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In the end, Calipari was outcoached




 

 

Since it wasn’t nine (titles) at University of Kentucky, the number this week is 157. Calendar days since the Wildcats weren’t playing somewhere. Dollars lost to UK and local 40-0 tee-shirt profit hopefuls, millions.

2 . 38-1 team legacy? See the Ended-in-Heartbreak shelf alongside Unforgettables (1992), Rupp’s Runts (1966) and Hagan-Ramsey- Tsioropoulos unbeatens (1954). Special, but find game result in boldface (UK media guide). v The Unforgettables helped make Christian Laettner famous, rich, then famous and rich again. v The Runts helped media twist perception into reality, giving Texas Western College a place in social history. v The 1954 team was denied a title chance because Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos (ready for this?) had college degrees.

3. One-and-done rebuff. Seasoned, well prepared, Wisconsin played smarter and together longer than any team UK faced in 2014-15.

4. How could Kentucky have three more baskets, 26-23, and lose? Because the Wildcats had four in the last 10 minutes while Calipari jigged, whined, gestured and over-coached.

5. Losing the NCAA title and 40-0 perfecto may cost University of Kentucky $1.5 million, and retailers as much as $15 million in title memorabilia unsold, according to ESPN.com. “We would have produced 115,000 T-shirts over the next month,” Lexington entrepreneur Matt Hoetker told the sports network.

6. Willie Cauley-Stein said he has probably played his last game at Kentucky. With his two points and zero offensive rebounds in 33 minutes against Wisconsin, I thought he left a day early.

7. Andrew Harrison. Muttering one profane and racially charged remark into a microphone put in doubt good kid image, two years in the making. But target Frank Kaminsky handled the insult like a man: “Over it.”

8. Karl Anthony Townes, Trey Lyles and Andrew Harrison … see ya.

9. Devin Booker. Kid is ready, right? To return to college, refine Shootist reputation and learn how to get more than six shots in a Final Four game.

10. Kentucky Mr. Basketball(s) Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins are getting a solid education in the L (sitting position). As UK coaches recruit over both, and Kentucky-rooted Chris Harrison- Docks, for instance, plays at Western Kentucky U., Bluegrass fans who love home-grown players must feel cheated.

11. Two Kentucky fan e-mails John Calipari will shrug off, ignore, care less about are these:

• “You will never know how I feel. Losing (Saturday night) was like death to me. A dream that had many facets to it was quickly snuffed out. My spirit is broken … as I go into a mourning period. I will never see anything like this team again in my remaining years. We got so close … so close.”

And…

• “Outcoached, at every turn down the stretch, Calipari,” barked another. “For every (predictable) thing he tried, Bo Ryan had an answer.”

12. Nate Silver, a professional statistician is to sports and politics what Joe Lunardi is to bracketology — expert at what he does. Of the Wisconsin-Kentucky game Silver issued this stinging headline, Coach Cal Blew It. Then backed it up.

Silver’s calculus was based on 100,000 simulations of game’s last six minutes. Ahead four points (60-56 with the ball) and 12 possessions left for each team, UK’s chances to win were 83.3%.

Instead, as he did in the 2012 championship game, Calipari slowed the pace, went to half court sets and shot attempts at end of game clock, and almost blew it then, did blow it this time. Both strategies played into Bo Ryan’s hands. Critical among the last possessions: Three shot clock violations.

13. National title game day irony: On day Calipari’s name was headed to hall of fame, Ryan’s team played for the NCAA championship.

14. Proven. Best two college hoops coaches in America: Mike Krzyzewski and Bo Ryan.

15. UK consolation prizes: Longest win streak in school history, 38. Consecutive games with 3-pointer made, 939.

16. Frank Kaminsky. Good news is Kaminsky’s going to be rich. Bad news is he will disappear into the Black Hole, the NBA. He should be a Boston Celtic.

17. No Jay Bilas’s spin for pal Calipari after Saturday’s loss? Never mind, columnist Mike Lupica was succinct enough: “Say what you want, but Wisconsin’s 71-64 win over Kentucky was not an upset!”

18. It’s early, but best ball coach honeymoon to date must be Shaka Smart at Texas or Rick Barnes at Tennessee, right? My vote goes to Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. An estimated 50,000 fans showed up for the Wolverines’ spring game.

19. Ranked number one wireto wire in regular season, finished 38-1. So, where’s the nickname?

And so it goes.

You can reach me at bob.Watkins24@aol.com


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