Big Blue Nausea

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. John Calipari (pictured above) appears well on his way to capturing the first National Championship of his career.

By Josh Kramer

It’s a bird.  It’s a plane.  It’s Anthony Davis?  I will be the first to say that Kentucky is not my favorite team in the world.  To be entirely honest, they are probably my least favorite team in America.  Kentucky, also known as the “Big Blue Nation,” is arguably the most tradition filled program in college basketball and their fans make sure that you are fully aware of it.  They are the end-all be-all of sports in the Bluegrass State.   Either way, there is no denying just how well this team is playing right now.

This year’s Kentucky team has people across the nation saying, “John Wall and Demarcus Cousins who?”  Ever since John Calipari stepped foot in Lexington, the target has been on his back.  And along with his controversial past, he brought an absurd amount of blue chips to Kentucky.  I mean, there have been so many blue chip recruits on the Lexington campus during his three-year run, that he has made the “Fab-Five” sound more like the “Mediocre-Five” on multiple occasions.  People say he is a great recruiter, and unless the NCAA tells us differently, we will have to remain under the assumption that he is playing by the rules.

Either way, there has been much discussion of whether this is Calipari’s best team.  Well, it is without question the best group that he has had  in Lexington.  And his two prior teams at UK were not too shabby in their own right (Elite Eight and Final Four).  Then of course there was the Memphis team of 2007/2008 that had the National Championship won, but they unfortunately could not make their free throws.  It is hard to compare teams from different years, but there is one thing I do know:  I cannot remember a more athletic team in the past ten years at the collegiate ranks than the 2011-2012  Kentucky Wildcats.  This team gets up and down the floor as good as or better than half of the current NBA teams.  According to Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan, they have six, yes six, sure-fire first rounders on the current roster.  That means guys coming off the bench are still first-round caliber players.  Scary I know.

Many going into Tuesday night’s SEC Showdown with No. 7 Florida had questioned UK’s schedule.  There is no denying that SEC basketball is not even a shadow of what it is in football.  But UK played a tough non-conference schedule and thrived, outside of a minor mishap at Assembly Hall.  And on Tuesday, they showcased to the world just how good they are.  The scary thing is it is still early February.  UK is by no means a finished product.  Plus the Wildcats, in very uncharacteristic Calipari fashion, shot an incredible 11 of 11 from the free throw line.  If this team hits their free throws in March, everyone else is playing for second.

At this point in the year, it appears the other contenders for the number one overall seed are Ohio State, Missouri, and Syracuse.  Do you truly think any of these three teams are as good as “Calipari’s Traveling All-Stars?”  Ohio State can’t seem to keep their suddenly injury-prone star on the floor.  Without Sullinger on the court, Ohio State goes from a multi-dimensional offensive force to a one-dimensional team that will heavily rely on William Buford.  Missouri has great speed, but still cannot run with UK.  And Syracuse, though arguably the deepest team in America, struggles to rebound the basketball (109th in the nation).  Did I mention that rebounding may be Kentucky’s strongest attribute?  So the vaunted Syracuse 2/3 zone may give UK some fits if they are having an off-shooting night, but who is to say that the Orangemen can keep UK’s high-flying squad off the boards?

Super freshman Anthony Davis has leapfrogged Thomas Robinson as the frontrunner for the National Player of the Year Award.  This youngster that sports the infamous “Unibrow,” is a hybrid between Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett.  He can change a game on both ends of the floor, but especially defensively.  The diaper-dandy is likely to rake in what many are proclaiming the Grand Slam (Player of the Year award, the Freshman of the Year award, the Defensive Player of the Year award, and be the number one pick in the NBA draft).

For the portion of the country that cannot stand the Kentucky Wildcats (full discretion: I am included in this group), the future looks grim.  I feel like there is only one team that has a legitimate shot to knock off UK come tournament time and that would be none other than the North Carolina Tar Heels, a team that UK already defeated this season in a thriller at Rupp back on December 3rd.  North Carolina is the only squad that can come close to matching up with UK’s athleticism and ability to dominate the boards.  Additionally, the Tar Heels can get up and down the floor in a similar fashion to the Wildcats.  UNC has shown glimpses.  Can they sustain the high-level play?  Obviously, they didn’t last night in the final couple of minutes of their rivalry match-up against Duke, but the potential is there.  I do not think any team in the country is capable of defeating UK when they are on, and only a handful are capable of defeating UK even on an off-night.  The hopes of UK haters rest in the Tar Heels’ hands.

Here’s where it gets scary. Say UK cuts down the nets on the night of April 2nd in New Orleans.  Who is to say that Kentucky will not repeat? Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel appear to be on their way to Lexington for the Fall of 2012.   There appears to be no stopping the nauseating Calipari train.  I think the majority of the country may be in for their worst nightmare.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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34 responses to “Big Blue Nausea

  1. FIrst off let me say I am proud to be a member of the BBN-I was born a Kentucky fan and through the thick and thin I have been there and always will. My daughter urged me to follow you on twitter because of your sports knowledge. She is a Kentucky girl living in Cincy. I feel we have a lot to be proud of Kentucky…not only the Kentucky Wildcats, but if you check we also have Murray State (currently the only undefeated team in the nation), Bellarmine ranked #1 in Division 3, and of course U of L ranked in the top 25 in the nation, UK Hoops ranked 6 in nation. We do have alot to be proud of in Kentucky not just our beloved Wildcats. As for Cincy….this year you all will more than likely be remembered only for the brawl with Xavier, the Reds are disappointing every year, the Bengals (I won’t even go there). I do hope the Bearcats and the Wildcats meet in the NCAA, it would be great fun for my family. I am a lover of sports…all sports, I respect the last second shots the excitement of all games. The only thing that nauseates me is a column like the one above. A true lover of the games respects talent.

    hope that the Bearcats will meet UK in the NCAA tournament, it would provide some good entertainment for my family.

