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Fox Writer Takes A Shot At 27-1 Kentucky, Calipari

Thayer Evans of FoxSports.com is no stranger to controversy.  His name was attached to numerous stories regarding Cam Newton and other alleged recruiting improprieties at Auburn back in late-2010.  As we all know now, nothing came of those stories.  The NCAA found no guns, smoking or otherwise.

Now Evans is asking for angry emails from Kentucky hoops fans and you can bet his inbox is already full.  Here’s why:

 

“Yet for the favorite to win the national championship, Kentucky on Tuesday night looked a shadow of the super team many thought it was becoming. Instead, it actually looked like a classic Calipari team.

The type that has more talent than anybody else in the country, but somehow fails to play to its sky-high potential. A team like the one Calipari had during the 2009-10 season, his first at Kentucky, which featured a record five NBA first-round draft selections, including the No. 1 pick in point guard John Wall, but lost in the NCAA tournament’s regional finals.”

 

And…

 

“So there’s still plenty of reason to doubt Kentucky, just like there always is with Calipari’s teams.

Because the knock on Calipari will remain the same until he finally wins his first NCAA championship: He can collect all the talent he wants, but inevitably underachieves with it because of his coaching shortcomings.”

 

Not to be a Calipari apologist, but I’m pretty sure it took Roy Williams 17 seasons to win his first national title.  It took Jim Boeheim 27.  Those are Hall of Fame coaches.  The lesson: Winning six games in a row in March isn’t as easy as winning six in a row in December.

Calipari is in his 20th season.  That doesn’t mean he can’t coach — something that this writer has actually come around on and actually discussed yesterday – or that he won’t win a national title at some point.

As for Evans, it’s a helluva lot easier to predict someone will lose in the NCAA tourney than win it.  Sixty-seven coaches will “fail” this March.  One will deliver.  And when the Butlers and VCUs and George Masons of the world are reaching Final Fours, it further shows that upsets do happen.  Regardless of roster talent.  Regardless of coaching acumen.

So if Calipari goes bye-bye in the Big Dance it will only prove that Evans knows how to place a safe bet, it won’t prove his point.  That will still be up for debate.

With regards to Kentucky’s team, the Cats are currently 27-1.  Their only defeat came on a buzzer-beating shot at Indiana in December.  They have no losses in SEC play… including on the road.  Last night they trailed by 13 before coming back to win at Mississippi State.

Was that really the beginning of the end for the Wildcats?

Syracuse is 27-1 and its loss came by nine at Notre Dame.  Third-ranked Missouri has lost twice to Kansas State, once by seven and once by 10.  Duke is #4 in the nation with four losses.  Fifth-ranked Kansas has five losses as does #6 Michigan State.  North Carolina, well, the Tar Heels may be ranked #7 in the nation, but they have a loss to Kentucky and a 33-point clubbing at the hands of Florida State among the four defeats on their resume.

If Evans is seeing flaws in Kentucky’s play, what the heck is seeing in everyone else’s game?

 


19 comments
jt
jt

Mississipi State must be worse than I thought.

catsfan
catsfan

Mr. Evans can just sit back and watch as coach Calipiri takes the cats to the dig dance and wins it. What a chump!!

DaveinExile
DaveinExile

The coaching - or lack of it - in the loss to WVU two years ago was just inexcusable.

 

This group seems hungrier, a little less concerned with life (NBA) after UK. Cold bode well for Cats fans.

BionicSuz
BionicSuz

I have been a loyal BLUE fan of the Wildcats since I moved to Kentucky in 1984.  I do not give any creedence to this article, as I know what Coach Cal brings to the table.  He keeps his players honest.  Cal is quite tenacious and never backs down..if his team "slacks off" during the first half, you bet your butt they are going to step up the second half..case in point, Mississippi State.  I love my Cats, they are one helluva ball team... athletes who really love what they do and in turn, make their fans love UK B Ball all the more..if that is possible.  I will always miss sleep if a UK game is on..I root for them, pray for them, cheer for them until my throat is raw. They give me what the state of Kentucky is all about... "Unbridled Spirit".   I am a forever fan.  Other than God and my family, BIG BLUE is all I need.  

