Dunton returns for a little pre-Madness rant. He doesn’t want Kentucky to win, unlike yours truly. Today, Wayniac Nation presents to you Dunton’s views on why Kentucky needs to lose. Hold on to your seats, Nation fans, you can bet your March Madness loving’ butts my counterpoint will be coming!
I don’t want Kentucky to go undefeated. It’s a simple statement that can rally a group of people or divide them, but one that bears repeating, I don’t want the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team to win the NCAA tournament and complete an undefeated season. If you know me you know that I have no love for John Calipari and the past that has brought him to what many call the Mecca of College Basketball, but my disdain for Coach C is not the reason I don’t want Kentucky to win every game they play this year. My reasoning is simple, it’s not good for college basketball.
Here is the thing, if Kentucky was a group of seniors who have scratched and clawed for three years to bring them to the doorstep of greatness I would fully support their quest for perfection, but that’s not the case. Kentucky, or more importantly Calipari, has brought us to a crossroads of college basketball. He has fully bought into the one and done plan of recruiting. We have heard it all year about the platoon system and the 10 All Americans. More importantly we know that 3, maybe 4 of these guys will be gone to the NBA next year. This has reshaped the landscape of college basketball and not for the better.
Before I speak to this let me make it clear I understand the 19-year old’s point of view of making the leap to the NBA to sign a million dollar (or multi-million dollar if you are really good) contract but is it really good for these boys? They are boys.
Look at the NBA landscape. There are only a handful of one and done prospects that have turned into something. Anthony Davis being the most recent of these. But, for every Anthony Davis there are countless other one and done players: Ben McLemore, Marquis Teague, Julius Randle, James Young are names that come to mind. Teague, Randle and Young are all former Wildcats that have been drafted since 2012. Have you heard of any of them since they left the Bluegrass State? Probably not until you just read their names here. Would they have benefited from another year or two, or dare I even say three at Kentucky? No doubt they would have and at the very least would have been still been enrolled in school to work towards completing a degree. Calipari is not the villain here, he is the face of the system that has been created by the NBA’s lack of action in creating a plan that makes sense. The “You have to be out of high school for a year before declaring eligibility” plan that the NBA has now simply doesn’t suffice. That is what the problem is and Calipari is playing this game too well with the team he has created this year.
So here we step into my reasoning why I don’t want a 40-0 Kentucky team. If Calipari and Kentucky pulls this off then countless other coaches, I mean schools, will quickly try to adopt this system. I mean even my hated rival Duke’s Coach K has started the one and done plan. Last year it was Jabari Parker and this year it’s Jahlil Okafor. Coach K has bought into this and now that this domino has fallen you can bet every other domino will be next in line.
The problem here is that we will create a system similar to MLB free agency. Why do people hate the Yankees? That is a multi-part answer but the most frequent reasoning is they get to go out and buy the best players. That’s what the landscape of college basketball is becoming. The best players will go to the schools with the best sneaker contract, most televised games, and publicity so they can be seen to be drafted by the NBA.
There is a reason that Karl Towns Jr. chose Kentucky over St.John’s, Rutgers, and Seton Hall. How often do we see these three on television? Every one of Kentucky’s games has been on this year. Most have been showcase games nationally televised. There is also a reason that he chose Kentucky over Syracuse, Michigan State, Florida and Villanova. That one has nothing do with nationally televised games, it has to do with a coach who has proven he is okay with one and dones.
Look, I am not here to say that players and coaches or even the NCAA are to blame. I don’t like the system set up by the NBA and I feel that if Kentucky goes undefeated the system wins. It’s not a person I’m angry with, they are all products of the environment they play in and if Kentucky has a big fat zero in the loss column the system wins out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive to think that the NCAA doesn’t want Kentucky to go undefeated. Is there a better ratings grabber than a team chasing history? Of course not, but it’s even better to know they may lose. So — come on Notre Dame, a team led by two seniors, and show the world that age is better than youth. Show the world that a group of freshman need another year to chase history. If this same Kentucky team is back next year and are undefeated going into the tournament I will silently cheer for them. Of course, I am a Carolina fan of course so it has to be very quiet, deep in my soul.