Kentucky is Back
By Austin Lay, CV&T Sports Writer
The University of Kentucky Wildcats are headed back to New Orleans to play in the Final Four for the second year in a row after beating the Baylor Bears by twelve last Sunday afternoon. This Final Four will be different than any other one that the ‘Cats have played in; this one is against Rick Pitino and his “red Birds.” The second best rivalry game in all of basketball, only behind Kentucky and North Carolina, who we nearly had the chance to meet in the championship game.
The thing that amazes me about Kentucky making the Final Four for the second year in a row, is that only three years ago, we were beat out in the second round of the NIT. That season would end Billy Gilispie’s tenure as Head Coach of the Wildcats. I feel that “the billy g. era” was the worst two year span in the history of Kentucky Basketball. I don’t understand how you can take such a historic and marveled program and make it take a nose dive into the ground. The University of Kentucky should never be in the NIT, EVER. A program with seven NCAA Tournament titles, should never even be considered as a team in the NIT. After the Gilespie failure, Mitch Barnhart started looking for another coach, he found one in John Calapari.
Since Calipari took over the program, The Wildcats have won 2 SEC Championships and have been the runner in the third tournament he coached. The ‘Cats have been to at least the elite eight in all three years Cal’ has coached, in the past two years they’ve made it to the final four for the first time since 1996.
The Wildcats have only need to win two more games to become NCAA Champions for the 8th time in school history. One of the two teams standing in their way is Pitino, in what will be one of the most anticipated final four matchups in tournament history. These two team, fan bases, coaches, mascots, and city’s hate each other. ESPN and CBS will play this game up to be the biggest game of the year, and in all honesty, it probably is. Kentucky will have to defend the red birds without fouling, and they will have to hit most of their field goals and free throws.
I can’t wait to see Kentucky end the season with a 38-2 and win their eighth NCAA championship