If you think you’re having a bad day, it’s nothing compared to John Calipari’s on Monday. Not only did the wormiest coach in all of sports lose college basketball’s national championship game, he also missed out on a $375,000 bonus he would have gotten for winning the title. Ouch.
Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats entered Monday night’s title game as massive favorites over the Connecticut Huskies. While the Wildcats were in the game throughout, they never led, and wound up losing to the unheralded Huskies 60-54.
Once again, free throws undid a Calipari team, as Kentucky hit just 13-of-24 shots from the charity stripe. Those misses will haunt the team for a long time. The uber-talented Wildcats couldn’t manage to play their game on Monday night, and were beaten by a veteran UConn team led by All-American point guard Shabazz Napier.
Napier and fellow guard Ryan Boatright were excellent on the night, combining for 36 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals. They also thoroughly outplayed superstar freshman twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison.
Now Calipari’s roster of insanely talented kids will almost surely be torn apart by defections to the NBA. But that’s the kind of thing that happens when you sign a ridiculous class with seven (!!!!!) five-star recruits and pitch them on the idea of only playing one collegiate season.
So while Calipari tries to figure out his attack plan for next season – or possibly waits for the Los Angeles Lakers to call – he’ll also be smarting over missing out on a huge payday. And a diminutive guard named Shabazz is to blame. Sometimes sports can be damn beautiful.