The Short Game: Perfection Just isn’t What It Used to Be
March 30, 2015
Filed under The Short Game by Mike Carlson
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Whether you love them or hate them, whether you root for West Virginia or Notre Dame. I think we can all agree that the run by the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team is nothing short of historic.
Don’t worry, I get it. Their run is quite literally historic. At 38-0, they are off to the best start since before the advent of cutting the net. Not to mention, the Cats have the best defense this side of the Milky Way, an average margin of victory higher than the average age of their five oldest players, as well as a roster of who’s who when it comes to NBA prospects.
And that’s just Kentucky Blue — one line of the hockey-style two line (the second being Kentucky White) shift head coach John Calipari has used this year.
I’m sure whoever plays Kentucky in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship will be a formidable opponent (Wait, didn’t they say the same thing about West Virginia?), however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that a little part of me wanted to see Kentucky White take the floor instead.
Still, those stats don’t tell the true story behind the greatness that is Kentucky Hoops.
Kentucky’s run at perfection is so exalted simply because perfection in the major realms of sports is rarely seen nowadays.
In other words, modern sports has become that all-inclusive mom who just wants to see everyone play and “have a good time in a rich learning environment.”
I’m sorry, but since when did winning become a group activity?
It’s not easy today to build a super power. There have been rules put up to encourage parity. You can’t even give a football player a ride across campus on a golf cart without inciting a riot by smaller schools and the NCAA over the perceived advantage that player gains from the ride. Last time I checked, college football isn’t one big game of “Mario Kart.” Golf carts don’t rush for 200 yards, players do.
It’s hard to stockpile talent too.
Free agency has been the enemy of every potential dynasty. Look at the San Francisco 49ers. They went from “perpetual Super Bowl contender” to “just hoping to field a team” in a span of one year. Players end up departing and leave gaps larger than the final of the West Virginia-Kentucky Sweet 16 game.
This is especially true for the never-ceasing revolving door that is college basketball. Guys barely have time to settle into their dorm before they ship off for the NBA. Yet, somehow Kentucky (arguably the fastest revolving door in college hoops) has been able to gather more talent in one place than the Avengers.
Are you starting to see why there hasn’t been a perfect run to hoops immortality since the Ford administration and not a single undefeated squad since the madness expanded to 64 teams?
You just can’t repeatedly crush your opponents into a fine dust like you could in the good old days. It’s a shame really.
Nevertheless, if there is one team equipped to end the dry spell and banish those all-embracing mothers back to whatever “new-age” preschool “learning environment” they emerged from, it’s the Kentucky Wildcats.
And I’ll keep saying it until I’m Kentucky blue in the face.