John Calipari apparently believes it when he says things like the University of Kentucky is the center of the college basketball universe, that other schools want to be UK.
“Understand that: They want to be us. Not beat us. Be us. So they’re coming at you, trying to say, ‘You win against Kentucky, it shows that we’re them.’ So everybody we play is going to bring it and bring it at a high level.”
He reminds one of the squeaky-voiced braggart in the schoolyard, the effeminate one with the wealthy parents, having everything handed to him, buying his friends, kidding himself into thinking he accomplishes anything on his own, the other kids knowing better, but having to tolerate the spoiled rich kid.
Basketball is the reason Kentucky is not taken seriously in football. Why would anyone who follows Ohio State want to be Kentucky? Most teams would want to be in Ohio State’s shoes this weekend, with a chance to send the Wildcats and their fans home one more time.
If given a choice between being Duke and UK, most people would pick Duke. Not even a contest. You could add UCLA, North Carolina and dozens of other schools.
Few schools want the kind of reputation that comes with being Kentucky, with the many encounters the school has had with the NCAA. The odds of new chapters being added to that shady history are fairly significant, probably inevitable.
Wanting to be Kentucky? Calipari has been in Lexington too long already.