Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan has been given a lot of love from the national media during the NCAA tournament this year. The Badgers have made it to the Final Four for the first time since 2000 and for the first time under Ryan. Until last weekend, he was often called the best college basketball coach to have never made it to the Final Four. Wisconsin will face Kentucky on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the national championship game on Monday against Florida or UConn. But it seems Kentucky coach John Calipari is already being fitted for the crown of best coach in the Final Four for taking a team of uber-talented freshmen and molding them into a potential national champion. David Daniels of Bleacher Report writes: "Given that Kentucky is deeper and more talented, Wisconsin would greatly benefit from a coaching edge, but it lacks that as well. The Wildcats' John Calipari is an NCAA champion and has now led the school to three Final Four appearances. The Badgers' Bo Ryan had never previously led them out of the Elite Eight. Inconsistent Kentucky has peaked at exactly the right time, which will be to Wisconsin's dismay." Tim McGarry and Scott Gleeson of USA Today, in comparing the Badgers' and Wildcats' strengths, also gave the advantage to Kentucky when it comes to coaching. "The Final Four ... is Calipari’s ballpark," McGarry and Gleeson wrote. "The Wildcats coach has developed this young team throughout the season and believed in them. Now it’s paying off. Calipari is best recognized for his recruiting prowess but it’s his ability to mold young players with egos that defines his greatness on the sidelines." Sean Gregory of Time magazine writes: "Calipari can test his one-and-done formula at another Final Four. Calipari’s sales pitch is simple: Come to Kentucky for a year, play with some fellow future NBA players, maybe win some games, and, most importantly, move on to the pros as quickly as possible. Million-dollar contracts, not diplomas, dominate the discussion." And Ryan perked up some ears in Kentucky when he made a couple comments referring to the way Kentucky views basketball and recruits players. Ryan was quoted as saying: "(Wisconsin is) crazy about basketball, but don't believe they invented it like some other states believe." And: "These (Wisconsin players) are student athletes who are actually here for the education first and basketball second." So Scott Anderson of Nation of Blue, a Kentucky fan site, responded: "For someone that hasn’t ever been there before as a head coach, he sure likes to take his shots at a team that has been in the Final Four 3 out of the last 4 years." After starting the year out as the top-ranked team in the nation, Kentucky had a season that was nearly forgettable, at least until the NCAA tournament started. So is the resurgence because of Calipari? Mark Story of the Lexington Herald Leader thinks so. "Just three weeks ago, Kentucky was considered one of the bigger disappointments in recent college basketball history," Story wrote. "Many were questioning (and I was one of them) whether the 'one-and-done' model around which Calipari has structured the UK program was revealing fatal flaws. After a Final Four run like no other, Cal and the Cats are laughing last."
Will Kentucky's John Calipari outcoach Wisconsin's Bo Ryan?
The Capital Times | Apr 1