Now that the players cycle in and out of college and collect their $200s and scholarships as they pass GO before the NBA Draft, coaches are the new leading characters in college basketball. Kentucky's 2013 recruiting class is receiving more superlatives than any in recent history. Michigan State is ranked in the top 25 of most irrelevant preseason polls.
They'll debut this season against each other in the Champions Classic on November 12 against one another. During Michigan State's Midnight Madness, a caffeinated Tom Izzo told the fans in attendance that they were working on kicking Kentucky's ass. When word reached Calipari, he turned it around and gave a speech that would have had King Leonidas in awe at its splendor during Louisville's Wildcat Tip-off Club luncheon.
Our third game is against Michigan State. That’s going to be hard. They’re already a veteran team. They’ve already made comments that their practices are about beating Kentucky. But I say this to you: If I ask my team when we play Florida, they’re not going to know. North Carolina, (they don’t know). I’m going to do it today, because as I thought about it, they don’t know. You think they know when we’re playing Louisville? They don’t know. They want to know if there is a meal tonight. They don’t know. Now, I ask you this: Does everyone on our schedule know when they’re playing Kentucky? Oh, they know. And it’s on their locker, it’s on their ceiling of their bedroom. You’ve got to deal with that. That’s part of being at Kentucky. You know what I tell them? Not only do they want to beat Kentucky, they want to beat you as individual player. You want to know why? They wanted that scholarship that you got and they want to prove they’re better than you, not just their team is better than Kentucky. So that’s the challenge that we have. But would you want it any other way? I don’t. Bring it. Let’s go.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. All he needed was an anytime, anywhere to really spice up that oratory declamation.