Monday, January 25, 2010
Parity, Not Just Another Overused Sports Expression
Last year there was North Carolina. They were the elite team. They were better than every other college basketball team playing. Hands down. Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Wayne Ellington. On the way to the national title they blew out everyone. Nobody came within single digits of those guys. Last year, there was NC and there was everyone else.
This year, there is no NC. Right now, Kentucky is undefeated. It's always tempting to get carried away with the last undefeated. Step back from the ledge, because you're fooling yourself in the bluegrass state if you think Kentucky is the team. Kentucky is undefeated. Kentucky is very good. Kentucky is all freshman, and Partick Patterson. I know how good John Wall is. Eric Bledsoe too. And Demarcus Cousins is playing almost as good in the post as Wall is from the point. Almost. But there is a difference between a group of insanely talented freshman, and a group of insanely talented multi-year starters who have been there before. The Wildcats are one immature play from Cousins away from a loss come tourney time. One missed three (of many) from John Wall. They are five minutes of uncomposed basketball from coming up short.
What Calipari has done year one at Kentucky is very impressive. But let's temper it for a moment. While the Wildcats are 19 and 0, they have a whopping 5 wins against teams in the top 100 of the RPI rankings: UConn, Florida, North Carolina, Louisville and Georgia. They've only played three true road games: at Indiana, Auburn and Florida. Kentucky's RPI ranking, for those who are curious, is 7. So, yes, Kentucky is impressive. But they have a lot to prove before being put in a class above teams like Kansas, Nova, Cuse, Michigan State, Texas and down the line. Because right now, they're not peerless. That was North Carolina. This is now.