Blog Entry

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:55 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 3:10 pm
Kentucky became the first team in nine years to go undefeated in a major conference. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

We're in a rush, an anxious crouch, to see what Kentucky does when it matters most, but let's stop and realize the accomplishment this team of young Cats just completed. Going undefeated in major-conference play is like spotting a white leopard in the wild. It's extremely rare and normally fleeting; no matter who arrives on campus in Lexington next year, I'd be willing to wager with you that a 16-0 SEC isn't happening for John Calipari's team in 2013. And probably not too soon thereafter.

But it happened this year, once Kentucky won on the road at Florida, 74-59 Sunday afternoon. Not only did UK become the first team to sweep its league in a Big Six conference since 2003, when Kentucky was naturally the last squad to pull it off, the Wildcats also won 30 games in the regular season for the first time in program history. What a feat. This team is truly scary good (have you seen the way opposing players' bodies curdle when they find themselves suddenly in the paint on offense?), better on offense than it is on defense, in fact, and yet it will only be judged by a national title.

That's a bit unfair, but comes with the types of teams Calipari recruits. His message, that fan base and the college basketball universe look to Kentucky with adoration, hate, expectation, confusion and skepticism. It all squeezes into equal parts cynical and pragmatic forecasting of a national title, whether that was supposed to come two years ago, last year, this year. If it's going to happen, it has to be this year, right? If anything, getting this undefeated season in a worse-than-expected SEC only reinforces that.

Yet when UK did this nine years ago, it was felled by this newcomer named Dwyane Wade. Running the table in the SEC may prove to be nothing compared to the unrelenting heat lamp in March. That heat is inescapable and covers more earth than Anthony Davis. I think about that, then know -- it could be so much more stressful than this. Kentucky is one Christian Watford shot away from pressure as heavy as a Jupiter moon. The Wildcats should be thankful. John Calipari is.

That loss negated an undefeated season. I think this team could handle it, but it's so much better off not having to. It was the early season loss that will have no impact on the team's ultimate seeding and only a positive impact on its ability to keep distracting questions, like ones about undefeated seasons, away.

So, at least for today and the next few days, let's not judge or speculate what Kentucky will be. Instead, can we applaud an increasingly rare achievement in college basketball? College football sees undefeated conference runs every year. Perfection in league play in this sport has only proven to be tougher as basketball's become bigger, quicker, more talented and more popular. Every year is a season happening in a convection oven when you don Kentucky threads. That elusive ultimate trophy remains that for Calipari -- elusive. But this, what Kentucky did with one of the youngest and certainly the most talented team in the country, so far compares to 16-0 in the SEC in Calipari's tenure in Lexington.

Bigger things can come. A national championship could be won. And that success could be repeated. This one, 16-0, it's very likely the 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats just finalized something that Calipari won't ever achieve again.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:53 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

As someone with a college degree (although I thought a brain would simply suffice to figure this one out), I will retort that said "vacates" won't occur. Cal had troubles recruiting at two decent schools but here in Kentucky, the most winningest program in NCAA history, it's a breeze. We will continue to garner these recruits because Cal's true skill goes beyond the recruiting, it's the integration. And seeing as he has never been investigated at UK presumably because there are zero NCAA rules being broken. People change, he doesn't do anything illegal here because he simply does not have to. THIS IS KENTUCKY! ARR ARR ARR! (300)

Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:45 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

"Calipari has cheated everywhere he has gone, and has gotten out of town just in time to escape any consequences for his actions."

Hmm, exactly what did he do?  Calipari has cheated everywhere he's been? Really?  So here's your chance. Tell us all. What did he do?

Oh, I know. Marcus Camby took some money from an agent while Calipari was at UMass.  Calipari did that, right? No!

So, it had to be where the NCAA cleared Derrick Rose to play (while he was still in high school), then reneged on the clearing a year later.  Rose wouldn't talk to them since they cleared him to begin with, so then they blame Memphis and vacate the wins. Memphis wasn't to blame either.  The NCAA screwed up, blamed the school, simple as that. Everybody knows it, it's widely available information, you just choose not to read it for what it is. Fact!

Speaking of facts, where are yours?

Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:37 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

I think I liked him better when he was ejack. He made more sense then too. Cool

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2012 9:47 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

I have read so much crap from that Teres Minor that he can only be a huge pile of shit.  I used to get mad, now I read its rants and ramblings for their comedic value.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: March 4, 2012 9:20 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign


Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:30 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

Get a life Tres . Or should I say the little boy with so much ENVY he can't handle it . GO CATS!!!

Since: Jan 1, 2010
Posted on: March 4, 2012 7:52 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

Teres Minor, My God you are childish. " it's almost 8. so off to bed with you".

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: March 4, 2012 7:30 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

The real question, though, is how this will look five years from now.  Will UK still be undefeated, or will they have to vacate the entire season and have no wins at all?  My money is on the latter.  

Calipari has cheated everywhere he has gone, and has gotten out of town just in time to escape any consequences for his actions.  Since he already has one of the four or five best jobs in college basketball, there is no place for him to go except the NBA.  I fully expect Calipari to get the "offer he can't refuse" from the NBA after winning one or two National Championships at UK.

The sad part for UK fans: they will only be "renting" any National Championship they win, because they will have to "return" it after they get caught.  They will really be in trouble if the new "enforcement cop" is serious about cracking down on cheaters.  

Since: Aug 6, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:36 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign

Really?  Cheating?  UK does not need to cheat.  Sandy Bell makes sure it does not happen, and the Kentucky brand simply makes the great players just want to come here.

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:35 pm

Kentucky completes undefeated SEC campaign


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