Kentucky was upset in the first round of the NIT by Robert Morris. While this has been a crazy year for upsets, it has less to do with parity in the NCAA and more to do with Kentucky being awful. They didn’t deserve to make the NCAA tournament, with 10+ point losses to Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, and Vanderbilt. That would be pathetic even if I didn’t mention how abysmal the SEC was this year (3 tournament bids). What this reveals is how risky it is to mostly recruit one-and-done players. If you compare Kentucky and UNC, both perennial powerhouses, the difference between their down seasons is stark. UNC is an 8 seed in the tourney, while Kentucky took an early NIT exit. While UK did win a national championship with their formula, expect teams with veteran leadership to be more consistent contenders.
The Miami Heat now own the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. The reason? A complete team. Outside of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, they have players like Chalmers, Battier, Allen, Cole, and Haslem. Battier had the key block on Jeff Green to seal the victory. You can’t overstate the importance of such players. The only team with a longer streak, the 71-72 Lakers, had some guys to go with Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Gail Goodrich. Jim McMillian and Happy Hairston both averaged over 10 ppg, while the over-the-hill Elgin Baylor chipped in occasionally. It’s a team sport…just ask the 2013 Lakers.