Karl Towns has been involved with John Calipari and the Kentucky program for a while now, first has a member of the Calipari-coached Dominican Republic national team and then as Kentucky’s first commitment of the 2014 class. He spoke recently to SNY.tv about watching the Wildcats’ struggles this season. From Adam Zagoria:
“‘I just think it’s freshmen pains right now,’ Towns said. ‘It was fortunate enough for Coach Cal to have Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and some seniors to the point where freshmen pains weren’t so bad. Right now I just think it’s two young teams in a row and they’re just trying to gel, find each other’s tendencies and consistencies with one another. I think that right now Cal has them on a better track and I think that they’re going to have a great run in the NCAA Tournament.’”
John Feinstein over at cbssports.com had some not-so-nice things to say about Calipari (though, to be fair, he did have a few nice things to say as well). In particular, Feinstein wonders if the national championship from 2012 changed Cal:
“All that said, when I look at him now, blaming everyone but himself for his own failings, I think of something that Paul Evans, his old boss at Pitt once said about Rollie Massimino.
Evans and Massimino were never — to put it mildly — friends. But after Massimino left Villanova in 1992 with a good deal of bad feelings (since repaired by Jay Wright) in both directions, Evans said this: ‘After he won the national championship in 1985, I think Rollie kind of fell in love with himself.’
Harsh words, but sometimes there’s truth in harsh words. Looking at Calipari now and remembering the smart, eager, honest young coach I hung out with all those years ago, I can’t help but wonder if those words don’t also apply to him.”
Myron Medcalf over at espn.com opines on a common theme these days regarding Kentucky: they’re running out of time. A season that started with such high (and several unrealistic) expectations is nearing the end:
“The final weeks of the season will give this group its final shot to put it all together.
If Kentucky reaches Dallas, it wouldn’t be the first time a team with potential got hot and made a run. That’s the entire mantra of the NCAA tournament.
It would still be surprising considering this season’s fluctuation.
An early exit is probably the general expectation now, not that it matters to the Wildcats.”
Kentucky and Louisville will be joined by a third school from the Bluegrass State in the NCAA Tournament thanks to the Eastern Kentucky Colonels upsetting Ohio Valley Conference regular season champion Belmont in the OVC tournament final last Saturday night. Matt Norlander, from cbssports.com writes that the Colonels’ first round opponent better not overlook EKU:
“Even if it’s a 15 seed, it’s going to be a very dangerous 15 seed. Why? The eight players who see the most playing time are juniors or seniors. This group can finish each other’s sentences. Experience means a lot when small teams get to the NCAA tournament, because the pressure and big stage of that tournament can overwhelm almost anyone. Even though it’ll be new for this group, having vets will help.”
Barcelona defeated Manchester City 2-1 yesterday in Barcelona, advancing to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals 4-1, on aggregate. Michael Delaney, from espn.com, had this to say about what happened Wednesday night at the Nou Camp:
“For all the fear that seemed to grip Barcelona in the build-up to this game, Wednesday night brought a display of remarkable assurance. The trepidation and tentativeness of the Real Valladolid defeat had evaporated, replaced by their typical control. It is probably no coincidence that it involved Andres Iniesta returning to the side after a personal tragedy, and a Messi undeniably edging back closer to his professional best.”