BOZICH | Feinstein on voting Virginia #1 -- and the Kentucky comparisons
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – John Feinstein is one of the best and most prolific sports authors of the last 30 years. He's spent more time on the New York Times best-seller list than most college basketball coaches have in the Associated Press Top 25.
Two years ago Feinstein was named the winner of the Curt Gowdy Award by the Naismith Basketball of Fame. He's terrific.
Feinstein is also one of 65 voters in the AP college basketball poll. In fact, he is the only voter currently voting Virginia first and Kentucky second.
On Tuesday, I wrote about how Kentucky is not Virginia (the link) – and Virginia is not Kentucky. Both teams are 19-0. That is where the similarities end.
I mentioned five factors:
1. The times each program has been called everybody's Super Bowl; 2. The number of McDonald's all-Americans on each team; 3. The NBA Draft picks each school has produced the last four seasons; 4. Famous recruiting tussles between the teams and 5. How many times each team has scored 80 or more this season.
Somebody sent a link to the story to Feinstein, a guy I respect immensely and have known for more than three decades. John sent me an e-mail with comments about the story on Wednesday morning. He said I could share it at WDRB.com.
Here is his response:
“Hey, Rick – Someone just sent me your Kentucky-UVa column. I'm honestly not sure why anyone in Kentucky CARES that I've voted UVA #1 the last three weeks, except I guess that it's me and I'm evil incarnate.
“I'm guessing if the kid in Indy (Zach Osterman of the Indy Star) had voted UVA #1 this week instead of me it would have barely been noticed. I gotta say your five points are pretty much EXACTLY why I've voted for UVA!
“1. Everybody's Super Bowl. If that's the criteria, then Duke has to be #1 every week since 1992 regardless of record...
“2. McDonald's All Americans. Really? Who cares? I admire teams that win without McD AA's, who are often determined by who they sign with -- as in Kentucky, Duke, UNC. JOEY BEARD was a McDonald's All American. Joe Smith was not. There are a hundred like examples...
“3. NBA draft picks? How in the world is that relevant to THIS season? And, again I love teams that win with great college players. No one did that better than (former Indiana coach Bob) Knight. How many future NBA All-Stars played for U-Conn last year? But they WON...
“4. Recruiting battles? (UK coach John) Calipari recruits one-and-dones who are passing through Kentucky not going to school there. I feel the same way, BTW, about the one-and-dones at Duke (Feinstein is a Duke grad). Please don't tell me that Kyrie Irving is a "Duke alumnus." Most of Bennett's players will stay 3 or 4 years and graduate. I prefer his style but both apparently work....
“5. Scoring 80 points or more? Bennett's style is 100 percent opposite that. It may not be pretty--Kentucky this year ain't exactly pretty either--but it works and HAS worked for years.”
One thing more. John wasn't finished. He is not happy that that UTEP-Kentucky game might not be played next season, 50 years after Texas Western's landmark victory over Adolph Rupp and the Wildcats in the 1966 NCAA title game that was played in College Park, Md.
Texas Western was the first NCAA champ to start five African-Americans, defeating a Kentucky program that had yet to integrate. He added this:
“Far more relevant is Kentucky's refusal to play UTEP on the 50th anniversary of the most important college game ever played. Kentucky people always yammer about how Rupp was unfairly cast as a racist, villain. Fine, let's play the game and let the story be told from BOTH sides. THAT matters, not my stupid vote in the AP poll…”
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