Just thought I’d share some thoughts before I take the Mrs. IIX, Lil IIX and Baby IIX-ette to Mackinac Island for Mommy’s Day. It's long but rich in content and new views.
UK v. IU.... IIX don’t really care who UK plays in their non-conf schedule. IIX don’t care where they play their non-conf schedule. The Cats can play all their games on the moon in zero gravity as long as the team is prepared to hang Banner 9 in March. That’s what most people that aren’t UK fans don’t understand. Beating UofL and IU is nice, but unless it boosts UK’s RPI it does nothing for the program. UK really doesn’t recruit against UK and UofL (UK generally wins recruiting battles with UL, Willis, Teague) so bragging rights for the fans is all that is at stake. For teams that don’t expect championships, a win over a National power is a big deal… UK is is the national power so for the program a win is just a win.
UK don’t have to worry about SOS because TV makes enough games for UK. Next year UK has Duke, UofL and SEC newcomer Mizzou along with the rest of the SEC slate. That’s strong enough for a #1 seed as long as the record is right.
Just as Rick Pitino was a visionary in his day with his utilization of the 3 pt shot, Calipari is a visionary in this era of college basketball. The old paradigms are antiquated. As former BE Commish Marinatto suggested, “the collegiate model of athletics is obsolete. You have to use a Corporate model.”
Calipari has adjusted to the corporate model because it also fits HIS goals. Here’s the question… Why go play in a 13,000 seat cracker box gym (IU), generally get screwed over by the officials, walk away with a loss, have ESPN run a commercial for 3 months showing your opponent fans rush the floor and get no $$$ when the alternative is to go to an NBA arena that holds 17-20K of fans, get a fair shake from the zebras and half the gate. IU must be rich enough they don’t need the extra money that 4-6K fans will generate. Or, maybe they would just rather pay Central Michigan to play in Bloomington cause the Hoosiers seem to want none of Louisville either.
So whether it’s Duke in Atlanta, Michigan State in Chicago or Kansas in New York. Whether it’s UConn in Maui or Maryland in Brooklyn, UK is going to sell the neutral site out. So the money is good where ever. Coincidentally, with the exception of Maui, they are, or will be in the case of Brooklyn are all NCAA sites. So UK gets the added experience of playing in NCAA venues in a setting that will be similar to the Tourney itself.
Some would argue that playing in an hostile environment prepares you for the Tournament ??? Really, how many hostile environments did UK play in the tourney on the road to #8. They didn’t. The Yum Center were home games. Atlanta were home games too. The FF in New Orleans was a Kentucky reunion between Uk and UofL fans. I guess people can argue whether or not getting screwed over on the road helps you or not, but UK gets screwed over enough in Fayettesville, Gainesville and Nashville. The SEC road schedule is good enough to make a team overcome adversity once or twice a season.
Next, Cal has two goals left at UK. To catch UCLA in National Titles and an UNDEFEATED SEASON. Playing a non-conference home slate of Louisville, low mid-majors and then supplement the schedule with neutral site games against traditional powers is the best recipe for an undefeated season. The conf schedule is what it is… but this scheduling philosophy gives UK the best chance to go undefeated regular season, get #1 seeds for the NCAA tourney and make $$$.
Cal gets that BBN hates to loose. Cal gets that BBN craves titles. Cal has come up with a formula that serves everyone’s interests…except the haters and those who don’t understand.
The future will tell if the formula will work.