BradHinton
BradHinton

I've been watching the cats since way back when and I remember when you expected to have five or six losses in a season. These losses made the teams better and the close games gave them the confidence to stick in when it got tough. Us UK fans have been spoiled lately. We never expect to lose anymore. The haters never expect us to lose either or they wouldn't pick on every close game and loss we have. It's hard to win in the tourney and one hot team can ruin your run. But if we have a great year every year and go deep in the tournament then that's quite an accomplishment. How often does the best team win the championship nowadays. I love Butler but last years championship game was the worst I've ever seen. Anyone who thinks Uconn was a better team than UK would have to be nuts.

RobinBarnett
RobinBarnett

Great rational and well written response to an obviously prejudicial article from a yellow journalist seeking yet more attention ... anyway he can get it.

RuppOracle
RuppOracle

An excellent point King. And I think UK fans who have been bleeding blue for as long as you and I know that. I have been at the old Memorial and at Rupp Arena when UK fans actually applauded opposing teams for great basketball plays. UK fans appreciate great basketball and are some of the most savvy basketball fans in the country. I grew up within a three mile radius of UK back when the Baron of Basketball was like the Budda of the game, attended UK and have seen a lot of talented UK teams and fewer really good coaches since Rupp, but Coach Cal is a TODAY coach. He knows that guys like AD, Gilchrist and others are not going to risk injury when there is so much cash on the line. But to be able to take that kind of talent in the TODAY atmosphere of Super Star "Me" mentality and get them to buy into TEAM sportsmen and play TEAM ball despite their immaturity is nothing less than MIRACLE coaching. Cal is not the only coach at the college level who understands today's obstacles of NBA raiding college ranks too early with the big money. It is just a reality coaches all over the country have to deal with and Coach Cal seems to deal with it better than most. A great fit for UK and he does it with style. I hope that UK goes the distance for Cal and for Miller's sake. It won't stop the criticism of coach Cal though. There are those who will say, "Well he should be winning every year with the talent he recruits." It is just the nature of the less sportsman-like observers; 1. Who've never played the game and 2. Who really do not understand how the game is played. All great teams have a target on their backs and every UK, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse team has a target on theirs whether they floor a great team or not, because every team in the country wants to be able to say they beat them. But UK fans live for that rush. We know even our worst teams play the game with student enthusiasm and fan support. I am retired in Las Vegas and there are plenty of UK fans here. When you have bled BLUE at some point in life you just can't shake it. UK is to basketball what the Celtics are to pro ball and some other teams are to football and other sports. That is just the way it is and there will always be un-basketball-educated critics. Most of us who love good basketball will give credit to other teams due the credit for great basketball. Some critics and some fans just don't get that.

King Ghidora
King Ghidora

He actually thinks it will make him look smart if UK loses in the tournament. Lots of teams lose in the tournament. Lots of fabulous teams have lapses. Heck I say MJ and the Bulls have them. They didn't sweep every playoff game. I say Bird, McHale and Parish lose to the Lakers. I saw Kareem and Magic lose to the Celtics. Heck I even saw Bill Russell and Frank Ramsey and that Celtics team (yeah I'm old) have a few lapses. So what? The Cats played like freshmen and sophomores in the first half against MSU. Duh! They are freshmen and sophomores. They also have a 27-1 record and the circumstances of that one loss are very fishy IMO. If you saw the game you'll know why I think that. IMO the Cats have not had a serious lapse yet. But it can happen to the best. Even the Big Red Machine lost a few baseball games and they were out of this world talent wise.

RuppOracle
RuppOracle

Oh, And the coach? Well, taking a bunch of will-be superstars and getting them to play as a TEAM in TODAY'S Me me me era has to be some kind of miracle...

