With Kentucky Win, We Can Now Retire One Old Cliche

Joe Healy is happy that Kentucky won the national title, but only because it means the death of a tired cliche.

Unfortunately, much of the “analysis” we are given while watching sporting events is little more than regurgitated cliches that are accepted as truth for one reason or another. It seems that no one bothers to really dig in to whether or not the cliche has any truth in it.

I can’t stand that type of analysis.

And that’s why I was happy Kentucky won the national championship last week.

I’m no Kentucky fan. Far from it in fact. But their win signals the death of one tired cliche that we have heard a lot of over the last few seasons.

That cliche, of course, is the notion that John Calipari’s teams full of one-and-done players that use college as a pit stop on the way to the NBA can never win a national championship.

For starters, I’ve never believed that to be true, even before this version of the Wildcats tore through the regular season and the tournament.

Calipari’s teams of one-and-done players have made plenty of deep runs into the tournament. In his first year at Kentucky, they made the Elite Eight. Last year, they made the Final Four and actually overachieved as a team after an up and down regular season. That’s to say nothing of Calipari’s Memphis teams led by one-and-dones Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose that were perpetual contenders to win the title.

Maybe I’m alone on this, but I’ve always felt like any team that can consistently get to the Elite Eight and Final Four is capable of winning a national title. If those types of runs are the norm rather than an aberration, what you are doing is working. Those teams that made those runs could easily have won a national title. I don’t think you can say their failure to do so was due to their youth.

I’ve also always wondered why everyone assumed it couldn’t work. If Kentucky’s starters are by far the most talented starters in the nation, why is it so hard to believe that they could win on the biggest stage? Sure, chemistry matters quite a bit in basketball, but the more talented the players are, the more chemistry issues can be masked.

I don’t want to accuse any members of the media of this, but I can see how their opinion on the issue could be shaped by their personal feelings about the way Calipari builds a team.

No one likes the one-and-done rule. Certain players hate it because they have nothing to gain by playing one year in college. Certain coaches hate it because it adds another degree of difficulty to recruiting and building a roster. Another set of coaches hate it because some of their rivals are now stacked with players that would have been in the NBA before the rule change. Administrators hate it because players that are set on going to the NBA don’t really have to attend class at all, particularly in their second semester, which makes a mockery of the idea of a student-athlete.

It’s also just not a lot of fun if stacked teams like Kentucky win the national title. It feels a lot like the Yankees winning the World Series. The deck was stacked in their favor from the start.

I will even admit that I can’t stand what the NBA’s rules have done to the college game. But if seeing one of these “rent-a-teams” win a national championship is what it takes to clear our airwaves of one more tired cliche, I’ll take it.

Joseph Healy writes for The Fan Manifesto. You can follow him on Twitter at @Joe_On_Sports. You can follow the entire FanMan team here.



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