[Moderated by Matt Jones]
We all drew straws at the KSRC compound last night, and clearly, I drew the short one. It’s a dark day in Big Blue Nation, and I’ve been tasked with pulling together all the relevant news of the day. And trust me when I say this: there’s nothing but quotes, clips, and articles full of darkness and despair out there. This must be what it was like working in an obituaries department during the last World War.
And on that depressing note, the news:
-I know, I know. I don’t need to tell you guys what the big story of the day is, but alas, that’s what I’m here for. The Cats found themselves on the outside looking in of Selection Sunday last night, and were relegated to the barren wasteland of college basketball that is the NIT (I kid, NIT people. I kid). Here’s the official statement from Cal, via UK Athletics:
I’m really disappointed we didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but we are going to use this time to make us better. We had our chances, but I’m not going to stop. It’s a great lesson for the future of our program and a humbling experience for me as a coach. To the Big Blue Nation, you did your part all season long. You showed up in droves and helped us pull through key games. We didn’t do our part. Even now, I’m going to coach these guys, try to make them better and give everything I can to make sure we control our destiny in the future. I’m excited to return to Pittsburgh and look forward to facing a team that is going to present a real challenge for us. Robert Morris won their league in the regular season. They shoot a lot of 3-pointers, produce a lot of steals, so we have to come prepared.
-To add insult to injury, UK (a 1-seed) will not host their first round game due to staffing complications. Instead, they’ll travel Pittsburgh to take on the Colonials of Robert Morris. As always though, Cal managed to spin that inconvenience into a positive, saying: “When I heard we couldn’t host the first round of the NIT, I decided to accept the bid knowing we could host in the second round. I’m not disappointed we have to start on the road because this team needs to prove it wants to continue to play before our fans pay for tickets.”
-ICYMI: Matt had a lot to say about the season and tournament snub in his night post last night, and I strongly agree with his main point– UK just did not get it done this year. Period. You can read the entirety of his postmortem right HERE.
-Speaking of postmortems, when you’re Kentucky and you don’t make the tournament, you become a news story. Here’s ESPN with their own eulogy of our underwhelming 2012-2013 season. One newsworthy bit in it– NCAA Tournament Committee Chair Mike Bobinski admits that the Cats were in contention for final spot, and that the committee had paid special attention to us down the stretch, saying: “We vetted Kentucky as hard as anybody… We watched them play without Nerlens Noel the last few weeks. It was a sad injury. But they just didn’t show it on the road.” Yeah, that’s a bit of an understatement, Mike.
-Finally, some good (albeit random) news: According the Herald-Leader, John Vincent Calipari is the most influential person in Lexington, topping a poll of politicians and business leaders that included the Mayor of Lexington himself, Jim Gray. Here’s what the paper had to say about our fearless leader:
1. John Calipari, coach
What can be said about Coach Cal that has not been said? He’s a vote getter.
Being the UK basketball coach coming off an NCAA championship season — even if this year’s team has struggled — is, in Lexington, akin to being a demigod, one with 1.2 million Twitter followers.
But Calipari, 54, has extended his reach to other areas, even establishing a Coach Cal line of endorsed books available through the Lexington Public Library. Calipari is said to read three books at a time. A recent choice is Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.
Yeah, NIT or no NIT, I think I’m going to end on that note. Go Cats.
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