RuppOracle
RuppOracle

I've been listening to needle brained so-called sports writers badmouth UK basketball since Rupp was getting Southeastern Conference schools to get serious about basketball. The reason UK gets badmouthed is because UK and Kansas, not UCLA or Notre Dame or Ohio State, set the standard for hoops ball for years and years not one decade or two. There are those who hate the Kentucky Wildcats simply because they know UK will be in the Tourney every year. Many of these hate NC and Duke and Syracuse for the same reason. Just like us 'Cat fans go after NC and Duke. This guy is just a dimwit trying to get attention, Almost every experienced sports guy, media and Tel-media saw the Miss State game as a real demonstration of just how good this team is and why they are number one this late in the season. Anyone who had any doubt about the heart of this team can, with the game in Starksville, put them to rest,

There's a lot of talk about Gilchrist's big play sparking the UK take over of the game. But the guy who charged the sparkplug was Miller. When he hit the 3 and then went to the other end to grab the ball and head it to the other end,,, When UK gets sluggish, in comes Miller and he wills the Wildcats to life, He did it in Indiana and he has done it several times this season. I'm sure Coach Cal knows Miller is intent on winning a championship before he graduates. Miller has played with great teams and now he wants a great team that goes the whole course full throttle.

davek742
davek742

Evans is just like MIA of the Super Bowl. A wannabe that is stirring things up so people will talk about him. Ky has a good club. Being down 13 at half and coming back shows maturety. They didn't choke. And to and win the game was the confidence builder. All Ky fans ( and players) know is that everytime UK steps on the court away from home, the opponents give 110%. A win at home for them against KY means a good season, whatever their record is.

JTM
JTM

Winning championships is fun, but watching these young men grow game by game is a lot more fun.

Kentucky Fan
Kentucky Fan

I'm not even going to waste my time on this idiot... Wouldn't matter if Kentucky lost, he would still find a reason to complain about them along with everyone else.....

MichaelMcCurry
MichaelMcCurry

This guy is a idiot that apparently has nothing else to do but bash Coach Cal! Must be a Miss State fan who wanted to shove Cal out of bounds like Bost did last night to MKG at the end of the game, so show some class..., A coach can be great, and not deliver but a few National Championships in his coaching lifetime. Not everyone is a Wooden, or a Rupp. This writer has no class in the past, and apparently has lost even more of it now, as he continues to blow hot air everywhere he goes & writes, what a joke! Kentucky will do fine, and I won't be expecting a National Championship from a mostly Freshman team, but do think we can get to a Final 4, if that happens, we've got a great shot at winning it all! GO CATS!

Ohio UK Fan
Ohio UK Fan

Obviously a Cal hater. Why can't he just give some credit to the players and other coaches for a successful season and let his personal feelings fall by the wayside? This reminds me of so many posts. We don't HATE the UK program or players; we HATE the FANS. Enough already.

Badgercat
Badgercat

Understand...this hack was the understudy of Pete Thamel @ the NYTimes who ran the wild-goose chase with the Eric Bledsoe "story" two years ago. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e knows that those two scribes hate all things Calipari. The story today was perhaps the best example of a writer with a serious agenda. UK torched MSU after the last under eight-minute TV TO and played an incredible last five minutes in a hostile environment. Apparently Evans wrote his story before the comeback was complete. The guy's a joke. Of course with Goodman's departure to CBS - Fox didn't have many great places to turn for a national basketball writer.

Lee Lawrencce
Lee Lawrencce

Evans, like many other people, simply does not like our coach John Calipari... Otherwise, he is just a simple-minded scribbler/commentator like many of those employed by FOX...

Ohio UK Fan
Ohio UK Fan

Winning the NCAA Championship is like winning an Olympic gold medal. The stars have to align perfectly. Who would have predicted a Duke win a couple of years ago? Their regular season was not that great. As a true CATS fan, a final four, elite eight would be fine with me. I'm a supporter win or lose. GO BIG BLUE!

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