It would be appropriate if John Calipari could get his Wildcats together for a short meeting with Rick Pitino and his Cardinals.
The coaches’ messages could be the same each year, and could go something like this:
Coach Cal: “This is for you freshman – you are all freshmen, aren’t you? Long before I was born, Kentucky had a coach named Adolph Rupp who beat the daylights out of every other team in the Southeastern Conference. To this day football rules the roost at every SEC school except here at Kentucky and at Vanderbilt.”
Coach Pitino: “Coach Cal knows what he is talking about. I’ve been there (at Kentucky) and done that. At Louisville – because of my success at Kentucky, I guess – we get the same treatment in the Big East that the Wildcats get in the SEC.
“Coach Rupp won four – F-O-U-R – national championships. Coach Joe B. Hall won another. I, ahem, won another and I left Tubby Smith with enough talent that he also won the national title.”
The point is this: For both the Cards and Cats, every team you play wants to beat you more than any other team on their schedules. You must be ready for every game.
Coach Cal should tell his team not to be surprised if some away games in the SEC will have about as many Big Blue fans in the stands as your opponent. That’s the way UK fans are.
At Vanderbilt, UK fans bought so many season tickets for just the one UK game in Nashville that Vandy refused to sell tickets to anyone from Kentucky.
Now about the way most SEC teams used to regard basketball, and this is a true story: At Ole Miss one year when John Vaught was both head football coach and athletic director, he had this story sent to the Associated Press by his Sports Information department:
“Head football coach and director of athletics John Vaught announced that head basketball coach Eddie Crawford has been promoted to assistant football coach.”
Following UofL’s embarrassing loss at Providence, Denny Crum said that the Cardinals looked tired and noted that players can be “practiced out.” Crum added that he used to give his team two or three days off when they became the way the Cards were. (By the way, WHAS11 scooped its rivals with the Crum quotes. There are a lot of new faces on Louisville TV sports and some of them show signs of talent – if they will just stay in town long enough to get to know the lay of the land.)
Denny learned his lessons well from his college coach, John Wooden, and directed his Cards to two national championships.
Manual Girls Ranked
No. 1 Manual became the first Kentucky girls’ basketball team to be ranked in USA Today’s Super 25 ratings last Tuesday, 17th in the nation. That night, coach Stacy Pendleton’s Crimsons lost their first game of the season, to Mercy 67-65.
UofL 61, UK 85
USA Today’s final Sagarin football ratings placed Charlie Strong’s Louisville Cardinals 62nd in the nation and Joker Phillips’ Kentucky Wildcats 85th. Western Kentucky finished 101st and IU 140th.
Eastern Kentucky was 153rd; Murray 10 slots lower. Morehead finished 233rd out of 246 ranked teams.
Category: Earl Cox on Sports
About the Author (Author Profile)
Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.