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Thread: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

      
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    Default Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite
    Mike DeCourcy
    The Sporting News
    Sunday, Mar. 21, 2010

    NEW ORLEANS—There was Kansas on the television, dying the slowest death since Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator," and Kentucky coach John Calipari immediately recognized that was the last thing his Wildcats needed to see before their own second-round NCAA Tournament game.


    DeMarcus Cousins doesn't let Chas McFarland's rough play distract him.

    Off went the TV.

    On went Kentucky into the Sweet 16.

    "It was on for like a minute," UK wing Darius Miller said. "We didn't really get to see any of it. At that point, they were losing, but we didn't get to see them play.

    "He came in and shut it off. But I think that was a good thing. From that point on, we were focused and keyed in on what we needed to do."

    The Wildcats didn't find out about KU losing until after they had demolished Wake Forest, 90-60, with 20 points from Miller, 14 points and seven assists from guard Eric Bledsoe and 19 points, eight rebounds and an impressive episode of restraint from center DeMarcus Cousins.

    By the time they knew, however, they were having too much fun celebrating a lopsided win and watching Bledsoe's scorching second-half dunk being replayed on ESPN to worry about one of their fellow No. 1 seeds being vanquished.

    The dynamic for Kentucky in this tournament changed early Saturday evening, however, when the consensus favorite got itself bounced from the tournament and those who are paid to have opinions about such things looked around for someone else to anoint.

    Someone tried out this declaration on Calipari — "You're obviously the overwhelming favorite now for most people," a reporter said — during the postgame news conference.

    "I don't know if we're the overwhelming favorite. Everybody was picking us to lose, today being a tough game," Calipari said. "They were also saying we'd be the first No. 1 out. So how do they change those talking heads overnight? With one game? Come on. We're still a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. Our second NCAA Tournament game — the guys that we're playing have never played in it."

    What Calipari can't deny, and he wouldn't bother to try, is that Kentucky now stands as clearly the most talented team in the tournament. With Cousins, Bledsoe, point guard John Wall and forward Patrick Patterson all likely first-round picks in whatever draft they choose to enter, that probably was true before KU was evicted.

    The Jayhawks, though, had talent and experience. Every step in this tournament will be new for the Wildcats. Each of the five UK starters now has participated in two NCAA games each.

    "I told John after the game his kids played really, really well," Wake coach Dino Gaudio said. "I've been in the ACC 10 years; that's as good a basketball team as we played against in the 10 years I've been here."

    That statement covers Maryland's 2002 NCAA champions. It covers North Carolina's 2005 NCAA champions. And yes, it covers Carolina's 2009 NCAA champions. That's a lot of champions.

    To join them, Kentucky entered this tournament needing to take each game seriously and to play with a higher degree of intensity than it had demonstrated in many regular-season games. That has not been an issue.

    The Wildcats took East Tennessee State as seriously as they might have the Tennessee Volunteers. And they were wide awake against Wake Forest from the opening tip.

    It probably didn't help the Deacons that senior center Chas McFarland declined to shake hands with Cousins before the game began. Later, with the game well out of hand, McFarland clubbed Cousins in the face — a play officials ruled an intentional foul. But after the force drove him to the ground, Cousins resisted any temptation to retaliate. He stood up, jogged away, and then began motioning for the crowd to cheer.

    "I knew he was going to come out with his antics, and it didn't work," Cousins said.

    "I wasn't going to do anything about it. I was just letting Coach know that he did give me a cheap shot in the face. I was good. I was good the whole time."

    In a happy locker room, Cousins said he would prefer the Wildcats continue to be doubted rather than embraced as a favorite because "it feels good" to prove the doubters wrong.

    Cousins had a simple answer when asked if he believed Kansas' departure would increase the pressure on Kentucky to win it.
    "Nope."

    He did not elaborate.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/college-...ament-favorite
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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    This is Kentucky's year to shine.

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by WYsteel View Post
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    This is Kentucky's year to shine.
    It better be... Calipari brought-in alot of this talent, and it's stupid to believe it will be returning to the college ranks next season.

    ... Although... There has been alot of talk about Wall returning next year. He has started it himself... So we'll see.
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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    It's the other team from Kansas's year to shine!

    Go K-State!!!

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
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    It's the other team from Kansas's year to shine!

    Go K-State!!!
    I have Pitt losing to K St. next weekend....

    .... But I doubt anyone can keep up with Kentucky at this point.

    .... And that doesn't bother me one bit.....
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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    I like Kansas State, both my brother in laws graduated from there. But I think Kentucky is a better team talent wise.

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Coach Cal will do something stupid to cost his team the title. Cuse is the team to beat.

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Cornell has been the most impressive team, IMO. I know they have no where near the athletes KY does and they'll probably get smoked on Thursday but beating the two teams they did the way they did is quite impressive.

    And I hope Lup is right. If Cuse wins out I win my office pool.

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Zo Zo Zoubek!!!!!!

    LET'S GO DUKE....

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by Lup View Post
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    Coach Cal will do something stupid to cost his team the title. Cuse is the team to beat.
    I think Cuse will win as well.
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    sjdrewk
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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Can Cornell man up with Kentucky? I don't know anything about Cornell.......

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    ... Let's see who's laughing after the Cornell game.... Pigeons
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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    ... Let's see who's laughing after the Cornell game.... Pigeons
    How come I'm hearing people say that Cornell can beat Kentucky? The Frog head Mike Francesa(Keep in mind he likes Kentucky) was saying Cornell is capable of beating Kentucky......I don't get it.

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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by sjdrewk View Post
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    How come I'm hearing people say that Cornell can beat Kentucky? The Frog head Mike Francesa(Keep in mind he likes Kentucky) was saying Cornell is capable of beating Kentucky......I don't get it.
    Yea, man... It's possible... UK is the youngest team in the Dance, and upsets are the name of the game this season... But Cinderella only goes so far, IMO.... When I picked my bracket, I picked UK over KU due to talent over experience, so we'll see... Lots of folks (I won't say whom) hate Calipari... That's cool... But he still gets the job done... I guess time will tell soon enough... I just hate everyone jumping on the Cinderella bandwagon just because a few have won... More folks need to be "students of the game" and realize that it always does, but only goes so far the majority of the time... Odds, man. Odds....
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    Default Re: Like it or not, Kentucky playing like new tournament favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Yea, man... It's possible... UK is the youngest team in the Dance, and upsets are the name of the game this season... But Cinderella only goes so far, IMO.... When I picked my bracket, I picked UK over KU due to talent over experience, so we'll see... Lots of folks (I won't say whom) hate Calipari... That's cool... But he still gets the job done... I guess time will tell soon enough... I just hate everyone jumping on the Cinderella bandwagon just because a few have won... More folks need to be "students of the game" and realize that it always does, but only goes so far the majority of the time... Odds, man. Odds....
    Yeah, you're right, we were just talking about this earlier.... college teams are so close in talent level and add to the fact that teams are only together for a couple of years and then the leave for the pros so you have no idea how things are going to turn out. Having said that, I still don't see Cornell winning this game unless they shoot 70% from the 3.

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