BOZICH | Five reasons No. 2 Virginia is not No. 1 Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Here are the names of several college basketball programs that have signed Top 20 recruiting classes the last four seasons:
Rutgers (really), Vanderbilt, Providence (honest), California, USC and Virginia Tech (Trust me).
I did not include Kentucky on my list because everybody knows the last four classes John Calipari signed were ranked either first or second in the nation.
Here is a program that has not signed a Top 20 class in the last four seasons:
Yes, 19-0 Virginia.
Yes, first-place in the Atlantic Coast Conference Virginia.
Yes, ranked first in the Associated Press poll by Hall of Fame writer John Feinstein Virginia.
Are the Cavaliers legit?
“Absolutely,” said Jerry Eaves, a former Louisville player and assistant coach.
“They make you shoot jump shots and they contest every shot you take. They're strong. They always remember to block out. They don't turn the ball over and they always keep the floor balanced. They don't ever get away from their system.”
You can debate Feinstein's vote that the Cavaliers should be ranked number one. Coach Tony Bennett's UVA team is second to Kentucky in both the human college basketball polls as well as in the primary computer rankings.
What cannot be debated is that Calipari and Bennett are as similar as Superman and Gil Thorp.
According to Scout.com, Calipari's last four recruiting classes have been ranked second (2014), first (2013), first (2012) and first (2011)– not that the 2011 class matters this season because Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer have all been gone for more than a year.
Bennett's 2012 class was ranked 25th – behind Houston, Colorado and Purdue. The three other classes that form this team failed to make the Top 25.
Kentucky is 19-0. Virginia is 19-0. That is where the similarities end. Five reasons the Cavaliers are not Kentucky.
1. Times Each Team Has Been Called Everybody's Super Bowl:
Kentucky every seven seconds; Virginia never.
It happened again this week when a questioner on the Southeastern Conference teleconference asked Calipari if being everybody's Super Bowl could drain his team?
He adores that question. His answer:
"How about it drains the coach? You walk in every gym and they have all the same colored t-shirts and it's filled to the top of the building and the students are there at one o'clock. Let me just say it's -- you can look at it as a situation where this is ridiculous, or you can look at it as more of an honor.”
Hmmm. I also Googled “Tony Bennett, Everybody's Super Bowl.”
Tony Bennett actually was Everybody's Super Bowl.
Tony Bennett, the singer, performed in Super Bowl XXIX, 20 years ago. Bennett and Patti LaBelle closed the halftime show with their rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” (Here is your link to watch the performance. It wasn't bad.)
2. McDonald's all-Americans: Kentucky 9 (including the injured Alex Poythress); Virginia 0 (including everybody on the Cavaliers' roster).
Take 100 bonus points if you can name Virginia's last McDonald's all-American.
His name was Sylven Landesberg. He played in the 2008 McDonald's game. He left Virginia after two seasons. He was not selected in the NBA Draft. He currently plays in the Israeli Super League.
UK has nine McDonald's all-Americans on this team. Virginia has 10 in program history starting with Jeff Lamp of Ballard, who signed with the Cavaliers in 1977. Another 100 points if you knew that.
3. NBA Draft Picks the last four seasons: Kentucky 13; Virginia 2.
The Kentucky list includes Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel and Brandon Knight.
The Virginia list includes Joe Harris and Mike Scott, both taken in the second round.
4. Famous Recruiting Tussles: None.
According to Rivals.com, Virginia did not offer a scholarship to any player on John Calipari's team – and Kentucky did not offer a scholarship to any player on Tony Bennett's team.
5. Number of times each team has scored 80 or more this season:
Kentucky, nine; Virginia two (and the Cavaliers needed two overtimes to get past 80 against Miami).
Of course, the Cavaliers have limited three teams – Rutgers, Harvard and Georgia Tech – to less than 30 points. The Wildcats limited Montana State to 28.
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