by GAMEFACE-PHOTOS Rankings are one of the most truthful ways to judge what the best at something is. Some of the time, as with keyword ranking or ...
Rankings are one of the most truthful ways to judge what the best at something is. Some of the time, as with keyword ranking or search engine ranking, the rankings are extremely difficult to argue with because they’re based entirely on data and opinion never enters into the rankings. However, in college sports that isn’t the case because rankings are picked by writers in the media and by coaches, and more often than not the tournament plays out in a way that disagrees with the rankings. One of the greatest college basketball programs of all time is the Kentucky Wildcats, who have won seven national championships and are the first school to have been victorious in two thousand games in their history. However, recently Kentucky had been on a downward swing with a bad coach and a dearth of talent befitting the greatest program in history, a problem which was solved in the season that ended in the spring.
Two years ago, Kentucky didn’t get invited to the season ending NCAA tournament for the first time in almost twenty years, a disappointment that cost the coach, named Billy Gillispie, his job. Directly after the firing, the athletic director knew that he had to make a brilliant new hire because if another coach he hired failed, he might get fired as well. It appeared that the candidate list for new coaches in fact only included one person. A couple days after the previous coach was ousted, Kentucky announced the hiring of one of the most winning coaches in the modern era, John Calipari of Memphis.
As soon as he was brought in, living up to his reputation as a great recruiter, Calipari brought to the team a slew of talented freshmen, resulting in Kentucky having the number one ranked recruiting class at the end of the recruiting period. Among these freshman was John Wall, a man who had been picked out for greatness since he was in middle school and was almost immediately dubbed the best point guard in the college division. Also there was Demarcus Cousins, a massive 6’11 center from Alabama with a fiery attitude on the court and gaudy points and rebounding stats to back it up. These high school superstars becoming members of the team raised expectations to an insane level in Kentucky and around the nation for a team that would be one of the youngest in the NCAA, and Kentucky started out the year ranked as high as number three and as low as fifth.
The season went largely as expected, as it turns out. In his first season in charge Calipari presided over a team that went through the Southeastern Conference season with a mere two losses, away at South Carolina and away at Tennessee. Following that brilliant run through the regular season, the team went on to a win in the Southeastern Conference tournament, held this year in Nashville in front of a crowd consisting of mainly traveling Kentuckians. Following that achievement, the Wildcats earned a top seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time in recent history.
The NCAA tournament, however, was a slightly different story to the rest of the previous games. Kentucky destroyed, its first three opponents in the tournament, Eastern Tennessee State, Wake Forest and Cornell. But, when it was to the round of the Elite Eight things went wrong and the Wildcats cold shooting, including going three for twenty three from three point range, ended the exciting season against West Virginia. Despite the minor disappointment of not reaching the Final Four, it appears national title number eight is on the horizon for Kentucky.