Disregard the nasty things that people say about the strength of your league and competition. Win. Improve. Win. Improve. You can only beat the teams that are on your schedule. Keep doing that and interesting things will happen.

Southeastern Conference basketball is about as respected as the Big East football competition Strong encountered at Louisville this season, but interesting things are happening for Calipari’s surging team. The Wildcats defeated Auburn, 72-62, in Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon. The victory was Kentucky’s fifth straight. They’re 8-2 in the SEC, 17-6 overall.

Get this: Now, like Strong’s football team, Kentucky gets its big moment against Florida.

Once again … WHAT?!?!

Oh Monday mornings, you make me so cranky and looking to rip anything thing to shreds.  To be honest, I like some of Bozich’s work, but in this case, his analogies make as much sense as giving Russ Smith the ball at the end of overtime.  Oh wait.  I realize the SEC may be down but to say a conference that has three of the last seven national titles is a disrespected as Big East football, is well, Russdiculous.  And to say Kentucky’s “big moment” is against Florida?  It’s not like UK is coming off a Belk Bowl runner up season.  Kentucky is coming of a national title and back to back final fours.  Tuesdays game does not make a top ten of big matchups in the Calipari era.

Kentucky does play Florida though and it is a pretty important game.  And Louisville football played Florida in an important game.  That is where the similarities end.

Carry on.


Jan 29, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari after the game against the Mississippi Rebels at the Tad Smith Coliseum. Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Mississippi Rebels 87-74. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden–USA TODAY Sports

If you are looking for another way John Calipari is not stealing from Charlie Strong, I have it. John Calipari will not allow himself to be outrecruited by the entire SEC. And with the top ranked 2013 class almost finished, Calipari is working on 2014 and beyond. He got some good news this weekend as former Indiana commit Trey Lyles named Kentucky in his final six teams:

The 6-foot-11 Lyles wrote on Instagram that his “final 6″ were Florida, Butler, Kentucky, UCLA , Louisville and Duke.

A onetime Indiana pledge, Lyles visited Kentucky Saturday and Butler and Louisville earlier in the week.

His father, Tom Lyles, told SNY.tv they planned to visit Duke, Florida and UCLA in March over spring break.

“We’re going to try and get to UCLA, Florida, Duke and North Carolina, try to get those places during the spring in March,” he said earlier this week before Carolina was apparently cut. “We want him to get the atmosphere and get to some games.”

Trey is averaging 22 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists for a 16-3 Arsenal Tech team.

Feb 18, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Florida Gators forward Will Yeguette (15) dribbles the ball during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. Florida defeated Arkansas 98-68. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Florida will be without big man Will Yeguete for tomorrow night’s showdown at the O-Dome.  He will be missed even though Florida breezed without him in the lineup this weekend:


That might not be the case for Florida Tuesday night against Kentucky. The Wildcats (17-6, 8-2 SEC) have won five straight and sit a game behind the Gators (19-3, 9-1).

The Gators could use the 6-foot-7, 240-pound Yeguete, one of Florida’s top defenders and rebounders, against the athletic Wildcats, especially 6-foot-7 Alex Poythress and 6-foot-10 Nerlens Noel.

“Any time you lose a guy like Will Yeguete your defense is going to be different,” UF coach Billy Donovan said. “Will adds a different dimension down there in terms of covering up a lot of things.”

Yeguete also adds depth.

For a spell on Saturday, freshman 6-foot-6 Devon Walker and 6-foot-6 Casey Prather were the only frontcourt players on the floor.

“We’re going to have to step up here and really be ready,” Donovan said.


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