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Why You Should Cheer Against Kentucky

I don’t bet on a lot of things. I’m really not much of a gambler.

I’ll maybe throw a couple bucks on a round of horse, and I usually enter my NCAA Tournament bracket in a few pools for a little coin, even though it’s almost damn certain my bracket will turn out mediocre at best and I’ll just lose my money. But there is one thing I would bet anything on: John Calipari is a cheater.

The University of Kentucky basketball coach led his Wildcats to an incredible year, currently sitting at a 34-2 record, and to take on the four seed Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen tonight on CBS. They’ve have put on a show better than Cirque du soleil this year, tearing teams to shreds with scores like 69-44, 108-58 and 85-47, all while starting four freshmen and a sophomore.

Many have picked this powerhouse to take the tournament this year and run away with their title since 1998. But I’m here to tell you why you should root against them, and I only need one reason: John Calipari.

Now, you must know that I really don’t have too much of problem with his freshmen Cubs: Kentucky is quite simply the best team in the country, and if they’re young, so be it.

My problem is with Calipari, or the Scumbag, as I like to call him. And the first problem I have with him, I’ll pose as a question: How many significant players can you name that have played under John Calipari for four years?

Think about it…

No it’s okay. I’ll wait.

Now, I don’t doubt there are four-year players out there, my point is that it’s rare for Calipari. It’s clear as night that the guy recruits for one-and-done players, so he can build up an All-Star team to dismantle teams. It shows in his history it’s all he wants to do.

Ever since the NBA took away the option for players to go straight from high school to the NBA, Calipari has been licking his chops to snag players who would’ve gone pro if they had the choice. Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Camby to name a few.

Why do I have a problem with his one-and-done fetish? It’s sketchy.

To an untrained eye, all that looks like is that Calipari has an incredible talent for recruiting. But let’s boil this down a bit. Let’s look at the best one-and-dones over the past six years. Greg Oden went to Ohio State. Kevin Durant went to Texas. Michael Beasley went to K-State. All great players. All went to prestigious schools. All never had problems. All didn’t play for Calipari. Now, let’s take a look at some of Calipari’s players.

John Wall: Has someone else take the SAT for him, gets caught, has entire 2007-08 season vacated. Marcus Camby: Accepts $40,000 in cash and gifts from an agent while still in college, gets 1996 NCAA Tournament wins vacated by NCAA.

All of this doesn’t look sketchy, does it?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either. Calipari knew about the money Camby took, and that Wall cheated on his test. You can’t convince me otherwise. Definitely not from the same man who once yelled at Newark Star-Ledger sports reporter Dan Garcia, calling him a “f***ing Mexican idiot.”

Charming guy.

The other reason why you should root harder against Calipari than the Russians in hockey, is his outlook on the priorities of a coach.

After five players were picked in the first round of the NBA draft two years ago, Calipari was interviewed by an ESPN commentator, and told the reporter that getting kids drafted in the first round was more important than winning a national title.

Imagine your favorite team’s coach saying that. I don’t think any further explanation is needed.

And the problem is, Calipari isn’t going to change his tactics.

“Everyone says you cannot win a national title because you’re too young,” Calipari said in an ESPN interview. “That may be the case, who knows?”

Makes sense he wouldn’t change his tactics, and actually, I don’t know, coach? Instead of just coercing the best high school players in the nation to come to Lexington, Kentucky, and then throwing them on the court and telling them to just go nuts.

Don’t worry, it’s working for him though. He’s still yet to win a NCAA Tournament.

“I’m not trying to be braggadocios, but if you’re a player with pro potential, where do you want to go?” Calipari said in the interview. “Right now it’s Kentucky.”

The sole fact that he thinks its OK to run a team like a professional squad, just to get players ready for the NBA is disgusting to me. The purpose of College Basketball isn’t to get players ready for the NBA, as much as people may think it is. Only 1.2 percent of the NCAA basketball players actually go pro, which means 98.2 percent of all the players you’ve seen play this year, won’t be playing in the NBA. On average, 48 players will be drafted this year into the NBA. 5 of them will probably come from Kentucky. Possibly more.

They aren’t what college basketball is about, and for that, you should cheer your hearts out for Indiana tonight.

After his five studs got drafted in 2010, Calipari said it felt like he had just won a national title: Let’s hope Indiana makes sure Calipari never knows how that actually feels tonight.

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Chris Heady is a senior and the Co-Head Copy Editor on the print Harbinger. He enjoys movie soundtracks and a good pen. Read Full »

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