A Few Good Men

So you want to win another National Championship, Kentucky? I don't blame you.

What do you do? Hire the sleaziest coach you can't get your hands on. Check.

Have said new coach, John Calipari, do his usual loading up on prized recruits by doing whatever shady means necessary. Check. (Side note: That blog is called "The Dagger"? Legendary.)

Complement those guys with some good solid role players or what is also known as having some semblance of a decent bench. Well, it seems the Wildcats missed the boat on that one.

I was looking over the stats of last night's win over Sam Houston State (They have a team?) and one number kept jumping out at me: zero. As in the zero points scored by the entire Kentucky bench.

And no, this wasn't some sort of grind-it-out, turn-back-the-shot-clock type of game. It was actually a shootout as the Wildcats put up 102 points while nearly allowing triple digits as well to the Bearkats (No, that's not a misprint and yes, apparently, they still can't spell in Texas).

Taking a deeper look into this bizarre box score revealed that the four UK bench players were in the game for a total of 35 minutes or the equivalent of one starter. And in all that time they combined to take three shots. Talk about the anti-A.I.

Add it all up and the fifth-ranked Wildcats earned their third unimpressive win of the early season. Three days earlier, freshman phenom and probably No. 1 pick in next year's NBA Draft, John Wall, had to hit a buzzer-beater to deliver a victory over Miami of Ohio.

Will this young team get better? I'm sure it will. Will the bench? Maybe if Calipari lets them participate a little bit and his starters strop treating the other players like a bunch of guys that were picked last in gym class.

What's sad is that with the NCAA's rules (Not the ones Calipari gets around like the pesky one that even blue-chip prospects like Derrick Rose actually have to take the pesky SAT to be eligible) you can almost get away with having a lack of depth. Each team gets four 30-second and one 60-second timeout on top of the so-called "TV timeouts" that kick in with the first stoppage of play after every four minutes of game time -- even if the game isn't being televised. Heck, an out-of-shape Jerome James, a.k.a. "Big Snacks," could probably give you close to a full first half if he had that much rest.

There's no debating Kentucky's talent in the starting lineup. To win it all, though, the Wildcats are going to need a little more than a doughnut in the scoring column.

Coach Calipay has been accused of using money to attract players
in the past so it isn't crazy to think that some shenanigans were afoot in luring Wall and company first to Memphis and then to the Bluegrass state. If so, then perhaps he should spread out his payroll a little more evenly next time.

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