Fresh of the success of his first two years in Lexington, many people thought how would Cal top himself. Well, the 2011-2012 team did. He took a team composed of freshmen and sophomores and one hardy senior (Darius Miller) and turned then into the country’s most efficient offensive and defensive teams. There was a stretch during the SEC part of the schedule that the Cats average nearly 80 points a game without any fast break points. If you don’t understand basketball, that’s very, very hard to do. The 2012 won more games than any other team in UK’s storied history and cut down the nets after winning the program’s eighth national title. But once again, how would Cal top this achievement?
When you’re at the top, there’s nowhere to go but down. It happens. The great run of the late 90s had to come to again. Besides Florida, every recent team to win the NCAA title has had a letdown the next year, some worse than others. And with UK needing to replace 98% of their scoring, it was evident that this year’s team would be a work in progress all the way up to March. While some of the losses have been headscratchers, losing to Duke, to Louisville and Florida on the road aren’t necessarily the worst things that can happen. But, to hear some member of the Big Blue Nation, Calipari seems clueless this season. That he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Can a man that rescued and restored a program from the depths of the NIT, delivered back to back Final Fours and a National Title, really lose his coaching acumen after a few losses? Oh, by the way, the 2013 recruiting class is still shaping up to be: THE HIGHEST RATED CLASS EVER.
Instead of Cal supposedly losing it or instead of this team being a bunch of bums not worthy of wearing the Blue and White, maybe it’s just a fact of life that the Cats aren’t the best every season. UK has eight titles which means, more often than not, we don’t win the championship. UK has played in 15 Final Fours which means, more often than not, we don’t make it to the Final Four. As fans, we’ve become spoiled and somehow made every season a championship or bust season, which isn’t good for anyone. Being a fan should be about enjoying the ride, not worrying all the time about the destination. When you make anything less than a championship unacceptable… where’s the joy in that?
I trust that John Calipari knows what he’s doing. He’s the most savvy coach in the country. He knows that he can raise $1 milion for charity by asking the Big Blue Nation. He knows that he can give ESPN full access to the team and make it must see television. He knows that the best way to sell the program is to make it a players first program. With everything Cal knows, I trust him. Cal seems to live his life by a mantra similar to most of the Big Blue faithful: Loved. Hated. Never ignored. So, yes, we’re all a little crazy.