Now that the emotions have calmed, I guess I can write about it. For the second time this season, MSU had the #2 UK Wildcats on the ropes, with just over 2 minutes to play. In the first game, the Cats faced a deficit of 7, this time around the lead was 5. Both times UK forced OT, both times they escaped with a victory. With time ticking down, State had two enemies in the back of their mind, the refs and the play clock, which took an eternity to tick away. Eventhough the officiating was better than last time out, the final 5 minutes of regulation and OT, were nothing more than deja vu for MSU’s Jarvis Varnado. Critical possessions in the closing minutes, Varnado was fouled in the act of rebounding and shooting, not to mention being thrown to the floor at one point by UK’s Orton (right in front of the MSU bench). After fighting “tooth and toe nail” as Jack Crisitl would say, the Bulldogs just fell short, in regulation, and in OT. Twice the heartbreak. State also missed 4 critical free throws to seal the game, 2 by Bost, and 2 by Varnado. I’m gonna put aside all criticisms for this game, because if you watched as I did, you know our guys gave til they had nothing left. They emptied themselves on that court in Nashville. When we needed a shot, our guys stepped up, be it Barry, Ray, Jarvis, Augustus, Osby, or Bost. We just ran out a few seconds short. Hats off to all our guys. Now to another issue…
If it was any other team, I’d gladly say congrats, but not to Kentucky. In fact, UK is everything that is wrong with college basketball, and so is John Calipari. I have no respect for universities that serve as a one-year resting place for athletes such as John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. Young kids in it for themselves, chasing NBA dollars, side stepping NCAA sanctions, with a coach who specializes in ‘whatever it takes’ to facilitate their needs. This takes place, while kids like Jarvis Varnado, Patrick Patterson, Barry Stewart, Devan Downey, and Jermaine Beal, commit to a school, earn their degree, and take in the university as it embraces them. There’s something special about that type of player. I know everyone doesn’t have the same talent as others do, and that’s why players leave well before others. But, I think that every player should have to stay for 2 years. 2 years minimum, period. The 1 year stipulations are nothing more than an attempt to encourage African American kids to pursue some level of education, rather than jumping to the NBA. Sorry, but I’m not p.c., and I never will be, so lets just all swallow the truth. The system is failing them. I guess I don’t mind one player who leaves after his first year-every once in a blue moon, but institutions like Memphis (previously) and UK now, who survive off of this meat-market philosophy…sicken me. So, the NCAA just looks the other way, while these ‘kids’ who are not fit or prepared for the real world, are thrust into the NBA culture, and all it has to offer (not a good thing). Take a player such as Cousins, I wonder how a kid who can barely control his emotions on a basketball court, will handle himself in a world where he is no longer responsible to an educational institution, but rather only to himself. Man oh man,Time will tell. So here’s to kids who do it the right way, and coaches that do it the right way. But, in John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins’ case, I’m happy that they are one and done, because I can’t stand to look at them another year. And Wildcat fans can enjoy it while it lasts, but the NCAA is coming my friends. Calipari will leave the program in ruins, and Rupp will have nothing but banners that equate to asteriks, hanging in what was once one of the most respected places of all time.
State takes on Jackson State, as a #1 seed in the NIT on Tueday night. I agree with Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps, that in some way, the conference tourney match ups should serve as some type of an ‘elimation-system’ for teams competing to get in to the Dance. Such as with the Bulldogs and Gators. State beat UF, finished with a better record in conference and overall play, and made it to the conference championship?!? Something’s wrong here, and maybe I wouldn’t be so upset if Minnesota, Illinois, and California wouldn’t have got in over a team such as us. I do wish UF well though, and hope they rep the SEC well. If I’m not mistaken, State beat 4 tourney teams, lost to 2 others by 1, 1 of which is a #1 seed…but I guess we didn’t play any quality teams, or beat anybody, except teams that are in the Dance ya know. The NCAA’s love affair with the Big East and Big 10 is ridiculous, especially when a 19 win team takes a spot of a 23 win team in the field of 64. Here’s a look at the NIT Bracket.
That’s all I got today…Your thoughts?