Who to Root for in the Final Four: Kentucky


With Cincinnati not in the Final Four and people needing someone to root for, your friendly neighborhood Bearcats Blog is doing something about it. Instead of just watching the games and letting whatever feelings come naturally like a girl, I’m laying out reasons why you should root, and root against, every team in this Final Four. I covered Louisville yesterday. With a lot of local flair, that seems easier said than done. I have your back though. Never forget that out of all the people who say they care, I really care.

Why we should root for Kentucky

– When they are playing well, there is no one in the country more fun to watch. If you have watched any Kentucky games this season, you can definitely vouch for this. The style of play, the amount of talent on the floor, the overall skill and maturity of the players, when all of that is put together, Kentucky bulldozes teams. Iowa State thought they were going to buck up and make a run on Kentucky. Instead, the Wildcats scored 84 points in a row and blew them out. Baylor went up 10-7 early on Kentucky. They thought they were going to give Kentucky a fight on their run to the Final Four. Kentucky made something like 15 shots in a row and went up over 20 on them. There is a gear that this team has that no one else in the country has. The scary thing about them, is that they don’t play at that gear all the time. But the scary thing for opponents is that they Wildcats will normally hit that stride once or twice a game. That’s all it takes to bury someone.

– Kentucky can win in a number of styles. The Wildcats can beat you in an up tempo game like they did Indiana. They can beat you in a slow down game, 66 possessions per game in SEC play. They can beat you in the middle. Most teams in the country can’t adapt to changes in styles. Kentucky can. And they can very well.

– Michael Kidd Gilchrist is incredibly easy to root for. MKG has 2 things going against him. 1, he’s playing at Kentucky and 2, he’s a hamburger All-American. Those two things can turn off some fans. Fans who think “Oh, he’s just another Kentucky star from the pipeline, he’s probably over hyped and not very good, yawn.” That’s where you would be wrong. We all love JaQuon Parker. Think of MKG as a 6-7 JaQuon. Kidd-Gilchrist rose to the top of the recruiting lists because he plays hard and goes all out all the time. He averaged 12-7-2 on the season. He can’t really hit the 3 yet, but the rest of his game is rock solid. He’s a matchup problem for just about everyone because he can do everything. He put up 24-19 on Louisville in the first meeting. He’s something like 76% finishing around the basket. That’s just absurd. You may not like Kentucky, but you can’t help but like watching Kidd-Gilchrist.

– Anthony Davis is awesome. He’s going to be the number 1 pick in the NBA draft. He can do everything. He has a nice mid-range jumper. He is deadly around the basket. Recently he’s stepped back from 3. The lob play that Kentucky runs for him is nearly unstoppable. Davis was a poor free throw shooter at the beginning of the season and ended up hitting 77% during SEC play. The scary thing about Davis is that he’s upped his game a whole lot as the season went on. Oh yeah, there is the fact he blocks roughly 89 shots a game and alters many more. Kenyon blocked 102 shots his senior year. Davis blocked 175. The kid is a beast.

– The lob play Kentucky runs is awesome.

– The notion that Kentucky is ruining college basketball is a joke. I’m tired of reading articles about how Kentucky is ruining college basketball because of the way that Calipari recruits his players. Cal recruits in real life like we all do in video games. You try to get all the best players on your team. He’s not the only one recruiting Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague and so on. What he’s doing though, is exploiting the system right in front of our faces. People can’t stand that. People act like college basketball is actually about college. That’s why they spend so much time talking about where everyone will be drafted and what position they will play during the NBA and in columns instead of how the kids are doing in class and on that big paper they had to write. There is no sanctity in anything. Everything is a business. Everything exploits something else. If Cal was really ruining college basketball, then every McDonald’s All American would go to every team that is on tv every week. That’s not the case. You have kids from the game last night going to Baylor and NC State and Providence and Memphis and Oklahoma State. If recruiting were all about going to the pros, then recruiting would be easy. That argument is saying that the kids relationship with the coaches or other players doesn’t matter. Take Yancy Gates. If Yancy wanted to get in the NBA right away, he would have gone to North Carolina or Syracuse or whatever. He wanted to build Cincinnati. Blaming Cal and Kentucky for ruining college hoops is a joke. Especially since North Carolina is doing the same exact thing and they were the ones who missed the tournament 2 years ago.

Why we should root against Kentucky

– They are the supreme favorite. Why would you ever root for the favorite in anything? I don’t know either. Who roots for Goliath? It’s pretty well known that it’s Kentucky’s title to lose. Well if it’s theirs to lose, I hope that they lose it. The predictable sucks. The unpredictable make sports, and life, exciting. I’ll take Kentucky losing over them winning every day of the week.

– Terrence Jones flexing. We get it, TJ, you are really good at basketball. You should be out there making awesome plays. You can also not flex after you pull off half of them. You aren’t Hulk Hogan. And if you were the Hulkster, you need a big, blonde mustache. Until this happens, just stop.

– Anthony Davis’ unibrow. It’s not cool. It’s not even funny to look at anymore. I can’t believe Kyle Wiltjer hasn’t shaved it off at 3 am on some random road trip. It seems like Kyle is into grooming.

– I don’t really care for Marquis Teague. He’s not as good as the hype. Just like Brandon Knight. I have no idea what NBA team Knight is on, but I bet they suck.

– Kentucky fans. There are no more passionate fans in the world than the ones that root for Kentucky. There are also no more hard headed, kool aid drinking, close minded, homers than Kentucky fans. There are great Kentucky fans out there who aren’t that at all, but from everything I lived in my life, the bad ones are the ones that stand out. I will admit it’s always funny when a national writer says something bad about Kentucky and gets swallowed in the Kentucky sea. Here is the most damning thing about Kentucky fans though. They think Ashley Judd is still hot. It’s not 1998 anymore. Her face is scary.

– They are Kentucky.

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