Monday, December 22, 2008

Former Kentucky Coaches Support Group (aka Louisville vs Minnesota)

The previous two Kentucky basketball coaches squared off at the University of Phoenix Stadium event that took place in Phoenix, Arizona. Former co-workers and presumably friends and members of the same support group, Tubby Smith and Rick Pitino squared off. As expected, Tubby had the better team, and Pitino had the better raw talent. And as it is often the case in single-games in college hoops, the best team won!

Tubby has probably found the ideal place for him. He is still in a Big Conference, he is the biggest program in the state by far, but at the same time, he is not the type of person that mothflies to the spotlight like Pitino or Calipari or CryZoonski. Plus this allows him to build up solid teams of three and four year players, instead of McBurger one-and-done, which is what he likes to do. He is not going to become the next Duke/Carolina type of a program, but he will have solid 20+ wins every year, and when the cycle is right, he will be making second weekend runs in the NCAA.

Pitino on the other hand is running out of excuses. No longer the "but the high-schooler went to the NBA" excuses work. Gone is Derrick Caracter. He should have had the team he was expected to. But the only one of his six guards that is meeting or exceeding expectations is Preston Knowles. The rest of them are just out of it. We already talked about Sosa in the Ole Miss game recap. And Samardo Samuels is starting to look like a 3rd tier center that comes off the bench for Top Ten teams when the game is already decided. OUCH!

But the good news is that this is still mid-December, and the big games are in February and March! However, considering that this team did not lose that many players, and it has some solid raw talent, they are clearly under-performing even by under-performance standards ;-)

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