Kentucky Has No Chance

You know why?  They are the least battle tested of any of the teams left in the tournament.  The least.  Sure they are undefeated.  And yes earlier in the year they beat a few quality teams in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kansas, Bobby Hurley’s Buffalo, UCLA and Louisville. Actually, Arkansas was the last really good team Kentucky faced in the SEC championship game. However, the Wildcat’s tournament run has been unimpressive – Hampton (16), Cincinnati (8) and West Virginia (5). Ok, they blew West Virginia out of the gym, but West Virginia was no match at all and if you think the Mountaineers prepared UK to face Notre Dame, you are delusional.

The thing is, many of Kentucky’s wins this year came against horribly inferior teams that a good high school team could have taken down, teams like Grand Canyon, Columbia, Texas-Arlington (known more for debate, than basketball), Montana State, Boston University and Missouri. The sobering truth is that the ACC has been a much stronger conference than the SEC this year. All the other SEC teams that made the tournament fell early including Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia. Whereas, the ACC still has 3 teams standing in the Elite 8: Louisville, Notre Dame and Duke.  And while Kentucky beat Louisville in December at Louisville by 8 and held the Cards to only 1 assist, that’s right 1 assist, they only had 2 blocked shots, a season low; they average almost 7 a game. Apart from Louisville, the Cats haven’t played any of the other Elite 8 teams, while Notre Dame has beaten Louisville, Michigan State and Duke twice.  Ok, they did also lose to Duke once by 30 points, but it was a fluke game @ Duke.

The point I am making is that Notre is battle tested and Kentucky is not.  Kentucky may think they are better than they are which could lead to them underestimating the talent and fight of the Fighting Irish.  And if overconfidence and a weak schedule don’t bring down the Cats, the pressure of being and staying undefeated will.  There have only been 7 teams to finish the year undefeated, and the last team to do it was Indiana almost 40 years ago before the age of the 64 team tournament.  The only teams that made it to the Final Four undefeated since the 64 teams era were Indiana State in 1979, who lost to Michigan State in the Finals (Bird v. Magic); UNLV in 1991, who lost to Duke in the Semis and now Kentucky.  Could this young Kentucky team with only three Seniors, all guards who play less than 2 minutes a game, actually pull it off?  If history is any indication, there’s simply no way, not a chance – March Madness ends today for the Wildcats today.

Low T Red Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon grape cluster, shown by DNA...

Do you suffer from low T? Too stubborn or embarrassed to go to the doctor to ask for that testosterone deodorant, Axiron?  Are you drowning your sorrows in Kentucky bourbon or cheap American beer? Well, you may be closer to a full restoration of your manhood than you think.  A recent UK study indicates that red wine contains some sort of miracle compound that keeps the body from eliminating the T hormone so easily.  A couple of glasses of red a night should do the trick, but no chugging straight from the bottle or drinking in excess – two glasses, not two bottles. But what kind of red grape? The study didn’t go there but I will.

So, what is the manly grape? It’s probably not Merlot, or pink Zinfandel. Pinot Noir is just too delicate and light to do the trick and a good one probably costs more than hormone injections. On the other end of the spectrum are the full-bodied Italian reds – Barbaresco and Barolo.  But like the Pinot Noir a decent Barolo costs a fortune. I would recommend a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon, a spicy Shiraz or Bordeaux or Bordeaux blend. Maybe go for a Malbec. I once played the word Malbec in Scrabble, but I was challenged and it was disallowed because the grape wasn’t in the American dictionary!

Now don’t rush out to the wine store and like a brute ask which wine has the most testosterone.  Be discreet.  Choose the wine like you know what you’re doing.  If anyone asks if you need help, don’t tell them you think you might have low T, just say you’re looking for a full-bodied red in whatever price range you can afford. If you don’t know how to open a wine bottle with a cork, ask for a twist off cap, not a box wine.  You can probably find a decent Syrah with a screw cap, but steer clear of Boone’s Farm and Riunite Lambrusco.  Trust me.

Pitino Has The Edge Over Calipari

And then there were 4.  And not the most surprising 4.  A number 1, 2 2s and a 4.  We’ve got a nifty city state match up in Louisville(4) Kentucky(1) with a compelling coaching subplot between Calipari and Pitino.

Calipari and Pitino coached teams have meet 15 times over the years.  With UMASS, Memphis and Kentucky, Calipari’s record is 7-8 versus Pitino’s Kentucky and Louisville teams.  Coach Cal is 7-4 in regular season games against Pitino, however, he’s 0-4 in post season games.  As the coach of Memphis, Calipari lost to Pitino’s Louisville teams in the Conference USA tournament twice.  And in NCAA play as the coach of UMASS, Coach Cal lost to Pitino coached Kentucky teams in 1992 in the Sweet 16 and in the 1996 Final Four Semifinal game. Their meeting Saturday will be a rematch. Clearly, Calipari has an ax to grind and something to prove.

Can Calipari avenge his post season loses to Pitino? Possibly, but it’s not a slam dunk.  The X factor in my mind will be the mascots – Wildcat and Cardinal.  Normally, a cat gets the better of the bird, but a cardinal is not just any bird.  Related to the jay bird and a member of the crow family, cardinals are mean, menacing birds.  They are loud, relentless and among the most intelligent birds on the planet – ok, I just made that up, but they might be.   I do know this: wildcats do not like to be harassed, they don’t, and will quickly become frustrated, distracted and fatigued by a swooping, heckling bird.  Advantage goes to the Cardinals and the master coach, who like the cardinal, seems to have a knack for getting into his rival’s head in games that count.