    • Tina,

      First of all, I really appreciate your devotion to sports and your loyalty towards my blog. It is always great to have fellow sports nuts reading my work. In addition, I love talking sports with all types of people, and even those who do not share the same opinions as me. That is what makes writing about sports fun. For further reference, Bellarmine is a Division II team, not DIII (and obviously a great one at that).

      Please continue to read and enjoy March Madness. It will be fun as always.

      -TheSportsKraze

    • As a UK alum and a Cincy native, I am a little concerned with some of these comments. If you looked beyond the title of this column, you would have noticed how much the author respects the talent that the Wildcats have put on the hardwood this year. He admitted that they are clearly the best team in the nation and the best that Cal has ever had – it just happens to sicken him. That’s okay. Louisville nauseates me in every sense of the word, and I can guarantee you that I would never be able to clear my head enough to write anything like this about the Cardinals. If the thought of BBN isn’t making him ill, then we aren’t winning. Great article, Josh, but you better start stocking up on the pepto-bismol before April 2 !

  2. The Cincinnati sports market doesn’t have anything with the prestige of Kentucky basketball. But I’m not sure I’d argue for the sports market in Ky either, unless you wanna talk horse racing?

  3. As a Kentucky fan, I actually take your hatred as a compliment. Nobody hates a losing team.

  4. I just would like to say that I didn’t like your article at all. I thought the writing was subpar and your opinion is way off base. I am a member of BBN and proud of it. I was born and raised in Lexington and we have much to be proud of here. I have been many places around America and it never ceases to amaze me how many UK fans there are. I would wager that if you took a poll on how many fans there are in a random town on the west coast, UK would beat the Bearcats and Bengals combined. I’m sorry that UK nauseates you. When a team of superiority rolls through, they tend to leave a lot of haters in their wake. It seems that you are one of the growing number of them and that’s ok. BBN doesn’t need or want you on our side. We have plenty of fans already. Thanks for the post though. It was good for a quick laugh.

    • Marshall,

      Thank you for your input. Best of luck to your Wildcats and enjoy March Madness. I look forward to watching your blog grow and thrive.

      -TheSportsKraze

  5. I agree with your thoughts that the BBN train isn’t going to be stopped however I hope you puke daily while you ride the nauseating Calipari train

  6. Was told this article would make UK fans angry . This is not a bad article and if fans get mad at someone saying they can’t stand the other teams ( UL , Duke , Tenn, ext… ) don’t read articles from anything but pro KY sites . What else is there to cheer for in the Bluegrass State ? Not sure but it’s more than Cincy has ! Good article

    • Definitely agree with this. If anything, a UK fan should revel in the idea that a hater can’t help but admit that Kentucky is as dominant as they are this year. Someone get this guy a medal. It’s never fun/easy to admit a team you hate is good.

  7. Gooch from The Bronx

    It is true that nobody dislikes a losing team. UK b ball is as successful a program as exists today. I appreciate the fact that you admit UK has the best team in the nation this year. They could probably beat a couple of NBA teams. I would guess that although you give UK credit for being a great team, the reason you dislike them is because you are always arguing with your KY friends about various sports and teams. That will make you root against a team real quick. Especially a winning team. I would also guess that you root against UK because I have heard (do not know if this is true or not) they refuse to schedule UC on any kind of a regular basis in football or basketball. I also assume when you said that there is nothing else to root for in Kentucky, you were only referring to the fact that they do not have major league sports.
    Glad to see that although not a fan of UK, you admit that they are the best team in the nation.
    Here is an idea. Each November there should be a b ball tournament with UK, UC, Louisville, Xavier, IU, OSU, Miami, Murray State, Dayton, and Butler. That would make for real pre conference excitement.

    • I agree with Gooch on all of these counts, although the ability to schedule UC is clearly not the “intimidated” factor Josh may claim it to be. UK gets very few nonconference games that can coincide with what they are contractually obligated to offer up for TV stations (this is new info Kraze, so take notes), and now with the SEC getting A&M and Mizzou, and expanding to an 18-game conference schedule, have to cut even more, and they are ultimately having to decide whether or not to cut UNC or IU. It sounds like they’ll cut UNC due to the longstanding IU rivalry. But when you have to cut UNC from your schedule, you obviously don’t have room to waste a space on a team that has no true affiliation with UK other than proximity nor is a rival.You don’t drop some of the cupcakes because they tune you up and you make that cash money.

      As for the article, it definitely takes a man to admit the enemy is good. Happy Birthday to the Kraze.

      Here’s your present: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSvsJHhy0E4

  8. Good article, fact based, followed main idea to
    Conclusion objectively even after admitting predudice to the subject. You have a new BBN fan in me. Never dismiss an observation just
    because of where it came from. Would cause to miss an excellant piece like this.

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