Barack Obama, John Calipari

John Calipari and Kentucky a perfect match


With the focus of the basketball watching world on the NBA Playoffs and the upcoming NBA Draft, college basketball tends to take a back seat to … well … everything in the month of June.

That’s why the late spring is such a great time to put together conversation pieces like the one Eamonn Brennan of rolled out on Thursday. Brennan put together a list of the top ten coaching jobs in college basketball and, frankly, I don’t have a huge problem with any of it. The top six are, more or less, a tie for the No. 1 spot; the six blue bloods (North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana and Duke) are undoubtedly the six best jobs in the business.

Brennan has UCLA in the fourth spot, and while I would probably flip-flop the Bruins and the Hoosiers on my list, it really isn’t worth contesting his logic. I’d also make minor changes to the rest of the list (Louisville higher, Ohio State lower, Michigan State higher, Arizona lower, etc.), but again, there is nothing unreasonable about this list.

But there is one point here that needs to be made, and I think that it is inarguable: there is no coach in the country that is better suited to the job that he is in than John Calipari is to being the head coach at Kentucky.

It is a perfect fit. He’s media savvy, he has his finger on the overactive pulse of Big Blue Nation, he’s the best recruiter in the country and he’s a good enough coach to live up to the demanding expectations of the fanbase. He’s on the verge of building one of the most unique dynasties in the history of sports — How many teams have had continued success with this amount of roster turnover? — at a place where few, if any, coaches would be able to have that kind of success.

Brennan’s right. The “UNC family” and the resulting association with Jordan and the Jordan Brand makes the Tar Heels the best coaching job in the country.

But there is no better coaching match than John Calipari and the University of Kentucky.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.