Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bringing Out the Bench Warmers

This is Coach John Calipari.

Except sometimes he looks like this. 

But mostly he looks like this. 

He is the University of Kentucky (U.K...not United Kingdom) basketball coach and essentially a god in Lexington. He gives the people what they want: a win. Consistently. Sometimes by a lot and sometimes by the hair of his chinny chin chin. We've had one loss this year and that was to Indiana. As in the Hoosiers. Also known as up there, the north, those farm boys, and the team they made that movie about that starred Gene Hackman. It was a painful loss. And by painful, I mean a 2-point-shot-that-was-in-the-air-when-the-buzzer-sounded-kind-of-pain. Cue footage from Duke's buzzer win that knocked us out of the NCAA finals. Although UK fans pretty much despise Duke across the board, we reserve our deepest disdain for Christian Laetner. 

Um...anyway, we've had one loss this season and many, many wins. But that's because we really haven't gone into SEC play yet. Our schedule has been chock full of schools like Radford, Portland, and Lamar. Raise your hand if you knew Lamar was in Texas. My bet was Arkansas. I just feel like Arkansas is home to a lot of Lamar's. It's easy to beat a school with a name like Lamar. Simply stand to the left, tap the right shoulder and when they turn to the right, run like hell. And, basically, that's what UK did. They've been giving wedgies and swirlies to every team they've played and running up the score so much that, in the end, it's a win by 20 or 30 points. Except for poor Marist. I didn't see this game but the final score was 108-58. And my question to you that right

Far be it from me to question the methods of a winning coach, but when I put myself in Marist's shoes, I feel awfully depressed about that score. What was UK trying to prove? That they can whoop up on a team that everyone has to Google? That they would be successful in reaching triple digits at least once this season? That they are happy to risk the health and safety of the starting 5 just to end with twice the points as the other team? And it's not as if double the points means it was 20 to 40 or 30 to 60. Those scores happen and sometimes they even happen when you play the rest of the bench. But 108 to 58?? That's greed. 

I don't believe that every recruit is a future DeMarcus Cousins or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. There is always going to be an Eloy Vargus or Kyle Wiltjer...a kid who supports the team from the sidelines until there is 30 seconds left in the game and we're up by 15 points. My point is, I don't think they are being given a chance to play unless there is no way that UK could lose. OK, Coach Cal did play them a bit last week against Louisville (I think) and there were a lot of turnovers. Like literally passing the ball straight into defense hands kind of turnovers. The kind that make you roll your eyes, shake your head, and walk away. No UK player should be committing such gross errors, but I also think it's a sign that those guys need more game experience. Scrimmages on a Saturday morning don't prepare you for the crowded and deafening arena that is Rupp. Put 'em in, Coach. They're ready to play. 

Thoughts? Do you think the second string should only be allowed to play if the win is guaranteed? Is a win more important than everyone playing at the college level? Is it right to drive up the score?


  1. Did you see Duke's loss last night? To Temple? baaahahahaaaaaaa!

    Also, you can have Cousins back. He could use a bit more edumacation. Or maybe just some duck tape to cover that mouth of his.

  2. I have to agree that I can't stand Duke - and I'm not a UK fan. I think it's the whole liking UNC and the Maryland Terps thing.

    I often wonder about the whole letting all the kids play regardless of the score or their "station" on the team. But between BBall, Football both college and pro - I guess there is a pecking order and when you're good enough in the coaches eyes to get in the game.. he'll put you in there. I know I for one would not want the pressure of being a head coach in any sport... talk about stress.

  3. I don't think it's fair to run up the score. You don't have to decimate the other team and in a situation like that, where you are so far ahead, you should play your bench. It gives those guys a chance for some game time and it lets the losing team leave with a little dignity. If you don't feel like the guys on your bench are good enough to be on the team, they should be good enough to play in some games.

    Also...I knew Marist without having to Google. Because I'm all knowledgable like that. And also...because it's really close to my house.

  4. It has always seemed to me that it is poor coaching to leave in the first string and run up the score. If you put in the second and third strings and give them some court time, then six weeks from now when the front line fouls out, or the stars get injured, the back-ups have some experience and might just play better.

    Just a thought.

    Oh, and I am officially adopting the 'cats again this spring - at least until March Madness. Not much chance of the Griffons (I challenge you to figure that one out!) being in anyone's tournament and I like the colors. xo