It’s a bluegrass, bourbon, basketball battle. The biggest meeting ever between the two rivals from the state of Colonel Sanders’ fried chicken and his secret recipe. It’s the Kentucky Wildcats vs. the Louisville Cardinals at the Final Four in New Orleans. Sounds very Southern (and drunk) to me.
Let’s get to it!
They got a tough battle with Davidson of sorts in the first round, beating the mid-major 69-62. And then in the next game they held off enabler of rape Steve Alford and his New Mexico Lobos 59-56. They endured an off game by their star Peyton Siva to survive and advance. Held scoreless in the first half, Siva finished with six points and five assists.
And we all endured seeing the tv shots of Siva’s dad in his kid’s jersey during the Big East Tournament. The “fat guy in a little coat” bit works really well in a basketball jersey too. And that Big East Tourney run is exactly what the Cards need to get their confidence and momentum rolling. Rick Pitino beat Tom Izzo in a match-up of Italian-Americans, although sadly evil beat good in that one. Then the Cardinals held off a really good Florida team with three future NBA draft picks.
The Tournament’s hottest team? Maybe they are the only thing that can stop Kentucky.
Pitino, once loved (during his tenure as Kentucky’s coach from 1989-1997) and now reviled by Big Blue, has started the banter.
“There will be people at Kentucky that will have a nervous breakdown if they lose to us,” Pitino said. “You’ve got to watch. They’ve got to put the fences up on bridges. There will be people consumed by Louisville.”
John Calipari’s first Final Four not to be vacated was last year, when they lost to UConn. (what a Holy War of moral high ground we have here: Pitino vs. Calipari) Like this year’s team, they relied on star freshmen who left early. This year’s squad is led by Anthony Davis, who will sweep all the national player of the year awards, and then become the first pick in the NBA draft in June. The second pick will be his teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They should win it all with that duo.
Kentucky reign is based on John Calipari
buying recruiting the top-of-the-line prospects; the one-and-done to the NBA guys. Big Blue has become the destination for blue-chip recruits, year-in and year-out, they keep replenishing them. And if UK wins it all this year, expect more teams to follow that blueprint of Big Blue.
The Wooden and Naismith awards will soon belong to the soon-to-be-one-and-done phenom from Lexington to the NBA. We currently have him, prominent unibrow and all, as the #1 overall pick in the draft in our latest NBA mock draft.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Kentucky freshman forward Anthony Davis as the winner of the 2011-12 Oscar Robertson Trophy, annually presented to the National Player of the Year.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.