Should be okay for University of Louisville fans to get out in public now, with the loss to Kentucky a couple of days in the rear view mirror. Not a fun rivalry.
The worst part about losing to UK in any sport is that Wildcats fans, a large segment of them anyway, are unable to give the University of Louisville credit for what it has achieved, even following a third national championship in 2013.
The less interaction UofL partisans have with UK fans the better in the days immediately following a game, whether the outcome was a win or a loss.
One need not look any farther than John Calipari, their head basketball coach, as a prime example. Rather than give the Cardinals’ defense credit during a halftime interview, the UK coach predictably alludes to the physical play. Sorry, coach, but UofL is never going to roll over for Kentucky.
Calipari is used to having calls go his way, especially at Rupp, and when they don’t, he gets that slack-jawed, whiny look on his face. That familiar expression of someone who looks guilty of something, knowing he’s gotten away with it, and making one wonder he’s done lately. Not one mention of the way UofL played, focusing exclusively on his own team in the post-game press conference.
Meanwhile, UofL Coach Rick Pitino is complimenting UK of having one of the best defensive teams he’s seen in 40 years of coaching, expressing admiration for Calipari’s ability to keep the Kentucky players happy with their limited playing time.
Pitino should know a good defense when he sees one, with defense being his major emphasis at UofL and offense almost an afterthought. The coach’s “offensively-challenged” basketball team desperately needs more attention, starting with the point guard play.
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Pitino said on his post-game radio show that “Louisville fans may not like it, but Kentucky has better players than we do.”
It was an unintended reminder from Pitino that Calipari has not only outcoached Pitino, winning six of the seven games between the two schools and has never lost a recruit to Pitino. UofL fans will never be happy with that equation.
Interesting that William Wesley, also known as World Wide Wes, again managed to find a front row seat, even at the KFC Yum! Center. The individual who has made most of Calipari’s success possible at UK, Memphis and, probably, at Massachusetts
Front row seats on the floor are not the best place to watch a basketball game, providing a poor perspective of the overall action. Those seats are generally for people who want to be seen, often having bigger interests than the outcome of a particular game.
Wesley is a mover and shaker, actually the kingpin, in the college basketball recruiting. As long as Calipari and Wesley remain on good terms, UK will have first pick of emerging high school talent. Small wonder the UofL roster includes a growing number of foreign-born players.