It has become an annual tradition in Lexington, KY. Every March, after the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed, someone will ask UK Coach John Calipari what he thinks of Kentucky’s draw. He then proceeds to discuss all the reasons why Kentucky’s region is the most difficult of any team. This usually includes little jabs at the selection committee by asking if the Lakers are in their bracket, or if they are playing the first round in Anchorage.
All those years of being hosed by the selection committee seems to have finally reached a boiling point with Calipari.
After its worst start since 1911, Calipari held an urgent press conference this week to address the Big Blue Nation’s concerns about missing the Big Dance for the 2nd time in 8 years. That is when he revealed his diabolical plan to get even with the selection committee. Below is a transcript of his opening statement:
“Listen, you all know I’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t have a magic wand that can give us the #1 seed we deserve every year. The tournament committee thinks they poop ice cream and can continue to give us the hardest draw time after time. Well, after having so much time stuck at home quarantined this off-season, I figured out how to get them back. I’m going to lose so many games this year that we aren’t even eligible for March Madness! They can’t give us a bad seed in the tournament, if we don’t make the tournament!”
As a stunned Commonwealth tuned in from Pikeville to Paducah, nobody could believe what they just heard. Was John Calipari, the man who has led Kentucky to a National Championship and 4 Final Four’s tanking the season? Sure, this has been one of the worst UK teams of the modern era, but intentionally losing just to prove a point to the selection committee? That’s not how we became the gold standard of college basketball.
When asked to elaborate, Calipari said that he knew once summer workouts began that this particular team wasn’t quite ready to be their brother’s keeper. “I walked in the first day of practice and after seeing them warm up I looked at Coach Barbee and Coach Flint, and said, “None of these guys can shoot! Who recruited this team?” We have a whole bunch of shooters, but not a lot of makers.”
Coach Calipari said he doesn’t have a lot of “makers” on this team. However, you will need a lot of “Maker’s” in order to sit through 40 minutes of watching this team try to run an offense.
As reporters began feverishly typing on their laptops to document the news, a veteran reporter pointed out to Cal that he was in fact the one who recruited and assembled this roster of players. Why didn’t it occur to him that finding guys who can actually put the orange spherical object into the round netted rim, could be of some importance?
“Look, Jerry”, Cal responded, “these kids aren’t robots who can make every single shot. They aren’t machines. Because if they were, they would have come with a 90-day extended warranty and I would have taken them back for store credit to bring in some guys who can actually shoot the ball!”
One has to wonder how UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhardt is handling this announcement from his men’s basketball coach. In a written statement, Mitch said that he was unable to attend the press conference in person because he was busy looking for more places on campus to insert checkerboard patterns, but that he would be discussing this with Calipari directly in their weekly “How we can alienate the fanbase more than we already have” meeting.
It is rumored that Quade Green and Jemarl Baker transferred simply so they wouldn’t have to wear these hideous uniforms ever again.
When pressed on if he truly thought a losing season was the right strategy to take with this team, Cal responded, “I was wrong once. I think it was 1978. We know what we are doing here, and we aren’t changing. This team isn’t ready to be everyone’s Super Bowl.” This was actually a good point by Calipari. Remember the ’86 Super Bowl when the Bears crushed the Patriots and had the best defense in the history of the NFL? UK is the Patriots. Our offense is so bad, we make every team’s defense look like the ‘85 Bears.
My how things have changed since Calipari’s 38-1 season in 2015. In the words of Michael Scott, the owner of Michael Scott Paper Company, “well, well, well, how the turntables…”. What happened to our charismatic coach who did everything he could to connect with the fans? Why do star players treat their stay in Lexington as a stepping-stone? Why do players leave for the NBA when they have no business in doing so? Why does Cal refuse to give other players on the roster an opportunity when the so-called “stars” are allowed to make mistake after mistake? Maybe he is the Grand Poobah after all.
So, if you’re a fan who hasn’t given up on this team yet, it appears the time has come to waive the white flag. It seems missing the tournament was the plan all along. We will once again be watching another team cut down the nets on the final weekend of the college basketball season in 2021. The Calipari era, which from 2010-2015 may have been the Golden Age of Kentucky basketball, will now have more NIT’s than national championships.
Cal attempted to offer solace to those who would be disappointed by this failure of a season: “You people are crazy and think we should go 40-0 and win the national title every year. But just think about how great it will be in June when all of these guys get drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft. It will be the greatest night in the history of Kentucky basketball.”