The Kentucky Wildcats are reloaded once again. They just beat the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils be double digits to run their record to 3-0. All should be right in coach John Calipari’s world, right? Then why did he sound so terse in his post game press conference last night?
He said that if the Wildcats were to lose a game then it would be all over that they need a new coach, the game has passed him by, and he’s too old, etc. That’s not the post game presser of a coach who just knocked off Duke. He went on to say that Kentucky is a different deal, meaning the fan and media pressure is unlike anywhere else.
DUH! But you knew that when you took that job. Yes, the UK fan base is unlike any other. These Cats put up a Fire Tubby Smith website right after a double OT loss in the Elite Eight to Michigan State. At 99% of schools, a season like that is a cause for an extension. Not Kentucky.
So for the coach to sound that whiny after such a huge win, sounds like a coach who’s growing tired of it. Kentucky gives a coach everything he needs to win. They have a blank check. They have the greatest fans. They have the best arena. They have the best facilities. But with all of that, they expect to win the NCAA Tournament. Anything less is a bust. At most places, getting to the Final Four is celebrated. UK is not one of those places.
So Kentucky fans, at least some of them, might be less than happy with the Cal era. Sure they have been to the Final Four more often than not. But here is how some may look at the Cal era. Kentucky has won one NCAA Tournament. Tubby Smith did that. Rick Pitino did it twice. So right now Cal needs to win one more just to get past Tubby and pull even with Rick. “Is that what we pay him the highest salary in the nation for?” some may wonder.
On Cal’s watch, Louisville has also won an NCAA Tournament. Also Duke, who may be UK’s most hated rival, has won two. Even UConn has won two. So there may be a few who now question whether Cal is giving them their money’s worth. But those people are idiots. Cal should know that and not pay any attention.
The press conference after the Duke win sounded like a coach looking to the future and not necessarily that future being in the place he is now. He mentioned being “too old”. Who has ever thought of Calipari as being old? Perhaps he is thinking if he wants to give the NBA another shot, he had better do it soon?
It sounds like UK had better be thinking about who Cal’s replacement might be.