By Blake Schuster
Kentucky, hands down.
If I’m a coach and I have my pick of either team how do I not want Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Terrance Jones? It’d be a damn shame if John Calipari didn’t finally ascend to the top of the college basketball world. His —arguably — best team ever doesn’t have weak spots. From day one Kentucky was built for April 2nd, 2012 and every game before it was practice. The Wildcats have just about all that a team needs to earn them the title — but they don’t have everything.
They haven’t faced the hardship, or the adversity, they don’t have the chip on their shoulder and they definitely don’t have the story.
They don’t have the seven-foot center that was afraid to touch the ball last season, and who turned into one of the most dominant post players in the NCAA this year. They don’t have the hometown kid who plays under the radar and yet every opponent leaves knowing his name. I haven’t noticed a single starter on the Kentucky roster who has had to endure what Tyshawn Taylor went through on and off the court in the last four years. There is not one Kentucky player that understands what losing to VCU does to your stomach. They don’t have anyone that played a part of five teams and earned every second of playing time that he had. And they most certainly don’t have anyone playing for what Thomas Robinson plays for.
That’s not to say that this Kansas team will walk over Kentucky, and it’s far from it. In fact, don’t be surprised to see the Wildcats go up double digits multiple times over the course of Monday night.
But if we’ve learned anything from John Blutarsky of the Delta house it’s that nothing is over until Kansas decides it is. Was it over when Missouri went up by 19? Was it over when Robbie Hummel dropped 22 on Kansas in the first half of their third round match-up? Was it over when Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no — don’t stop me, I’m rolling — and it ain’t over now!
In the 1988 National Championship no one gave Kansas a chance against the heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners who had already defeated the Jayhawks twice that season. But it wasn’t over.
In 2008 when Kansas was down by nine with 2:12 left, and Memphis fans started celebrating, was it over? Go ask Mario Chalmers.
There’s something to be said about teams like the one Bill Self fields this year. They never know when it’s over. They don’t know how to admit it to themselves, and they surely don’t know how to admit it to their opponents.
Kentucky, Calipari, yeah they’ve put together an incredible team. One that former Kansas coach Larry Brown said couldn’t beat about 15 NBA teams, but when the going gets tough,
The tough get going!
So don’t anyone dare think that this Kansas team doesn’t have a chance. Because faced with the choice of taking a team with talent, and a team of destiny, I’ll take destiny every time.
Kansas has all it needs for a storybook ending with the exception of the final chapter. Monday that chapter will be written, and with nothing to lose it’ll be Kansas that wins.
Sorry Cal, but sometimes it’s not the players that make the difference, it’s the stories behind them, and Kansas has too many tales of their own.