Recently, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari posted his thoughts on the Wildcats' schedule for next year and beyond. There is a possibility that Kentucky will have two more league games on their schedule. Coach Cal feels that the two SEC league games, the Champions Classic, the SEC/Big East Challenge, and the other big-time teams on the schedule put the "program at risk". The question he poses is: Which team should you drop if given the choice of Indiana, North Carolina, and Louisville?
Here are four options (I added one):
Drop a cupcake team from the schedule like Radford, Portland, or Marist
Well, this is the best option for the fans. Coach Cal didn't offer this option, though. The argument here is that a tough loss against a good team is better than an easy win. The problem is that building a team to play well in March with mostly new players (one and dones) is difficult to do against top teams thus making these games important. Another option could be to make these games exhibitions and drop no games.
As the coach points out, "Louisville is always strong and in state". There is that and the fact that this is one of the best rivalry games in the country. The two schools are only an hour apart but they have very different styles which makes this a fun game to watch. Louisville is thought to be Kentucky's "little brother" which always gets them a little testy. This in-state rivalry is too big now to be dropped.
This is a cross-state rivalry with a long history. Former coach Bob Knight obviously dislikes Kentucky. He slapped the back of Joe B. Hall's head on December 7, 1974 after a win. Recently, he was critical of John Calipari although he later apologized. Mike Davis, another former Indiana coach, has said that he hates Kentucky and had a famous meltdown in a game against the Cats. Cal thinks that "Tom Crean will have Indiana there in short order" and the two are known to be friends. Crean may be able to get the Hoosiers back to the top but it shouldn't matter as this is the longest standing rivalry of Kentucky Basketball. The game is important to all those who live on the border.
Drop North Carolina
One thing that could make them lean toward dropping this game is that this is not a traditional rivalry as the two schools are not close. The two teams are two of winningest programs of all-time and, as Cal says, "UNC is top five every year". Both teams have top players and coaches year after year. This is a marquee matchup that would be missed. Aside from geography, another reason to drop this game would be that the young Wildcat teams don't have the experience and may not be ready for a game like this early in the season. With the SEC expansion, Kentucky may want to stick with tradition and drop this one.
Which one did you vote for?