Friday, March 30, 2012

Hell To Pay

I've watched a lot of basketball in my day.  I have tried to think of a time when 2 rivals that hate each other as much as Louisville and Kentucky played against one another in the Final Four.  I'm trying to think of a time but I am drawing a blank.  How big is this?  This is college basketball's version of Armageddon for the State of Kentucky.  Let me count the ways.

NCAA recidivist Kentucky is merely the Whore of Babylon.  It is coached by John Calipari, who had 2-count 'em- 2 teams have to forfeit appearances in the Final Four for various and sundry NCAA violations during his watch.  And both times Cal left one step ahead of the Sheriff.  While the Wildcats seem to have managed to keep their nose clean so far under Cal despite his sketchy past, his teams have consisted of so called "one and done" mercenaries who arrive at Kentucky with not the slightest intention of matriculating.  Which must drive both Kentucky's administrators, the ones that insist they are running a real school, along with the NCAA, crazy.

Louisville has always chafed at playing second fiddle to Kentucky in the Commonwealth even when Kentucky wasn't very good.  Like back when Eddie Sutton got them put on probation.  Kentucky hired Rick Petino (wait for it) who eventually led them to the first national championship in their history when they weren't openly cheating.  Pitino followed the bucks to the NBA where he toiled in mediocrity with the post-Larry Bird Boston Celtics.  Eventually he resurfaced in the college game at-guess where?-LOUISVILLE.  And so he is subject of completely pathological hatred by Wildcat Nation because he stepped down to take a job in professional hoops only to return to coach their most despised rival. 

At least Petino is only hated by one fan base.  Calipari is pretty much despised everywhere but Lexington.  Temple's John Chaney once threatened to strangle Cal during a post game interview.  Even that's never happened to Rick Petino.  And just so you will know, the two coaches are said to hate each other as well.

This ought to be good.  It ought to be Armageddon.  There will be hell to pay. 

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